Would you have prayed for Sodom?
We all know what God says about sexual acts of any kind outside of male-female marriage. They’re all ungodly. That includes adultery between heterosexuals, bestiality, or sexual activity between same-sex partners, fornication – any sexual activity before marriage, and a host of other sexual sins.
The marriage bed of a man and woman are undefiled before God (Hebrews 13:4) and HE will judge fornicators and adulterers. He doesn’t need our help in “judging” sexual sinners. And I dare say that if we were all being 100% honest, an awful lot of us reading this would have to admit that at some point in our lives some of us have been fornicators and even adulterers in the past – and certainly so if you include the standards set by our King of what constitutes adultery.
So with that in mind, it’s amazing how many believing zealots go on a tirade against the sexual horrors we see going on today. But again don’t forget – the adulterer is as sinful in God’s eyes as the other sexual sinners.
In the light of all of this, here’s the question I have: if you had lived in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, and you learn that Almighty God is about to obliterate Sodom and four other cities nearby from the face of the earth for their many sins, would you have smiled and muttered “It’s about time!” – Or would you have fervently interceded for God to have mercy on them? Be deeply honest to yourself about this.
Would you have ever prayed for Sodom? Do you know anyone who did pray for Sodom?
I think this could be a very timely topic in light of what’s happened in my adopted hometown of Orlando recently at the Pulse nightclub.
Click on “Continue reading” to ponder the possibility of interceding for Sodom – whether ancient Sodom or modern Sodom. Why on earth would the people of God want to do that? Read on. It might make you think.
First of all we know God hates sin. All sin. We know what He did to the cities of the plain including Sodom. But when we talk about Sodom, how often do we talk about the time the Father of the Faithful interceded for Sodom? You know the story, right? The destruction of Sodom is found in Genesis 19. But in the preceding chapter, Yah lets Abraham know what was about to happen to the wicked city. Sure, we also know that Abraham knew his nephew Lot and all of Lot’s people were also in or around Sodom. Surely he had them in mind as he heard about what was about to befall Sodom. But look at the boldness Abraham displayed in coming up to God himself as he intercedes – yes, prays for – Sodom! Have you looked at Genesis 18 that way before? I realize he may have really been praying for Lot and his family but notice how he words it. He was looking for a way to convince YHVH to spare the whole city.
Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before YHVH. 23 And Abraham came near and said, "Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
26 So YHVH said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes."
Abraham continued to ask – what about saving the city for 40, or 30, or 20 or ten righteous? God went all the way down to conceding He would spare the city if there were ten righteous there.
Now perhaps Abraham did the math and figured he could count on at least Lot and his wife, plus their 2 virgin daughters = 4 so far; and if Lot had at least 3 married daughters and their husbands -- presto, we have 10 people. But on the other hand, if this was only about saving Lot and his household, couldn’t Abraham have interceded in a different way and just asked for God to specifically spare Lot and his crew? But that wasn’t the way Abraham worded his intercession. He asked if God would spare the entire city of sinners if there were but ten righteous within it.
Add to this story also the time when Abraham and his 318 men of war rescued the people and the king of Sodom when they had been taken captive in Genesis 14.
Now let’s zoom ahead 2000 years to the cities around the Sea of Galilee in Yeshua’s day. You might have heard of Capernaum, Bethsaida and Chorazin, for example. Here we find Yeshua saying those cities were WORSE than Sodom - - though they were not known for their sexual sins. WHY? Let’s let our Master tell us and maybe you’ll see how he considered Capernaum in some ways to be worse than Sodom! And notice what He says about the Day of Judgment for Sodom - - compared to Capernaum.
“Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you."
Read that again and ponder it. The people of Sodom are going to have a better time of it in the judgment than the people of Capernaum who were there in Yeshua’s day but did not believe in spite of all the evidence of who and what Yeshua was. He says had He done the same in Sodom, they would have remained to this day. They would have repented, in other words. Sadly, like Sodom -- Capernaum no longer exists either – except as some archaeological relics that I’ve seen. Same for Bethsaida and Chorazin.
My point is: The Judge of the world says even Sodom can have a “more tolerable” time of it when they come before him.
