Judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah

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

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.

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64 thoughts on "Judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah"

  1. Stori Ruhter says:

    I’m learning so much here. Thank you!

  2. Montana Wilson says:

    Very well spoken. God’s love knows no bounds. He love is unmatched.

  3. Katrina Dowdy says:

    I really enjoyed seeing and understanding how God was merciful in the Old Testament. We mostly talk about Jesus and how he shows grace, mercy and love; but obviously God shows these attributes as well. This story in the Old Testament, though it is quite gruesome and destructive, is still a magnificent display of God’s unmatched grace and mercy for those He loves!

  4. Jenny Love says:

    So thankful for God’s grace!!!!

  5. Ms Amy* says:

    What struck me in today’s reading is the way Abraham pleaded and bargained with God, and to have such an honest and earnest conversation not about himself but about others. Wow. Lord, please give me the grace to have heart for other people, to stand in the gap and intercede for people I know and don’t know. Help me to love others just as you love me.

  6. Laura Smail says:

    It’s hard to read the part about Lot offering up his own daughters to be raped, but if God still spared Lot’s life, it’s a powerful reminder that incarcerated murderers and rapists are still the beneficiaries of God’s unfathomable grace and mercy, and if God can extend mercy and forgiceness toward them, so can we, even though it’s very hard.

  7. Laura Smail says:

    I love that God spared Lot’s life not because Lot listened, but because Abraham implored Him to. God loved Abraham, and Abraham asked God to spare his brother. So out of His love for Abraham, God spared him in the midst of Lot’s own disobedience. This story reminds me how important it is to earnestly intercede for our lost loved ones, and has prompted me to pray all the more fervently every day for my brothers.

  8. Melissa Mcronney says:

    Lord help us