The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

Sodom and Gomorrah: why were they destroyed? (PDF) PDF version

Sodom and Gomorrah: why were they destroyed?

Sodom and Gomorrah are two well known places in the Bible. Sodom was the place where Lot, Abraham's brother, initially choose to dwell. Regarding the area, Genesis 13:10 tells us that it was "well watered everywhere ......... like the garden of the Lord". Evidently, it was a very rich and fertile land. Its people were probably wealthy and their welfare level was high relative to other areas. They did not have food or water shortages as their land was fertile and well watered. It was these characteristics that attracted Lot and made him to choose this place to dwell. As Genesis 13:10 tells us: Lot "lifted his eyes and saw", making his choice according to what he saw. However, what we may see by "lifting our eyes", though may look excellent, it may not be what the Lord sees with His own eyes (I Samuel 16:7). And really, what Lot saw, was greatly different of what the Lord saw by looking into the hearts. Really, in Genesis 13:13 we read:

Genesis 13:13
"But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the Lord"

Though what the Lot saw was an excessively fertile land, what the Lord saw was an excessively dirty heart. As He says in Genesis 18:20:

Genesis 18:20
"Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave"

At the end, after the Lord saved Lot, He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. When Lot was leaving Sodom, the advice of the Lord was the exact opposite of what he had done in the beginning:

Genesis 19:17
"so it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he [the angel of the Lord] said, "Escape for your life! DO NOT LOOK BEHIND..."

When Lot choose Sodom as his dwelling place, he made his choice after he "lifted his eyes and saw". Now he was to flee and "never look behind". After Lot left, the Lord destroyed the area.

However, what was the sin of Sodom? Ezekiel 16:49-50 tells us what the Lord saw:

Ezekiel 16:49-50
"Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: she and her daughter HAD PRIDE, FULNESS OF FOOD, AND ABUNDANCE OF IDLENESS; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit"

It impressed me greatly when I saw that "fullness of food and abundance of idleness [rest]" were, together with pride, among the things that composed "the iniquity of Sodom"1. And though pride is generally rejected, at least outwardly, this does not happen with the other two: the fullness of food and the abundance of rest. In contrast, these are many times considered, even by Christians, as aims. Of course we do not say that we should be weary and hungry. What we say though is that fullness of food and abundance of rest, in contrast to what the world says: ARE NOT things we should pursue after. In contrast, what we should pursue is the Lord, His Word and His purposes. The center and the purpose of our life is not idleness and riches but to do the will of God. To know and make known the Father and His wonderful Son the Lord Jesus Christ. As Sodom ceased to exist, this world will also one day cease to exist. And as the Lord took Lot out of that place and then He destroyed it, so also He will take us out of this world, before He does the same to it.

Let's us therefore be ready and watchful. The Lord is coming. And "as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed..... ....Remember Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it." (Luke 17:28-33).

Anastasios Kioulachoglou