Gen. 18:20-22  Should they have known?

Gen. 18:20-22 "And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.  And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD." 

In this passage, the LORD sent the men (angels) to Sodom and Gomorrah to destroy the cities of the plain because of their wickedness.  The LORD said that their sin was very grievous.  The question before us is "Should the men of Sodom and Gomorrah have known that what they were doing was very grievous and that they were in danger of God's judgment because of their actions?"  "If so, then why should they have known?"  Up to this point in the scriptures we do not find any scripture where God had said, "Thou shalt not commit Sodomy." 

Even though the scriptures do not record up to this point that God had said "Thou shalt not commit Sodomy," yet the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were without excuse and should have known that what they were doing was wrong for the following reasons:

    1.  God gave the covenant of the law of marriage in the Garden of Eden saying, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."  Moreover, it is recorded in Gen. 1:27, 28 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."  Plainly, the Lord's commandment was for the man and woman to marry and to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.  Clearly, what the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were doing was completely contrary to what God commanded and to the marriage covenant of a man and a woman. 

The men of Sodom and Gomorrah could not reasonably argue that it had been so long since the creation that they could not be expected to know the marriage covenant that God had given to Adam and Eden.  Yet, the span of time from creation to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was within the consecutive lifetimes of three individuals: Adam, Methuselah, and Shem, who was still alive at the time of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    2.  The laws of nature which God put in motion when he created the heaven and the earth and all that was therein declare that the proper order is for a male and a female to live together and procreate.  Almost all the mammals in the world follow this pattern under the laws of God in that sexual relations are almost always in the animal kingdom between the male and the female. 

Moreover, the men of Sodom and Gomorrah should have known that they were in danger of God's judgment as they were living in the generation of Shem, the son of Noah, who came off the ark with Noah and was an eye witness of God's judgment of the gross wickedness of sin.

The men of Sodom and Gomorrah were without excuse for their gross wickedness. 

Gen. 18:23-33 Abraham Intercedes for Lot

Gen. 18:23 "And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. 30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. 32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. 33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place."

There are several important scriptural lessons taught in the above passage of scripture:

    1.  A society can become so corrupt that God will destroy it.

    2.  God's people have a preserving influence on the society in which they live.

    3.  Since God is the judge of all the earth and judges righteous judgment, how are Lot and anyone else righteous?

    4.  Abraham's intercession on behalf of Lot is similar to the Lord's intercession on behalf of his people on a daily basis.

First, Sodom and Gomorrah had become so corrupt in their living that there was no remedy for the deliverance of the cities from their wicked state.  In the day that Lot went to dwell in Sodom the Lord stated this concerning the men of Sodom: Gen. 13:12, 13 "Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.  But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly."  Next, we see that this wicked sin had completely pervaded the entire city of Sodom: Gen. 19:4 "But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:" Thus, the entire male population of that city both old and young had become sodomites with the exception of Lot.  In Ps. 9:17 we read, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." 

Second, God's people have a preserving influence on the society in which they live.  This is manifest in the fact that the Lord said that he would not destroy the city if there were but ten righteous within the city.  Also, the Lord said of the disciples in the New Testament: Mat. 5:13 "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."  One of the attributes of salt is that it has a preserving quality.  For instance, salt is a meat preservative.  Similarly, the disciples have a preserving quality in the society in which they live.  Like salt, the Lord's disciples have a flavoring influence and a preserving influence on the society in which they live.  Isaiah spoke by prophecy concerning Israel: Isa. 1:9 "Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah." 

Thirdly, since God is the judge of all the earth and judges righteous judgment, how are Lot and anyone else righteous?  When we look at the life of Lot we see a man who chose to live among the wicked.  He also sinfully offered his two daughters to the wicked men who surrounded his house instead of the two men who came to dwell with him that night.  Moreover, Lot after he and his daughters were delivered, through the enticements of his two daughters who encouraged his drunkenness and then lay with his two daughters and they brought forth sons of Lot.  These were not righteous actions.  However, we know that Lot was a righteous man because the scriptures tell us so: 2 Pet. 2:6-9 "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:" 

Since God judges righteous judgment, then how was Lot a righteous man?  Moreover, how are any of us righteous men?  According to the scriptures every sin and disobedience receives a just recompense of reward: Heb. 2:2 "For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward;"  Moreover, the wages of sin is death: Rom. 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  That death includes an eternal death which for the wicked is to be cast into the lake of fire for eternity. 

Under the law of sin and death we all have the same standing before God: Rom. 3:9, 10 " What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:"  This says that under the law of sin and death there is none righteous.  Thus, we again ask ourselves, "How is Lot righteous and how am I righteous?"  The answer is found in the covenant of redemption: Rom. 8:29, 30 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."  Under this covenant one of the five things that God did for the elect is justify them. 

Under the law of sin and death we were condemned before God because of sin.  Part of the judgment process is the execution of the penalty of sin.  The Old Testament teaches us the principle of "substitution atonement."  Jesus is the perfect substitute for the elect family of God.  He took upon himself our sins and was made to be sin for us.  He suffered God's wrathful judgment for our sins in our place.  God's wrath was satisfied on the cross as Christ suffered the fullness of God's wrath and then died for the elect.  Every sin of the elect was atoned for on the cross.  Moreover, the offering being accepted of the Father, we were imputed with the righteous of Christ: 2 Cor. 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."  It is because of this covenant work of Christ that Lot is declared righteous and I am declared righteous.

Fourthly, Abraham's intercession on behalf of Lot is similar to the Lord's intercession on behalf of his people on a daily basis.  The Lord interceded for his nephew Lot.  Christ intercedes for those who are kin to him by spiritual birth, adoption, and marriage.  We read of this intercession in Rom. 8:33, 34 "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."  That this intercession is a continual intercession we read in Heb. 7:24, 25 "But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.  Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." 

Moreover, in Rom. 8:26, 27 We read where both the Holy Spirit and Christ make intercession for us: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."