A Nation on the Verge of Destruction

A Nation on the Verge of Destruction

 

Text(s): Genesis 18:1-5:

Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, and said, “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your Servant. Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.” And they said, “Do as you have said.”

Genesis 18:16-19:25:

16Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way. 17And the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, … 20And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, 21I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” 22Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD, 23and Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? 25Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” 26So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous …I will spare all the place for their sakes.” 27Then Abraham …said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord: 28Suppose there were five less…would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?” So He said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.” 29Then he spoke to Him …“Suppose there should be forty found there?” And He said, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.” 30And he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31Then he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.” 32And he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” 33So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place. (CHAPTER 19)—1Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. 2And he said, “Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” And they said, “No, but we will spend the night in the open square.” 3But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 4Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter surrounded the house. 5And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.” 6So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, 7and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! 8See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.” 9And they said, “Stand back!” Then they said, “This one came in to sojourn, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.” So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. 10But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11And they struck the men who were at the door way of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door. 12Then the men said, to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city—take them out of this place! 13For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” 14So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking. 1523The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar.24Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. 25So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.”

Psalm 9:17 says: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” There are no exceptions in that statement. Any nation that forgets God and rebels against Him shall be turned into Hell. Any nation that rebels against God shall be destroyed. The Bible reveals that there are reasons that nations are brought to the verge of destruction. The night that the angels entered into the city of Sodom, the decadent culture of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim and Zoar were on the verge of destruction. The angels declared that it was “… because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” Their wickedness had become so great that its stench had reached heaven. There are reasons that nations are brought to the verge of destruction.

During the days of the mighty Babylonian empire, Belshazzar, grandson of Nebuchadnezzar was on the throne. He decided one night to show his grandeur by having one big party. In order to prove that he and his gods were the most powerful in the world he was going to drink wine out of the holy vessels from the house of the God of Israel. While they were getting good and drunk that night, a hand appeared in thin air and wrote upon the wall these words: MENE MENE TEKEL, UPHARSIN.  Belshazzar’s knees knocked together and he was frightened. He wanted to know what it meant. The only one in the kingdom who could tell him was a man called Daniel. The meaning was not a message that the king wanted to hear. This was the meaning: “WEIGHED, WEIGHED IN THE BALANCES AND FOUND WANTING. YOUR KINGDOM IS DIVIDED TO THE MEDES AND THE PERSIANS.” That night Belshazzar’s kingdom ended. All the grandeur of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dynasty came crashing to the ground. All the grandeur, all the power and all the glory was gone in one night. That very night the Medes and the Persians overthrew the mighty Babylonian Empire. Belshazzar had forgotten the lesson learned by his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar: “That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, (and) gives it to whomever He will”. (Daniel 4:17). That night of the wild party, the Babylonian kingdom was a kingdom standing on the verge of destruction and not one of them was aware of it. That night when that king decided to touch and desecrate that which was holy unto the one true God, he sealed the doom of his nation. There are reasons that nations are brought to the verge of destruction.

Consider with me some reasons why a nation, a city or culture is brought to the verge of destruction, to the verge of the judgments of God:

1.)    A culture, a city, a nation on the verge of God’s judgment is one that has abandoned the one true God.

2.)    A culture, a city, a nation on the verge of God’s judgment is one that has abandoned His moral law.

3.)    A culture, a city, a nation on the verge of God’s judgment is one that will attack anyone who dares to tell them that they are wrong.

4.)    A culture, a city, a nation on the verge of God’s judgment is one that has so few righteous left that God may not spare it for the sake of the few righteous in it.

In the first place, a city, a culture, a nation on the verge of God’s judgments and destruction is one that has abandoned God. Sodom and Gomorrah were a part of a larger culture. It is obvious from their behavior that they are far from God. But they can’t say that they never had a witness from God. They can’t say they had never heard of the one True God. Sodom and Gomorrah belonged to the Canaanite culture. The Canaanites were descendents of Canaan, the grandson of Noah. In Genesis 10:19 we see the extent of their culture. “And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; then as you go toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.” (Genesis 10:19). Noah’s son Ham was the father of Canaan. Ham along with Noah and his brothers had heard the voice of God. Genesis 9:8 tells us “Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: ‘And as for Me, behold I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you…”. This culture knew of the great flood. They knew of God’s offer to enter into a covenantal relationship with them. They knew of God’s promise to never destroy the world with a flood again. (The Sodomite Culture knew of the Great flood-could this be why Peter connects the destruction of both the flood and Sodom in 2 Peter 2:5-6). The ancestors of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah went all the way back to the flood.

