Wednesday, 29 January 2020
…and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 2 Peter 2:6
Peter now moves from the consequences of the Flood of Noah to another great time of God’s wrath and judgment being poured out on the wicked, that of Sodom and Gomorrah. In this, he begins with “and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes.” This continues the thought first presented in verse 2:4. Peter says, “For if God did not spare…”
He is showing that God is consistent in judgment, not sparing the angels who sinned, and then not sparing the ancient world which was filled with wickedness. Now he will speak of not sparing a city filled with perversion.
The world was destroyed by flood, but the wickedness of man continued on. The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is noted as that of sexual immorality. More specifically, however, the account looks to the perverse and unnatural sin of homosexuality. The people of the town were deviants who purposed to violently rape the guests who had come under the roof of Lot.
It is assumed by some scholars that Ham, the son of Noah, committed a perverse homosexual act on his own father. The reason for this is that the word used there, and translated as “saw,” is also used in Leviticus 20:17 concerning seeing the nakedness of a close family member, but implying a sexual encounter with that person. Whether this is the case or not, it is something that carried on in the post-flood world, and which became so rampant in the area of Sodom that the Lord determined to destroy the city.
When the city of Sodom came against Lot and his guests, the final decision for destruction was made. The Lord made a way for Lot and his family to escape the destruction, and then it came, reducing the city to ashes. In this, He “condemned them to destruction.” The word Peter uses is katastrophé. One can see the source of our modern word catastrophe. In the New Testament, it was used by Paul in 2 Timothy 2:14, and then it is used here. However, it is also used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament in the account of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19:29.
In the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, God was “making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly.” It has become fashionable for homosexuals in the modern church to claim that God “is doing a new thing,” and that He has accepted their perverse lifestyle. However, they do not speak for God. He has spoken and His word is set. It is a reflection of His own eternal and unchanging nature.
The destruction of Sodom will be played out, once again, on a world scale as the world is destroyed by fire. Peter will explain that in Chapter 3. Until then, he will continue with his words concerning the false teachers and the consequences which will come upon them because of their unholiness.
The examples of the past have been given, and the warning that those examples set is there for all to see, even into the future. For such perverse people, they will eventually meet with their appointed, time and the reward for their actions will finally be meted out upon them. Though it may seem to tarry, the Lord’s judgment will come.
Life application: Sodom and Gomorrah stand as one of the premier examples of judgment in the Bible, mentioned more often than the Flood of Noah. Maybe this is because the sins of Sodom are specifically addressed, whereas the Bible only mentions that the “wickedness of man was great upon the earth” at the time of Noah.
Comparisons to Sodom are made almost 20 times elsewhere in the Old Testament and about 10 times in the New. To this day, a term for a specific type of perversion derives its name from Sodom – a perversion which is condemned as unnatural, unhealthy, and worthy of destruction. Because of this immorality and aberrant behavior, God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah – leveling them to ashes.
The prophet Jeremiah speaks in the same manner as Peter concerning the false prophets of his time –
“Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem:
They commit adultery and walk in lies;
They also strengthen the hands of evildoers,
So that no one turns back from his wickedness.
All of them are like Sodom to Me,
And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.” Jeremiah 23:14
The leaders and prophets steered the people away from God and towards their own twisted paths. Eventually, the people of Israel were conquered and exiled.
The same occurred again in Jesus’ time. In fact, Jesus said that Sodom and Gomorrah’s judgment wouldn’t be as severe as for those who rejected His offer of peace. Let us accept Jesus’ words, His ministry, and His work – accomplished on our behalf. Otherwise, a terrible fate awaits us too.
Surely You, O God, cannot tolerate sin. Because of our sins, we cannot stand before You. So, Lord, cover us with Jesus’ righteousness and grant us His protection from the storm of judgment which will again surely cover the earth. Purify our hearts and help us to live – from this day forward – lives that are holy and pleasing to You. Amen.