Day 12

Judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah

from the Genesis reading plan

Genesis 18:22-33, Genesis 19:1-38, Ezekiel 16:49-50, Romans 1:18-25

BY Bailey Gillespie

As I read about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, I couldn’t help but think of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Toward the conclusion of the film adaptation, we see the Pelennor Fields lying in smoky ruins after battle. It’s a scene of utter and complete destruction. I remember watching this scene for the first time, wondering as the camera panned out if there’d be a familiar character still alive among the wreckage. I wanted to see a remnant of the good guys, to know that mercy had been shown to at least one person. Or hobbit. Or elf.

Many of us hear words like “grace” and “mercy” and immediately jump to Jesus and the New Testament. But since we know that Christ is “the exact expression” of God’s nature (Hebrews 1:3), it won’t do to consider God in the Old Testament any less gracious or merciful.

God’s mercy is not hard to find in the Old Testament. It’s woven throughout the book of Genesis like a flowering vine, connecting the stories in Christ’s lineage. Even when people continue to make bad decisions that bring about their own demise or widespread catastrophe, God’s desire is for people to be saved (2 Peter 3:9). We see the ultimate display of God’s mercy in His Son, Jesus Christ; through the power of His resurrection, there is healing for the world (Isaiah 53:5).

During his exchange with Abraham, God listens to Abraham’s plea and gives the people a chance. “The LORD said, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake’” (Genesis 18:26). They continue to talk, and that number of fifty is reduced to only ten (v.32). But sadly not even ten can be found. God still saves Lot—Abraham’s nephew and the familiar face Abraham knows and loves. God’s mercy is always there and greater than we expect, even when most people reject it.

Without Christ, it’s our own hearts that resemble that plain of smoking ruins. Even after receiving the Holy Spirit, we still wrestle with sin. We routinely choose to submit to our own will instead of the Spirit. Our sins may not seem as flagrant as those of Sodom and Gomorrah, but we are all sinners in need of grace.

Hallelujah! Christ has broken the curse of sin and death. Even now, Christ—the exact expression of the Old Testament God with whom Abraham bargained and pleaded for the lives of his community—invites us to accept the gift of eternal life. He is for us, and His mercy is greater than we think. Remembering this, may we echo Abraham’s plea for the redemption of our own hearts, our city, and our world.

Post Comments (63)

63 thoughts on "Judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah"

  1. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I love that God listened to Abraham about saving the people of the city. I pray that I would intercede more for the people around me.

  2. Diana Fleenor says:

    As I read through these passages and the devotion of today, I find myself feeling the tension between conviction of my own sin and the sin done against me. Like others have indicated thus far in the comments, my own tendency toward hesitant obedience has been highlighted. I pray in confession to be more bold and immediate in doing what the Lord tells me. I ask him to search my heart for any pride or arrogance, any lack of care for those in greater need than myself.

    Then I am reminded that my own suffering situation is not ignored by the Lord. He hears the cries of the afflicted who are ignored and not supported by those who are in more secure and comfortable situations. I have experienced the very real pain of those who proclaim to be Christians who tell me that my suffering situation scares them so they just find it easier to stay away. Or, busyness steals them away. Or, I’m told that I shouldn’t expect human help because God is enough. He is enough. Yet, he also is against shepherds and fat sheep who don’t care for the weak sheep (Ezekiel 34).

    I am grateful that the Lord doesn’t ignore injustice and in time he will bring justice that is right in every way. It is my heart to grow in trusting him completely in this promise and leave any and every inkling of vengeance to him. May I love others deeply even if it seems to not flow back. May I continue to reach out to the body of Christ, even when the response seems weak or non-existent. May I pray for those who are walking in a lukewarm way, asking the Lord to bring revival to our hearts (I say ‘our’ because I know I am not without need in this as well!). I pray for any here who have felt the deep pain of isolation because of disability and a lack of understanding and support through the church. May the compassionate Lord of the harvest send out Holy Spirit filled workers to you! Blessings sisters!

  3. Carolina says:

    Praise Him for His constant Mercy!

  4. Jessica Mills says:

    Thank you for saying something about the story of the two daughters! It seems a bit confusing to share those verses without explaining the reason for them.

  5. Steph says:

    The “men” Lot invited into his house are referred to as angels in verse 1. I think he probably saw sending his daughters out to the men of the city rather than the angels as the lesser of two evils, especially since none of that would have happened if he hadn’t insisted on the angels coming in to stay at his house.

    1. Emily Guerra says:

      But I still don’t agree with this. I can’t be for a man that would willing give his daughters up to be raped.

      1. Claudia L says:

        I also have a hard time accepting this among other things in today”s reading. But, perhaps this is meant to parallel the sacrifice of Jesus. After all, God gave his only son, so that our sins could be forgiven and we could have eternal life. Lot offered to sacrifice his daughters to protect what he knew came from God.

      2. Claudia L says:

        Oh and also (spoiler alert) Abraham will later on be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac because God asks him to do it. It was a sign of Abraham’s faith. Perhaps, this is also a sign of Lot’s faith.

  6. Jess Thomas says:

    “But he (Abraham) lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city” – Gen. 19:16

    || the LORD being merciful to him ||

    This verse particularly struck me. How often do we linger, look back at our sin, hold on to it even though we know it’s destructive? But God – one of my very favorite phrases – But God is merciful to us. He brings us out of our sin. He sets us outside of the way of destruction. He spares us, for His glory.

    Thank you Lord for your mercy that you show us every day. Thank you for your faithfulness to us, even when we are not faithful. Thank you for pursuing me and choosing me and loving me even when I am unlovable.

  7. Rachel Lockridge says:

    The story about Lot and his daughter’s is one of those stories that leads us to ask, “why is this in the Bible?!” This particular story is important because it tells us the origin of the Moabites and Anmonites. Ruth was a Moabite and Ruth is a crucial person in the line of Jesus (Ruth, Obed, Jesse, King David…) if Lot hadn’t been spared, Ruth wouldn’t have existed. It points to the grace of God and his sovereignty-his plan is MUCH bigger than ours!

    1. Katelin LaGreca says:

      Love this connection! I hadn’t thought of that. I love finding evidence of god’s big picture plan because it gives us hope when we are caught up in the day to day waiting for god to move.

    2. Dee Wilcox says:

      Thank you for sharing this here! I remembered that the Moabites were looked down. This definitely adds color to the story of Ruth and Boaz, and especially Boaz as a husband-redeemer!

  8. Mari V says:

    We are all sinners in need of grace. May I never say that I am better than this person or that person. I am just like them. I was a sinner ( and still am) in need of grace. So grateful for God‘s grace and mercy that was freely given to me and I hope and pray for my dear loved ones that someday they too will accept God’s grace and mercy.

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