UNDERSTAND the ‘REAL SINS’ of SODOM
August 31 Bible Reading: Ezekiel Chapters 16-18
"Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; 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 fit." (Ezek. 16:49-50)
Sodom figures prominently in Genesis as the place that Lot, the nephew of Abraham, chose to live in after he separated from his uncle. This city was in the “plains”, a premium piece of land property, well watered even like Eden the garden of God (see Gen. 13:10-12). However, "the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord" (Gen 13:13). Since the sins of Sodom were “very grave” (Gen. 18:20), God decides to destroy this city by raining fire and brimstone. Abraham pleads with God not to destroy the city if at least ten righteous people were found there (Gen. 18:23-33). Sadly, only Lot, his wife and two daughters could escape the wrath of God, and even Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt due to disobedience (Gen. 19:17, 26). In this story, the wickedness of the people of Sodom is revealed predominantly as homosexuality, and it is a common knowledge that this was ‘the sin’ of Sodom.
While we often think of the sins of Sodom as mainly sexual (Gen. 19:5–9), the prophet Ezekiel indicts this city for materialism and neglect of the poor and needy. Sexual perversion was only one of Sodom’s sins! The sins of Sodom also included fullness of food and abundance of idleness. This looks exactly what is happening in this day and age! The Bible scholar Feinberg in his classic book "Ezekiel" had given the following comments in this matter:
“Notice how pride was singled out as the root of Sodom’s sin when her abominations were traced to their source. God had blessed her abundantly with fullness of bread (Gen. 13:10), but she monopolized these blessings for her own pleasures and basked in prosperous ease. Provision for her own needs made her insensible to the needs of others; she had no social conscience. Then she committed the abominations and enormities which are linked inseparably with her name. God took her away with a final blow when He saw it (Gen. 18:21).”
Sodom’s sin did not end with its sensuality and unnatural acts, but reached to the “pride” which had come with material prosperity. This “pride” had lifted them above moral law in their own eyes. Like Sodom, Israel in her wealth and pride forgot and neglected the poor that God had specifically commanded (see Deut. 15:7, 11). This concern for the poor and needy is echoed in the New Testament as well (see Matt. 26:11; 1 John 3:17).
What we can understand here is that Sodom was consumed by brimstone and fire for numerous sins that included injustice to the poor in the midst of incredible wealth (Ezek. 16:49) and sexual immorality (Gen. 19:5). It was Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of Billy Graham who once said: "If God doesn't judge America for her immorality, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah."
Today, let us take a moment to understand the ‘real’ sins of Sodom, and what had caused God to destroy that city and the people completely. It was predominantly the sin of sexual immorality (homosexuality) closely followed by pride, materialism, idleness (leading to wicked thoughts and actions), and having no social concern for the poor and needy. Let us ask God to forgive us so that we also do not get the same punishment that God had inflicted Sodom so many years ago!
"But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." (Jude 1:5-7)