Sodom´s Sin

By David M. McNabb

With a daily barrage of propaganda, people around the world are being forced to accept the “homosexual lifestyle” as normal.  The effort to legitimize homosexuality has gone from “I don’t care what they do in private, so long as I don’t have to see it,” to “We can’t allow them to be treated as second-class citizens.”

That effort has succeeded in creating, defining and securing “gay rights” both in the United States and around the world.  An ongoing struggle within the Anglican church has resulted from the American branch’s elevation of V. Gene Robinson, who is openly homosexual, to bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire.  The world Anglican community was outraged at the idea that a man cohabitating with another man could achieve such a high position, in a denomination where a heterosexual minister would be defrocked for cohabitating with a person of the opposite sex.

The entertainment industry has been essential to the spread of the homosexual message.  Not only does one find a large number of homosexuals working in that industry, a great many television programs and big-screen productions include likeable, suave, and funny characters of that persuasion.  Oddly (or not so oddly), the same programs contain “Christian” characters that are insane, weird, racist bigots.  These shows accomplish two goals: normalizing, even glorifying homosexuality, while demeaning and vilifying Christianity.

As a result, the world has gradually allowed morality to degrade to such an extent, that “same-sex” relationships even enjoy legal status in an ever-increasing number of places.  In America, “same-sex” or “civil” unions are granted in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Vermont, the District of Columbia, and, most recently, Rhode Island.  In Massachusetts, the state Supreme Judicial Court mandated full-fledged “marriage” for homosexual couples.

Worldwide, civil unions are granted in the countries of Andorra, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.  Same-sex marriages are legal in The Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, South Africa, Spain.  The nation of  Israel, while not granting marriage to same-sex couples itself, does recognize those performed in other countries.  The first such marriage recognized in Israel on January 29, 2007.

With this tremendous effort to change public opinion on what has traditionally been abominable in almost every corner of the world, the believer’s mind may easily be drawn to the biblical account of the city of Sodom.  The Word of God says that “the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly” (Gen. 13:13).  Later, in the story of the destruction of Sodom and the other cities of the plain (Gen. 19), an event is described that deals with some of the specifics of the Sodomite wickedness.  The men of Sodom saw the two men of God whom Lot received into his home.  They came to Lot’s house, demanding Lot allow them to sexually abuse his guests.  Lot refused, and the angels caused the men of Sodom to be blinded, ending the threat.  Shortly thereafter, fire fell upon Sodom, and the wickedness that abounded in the city ceased to exist.

Given only a small insight into life in Sodom, the homosexuality described becomes the defining characteristic of their culture, and, therefore, influencing common opinion about what it must have been like.

That being true, as we see the changing attitude toward homosexuality, and the legitimization of “sodomy,” one could easily say that the world – and especially the United States – is beginning to become like Sodom.  Nevertheless, with a closer look at the Scriptures, we might find a cultural shift toward Sodom long before 1973, when the American Psychiatric Association stopped classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder.

In Ezekiel 16, God addresses the abominations committed in Jerusalem.  He is not speaking to the heathen, but to Jerusalem, the city which He chose to put His name there.  In verse 46, He says that Jerusalem is the younger sister of Samaria, and the older sister of Sodom.  As the Lord recounts her wickedness, He declares that Jerusalem’s sin exceeded that of her sisters.  “Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways” (Ezek. 16:47).

Then, He tells Jerusalem that she has exceeded the sin of Sodom, describing, specifically, just what Sodom’s sin was.  “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.  And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good” (Ezek. 16:49-50).

Nowhere here does the Lord God mention homosexuality, because that on which we have chosen to focus our attention was not the root of the problem, but merely a symptom.  The emergence of that same symptom in our generation reveals to us that the root causes have been developing for a long time.  What was the real problem in Sodom?  Pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness – these were the heart of Sodom’s transgression: and the transgression of our generation.

Pride is the chief sin.  It is through pride that the iniquity of Lucifer manifested itself in his insurrection against God in heaven.  It is to man’s pride that Satan plays, often successfully causing him to fall prey to foolishness.  God has promised to abase the proud and exalt the humble.  It is a spiritual law well expressed in Proverbs 29:13: A man’s pride shall bring him low, but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.

America began as a humble nation, honoring the providence of God for every good thing that come to pass.  They knew that God had helped defeat the British.  So apparent, in fact, was God’s hand to General George Washington, that he wrote in a 1778 letter to Thomas Nelson, “The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.”  In the next great defining moment of American history, as the war between the North and the South waged on, Abraham Lincoln said, “We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own error therein.”

But that attitude towards God’s will being done in this nation has been eroded by the winds and rain of pride.  Today, it is not to God’s mighty arm we hold, but the strong arm of the government.  It is in military might we trust, and not to the protection of the Almighty.  The colors of the American flag may not run, but neither do her feet run with the preparation of the gospel.  Completely absorbed in the American way, and the American dream, the people of America – and of the world – have set about to fulfill the lust of the flesh, rather than the will of the Creator.  That attitude resulted in the destruction of Sodom, and in the judgment of God upon Jerusalem.

