It is clear to everyone that Sodom was a sinful city. Genesis 13:13 says plainly: “Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD.” What was their great sin?
In Genesis 18:20-21 we read that not only was the sin of Sodom great, it was grievous and had caused an outcry to reach Heaven: “20 Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
What could be so grievous to the Lord? Anyone who has had any Bible study knows the common answer: homosexuality. Tonight I write to demonstrate clearly that this is utterly false. As you might expect, the Bible declares many sins of Sodom.
Sodom’s Sin: Homosexual Gang Rape
The rumor that Sodom’s sin was homosexuality probably came from the description of the actions of some of the men toward Lot and his angel guests: Genesis 19:4-5 “4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom–both young and old–surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Clearly this was not just a same-sex encounter; but far beyond that and into the realm of abusive harm. That is detestable.
Sodom’s Sin: Adultery and Lying
Through the prophet Jeremiah we see Israel’s sins compared to Sodom and Gomorrah; the sins of adultery and lying. “And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.” Jeremiah 23:14 (NIV84)
Sodom’s Sin: Arrogance and Selfishness
The primary sin that seemed to anger God the most was arrogance and selfishness. The Sodomites didn’t care abut the poor and the needy. They only concerned themselves with their own wealth and food: Ezekiel 16:49-50 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”
Sodom’s Sin: Immorality and Perversion
Jude makes a brief statement about Sodom and Gomorrah: Jude 1:7 “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” The gang rape request in Genesis 19 is certainly a perversion, and adultery is sexual immorality. I suspect many of the actions considered sinful by the letter of the law in Leviticus 18 were in Sodom. By the letter of the law, homosexuality was considered a sin and was part of the problem because there was no restraint for homosexuality nor any of the other sins.
Sodom’s Sin: Not as bad as Israel’s Sin
People seem so bitterly disgusted by Sodom. Yet what did God think? Ezekiel 16:48 says: “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.” Ezekiel 16:51-52 says: “Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. 52 Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.
A Sobering Thought from Jesus
Luke 10:12 “I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.”