Loving Father, I thank You that the truth of the Gospel fills me with wonder, love, and praise.
Read GENESIS 19:1–14
Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed
19 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”
9 “Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.
10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.
12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”
14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry[a] his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
- Genesis 19:14 Or were married to
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Help us, Lord, to face the challenges of urban life with the compassion of Christ, who wept over Jerusalem.
The picture given to us here of the moral and social condition of the cities of the plain is unremittingly grim. Lot, who has obviously reaped the terrible consequences of his earlier choices, makes a pathetic attempt to maintain the courtesies and social practices which have been embedded in the wider culture and which we have already witnessed in Abraham’s hospitality. However, those customs of neighborliness and welcome have been overwhelmed by patterns of behavior in which individual greed and lust have destroyed social cohesion and left the weak and the vulnerable at the mercy of power without principles.
The destruction of these cities made a big impact on the ancient world, so that references to the catastrophe are scattered throughout the Old Testament.1 While the emphasis in our passage is clearly on sexual sin, which here threatens to turn into gang rape, it is vital to keep in mind the broader list of charges found in Ezekiel: the people were also ‘arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and the needy’.2 The picture in Genesis might seem to make this story remote from the urban experience known to many cities today, but when we see the broader reality in which sexual perversions go together with social injustice and unconcern for the neighbor, the narrative comes closer to home.
Notice also the reference in the previous chapter to the ‘outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah’.3 Was the source of this lament located among ‘the poor and needy’ within the city? Reduced to slavery and facing starvation, did they cry to heaven for justice? Was the urban catastrophe therefore the consequence of the total collapse of all ethical norms? What might this have to say concerning our cities today?
Identify a particular city known to you. Pray for the poor and homeless in that place, asking God for a deep urban regeneration, with true healing.
Powerful One, help me to learn from this passage of the insidious nature of sin. Today I put on the full ‘armor of God” as I seek to stand firm for You.
1 See Isa 1:9,10; 3:9; Jer 23:14; Ezek 16:48,49,53–55 2 Ezek 16:49 3 Gen 18:20