Text: Luke 17:28-30, Genesis 13,18 &19
By: Henry Damatie-Ikuku (Deacon)
Sodom and Gomorrah…the names are virtually synonymous with evil, sin, and judgment. How did these cities gain this dubious notoriety? Let us look into the Old Testament record and learn about these most sinful of peoples.
Historical background and story
The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were first mentioned in Genesis 10:19. Abram, and his nephew Lot, had been traveling together, but their group had gotten too big, “…so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together…” (Genesis 13:6 ESV). They decided to separate into two different groups. Lot chose to settle near the town of Sodom.
We read this in Genesis 13:13, “Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord” (ESV). The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and several of the surrounding cities, were so sinful that God decided to destroy them (Genesis 18:20-21). Abraham interceded for the people of the two cities, motivated additionally because his nephew, Lot, lived there. The Bible tells us that, even with all his failings, Lot was a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7-8). Abraham pleaded with the Lord, knowing His mercy and goodness (Genesis 18:25). The Lord finally said that the cities would be spared if ten righteous people could be found there (Genesis 18:33). However, there were not even ten righteous in that evil city.
The Bible indicates that the city’s wickedness had been going on for some time. Genesis 18:20 and 19:13 tell us that the outcry caused by these people’s sinfulness had “become great”, indicating that an amount of time had transpired while the judgment built up against them. God’s hesitancy to bring judgment against them can be seen as an act of mercy on His part. By giving them more time, God expected Lot to be an influence on their society. Lot should have been preaching the truth of God to them. However, by the looks of things, he failed to do this.
Angels and evil in the city
the Bible tells us that Lot’s wife did look back…and was turned into a pillar of salt
The Lord’s angels made their way into the town of Sodom. Lot convinced the angels to spend the night at his house instead of their original plan, which was to spend the night in the town square (Genesis 19:3). The incredible wickedness of the men of Sodom was to be revealed during this night. The Bible says that every last man, young and old, surrounded Lot’s house in order to have homosexual relations with the two angels. The wicked townsmen were probably unaware that the men were angels, but probably believed them to be Lot’s house guests. The perversion of the inhabitants of Sodom is where the term ‘sodomy’ comes from and applies to homosexuality between males. This truly was a wicked and vile city deserving of God’s judgment.
In order to distract the evil Sodomites from their perverted quest concerning the angels, Lot offered his daughters to the men as substitutes. The Sodomites refused and attempted to force their way into Lot’s home. The angels blinded the men of the city and told Lot that he should gather his family in order to flee the city because it would soon be destroyed.
Therefore, God saved Lot, Lot’s wife, and his two daughters. The angels led them safely out of the city with the instruction that they were not to look back. Nevertheless, the Bible tells us that Lot’s wife did look back…and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). Disobeying God usually reaps dire consequences. Once Lot’s family was out of Sodom, the Lord rained sulfur and fire from heaven on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24), destroying all the inhabitants and everything that grew on the ground.
Sodom’s other sins
Sexual sins were not the only sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Bible tells us that they were guilty of sinful pride. In addition, they were selfish; they had an overabundance of food and wealth, but would not take care of the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:49).
Isaiah 3:9 tells us that not only were Sodom and Gomorrah guilty of all these sins against God, but they were arrogant about it, not thinking that sin against God was something shameful.
Lessons from Sodom and Gomorrah
- You can’t hide sin from God (18:20-21)
Genesis 18:20–21  Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave,  I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”
The Lord will search it out. We cannot hide our sin from God. Stop trying. Confess your sin and he who is faithful and just will forgive your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. The sin of our individuals and our nation will be found out and justly punished.
- Beware of the progression of sin in your life.
Most Christians don’t intend to become Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot never intended to make Sodom his home, and he certainly didn’t intend to be included in its judgment. But many Christians, like Lot, are so attracted to the world that they make their home as close to it as possible. They end up identifying as much with the world as they do with the people of God.
The worst thing to do is to try to straddle two opinions. You can’t keep trying to walk along with your feet in both worlds. You have to make up your mind: Who do you really want to be? Where do you want to belong? If it’s with the world, go there 100 percent. If it’s with God, go with him 100 percent.
- The coming judgment is real.
For years God had warned Sodom and Gomorrah about the coming judgment, and everyone brushed it off as unreal and went back to partying. But God makes no empty promises, and so one day, judgment came. God tells us he is slow in executing judgment to give people space to repent, but don’t confuse his slowness with his absence. Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment …” (ESV). (Luke 10:12, 17:29; 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 1:7). God’s mercy is long-suffering, but there will be a day of judgment for all.
- You cannot drift into godliness.
