Summary: “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” -Ruth Graham
The following is from a letter by Billy Graham posted on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website: “Some years ago, my wife, Ruth, was reading the draft of a book I was writing. When she finished a section describing the terrible downward spiral of our nation’s moral standards and the idolatry of worshiping false gods such as technology and sex, she startled me by exclaiming, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
She was probably thinking of a passage in Ezekiel where God tells why He brought those cities to ruin. “Now this was the sin of … Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen” (Ezekiel 16:49–50, NIV).
I wonder what Ruth would think of America if she were alive today? In the years since she made that remark, millions of babies have been aborted and our nation seems largely unconcerned. Self-centered indulgence, pride, and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.” After Billy Graham posted this statement on his website he received in my humble opinion, some undue flack by a few other men of God, one in particular labeled it “unhelpful at best, and biblically irresponsible at worst.”
Another critic even stated that she believed that for Rev. Graham, to include this statement made by his dear wife was somehow kowtowing to some religious special interest group and was even on the verge of preaching fire and brimstone. Fire and brimstone? Bill Graham? This does not compute! The statement was an observation made by the late Ruth Graham to her husband, nothing more and nothing less. It is an observation, in which I happen to be in full agreement with. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of the most (if not the most) controversial stories in the Bible. I guarantee you that there are people who would have preferred that this biblical account be omitted from the Word of God. In fact, right here in my hometown of Houston, Texas there was an incident that caught my attention: "Two veteran preachers are now facing a bench trial for spreading the biblical message about homosexuality-and other sins-on one of their favorite street corners for preaching in Houston. What was their supposed crime? Having signs thicker than one quarter inch and having a sign made out of wood. They were tackled to the ground by HPD and handcuffed. Their case will be heard by a Lesbian judge." This kind of incident is taking place all over America and this is one reason I say that there are people who would have preferred that this biblical account be omitted from the Word of God.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is perhaps one of the most tragic and horrible stories in the entire Bible. And I will have to admit, listening to this story is very difficult. I would much rather entertain the beauty of the Psalms or of the Song of Solomon. I would much rather concern myself with the beautiful beatitudes of the New Testament, which spoke for those who had no voice of their own, the poor, the dispossessed and the powerless or almost any other story in the Bible than the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. This story almost plays out like a Hollywood disaster movie with evil villains; with desperate people struggling to get away from sure doom and destruction. This story is like the movie, Jurassic Park, because it tells of people running for their lives; being chased by dinosaurs all because they ended up in a place where they really didn’t belong in the first place.
Here in America today, we are in a place spiritually, where we really don’t belong. Why? We are dealing with issues that we need not deal with because God Himself has already established how we should live and conduct ourselves a long time ago. But today, here in the year 2013 many are sticking their fingers in the very face of God and are inadvertently or otherwise telling Him that they do not accept His way anymore; they want to do and are going to do what they want to do. Many today, here in the year 2013 are treating God’s Word as if they are just words printed on a piece of paper. Many today, are engaging in an open rebellion against the Creator the universe and of all things. And so this story of Sodom and Gomorrah just does not sit well with people today.
When and if they do consider God, He is only portrayed by them as a God of love, and as an all-embracing God. An “anything goes” type of God, but this particular concept of Him could not be any further than the truth. Although He is very well a God of love, He is equally a God of wrath. And before I am accused of preaching fire and brimstone myself I ask you to consider what is written in Job 36: 18, "Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee" and the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 1: 18, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,” In short, the world needs to get right with God, and understand clearly that God’s wrath is indeed real. God’s wrath (orge): anger, not an agitated outburst of violence. It is not anger that quickly blazes up and just as quickly fades away, God’s wrath is not anger that arises solely from emotion. Rather, it is a decisive anger. It is an anger that has arisen from a thoughtful decision, an anger that is righteous, and just, and good. It is an anger that stands against the sin and evil, violence and slaughter, immorality and injustices of men. However, it is an anger that is deeply felt; in fact, it must be felt, because evil and corruption must be opposed and erased from the earth.