SODOM AND GOMORRAH - Week of July 17th
By Judy NicholsJuly 17, 2016
SODOM AND GOMORRAH
I always thought of many of the cities named in the Bible as little tiny burgs of a few hundred people, or a few thousand at most. But I read recently that Sodom and Gomorrah and the other "cities of the plain" mentioned in Genesis 19 comprised a thriving metropolis of millions of people. In light of this, the destruction of those cities gives me pause to think about some of the more difficult sayings of Jesus.
In the Sermon on the Mount, he said, "The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few" (Matt. 7:13). And in Matt. 22:14 He said, "Many are called but few are chosen." Again, in Luke 13:23-24, someone questioned Him on this very topic, "‘Are there just a few who are being saved?’ And he said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.’"
I’ve always thought the population of heaven would far outnumber the population of hell and I hope it does. But I do have to wonder, in light of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and these hard sayings of Jesus.
If God would go so far as to spare millions for the sake of ten, I have to think it grieved His heart to have to destroy so many, consigning them to eternal separation from Himself. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 33:11).
To love is to make oneself vulnerable to being hurt. We see this played out every day in situations as small as, "I hate you, Mommy" from an angry toddler or as great as the violation of the marriage covenant. God is love; therefore God has made Himself vulnerable to pain. He demonstrates the principle Himself, even as we see it demonstrated in life.
As I consider the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the pain it must have caused God, I can hardly bear to imagine the anguish and grief He will feel at the Great White Throne judgment when He must consign multitudes to eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire.
This is the God we serve. He created, loves, and offers redemption to humankind. He forbears as we go our selfish way, even as it grieves Him to see us do so. He allows us the act of repentance so that our folly will not eternally doom us. Perhaps this is what Peter had in mind when he wrote, "Be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things [the character traits listed in the preceding five verses], you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you" (2 Peter 1:10-11).
© Judy Nichols 2016