OK, trivia question time. Why did God judge Sodom? The answer we usually think of is actually fifth on the list.
“Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. “And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit. (Ezekiel 16:49-50 NKJV)
Pride. This is the first reason given. It’s safe to say God hates pride. Perhaps because one of his angels got into a lot of trouble for this very sin (Read Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28). But what kind of pride could Sodom have had? Perhaps it would be clearer to put a modern view on it. “Good old American know-how”. That was their problem. They had not given credit to God for their good fortunes and instead began to believe they themselves had accomplished so much. Just as in this country we have sadly abandoned God in our schools and government, an instead rely on ourselves. Today people even believe our founding fathers who formed this country did not believe in God!
But God takes this issue of pride very seriously. Just a few examples will get across the idea. First, from the book of Acts
So on a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat on his throne and gave an oration to them. And the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” Then immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten by worms and died. (Acts 12:21-23)
Herod didn’t give the glory to God, and suffered the punishment for it. In the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar had a similar problem as king of Babylon.
All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! (Daniel 4:28-31)
God takes pride very seriously.
Fullness of food. The meaning of the original Hebrew here (I’ve been told, since I don’t know Hebrew) is the sensation of being stuffed but not satisfied. While there is the obvious meaning here of food (consider how many “weight loss” programs are around), consider also the continual lust for more possessions in general. Things like “What kind of car you drive tells others what kind of person you are, so drive the latest Lexus, Mercedes, Acura, etc.” And next year, the new models will be out, so don’t be caught driving a year old car! Sadly in this country we have a ravenous appetite for everything, and yet we are never satisfied.
Abundance of idleness. Today we seem to have such an obsession with idle time. We are told to go on more vacations, and relax more - remember you’ve earned it! But remember God’s rule - work six days, and on the seventh rest. Today in this country we’ve gone from working hard to hardly working. And as we get more computers and gadgets, the reason we are told to buy them is to increase our leisure time. Many people also feel working 40 hours a week is too much, and are trying to get the work week changed to 30 hours or less. But one of God’s problems with Sodom was abundance of idleness, and as we shall soon see, what they did in their idle time.
Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. Here also, our country’s thoughts are only for themselves. Just as we are striving to satiate our own needs, we continually ignore the needy in our country. It’s always the other guy’s problem to help, and of course the government. But we have distorted this idea. This does NOT mean to give free handouts to everyone who wants them. Paul destroys that idea in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” Clearly the idea of work was important. Some in the Thessalonian church had become lazy, and Paul corrects them. But we also have an obligation and duty to help others who are less fortunate than us. Just make sure we are acting according to Biblical teaching.
And last on the list is they committed abomination before Me. While this is last on the list, it’s usually the first thing we think of with Sodom (see Genesis chapter 19). Obviously they had serious sexual perversion, and God says that’s wrong (in spite of the modern politically correct thought). I don’t want to dwell on this too much here, just to note the Bible is clear on this issue. If you have any doubts, read the end of Romans chapter one.
So the question is, why do we only think of the last reason on the list? Let’s assume all these problems are equally bad, why do we only remember one? Perhaps because most of us don’t have a problem with the last one. However, the first four most of us could identify with. So by conveniently ignoring 80% of the list, we make ourselves feel better. Which is, of course, the sin of Pride, which is listed first.
Notice also the current condition of our country fits these conditions almost perfectly. Once again we as a country mainly only focus on the last reason, but the others are just as equally apparent in our society. As Billy Graham says,
If God does not judge America for her sins, he will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.