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This Morning in the Word: Where did the cries come from?

January 10, 2011
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Where did the cries come from?

 

Genesis 18:20  – 19:38

 The Lord visited Abraham and Sarah and delivered News – good news for the cause of righteousness and bad news for Sodom and Gomorrah. God was intent on destroying Sodom and he told Abraham why. “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me.” (19:13 echoes those same words.)

 The news is so catastrophic that we can easily miss a really necessary question – Where did the cries against Sodom come from? Who dared speak up? Who knew what was happening and decided not to remain silent? Or were human voices fearfully silent? Were the cries heard by God echoes of the very evil deeds themselves?

 One thing we do know, it was not Lot’s voice that was lifted in protest against the wickedness. Lot had sunk progressively into the heart of that pagan culture; he was totally immersed. The progression of his spiritual destruction is undeniable. Remember that he had chosen to move his family and business toward Sodom. (13:12) Next we read that he “lived in Sodom.” (14:12) Finally, we find him “sitting at the gate” of the city. (19:1) That phrase tells us that Lot held a position of leadership, of influence in that notorious place. First he was tainted by godlessness as he had close association with that culture, then he cooperated with the idolaters as he learned to accommodate that value system, and finally he initiated the evil and led others toward this indulgent destructive way of life. His voice was not crying out to God for cleansing and rescue from that culture – he was contributing to it!

 

When we read through these chapters it is clearly evident that the wicked goings-on in that city were common place. Violence and intimidating force were not necessarily even events of notice. It was common knowledge that it wasn’t safe for visitors to stay in the town square overnight. When the men of the city surrounded Lot’s house and demanded that he release the visitors into their hands, he offered to send out his virgin daughters instead – without even hesitating. As if it were common place for mobs to impose such heinous demands on the citizens of that town!  As if that were a lesser evil to send your own daughters into such an atrocious circumstance?!?

 

(Remember that Lot was rescued, not because of his righteousness, but because God “remembered Abraham” and was merciful. See 19:29)

 

This was not exactly a safe environment for raising a voice against the cultural norms! Where did the “cry against Sodom” come from?

 

  • Is it possible that some person did cry out to God to intervene?
  • Had someone reached their capacity to accept that “It’s just the way it is.”
  • Was there someone who had grown weary of enduring dark deeds in silence?
  • Was there someone who believed that there was a God in heaven who cared about justice and loved mercy?
  • Was there someone who believed that there was a just King who would hear their cries and respond?
  • Did someone cry out?
  • Or did the clamor of the deeds themselves cry out because no human voice dared to go against the norms?

 

 I can’t help but wonder: What was the source of the cries against the grievous sin of this self-indulgent place?

 

We are not told of any person in Sodom who cried out for righteousness and rescue. Biblical silence on that point turns our hearts to examine ourselves.

 

  • If I had been there, would I have been such a voice?
  • How much does it take for us to raise our voices?
  • How quick are we to break the silence when we encounter evil?
  • How often do we cry out for the Lord to intervene against wickedness?
  • Do we accommodate the diverse forms of godlessness in our culture?
  • Do we close our eyes and ears and appease the commonplace evil?
  • Do we let fear restrict our responses?

 

Are we even aware when the norm is contrary to the character of God and His way of grace?

 

Do we realize that we are all vulnerable to the process of being tainted, then cooperating, and even  contributing to the culture that lifts high the name of man and human desires rather than God?

 

May it be our habit to cry out for rescue and righteousness!

 

Prayer from Proverbs 2:6-15 and Psalm 8:1,9

Oh, Lord, God Most High, creator of heaven and earth, I beg You to give me wisdom. From your mouth come the knowledge and understanding that I need so desperately. I believe that you hold victory in store for the upright, that you are a shield to those who walk is blameless, that you guard the course of the just and protect the way of your faithful ones. Make me such a person.

 

By your grace, cause me to understand what is right and just and fair – to recognize and pursue every good path. By Your Spirit cause wisdom to enter my heart and knowledge to be pleasant to my soul. As you have promised, may discretion protect me and understanding guard me.

 

I bask in security and peace because you have promised that wisdom will save me from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.

 

Oh, Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kirk Williams permalink
    January 11, 2011 3:07 pm

    Wow. From whom did those cries come? I’ve never thought about it before. I wonder if those cries came from the innocents that were being mistreated (probably a grossly misused word in this case). I say that as I think of Abel’s blood crying from the ground after Cain murdered him. (Gen. 4:10). Also, Pslam 9:12 says he does not ignore the cries of the afllicted.

    Not all who are involved in evil acts are willing participants. Case in point: the “men” who came to visit Lot just prior to the destruction of S & G. The townsmen demanded Lot turn them over for dispicable puproses and Lot refused but offered his virgin daughers instead! Can you imagine?!? Further, can you imagine that the townsmen refused the offer outright? That, my friend, is evil to the core.

    It leads me to the conclusion that the voices of the afflicted are still being heard by and almighty God. Voices of abused spouses and children. Voices of unborn infants ripped from their mother’s wombs. Voices of the neglected poor. Voices of believers pursecuted and killed for their faith. You get the idea. I absolutely believe we are to raise our voices on their behalf but even if we don’t, He still hears and his vengeance is sure.

    By the way, I missed your posts during your break :-).

    Kirk

    • January 11, 2011 6:37 pm

      That idea of things “crying out to God” is a really good study! Isn’t there wonderfully rich hope in Psalm 9:12?! I do have great concern that Christians are known to cry out against things in the world around us and all the while we leave our own house woefully unattended. We do not always represent Him well in the way that we do life together as a community of people supposedly in covenant with God.
      Thanks for your patience with me as I “took some quiet to see what my soul was wearing.”

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