Living for Jesus in this world will always feel like an uphill battle, because you are going against the current, and everything in the world will pull you in the other direction. If you are not actively fighting, you are drifting the wrong way, like Lot to Sodom.
To go with Jesus, you have to swim against the current, and that takes effort. Jesus said in Matthew 7:13–14, “The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (NLT).
If you’re drifting, you’re not actively seeking to know God and his Word. It’s not that you reject the Bible; you just give all your time to Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram reels, Netflix binging, and video games, betting or Internet fraud. You spend all your time on your phone, staring at life in Sodom.
You’ll never drift into spiritual maturity. It takes daily, focused effort. To become what no one else is becoming, you have to do what no one is doing.
- Become an Abraham to the Lots in your life. When Lot hesitated while fleeing Sodom, “the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the LORD was merciful” (Genesis 19:16).
Why did God have the angels do this for Lot? Look at verse 29: “But God had listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe, removing him from the disaster that engulfed the cities on the plain” (Genesis 19:29).
God didn’t save Lot because of Lot. He saved Lot and his family because Abraham had prayed for them. Lot didn’t deserve rescue, but somewhere there was a man who loved him and prayed for him, and, for Abraham’s sake, God saved Lot. He sent his angels to literally pull Lot out of Sodom to safety.
Our role is the same: to pray consistently and persistently for God to keep those we know and love not just safe but faithful. And, we can pray for others with even more power than Abraham did!
Abraham’s prayer was like a negotiation: Lord, would you spare the city for 50 righteous people? How about 40? 30? 20? When Abraham finally got to 10, he just gave up. He couldn’t even find 10 righteous people in the city.
- The world laughs at the Lord (Gen 19:14)
Genesis 19:14  So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the LORD is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.
Lot righteously obeys immediately by going and finding the men who were to marry his daughters. He warns of the coming judgment, but they cannot take the judgment serious. Our culture, as often with a decadent culture, has lost the ability to take anything serious for life is all about entertainment. Are we so driven for pleasure have we lost the ability to take the judgment of God seriously?
- Bad Influence
It appeared that Lot had allowed himself to be influenced by the inhabitants of Sodom more than he influenced them. We Christians must take care, as we attempt to influence our world for Christ, that we do not allow the temptations of the world to corrupt us (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Lot had been slow to speak up for God, if he spoke up for Him at all, so when he finally spoke up, no one took him seriously (Genesis 19:9, 14). When we publicly compromise our beliefs, it becomes much more difficult to be taken seriously when we do stand our ground later. If our walk does not match our talk, we are labeled hypocrites…and rightly so.
- Lot knew early on that Sodom was a sinful city. Still, the Bible tells us that, even though he was aware of their sin, he remained among them (2 Peter 2:8). In fact, the Bible indicates that Lot was drawn ever closer to the city as time went by. First, he “pitched his tent toward Sodom” (Genesis 13:12), then he “dwelt in Sodom” (Genesis 14:12), and finally he lived in the city and “sat in the gate of Sodom” (Genesis 19:1). If we dabble with sin, we are often pulled into it a little at a time, without noticing until we are fully involved. The safest way to avoid sin is to stay far from its tempting influence.
- God’s mercy alone saves (Gen 19:16)
 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. (ESV)
God seized Lot, his wife and his two daughters, being merciful to him brought him outside the city. God’s mercy here is amazing. We linger with love for the world not wanting to part from it so God has to rescue us. Salvation belongs to the Lord from beginning to end. Let us not be haughty or arrogant but let us be humble knowing that our salvation is all of grace and mercy.
2 Peter 2:7–10  and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked  (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);  then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,  and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
- 11. Don’t Look Back. Move Forward.
Disobedience will keep you stagnant. The heart of Lot’s wife was stuck in Sodom. Although her physical body was stunted in the past. Lot’s family was moving forward into another season and had to leave the stagnant place behind. Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt – a manifested reflection of her disobedience. When you focus on the past, your heart becomes stunted at the place of your offence. When you disobey God your destiny becomes stuck at the point of your disobedience. Forgive and be set free. Obey God and walk forward in freedom, deliverance and prosperity.
The biblical record of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of the darkest stories in the Bible. It is a glaring example of sin’s power and pull. The story gives us a glimpse of how far sinful humanity will go when they reject God and indulge in evil rebellion against Him.
However, in this story we also see the mercy and grace of God in that He made a way of escape for those who trusted in the offer of salvation from the coming judgment. That offer is still good today. Jesus Christ died on a cross so that, by trusting in Him for our salvation, we will be saved from a fiery judgment and delivered into eternal life. Our eternal destination depends on whether we choose to trust Jesus or reject Him. The former leads to eternal life, the latter leads to judgment such as Sodom and Gomorrah experienced. “But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” (Matthew 11:24 ESV).