Sodom and Gomorrah
When God Has Had Enough
Once upon a time, two ancient cities named Sodom and Gomorrah sat in a lush fertile valley. Walls surrounded these gated cities and they even had a king and an army. Sodom and Gomorrah were wealthy thriving cities back in Abraham’s time, 4,000 years ago, and Abraham’s nephew, Lot chose to live there with his family.
One day God spoke to Abraham and told him that He was planning to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Let’s listen to what He said: “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me: …” (Genesis 18: 20-21)
God had honored Abraham by telling him what He planned to do, but Abraham was shocked and upset. Probably Abraham was worried about his nephew, Lot. “Would You destroy the righteous with the wicked?” Abraham asked. “Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city: would You also destroy the place and not spare it if fifty righteous persons were in it?” (Genesis 18:23b-24)
God answered Abraham and assured him that He would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if fifty righteous people could be found living there. Abraham kept arguing with God – bargaining with God for the cities. Finally Abraham asked God to promise that He would not destroy the cities if ten righteous people could be found living there. And God promised Abraham that He would save Sodom and Gomorrah if ten good people could be found there.
The scene now shifts to Sodom. It is evening and Lot is sitting at the city gate when two travelers, who are really angels, walk by. Lot jumps up and bows down before them and invites them to spend the night at his house. The two angels who looked like traveling men agree and Lot takes them to his house and prepares a nice dinner for them. While Lot and the angels are eating, a large group of men from all over the city began banging on Lot’s door. Scripture tells us that every man in Sodom, both young and old is there and has surrounded Lot’s house and they are all ordering Lot to open his door! “Where are the men who came to your house tonight?” they all shout as they bang on the door. “Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” (Genesis 18:5)
Lot tries to turn this mob away from his home but to no avail. The group of men are beating down the door. Finally in desperation he offers this sex perverted mob his two virgin daughters to use as sex objects for the night. But the men of Sodom shout louder and beat down the door. The men refuse Lot’s offer of his girls to assuage their perversions, as they prefer using Lot’s male guests. (Genesis 19:8-9) Finally the two angels get involved and confuse and temporarily blind the aroused men so that they can’t see the door. At last the befuddled group of men wanders off. Then the angels tell Lot and his family that God is going to destroy Sodom and they urge them to leave Sodom as soon as possible.
Time was running out and the next morning the angels grabbed Lot and his family by the hand and hurriedly pulled them out of Sodom. After they were outside the city of Sodom the angels gave Lot and his family some instructions: “Escape for your lives! Do not look behind you or stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.” (Genesis 18:17b) Lot’s family ran for their lives and when they had reached safety Scripture tells the story: “Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife disobeyed the angels and looked back at the burning cities, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 18:24-26)
Abraham went out that morning and looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah. “And he saw the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace.” (Genesis 18:28b) Abraham lived on a hill in Hebron which was about eighteen miles away from Sodom and Gomorrah.
Bible scholars believe that the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were located near the south end of the Dead Sea. Scripture described the area around Sodom and Gomorrah as a lush fertile plane. Lot had chosen the area as ideal for grazing his vast herds of sheep and goats. But today the south end of the Dead Sea is a desolate wasteland. Is it desolate because God reigned fire and brimstone down on it so long ago? And if just ten good people had been found in the two cities, God’s judgment would have been averted! Do we believers have more influence in our world than they realize?
What did Sodom and Gomorrah do that was so evil? Ezekiel 16:49-50 gives us a clue. “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned: they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before Me. Therefore I did away with them, as you have seen.” And also Jude 1:7-8 tells us more. “”In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. In the same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.”
What can we learn from this scary Bible story? I suppose this ancient history lesson teaches us that God won’t tolerate over the top sinning indefinitely. God judged Sodom and Gomorrah when they gave themselves up to homosexuality and immorality. And God punished Sodom and Gomorrah when they became proud and haughty and forgot to take care of the poor. God judged the world with a flood in Noah’s time and prophecy tells us that He will judge the world again at the end of the ages. God has limits and we better not test them. Better not because there comes a time when God has had enough!