If you were the judge in the Judgment Day -- what would you be saying if you had to compare Capernaum’s hard-heartedness to Sodom’s depravity?
Moses and Aaron displayed the same heart when God ordered them away from the rebels of Israel in Numbers 16. But what did Moses and Aaron do? They interceded for the sinful people. When was the last time you have interceded for God’s mercy on very sinful people? After all, he showed a lot of mercy on YOU – and on me. Aaron took a censer and stood between the living and the dying as he implored God to stop the plague, to be merciful. And God did. (Numbers 16:41-50)
Moses interceded also for the whole nation of Israel after the gold calf horrific sin. He also interceded for Aaron’s life (Deuteronomy 9:18-20). Millions of people were saved alive because Moses interceded for sinners. I think Yahweh loved that about Moses, for it showed he was behaving just like God himself likes to behave: being merciful.
And what about Yeshua (Jesus) himself? Did he not in essence intervene in the life of the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8? What would you have said? What would you have done?
If we could really see how evil we each have been – yes, I mean you, and I mean me – we would have SO much love for God right now, for “he who has been forgiven much, loves much” (Luke 7:40-48). Or at least those who KNOW they’ve been forgiven much, love much. They love God. They love other sinners. They love everyone. Just like GOD did, who sent his Son to die for us WHILE we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).
Now focus that point with the fact we know that God sent Yeshua to die for YOU and me while WE were still sinners (Romans 5:8). We also know that Yeshua interceded for all of sinful mankind when he prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” while being crucified on the tree (Luke 23:34). Well, so did Stephen intercede as the angry mob of religious zealots stoned him in Acts 7:59-60 as he implored God not to charge them with this sin. What amazing examples. I just hope I can learn to be more like that.
But some of us can sometimes be so harsh, so unforgiving. Is that what God really wants from us? What about it, brethren?
And what an awesome Father we have. He sent his one and only Son into the world to die – why? Because HE “SO loved the world” – a world of sinners including me and you, that whoever believes on Yeshua would not perish but be saved and have everlasting life (paraphrased John 3:16).
John tells us in 1 John 4:7-11 that seeing how the love of God was manifested towards us, we should show the same love to one another.
What’s my point? We’re all sinners. Some of us reforming sinners have a way though of thinking our sins weren’t as bad as others’ sins. Hey folks: my sins and your sins still required the death of the Son of God to pay the penalty. I am not being soft on homosexual sin or any sin. Nor am I being soft on heterosexual sin. But sin is sin and God’s Son was known as a “friend of sinners” (Luke 7:34). And thank God for that! For that means I can be confident that I can be his friend too! And what a great friend and brother He is. So I’m happy to let him be the judge of the world as I think he will be more merciful than you or I might be.
I write this because some of my Christian and believing brothers and sisters are not displaying or demonstrating the kind of love I read God has for the world, and for the sinners of the world. You gotta really love a bunch of people to have your only Son be so brutalized and killed viciously so they can be forgiven.
Sometimes we can be rather harsh. I’ve been very harsh at times in my life too – especially when I was younger. But as I get older and recognize more and more how much I’ve been forgiven, I see I’m in no position to be harsh to other sinners, just because their sins are different from mine.
I’m in no position to be harsh.
And neither are you.
I hope we believers will demonstrate the love of God in our statements and behavior in the face of all the recent news.
There are a lot of hurting moms and dads and brothers and sisters in Orlando Florida today. Mercy is shown to the merciful. “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” – James 2:13. And by what measure we use to judge others will be the measure used against us – Matthew 7:1-3. I would think it would be prudent for us to be liberal with our mercy – and dish out a ton of mercy, even as we can acknowledge that some lifestyles are not godly.
So let God be the judge of all the earth. We are being called to recognize that we too have been forgiven of an awful lot and are in no position to condemn (Matthew 18). Well, at least I know I have been forgiven of an awful lot and thanks be to God who has been merciful.
We’re being called to be just like our Father. And just like our brother and Savior. And just like Abraham. And the way I read it, just like Moses and Aaron, and Paul and John and so many of God’s people.
So yes, it’s OK to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2) and our country and our cities and for “intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men” – and to ask God to be merciful to your whole country while you’re at it.
The way I read my Bible, Father would be pleased to see His children doing that.