Genesis 19: The rescue of Lot

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is often viewed as God’s judgment on homosexuality.  But there is so much more to this story.  Ezekial wrote, “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.” (Ezek.16:49-50) Homosexuality was not the only problem here.  In fact, it is last on the list!

So why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah?  Because the people of these cities had completely rejected God’s design and authority and descended into total depravity and corruption.  “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.” (Rom.1:25)  The real problem here was pride.  They put their own will and desire before God’s.  As a result, they had lost all sense of right and wrong.  They had no morals, no sense of decency and order, no respect for others, no kindness or compassion.  They lived for self-indulgence, feeding every depraved appetite of mind and body without regard for the harmful effects of their actions on self or others.

The men of Sodom came to Lot’s house for one purpose: to gang rape the two men (angels) who had come to their city that day.  But what is more shocking to me is that  Lot offered to them instead his two virgin daughters “to do with as they pleased.”  What?  Forget the homosexual gang rape for a moment; what kind of father offers to pimp his young daughters to a hoard of perverts?  Keep in mind that Scripture calls Lot “righteous”.  He was a believer, a follower of God.  But the sin of Sodom had touched even him, clouding his moral judgment.  He had become calloused to the evil around him, blinded to its effects on him and his own family.  If this was a man who feared God, how did the unbelieving man of Sodom think?

The angels’ response to the gang outside Lot’s house was both practical and symbolic.  They struck the men with blindness.  Notice the men were so driven by lust they still tried to get in, but they could not.  Sin blinds men to the truth of God’s word, to what is truly good.  It leaves them groping for the door, helpless and frustrated in their effort to find satisfaction and fulfillment.  In reality all of the population in these cities was hopelessly lost in the darkness of sin.

Even Lot’s family had disintegrated, destroyed by sin.  Any married children he had were consumed by the rain of fire on Sodom.  His wife was dead, transformed into a statue of salt when she turned back with longing toward Sodom.  And his youngest daughters were so morally confused that they were willing to seduce their drunken father and sleep with him.  This final scene demonstrates better than any, I think, how morally bankrupt this society had become.  The children born and raised there literally had no morality, no fear of God, no concept of right and wrong.

So God destroyed both cities and by doing so removed a cancer from the land he had promised Abraham.  Such a great hub of evil so near God’s chosen people would have threatened their survival; consider its effect on Lot’s family.  Israel had enough trouble with the idolatrous Canaanites.  It would not long withstand the poisonous influence of neighbors like Sodom and Gomorrah.  So God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, cut off this cancerous society to protect Abraham and His descendants.  It’s hard for us to see the love in destruction like this, but it’s there if we will look in faith that God is good and just.  The Judge of all the earth ALWAYS does what is right.

There is so much in this passage that we can relate to our world today, so much we can learn from Lot’s mistake and God’s response.  But I am drawn to one truth, and that is God loves His children, flaws and all.  Lot had failed miserably as a husband and father.  But God remembered him and still claimed him as His own, flaws and all.  As His children we may face consequences for our sin and suffer pain for bad decisions or associations made in this life.  But we can count on God’s love and mercy to follow us “all the days of our life” and into eternity.

Reading: Genesis 19