Every Day Bible

What’s Up with Sodom & Gomorrah?

In Genesis 18-19 is the now famous of Sodom and Gomorrah. Almost everything about this story is unique in some way.

Messengers (angels) of God come to visit Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 18:2. Abraham saw them standing there (apparantly from nowhere) and rushed to meet them, going out of his way to be hospitable. Sarah’s skills as a hostess are quite impressive given Abraham’s request: quick, make bread! While Sarah’s sifting out her flour, no doubt, the angels ask where she is. (Genesis 18:9-15)

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he said.”
Then the LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Did you notice the change in number here? They ask a question. Abraham answers. GOD (He) makes a promise.

Were the messengers actually God? Did they stand there and suddenly God spoke from the clouds? Did they disappear? Who knows? Tehn Sarah laughs to herself and thinks about how old she is…then HE (singluar, the LORD) asks, “Why did you laugh?” Her response: “I didn’t.”

The real lesson here is remembering that nothing is too hard for God. Remember the kids’ song…”My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do!” I wonder if God sang it to her…

But back to brimstone. Abraham is walking with the two guests as they are leaving when GOD says “Shall I hide from Abraham what’s about to happen?” Then GOD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they ahve done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

There’s no doubt in my mind that God knew already of the situation in Sodom and Gomorrah. I’d assume that this is a literary device designed to pique Abraham’s curiosity. Abraham must have already known something of the town’s reputation: he realized that he probably needed to argue for a very low number of righteous for salvation.

The angels met Lot at the town gates. Lot seems quick to invite them in and insist that they leave early in the morning (Genesis 19:1-3). Before nightfall the men from all over the town (young and old) are crying out for the men for homosexual acts. Most people associate Sodom and Gomorrah as a story about the condemnation of homosexuality — but as of yet, the town’s sin is unnamed. Neither the angels nor God have given details as to the type of unrighteouness that brings these twin towns under condemnation.

A few things I notice in the next few verses:

  • Lot went OUTSIDE to talk with the men of the town. Was there something he didn’t want his special guests to know? I think he may have known they were divine.
  • Lot addressed the townspeople as “my friends.” (No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing.) James 4:4 says that friendship with the world equates to being an enemy of God, and several other passages echo this sentiment. For all the trouble he’s going to, including nearly risking his life for these men, he still is awfully buddy-buddy with these wicked men.
  • Lot offers them his daughters.

    Lot. Are you serious? Your daughters? This is a passage that elicits the “are you on CRACK!??” response! What father would offer his two daughters — virgin, pure daughters — to the homosexual men who want to assualt GOD’S messengers? I can’t begin to list what I think is wrong with this passage. “Do with them what you want, but don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” Aren’t your children in your protection? Seriously, Lot! What’s up with this?? (end of rant)

  • The townspeople are not satisifed. They call him a judge. Throughout the years unnumbered hypocrites have cast judgment while truly standing condemned. “Judge” is a dirty word as far back as Sodom and Gomorrah and Moses (after killing the Egyptian who harassed his Hebrew countryman). Never forget, though, that though our business is not judging, we will be judged along with all others. It’s not our place to be God’s judge, jury, and executioners, but it is always our place to be his mouthpiece and his hands.
  • Back to Lot’s daughters: they’re engaged (Genesis 19:13-14). Think the future son-in-laws would have liked his plan to give them to the townspeople? Unfortunately, these boys thought he was joking. Insert story of the boy who cried wolf here…
  • Just before dawn, the angels urged (Begged, pleaded, shouted) Lot and his girls to get out…yet Lot hesitated. The men grabbed him physically and led them (dragged?) to safety with the instructions “Flee! Don’t look back. Don’t stop!” Yet Lot didn’t think he could make it…so he ran to Zoar. After getting to Zoar safely, Lot’s wife looked back and became the famous salt shaker.

I’ve always imagined Lot’s wife glancing over her shoulder as she fled and being zapped into a rock formation. In reality – she was already in her city of shelter, the disaster has already happened, the cities are gone…but Lot’s wife did more than glance. She looked back and thought of where she was and what she missed. Maybe she looked back and longed.

Regardless, there comes a time when we must all take a stand and pick a side. It seems to me that Lot’s family had a difficult time deciding: are we friends of God, or friends of the world. Frustratingly enough, the answer is an either/or, not a both/and.

This sums it up: in the highway of life, there are millions of squashed squirrells who couldn’t decide which side of the road they wanted to be on.

Decisively, pick God’s side.

Every Day Bible

Opposites Attract

Abraham’s proactive lifestyle really amazes me. When Lot was taken captive by the warring kings (Genesis 14), did Abraham call for someone else to help? Did he pray for God to deliver? Did he call 911? Nope…he just took “the 318 trained men” (implicitly all of them?)…and went to rescue him. He didn’t play the hero and relish in the spoils due the victor. He rejected the bounty of war all so that the king of Sodom could never claim responsibility for what God did: blessing Abraham.

Then there’s the time these mysterious visitors mention in an aside that Sodom & Gomorrah are going to get it. The visitors left for Sodom to enact God’s plan, but Abraham caught them from behind (they left, he approached them – Gen 18:22-23) and interceded on Lot’s behalf. This is the same Lot whose herdsmen quarrled with him, who kept getting taken captive, and had all the generosity and grace of one who always takes the best things for himself — and Abraham makes an extra effort to haggle with God for his salvation.

Can you think of anyone less like Abraham than the prophet Jonah? God commanded him to go for others’ salvation, he avoided his duty, and complained when God did save!

I’m glad God sent a savior more like Abraham and less like Jonah!