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  • sibyllezion

Sodom is burning- don't turn around. About leaving behind and going to freedom.





My dear friends, dear women of God.


The story of Sodom is a story of judgment.


Of fire falling from heaven. It is the wrath of God pouring down on a city far, far away from Him.


Idolatry, sorcery. Money at the center of all striving. Faithlessness, mocking the name of God. Oppression and violence.


It was common in Sodom to rape the soldiers from armies of countries that had been defeated- to humiliate them, as those who "pick up a bar of soap" are humiliated in jail today. Heterosexual men raped heterosexual men- not for pleasure satisfaction, but for the sake of the feeling of power and the possibility of humiliation.


Breaking will. Subdue. Kicking again after defeat has already been taken. Unmeasured violence. Unmeasured complacency.


But the story of Sodom is even more tragic, even clearer, even more dramatic: it is the story of the salvation by grace of Lot and his wife, both of whom never accepted the grace, the love and kindness of the Lord anymore. Lot's wife failed already on the way out of Sodom, although the angel of the Lord guided her. And Lot ended up as a neglected alcoholic who impregnated his virgin daughters. Never again did he return to life, but remained in his darkness, although only a few miles away God had already prepared his life.


It is also a story of friendship.


Of loyalty and of the supplication of Abraham, who begged God on his knees not to destroy Sodom for the sake of those who were faithful to his name. But were they faithful? Lot's wife and Lot himself?


God relented.

He heard the plea of his friend, and he tried to save them both. With miracles, with greatness, with the promise of a new life. Both of them did not trust him. And both- turned to look at the wreckage of their old lives instead of the promise of God.


I sometimes wonder what would have become of Lot if he had not hid in his cave out of fear of man. There only suffering, sin, deep falling into depression awaited him. There he excluded everything God wanted to give him - not trusting in the protection God would grant: "If he moved all heaven for me, although I was not faithful to him, to lead me out of Sodom before he burned it, then now that I am led out, he will probably not leave me alone."


Lot never came to that realization. And his wife?


What did she see when she turned around?


She saw in all clarity how the bridges behind her were broken down. Everything she had built on was shattered and burned to ashes. Everything she had based her identity on disappeared. Her household gods, her spells. Her friends, they stayed there and died in the flames. Her pearls, her jewelry, her riches- the flocks of sheep and the magnificent temples of other gods- all this, all this disappeared and burned.


But she saw more:


She saw their unfaithfulness to the God who alone says, "I am." Who once granted them this land as an inheritance, the better inheritance, while Abraham stepped back in humility and trust in God after those increasingly sharp conflicts with Lot and his servants.


Abraham had chosen peace and trust in God. Lot trusted in riches and lush pastures, in the world.


It was not much that God demanded. No perfection, no freedom from sin. No word of accusation went out to Lot, though his request to hand over his virgin daughters to a mass rape does not really speak of a loving, protective, preserving father.


No, God was willing, at Abraham's pleading, to forgive all. To save. If only they trusted him. If only they followed him from then on and did what he said, "Go to the village!" "Don't turn around."


When we turn around after Jesus saved us, we are staring at the wreckage of our lives.


We can freeze forever like Lot's wife: full of shame, grief, self-condemnation, and fear of the new. Or we may turn around later, and see the smoking ruins of what was our life, and we become depressed, not daring to go on, fearing people. Then we will lose the way, stop, and never receive the good, the new and hopeful that he holds in his hand, for all who love him, trust him, and follow him.


When I think of Lot, I think of a man who would have loved to run back to Sodom.

Who would have loved to tear his clothes and sing the dirge, while accusingly holding out to God the ashes of his life, begging Him to make them whole again. "Make them whole again, God! My story, my life, my heart!"


But God said, "Don't turn around, and follow me.


It is the message of the New Covenant. Of the New Heart. Of the new spirit. Of the God who rescues us from the fire with what truly belongs to us. Who rains down His wrath on idolatry, degradation, oppression and love of money. Who rains down His wrath on those who misuse His name. Who rains down his wrath on godliness and the thought of "possessing the better".


Sodom is burning. Do not turn back. He has saved you. He has pulled you out of the flames, and perhaps you smell the smoke, the sickening odor of the blazing sea of flames.


He saved you, you know. You were precious enough to him to save you- to impute nothing to his son's sake, and to leave untried to ransom you. As Abraham pleaded for Lot, Jesus pleads for you. You can weep for the wrong ways of violence you have experienced. You may repent of what you have done. You may be afraid of what is to come as you follow the angel to freedom. But you can't clutch your household gods, wanting to take them with you. You can't mourn your pearls, and you can't turn around. Then- you will freeze forever. Forever staring at what was and is no more. Forever staring at what was dark and destroyed you.


But you can also just trust God. And go to the village where he leads you. For he has commanded his angels to keep you. And what was, is gone. His nearness and his love, his goodness and kindness will lead you to the meadows that are truly green. And in time your heart will heal-no matter how high the fire blazed. For you are his. And his name is "I am"- unchanging. Eternal. Your support when everything is shaking. I am...your father.


Be blessed


Daughter of Zion.


Sources:

Genesis 18, 19.

Foto: Totes Meer Israel- Pixabay.

Worship: Pursuit- Harvest.


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