Genesis 19.1–29: The overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah (Day 18)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Reflect

Daily reflection: Genesis 19

The men – only two of them by now – who'd visited Abraham were now with Lot. They were faced with sexual assault, which Lot tries to avert by offering his virgin daughters instead. The potential offence against the ancient code of hospitality was regarded as more serious than the rape of his daughters, something we now find deeply shocking. He and his family – minus his sons-in-law, natives of Sodom, and his wife, who looks back in evident regret – are helped by God's messengers to escape to Zoar, a small town which thereby avoids the destruction of the other cities of the plain. Lot's choice of the greener grass has ended wretchedly, and his trials are not over yet.

This is not an uplifting passage, but it's a very thought-provoking one. There are several themes in it. One is the ugliness of sin, which destroys communities and forces decent people into impossible situations. Another is the inevitability of judgement: while many atrocities do go unpunished, a story like this expresses God's abhorrence of evil.

The most sobering message is perhaps that sometimes there's nothing believers can do to influence a situation or make it better. We need to withdraw to a refuge, like Zoar – perhaps the thinking that lay behind the use of the name for so many Welsh chapels.

Pray

Pray

God, help me to grieve with you at the reality of evil and the wickedness of human beings. Preserve me in this fallen world, and help me to change it.

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