Monday: read Genesis 18:16-21 and Psalm 103:1-12. The Bible requires two or three witnesses to establish the truth of any allegation of sin (Deuteronomy 19:15). Out of such a concern for truth, the Lord in Genesis 18:21 announces that He will add His pair of ‘eyes’ to that of the two angels whom He sends ahead (Gen. 18:16) to search out the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Such careful inquiry into the real state of Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin shows that God is careful in all His judgments, always waiting until the last possible moment before destroying sinners, in the hopes of finding even one who will repent.
Meditate and Pray: Thank God that He is slow to anger and abundant in mercy. When you are hurt by the sins of others, or when news reaches your ears about the grievous sins of others – use Psalm 103:10 to plead God’s patience: ‘O Lord, do not treat us as our sins deserve, or repay us according to our iniquities.’
Tuesday: read Genesis 18:20-21 and Revelation 1:14-16. The God who is everywhere and knows all things uses human picture language in Gen. 18:20-21 about ‘coming down’, ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ to underline that nothing escapes His notice. This same attribute of knowing all – called ‘omniscience’ – is shared by the Lord Jesus. In Revelation 1:14, He is described as having ‘eyes like blazing fire,’ denoting His power to penetrate and expose all the darkness of sin and to consume all those who refuse, like Sodom and Gomorrah, to forsake their dark, sinful ways.
Meditate and Pray: The men of Sodom are blinded in their sin (Gen. 19:11) as a sign that they are given up by God to the darkness in which they loved to live. Paul says that unbelievers today are also ‘blinded by the god of this age’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). Thank God with new appreciation for the spiritual sight that you have as a child of light – and praise Him that you have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness (Colossians 1:12-13).
Wednesday: read Genesis 6:3 and 18:20-21. God’s Spirit in Gen. 6:3 limits the time in which rebellious men could work their mischief by shortening life-spans to 120 years. He does not do this hastily or in a rage, but only (in His words), after ‘contending’ with sinful men for all the centuries since Adam and Eve. In the same way, the Lord Himself comes down in human form in Gen. 18:20-21 not only as a ‘detective’ to find out the extent of Sodom and Gomorrah’s sin but also as a loving witness to convict these cities’ inhabitants that time is quickly running out for them to turn and be saved. He has ‘contended’ with them long enough.
Meditate and Pray: Just as Noah ‘preached’ God’s righteousness for decades to his evil neighbors before the Flood (2 Peter 2:5), so God patiently pleaded with Sodom and Gomorrah through righteous men like Lot (Genesis 19) – all the way up to the day when He Himself came down to visit them one last time. Once again, ought we not to marvel at God’s patience with this sinful world? Let us confess our thankfulness for such grace and beware of the spirit of John and James who wanted to destroy sinners as quickly as possible instead of imitating Christ’s patience – see Luke 9:54-56.
Thursday: read Genesis 18:22-28 and Psalm 130:1-4. The place where Abraham pitched his tent (Mamre – Gen. 18:1) was holy ground, because the Lord Himself came there. Abraham responds to the Lord’s presence by ‘standing’ before the Lord in order to plead to God not to destroy the innocent along with the wicked (verses 22-25). But notice especially the humble frame of mind with which he prays. He confesses that he is mere ‘dust and ashes’ (Gen. 18:27). Abraham knows that no human can stand before God and demand anything when it comes to the human condition. Yet look at the bold grasp of God’s grace which Abraham holds onto – pleading with God as a ‘mere man’ for those in these two corrupt cities!
Meditate and Pray: Thank God for the honesty of Scripture: ‘If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?’ (Psalm 130:3) With such a realization, earnestly ask God to help you when you are tempted to keep a record of others’ sins against you. How sad that we often have each miscue and misdeed of others so well memorized as to recite it easily to others, but so easily forget that God Himself has ‘removed our sins as far as the east is from the west.’ (Psalm 103:12) If we dare to bring up the record of our sins to Him, He cannot remember what He has forgiven!
Friday: read Genesis 18:29-33 and Jude 20-23. We will see in next week’s devotions that the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah are of the deepest perversity and dye. Yet Abraham prays for the inhabitants of the city – in this way securing Lot’s rescue with his family in Gen. 19:15. Do we pray with tenderness for the perverse and the evil to be saved? Society insists on ever-increasing punishment for such criminals or explains away the crimes they commit as being the result of poverty or a bad home-life. But the Christian is to mourn with Abraham for the sins of others, and to intercede for the wicked to be saved – all the while ‘hating’ even the mere clothing polluted by such corrupt activities (Jude 23).
Meditate and Pray: Ponder how hard-hearted religion can become when prayer for the lost is forgotten. In Jesus’ day, the hard-hearted Pharisees grumbled at Jesus’ willingness to eat with sinners and resented our Lord’s efforts to see such sinners saved. They certainly never prayed for the lost. ‘Lord, grant us the Spirit of your Son, who, even while dying for our sins on the cursed cross, prayed: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ Move us also to say and feel with the Psalmist, ‘Streams of tears flow from my eyes for your law is not obeyed.’ (Psalm 119:136) Amen.