Sodom: A Follow up

I want to talk a bit about homosexuality.

And rigid beliefs.

And intractable hearts that don’t allow the Spirit to transform them.

And why we Christians seem to value sexual sin – any kind of sex, but homosexuality in particular – a higher order sin than any other.

Because I don’t think God does.

This subject piggyback’s off another blog I read a few of days ago entitled simply, Sodom.

So where do we get off thinking Sodom was destroyed for homosexuality? Well, if you have narrowness of vision, it begins and ends with Genesis 19:4-11.

Really.AmyPoehlerBut let’s go back for a moment to Genesis 18:20. “And the Lord said, ‘The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.’”

At this point, God reveals His plan to destroy the cities to His friend Abraham, who negotiates with God that if He finds even ten righteous among the city, God will not destroy it.

Enter two angels at the city gate; Lot sees them and bows down to them “with his face to the earth.” (Genesis 19:1) Lot invites the two gentlemen to his home to dine and spend the night. Here, the “all important” Genesis 19:4-11 relays the story of all the village men of Sodom, young and old, who come to Lot’s house to terrorize these visitors.

This is not about sex or relationship; this is about rape and violence. When Lot refused to hand over his visitors, he offered them his daughters to assuage their vicious craving. This wasn’t lust; it was greed. Men were worth more, and Lot offered them his possessions of lesser value to protect his celestial guests.

Now, in 19:13 the angels tell Lot to gather his family and take them out of the city because it will be destroyed. Why? “Because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

Please now, those of you ready to jump the gun and declare the sin: it is still not defined by God or the angels!

Ah, but now we come to Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 16:15-17:24 is all about being unfaithful to God – it’s about breaking the Old Testament Covenant God established with Moses. Israel continually turned away from God, looking for reasons to abandon trust with Him. In this passage, God uses the terms whore, whoring, prostitute or adulterous over 20 times. It has nothing to do with sex. It has to do with turning back to idol worship when God gave them everything. God defines the sin for which Sodom’s was destroyed – and it isn’t what you think.

In addition, God says unfaithfulness is worse than anything Sodom may have done. (emphasis mine)

“As I live,” declares the Lord God, “your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them when I saw it.” (Ezekiel 16:48-50)

I mean, gosh – God didn’t even think enough about the “abomination” to name it. Like it was almost an afterthought. So what does God name as the guilt of Sodom?

Pride.

Excess of food of wealth but not aiding the poor and needy.

And THIS, God declares, was not as sinful as idol worship. As breaking faith. As not trusting He will wholly and completely love and care for you. Grant you grace and mercy when you need it. Give you comfort, compassion and connection to His heart.

See – Jesus was God come to life in human form. Jesus was the personification of the Father. (“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30)

He told us what’s most important: ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

He said, Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)

He said, By this all people will know you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

As His disciple John said, Let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)

This message of love and hope also posted on Susan Irene Fox

15 thoughts on “Sodom: A Follow up

  1. Hey Susan good morning to you. Just a few comments. Easy ones, I promise.

    I do agree that many Christians have elevated the sin of homosexuality to a position it perhaps doesn’t deserve. In fact, many have elevated it to the point where we would say God simply won’t forgive and restore homosexuals. We know that is false, as all sin will be forgiven by God, without exception. We often treat homosexuals as if they have to change before salvation, rather than after salvation like the rest of us.

    On the other hand, far too many have simply decided that, not only is it not the most serious sin in the world, but that it’s simply not sin. Just like any other sinful lifestyle should not be practiced after one’s coming to Jesus, neither should that one.

    I think there is a balance somewhere. Where? Beats me.

    Sodom. While I would agree that there was way more at play than just a bunch of gay people, as you rightly pointed out, we can dismiss that aspect of they lifestyle in the city as a factor either.

    We should love people trapped in this lifestyle and help them understand Jesus loves then and wants to forgive and restore them, just like any one else. But, we can’t condone and encourage this anymore than any other lifestyle centered on sinful behavior.

    Have a great morning my Sister

    Like

    • Hi Wally, just a few comments. Easy ones, I promise. 🙂

      (this is not sticking up for Susan – I would not dream of knowing her mind and heart in this)

      “We often treat homosexuals as if they have to change before salvation, rather than after salvation like the rest of us.”

      I wonder. Did I change my “heterosexuality” before or after my salvation? Did I grow one less arm before or after? Did I grow a second heart before … Would I say “being homosexual” is a sin before or after salvation? Would I say “being heterosexual” is a sin before or after my salvation? And is it my salvation or the act of marriage that stops all this sin? Because if it simply marriage – then our brothers are well and truly screwed – because we won’t allow that! But if it is salvation – then where does marriage come into at all?

      The odd thing I find in this circular argument?

      Where is Love in any of this? The Love behind the Law, the Love within the Law, the Love begetting of the Law? (Beats me)

      BTW – what I always am left with pondering is this: just what are your humpty-pumpty habits – and why do “we” assume and judge anyone’s to be needing of “change”?

      Have a great morning my Brother.

      Like

      • Hey Paul

        Yeah…those are easy LOL.

        Sigh. I know it’s hard to swallow for us all, me included, that there are just some things God doesn’t like. I believe with all of my heart He love us all desperately. Heck that is why he sent His beloved son to die for us. So, I don’t assume anybody needs to change. God decided that. Being who I am by nature? Heck, anything goes.

        I will use me as an example, and I’m not really comfortable sharing this, but I will. When I was divorced, single and 45 I behaved in ways God certainly found abhorrent, and many of those ways involved sexual sins. I was single and proud of it. Enough said. Nobody was harmed, all was consensual, yet God disagreed.

        He took me as I was, and began to change me

        I believe that by specific instruction as well as Biblical model, that God intended marriage to be one man, one woman.

