Vision

In Paul's second letter to Timothy he writes, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man [and woman] of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:16-17) My prayer for this ministry is that by rightly dividing the Scriptures, I might be able to facilitate all those aspects of the Scriptures to the benefit of all those who visit this website.

Mission

The mission of this ministry is to be consistent with Jesus' original command to his disciples: "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'" Matthew 28:18-20

Personal Disclosure

I am a fellow traveler who doesn't have all the answers and still makes many mistakes. However, I am desperately in love with Jesus Christ, the one and only King of kings, and I am so amazed that he knows exactly who I am and yet still died on the cross for me, then rose from the dead and called me to be His follower!

God's Message To You

"Dear Child,

I wanted you to know just how much I loved you so I sent my only Son, Jesus, to tell you and show you. If you make the decision to believe in Him, then you and I will be able to spend eternity together! I Love You!" (John 3:16 paraphrase)

Method

“Here there is no unanchored liberalism—freedom to think without commitment.

Here there is no encrusted dogmatism—commitment without freedom to think.

Here is vibrant evangelicalism—freedom to think within the bounds laid down by Scripture.”

Dr. Vernon Grounds

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

When God Has Had Enough

(Audio version; Music: "With All I Am" by: Hillsong--WorshipMob--Simultaneous Real Live Worship and "You Make Me Brave" by: Amanda Cook--WorshipMob cover)









Introduction

            Do you ever get to the end of the day and wonder just how much more you can take of the insanity that seems to be swirling around you on a daily basis. Let some pet—a dog, or cat, or horse—be abused or killed in some inhumane fashion and animal rights activists will be looking to hang someone. However, according to the World Health Organization approximately 125,000 babies are aborted every day in the world and what do you generally hear about that atrocity? Silence! Rationalization! Justification! Excuses! Stupid euphemisms calling the murder of innocent children, “a woman’s right to choose.”

            Politicians seem to be able to say what they want and do what they want without any recourse whatsoever. In fact, it seems that the more dishonest, dishonorable, and deplorable they are, the more popular they seem to be. Citizens are no longer interested in character and competency in their nation’s leaders. They want entertainment and charm wrapped in frothy eloquence.

            Law enforcement officers face dangerous criminals on a daily basis yet many people are more interested in how criminals are treated than the fact that law enforcement officers risk their lives every day serving and protecting innocent citizens.

            Muslims can butcher people all over the world without significant unified condemnation by the world but the minute someone points out the evils of Islam, they are accused of being intolerant or religious bigots. As though throwing people off of buildings, or chopping peoples’ heads off, or drowning people while they are caged like animals, is somehow a symbol of tolerance from the “religion of peace.”

            Those of you who know me personally, know that I’m sort of a sports geek. Recently, the sports world did something that has left a sour taste in my mouth for sports—well at least for sports’ broadcasting flagship. Every year, the sports broadcasting giant ESPN holds its annual awards banquet where they give out various awards to athletes. One of those awards is the Arthur Ashe award for the athlete that demonstrates exceptional courage. Before I tell you who received this year’s award, do you know who Lauren Hill is? How about Noah Galloway—ever heard of him? They probably sound familiar but you can’t seem to place them. Let me see if I can help.

            Lauren Hill was a college freshman basketball player at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hill was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor before joining the team. When she wasn’t in the hospital, she was always at practices and even played briefly in a few games even though bright lights were painful and aggravated her already severe headaches. To complicate matters, turning her head left her dizzy and nauseous. Hill wrote at the end of one of her school essays, “Never give up on your dream. Find something to fight for. I fight for others.” Hill raised more than $1.5 million for research into pediatric cancer. Hill died on April 10, 2015 from cancer. She was 19 years old. Hill’s short life was the definition of courage. She did not win ESPN’s courage award.

