It’s been quite a while since I checked up on my Bible Stories. The reason for this was partly intentional, and not just necessarily because I was distracted by other subjects and events that I may have considered more important to lend my voice to, as the case may be, but rather because of the sensitive nature of the passage that was going to be my next missive.
The most of the bone of contention has to do really with the approach I would employ in qwertying my thoughts on this passage seeing that the last time I wrote on a similar and/or related issue it met with some backlash which I’m sure would’ve earned me some physical assault had it not been that my view was aired on social network media and most of the respondents didn’t know me or couldn’t reach me personally and physically.
In my last message I wrote on how three men came to pay Abraham a visit, they eventually made him a promise that he will have a son by his aged wife Sarah (who on learning of this couldn’t hold back her laughter). Apparently, that wasn’t the only reason they’d come to that part of town, infact they had another errand to go and do in Sodom and Gomorrah. Recall that that was the place Lot had chosen when he decided to part ways with Abraham owing to the constant bickering amongst their herdsmen, because of the lush greenery and well watered pasture.
These visitors of which we established that one was The Almighty YAHWEH decided to hint Abraham of their intended business in Sodom and Gomorrah reasoning that considering his rising profile as one that “…. shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him” as in Genesis 18:18, the business of the sort they were planning to carry out shouldn’t be hidden from him.
I will deviate a bit to focus on an important quality that YAHWEH found with Abraham, as stated in verse 19 of the same chapter, where HE says of Abraham: “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of YAHWEH, to do justice and judgement; that YAHWEH may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Recall that this was said of Abraham at a time he had no child, well, there was Ishmael but YAHWEH’s promise of the one child (of Promise) through his wife Sarah, was yet to be fulfilled.
It is instructive to note that while YAHWEH could vouch for Abraham as to how good a parent he would be, especially teaching his children HIS way in a manner as to bring glory to YAHWEH, this same man was denied the joy of a child for the most of his adult years. It is easy to read these things from the outside and take consolation from the fact that Abraham eventually had Isaac, who sired Jacob and Esau, of which Jacob later Israel, became the great nation YAHWEH promised Abraham his children will be, but it could be very tortuous to live under the kind of persevering condition Abraham and Sarah had to endure.
I highlighted this because it is common in our day to connect prosperity in all aspects of life to mean that one is in good terms with his creator, when in actual facts that is totally far from the truth, because sometimes those that YAHWEH has interest in may find their path actually rougher than their peers of whom YAHWEH has no such interest. In preparing such people for some tasks he makes them go through situations that will prepare them for that great responsibility, it is the lack of understanding most times, that make people fall away, miss their calling ultimately and veer off the path that would have seen them fulfilling the will of YAHWEH. Interestingly, they may then do so very well outside of HIS banner, but will miss the blessings associated with doing YAHWEH’s will for which for instance we still hear about Israel (and the contributions they’ve made- and continue to make- to human civilization over millennia) today, but not of Esau or his offsprings, who when Jacob was still serving Laban had already raised Dukes as children.
If I don’t return to the nut I was meant to chew at this juncture it’ll be difficult for me to convince anyone that I’m not working hard to evade tackling the issue at hand. However, I find it imperative not to overlook a salient point when it occurs even in the midst of a bigger subject. It is the lesson to be learnt in this that is important, and having made this clarification let us continue to navigate through the main bone of contention (hopefully, I won’t find another subject compelling enough to make me deviate from path).
So, back to the story. YAHWEH said to Abraham, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their SIN is grievous, I will go down now and see whether their deeds are as bad as the reports which have come to me. If not, I will know.” – Genesis 18: 20-21. The “sin” in this case for which YAHWEH was contemplating destroying the lands in question is a source of controversy each time this part of the Bible comes up for discussion, because no mention of the particular sin(s) is/are made, save for the next chapter where one could glean from an event that happened there, an idea of the kind of sin that was pervasive in the place. It is considered that there must be a/some particular sin(s) they were committing that was more grievous than those others elsewhere were committing, the reason for which some kind of punishment never before witnessed was been contemplated for them.
In Jude Chapter 1 verse 7, the writer describes the sin committed in Sodom and Gomorrah to be that of “…. sexual immorality and going after strange flesh,…”, rendered as “fornication and going after strange flesh” in the King James Version, KJV, as “…sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire…” in the New English Translation, NET, and as “…sexual sins and pursued homosexual activities…”, in The International Standard Version, ISV. It would appear that what set them apart was the, GOING AFTER STRANGE FLESH, or UNNATURAL DESIRE, or as succinctly put in the ISV as HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITIES. If it is so, then it must be for this sin that the people were thus punished.
