To read part three click here.
Continuing to look through the old testament at the concepts of sin and punishment. Building off the idea that sin is a stepping out of the will of God and into the will of the devil. When we do this we in fact punish ourselves. We make the choice to step out of God's plan that is life and righteousness and in turn we step into the devil's plan of distortion and death. We have also been discussing that when we sin it effects all that we have dominion over...creation, humanity, the devil and ourselves. If you are totally lost it may help to read the prior blogs. :D
When we meet Abraham in Genesis 12 we learn quite quickly that he is a righteous man who has relationship with God. (At this time his name is actually Abram but that's another story. We will just call him Abraham to simplify) We also in chapter 12 meet his nephew Lot. They have been traveling and living together. But they come to a piece of land that is unable to feed both of their herds. We also learn that their workers or herdsmen are not getting along. So they decide to go their separate ways. Abraham leaves to the high country of Hebron and Lot to the plains of Sodom.
Genesis 14 give a great snapshot of the constant battles between the people groups of this time. Remember this is before the "Israelites" even exist. But the devil was already getting very good at stealing man's dominion and causing his will to come to past. Death and destruction. It is during one of these battles that Abraham's nephew Lot gets carried off as a prisoner. Abraham hears of this and sends a rescue party. The rescue is a success and upon return Abraham runs into two very different kings. Melchizedek king of Salem is a righteous man who has relationship with God and the king of Sodom who does not. To honor the king of Salem Abraham gives him a tenth of the spoils. The king of Sodom sees this gesture and says to Abraham "give me the people and keep the goods for yourself." Gen. 14:21 Notice Abraham's response "I have raised my hand to God...I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or strap from your sandal..." Gen. 14:22-23. Can you see the battle in the spirit here? Abraham is refusing to hand even a shred of his dominion to anything unrighteous. This is warfare. Lot on the other hand after just being rescued returns to Sodom. Sodom means burning.
A couple of chapters we find Abraham in his tent in a town called Hebron; which means fellowship. Abraham looks up to see God an two angels. Remember the spirit world and the natural world were nearly one in the same in ancient times. As soon as Abraham sees them he bows down in respect and invites them to stay for a feast. He gets Sarah to make bread from the best flour. He has one of his men kill the best calf. He brings other choice food to complete the feast to honor his guests. One funny note here...the Lord asks "Where is Sarah?" when she is standing just a few feet away. Remember in Eden? "Where are you?" or with Cain "Where is your brother?" Sarah has a lacking relationship with God. So even though she is in the presence of God; He can sense the separation of her spirit. So here they are feasting with Abraham having a little chit chat. Then God says "the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin is grievous." Gen 18:20 Robert Alter's commentary for this verse notes two things:
1) the Hebrew word here for "outcry" "is often associated...with the shrieks of torment of the oppressed."
2) the Hebrew text reads "the outcry of Sodom..." not "the outcry against Sodom..." This is how it reads in the KJV as well.
Now is this sounding at all familiar from the last blog? Remember the outcry of torment of the people prior to the flood. It was so bad that Lamech even names his son Noah; which means comfort. See how the devil was once again using the dominion he gained from man to twist and distort God's created? These people on a physical level were engaged in "grievous sin" but even still their spirits were crying out in torment. Isn't the devil twisted! This is the spiritual battle of good vs evil.
So Abraham catches on pretty quick that these cities, five in all, were to be destroyed. He bargains with God not to destroy the cities if at least 10 righteous people are found. Abraham is trying to save his nephew Lot. God agrees and sends the two angels to Sodom to check things out. Lot happens to be at the front gate when the angels arrive. When he sees them he too bows down in respect and invites them to his home for something to eat. So what feast does Lot prepare? Flat bread. Flat bread and cheese? NO. Flat bread and meat? NO. Flat bread and wine? NO. Flat bread and beer? NO. Just flat bread. A far cry from the feast or shall we say offering that his uncle had prepared. Think relationship or lack there of. So while they are eating "all the men from every part of the city-both young and old-surrounded the house." Gen 19:4. Kinda sounds like the all encompassing wickedness of the people prior to the flood doesn't it.
So "all the men" it turns out want to have sex with the new men in town. Makes you wonder if Lot got the same treatment when he moved in. If he did...makes you wonder why he is still living there. Anyways...Lot in his demented sinful mind offers the huge group of men outside his two virgin daughters instead. What a loser huh! Well the men of Sodom are not satisfied with that offer and try to break into the house. The angels strike the men of Sodom with blindness...a physical blindness to mirror what was obviously a spiritual blindness. Lot's name by the way means "covering or veil" in the bad sense. The angels then have to basically drag Lot and his family from the city before it is destroyed. I think they really would have preferred to stay. They are totally clueless as to how wicked things are there and don't really believe the cities are to be destroyed. Total deception till the death is a specialty of the devil.
Now I would like to note here that sexual deviation was not the only sin of Sodom. In fact I believe the sexual deviation was just secondary to the underling often deep rooted sin. Ezechiel 16:49 says "This was the sin of Sodom...she was arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and the needy." Think of these things on a spiritual level. A spirit of pride, a spirit of lust, and a spirit of broken will. Sodom was immersed in the wicked schemes of the devil because they had given away their dominion. A broken will breeds complacency and it is always a door for the devil to come in and take over. So just like the flood the wickedness of the devil is destroyed by the righteousness of God. The fact that a total loser like Lot was considered righteous enough to be spared gives a good picture of how unrighteous the others in those towns were. I also think it was because Lot was related to the righteousness of Abraham if only by a small thread. Remember Abraham was the one who interceded for Lot. So lets check our sin/dominion formula...
Creation-Fire and brimstone (or pitch) Gen. 19:24
Vegetation of the land destroyed Gen. 19:25
Humanity-The outcry of Sodom is great & the sin grievous Gen. 18:20
The Devil-Total dominion via the broken will of the people Eze 16:49
Man himself-Death by total disassociation with righteousness
Is this starting to make sense? I hope so.
Sad to say this story ends much in the way that it ended for Noah. Lot even after being rescued from Sodom does not seek God or righteousness. The angels implore him to flee to the high country. I think spiritual they were saying "Get back to the righteousness in Hebron. Get close to God! Take charge of your dominion!" But Lot doesn't listen. Days later we find him drunk in a cave(wandering) and having sex with his daughters. It sounds like the pride, lust and broken will of Sodom had claimed another victim even after the physical cites had been consumed. The devil was still on the prowl for dominion and man was falling for it. The battle of good vs evil continued. Click here to read part five.