            Noah Galloway is 34 and a former Unites States Army soldier. On December 19, 2005, just three months into his second tour during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Galloway’s vehicle was struck by an IED (Improvised Explosive Devise). Galloway was transported to Walter Reed Army Hospital where he was unconscious for five days. When he finally regained consciousness, he was faced with the fact that he lost an arm and a leg in the explosion. In the weeks and months that followed, Galloway became severely depressed and began drinking, smoking and sleeping the days away. Eventually, Galloway realized that there was more to him than his injuries. He got himself into shape and is now a Crossfit competitor, a motivational speaker, and recently won third place in the television hit sires, Dancing With The Stars. Galloway received the Purple Heart Medal for his service and sacrifice to America. Galloway carries the scars of courage with him every day where ever he goes. He did not win ESPN’s courage award.

            Let’s try someone else. Do you know Bruce Jenner? Now that’s probably someone you do know. But probably not for his athletic prowess. That’s how I know him though. I remember Jenner as the decathlete champion of the 1976 Olympics. That’s how I remember Jenner. How many of you know who Caitlyn Jenner is? No it’s no Bruce’s wife, sister, daughter, cousin, or any other related female family member. Confused? Let me see if I can help you. Caitlyn Jenner is Bruce Jenner. Does that clear things up for you? No? Alright I’ll stop playing around with you. Bruce decided that he wanted to be a woman so he began injecting himself with female hormones, dressing as a woman and wearing make-up. He then changed his name to Caitlyn and announced publicly to the world that he is now a woman. If you’re wondering whether or not this is possible, the answer is no. Unless, of course, Jenner has figured out how to extract the “y” chromosome from his DNA and replaced it with an extra “x” chromosome, which is the biological DNA distinction between a man and a woman. So it doesn’t matter what Bruce wants or says he is, he is still a man—a man who used chemicals to grow breasts, a man who wears dresses and make-up—but a man nonetheless. Bruce received ESPN’s 2015 courage award for having the courage to say he’s a woman when he’s a man. Let me know if you’re head is ready to explode!

            This is the type of insanity that swirls around all of us on a daily basis that makes me and maybe some of you out there wonder where it will stop. What is the next bit of insanity that we will be forced to accept as normal? Well right now the justices of the Supreme Court of the Untied States are deliberating whether or not same-sex marriage should be deemed as constitutionally legal in all 50 states. I can’t even begin to imagine what the implications of that ruling will have on the United States generally and on Christians more specifically. However, if the court rules that same-sex marriage is equally valid as is marriage between one man and one woman, I wonder what God would think about that. I wonder if God will continue to stand by and watch as a nation, steeped in sin, continues to find new ways of offending Him. I wonder what happens When God Has Had Enough. The Bible offers us a clear example of what happens in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. It seems particularly relevant in light of the events currently facing Christians here in America but no less relevant for all of you in whatever country you reside.

Subject Text

Genesis 19:1-29

            1The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2“My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.” “No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.” 3But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” 6Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” 9“Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. 10But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. 12The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.” 14So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. 15With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.” 16When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. 17As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” 18But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! 19Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.” 21He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.) 23By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. 25Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. 27Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the LORD. 28He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace. 29So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