On learning of their intentions, Abraham elected to play the devil’s advocate. “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?”, he asked YAHWEH, “Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the righteous that are therein?”. YAHWEH told Abraham he wouldn’t destroy Sodom if he found fifty righteous within the city, and when Abraham kept prodding him over the fate of forty-five, forty, thirty, twenty, even ten righteous should they be found in the city, YAHWEH retorted, “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake”, thereafter YAHWEH left.
In chapter 19 of Genesis only two angels arrived in Sodom at evening and met Lot at the city gate. Lot on seeing them beseeched them to come stay the night with him and his family, to which they reluctantly agreed.
Sooner had these strangers settled down than the people of the city surrounded Lot’s house asking that his visitors be brought out to them so that they might know them. This request ordinarily shouldn’t pose any problem, and actually harmless till you consider Lot’s response – “I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly (It would appear that the men of the city intended to KNOW the strangers in such a way that can be interpreted as such). Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man (virgins); let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes ( considering all that Lot had inferred, one could guess that what the men may do to his daughters will be an activity of a sexual nature): only unto these men do nothing;” – Genesis chapter 19 verse 7-8.
The men rejected Lot’s offer, insisting that the strangers be brought out before them, promising harsher punishments for having the audacity to question them, been a sojourner and not indigenous in the first place. It was when the men approached Lots’ abode to forcefully gain entrance to have their way, that the angels who had visited Lot, and had kept to themselves all the while, caused the horde to become blind. Afterwards, the angels asked Lot to take all he had, family and all, and leave the city, “For we will destroy this place….”. Lot’s intention to save his would-be in-laws was met with derision (unlike Noah’s in-laws who heeded their father-in-law’s advice and saved their lives earlier on in the time of the GREAT FLOOD).
The angels held Lot, his wife and two daughters and escorted them out of the city, warning them sternly not to look behind them but rather to escape to the mountains. Lot’s fear of what may befall him in the mountains made him opt for a neighbouring city to which he ran with his family to, once the angels granted his request to so do. That city, they named Zoar.
Once Lot was safely there, “YAHWEH rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire out of heaven (YAHWEH had promised Noah that he would no longer destroy the earth by means of a deluge, and this might well be a test run for the much awaited apocalypse); and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But Lot’s wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of SALT.”- Genesis chapter 19 verse 24-26.
Many have pondered as to what must’ve motivated the decision of Lot’s wife to look back, and the consensus seem to be that she cared about all that they left behind. Recall the reason why Lot and his family came to Sodom (and Gomorrah) in the first place, and they didn’t arrive there poor or without property but rather much to the contrary. It must’ve been heartbroken for her, as would the rest of her family and as would any of us had we been in her shoes to have to hastily leave all those behind even in escape for ones life. Unfortunately, her disobedience cost her dearly, while Lot’s lack of foresight cost him everything in choosing Sodom simply because the grass (pasture for his cattle) was more lush on that part of the divide.
Now, to the more controversial part of this missive. It is established beyond doubt that the SIN talked about, as relating to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah was HOMOSEXUALITY. That behaviour must’ve been abhorrent to the people of the time (as is still with many today), and appears to have been a recent behaviour (in those days), probably considered the “worst” of sins to commit at the time.
There are several behaviours, norms, mores, even bits of culture considered norm and right back in the day that are considered or viewed negatively today, SLAVERY for instance is an example of such.
YAHWEH also has shown capacity to change or repent (“…. and it “repented” YAHWEH that he had made man on the earth…”- Genesis 6:6, the same man, the last of HIS creation of which HE said was GOOD for instance) as the case may be, HE remains the ultimate judge of all, and I do not see how homosexuality could be more grievous than say murder, and sexual immorality such as fornication and adultery of which partakers have been promised a date in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.
Interestingly, in the African nations where laws are now being made to punish LGBT’s, the rulers, elites, many of which sponsored these laws launder most of their ill-gotten wealth (stolen from their country’s coffers) to the west, to countries where not only is gay relationships permitted, but even gay marriage. They even spend their holidays there without fear that the Almighty will soon visit his wrath ‘pon them, while hoodwinking the already impoverished masses (by reason of their bad governance/rule) of their nations with threats of divine anger (citing the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as example) should such be permitted. These are the laws they would rather spend time passing, rather than ones that will positively impact on the lives of the masses they claim to serve.
I will stop here for now!