“…The outcry against this place is so great it has reached the Lord, and he has sent us to destroy it.” Genesis 19:12
Tuesday at our Bible study on The Patriarchs by Beth Moore, we were discussing the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. One of the ladies in our study noticed Genesis 18:20 and Genesis 19:12. In the first passage, God, Himself tells Abraham: “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant.” In the second passage the angels tell Lot: “…The outcry against this place is so great it has reached the Lord, and he has sent us to destroy it.”
My friend’s question was: “Where did the outcry come from?” It certainly did not come from the people who were sinning in each of these cities, or from Abraham or Lot. Then who was crying out to the Lord?
My first thought was the people who had been wronged by those living in Sodom and Gomorrah. Surely there were kingdoms and nations in the vicinity that had at one time or another been affected by the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah. This may be so, but on more careful examination, I have concluded that the outcry came from the evil actions themselves.
Loving a good question, I searched the Scriptures and found two places where this happens. The first is Genesis 4:10. After Cain kills Abel, there is nobody to accuse him, “But the Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!’“ What this passage says to me is that even when a sin is done in secret, even when there are no witnesses to a crime and no survivors to cry out to the Lord, the LORD hears the outcry. In this case, the shed blood of Abel is crying out to the Lord for justice.
The other passage is James 5:4: “Look! The pay that you withheld from the workers who reaped your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts.” In this case, even if the harvesters did not cry out to God, the “withheld pay”, the injustice with which the harvesters were treated would cry out to the Lord.
God, who has his eyes and ears and heart trained on us at all times, hates sin and injustice. He is concerned, involved and caring. It matters to him when his creatures are wronged, maligned or destroyed. Sin is an aberration that demands to be made right. Therefore, in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah the very flagrant sin of the people there, cried out to God. Injustice cries out for Justice. Sin can only be made right through direct intervention from a perfect God.
Dearest Heavenly Father,
After you formed the earth, and the moon, and the stars, and created man, You said: “It is very good.” When sin mars the goodness of the universe, you notice. You hear the outcry. You listen to our prayers. You hear the groaning of those who love you. It is because of that very love, that you sent us Jesus. Thank you that His righteousness has made us righteous. Thank you for His sacrifice of atonement, which has cleansed us and for his love that sustains us day by day.
In His precious name,