Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 4
SODOM AND GOMORRAH
Take your Bible and trace the references with us. I want you to be able to study and understand how exciting it really is. My desire is to teach the Bible in such a way you can take it into a Sunday school class, or enlighten some people regarding Spiritual things. Now to Genesis Chapter 19. In our last chapter we saw Lot, who had left his uncle Abraham up in the mountains, and he pitched his tent toward Sodom. Here, Lot is a perfect illustration of a backslidden, carnal believer. The Bible calls him a believer, which is hard to imagine, but we’ll look at the Scripture that prove he was.
Lot has not only pitched his tent toward Sodom, but he is in Sodom. He has been so much a part of the city that he has become one of the city leaders. He is sitting at the gate, which indicates his important position. Back in Chapter 18, two angels had accompanied The Lord. Although they appeared as three men, it was The Lord and two angels. The two angels have now approached Lot at the gate. It is almost sundown. Lot, realizing what the people of Sodom will attempt to do to two strange men, quickly invites the men into his own home. I mentioned before this gesture indicated the hospitality that Abraham also showed back in Chapter 18. More than that, however, Lot realizes what may happen. So he invites them in, but they refuse. My closing remark in the last chapter was, “How would you like to be in Lot’s shoes?” knowing what would befall these men if they spent the night in the street. Lot now says:
“And he said, `Behold now, my lords (`lords’ here being merely a term of address), turn in, I pray you, into your servants house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways.’ And they said, `Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.’ And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.”
The unleavened bread must have some significance. The only thing I can surmise is that Lot associates this unleavened bread with his spiritual state of believing. I can’t be sure. But unleavened bread, especially in the Law, indicates something special – the absence of sin is always represented by leaven.
“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:”
We can’t imagine a city that had the moral climate of Sodom. We may have areas that are getting close, but at least does not envelope an entire city. However, Sodom is not nearly the size of San Francisco or New York. But Sodom had come to the place where the whole population was wrapped up in this immoral lifestyle.
“And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, `Where are the men which came in to thee this night (see how fast the news spread)? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.'”“Know them'” is the Scriptural term for intimate relations. They actually wanted these two men for their lustful purposes. “And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,”
Lot stepped out on the front stoop and began to plead with this crowd of Sodomites. This shows us how far down the ladder Lot had slipped. I have a hard time comprehending how he deals with these ungodly citizens of Sodom, saying:
“And said, `I pray you (or beg you), brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man;…'”
Lot’s girls were probably late teenagers – young, virgin women. Imagine a father willing to throw his daughters “to the wolves.” He said, “You can have them, but leave these two men alone.”
“…let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, `Stand back.’ And they said again, `This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge (meaning Lot. They know he’s an outsider who came in long after Sodom had been established. They are castigating him for taking a place of authority when he never was really one of them): now will we deal worse with thee, than with them.’ And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.”
I think Lot’s life was in danger. In spite of offering his own daughters, his own life was in danger. So the angels use their power.
“But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.”
For years I would almost try to circumvent Chapter 19. I didn’t even like to bring it up, especially in a mixed class. Now it is in every page of our newspapers and magazines. We are being confronted with the `so-called’ alternative lifestyle of the homosexual. Beloved, the Scripture never gives it that much credibility. It is not an alternative lifestyle: it is wickedness, an abomination, and sinful to the ‘nth degree. For that reason God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. There may be those who say, “Wait a minute – this is Old Testament!” Well, let’s see what the New Testament says. Turn to Romans Chapter 1, which doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Paul is writing to the Gentiles, but he could very well be writing to us now.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;”
We are living in the time Paul refers to as the Age of Grace. Paul makes it clearly evident that where sin abounds, grace is always greater. I want to say to any homosexual that homosexuality is still a sin that the grace of God can overcome. Things have not changed in that God hates the sin, but loves the sinner. Never lose sight of that. Look at what Paul says here, “The wrath of God is revealed against ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” The truth here refers to the Word of God. I don’t care how sophisticated men may claim to be. (When I use the word men, I’m indicating the whole human race.)
Several years ago I was reading a magazine that had a lady editor. The magazine had an article written by a lady. I use the term loosely. In describing activities in New York City, she made a derogatory statement regarding those of us in rural America; saying that we couldn’t comprehend that kind of lifestyle because we’re not as sophisticated as they. I’m a farmer, and I make no apologies for it. I’ve been acquainted with barnyard morality since I was old enough to walk. Yet, our country has reached the place where the people who live a barnyard morality are the ones who think they are sophisticated. They’re not sophisticated. They’re right down in the mud. We have to look at what the Bible says, not what sociologists say. I don’t care what the psychologists say. The only thing that counts is the truth of The Word of God, and the truth of the Word of God is that God hates sin. People try to explain away homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle, but the Bible says it is sin. Continue with verse 21. Read the surrounding verses at your leisure.
“Because that, when they (the human race, who have always had a witness) knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened (by a judicial act of God, believe it or not). Professing themselves to be wise (educated with degrees behind their names; but as far as God is concerned…), they became fools,”
When so-called highly intellectual people spout these ridiculous statements, don’t be shocked. Is exactly what God says will happen. In verse 23 we have the downward progression. I think it is safe to say that in Romans Chapter 1 we have not only the track record of the human race in general, but empire after empire in particular; then to nations in particular, and finally the individual.
