First, let us look at several passages of scripture describing “God’s destruction of Sodom.”
(Gen 19:1-11) And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and you shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, No; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed on them greatly; and they turned in to him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called to Lot, and said to him, Where are the men which came in to you this night? bring them out to us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door to them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brothers, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out to you, and do you to them as is good in your eyes: only to these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with you, than with them. And they pressed sore on the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.
(Gen 19:24-25) Then Jehovah rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew on the ground.
From these passages, it is not difficult to see that Sodom’s iniquity and corruption had already reached a degree detestable to both man and God, and that in the eyes of God the city therefore deserved to be destroyed. But what happened inside the city before it was destroyed? What can people learn from these events? What does God’s attitude toward these events show people about His disposition? In order to understand the whole story, let us carefully read what was recorded in the Scripture …
Sodom’s Corruption: Infuriating to Man, Enraging to God
On that night, Lot received two messengers from God and prepared a feast for them. After dining, before they had lain down, people from all over the city surrounded Lot’s residence and called out to Lot. The Scripture records them as saying, “Where are the men which came in to you this night? bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Who said these words? To whom were they spoken? These were the words of the people of Sodom, yelled outside Lot’s residence and meant for Lot. How does it feel to hear these words? Are you furious? Do these words sicken you? Are you simmering with rage? Do these words not reek of Satan? Through them, can you sense the evil and darkness in this city? Can you sense the cruelty and barbarity of these people’s behavior through their words? Can you sense the depth of their corruption through their behavior? Through the content of their speech, it is not difficult to see that their iniquitous nature and savage disposition had reached a level beyond their own control. Save for Lot, every last person in this city was no different from Satan; the mere sight of another person made these people want to harm and devour them…. These things not only give one a sense of the city’s ghastly and terrifying nature, as well as the aura of death around it; they also give one a sense of its iniquity and bloodiness.
As he found himself face-to-face with a gang of inhumane thugs, people who were filled with soul-devouring ambition, how did Lot respond? According to the Scripture: “I pray you … do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out to you, and do you to them as is good in your eyes: only to these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.” Lot meant the following with his words: He was willing to give up his two daughters in order to protect the messengers. Out of reason, these people should have agreed to Lot’s conditions and left the two messengers alone; after all, the messengers were perfect strangers to them, people who had absolutely nothing to do with them; these two messengers had never harmed their interests. However, motivated by their iniquitous nature, they did not leave the matter at this. Rather, they only intensified their efforts. Here another one of their exchanges can undoubtedly give one further insight into these people’s true vicious nature; at the same time it also lets one know and comprehend the reason why God wished to destroy this city.
So what did they say next? As thereads: “Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with you, than with them. And they pressed sore on the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.” Why did they want to break down the door? The reason is that they were only too anxious to harm those two messengers. What were those messengers doing in Sodom? Their purpose in coming there was to save Lot and his family; however, the people of the city mistakenly thought that they had come to assume official posts. Without asking their purpose, it was merely conjecture that made the city want to savagely harm these two messengers; they wished to harm two people who had nothing whatsoever to do with them. It is clear that the people of this city had utterly lost their humanity and reason. The degree of their insanity and wildness was already no different from Satan’s vicious nature of harming and devouring men.
When they demanded these people from Lot, what did Lot do? From the text we know that Lot did not hand them over. Did Lot know these two messengers of God? Of course not! But why was he able to save these two people? Did he know what they had come to do? Although he was unaware of their reason for coming, he did know that they were God’s servants, and so he received them. That he could call these servants of God lords shows that Lot was usually a follower of God, unlike the others inside Sodom. Therefore, when God’s messengers came to him, he risked his own life to receive these two servants; furthermore, he also exchanged his two daughters in order to protect these two servants. This is Lot’s righteous deed; it is also a tangible expression of Lot’s nature and substance, and it is also the reason God sent His servants to save Lot. When faced with peril, Lot protected these two servants without regard for anything else; he even attempted to trade his two daughters in exchange for the servants’ safety. Other than Lot, was there anyone else inside the city who could have done something like this? As the facts prove—no! Therefore, it goes without saying that everyone inside Sodom, save for Lot, was a target for destruction as well as a target that deserved destruction.