Judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah
Open Your Bible
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.
63 thoughts on "Judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah"
@Sarah: thank you for your input! I think it is a very plausibel explanation, and it is correct that not everything that’s in the bible is there because God agrees with the way it went!
It’s so difficult to read about such depravity and darkness, I find myself thinking “I’m thankful I wasn’t alive then” but the reality is the world we live in today is no less dark and depraved, sin abounds, but so does Gods grace as we are not yet destroyed! One day, soon I believe the Lord will bring the Light that will illuminate all this darkness and it will be utterly destroyed and we will, like Abraham, look at the smoke that fills the land that used to be our dwelling place! Thank you God for your continued grace and mercy!
Father, I know not the words I shall speak in this prayer but I know within my heart of what I urn for…Father I struggle with many sins, I struggle with making decisions but I try my Lord. I ask that may you have mercy upon me and continue to walk with me as we make my path straight. Father use my mind and body in ways that will allow me to shine as a child of God, not a sinner. Use me oh God. Thou gracious, omnipotent, wonderful God Use me. In Jesus name, Amen.
I just noticed for the first time today that lot hesitated and the Angels grabbed his hand because of Gods love for Abraham. What an enlightening thing to see. I’m eager to see how other translations write this same verse.
CHurchmouse, how refreshing and encouraging your words toward me have been! I do feel welcomed in them. Thank you for affirming the pain of what has been missing in support and my desire to keep pursuing fellowship. It is truly by the grace of God that I continue to persevere. I’m grateful for prayers which are joined with mine for the Lord to open doors to a fellowship that is aimed at discipleship and care for the disabled like me! Blessings back to you, sister!
Thank you for pointing out the important connection between lot, Ruth, David, etc. Often, the jarring details (daughters) sidetrack readers from seeing/understanding the important details.
I have read a lot of comments that are upset that Lot offers his daughters to the men of the city. It seems as if some are getting the impression that because it’s in the Bible, God is condoning Lot’s behavior. I don’t think that’s the case here. Lot knows who these men are. And yes, Lot is Abraham’a nephew, but that does not mean his faith is as strong or deep as Abraham’s. In fact, we know Lot’s faith is weak because he would not be living in Sodom if he was following God. Lot takes the men into his home because I think (like us all at times, if we are honest), we think we can hide our sin. He KNOWS what would happen to these angels if they tried to sleep in the square…if he can “hide” the ugliness of the city while housing them “so they could leave early,” in his mind, perhaps he can get away with it. He knows he shouldn’t be there, and he tries to keep the angels from the sin of the city. I think him offering his daughters was a moment of self preservation, and I want to judge him so hard, but I think about times I’ve tried to preserve my name or image to others (not even to God!) at the expense of others. Of course, offering his daughters to being raped is so so terrible, but again, I think he was trying to hide his sin, like Adam and Eve back in the garden. I don’t think it was something he obviously wanted to do, but instead shows the thoughts/work of a self centered man. But most importantly, again, it being in the Bible is in NO WAY God condoning this. We know God vehemently opposes this as we see the angels step in and intervene with blinding the men.
Diana, I read your reply to my late post yesterday and your post here today. Thank you for so eloquently expressing your heart. I’m so sorry to learn you are living with ME and CFS and that some church members have not been responsive to your needs. How wonderful that you reach out here. I pray you feel a sense of community. We are all on our own journey and have our own stories. I have found this a safe place and a supportive one. I applaud you for desiring a deeper fellowship given your physical limitations. God certainly sees and treasures your every effort. He will bless you for your faithfulness and your compassion towards those who may not understand all that you are going through. No one truly knows what each of us is going through but our God does and He cares.I pray that you feel His everlasting arms around you. And on the days you don’t, I pray that you will trust His heart. He is for you and not against you. You are valued and whatever you do to further His kingdom is priceless. I’m so glad you don’t compare yourself to others because God doesn’t either. You endure and you persevere and that is no small thing.
I’m glad we gather here. Blessings to you, friend.
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