We can read about homosexuality all the way back in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is not new to our culture and society. In our society and culture you hear the phrase “same sex” repeated over and over again, but it seems another word is added to the phrase. You are hearing, “same sex marriage.” Same sex marriage constantly appears in the news.
It has been presented before the Supreme Court who would decide whether or not same sex marriage would be accepted by us as a country in the legal sense. Questions were asked and continue to be asked whether or not same sex couples should have the same rights as do those in traditional marriages.
In this Bible study, let's stay clear of the political angle. What you will find in this study has nothing to do with whatever our government is currently doing or will decide to do in the future in reference to same sex marriage. It has nothing to do with what your political view happens to be or whatever party with whom you choose to associate yourselves. What this country does, even by the laws it writes and what it deems to be constitutional, does not dictate morality. We cannot, based on the direction of our society and culture, view as acceptable that which the Bible condemns.
With that in mind, we are going to address the account of Sodom and Gomorrah, but only from the perspective of what the Bible has to say about it, and not what our culture, our society, or even our government has to say about it.
What we learn from this account is from the viewpoint of what God has to say in reference to this lifestyle that is becoming increasingly practiced, accepted, and even celebrated in our society.
The apostle Peter wrote, "If anyone speaks, let him speak as of the oracles of God" (1 Pet. 4.11).
Whatever we have to say about this or any other subject, it must be consistent with what God says. So when we consider the subject of same sex relationships, let's to go the Bible and consider what God says about it. We learn what God has to say about homosexuality in the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah.
What is the condition of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah? How is their behavior viewed in the eyes of God?
Sodom and Gomorrah were Exceedingly Wicked
The first time we read about Sodom and Gomorrah and their condition is in Genesis 13. Abraham already had some idea about what was going on in those cities because of what we read in verses 11-13.
Here we find that there was a conflict between Abraham and his nephew Lot and between their herdsmen. They both had large herds and there was not enough room to support both Abraham’s herds and Lot’s herds.
Abraham had a solution. He said that there was plenty of land all around them and that they should split up with one going one way and the other going the other way. Abraham then gave Lot the choice of which direction he would go.
The men of Sodom were not just wicked. They were exceedingly wicked. The men of Sodom were not just sinful. They were sinful against the Lord. This is what you will find in Genesis 13.13.
Sodom and Gomorrah were described as having Very Grave Sin.
When you come to Genesis 18, God alerts Abraham that He is about to destroy these two cities. In this chapter we find that God sent His messengers to the house of Abraham and Sarah to announce the fact that they will have a son.
In verse 16, these messengers sent by God leave the house of Abraham and look toward the city of Sodom. It is in that setting that we read about this description of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Notice that God referred to the condition of these cities as sin that was very grave. All sin is evil, and every kind of sin will separate you from God (Isa. 59.2). There are some sins that are considered far worse only because of the magnitude by which they are practiced. Here is a sin which is widespread. Here is a sin that was practiced with a great deal of frequency. So God calls their sin very grave.
When we come to Genesis 18.23. Abraham tries to negotiate with God in terms of not destroying the cities on behalf of those who may be living in Sodom and Gomorrah who are righteous.
In Genesis 18.20, God calls the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah “very grave.” In Genesis 18.23, Abraham refers to the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah as “wicked.”
Here is the Holy Spirit recording the words spoken by Abraham, and Abraham gives his assessment of the situation. His assessment was that this was wickedness.
God called the ways of Sodom and Gomorrah a very grave sin. Abraham called their ways wicked. We have how God viewed what was being practiced in Sodom and Gomorrah, and we have how Abraham, a righteous man of God, viewed what they were doing. But what was the very grave sin that Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of practicing?
The answer is found in Genesis 19.
Here is Lot sitting at the gate seemingly looking for strangers who might come to the city so that he can offer them a place to stay and keep them from the sin and wickedness that is going on in the city.
It was both the young and the old from every part of the city. Where did the young learn this kind of behavior? Could it be that they learned it from those who were older? Could it be that they learned it by the example of those who were older? Could it be that they learned it because they themselves were abused by those who were older? The Bible does not give us the answer to that question. But it does say that both old and young participated in this very grave sin.
