A HOT TIME IN THE OLD TOWN
by Donald Mehl
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A HOT TIME IN THE OLD TOWN
You might recall from a study of Genesis 18 that the Lord God and two angels, manifest as three men, had appeared to Abraham. Your study would have also revealed that the nearby cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had become filled with great wickedness.
In fact, because their sins were so abhorrent in the eyes of the Lord God, Abraham was told by God that the cities and their inhabitants should be destroyed. Although all sin is offensive to the character of the Lord God Almighty, the sins of Sodom were particularly loathsome to Him. That city was blatantly inviting God’s punishment for its corrupt, immoral, and pagan lifestyle.
In spite of the fact that the Omniscient God was fully aware that Sodom was hopelessly mired in the depths of sin, He sent the other two men (angels) into the city to confirm the despicable environment existing there. By doing so, God’s Perfect Justice was clearly evident, for it demonstrated sensitivity and fairness traits that are a part of His nature.
Out of concern for his nephew Lot, and Lot’s family who resided in the city, as well as for others within the city that might be counted as righteous, Abraham asked the Lord if He intended to also destroy the righteous with the wicked. Then, Abraham inquired whether Sodom would be destroyed if fifty righteous could be found. The Lord promised it would not be destroyed with fifty righteous there.
Abraham must have suspected that the righteous total might be few, because he continued to query the Lord concerning lesser numbers of 45, 40, 30, 20, and finally stopping at 10. Each time, the Lord’s response to Abraham was that He would spare the city if those numbers of righteous persons could be found. A lesson for us is that God delights in believers who humbly and persistently approach His throne of grace with their petitions. As it was with Abraham, God will hear us…and God will answer our fervent prayers.
We learn from Genesis 19 that the two angels located Lot at the entrance to the city. Lot invited them to come with him to his house that they might receive food and rest for the night. The angels were hesitant, but after much insistence from Lot, they reluctantly agreed.
The perverted men of the city saw the angels arrive with Lot, and during the evening, they surrounded Lot’s house. The men commanded Lot to bring out his guests so they could publically have sexual relations with them. Their morally corrupt and depraved minds had lost all sense of shame and decency. Such were the people and everyday life in the city of Sodom.
In an attempt to protect his two house guests, Lot offered his two virgin daughters to the crazed mob, but they refused his offer. A burning desire to have their way with the town’s two new visitors caused them to become increasingly more demanding and forceful – even to the point of unleashing physical violence against Lot and his home. The confrontation ended after the angels pulled Lot to safety inside the house, then, they cast a form of blindness on the perverted men – causing a mental confusion and bewilderment to fall on them.
The angels questioned Lot about his family members living within the home, as well as others living elsewhere in the city. All of them needed to be warned of Sodom’s imminent destruction, and that all must leave the city as soon as possible.
Residing in Lot’s house were Lot, his wife, and his two virgin daughters. Lot had sons-in-law living in other parts of the city – suggesting the possibility that perhaps Lot had other daughters who were married to them. However, the sons-in-law scoffed at Lot and rejected his warning.
Early the next morning the two angels urgently pressed Lot and his immediate family to leave quickly, for judgment could not fall until the only four righteous people in the city had arrived in a safe place. As the angels led them out of Sodom, the family was instructed to hurry – enabling them to escape with their lives. Furthermore, the family was commanded to not look back at the city.
As soon as Lot entered the city of Zoar, a safe area the Lord had allowed for them, brimstone and fire rained down from heaven onto Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding cities on the plain. The cities...the people...and the vegetation...all became smoldering ashes beneath the billowing smoke rising up from the once pit of sin. Not a pillar or brick within the city had been left intact. Everything and everyone there simply ceased to exist. The Lord God had spoken. He had passed judgment exactly as He had promised.
It was “a hot time in the old town”, for sure, but not the kind of hot time the party crowds would have wanted.
They all suffered the inevitable eternal consequences of their ungodly choices. Even though Lot’s wife had been allowed to escape the destruction, she also made a lethal choice by disobeying the Word of the Lord. In her heart she longed to return to the old city - for her soul was in Sodom, as well. In defiance of Almighty God, Lot’s wife turned around to look back, wistfully, toward the city engraved in her memory. Responding to her willful disobedience, God demonstrated His righteous judgment by instantly transforming her body into a pillar of salt.
Although Sodom’s destruction took place over four thousand years ago, sins such as were common to Sodom and the other destroyed cities run rampant throughout the world today – all because of humanity’s in-born sin nature. With that condition, mankind is naturally drawn to the darkness more than the light. All kinds of evil can be found lurking in the dark shadows of human hearts blackened by sin.
John 3:19-20 NASB
"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
However, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding cities could have been spared destruction. They all could have been growing, vibrant Middle Eastern cities today had they only repented and turned to God. There is no depraved behavior, nor is there any sin-sick heart, that God can not cleanse and make new.
