Were Sodom and Gomorrah the Worst Cities Ever? (Y1.T2.D12)
Unsplash; "Matthew Henry"
No, they weren't. That might surprise you because it surprised me.
For those of you who don’t know anything about Sodom and Gomorrah, the story is in
Genesis 18:16–19:25. Ultimately God destroyed the citizens because he couldn't find ten righteous people in these cities. Given our human propensity to violence (see my post "Are All Humans Wicked") this number is terrifying.
Though we live in a world full of hate, even the most dangerous cities contain righteous citizens. If you don't believe me, google "strangers helping others" and you will find news articles of loving-kindness.
So, what cities could possibly be worse than Sodom and Gomorrah?
According to our passage today, Jesus denounced "the cities in which most of his mighty works had been done, because they didn’t repent (Matthew 11:20), saying, "I tell you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for" them (Luke 10:12). He concludes with, "For if the mighty works had been done in Sodom which were done in you, it would have remained until today" (Matthew 11:23).
This eye-opening verse makes me want to do better. God has done so many amazing miracles in my life that repentance is a natural response. Maybe you can relate.
Each of us is guilty of unrighteousness, and each of us has been afforded grace. The question we should ask ourselves is if that leads us to seek salvation through repentance.
Save and Send Me
1 Now after these things, the Lord also appointed seventy others, and sent them two by two ahead of him into every city and place where he was about to come. 2 Then he said to them, “The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that he may send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your ways. Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry no purse, nor wallet, nor sandals. Greet no one on the way. 5 Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ 6 If a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in that same house, eating and drinking the things they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Don’t go from house to house. 8 Into whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat the things that are set before you. 9 Heal the sick who are there, and tell them, ‘God’s Kingdom has come near to you.’ 10 But into whatever city you enter, and they don’t receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust from your city that clings to us, we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that God’s Kingdom has come near to you.’ (Luke 10:1–11)
20 Then he began to denounce the cities in which most of his mighty works had been done, because they didn’t repent. (Matthew 11:20)
43 “‘“Because you have not remembered the days of your youth, but have raged against me in all these things; therefore, behold, I also will bring your way on your head,” says the Lord Yahweh: “and you shall not commit this lewdness with all your abominations.
44 “‘“Behold, everyone who uses proverbs will use this proverb against you, saying, ‘As is the mother, so is her daughter.’ 45 You are the daughter of your mother, who loathes her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite, and your father an Amorite. 46 Your elder sister is Samaria, who dwells at your left hand, she and her daughters; and your younger sister, who dwells at your right hand, is Sodom with her daughters. 47 Yet you have not walked in their ways, nor done their abominations; but soon you were more corrupt than they in all your ways. 48 As I live,” says the Lord Yahweh, “Sodom your sister has not done, she nor her daughters, as you have done, you and your daughters.
49 “‘“Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and prosperous ease was in her and in her daughters. She also didn’t strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 They were arrogant, and committed abomination before me. Therefore I took them away when I saw it. 51 Samaria hasn’t committed half of your sins; but you have multiplied your abominations more than they, and have justified your sisters by all your abominations which you have done. 52 You also bear your own shame yourself, in that you have given judgment for your sisters; through your sins that you have committed more abominable than they, they are more righteous than you. Yes, be also confounded, and bear your shame, in that you have justified your sisters.
53 “‘“I will reverse their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, and the captivity of your captives among them; 54 that you may bear your own shame, and may be ashamed because of all that you have done, in that you are a comfort to them. 55 Your sisters, Sodom and her daughters, will return to their former estate; and Samaria and her daughters will return to their former estate; and you and your daughters will return to your former estate. 56 For your sister Sodom was not mentioned by your mouth in the day of your pride, 57 before your wickedness was uncovered, as at the time of the reproach of the daughters of Syria, and of all who are around her, the daughters of the Philistines, who despise you all around. 58 You have borne your lewdness and your abominations,” says Yahweh.
59 “‘For the Lord Yahweh says: “I will also deal with you as you have done, who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant. 60 Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. 61 Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed, when you receive your sisters, your elder sisters and your younger; and I will give them to you for daughters, but not by your covenant. 62 I will establish my covenant with you. Then you will know that I am Yahweh; 63 that you may remember, and be confounded, and never open your mouth any more, because of your shame, when I have forgiven you all that you have done,” says the Lord Yahweh.’” (Ezekiel 16:43–63)
I don't want You to shake the dust off Your feet (Luke 10:11) after You visit me. I accept my citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20), which motivates me to act toward others in love. I repent, today, of any apathy I have towards those in need. I know whatever I do unto those suffering in my community, I do unto you (Matthew 25:40). Give me eyes to see and ears to hear.
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