One of the amazing things about Holy Scripture is that no matter how many times you might read a particular book or passage, there’s always more that slipped by you the first time. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been enjoying teaching through Genesis this past year. It’s full of stories anyone who grew up in the Church has heard since childhood. But looking at those same stories more closely with older and wiser eyes is always edifying.
This past weekend, we covered Sodom and Gomorrah–from Abraham’s intercession with God to the fate of Lot’s family. It had been a long time since I had looked closely at this text. But Hubris Month is right around the corner, and we can look forward to mega-corps and the perverts who run them celebrating at least two of the seven deadly sins everywhere we look. So it was timely to revisit the original gay pride celebration that gave us the term “Sodomite.”
I of course remembered how the men of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house so that they could gang rape the two angels who visited the city disguised as men in order to see if it was really as bad as people say (spoiler: it was.) I also remembered how Lot unsuccessfully attempted to dissuade them by offering his two virgin daughters to be violated by the mob instead. What I had never really dwelt on before was the Sodomites’ response to Lot: “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.”
The modern and incoherent judgment of “DON’T JUDGE ME” is, of course, old and tired, but I hadn’t realized it was millennia old. Genesis portrays the same kind of sensitivity to judgement we see today–even in a community where every adult male other than Lot shared their perversions. Lot even tried to be indirect by calling them out about guest right rather than broaching the subject of unchastity. He was even quite “winsome” by offering them a way to address their felt needs. None of that availed, of course. A reproach is a reproach, and the Sodomites’ reflexive response was a threat to rape Lot as well–just to silence the voice of judgment they could never quite shake off even in a city completely dominated by perversion.
One of the common lines from Theological Liberals is that the story of Sodom & Gomorrah does not represent homosexuality as we know it today. In other words, it has nothing to do with the “scientific” category of sexual orientation that lies behind the LGBTP movement. There is a shallow sense in which they’re correct; the gay men I know aren’t the types to show up en masse when fresh meat comes to town. But as usual, the fact that theologically liberal heretics have replaced their religion with fashionable politics had made them myopic to the deeper reality of sin at work.
The men of Sodom were unhinged in a way that most people we encounter are not. They refused any restraint by nature, obviously. They refused any restraint by judgment, as their response to Lot demonstrates. They even refused restraint by local custom–Lot’s appeal to the high value placed on guest right in that culture was meaningless to them. This exceptional universality of their corruption is perhaps why God chose to smite them so dramatically while He’s content to leave the destruction of other corrupt cultures to more mundane means.
But what exactly is the LGBTP movement working for if not the removal of precisely these kinds of restraints? Release from judgment is the most obvious, of course–they cannot abide anybody repeating God’s proclamations regarding their sin. Release from nature is also becoming increasingly obvious. If a man feels like a girl, nature itself must be bent to his whim as surgeons carve a vague resemblance into his flesh. Meanwhile, everyone else is coerced into affirming the charade that men can be women or that men can be married to each other. And in service to that end, culture itself must become a slave to homosexual desire. Even the idea of “mothers’ and “fathers” must be erased from media. School must cease to be a place of learning and become a place where children are abused until they provide the affirmation perverts crave. Even a custom like free speech which was used to give the movement a foothold must be repealed insofar as it could be used to speak out against them.
So no, Sodom isn’t where today’s homosexuals are. Nevertheless, it is precisely the place at which they will stop at nothing to arrive. Sin is not tame; it never learns to sit still.
But there is one other part of the story of Sodom that we ought to reflect on–and it is a much brighter part. Incredibly enough, God invited Abraham into His counsel as he set off to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. And Abraham famously appealed to God’s justice–that He would not destroy the righteous with the wicked–and secured God’s agreement that if even 10 righteous people were found in Sodom, for their sake, He would not destroy it. As it turns out, there were not even 10 righteous in Sodom, but there were four: Lot, his wife, and his two daughters. God did not spare Sodom for their sake, but neither would He allow His angels to destroy it until they had been brought out of the city.
But let’s consider those four righteous people for a moment.
Not only did Lot offer up his own daughters to be raped by a mob, his addiction to Sodom’s mammon was such that he continually drug his feet when the angels urged him to escape for his life. He even begged them to spare a small town that would have otherwise been destroyed with the region just so that he wouldn’t have to literally flee for the hills. They finally had to drag him out by the hand to get him out of Dodge. Lot’s wife was even more reluctant to leave such a wicked home. She rejected the angels’ warnings about looking back and was caught up the destruction as a result.
And then there are the daughters. In a decision I can only chalk up to having been raised in Sodom, they decided that the only man in the world who could give them a baby was their father. So they each got him drunk and got pregnant by him. But they were actually proud of this sin. One named her son Moab, which means “From father,” and the other named her son Ben-Ammi meaning “son of my people.” They commemorated the evil they had committed for posterity.
My point is this: these are not what we would call “good” people. They were not righteous in the sense of being decent and moral. And yet, God counted them as righteous–sparing them from the destruction he visited on the Sodomites. Lot journeyed from his home with Abraham on account of the Promise God had made to his uncle. Like Abraham, he believed and God counted it to him as righteousness.
Like Lot’s family, American Christians live in an increasingly wicked culture. Time and again, it’s proven that we are not immune from its influence as worldly Christians end up professing the same demonic message as the thralls that surround them. Those who do not realize they have to fight against it will be lost; some of those who do realize fight harder than others; but none of us are immune. Nevertheless, God’s grace is still there for us–for all who yet believe.
America does not have to be destroyed like Sodom or like so many of Lot’s descendants who also met with divine judgement. In God’s longsuffering, we have an opportunity to resist evil and repent of our own involvement in it. So seek grace while it may yet be found.
Have mercy on my nation, for our sins are great. Put an end to our wickedness and turn us away from the evils to which we’ve enslaved ourselves and out children. But just as you would not destroy Sodom for the sake of but ten righteous men, I pray for mercy for the sake of your people amongst us. Do not cut us off from the land as we deserve, but reserve a place for Christian America where we might govern ourselves in peace and righteousness according to your Word.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen
This is some beautiful stuff. You remind me of my pastor, who often preaches in a kind and pleading voice, “So let us repent…”