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In Case You Missed It -- Genesis 18:16-19:38, Psalm 12

Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities destroyed in our reading today, are often remembered as symbolic evidence of God’s powerful judgment against evil. His judgment is obviously present here, but many forget the exchange between Abraham and God before the cities are destroyed. God is willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if just ten righteous people can be found in Sodom. However, this is a violent, inhospitable, and sexually immoral city, as demonstrated by the interaction between Lot, the people of Sodom, and the angels. It is no wonder God could say twice that the outcry against this city is great (Genesis 18:20, 19:13). This outcry is likely similar to the outcry that the blood of Abel had against his murderous brother (4:10). When people pray to God or when the weak suffer at the hands of the oppressor, God sees and will punish power used for evil. At the same time, God is willing to spare even evil cities if only a few people have not turned to wickedness. This is one of many stories displaying God’s judgement alongside His willingness to be patient and merciful towards sinners. This magnifies the character of God. As a God of love, God does not delight in punishing evil, but as a God of justice He will not overlook evil on the earth. We read about the flood before, but as evil endures, these questions still remain: “How will God continue to address human evil?” and “How can He demonstrate His kindness to a world polluted by murder and injustice?” These questions will persist in the background throughout much of the Old Testament.

Jeremiah Vaught