God’s Judgment Upon Sodom & Gomorrah

Genesis 19 records the story of God’s judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah.  Although completely destroyed, Sodom and Gomorrah continue to be mentioned in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  The occasion of their destruction is significant.  Let us consider some of the lessons we learn from their destruction.

Homosexuality is sin

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah reminds us of God’s hatred of the sin of homosexuality.  “As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7).  While this sexual perversion is proudly celebrated by many today, God continues to abhor it, and if those who practice it don’t repent, they’ll be punished eternally.  If there ever was a question in one’s mind about God’s condemnation of the behavior, the way and the purpose for which Sodom and Gomorrah were singled out for judgment should settle it.

The words of God are no joke

Lot lived in that wicked city Sodom.  It was not safe to sleep in the open square.  The men of the city were violently wicked (Genesis 19:9).  And when the angels directed Lot to take all his family out of the city, he spoke to his sons-in-law, but to them “he seemed to be joking” (verse 14).  “Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city,” Lot had told them.  Perhaps it sounded unbelievable, a tall tale someone would only joke about.  But it was no joke.  This was their opportunity to be saved from the destruction.  Likewise, to some today “the message of the cross is foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:18).  But it is the power of God unto salvation!  God means what he says.

The danger of lingering

Lot was urged by the messengers of God to hurry out of the city with his wife and two daughters lest they “be consumed in the punishment of the city” (verse 15).  Did he hurry?  No; “he lingered” (verse 16).  Fortunately for him, “while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city” (verse 16).  The definition of linger is “to stay in a place longer than necessary because of reluctance to leave.”  Is there any valid reason to linger and not do what we know God has said to do?  Sometimes people know they need to obey the gospel by repenting of their sins and putting on Christ in baptism, but they linger.  They risk their eternal destiny with every moment of delay.  Others leave the Lord and know they need to return to his service, but they linger in the valley of decision.  But “now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).  What other day is there?  Yesterday is past and tomorrow does not exist.

Every command matters

The instruction from the angels of God was, “Escape for your life!  Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain” (verse 17).  How important was it to flee?  It was a must.  How important was it to not look behind?  It was a must too; just as much a command as the former.  But Lot’s wife “looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26).  We could say she was so close to being “saved” – she had even left the city.  How sad that she didn’t go all the way, follow all of what God said.  The rich young ruler of Mark 10:17-22 had kept from his youth all the commands of the law that Jesus spoke in verse 19, but Jesus told him he lacked one thing:  “Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me” (verse 21).  And even so today, many are willing to go “part way” or “almost” into the service of the Lord, but they are unwilling to give up some lust of the flesh or lust of the eyes.  But Jesus said, “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

Jude says that Sodom and Gomorrah are “set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”  The Bible teaches us much beyond commands and statements; the Bible teaches us through examples also.  Let us take to heart these lessons from God’s judgment and destruction of those two cities.

                                   -Larry Jones