An example can be seen in the life of the apostle Paul, who at one time committed offenses that were so vile, so great, and so overwhelming, that he considered himself to be the chief sinner of all time (1 Tim. 1:15). His past offenses included blasphemy against God, persecution of the church, violence toward believers, and slaughter of Christians.
Then, one day while traveling on the Damascus road, Saul (later named Paul) had a supernatural encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 9:1-18). Saul was instantly converted, the scales that had blinded his eyes were removed, and he was chosen by God to become one of the foremost teachers/writers of the New Testament.
In the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, the Holy Spirit led him to respond concerning the unspiritual and immoral condition of the Corinthian church.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Paul’s warning was given against those who were in bondage to incest, homosexuality, and other unnatural forms of sexual behavior. Paul did not want Christianity confused with other groups that permitted such things. People whose lifestyles exhibit wickedness, not fruit, show they are unsaved and will, therefore, not inherit the kingdom of God.
Then, in verse eleven of that chapter, Paul writes of those in their midst who, before their conversion, were once caught up in the ugliness of depravity, but had been convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent, and were changed by the cleansing blood of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 6:11 NKJV
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Paul also ministered to the church in Rome concerning their need for righteousness, their willful ignorance leading to condemnation, the consequences of condemnation, and divine abandonment.
Romans 1:18-32 NIV
18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen.
26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
We have a warning from Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:18 to flee from sexual immorality, but is the world listening? No, in fact, it is more widespread now than ever before...and is becoming worse. People everywhere are thumbing their nose at God – a clear challenge to His warnings.
Over two thousand years after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, our Lord Jesus spoke of conditions that will exist just before His return.
Luke 17:28-30 NKJV
Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
Then, in verse thirty-two Jesus gave this sobering warning to us: “Remember Lot’s wife.”
It was no coincidence that just before the flames of judgment fell on Sodom, the last perverted act by the angry crowd was one of blatant homosexuality. Make no mistake about it. That is exactly where we are today. In recent years, it was first a “tolerance” issue...then, it was an “acceptance” issue...and now, the lifestyle must be “embraced” by all. It is being widely supported and promoted in our school systems, in our workplaces, in the entertainment industry, in the liberal media, in the public arena, and in our churches. Wherever we look – it is there.
The day for judgment is surely coming sooner rather than later – and all will be held accountable. That day will be “a hot time in the old town” for many – just as it was for those in Sodom. However, as the Scriptures teach, and as countless numbers of people have learned, all immoral behavior can be forgiven and forgotten by God.
If you have struggled with any sin of immorality and/or pornography, please know that your life can be made whole again through God's free gift of salvation - available to all who would reach out to Him. God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, as the perfect sacrificial Lamb to die on Calvary’s cross to pay the sin penalty in full for all who by faith alone would believe (John 3:16; Eph, 2:8-9).
God wants people who are humbly reaching out...people who are spiritually broken....and people who are ready to fall on their knees in submission to Him with a repentant faith. All who have been convicted by the Holy Spirit of their need for the Savior, and truly desire to be born-again with a new life in Him, might pray something like this:
"Oh God, help me! I need You in my life. I’m so sorry for the things I’ve done. I'm sorry I had turned my back on You for so long. I can't go on without You. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He died for me, in my place, for all my sin. I believe that He rose from the dead and is in heaven today preparing a place for me. Oh God, forgive all my sins. By faith alone I now accept Jesus Christ as my Savior, and confess that He is Lord over all. Come into my heart and life now, today, and help me to live a life that is pleasing and honoring to You. Thank You in Jesus' Name - Amen!”
If you sincerely prayed a prayer such as that, you are now a new creature in Christ and all things are as new. You will learn to pray, and find comfort in His Word. He will be your strength and shield as well as your friend forever when you put your complete faith and trust in Him.
I pray you did that today!
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Very well presented, Don. No one could mistake the message here. It is not a watered-down message. It is straight from your heart to the heart of the reader. I do hope many people, young and old, read this message. The Bible story is well told, and even though it is an old, old story, I wonder how many young people today have read this story. God's judgement is coming. And soon. ... I do love your style, Don. And as Mariane said, you are the best expository Bible teacher on line. Good for you. FaithWriters needs you, and more like you....God's blessings! ... Helen
Well done, my friend well done. This is a timely message and should be preached on the rooftops of every Church. But it is sadly not. . . So many are being fooled today by the message of "feel good" religion that they cannot see their sin. I am praying this message will become the light someone needs to remove his or her spiritual blindness. Amen and Amen!
Thanks for sharing this. God bless.
Don, there's no question that you're one of the best expository Bible teachers online today. The title is an eye-catcher and the topic is timely. Just when we think we've heard it all, we see or hear something on the news that makes us think Sodom and Gomorrah wasn't so bad after all. We think we've hit the absolute bottom of moral depravity in this country only to find that another scandal has shaken us to our collective cores. I hope this article is widely read, not only in Faith Writers but to a much larger audience. God will bless you for not diluting the Word or worse, by ignoring or denying it altogether. Keep on writing. You get better with each entry!