Sodom & Gomorrah: Bible Story with Lesson

by Robert Driskell on December 19, 2012 · Print Print · Email Email

Sodom and Gomorrah…the names are virtually synonymous with evil, sin, and judgment.  How did these cities gain this dubious notoriety?  Let us look into the Old Testament record and learn about these most sinful of peoples. 

Historical background and story

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were first mentioned in Genesis 10:19.  Abram, and his nephew Lot, had been traveling together, but their group had gotten too big, “…so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together…”  (Genesis 13:6 ESV).  They decided to separate into two different groups.  Lot chose to settle near the town of Sodom.

We read this in Genesis 13:13, “Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord” (ESV).  The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and several of the surrounding cities, were so sinful that God decided to destroy them (Genesis 18:20-21).  Abraham interceded for the people of the two cities, motivated additionally because his nephew, Lot, lived there.  The Bible tells us that, even with all his failings, Lot was a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7-8).  Abraham pleaded with the Lord, knowing His mercy and goodness (Genesis 18:25).  The Lord finally said that the cities would be spared if ten righteous people could be found there (Genesis 18:33).  However, there were not even ten righteous in that evil city.

The Bible indicates that the city’s wickedness had been going on for some time.  Genesis 18:20 and 19:13 tell us that the outcry caused by these people’s sinfulness had “become great”, indicating that an amount of time had transpired while the judgment built up against them.  God’s hesitancy to bring judgment against them can be seen as an act of mercy on His part.  By giving them more time, God expected Lot to be an influence on their society.  Lot should have been preaching the truth of God to them.  However, by the looks of things, he failed to do this.

Angels and evil in the city

the Bible tells us that Lot’s wife did look back…and was turned into a pillar of salt

The Lord’s angels made their way into the town of Sodom.  Lot convinced the angels to spend the night at his house instead of their original plan, which was to spend the night in the town square (Genesis 19:3).  The incredible wickedness of the men of Sodom was to be revealed during this night.  The Bible says that every last man, young and old, surrounded Lot’s house in order to have homosexual relations with the two angels.  The wicked townsmen were probably unaware that the men were angels, but probably believed them to be Lot’s house guests.  The perversion of the inhabitants of Sodom is where the term ‘sodomy’ comes from and applies to homosexuality between males.  This truly was a wicked and vile city deserving of God’s judgment.

In order to distract the evil Sodomites from their perverted quest concerning the angels, Lot offered his daughters to the men as substitutes.  The Sodomites refused and attempted to force their way into Lot’s home.  The angels blinded the men of the city and told Lot that he should gather his family in order to flee the city because it would soon be destroyed.

Therefore, God saved Lot, Lot’s wife, and his two daughters.  The angels led them safely out of the city with the instruction that they were not to look back. Nevertheless, the Bible tells us that Lot’s wife did look back…and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26).  Disobeying God usually reaps dire consequences.  Once Lot’s family was out of Sodom, the Lord rained sulfur and fire from heaven on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24), destroying all the inhabitants and everything that grew on the ground.

Sodom’s other sins

Sexual sins were not the only sins of Sodom and Gomorrah.  The Bible tells us that they were guilty of sinful pride.  In addition, they were selfish; they had an overabundance of food and wealth, but would not take care of the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:49). 

Isaiah 3:9 tells us that not only were Sodom and Gomorrah guilty of all these sins against God, but they were arrogant about it, not thinking that sin against God was something shameful. 

Lessons from Sodom and Gomorrah

(1) God will judge those who reject Him.  Several time in the Bible the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were given as examples of God’s judgment on those who reject Him and rebel against His Lordship (Luke 10:12, 17:29; 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 1:7).  God allowed the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah to continue until it was clear that they were a sinful people, who relished in sin, and who continually chose to persist in it.  God’s mercy is long-suffering, but there will be a day of judgment for all.

(2) Jesus told His disciples that the Day of Judgment would be worse for the people who rejected His message than it was for Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 10:15, 11:23-24).  As bad as the sins of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were, the Bible says that we are more accountable because we know the full story of God’s plan and provision for our salvation.  We know that Jesus came and died on a cross for our sins.  We know how we can be forgiven and receive eternal life.

(3) It appeared that Lot had allowed himself to be influenced by the inhabitants of Sodom more than he influenced them.  We Christians must take care, as we attempt to influence our world for Christ, that we do not allow the temptations of the world to corrupt us (1 Corinthians 15:33).

