“Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.” – Genesis 18:20-21
Reading this story again last week it made me wonder where the outcry against these cities came from. It doesn’t seem to have come from Abraham because God has to inform him of the outcry. It doesn’t seem to have come from Lot or his family as he saw fit to be in the city gates (probably doing business with the people in the city – Gen 19:1. It is also possible that Lot could have been established as an elder of the city as that is where they tended to do the business of overseeing the people like we see in the book of Ruth.). Who else would it have come from? Could it have come from the victims of the ruthlessness, inhospitality and perverseness of those in the city? Or did it come to God in a more symbolic was as did the cry of Abel from the ground (Gen 4:10-12). We don’t know the answer to that question. The Bible doesn’t give us that information but I think it is an interesting question and has implications for us today.
It really makes me wonder about the times the righteous stand silent while the wicked are the ones crying out for justice! I am not sure that is what is happening here but it seems like Lot was spending his time doing business as usual rather than crying out for justice. He certainly knew how wicked the city had become. He wouldn’t let the visitors sleep in the city square because he knew what would happen to them when the people of the city found them.
What happens when the righteous stop crying out for justice? How out of place are we when people in the world recognize the need for change more than we do? Are there times we have found ourselves sitting in the city gate, doing business with the devil and profiting from it rather than raising the outcry to God for justice? I can’t help but think of slavery and civil rights being in that category…issues many churches and Christians condoned or kept silent about. What issues do you think we face today that the church or Christians sit silent over because we benefit from or are at least indifferent to the injustices around us? What are some issues today the church or individual Christians should be in constant prayer over asking God to come and make a difference.
We don’t know if Lot ever cried out for the city to change but I wonder if he had, if God would have had less difficulty finding 50, 45, 40, 30, 20, or even 10 righteous people in the city for God to have spared it (Gen 18:16-33).