Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Lessons of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24-25) {My Meditation}

Sodom means “place of lime” and Gomorrah means “submersion.”  These cities are notorious for their wickedness and rebellion against God (2 Pet. 2:6).  Judged by God for a variety of sins, including failure to care for the poor and needy despite incredible wealth (Ez.16:49), and for sexual immorality (Jude 7), the cities were destroyed by brimstone and fire that rained from the sky (Gen. 19:24-25).

Today, the region is still barren, even though it was once well watered everywhere (13:10). It is also the site of frequent earthquakes and other geological events. Nearby repositories of salt, asphalt, and sulfur are abundant.

These ill-fated cities remind us that wickedness will not go un-punished. They also show that God not only judges sinful individuals, such as Lot’s wife (19:26), but also entire cities and their surroundings.

However, the story is not all bad news. After the tragic end of Sodom and Gomorrah, God “remembered what Abraham had asked” (19:29). When we remember the patriarch’s righteous example, several lessons of the story become clear:-

1.  Prayer makes a difference (18:22-23).
2.  People count (18:32, 19:16-22, 2 Pet. 2:6-7).
3. God is sovereign. God does not want to destroy cities or their systems and people (2 Pet. 3:9) but he can and will.
4. Pride goes before a fall. Sodom was destroyed not only because of sexual sin (Gen. 19:1-17, Jude 7). But also because it had pride and a surplus of wealth, yet failed to care for its poor and needy (Ez. 16:48-50).

The example of Sodom and Gomorrah challenges us:

What are we doing with the resources God has put under our control?

Fleeing from the city does not avoid sin, it only spreads it around. The behavior of Lot and his daughters after fleeing from Sodom shows that sin is not confined to the city. They exported Sodom-like immorality to the hinterlands (Gen. 19:19-22, 30-36). 

Are we running from the city in order to “escape” its problems and evils? Is it possible that God wants us to stay and live as his representatives of righteousness?

For Further Reading :-

Archaeologist : Sodom and Gomorrah "appear to have been wiped out in a "Heat Event"(http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.in/2012/05/archaeologist-sodom-and-gomorrah-appear.html)

An archaeological dig appears to have confirmed the truth of the Biblical account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah:

"The sun was just rising over the earth as Lot arrived in Zoar; at the same time the Lord rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah.  He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil." (Genesis 19: 23-25).

Another archaeologist, Werner Keller, in a fascinating work entitled "The Bible as History," which I first read back in 1984, writes, "The calamity which is the subject of this powerful Biblical story of divine punishment for incorrigible sin has probably in all ages made a deep impression on men's minds.  Sodom and Gomorrah have become synonymous with vice and godlessness.  When men have talked in terms of utter annihilation, again the fate of these cities has always sprung to their minds.  
Their imaginations have constantly been kindled by this in-explicible and frightful disaster, as can well be seen from the many allusions to it in ancient times.  Remarkable and quite incredible things are said to have happened there by the Dead Sea, the 'Sea of Salt,' where according to the Bible the catastrophe must have happened.

During the siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 it is said that the Roman army commander Titus sentenced certain slaves to death.  He gave them short shrift, had them bound together by chains and thrown into the sea at the foot of the mountains of Moab.  But the condemned men did not drown.  No matter how often they were thrown into the sea they always drifted back to the shore like corks.  
This inexplicable occurrence made such a deep impression upon Titus that he pardoned the unfortunate offenders.  Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian who lived latterly in Rome, repeatedly mentions a 'Lake of Asphalt.'  Greeks lay stress on the presence of poisonous gases, which are reported as rising from all parts of this sea.  The Arabs say that in olden times no bird was able to reach the opposite side.  The creatures, as they flew across the water, would suddenly drop dead into it..." (The Bible as History, p. 87).

{The Life Connecting Bible : New Century Version}

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