“I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is often controversial and much debated. Basically, the two cities engaged in rampant sin and were so bad that the Lord felt they were beyond redemption. So, after Abraham “made a deal” with the Lord to spare the cities if He could find only 10 righteous people there, God kept the bargain. He looked and, after a fruitless search, nuked both cities, more or less.
The question is, I suppose, how could a merciful God kill so many people, in spite of their sins? It’s a good question, and it takes really delving into the scripture to find the answer.
God is the embodiment of perfection. He is flawless and pure, and cannot abide sin in any form. (“You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong…” Habakkuk 1:13) The first time that the Lord encountered utter evil, it encompassed the entire world, and He decided to “reboot the system” with a flood. This time, the debauchery was limited to two neighboring cities, and the level of the sin was so great that we have even used the name of one city – Sodom – as the basis for a type of sin.
Consider this – the only people that God agreed to save were Lot and his family. But the angels sent to extract Lot from the city were tracked down by a gang of roving rapists who wanted to have sex with them. And Lot’s solution was to trade the angels for his own daughters, so that the rapists would abuse and possibly kill his girls instead. What an act of fatherly love!
Essentially, God saw a level of sin so intense that He felt that the cities were beyond redemption. And because He cannot abide sin, He felt there was no other option than to remove the cities, and all within them, from the face of the earth.
So why doesn’t He do that today? Certainly, our planet is rife with sin, including some places that might rival Sodom and Gomorrah. The difference is this – Jesus. Today, God has presented all of us with an opportunity for redemption through the salvation offered by His Son. God can’t stand sin, but He still wants each of us to have a chance to spend eternity with Him. But we can’t be there if we’re still dead in our sins. So instead of certain destruction, He gives us the choice of following Jesus, and receiving the reward of eternal life, or rejecting Him, and spending eternity in an agony of separation from Him.
The choice is ultimately ours. As God, He sets the terms – ask forgiveness for your sin and allow Jesus to be Lord of your life. No longer will He rain down fire from Heaven. He will simply give you the reward you chose, good or bad.
Today, if you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior, thank God for sending His Son, and recommit to following Him. If you haven’t, consider making today the day that you accept His offer of a new life today, and one day, an eternity with Him.
Reflection copyright © 2016 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.