Friday, November 7, 2014

Our Job When God is Angry

Why did God destroy Sodom? That seems like a simple question to answer. The Lord himself said in Genesis 18:20, “because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous.” Then in the next chapter, we see some of that sin when the men of the city come to Lot’s house, intent on raping the messengers of the Lord. Many people would answer the question by saying that it was because of the sin of the city and especially the sin of homosexuality.

Now another question, why didn’t God destroy Nineveh? Again, the Lord gave us the reason why he should destroy the city when he said in Jonah 1:2, “for their wickedness has come up before me.” Nineveh was very much like Sodom and I expect you would’ve seen some of the same sins in both cities. But the path of the two cities took went in opposite directions. The Lord sent Jonah with a warning for the city of Nineveh and in Jonah 3:10, we see why they weren’t destroyed. “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way. And God repented of the evil that He had said that He would do unto them, and He did it not.”

Back to the original question, why did God destroy Sodom? Was it because of their sin? Yes, but there’s more to it than that. You recall that in Genesis 18, Abraham pleaded for the city, for the sake of the righteous in the city. He even got the Lord to agree not to destroy the city if ten righteous people were found there. In the end, only three people made it out alive. When you compare Sodom and Nineveh, it comes evident that the reason Sodom was destroyed is because there was no one to humble themselves and cry out to God on the behalf of their city.

We look around us and we see great wickedness in our country and in our cities. Homosexuality is promoted as something to be proud of. People are even proud to be proud. Judges are declaring laws that outlaw immorality as unconstitutional. On television, sex outside of marriage is treated as if it is the way people ought to behave. And if you look around you, some of your friends are doing the same thing. Abortion is treated as a woman’s right instead of the murder that it is. Sin, it seems, has become an unstoppable force. We that fear the Lord keep thinking that the Lord will soon pour judgment down on our land. Though we realize it is deserved, none of us really want to be caught in the crossfire, like Lot was.

What if? What if it doesn’t have to be this way? What if there is something we can do to not only protect our country and our cities from the wrath of God, but something that will turn this thing around. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a promise from the Lord. This is something you can put your faith in. The Lord said it, so if we do what it says, he will do it. If we humble ourselves before the Lord, repent of our sins, and cry out to him on the behalf of our country and our city, he will do it. Telling people the homosexuality is a sin has its place. Telling people that they are risking judgment has its place. But if we really want to save these people and turn this thing around, what we really need to do is to place ourselves between the Lord and our city. When the Lord looks upon our city in anger, he should see faithful men and women on their knees before him, pleading on the behalf of our city.

But are they worth it? Why not just let the Lord send his judgment upon our city and our country? Again, the Lord answers the question for us. Look at Jonah 4:9-11. “Thou hast had pity on the gourd for which thou hast not labored, neither madest it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand, and also many cattle?”

Think about that. We might question, why would the Lord be concerned about cattle? Aren’t the people of Nineveh going to eat them anyway? Of course we know that the Lord’s eye is on the sparrow, so it shouldn’t surprise us that he is concerned about cattle also, but I think the point the Lord is making is how messed up Jonah’s view of the situation was. Jonah was more concerned about a plant than he was the people of that city. If nothing else, Jonah could’ve been concerned about the little children or even the cattle, since they had done nothing worthy of destruction.

Are we not lot Jonah. If you look at Facebook, there are many Christians who are obsessed with their cats and dogs. These little animals that will bring joy into their lives for a few years and then die. And if their pet was injured, they would pray for that pet, pleading with the Lord to give them a little more time with it. If our pets are worth it, then certainly the people of our city and country are worth it. Has not God made them in his own image? Their worth it. So why don’t we humble ourselves and plead with the Lord on their behalf like we ought to?