Context

            I will start by stating the obvious that our Subject Text takes place during the Old Testament age. It is extremely important that we understand God’s role in this because it serves to deal with arguments made in favor of homosexuality during our age of the New Testament. In the previous chapter we find Abraham living near the great trees of Mamre. That is near Hebron in the Palestinian territories. Chapter 18 tells us that the Lord appeared to Abraham in the form of three men. This is the exchange during which God tells Abraham that his wife Sarah will become pregnant and give birth to their first child, a son they named Isaac. That, however, is beside the point. What is more important is the identity of Abraham’s guests. From the context, this is what is referred to as a Theophany. A Theophany is the visible manifestation of an otherwise invisible God. That three of them appear gives us a not so subtle illustration of the Trinity of the Godhead. After the exchange between God, Abraham, and Sarah regarding the impending birth of their son, God reveals to Abraham that He is about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their evil and abhorrent behavior. Two of the men got up leave and pay a fateful visit to the doomed city. Abraham, however, pleads with God not to destroy those who are righteous along with those who are evil. God grants Abraham’s request and two of the “men” make their way to Sodom and Gomorrah. One of the three stayed behind with Abraham. Which of the two went and which one stayed behind we don’t know. However, what is important is in 18:17 where there appears to be a discussion between the three men as to whether or not they should reveal to Abraham the plan to visit and eventually destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Note that there is no debate as to whether or not it is right to do so. There is never a debate between the members of the Trinity. The Trinity is an illustration of perfect unity and harmony. What one member believes is right is the same thing the others believe as well. One member of the Trinity does not act independently of the others. The members of the Trinity are never in disagreement. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all God with the same essential qualities. Why is this important? You’ll have to get to the end of this lesson for the answer to this question. For now, we pick up with our Subject Text as the two “men” who left Abraham arrive at Sodom and Gomorrah.

Text Analysis.

            1The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2“My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.” “No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.” 3But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.

            Vv. 1-3 create some confusion when the two “men” who leave Abraham are referred to as angels. However, what the NIV translates as “angels” is actually the Hebrew word malakhiym which literally means “messengers.” And that’s probably the better translation because they are first there to bring a message of God’s impending doom for the city to Lot and his family. We are still talking about the two members of the Godhead that left Abraham back in Chapter 18. Later in our Subject Text we will learn that these two men announce that they will destroy the city and thereafter we learn that it was, in fact, God who destroys the city. Don’t get bogged down in the reference to the two men as angels. Follow their identity from the time they met with Abraham all the way through our Subject Text where both Abraham and Lot bow down before the mysterious “men” which is a form of worship that they do not condemn. Now it may be that Lot was simply showing respect for the two visitors as was the custom of his day. Perhaps Lot just didn’t know who the “men” were. It is difficult to say because the text never tells us how or when Lot realized who the “men” were. Perhaps he knew all along or perhaps he learned at some future date, we just can’t tell from the text. However, I would like to note that when John does the same thing to an angel in the Book of Revelation that the angel is quick to admonish John not to do that because an angel is merely a servant of God and must not be worshipped. In that case, John obviously knew he was speaking to an angel so the correction was necessary.

            The rest of vv. 1-3 is standard fare for hospitality in the Ancient Near East. Lot is at the city gates because that is where government officials and important people would meet to discuss current events and conduct business. The “city gates” represents a place of authority and status. So Lot was either an important government official or an otherwise important member of the city for the messengers to find him at the “city gates.” Lot then invited the special guests to stay at his home. However, the messengers wanted to remain in the square for the night and witness the behavior of the city’s inhabitants for themselves. However, Lot wouldn’t take no for an answer and insisted that the messengers spend the night in his home. Perhaps Lot was just being hospitable or perhaps he feared for the safety of the messengers—a concern that was completely warranted given the events that would transpire later that night. “When a host offered a guest the opportunity to spend the night, he was also accepting responsibility for the safety and well-being of his guest. The offer generally extended for a total of three days…As in the case of the unleavened bread eaten on Passover prior to the exodus from Egypt, Lot’s ‘bread without yeast’ was made quickly. It was evening when his guests arrived, and he did not have time to let his bread rise before baking it.”[1]

4Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” 6Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. 8Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.” 9“Get out of our way,” they replied. And they said, “This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

            I have often said that if you are unwilling to speak out and confront sin and evil when you first encounter it then don’t be surprised when that sin and evil comes knocking at your door one day. This is exactly what happens to Lot in vv. 4-9. It seems clear from the context that Lot has never previously confronted, publicly or privately, the sinful behavior of the townspeople because the mob of men seemed shocked at Lot’s attitude toward them. If he had said something previously then I wonder if they would have reacted to him in the same way. Unfortunately, it is unavoidable now that the men are prepared to break down his door in order to get at and have sex with the men Lot is hosting. Look closely at the exchange between Lot and the mob of men and tell me this exchange doesn’t sound familiar. It sounds an awful lot like Christians condemning homosexuality and then being accused of being judgmental or homosexuals taking Christians to court for not participating in homosexual wedding ceremonies. My gosh…even the words used are similar to the verbal exchanges we experience in our own day between Christians and homosexual activists!

