For years I believed that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah; but upon a closer reading of the passage, I realize that Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed themselves, despite God’s efforts to save them:
And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave,
I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” Genesis 18:20,21 (NKJV, 2019).
The LORD came down to check on the evil reports He had received about Sodom and Gomorrah. Colloquially, He made a last-ditch effort to save Sodom and Gomorrah. Instead of going straight to the two cities, He made a detour to visit His friend, Abraham. (Genesis 18:1ff).
Abraham is a great intercessor, and had been a father to Lot and his family:
- When Lot and his family were taken captive along with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham risked his life and the lives of three hundred and eighteen of his own trained men, and the allies who partnered with him and rescued, successfully, Lot and all the people and their possessions. (Genesis 14:1ff).
- Once more, Abraham interceded for the same cities, bargaining with the LORD to spare the cities if He could find fifty, or forty-five, or forty, all the way down to ten righteous people? (Genesis 18:22-33).
Would the people of Sodom and Gomorrah escape again, as they had the last time? In God’s foreknowledge, He already knew what would happen, but through His mercy, He still gave Abraham the opportunity to intercede for the evil cities.
The angels of the Lord arrive in Sodom and instead of the city rolling out the red carpet to welcome them, the men––young and old––go the extra mile to seal their fate. Sodom and Gomorrah could not save themselves, though their lives depended on it! (Genesis 19:1ff, *vs 9-11, 23-25).
Not only did the men of Sodom betray themselves, Lot could not save them also. When Lot separated from Abraham, they had so much that his herdsmen and Abraham’s herdsmen were competing over grazing ground (Genesis 13:1ff). Surely, Lot must have had at least fifty people over his charge? But, by the time the LORD investigated the evil reports, there were only four people left of Lot’s household––him, his wife and two daughters. In a way, Abraham counted on Lot to deliver the quorum of ten, but Lot could not save Sodom and Gomorrah, because Sodom and Gomorrah had wiped out his household! Even his own sons-in law who lived in the city thought he was joking! Most of Lot’s household had become like Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:12-16).
Neither Abraham, nor Lot, could intercede for the wicked cities––the rebellious citizens had become so depraved, that they were beyond reprieve. Therefore, for want of ten righteous people, Sodom and Gomorrah perished.
If you are a believer, will you honor the LORD consistently, or become like Sodom and Gomorrah? God’s help is always a call away––His ears are attuned to those who cry out to Him for help.
Prayer. Father, help us, who are followers of Christ, choose to walk consistently in your path of righteousness, not in our own strength, but through the power of Christ Jesus at work in us. Amen.