Daily Devotional

Why Did God Destroy Sodom?

by Simon Whitton

Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed,
but that there might be equality.
At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality,

2 Corinthians 8:13-14 (NIV)

In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, he challenged them regarding their giving to help poorer Christians in Jerusalem.  He stressed that his desire was that there might be equality.  This may make you wonder if Paul was a closet socialist.  But actually there is an Old Testament precedent for some sort of equality.

Every fiftieth year in Israel was supposed to be a Year of Jubilee.  In that year, all the land and property was to be returned to its original family, with some exceptions, so every fifty years there should have been a redistribution of much of the wealth and the potential to make wealth.

13 "'In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property.
14 "'If you sell land to one of your countrymen or buy any from him, do not take advantage of each other.
15 You are to buy from your countryman on the basis of the number of years since the Jubilee. And he is to sell to you on the basis of the number of years left for harvesting crops.
16 When the years are many, you are to increase the price, and when the years are few, you are to decrease the price, because what he is really selling you is the number of crops.
17 Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 25:13-17 (NIV)

I'm not advocating socialism or using this ancient Biblical system, but these examples of equality teach us something of God's heart for the poor.  There is only a certain amount of wealth in the world, so if you have much wealth, other people have less.  In most countries, a large portion of the wealth usually ends up in the hands of a few, and this inequality at the expense of the poor is what concerns God.  Therefore, the rich have a responsibility towards the poor.

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker,
but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

Proverbs 14:31 (NIV)

If we are rich, we should be careful not to become haughty, make excuses or avoid our responsibility, because it is the Lord who has given us wealth, and He has entrusted us with it for a purpose.

You may say to yourself,
"My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me."
But remember the LORD your God,
for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth

Deuteronomy 8:17-18a (NIV)

We must not say to ourselves that the wealth we have produced is 'for me'.   God gives us the ability to produce this wealth for others, for their blessing and to relieve their suffering.  The great test of affluence and the real blessing of wealth is that God has given you a brief opportunity to give to the poor and become truly rich.  The second greatest commandment is 'love your neighbour as yourself'.  If we break that commandment, does that mean it is the second greatest sin?

49 "'Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

Ezekiel 16:49-50 (NIV)

Spend some time in prayer and confess to the Lord where you have not had the compassion for the poor that you should.  Pray that the Lord will give you His heart towards those in need, whether believers or non-believers, whether in your community or in distant lands.
Ken Peters, Remembering the Poor, Salt and Light Ministries, 1999
Thank you Mr. Peters for pointing out Ezek. 16:49

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