Summary: Abraham reveals God's influence in his heart as he mourns for Sodom and Gomorrah.
Developing the Father’s Heart
Othal Feather said, “When the compassion on the inside of the church exceeds the indifference of the world on the outside, people will fill the Churches.”
Ill. Speaking of the more than 200 years of Christian missionary presence in India, Philip Yancey makes this interesting observation: “One telling statistic reveals the fruit of two centuries of a faithful mission work: of India’s nearly one billion citizens, less than 3 percent call themselves Christians, and yet Christians are responsible for more than 18 percent of the nation’s healthcare.”
Yancey concludes: “Despite the many bumbling errors of paternalistic missionaries, the Christians have given India an inspired legacy of education and medicine. If you say the world ‘Christian’ to an Indian peasant-who may never have heard of Jesus Christ-the first image to pop into her mind may well be that of a hospital, or of a medical van that stops by her village once a month to provide free, personal care in Christ’s name. It’s certainly not the whole of the gospel, but it’s not a bad place to start.”
“…and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:16).
Gen 19:27-29 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD. 28 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. 29 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.
There was an old TV commercial about litter where an old indian chief saw the litter around the Texas highways. The last scene was a tear running down his cheek. Nothing had to be said. The tear said it all.
We all knew the hanging questions of the ad campaign. What happened to Texas? Why don’t people care? How can someone through litter out the window and not have a broken heart.
I am not speaking on litter tonight, but that scene goes back to Genesis 19:27. There on the mountain, Abraham looked down and saw the smoke ascending to the heavens and all the destroyed lives. A tear runs down his cheek as his heart is broken.
I. Do we guard our testimonies?
Someone said: The ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah shall forever live in infamy. The very mention of their names brings to mind thoughts of hellish depravity and horrible destruction. They stand in biblical history as the very epitome of God’s hatred for sin and His judgment upon the sinner who refuses to repent. There were five cities that were located in the Vale of Siddim (sid-deem’), according to Gen.14: 3.
Today these cities are believed to be located under the salty waters of the south end of the Dead Sea.
According to Merrill Unger, “Their ruins were still visible until the 1st. cen. A. D.” (Merrill F. Unger, Th.D., Ph.D., Unger’s Bible Handbook, pg. 69).
Of the five cities that lay in this fertile valley, only the small city of Zoar was spared from destruction. That is where Lot chose to go to rebuild his life. The four cities were totally incinerated by fire and brimstone that fell upon them out of heaven, in horrifying rain of judgment.
Sodom, and Lot’s involvement there, is a perfect illustration of what is happening time and time again in cities around the world, where people are seemingly marching merrily down the road to hell without any concern about coming judgment. The sad thing is that there are Christians in those cities who know the Lord, and yet, have no effective testimony or witness for Him. This was certainly true of Lot in the city of Sodom.
This was a theme from last week’s lesson, but as Abraham stood on the mountain and viewed it, surely he remembered asking God to spare the area for 50 believers. Then he negotiated down to 10. As he stood on the mountain, the realization hit him. There were not 10 God-worshipers in Sodom. Yet, it is believed that Lot had lived there for long enough for his daughters to be born and become marrying age.
This is the sad reality of many today. We live our lives and have little, to any, impact on the community around us. We get caught up in our own little dramas to where we forget God’s purpose and plan for us. I believe that Jesus looks down from heaven at the messes we get into and a tear runs down His cheek. This may seem like dramatization to you, but let me show you something.