Here is a vital truth to understanding God’s judgments on a city, nation or culture. The godly heritage of a family, nation or culture cannot guarantee the godliness of the future. Noah’s godliness, Noah’s fear of God could not guarantee the godliness through the family line of his grandson Canaan.  Not even the fact that Canaan’s father Ham had lived through the flood and had actually heard the voice of God guaranteed a godly family line. Through Noah’s grandson Canaan came a horrible culture that produced Sodom and Gomorrah. Sodom and Gomorrah were only a sampling of this culture. If you want to get a real handle on the debauchery of this culture, God’s condemnation of it is found in Leviticus chapter 18.The Canaanite culture was a sex-crazed society. It had abandoned its godly roots.

My friends, just because the United States of America was founded on godly principles does not guarantee that its following generations will be godly. Just because we have had George Washington, the Pilgrims, Abraham Lincoln and the like does not mean that we will not produce another culture like Sodom and Gomorrah. A culture that has forsaken its godly heritage is on the road to the judgments of God. America is forsaking her godly heritage.

Secondly, a culture on the verge of God’s judgment is one that has abandoned God’s moral law, the law written upon the heart of every man. The Apostle Paul said that the Gentiles showed “the work of the law written in their hearts” (Romans 2:15). Sodom and Gomorrah were part of a culture that had abandoned God’s moral law. In order to abandon something it must be shown that they were at one time aware of God’s moral law. Sodom and Gomorrah were a part of a culture that was descended from Canaan, the grandson of Noah. Canaan knew his grandfather Noah. Noah lived 350 more years after the flood. Noah knew his grandson and gave a prophecy about him “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he bed unto his brethren.” (Genesis 9:25).  Noah could see that his grandson was headed in the wrong direction. More than likely, Noah had told his grandson about the one God and the ways of God. I am almost certain that Noah had told his grandson about the wickedness of the world before the flood. It’s possible that Canaan had heard from Noah’s the reasons that God destroyed the world with a flood. Canaan probably saw the ark sitting on the side of Mount Ararat. You would think that this foundation of what God expects morally and the judgment that comes as a result of rejecting God’s morality would have helped Canaan to establish a God-fearing culture. But it did not. The Canaanites rejected the morality of God for a sex-crazed, perverted society. In Leviticus 18:1-5 God warns Israel not to do what the Canaanite culture had done. What had they done? A reading of Leviticus 18:6-23is a list of their sexual perversions that turned the stomach of God:

1.)    Sexual perversion with relatives (Leviticus 18:6-18)

2.)    Sexual perversion with women (Leviticus 18:19-20)

3.)    Spiritual adultery condemned (Leviticus 18:21)

4.)    Homosexuality condemned (Leviticus 18:22)

5.)    Bestiality condemned (Leviticus 18:23)

God condemned the entire sex-crazed culture.

GOD’S WARNING TO THE ISRAELITES: “DO NOT DEFILE YOURSELVES WITH ANY OF THESE THINGS; FOR BY ALL THESE THE NATIONS ARE DEFILED, WHICH I AM CASTING OUT BEFORE YOU. FOR THE LAND IS DEFILED; THEREFORE I VISIT THE PUNISHMENT OF ITS INIQUITY UPON IT, AND THE LAND VOMITS OUT ITS INHABITANTS.” (Leviticus 18:24-25).

Sexual perversion defiles the land. God cleansed the land. of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and brimstone from heaven. Since the entire culture was not wiped out its perversions spread again. Years later God used Israel to defeat the Canaanite culture in battle in order to cleanse the land. However, God warns Israel not to do like the Canaanites had done.

