Summary: How shall the people of God respond when God brings judgement on a wicked society? Abraham provides an example of the way in which we are to respond when God judges evil.
“Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.
“So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.”
The Bible is hard on pride. Pride is the pathway to destruction [*Proverbs 16:18*]; the Lord simply hates it [*Proverbs 8:13*]. Obviously, I am speaking only of what may be called “normal” pride—the pride one takes in enviable capabilities or in praiseworthy achievements. However, an astonishing new form of pride has strutted onto the scene of modern life—pride in the abnormal, pride in the defective, pride in what is deviant.
Type “gay pride” into any Internet search engine and you will find a plethora of sites that promote the perspective that deviance merits pride. However, a Christian need observe but a single “gay pride” parade to establish the foolishness of attempting to take satisfaction in the open promotion of what is abnormal and dishonourable. Such parades exhibit and celebrate debauchery. Though politicians speak of these events as “colourful,” it is instructive to note that television news shows will not provide full coverage—the images are too revolting, or perhaps they are too damaging to the media’s commitment to promote the homosexual lifestyle as fun and normal. Perhaps such events draw people willing to spend money in the communities hosting the events, but we should ask at what cost the events are hosted. The moral declension attending the events may cost more than the communities wish to pay.
Undoubtedly, there is great sadness for those enmeshed in the gay pride movement. Men and women have felt the sting of social disapproval, and undoubtedly they have felt the sharp pangs of conscience. Trapped by their own choice, they labour to assure themselves and the community that the lifestyle they have chosen is defensible, even wonderful. It is a pitiful spectacle, but it is not benign, for in the rush to justify themselves, adherents to the movement trample standards of human decency and well-being as outlined in the Bible.
Since “gay pride” appears to have had such overwhelming success, should we be surprised that there now exist movements for “mad pride,” born when mentally ill people visited a “gay pride” festival? Since “gay pride” demands that we treat the abnormal as normal and healthy, it should not be surprising that people with mental illness demand that we treat them as normal and healthy instead of attempting to treat their illness.
Increasingly, people exalt their deviance, insisting that everyone be coerced into treating their abnormal behaviour as normal. Already, we have a “fat pride” movement. And though I certainly encourage people to accept themselves and their body shape, it is not at all evident that taking pride in our imperfections is wise or healthy. I have also recently discovered a movement promoting “pagan pride.” I suppose it is only a matter of time before we have “pride pride.”
The Bible warns:
“Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Of course, the Bible here addresses what we think of as “normal” pride. This biblical truth holds for an individual, for a nation, or even for a congregation. By extension, it would be appropriate to say that pride in the aberrant or bizarre is the expression of the destruction and the fall to which the Bible points; it is a sign that the collapse is already under way.
Looking upon modern culture as it implodes from the growing encrustation of evil, the question must be raised, “How shall the godly respond to the collapse of society?” Viewing the condition of many religious organisations that present themselves as repositories of righteous, godly people may are moved to ask how they should act as the inevitable implosion takes place. The question is one that was raised long ago when the Psalmist asked,
“When the foundations are destroyed,
what can the godly accomplish?”
Abraham witnessed the implosion of an ancient society marked by deviancy and decay. Undoubtedly, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah considered their behaviour normal, justifying their attitudes and their actions against any criticism from surrounding peoples. However, at the very time they appeared to be at the apex of wealth and achievement, destruction was stayed by the prayer of one man. When destruction finally rained down on the cities of the plain, how did that godly man—Abraham—respond? That is the focus of our study this day.
*Abraham Sought the Lord* — “Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord.” You recall how the Lord had informed Abraham of His plan, and the manner in which Abraham received that revelation. The account of that incident, as it occurred about twelve hours earlier, is recorded in Genesis 18.