            As the father of two unmarried daughters myself, v. 8 makes my skin crawl. I can assure you that I would never offer my two daughters to try and appease the sexual desires of an angry mob of men. I also assure you that this wasn’t the custom of Lot’s day either but I think he panicked. It seems clear that Lot took the responsibility of safety for his guests very seriously as their host. Perhaps it was Lot’s way of avoiding the defilement of his home and his guests. But he tries to resolve a vile situation with a vile solution. Lot is caught in a lose-lose trap that perhaps he set himself because he didn’t speak out previously against the vile behavior of the people in the city. Failure to combat a disease can leave a person susceptible to the dangers of that disease. “That Lot sanctions the rape of his daughters indicates a moral compass gone awry; he places hospitality above the protection of his own children. It is difficult to conceive of such a custom that would put a guest’s well-being over family. Such treatment by a father was despicable in the eyes of Israel; forcing a daughter into prostitution in specifically forbidden in Mosaic law (Lev 19:29). Yet offense against aliens was also grievous in the Mosaic tradition (e. g., Exod 22:21; Lev 19:33-34; Deut 10:19). Lot is caught in web of the most vile of circumstances, and he opts for a way out that can salvage any good. He surely offends his own sense of right behavior while attempting to save face with the strangers. For a moment it is Sodom that has taken up residence in Lot’s soul.”[2]

10But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. 12The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.” 14So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. 15With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.” 16When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. 17As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” 18But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! 19Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.” 21He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)

            A bad situation that Lot attempts to resolve with an equally bad solution is quickly mitigated without the need for ethical compromise at the start of vv. 10-22 when Lot’s divine visitors pull Lot back into the house and immediately cause the members of the angry mob to go blind. Only God can create a solution that doesn’t compound evil. However, causing physical blindness was only a stop-gap measure to provide Lot and his family with enough time to escape the city before the coming storm of God’s divine wrath. I want you to note that God does not execute His divine judgment with reckless abandon. Instead, the two men give Lot and his family evacuation instructions. Unfortunately, Lot’s sons-in-law just laughed when Lot told them what was coming. It seems clear from the context that they were perfectly happy to stay put. This should sound familiar to some of you. It certainly does to me. How often have you been ridiculed by those closest to you for your beliefs? How often have been accused of being a kook? How often have you been laughed at for your conservative beliefs? How often have you been criticized for not being progressive in your views of the world? Now you know how Lot must have felt when his sons-in-law just laughed at him when he tried to warn them.

When Lot and the rest of his family fail to fully realize the urgency of the matter, the two messengers physically escorted Lot and his remaining family outside the city where they instruct Lot to continue the evacuation and flee to the mountains. Lot obviously begins to understand the gravity of the situation because he is now worried that he won’t make it to the mountains before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah begins. Consequently, Lot takes the time to negotiate the city he would like to take refuge in and the two men agree even as they urged him to move out quickly claiming that they are unable to execute the planned judgment until after Lot and his family reach their desired destination.

People of our day seem to want to hide their vile sin behind God’s grace claiming that God is more about grace than He is about judgment. Well here we see God demonstrate His grace in the midst of judgment as he protects Lot and his family and provides for them as well. God’s grace does not extend to those who think they can use that grace to hide or excuse their sin. God’s grace extends to those who confess their sins and repent (turn away from their sins) and turn to God for protection and provision. Grace is not some tool that sinners can use to prevent God from executing His judgment because of their sins. Grace is a gift of a second (or third, or fourth, or however many may be needed) chance for those who sin. It is not an argument sinners can use to defend their sins before God. We are deemed righteous because we confess our sins and trust God’s compassion and grace to forgive us through Jesus Christ not because we use God’s grace to try and hold him hostage to protect our sinful behavior.