The God of the Judeo-Christian faith is a God of morality. When you see a culture that has rejected the God of morality, it won’t be long before that culture rejects the morality of the Almighty God. The two are inseparable. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Church of Rome showed this connection. In Romans 1:18-19 Paul talks about the culture pushing down the truth of God. In Romans 1:20-22 as a result of pushing down and rejecting the truth of God that culture will become “futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.” Since they do not wish to worship the one true God and reject him they then begin to make their own gods (Romans 1:23).  In Romans 1:24-31 we see a slide into the horrible abyss of moral abandonment.  Since you do not want God, God will turn you over to your own foolishness. Three times this text says it: “Therefore God also gave them up…” (Romans 1:24; “For this reason God gave them up…” (Romans 1:26); “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over…”. What did God give them over to? God gave them over to a moral decline (Romans 1:26-31).. It is a lie for any politician or religious leader to proclaim that morality does not matter in politics. My friend, a government without morality is a dangerous government. Ask the Jews of the Nazi death camps of Aushwitz and Burchenwald how important morality is in government. Ask Dietrich Boenhoeffer who gave his life because he dared to stand against the immorality of demon possessed Adolph Hitler who thought that he was the Messiah and the only law for Germany. A nation that rejects God’s law will soon be a nation that is in anarchy. A nation that rejects the morality of God is a nation on the road to the judgment of God.

Thirdly, a nation that is on the verge of the judgment of God is a nation that will attack anyone who dares to remind them that they are violating the moral law of God. One way you can tell how close a society is to God’s judgment is by how much they attack those who point out their wrongs. In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot said to the men of Sodom, “Do not so wickedly.” (Genesis 19:7). The men of Sodom wanted to have sexual relations with the angels that Lot had taken into his house. They thought the angels were men. Lot told the Sodomites “Do not do this wicked thing.” Notice their response found in Genesis 19:9 “Now will we deal worse with you than with them.” They intended to sexually rape and molest Lot. How dare Lot tell them they were wrong? The fact that Lot offered his daughters to the men of Sodom to do with as they pleased if they would leave the angels alone only makes sense in the context of the men of Sodom were intending to rape the angels. Have you noticed lately how many people have paid a price for standing up for traditional marriage? (The florist who wouldn’t do a homosexual wedding, the former CEO of Mozilla firefox, the two brothers who had a reality show canceled, etc.).  We are truly living in the days where people call evil good and good evil.

It bothers me to see how much lawlessness is in this land: judges turning over the marriage amendments of the voters as if they meant nothing. Our leaders pandering to perversion.

Finally, a culture on the verge of God’s judgment is one that God may not spare even for the few righteous that are in it. (The Cup of iniquity is full is a biblical principle. The Bible also teaches that there are times when God will not even hear the prayers of the righteous to spare a culture or nation, cf. Ezekiel 14). I am glad that God was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if there were only ten righteous in it but we must balance the issue with the other side of the coin. There is a limit to the amount of evil in a culture before God’s judgment comes.

In Noah’s day how many were spared? Only eight people! But He did not spare the judgment on that society. In the days of Lot, how many did God spare that had lived in Sodom and Gomorrah? In the end, only three and the city of Zoar for which Lot had pled. But He destroyed, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the cities which were around them (Jude 7). The judgment of God fell on the heart of the Canaanite culture. The only thing holding back the judgment of God was the righteous that were in it. There comes a point where God removes the righteous in order that the judgment might fall. I want to share with you this insight, the fewer the righteous in a society, the sooner the judgment of God. Grasp this truth: IF A SOCIETY PERSECUTES AND KILLS BELIEVERS, THEY ARE DESTROYING THE ONLY THING THAT STANDS BETWEEN THE CULTURE AND GOD’S JUDGMENT.

FALSE BELIEVERS ARE NOT A BARRIER TO GOD’S JUDGMENT. THOSE WHO CALL THEMSELVES BELIEVERS BUT THEY DON’T LINE UP WITH THIS WORD ARE NOT BELIEVERS.

We have seen some reasons why a nation, a city or culture is brought to the verge of destruction, to the verge of the judgments of God:

1.)    A culture, a city, a nation on the verge of God’s judgment is one that has abandoned the one true God.

2.)    A culture, a city, a nation on the verge of God’s judgment is one that has abandoned His moral law.

3.)    A culture, a city, a nation on the verge of God’s judgment is one that will attack anyone who dares to tell them that they are wrong.

4.)    A culture, a city, a nation on the verge of God’s judgment is one that has so few righteous left that God may not spare it for the sake of the few righteous in it.

WHERE DO WE STAND?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *