We are looking at Genesis 19:12-29 today and it is the last day of Marina’s notes for a while. The passages have been challenging but so relevant for us today. Thanks go to Marina.
Strangely, I’ve always liked this passage. I like God judging the wicked, it seems right. We all have a sense of right and wrong, that’s part of being human and as far as I’m aware only humans have a conscience. So when there is obvious sin and an obvious disregard for the things of God, my sense of justice tells me that there should be a punishment. There can be no doubt that Sodom and Gomorrah were sinful cities and God, quite rightly, judged the sin by destroying the cities.
I have often heard people ask- How can a loving God send people to Hell? This is another way saying-Why should God judge me I’m no worse than anyone else and I’m not nearly as bad as (insert any name here)? We often hear sermons on the love of God and God’s grace and mercy but we often feel uncomfortable reading about God’s judgement and just how terrifying that would be. However, it’s only when we look at both sides of God’s character that we appreciate the enormity of his love. When we realise how much God hates sin, how abhorrent sinful behaviour is to him, then we have a glimpse into what it must have cost him to send Jesus to take the judgement upon himself.
In today’s passage we see Lot hesitating when he is being offered a way out of Sodom. How often do we see a similar thing happening in our society? People have the opportunity to hear about the love of God and they hesitate or even reject the offer. It seems ridiculous to us that Lot should hesitate to leave especially when he has been told that the city will be destroyed. But I love the next part of the passage that tells us that the hands of Lot and his family were grasped and they were led to safety. This is such a lovely picture of the way God reaches down to us. We are helpless and powerless. We cannot save ourselves. Yet God, in his mercy, grasped hold of us and saved us from judgement.
It seems to me that we when think of the Judgement of God we need to keep in mind that that all sin offends God. There are no degrees of sin. The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was no worse in God’s sight than our sin. We need to realise that we too deserve the same punishment as those cities. But (and here is one of the most astounding verses in the Bible) ‘God demonstrates his own love for us in this, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us’.
In lovingkindness Jesus came
My soul in mercy to reclaim,
And from the depths of sin and shame
Through grace He lifted me.
From sinking sand He lifted me,
With tender hand He lifted me,
From shades of night to plains of light,
O praise His Name, He lifted me!
He called me long before I heard,
Before my sinful heart was stirred,
But when I took Him at His word,
Forgiv’n, He lifted me.
His brow was pierced with many a thorn,
His hands by cruel nails were torn,
When from my guilt and grief, forlorn,
In love He lifted me.
Now on a higher plane I dwell,
And with my soul I know ’tis well;
Yet how or why I cannot tell
He should have lifted me.