“And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”
This began at the Tower of Babel when idolatry and worship of images arose. It has been downhill ever since. Empires have started with something better than that, and they, too, end up on this downward track. Verse 24 tells us that when mankind began to turn his back on the One True God and began to worship idols, and things made with men’s hands (watch the language), then…
“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:”
God gave them up. That is an `act.’ He didn’t give them up to something higher; He gave them up to something lower. So He gave them up to uncleanness. When I teach Romans verse by verse, I indicate that in verse 25 we still have immorality heterosexually (between the sexes). In verse 26 we see yet another step downward.
“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:”
This is just plain English! God gave them up again, not to what might be considered `common immorality’ between the sexes, but this time to a lower level – to `vile affections.’
“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly (unnatural), and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”
You can’t explain this away. Yet, we have denominations having problems whether or not they want this kind of people in the pulpit! We have to call sin, sin! The Bible does! I’m still being loving. I want you to remember that God hates the sin, but He loves the sinner. God is ready in a moment to offer Salvation to them. In verse 28, this becomes the whole preoccupation in their thinking.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (natural or normal);”
Verse 29 gives a vivid description of their community. This is what Sodom was, and this is what any community will become when homosexuality takes over and becomes the norm.
Romans 1:29 & 32
“Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication (immorality), wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,” Those are sober words. Now verse 32.
“Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
One commentary says they applaud (have pleasure in them). The Greek seems to imply that not only do they agree with that kind of lifestyle, they actually promote it and applaud those who practice it. Enough said. In II Peter, Chapter 2 we get still another picture of the environment of Sodom with regard to Lot. Some of you may ask how in the world I can make a statement to the effect that Lot is a believer. Well, I don’t make it, The Bible does. I can’t understand it but I don’t argue with The Book. This chapter deals with false teachers who have turned their backs on the truth of the Word of God. They are increasing, and no doubt we are living in the days of apostasy. Peter, in verse 1, is addressing these false teachers. Let’s go to verse 5:
II Peter 2:5
“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly (we had much the same thing in Genesis Chapter 6);”
I’ve learned to be very, very careful. If I put a word in verse 5 and it’s not there, I’ll get calls telling me that I’m adding to the Scripture. I’m not adding to, I’m clarifying because God is used in verse 4, and the same God is referred to in verse 5.
II Peter 2:6
“And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow (for what purpose?), making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;”
People better wake up. God is still the God of Heaven. God has not changed, and what He has previously done as an example, He is ready to do again.
II Peter 2:7
(In the process of destroying Sodom and Gomorrah…) “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:”
(1) `Just’ doesn’t mean only as we would use the term, it means `that justified,” `that righteous’ man as it says in verse 8.
(2) Lot was `vexed.’ You bet it bothered him, but he continued to overlook it. He was vexed with the filthy conversation, the manner of living, the behavior (all words out of the Greek).
II Peter 2:8
“(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”
How can Lot be righteous? He was a believer. He believed what Jehovah said as Abraham had believed, so the Scripture declares him a righteous man in spite of all he’s agreed to. I don’t know if Lot practiced Sodom’s lifestyle, but he was interwoven with it for monetary gain and his sumptuous lifestyle. But he was vexed in his righteous soul from day to day with the Sodomites’ unlawful deeds. I don’t know how you can make that mean anything different.
A verse comes to mind. Turn to Revelation 9. I’ve mentioned that I’m not a date setter. I don’t know what year The Lord is going to return, but I know that in the light of all that is taking place around the globe it is getting close. We’ll see wickedness and unbelief continue to mushroom. We can be a tiny voice in the wilderness, so to speak. Even in my small effort we are reaching people. I have been privileged to see hundreds of people get interested in The Word, and a fair number come to know The Lord. But for the most part, we will see the world wax worse and worse. Revelation 9 comes right out of the Tribulation period, when the judgments of God are being poured out on the human race. I point this out to show that what was described in Romans is a perfect picture of end-time humanity. Although some of the judgments have already been poured out on them and a goodly percentage of the earth’s population is already gone, the next Scripture says:
“Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication (immorality), nor of their thefts.”
The word `sorceries’ in the Greek is `pharmakeia.’ Unfortunately they translate that word as `sorceries.’ What word do we get from `pharmakeia’? Pharmacy. And what is pharmacy? Drug. So it is going to be a world literally saturated with a drug culture. Just recall any account you have read in Readers Digest, or any magazine, about particular events which took place as a result of drugs, and what have you got? Exactly what you have here! People on drugs have to steal to support their habit. In the process of stealing they’ll murder whoever they have to murder. Along with that they come into gross immorality of all sorts. This will continue to mushroom until the whole world is living under that kind of environment. Aren’t you glad the Scripture gives us hope that there is an end to it? I am. If The Lord didn’t return, it would get worse than it was at the time of the Flood. Back in Genesis Chapter 6, murder was so prevalent that no one knew how they would live until their life was snuffed out. We’re getting closer to those sorts of things.
I think you can see why I would just as soon skip over Genesis 19. I don’t like to teach it, but it’s in the Book and we must. Remember that human nature hasn’t changed one iota. God hasn’t changed. The things that God hated back in the Old Testament, God still hates today. Just because we’re living under Grace and not under the Old Testament economy, that doesn’t change it that much. No matter how vile the sinner, God’s is still desirous to bring him to a knowledge of Himself.