        Yes, love. Absolutely, totally, completely. But love doesn’t mean we just turn a blind eye. God loved me and saved me, but He certainly did not want me to continue on the paths I was on. That is how much he loved me, enough to change me.

        Final note? Do we need to adjust how we reach out to sinners of all varieties? Heck yes we do. When we cloud the issue with our personal preferences versus God’s will it becomes, well, personal.

        Peace and love Brother.

        Like

        • Wally – you amaze me! You fire back words faster than I can stand up and sit down here! Love what you said in the main, thank you. But come back to this please:

          “We often treat homosexuals as if they have to change before salvation, rather than after salvation like the rest of us.”

          You want to know why? You are talking about the act of sex. But what your words condemn is the “being of who I am”. And I struggle to see how that isn’t judging the sinner.

          Then you go and say above (sorry, but this stuff is public for others to view as well):

          “I know it’s hard to swallow for us all, me included, that there are just some things God doesn’t like.”

          Like eating bacon. Probably wasting hours on Facebook. Or even spending time in front of the trillions of tv viewing options. And maybe even doing this on Worpdress during work time. None of which is written down in the Good Book. So I have never assumed to know God that intimately – much as He draws me to Him.

          And one “final note” – if I live my life as best I know how in relationship with my Lord – and one of our “queer friends” does the same – how am I sinning (and how are they)? I reckon that is God’s business.

          So no – I don’t know God as well as you. Can you ask Him for me please? 🙂

          Like

          • Well no fast fingers this time as I am heading out the door lol. Me know God better than another? Ha hardly! So maybe later my friend as I am reduced to sound bites on my phone for the day

            Like

    • Well, you and Paul had a night, didn’t you?

      So, after reading your back and forth (and I didn’t post this lightly; I knew there would be disagreements and comments), let me summarize a few points that I believe get to the heart of the matter.

      1. As I attempted to say in the post, these weren’t simply “a bunch of gay people.” They were men who wanted to rape and commit acts of violence on whoever they came across. It didn’t matter to them the “visitors” were male. They were on a drunken tear and wanted anyone to know they were in charge. Again, this was an act of pure violence.

      2. Over the years somehow, we have come to ignore the Ezekiel passage and separated love out from the message of God. We focus on sins and think it is our job to define them, call them out, accuse whole groups of people while we euphemistically refer to it as “lifestyle.” Do we ever refer to adultery as “lifestyle?”

      3. Jesus never asked us to judge people. In fact, he commanded us to do the opposite. He commanded us not to judge; to love: our God, our neighbors and our enemies. How can we ever do this with judgment and accusation upon our lips. How can we ever do this with pointed fingers? How can we ever be a testimony to our Living Christ when see sin first and not a loving, human being in front of us?

      4. We all sin, my friend. However, it is not my job to point out your sin publicly. If I wish to speak with you privately – you as an individual – that is biblical.

      5. To condemn an entire group of people for “lifestyle” or “agenda” stereotypes and dehumanizes. It is what the world does. It And we are not of the world. We are called to be different from the world. We are called to love.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Susan I totally agree we are to love. I actually have no opinion of my own about this area. But God’s Word does just as it does in other areas. We have to share that even if it is not pleasant. This is not my thought on this it is God’s. We are responsible to discuss sin although it is not fun. If I have hurt you with this I am very sorry

        Like

        • Wally, you didn’t hurt me at all, but it sure sounded like your opinion.

          What I was attempting to do was show you how God’s Word isn’t as definite as we thought it was on exactly that area when you connect all the dots.

          Like

  2. While I do agree that Sodom had more to do with rape than homosexuality (see how other incidents of rape were handled, such as Benjamin), I do have a problem with one section of your post:

    “Ezekiel 16:15-17:24 is all about being unfaithful to God – it’s about breaking the Old Testament Covenant God established with Moses.”

    Sodom was not under the Covenant of Moses for two reasons: first, Moses was after Sodom; second, Sodom was not part of the Abramic Covenant, since the family of Lot was the only representation of Abraham in Sodom, so unfaithfulness could not be the sin that outraged God. The rest of your post does fit well, though, how they treated the disadvantaged. Jesus even brought up this issue when he spoke of how the Pharisees allowed a man to renege on his duty to care for his parents by deeding his belongings or the church.

    Like

    • I see what you’re saying; however, by the time God spoke to Ezekiel, he was looking back and warning the people of Israel.

      As for the Abrahamic covenant, God had already made his covenant with Abraham. (Genesis 12:1-3). Abraham had already established his faith with God by giving up everything and following God. This was God’s great commission to Abraham. Lot never dishonored Abraham; they only separated to keep peace among their herdsmen. And in Sodom, Lot was still a righteous man.

      How could Lot not be part of it when God’s promise included “all the families of the earth”?

      Thanks so much, by the way, for your thoughtfully written comment. 🙂

      Like

      • Susan, what I am saying regarding the covenant, Lot did not dishonor it, but Sodom was not under it. They could not be judged based on a covenant that they had no part in. They could be judge for how they treated their fellow man, but not for breaking a covenant they were not a part of.

        Like

        • So, because they were not descendants of Abraham, they were not under that covenant – simply still under the covenant God made with Noah. So no flood, only fire.

          Have I got it? (I don’t mean to be flip here, I really am trying to understand.)

          And they were definitely judged for their violence, pride and turning their backs on the poor.

          Like

          • God is a just God, He did not hold the Egyptians accountable for anything but their mistreatment of the Jews, even then He did not punish them for it until they refused to keep the agreements (covenants) pharaoh made with Him.

            The citizens of S&G were not circumcised, so they were not part of the Abramic covenant. Would a just God punish a people for not following a covenant they did not have with Him?

            Like

Thoughts and questions are precious ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s