The Background of Sodom and Gomorrah
You cannot look at the story of Sodom and Gomorrah without considering Lot, who was Abraham’s nephew. He is really the person in the story you root for.
Because of his connection to Abraham and because you like Abraham, you tend to root for Lot.
However, what you see in Lot is a series of bad decisions that become the foundation for these inconvenient truths.
Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible was defined by one word…wicked.
Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord. – Genesis 13:13
Despite the wickedness of the city, for some reason Lot was drawn to live near this city which leads us to the first of four inconvenient truths in this biblical account:
Truth #1: You can’t decide to live near sin and think it won’t affect you.
Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom – Genesis 13:12
Lot pitched his tents near Sodom. Notice he did not live in the city but was somewhere outside the city. Yet the influence of Sodom would soon impact Lot’s life. In the New Testament Paul reminds us:
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33
This is exactly what happened to Lot. If you fast forward in this story, notice where the angels find Lot when they go to rescue him.
The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. – Genesis 19:1
Lot was no longer outside the city or near the city, he was sitting in the gateway of the city. This was no small thing. It was an indication that he was a leader in the city.
Lot went from being an outsider to being a leader in a city where the people sinned greatly against God. Clearly, he either disregarded or participated in the depravity of this city. Either way, the influence of sin either seared his conscience (so he no longer saw sin in the same way) or it allowed him to be a participant.
The lesson here for you and I is: if you hang around sin long enough it can become normalized. When this happens, what should be appalling and repulsive reaches the point of being acceptable.
What’s fascinating about Lot’s story is that he had the opportunity to choose where he wanted to go and he chose to live near the people of Sodom. How could he think that the influence of the city would not come near him and impact him?
The same is true for us.
We should never be so foolish to think that we can pitch our tents near bad influences all the time and they will have no effect. Lot made this bad decision, and too often, many Christians make the same bad choice. If I could say it in one thought, anything that is constantly around you will eventually impact you.
So be wise where you pitch your tent.
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