 (4) Lot had been slow to speak up for God, if he spoke up for Him at all, so when he finally spoke up, no one took him seriously (Genesis 19:9, 14).  When we publicly compromise our beliefs, it becomes much more difficult to be taken seriously when we do stand our ground later.  If our walk does not match our talk, we are labeled hypocrites…and rightly so.

(5) Lot knew early on that Sodom was a sinful city.  Still, the Bible tells us that, even though he was aware of their sin, he remained among them (2 Peter 2:8). In fact, the Bible indicates that Lot was drawn ever closer to the city as time went by.  First, he “pitched his tent toward Sodom” (Genesis 13:12), then he “dwelt in Sodom” (Genesis 14:12), and finally he lived in the city and “sat in the gate of Sodom” (Genesis 19:1).  If we dabble with sin, we are often pulled into it a little at a time, without noticing until we are fully involved.  The safest way to avoid sin is to stay far from its tempting influence.

Conclusion

The biblical record of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of the darkest stories in the Bible.  It is a glaring example of sin’s power and pull.  The story gives us a glimpse of how far sinful humanity will go when they reject God and indulge in evil rebellion against Him.

However, in this story we also see the mercy and grace of God in that He made a way of escape for those who trusted in the offer of salvation from the coming judgment.  That offer is still good today.  Jesus Christ died on a cross so that, by trusting in Him for our salvation, we will be saved from a fiery judgment and delivered into eternal life.  Our eternal destination depends on whether we choose to trust Jesus or reject Him.  The former leads to eternal life, the latter leads to judgment such as Sodom and Gomorrah experienced.

“But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”  (Matthew 11:24 ESV).

Here are some more Bible studies for you to consider:

Resources:

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

YouTube video “Live like that” by Sidewalk Prophets



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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Jones December 19, 2012 at 6:19 am

Thank you for the study.

Reply

Robert December 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Robert,
Thank you for reading and commenting. It was a blessing for me to write this article. God teaches me so much as I study in preparation to write. May He get the glory always.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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EVANGELIST JOHNNIE RUTH GRIFFIN December 19, 2012 at 8:59 am

THANKS FOR THIS HISTORY ON SODOM AND GOMORRAH I WILL SHARE IT, IT IS MUCH NEEDED, THANK YOU AGAIN…

Reply

Robert December 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Johnnie,
I thank you for reading and commenting. I am thrilled that this article can be a blessing to you. Feel free to share it with whomever and my God be glorified through the spread of His Word. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Jack Wellman December 19, 2012 at 9:34 am

Thank you Robert. It reminds me, sadly, of the present state of the U.S because we are committing similar sins without showing any repentance or remorse. I am still certainly a sinner, and so are other believers, but the difference is that we confess our sin and put our trust in Christ. Praying for revival.

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Robert December 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Jack, you are so right. It amazes me that so many Americans think they can live like the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah and God will not notice. The judgment of God falls on everyone. As you pointed out, only those forgiven by faith in Christ will not suffer God’s wrath. I pray many more will realize this soon. God bless you, brother, and thank you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Joanna White December 19, 2012 at 10:23 am

Once again a very well written article, with great and understanding detail. Thank you for the back round of this Bible Study, I am sure to share with others.

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Robert December 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Thank you for reading and commenting, Joanna. It is my honor, and great responsibility, to expound on God’s Word. I am so blessed to know that my service has blessed another. May God continue to richly bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Josh December 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Great write up on this Robert. I read through this today and really enjoyed the five lesson points you had. It is good to think through the lessons that come from stories like Sodom and Gomorrah and how we can imply them to our own lives.

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Robert December 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Thank you for the kind word, Josh.
It is my belief that there is nothing in Scripture that God did not put there for our benefit; to guide us, teach us, strengthen us, empower us, etc. Something can be gained from every part of His Word. Ultimately it is all to His glory. Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve Him in this way. I love it. God bless you, Josh.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Patricia Schneider December 20, 2012 at 8:22 pm

A good article on ‘Sodom and Gomorrah.’ From this part of Scripture, homosexuality and lesbianism are sins. I see no reference to those two topics in the New Testament. Did I overlook it? There are homosexuals & lesbians who are Christians, even ministers and priests who will ‘marry’ them. (Also some states who legally allow such a marriage.) Curious to know your opinion, Robert. God bless you! Patty

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Robert December 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Patty,

This can be a subject filled with emotion. Sometimes there is more emotion than truth though. I will try to be brief, but thorough with this answer. If it does not answer all your questions, we can do some follow up conversations.

First, several New Testament passages reveal homosexuality/lesbianism as sin. In the first chapter of Romans, Paul is giving us a history of the progression of those who reject God and rebel against Him. We read these words:
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:26-27 ESV).