“The picture of Lot, then, is that of a righteous man living amid the unrighteous—a righteous man being rescued from the fate of the wicked through divine intervention. Moreover, not surprisingly, the basis of God’s rescue of Lot is not Lot’s righteousness but the Lord’s compassion. When the men take hold of Lot and lead him and his family out of the doomed city, the writer is careful to note that this is because ‘the Lord was merciful to them.’ While Lot may have been righteous (cf. Abraham’s prayer ‘for the righteous’ in ch. 18, inferring that Lot is the ‘righteous one’), the account of the rescue itself emphasizes God’s compassion. Lot’s words to the messengers (19:19) reinforce the role of God’s grace in the rescue of Lot. Lot acknowledges that he has found ‘favor’ and ‘kindness’ before God.”[3]

23By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. 25Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. 26But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. 27Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the LORD. 28He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace. 29So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

            Here in America we have a term to describe bringing utter destruction on our enemies as “raining down hell on them.” Well this is where that term comes from. Why? Because the Book of Revelation describes Hell as a place where people will be tormented with everlasting burning sulfur (Rev 14). In vv. 23-29 we see that God literally rained hell down on Sodom and Gomorrah. Everyone and everything related to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, even down to the vegetation, was utterly destroyed. The ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah were discovered in 1989 by Biblical archaeologist Ron Wyatt. Evidence showed that both cities were ruined at the same time by a cataclysmic conflagration that left more than three feet of debris covering the ruins. The cities were buried under millions of partially incinerated sulfur balls and tons of ash. The surrounding rock strata revealed evidence of heat that exceeded 4000 degrees Fahrenheit! Just to give you a comparative sense of what that means; that is the destructive equivalent found in only one other place—the epicenter of a nuclear explosion! I want you to think about that for just one moment in light of our own age—known as the nuclear age.

            Something very important occurs in v. 26. Lot’s wife looks back toward the city and is instantly turned to salt. Her actions are in complete disobedience to the instructions given to Lot by the two men in v. 17 to flee the city and “not look back.” The text in v. 26 doesn’t really do a very good job of giving us a sense of what really happened. She didn’t just glance back as they were running away. The sense of the text is that she didn’t just turn around to look at the destruction, she decided to stop following Lot. In fact, some commentators believe that she went so far as to begin to make her way back to the cities. Whatever the case may be, the reality is that she was unfaithful and it cost her her life. The lesson we derive from her example is that we aren’t saved by our association with someone who is faithful, we each have a duty to be faithful to God. “By looking back she evidenced her affections for her life at Sodom. Lot’s wife may have been a Sodomite; there is no mention of her prior to chap. 19, unless we are to assume she was among the ‘women’ (14:16) rescued by Abram. In any case, the woman is nameless, no more than a prop in the story whose tragic end became a dreaded lesson…Her physical translation into an edifice of salt…testified to the consequence of disobedience and was an appalling reminder of the events at Sodom.”[4]

            The final scene finds Abraham watching the rising smoke from the plains below his home. He is once again standing in the place where we left him at the close of chapter 18 pleading with God to save those who are found righteous in the city before He destroyed it. At this point, Abraham can only wonder if God did what he asked as he watched the billowing smoke like that coming from a furnace. Here too God demonstrates His compassion and grace this time toward Abraham as v. 29 says that God remembered the discussion he had with Abraham when He carefully rescued Lot. Again, God does not execute judgment with reckless abandon. Instead, God exacts judgment on those who deserve judgment while preserving those who seek him for their salvation. Remember that although these were actual events of history, they are also a foreshadowing of events to come. God will not preserve the earthly lives of all those who are faithful and obedient to Him. Nor will he destroy the earthly lives of all those who are unfaithful or disobedient to Him. God does, however, promise those who are faithful that they will spend eternity in heaven with Him regardless of how tragic their earthly lives may be and He also promises that those who are unfaithful to Him will spend eternity in hell regardless of how glorious their earthly lives may be.

