Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Sodom and Gomorrah

In our ladies Bible study, we have been working our way through the book of Genesis.  It was my turn to lead the study this week.  We were ready for chapters 19 and 20--Sodom and Gomorrah.  Hmmm... gloom and doom, fire and sulfur, death and destruction.  Not the kind of stuff inspiration is made of.  It is amazing the treasures that the Word holds when you spend time in it, when you dig deep.  I really was inspired!  I thought I would share a few of my reflections with you.

Sodom and Gomorrah were two cities in the plain of the Jordan.  We won't dwell upon the specifics.  Let's just say the people who lived there were bad, REALLY bad.  They were so bad, in fact, that God had decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and all of surrounding towns and farms and villages.

There was a small light in that dark place.  Abraham's nephew Lot and his family lived in the city of Sodom.  2 Peter 2:7 says that Lot was "a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men."  Nogut God destroy the good with the bad.  The angels warned Lot to take his family and leave the city immediately.  So they quickly packed their suitcases and hopped on the next bus out of town, right?  Well, that is not exactly how it happened.  The scripture says that Lot hesitated.  Was he worried about leaving his friends behind, concerned for their lives?  Perhaps he was thinking of his home and possessions, where he would take his family from here.  Or just maybe Sodom had started to influence him instead of the other way around.

When Lot hesitated, God had mercy on him.  The two men took Lot by the hand and led his family to safety.  They instructed Lot to run without looking back.  They were to escape to the surrounding mountains.  Lot was not entirely fond of that idea.  He requested to settle in one of the small blink-and-you-miss-it kind of towns that was also in the valley, probably not too far from Sodom and Gomorrah.  But it was still too close to home.  His wife couldn't resist the urge to look back and she was turned into a pillar of salt.  

Lot didn't stay in Blink-and-you-miss-it for long.  The scripture says that he was afraid.  Did the people of the town blame him for the destruction of the surrounding cities?  He took his daughters and moved to the mountains as God had originally directed him.  Unfortunately the damage was already done.  His daughters had been influenced by the evil that had surrounded them for so long.  You can read that part of the story at the end of Genesis 19.

We have all had a Sodom and Gomorrah or two or a bunch in our lives.  The obvious parallel is that Sodom and Gomorrah represent sin.  Each one of us was born a sinner.  God has called us out of that life, to leave the valley of destruction behind and move to the mountains.  Perhaps we struggle other less obvious Sodoms and Gomorrahs:  temptations, complacency, bitterness, or just something that is less that God's will for our lives.  We hesitate to leave what we know behind, to give up what is comfortable.  We somehow convince ourself that Blink-and-you-miss-it is good enough.  Or we don't have the strength.  But the Lord is merciful, and He has something so much greater in mind.  He wants to lead us to a life of glorious freedom.  We only need to take His hand.  Hold tight!  Don't compromise.  Don't settle for less than what God has for you.  Run--run as fast and as long and as hard as you can--without turning back...

"But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called..."
~ 1 Timothy 6:11-12

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