We find this in I Corinthians:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (I Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV)

Paul said this when speaking about the usefulness of the Law, “…understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine” (I Timothy 1:9-10 ESV).

Now, although homosexuality and lesbianism is prominent in the news today, it a sin that is still forgivable because Jesus died on the cross for that sin too. The Bible tells us that if we have sinned in one area, we have broken the entire law of God (James 2:10).

After laying out the sins that keep people out of the Kingdom of God (see above I Corinthians 6:9-10), Paul reassures the Christians to whom he spoke that they were formerly like that, but had been forgiven and were now partakers of the Kingdom of God. “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (I Corinthians 6:11 ESV).

As far as Christian gays and lesbians; can you be a Christian while willfully sinning against God? Can a person be a Christian while willfully disobeying God’s Word?

I hope this is of some help. God bless you and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (which can really only take place with God).

Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Derek Hill December 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Fantastic article Robert. These cities truly were some of the darkest mentioned in the Bible. It amazes me how long God waited to destroy them, which makes me think how amazing God is for waiting to send Jesus back to finish things. He loves us so much that He with-holds His judgment now to save a few more sinners. Great job brother!

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Robert December 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Thank you Derek,
God is so gracious to humanity. Your comment reminded me of this verse, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (II Peter 3:9 ESV). Although He gives us enough time, there will come a day of judgment when it will be too late. I pray that everyone would come to Him in repentance and faith. Thank you, brother. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Patricia Schneiders December 22, 2012 at 2:29 am

Thank you, Robert, for your quick reply. It’s not that I overlooked these parts of the New Testament, as much as I
‘forgot.’ Only started re-studying Scriptures when I found “What Christians Want To Know” on Facebook. (And also just coming out of a very severe depression, which lasted from 2009 when my beautiful Mom passed on until about 4 mths. ago. Thank Dear God He finally lifted it!) Guess what I meant to ask in the first place was, did JESUS HIMSELF ever say anything about homosexuality? I have read the New Testament several times over the years, but only now has my desire increased to KNOW His Holy Word. I’ll never be a scholar, but to be able to apply Scripture to my daily life I believe is what the Holy Spirit wants me to do.
As for homosexuality being a sin…I’m still confused. ‘Cause Scripture was written by men (inspired by the Holy Spirit, true.) Could they have been influenced by morals of THEIR
time? Oh, this is getting nowhere. It’s too vast a subject for me to handle now.
May Jesus’ Blessings be upon you and your family this Holiday Season, Robert! Patty

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Robert December 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Hi Patty,
There is nothing recorded in the Bible where Jesus specifically spoke of homosexuality, however He did indicate that God’s moral standards do not change (Matthew 5:17). Also, Paul tells us, “For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:12 ESV). Therefore, Paul’s teachings are (as it were) directly from Jesus. Please read my article “Why I Trust The Bible” for the reasons that I believe the Bible is God’s Word, not man’s. It affects every part of your faith whether you believe the Bible to be Truth or just man’s fallible opinions. God bless you Patty.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Robert Jones December 22, 2012 at 10:16 am

I couldn’t agree more with all of you. I do believe our country is in a moral and financial sewer because of the decisions of our leaders – gay rights, Adam & Steve getting married, Abortion, Making pot legal, and most of all, asking God to leave our schools, courthouses, homes, work places, and the list goes on. If the leaders of our country would do a complete study ov the Old Testament, then they would see what happen to the countries and the leaders of those countries, when they removed the true God out of their lives. It was God who pulled the rug out from under them because they worshipped false gods, and didn’t invite the true God into their lives. It’s not rocket science. I talk about this in my me book. You can find out what my book is all about at: ThinkLikeGod.org

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Robert December 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Robert,
Thank you for reading and commenting. We surely should be devoted to praying that the eyes of our nation’s leaders, and the eyes of all, would be opened to the truth of what is going on around us. The only true hope anyone has is God, it has always been this way and it always will be this way. It’s the way God made things to work. You are right, it is we who have turned from Him, not the other way around. I will be interested in checking out your book. God bless you, Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Patricia Schneiders December 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Thank you for your reply, Robert. Have read Matthew 5:7-20. In fact, I read it three times, praying to the Holy Spirit to enlighten me. Guess I’m not ‘ready’ to comprehend this particular version of God’s Word. Have believed most of my life that when two people who love each other and want to share their lives together, that their love was OK in the eyes of God.
Until I become firmer in my beliefs, waiting for the Holy Spirit to guide me, I will STOP advocating Gay’s Rights. Please pray for me, Robert. Doing God’s Will is the most important part of my life next to loving and adoring Him.
Merry Christmas, Robert! Patty

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Robert December 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Patty,
God wants you to know the truth. Just keep reading His Word and praying, have patience, and He will guide you. I will be praying for you and your Christian walk.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Lynn Joseph December 26, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Dear Pastor,
it was realy an amazing message. I was provoked to judge my own spiritual life. May God bless your ministries. Please do pray for me and my studies.

