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Sodom and Gomorrah

The Bible in Art: Sodom and Gomorrah

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Verses for Consideration: Genesis 18:20-33

20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom  and Gomorrah is so great  and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down  and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

 

22 The men  turned away and went toward Sodom,  but Abraham remained standing before the Lord.[b] 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[c]the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?  25 Far be it from you to do such a thing -to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous  and the wicked alike.  Far be it from you! Will not the Judge  of all the earth do right?”

 

26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake. ”

 

27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes,  28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

 

29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

 

30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry,  but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

 

31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

 

32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more.  What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

 

33 When the Lord had finished speaking  with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

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The story is told of a runaway horse and wagon in the Old West. As the wagon headed toward a cliff, the sole passenger, a young boy, faced almost certain death. At the last minute, a young man on horseback caught up with the wagon, pulled the boy off and into the saddle with him, and saved the boy’s life.

The story doesn’t have a happy ending, however. The rescued boy grew to be a lawless man. Eventually, he was caught and tried in court. To his surprise, the judge who would decide his fate was the person who had rescued him years before.

Hoping to capitalize on this coincidence, the convicted man suggested that some leniency was in order. “Young man,” declared the judge, “on that day years ago, I was your savior. But today I am your judge. You will hang from a rope until dead.”

God was fully ready to grant a reprieve to Sodom if even a small fraction of the city repented. God was especially gracious to Lot’s sons-in-law, using Lot to warn them of the coming judgment. Their reaction? Laughter. A day of judgment? What a joke!

Sadly, many today take the notion of a day of judgment to be a joke. In spite of God’s perfect record of keeping his promises, they disregard Jesus’ promise that he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

The solution? Our gracious Savior urges us to turn to him and be saved. Jesus went to the cross in payment for our sins. His promise is full and free forgiveness to all who believe. Those who do believe the Lord’s promise will escape the fire and brimstone of hell, even as Lot  and his daughters escaped the fire and brimstone that destroyed the cities on the plain.

Know that your sins are forgiven. You have no reason to fear the judge who is also your Savior.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I rejoice that you came to earth to save me, and I look forward to your coming to take me to be with you forever. Amen.

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Title: Lot and His Family Flee from Sodom 1496

Artist: Albrecht Dürer