            “The reader is not advised what Abraham may have been thinking as he watches the smoke billow up from the ruined cities. He is silent; his thoughts are his own. But since the writer has deliberately turned our attention back to the scene of Abraham’s prayer in ch. 18, it is hard not to see in this final scene a reminder of the central question of that prayer: ‘Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?’ At this point in the narrative, the answer to Abraham’s question is made graphically clear. Sodom stands guilty before God, deserving of divine wrath. Lot has been rescued and Abraham himself is spared from the destruction. Only the disobedient among them, Lot’s sons-in-law and his wife, have perished along with the guilty. The whole narrative seems carefully planned to focus the reader’s attention on these points of divine justice.”[5]

Application

            If you recall in my introduction I said that the Supreme Court of the United States was hearing a case to determine the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. Well they rendered a verdict on the case before I could finish this lesson and I want to thank them, sarcastically, for upholding the age-old practice of homosexual depravity that reaches all the way back to Sodom and Gomorrah. As the chief justices of a nation and culture already heavily steeped in sin, it should come as no surprise that the court ruled that homosexual marriages now enjoy equal status as marriages defined by God from the beginning as being between a man and a woman. So now a group of lawyers appointed by various Presidents have taken it upon themselves to try and redefine what God had already defined. I wonder, do you think these justices have any idea or even care what happens When God Has Had Enough?

            Never one to let someone else have all the attention, our shameless President announced with glee his complete support for the court’s decision. However, he didn’t stop there. No, he said something that not many people have picked up on yet or at least don’t consider to be very important. He said that it was now time for people with long-held religious opposition to homosexuality to begin to change their attitudes and beliefs to reflect the more “progressive” America we all live in. If you don’t see this as a thinly veiled threat wrapped in frothy eloquence aimed directly at people of faith generally but Christians specifically then you’re just being naïve. I want you to mark my word that this ruling will be the beginning of persecution of Christians by the government of all those faithful Christians who refuse to adhere to the President’s “suggestion” that we begin to change our attitudes and long-held religious beliefs about homosexuality. I wonder, do you think the President knows or cares what happens When God Has Had Enough?

            Sadly, many Christians have joined non-Christians in celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision. They have, in unison, titled the decision with a hashtag called #lovewins. Really? Love wins? The title implies the inverse that those of us who disagree are governed by hate and suffer from homophobia. Homophobia, for those of you who are not familiar with that term, is defined as homo=same + phobia=fear—in this context the fear of homosexuality. Well let me address the issue of hate and the issue homophobia at the same time. I do fear homosexuality but not for the reasons proponents claim. I don’t fear homosexuality for myself or for the culture. I fear homosexuality for the homosexual. I understand the lesson of Sodom and Gomorrah and I don’t wish that fate on anyone, even homosexuals. Do you want to know why? For the same reason I didn’t let me little kids play in traffic—because I love them! Love doesn’t allow someone to destroy themselves—hate does that. For Christians who support this decision, remember the fate of Lot’s wife when she turned her affections back toward the depravity of Sodom. Don’t you make the same mistake! For all of you, Christians and non-Christians alike, do you know or care what it will be like When God Has Had Enough?