Joseph

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Robert December 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Lynn,
Thank you for your kind words. I am simply trying to be the messenger for His message. I will be praying for you and your studies. Trust in Him always.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Patricia Schneiders December 29, 2012 at 3:55 am

Hello, Robert…Is there a version of modern text for the Old Testament as there is for the New Testament? (I’ve been using “Good News For Modern Man” for New Testament. Is that OK?) Hope your Christmas was a happy one and may the New Year bring many blessings for you and your family! Patty

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Robert December 29, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Hi Patty,
The Good News Bible is more of an interpretation than a translation. By this, I mean that it takes the literal words of the Bible and attempts to tell the reader what they mean. Now I wouldn’t say that you should not read it at all, but you should read also read a more literal translation alongside the Good News Bible. A more literal translation would be something along the lines of the New American Standard, English Standard Version, King James Version, New King James Version, and (although it is personally my least favorite) the New International Version. All of these translations have both Old and New Testaments in them. Hope this helps.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Patricia Schneiders December 29, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Thank you so much for your quick reply, Robert! I will be looking into these versions of the Bible (first see if we have any of them in this old, big house of ours~my hubby, Gary, still has his Bible from when he was confirmed in the Presbyterian Church. I have my Catholic Bible my Mom gave me in my early 20′s (was baptized & raised Catholic, became a Christian when I married my husband in 1974.) And we have a few more bibles, don’t recall how we gathered them all!
Not to sound ignorant, which I mostly am when it comes to the Old Testament, but who is King James?
Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. Have a glorious one, and a blessed 2013, in Jesus’ Name. Patty

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Robert December 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Patty,
I find that a comparison of several different versions helps me get the most out of my study time. As for who King James was (not an ignorant question at all), I have recently written an article on the very subject. Check it out and let me know if you have other questions. I’ll be happy to attempt an answer. You can find the article here: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-we-got-the-king-james-version-of-the-bible/
And a Blessed New Year to you and yours.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Patricia Schneider December 30, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Hello, Robert! Guess what? My hubby, Gary, found an Authorized King James Bible in our home! It was given to his Mom by the United Auto Workers, Retirees Chapter, when his Dad passed on in 1981.
It’s really beautiful…encased in a wooden box (9 1/2 x 6 1/2, 2 inches deep.) Opened, on one side is a lovely painting of Our Lord, and the Bible sits in the other side. The Bible itself is encased & zippered in white leather. Never knew we had it. Gary’s Mom came to live w/us for 2 years, died in the late 1990′s. ALL of her things were packed away in our attic & spare room. Thought that was sweet of Gary to look for the bible, don’t you? Thank you, again, Robert, for providing me with info on bibles.
Happy New Year!
Yours in Christ,
Patty

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Robert December 31, 2012 at 11:10 am

Patty,
Sounds like you got a good (Godly) man there. I will be praying that God shows you an abundance of things to strengthen your walk with Him. God bless you and have a Blessed New Year.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Chris Mueller January 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Robert,
Thanks for the lessons. It will help me to get out out the ‘lukewarm christianity’ path I found myself on. I feel alot like Lot – being influenced by lukewarm christians and non-christians – not reaching out to others around me, not being friendly, being comfortably complacent.

Thanks for the encouraging lessons.
Chris

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Robert January 28, 2013 at 11:46 am

Chris,
You are so very welcome, I am so glad that this article touched you. We believers are constantly being bombarded with temptations from our culture…and from some within the church. We must cling to the truth of God and seek to follow Him to the best of our ability. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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David Laidig August 9, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Ezekiel 16:49
King James Version (KJV)
49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. Maybe you need to look at ALL of the references to S&G. Sounds very familiar don’t you think? This from a country who claims to be “One Nation Under God”

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Robert August 11, 2013 at 10:54 am

Hello David,
First, thanks for reading and commenting. I’m not real clear as to the point you are making in your comment. You seem a little upset with me for some reason. Every nation, country, town, city, etc. contain elements mimicking the morals (should I say…immorals) of Sodom and Gomorrah. I am more concerned with individuals loving God and dedicating their lives to Him. God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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