This post was inspired by THIS post I read yesterday. I want to thank my friend Mickey Witcher for sharing it on Facebook. If you take the time to read the post I linked you will see that the author (Jordan Hubbard) discusses what the Bible actually says about the folks in Sodom. I confess, I always assumed that the sin which brought about their destruction was completely sexual in nature. The account found in Genesis 19 all but says so…right? In that passage we see Lot sheltering two angels (who are disguised as men) from a mob that wants to take them out and rape them. That’s what it says…right? Lot then does something equally baffling, he offers his two daughters to them. The mob refuses and insists on taking what they think are two men. That’s why God rained down fire. That’s what I have always been taught to believe.
Hubbard, in his post (you really should take the time to read it) offers Ezekiel 16 as the root problem in Sodom. Beginning in verse 44 it reads:
44 “Behold, everyone who uses proverbs will use this proverb about you: ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ 45 You are the daughter of your mother, who loathed her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and their children. Your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite. 46 And your elder sister is Samaria, who lived with her daughters to the north of you; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you, is Sodom with her daughters. 47 Not only did you walk in their ways and do according to their abominations; within a very little time you were more corrupt than they in all your ways. 48 As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done.49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it. 51 Samaria has not committed half your sins. You have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed. 52 Bear your disgrace, you also, for you have intervened on behalf of your sisters. Because of your sins in which you acted more abominably than they, they are more in the right than you. So be ashamed, you also, and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous. (ESV)
Ezekiel was in captivity in Babylon when he wrote those words. The prophet seems to be saying that Sodom’s sin was rooted in pride, greed, and lack of compassion. In his post Hubbard contrasts the way Abraham and Lot treat these angelic visitors. Abraham, not knowing who they are, provides a feast. He offers the best he has. Lot, on the other hand, gives them unleavened bread. Remember, Lot is the most righteous man in Sodom and even he is somewhat stingy. There does seem to be some sexual deviancy going on in Sodom but Hubbard suggests that it was a symptom of a much larger problem. It alone wasn’t the reason God wiped them off the face of the earth.
I admit, I am still thinking about Hubbard’s post. I’ve read it a couple of times now and I want to make sure I’m understanding exactly what he’s saying. I want to close with a portion of the original post (in case you haven’t read it) because it gets right to the point I believe Hubbard is trying to make. It is also the part that really grabbed me and inspired my own thoughts. He writes:
We are Sodomites whenever we exchange the humanity of others to exploit them as objects. Whenever I view pornography I am a citizen of Sodom. Whenever I ignore the homeless I am a citizen of Sodom. Whenever I allow unexamined racism to slip into my language I am a citizen of Sodom. Whenever I spew venom through the anonymity of the internet I am a citizen of Sodom. Whenever I seek my own financial benefit at the expense of underpaid workers I am a citizen of Sodom. Whenever I demonize the other side I am a citizen of Sodom. Fleeing from Sodom means seeking to understand others as real humans and giving grace to others as bearers of the Image of God.
I guess the question we all need to ask is, “Would I feel at home in Sodom?”
Grace and peace