On this day it is believed that God rained down fire and brimstone and destroyed the cities of the plain, including Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s recorded in Genesis 19:24-25:
“Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.”
From this text, we see that the destruction was complete and catastrophic. When it comes to the destruction of Sodom, the issue that most point to as being the reason is the rampant and aggressive homosexuality. To ignore the role of this sin in its destruction is to ignore what the Bible records. However, through the prophet Ezekiel, God emphasized other things that were actually the source of Sodom’s problems.
“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.” (Ezekiel 16:49-50)
Notice that among the things listed – pride, idleness of time, not caring for the needy – homosexuality isn’t mentioned. At best, homosexuality is alluded to when He said they “committed abomination before Me.” It would seem that the sexual perversity prevalent in Sodom was a manifestation of their pride, abundance and apathy for the poor.
These were the source issues, and from that grew all these other abominable things. But we should not miss this point: the Creator was actually comparing the people of Sodom to His people, Israel. In fact, He tells them that the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were not nearly as awful as the sins of His people. It would seem that as terrible, as vicious and as violent as the people of Sodom were, God’s people have the potential to be just as bad. In fact, in Matthew 11:23-24, Messiah said to those of His generation:
“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. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of
judgment than for you.”
It would seem that, as vicious and disgusting as the people of Sodom were, God’s people are not exempt from disgusting behavior either. If we are not careful to listen to the voice of our Father and follow the example of the Messiah, we can be as guilty as those we like to point fingers at. When it comes to the world’s problems, believers tend to deflect responsibility off of us and onto the world. When there is a Hurricane Katrina, for instance, we point out the depravity of the city that bore the brunt of the storm, rather than considering that maybe God is trying to get our attention.
In 2 Chronicles 7, it doesn’t say, “If those people, who don’t know My Name,” but, “If My people, who are called by My Name…would turn from their wicked ways…I will forgive their sins and heal their land.” In other words, it’s not really up to the people of the world but rather God’s people in the world whether or not the land will be healed. Consider that today, as in the days of Noah, most people are too busy “eating, drinking and giving in marriage” to discern what God might be saying through catastrophe and calamity. If that is the case, who is He trying to arouse from their slumber? Is it the world or is it His people? Who is He trying to provoke to repentance? Is it the world or is it His people?
As we prepare to enter the season of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), a festival of joy and celebration, let us remember that it is incumbent upon us to approach Him with clean hands and a pure heart. We must abandon the mindset that the world’s ills are because of everyone else; we need to take responsibility for our own faults and humble ourselves before Him. We mustn’t allow His blessings upon us to dull us to the reality that others are hurting and in desperate need. Let’s not fall into the same snare as those spoken of in Ezekiel; those who were just as errant as the people of Sodom. Let us strive to always walk humbly before our God.
It seems that your words concerning the body of Messiah in connection with the 2 Chron 7:14 verse may have missed the mark. Your words sound like the body of Messiah is solely responsible for land needing to be healed, or as you panned all the way out, the world’s problems of which you write, and that the world is not responsible for its calamity. Whew, that’s a lot to lay on the body of Messiah, some of whom are searching their own souls to see where they fall short of the glory of God.
That responsibility of the world lies squarely upon the Son of God, who we need not crucify all over again because He has already taken care of that sin-of-the-world problem and has chosen us who believe on Him to be His body, which, by the way, is glorified in Him. We are foreknown, predestined to conform to the image of Yeshua, called, justified and glorified (see Rom 8:29-30).
He gave us His glory in order that we may be one so that the world would know that the Father sent the Son (see Jn 17:20-23). We have already humbled ourselves in need of our Savior, knowing He is the One and Only God.
Having other gods was Israel’s problem as God said in 2 Chron 7:19. However, Yeshua took control and responsibility. He came and showed us the Father, took our sin for us so we could become righteous, rose from the dead, and verified in the Scriptures all that He did was prophesied, He then went back to the Father and then sent His Spirit who continues to comfort and teach us all things. And as we learn and confess our unrighteousness, He cleanses us. (1 Jn 1:9) And I know you know all this.
Anyone with another god, confessing they are Christian are only liars and will end up in the lake of fire. (Rev 21:8)
That 2 Chron 7:14 verse has to do with the land where the Lord put His name, “as long as they live in the land which You gave to our fathers.” (2 Chron 6:31 and see 2 Chron 7:20); and the place and house where the Lord has chosen and sanctified that His name may be there forever (see 2 Chron 7:15-16).
Heal the land from what? The Lord said to Solomon, “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people.” (2 Chron 7:13) That is not healing the trauma from hurricanes in another land.
And that situation of forgiving sin and healing the land where the Lord has put His name is still on-going and is doing what it was intended to do. As we know, they were uprooted from His land, and people have indeed asked, “Why has the Lord done thus to this land and this house? Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore, He has brought all this calamity on them.’” (2Chron 7:21b-22)
Sure, I see principles in the Scriptures, but to imply that the believers, the body of our Lord, is responsible for the mess the world is in, I would like to remind you of Gen 6:5 and also verse 11. It was in a mess when we got here. And I believe the Son of God did, and is still doing, a fabulous job in His and the Father’s plan of redemption and restoration.
And as far as I can tell, the world is going to get even messier before it gets any better, and I don’t believe blaming the body of the Messiah for the mess the world is in, is the correct outlook, nor does it line up with prophecy. And just because people say they are Christians, it doesn’t mean that they are. Yeshua will say to some, “I never knew you.” (Matt 7:23) He knows who are His. He knows His body. And we know Him, where our eternal life comes from; from Him, our Head.
Yeshua is not running around with his body cut off, nor is His body running around with their Head cut off. We are connected thru the Holy Spirit, communing (sharing one’s intimate thoughts and feelings, especially on a spiritual level), dining, drinking, living together.
You ask, “who is He trying to arouse from their slumber? Is it the world or is it His people?”
According to Rom 11:7-8, “What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written, ‘God has given them a spirit of slumber. Eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.’”
So clearly, it isn’t His elect.
You also ask, “Who is He trying to provoke to repentance? Is it the world or is it His people?”
Yeshua said the following:
“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matt 9:13)
“When Yeshua heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Mk 2:17 and also Lk5:31-32)
“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” (Lk 15:7)
“Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Lk 24:46-47)
Bill and Beth, I love you both deeply and greatly with the love of our Messiah. I feel knitted to you both and I feel close in heart because of all the things you share. I see there are many, many things that you say that are spot on, and I pray our Father bless you for all you do, and for facilitating the unifying the body.
With my affection set on things above where my life is hidden in our Messiah,