Tag Archives: Sodom

Is It Time to Give Up?

Jesus denounced the cities where most of his miracles were done. He said that it would be worse for them on the Day of Judgment than for notoriously wicked cities like Sodom.

Why is Jesus being so judgmental? Why is he condemning large groups of people? Not because they persecuted Jesus. They didn’t (that would come later). Not because they opposed Jesus or rebuked him. In fact, they were indifferent.

Jesus is denouncing these cities because they did not repent. Repentance is a change from disobeying God to serving God. It is turning away from a life of sin and turning to a life of obeying God. They declined.

Jesus gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk, cleansed lepers, gave hearing to the deaf, raised the dead and preached the good news to the poor. The crowds were amazed at his miracles. But Jesus did not perform miracles in order to amaze or entertain or even to satisfy their curiosity.

Jesus’ miracles were meant to convince people that they should take his message seriously. They should turn from sin and turn to him for forgiveness. Cities full of people in Galilee saw his power and went home unfazed. So Jesus pronounces them doomed.

This is a sobering text (Matthew 11:20-24). It shows a side of Jesus that many wish to ignore or deny. True, Jesus is a friend of sinners. But he is their friend because he tells them the truth about heaven and hell. Instead of approving of their sin, he offers salvation from sin.

The cities in Galilee were given a great gift. They were eyewitness to the healing power of God. They heard the powerful preaching and teaching of Jesus with their own ears. But they failed to act.

The Bible tells us that when God gives more, he expects more. This was solemn news for the towns in Galilee. It is also solemn news for United States of America.

What other country in modern times has been more blessed by God? We have enjoyed religious freedom from shore to shore, Christian churches in every town, and Bibles on every shelf.

What will happen to a country that has been so privileged and yet turns its back on God?

Like Jesus in Galilee, Christians in the U.S.A. often meet with indifference when sharing the message of God’s kingdom. Meanwhile, the spiritual decline in our land is discouraging. It would be easy to give up our efforts to reach a culture that seems so determined to self-destruct.

But we must take our cue from Jesus. After denouncing the cities that ignored his message he did two things. First, he praised God. Jesus thanked the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth, for his work in the world and his work in his own life.

No matter how difficult things may get, we must never stop worshiping the Lord, our Maker and Savior. He is our source of strength and inspiration.

The second thing that Jesus did was to continue extending an invitation to those who might hear and respond. “Come to me all who are weary and burdened,” he said, “and I will give you rest.”

Like Jesus, we must be faithful in offering the good news about God’s amazing grace. God’s word promises us that if we do not give up, at the proper time we will reap a harvest!

Let us faithfully speak the truth in love,

Brother Richard Foster

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If My People

Why did God visit Abraham on his way to Sodom and Gomorrah? He said that he would go down and see if things were as wicked as it seemed in Sodom. But the God of heaven and earth has no need to “go down and see” in order to know the state of Sodom or any city.

On his way to Sodom, God stopped by the home of Abraham. Abraham looked up and three men stood near his tent in the heat of the day. According to the customs of his day, Abraham was quick to offer gracious hospitality for the men. They accepted his offer of a restful meal.

During the after-dinner talk, Abraham realized that he was not entertaining normal visitors. In some mysterious way, God’s very presence had come to call. And God decided to share his mission with Abraham. He was apparently on a fact-finding trip that would determine the fate of a city and its citizens.

Abraham could have kept quiet and let the Lord go on. After all, what business was it of his? So long as God did not bother Abraham and his household, what good would it do to get involved anyway? God knows what he is doing. Let him go to it.

Or Abraham could have offered his opinion. After all, he lived just a few miles away from the city. He could have told God that what he heard about Sodom was right. It definitely was a desperately wicked city. Abraham could have told God that he would not blame him for sweeping the place away in judgment.

But what Abraham did was simply astounding. He appealed to God for mercy. He asked that God spare the wicked citizens of Sodom. God agreed with Abraham that if just ten righteous people could be found in the city then he would spare everyone. Abraham interceded with God for a corrupt, violent, and immoral people.

True, Abraham’s nephew, Lot, lived in the city. His intercession could have been for selfish reasons. But he did not ask God to save only his kinfolk. He pleaded for God to show mercy on the entire population of Sodom. Abraham appealed to God for undeserved favor.

Abraham’s example of intercession with God is timely for us. By almost every measure imaginable the cities around us are declining rapidly. The most important measure, of course, is spiritual. And the spiritual condition of America is deplorable. We are driving hard and fast toward a truly desperate situation.

We could easily feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem and choose to simply protect our own. We could rightly be angry about the horrible circumstances and just agree that God should wipe out the wicked. But Abraham, the man of faith, offers us a better response: we should intercede with God for America, appealing for his great grace.

America needs godly people to cry out to the Lord for mercy. God our Savior is gracious. He told Abraham that for just ten righteous people he would spare the desperately sinful city of Sodom. Unfortunately for Sodom, not even ten righteous people were left in the place.

We must cry out to God for his grace and mercy before the righteous dwindle away to nothing and it is too late for our communities and neighborhoods. The Lord has promised that when his people, those called by his name, humble themselves and pray, that he will hear and forgive and heal the land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

May we be found faithful,

Brother Richard

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