Day 8  Genesis 19 ... Sodom and Gomorrah

Like a photo negative, this chapter shows by contrast what Abraham was up  against in his efforts to found a new and godly nation.  His own brother lived in  the city of Sodom, a sordid that saw visiting strangers-angels, as it turned out-as prime targets for gang rape.  Sexual violence was just one of Sodom’s problems; Ezekiel 16:49 says that Sodom was “arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.”

Despite Sodom’s place woeful condition, God was willing to let the city survive if Abraham could locate a mere ten righteous people there.  Ten such people did not exist, and God’s patience finally ran out.  Once more he stepped in with direct punishment, not to destroy the whole world, but to wipe out two centers of evil.

In typical style, the Bible doesn’t bother with scientific explanations of the destruction.  Was it a volcanic eruption?  The Bible does not say, and the area, now apparently at the bottom of the Dead Sea, cannot easily be investigated.  Genesis stresses not how it happened, but why.

According to this chapter, Lot did not learn a lesson from Sodom.  Later, in a drunken state, he committed incest with his daughters, producing two family lines that would be traditional enemies of Abraham’s family, the Jews.

Jesus later used the account of Sodom and Gomorrah as a warning to people who saw his miracles, but ignored them (Matthew 11).  God may not always intervene so spectacularly, but this story serves as a warning that his tolerance for evil has a limit.

Point to Ponder: Are any catastrophes of our time punishments from God? How would you know?