This was a city wide perversion. All the people from every quarter participated in this sin that was exceedingly wicked and very grave.
We can go all the way back to Genesis 4 and we read that Adam knew his wife Eve. The result of him knowing her in that way was that she became pregnant (Gen. 4.1,2).
So here are these men calling out to Lot demanding that he bring out his guests, these men, that they may know them, and know them carnally. Here are the men of city who wanted to have a sexual encounter with the men in the house.
Lot calls this perversion “wickedness”. His uncle Abraham called it wickedness in Genesis 18.23. God called it wickedness and sin. Lot, Abraham, and God Himself called the act of men having sex with men as wickedness. And that was before the United States ever legislated that such a thing is acceptable. There is nothing our nation or any other nation can legislate that changes the fact that God sees this as wickedness.
Am we being hateful in calling homosexuality wickedness? Not at all. We are simply going to the Bible to see how God views this kind of lifestyle. Here is God looking at their homosexual lifestyle and saying, “That is wickedness.” Men knowing other men carnally is sin. That is how God viewed homosexuality practiced my mankind in general.
Some might argue that the sin that Abraham, Lot, and even God Himself called wickedness was not homosexuality but failing to show hospitality. They claim that it was thethe people in the city not being welcoming and hospitable to strangers who would come into the city. Let’s go to the New Testament and clarify exactly what the sin was that God called wickedness.
The New Testament Clarifies the Sin of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In the eyes of God, Sodom and Gomorrah committed sin that was very grave and exceedingly wicked. It is very clear from the text that their wickedness was the act of homosexuality. The New Testament verifies this by describing Sodom and Gomorrah as "having given themselves over the sexual immorality." It is this sinful and wicked behavior of homosexuality that compels God to bring judgment upon the cities.
Here is Lot in his home with two of God's messengers as guests. The men of the city both young and old from every quarter of the city come Lot’s house, surrounds it, and demands that these two messengers be brought out that they might have homosexual relations with them. Lot responds in Genesis 19.7: “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!”
Notice how the men of the city reacted…
Lot judged their behavior as being wickedness. They responded that Lot keeps acting as a judge.
People do not like to be judged. They do not like to have their sins exposed. Instead, there is a push for behavior that the Bible describes as wicked to be accepted as normal in society. When it is pointed out that such sin is in violation to the will of God, we are called racists and homophobic.
Yet the Bible tells us that we are supposed to judge those who are acting outside the boundaries of the Bible.
Jesus tells us that we are to judge. However, we are not to judge according to appearance. We cannot look at someone and draw conclusions based on gender, race, or the kind of clothes someone wears. We are to judge. But we are to judge based on righteousness. In other words we are to identify what is right and what is wrong based on what the Bible calls righteous.
How are we to treat those who practice the sin of homosexuality? Are we to treat them as enemies? Are we to treat them with great animosity? Are we to be hostile toward them? We are never going to reach anyone with a militant approach. We may be right in what we say, but we are wrong in how we say it.
We are to treat those who practice homosexuality just as we treat anyone. We treat them with love and a genuine concern for their soul.
Lot judged the behavior of those living in Sodom and Gomorrah as wicked. Regardless of the sin being committed, whether it be homosexuality, fornication, or telling lies, the Bible compels me and you to condemn the sins of other in an effort to encourage them to change in repentance and bring them into the loving arms of God.
Back in Genesis 18, Abraham negotiated with God who promised that if ten righteous people could be found in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, He would not destroy the cities for the sake of the righteous.
Try as he did, Abraham could not find even ten righteous people in the city. In the following verses, we read about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Lot tried to gather up his family and get them out of town. His sons-in-law would not listen thinking that he was just joking with them. He gathered up his daughters and his wife, and ran out of the city.
As they fled the city, God gave them one commandment. Don’t look back.
Today, we can look back at this account and take away a critical lesson. We learn how God views homosexuality. It is not just a different lifestyle. It is something that is viewed by God as wicked, a very grave sin. Because they persisted in their sin, God destroyed the cities. In reference to Sodom and Gomorrah, Peter wrote these words…
The good news is that Jesus came and died for the sins of man giving everyone an opportunity to turn from their sins and be saved from the Day of Judgment. We need only submit to the will of God and accept Jesus as Lord in obedience to His gospel.