As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”
- Genesis 19:15-17
All of us who grew up attending Sunday School know the story of Lot and his wife. The young man had followed his uncle Abram, who of course became known as Abraham, toward the Promised Land but when their two separate flocks of sheep became a problem for others needing to graze, Abraham offered his nephew land to the north or south, in order to cut back on the overgrazing in one place. But like young men of today, Lot wanted adventure, and his wife didn't like the lifestyle of being a farmer's wife, so they departed and went to Sodom, a bustling city, but one which was noted for debauchery and wickedness. Now Lot was not a follower of the local social morays, but he and his became like outcasts as they refused to conform to what the local society considered normal.
When the Lord decided to destroy the city and it's neighbor city, Gomorrah, He listened to Abraham's plea that Lot, a good man and his family be spared. He sent angels to warn Lot and lead them out of the city before the moment of destruction. But the warning to not look back at the city once they left was dishonored by his wife, and as she looked back at the fiery destruction of the city, she was turned into a pillar of salt. Some believe that the formation of rock containing salt on the side of Mount Sodom is in fact her pillar. Believe it or not, that's up to each of us individually.
But as I think about the changes we have seen in our American and World societies in recent generations, it's hard not to think of the Sodom and Gomorrah story, for despite the desire of many to convince us that all things are relative and there is nor absolute truth, I find great fault in that thought process. Some things don't change. What we are doing is trying to gain acceptance for changes that are merely allowing us to justify what we do, not what we should do. Truth as given us by God in the form of Laws of the Old Testament, such as the Ten Commandments, and the Living Word of Our Lord Jesus Christ, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the Olivet Discourse, are complementary, not separate. The arrival of Jesus just brings those eternal laws alive and through God's grace, makes them available to all of mankind, not just the Jews.
Each individual can believe whatever he or she wants, for placing your faith in Jesus Christ and believing His Living Word is an individual action. I can't pray anyone into heaven, nor can anyone do it for me. Prayer helps in the sense that it might touch our heart and give us a willingness to open ourselves to the Living Truth, but ultimately it is up to each of us to do so if we want to inherit the Kingdom.
So, in the end, are we beginning to look like the residents of Sodom here in America and other parts of the world? Well, it is quite obvious that many of us are. But there are many others who are not as they stand with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in honoring both the Old Law tradition of the ancient Hebrews and the New Living Law of Jesus Christ. And the fact that His purpose for coming to earth was to live as a human being and to die for us, should give us all great hope for the future.
The people in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah didn't have that full forgiveness option, nor did they have the Holy Spirit available within them to help them see the Light of Life. We today are so fortunate to be afforded such love and such grace. Something to think about, don't you think? Have a blessed Lord's Day this weekend.