Sodom and Gomorrah had long been on the example list. “Don’t do this, or you will be like Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Regardless of which sins you are convinced those two cities are guilty of (though Gomorrah can only be assumed), there is no question that the story of their end is dramatic, along with all that surrounded it.
There was something about these stories that stuck with a person. Whether it was God’s judgment, the portrayal of sexual sins, or the violation of hospitality.
It seems quite likely that Sodom and Gomorrah were often portrayed as unrepentant. It’s quite possible that additional (non-Scriptural) stories evolved around the two infamous cities.
This can be inferred from Isaiah’s words to the leaders of Jerusalem. While some of the sins of Jerusalem may indeed match the two cities, the broken relationship represented is the key feature.
The rulers had been so hard-hearted that all that was left was just shy of the barren and fire-scorched lands portrayed in Genesis. Now, God was bluntly calling them the worst of the worst.
There is a strong implication that had Sodom and Gomorrah sacrificed rightly, they might have actually been heart. Imagine the self-righteous hearts that heard that. They were even lower than Sodom and Gomorrah in God’s eyes.
That must have hurt their pride.
When Jesus speaks of Sodom and Gomorrah, again they are better than the “good” Jewish cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida!
There are a couple of things that should tell us. First, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah grieved God. From a human perspective, at least, they wouldn’t keep popping up if there wasn’t something else in God’s heart.
This also tells us that looking at someone as too far gone is not Scriptural. God is always there…waiting. As severe as Jesus’ words appear to be, they don’t close the door, just provide impetus to go through it.
Lord, in our hearts there is a part that judges others, appointing them to hell. Help us, Lord, to cast out that part, and to fill it with your love. Amen.
1) What are the sins (there is a number) of Sodom and (assumed) Gomorrah? What are the sins (or what is the sin) that is really behind it?
2) What is the danger of focusing on the commonly assumed sins of Sodom and Gomorrah? What about the commonly assumed sins of those who do not declare themselves as Christians?
3) If God is open to the repentance of those “as bad” as Sodom and Gomorrah, and even those that are worse, who is outside of God’s works of grace?