Fullness of bread is the second great sin of Sodom.  In the account of the men who came to Lot’s house looking to abuse his guests, we see no description of their eating habits.  However, the Lord, by the prophet Ezekiel, shows that gluttony prevailed in Sodomite culture.  Solomon asked the Lord, “… Feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’” (Pro. 30:8,9).

Lot chose to live in Sodom, in the plain of Jordan, because he saw that “it was well watered every where … even as the garden of the Lord” (Gen. 13:10).  Having such a fertile land, food was plentiful – and the people of Sodom took advantage of the abundance.

America is much like Sodom in this way as well.  Immigrants have been brought to tears as they take their first steps into an American supermarket.  However, the last 20 years have seen the amber waves of grain become an epidemic of obesity.  In 1991, only four states had an obesity rate above 15 percent, and none above 20 percent.  In 2000, 22 states had rates higher than 20 percent.  By 2005, only 4 states had obesity prevalence less than 20 percent, while 17 states had prevalence equal to or higher than 25 percent, with 3 of those states having prevalence equal to or higher than 30 percent (Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia)!  God ties gluttony and drunkenness to stubbornness and rebellion (Deut. 21:20).  Why?  Because, being full, one tends to deny God.  As was the case with the church at Laodicea, America has developed the attitude, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” not knowing that she is “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17).

Abundance of idleness rounds out the great sins of Sodom.  The psalmist said, “Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening” (Psa. 104:23),  but the labor unions called for 8-hour days.  God said that man should work six days and rest on the seventh, but the labor unions brought us the weekend.  With 40 hours to work, and 56 hours to sleep, that leaves a full 72 hours for recreation!  Hallelujah!

Nevertheless, the old English idiom rings true, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”  With so much free time on our hands, Americans have had plenty of time to devise mischief.  All of this leisure time has created the opportunity for us to relentlessly pursue all of the things which only the very rich could once enjoy: things which King Solomon called “vanity.”  This time-vacuum must be filled with some activity, and the flesh is quick to monopolize it: filling our lives with music, sports, amusement, alcohol, drugs and sex.

Having the time to kill, we need to crowd God out, so that we can both engage in these activities, and also not be encumbered with the guilt.  This precipitates the rise of doctrines like evolution, which eliminates the existence of God, and prosperity, which teaches us that God wants us to be happy.  These are just two of the doctrines that grant us the privilege to pursue the desires of the flesh unencumbered.

So, why did God destroy Sodom anyway?  The answer is clearly given in 2 Peter 2:6, that God turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes, “making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly.”  Have we learned nothing from their example?

The worst part is that professing believers are equally culpable.  In Sodom, while Lot’s immediate household were convinced to flee, the rest of his family thought the whole thing was a joke.  Likewise, many of the “household of faith” are ensnared by the lure of the pleasures of sin.  Their failure to fulfill the will of the Father is the greatest insult of all.  As the foolish virgins, these Christians will fail to see the trouble coming and shall be punished with the wicked.

In place of Christ-like humility, professed believers express pride: pride that God wants them to be rich and trouble free.  Christ did not declare that we would be without trouble, only that we have the benefit of casting on Him our every care and living with the peace of the assurance of His presence.  It is the meek that shall inherit the earth, not those who boast themselves in their fortune.

Obesity is not only a problem for the worldly people of our society, but is also prevalent in the churches.  The Word of the Lord says, “Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!” (Eccl. 10:17).  The blessings of God will be upon His people when we refrain from overeating, and consume that which is to the nourishment of our bodies.

Finally, the Lord’s wisdom dictates, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might,” (Eccl. 9:10).  We must not relish in idle time, but seek to work for the Master while we yet live.  We must labor to enter into His rest, the rest we shall enjoy with Him for 1,000 years.

These three sins caught the children of Israel.  They grew impatient with Moses, while he was receiving the law on Mount Sinai.  They fashioned a golden calf – a god they could be proud of.  “And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, ‘To morrow is a feast to the Lord.’ And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play” (Ex. 32:5-6).

Paul admonished us, “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play’” (1 Cor. 10:6-7).

The Lord is again preparing to rain the fire of His just wrath on the wicked, and upon the children of disobedience.  Even now, the adversary, the instrument of God’s wrath, is plotting against the true worshippers of God.  When the attack is made, the faithful believers who were diligent to prepare themselves unto the day of the Lord will be spared, but the foolish shall be overtaken together with the wicked.  Be not as Lot’s daughters and sons-in-law, who perished with the inhabitants of Sodom, but take heed unto the messengers of God.

Think not that this admonition is to the ungodly sinners.  The Word of the Lord comes to you today, oh children of God, as it did in the days of old.  “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye” (Ezek. 18:30-32).

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