            Will the culture’s acceptance and celebration of the legalization of same-sex marriages be the final straw? Will this be the last time God will be mocked by sinful humanity? I don’t know but I want to take a moment to encourage all believers everywhere but especially here in America to remain faithful. You can laugh at me like Lot’s sons-in-law did but I foresee a storm coming. You can doubt me but I anticipate the homosexual community will systematically target churches and ministries around the country who refuse to abide by the court’s ruling and make an example of them. Now that the court has made its ruling, I expect that homosexuals will soon become a protected class of people and all those who refuse to recognize or accept that will be in violation of the law and face prosecution. For churches, that will mean they either comply or their churches will be forced to close and/or their leadership will face prosecution. For people like me, that will mean that I must comply or my website will be shut down and/or I will face prosecution. Don’t be deceived friends. This is what awaits all of us who are committed to being faithful followers of Jesus Christ and refuse to comply with the demands of a sinful and depraved world. Think about it before you call me crazy! There can be no other outcome! Homosexuals will not stand for dissent. They are like the angry mob banging on Lot’s door. They will not stand for anyone who judges their behavior to be depraved. Their sexual identity will eventually be protected by law and their abhorrent behavior will be required to be accepted by all. That means that Christians generally and pastors specifically will soon not be able to legally designate them as sinners in need of repentance for their sinful behavior. At some point, it will become officially illegal for me, or anyone else for that matter, to teach this lesson. Nevertheless, I am making a solemn vow right now for you all to witness that—I will not comply! I will not conform! I will not compromise my faith to reflect a more “progressive” America! I want to encourage all of you who still fear God to join me in making this vow.

            For those of you who disagree with me, do you realize that God would be deemed a criminal here in America based on his judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah? Think about how crazy that sounds. I don’t want to sound uncaring or unkind but I don’t care what you think about me if there is a chance that you will reconsider your belief that you are right and God is wrong. Also, I will save you the “Jesus never said” argument about homosexuality. Remember when I talked about the importance of the Trinity in the Context leading up to our Text Analysis? Well that is one of the reasons why the “Jesus never said” argument is futile. Jesus was present at the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah. I think that more than implies that Jesus was on board with the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah and their homosexual depravity. I have made this point before but I’ll make it once again here: Homosexuality was condemned in the Old Testament and the New Testament outside the four gospels. The fact that Jesus didn’t specifically opine on homosexuality is irrelevant. Jesus was part of the events orchestrated by God in the Old Testament prior to His earthly incarnation just as He is part of the actions of the Holy Spirit who inspired the writers of the New Testament now that He has ascended to heaven. I can assure you that if God the Father in the Old Testament condemns homosexuality and God the Spirit in the New Testament condemns homosexuality, that God the Son of the gospels condemns homosexuality.

            Look I don’t even pretend to know the time of God’s final judgment or the precise events that will trigger that judgment. However, I know we are drawing nearer to that moment all the time. I also know that human depravity will advance unchecked in the final days before God’s judgment. Are we in those final days? Maybe. Jesus admonished the religious leaders during His day that they could foretell the weather but couldn’t recognize the signs of God’s visitation while He was standing right there in their midst. All I’m saying is don’t be naïve to the signs of our own times and the sin and depravity that continues to advance all around us unchecked. So what should you do? First, know why you believe what you believe. Thereafter, stand firm in your faith. Don’t compromise your beliefs. But most importantly, redouble your efforts to comply not with the demands of a sinful and depraved world but with Jesus’ commission to spread the Gospel to all peoples of the world. It is only through faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to Him as both Lord and Savior that humanity will avoid the coming storm that will destroy all those who reject God’s offer of salvation. If you want to demonstrate your love for people, point them to Jesus. Don’t ignore their sinful behavior. Warn them against destroying themselves and the eternal consequences that awaits them on the day When God Has Had Enough.







[1] John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews & Mark W. Chavalas, IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), p. 51.
[2] Kenneth A. Mathews, Genesis 11:27-50:26—The New American Commentary, (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2005), pp. 236-237.
[3] Tremper Longman III & David E. Garland, gen. eds., Genesis-Leviticus—The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008), p. 198.
[4] Mathews, Genesis 11:27-50:26, p. 242.
[5] Longman & Garland, gen. eds., Genesis-Leviticus, p. 199.