Fire in my Bones

He knows how to save them | Pst. J.O. Lawal

Date: August 11, 2021 | Series: Youth for Jesus | Number: Vol. 4, No. 13

“And God also destroyed the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them until they were ashes. He made those cities an example of what will happen to those who are against God. But he saved Lot from those cities. Lot, a good man, was troubled because of the filthy lives of evil people. (Lot was a good man, but because he lived with evil people every day, his good heart was hurt by the evil things he saw and heard.) So the Lord knows how to save those who serve him when troubles come. He will hold evil people and punish them, while waiting for the Judgment Day.” (2Peter 2:6-9NCV)

Those are apostle Peter’s words to us. And he says them to encourage us to keep walking in righteousness, regardless of how corrupt or wicked those around us are or become. As he points out, it is not just on the day of eternal judgment that the wicked will be punished. Even right here in the world, God will not allow them to go unpunished for their wickedness, if they will not repent. It is only that it is not every time that people can relate the judgment God is bringing on them in this world to their wicked acts.

There are times, however, in which God punishes people in such a way that everyone is able to tell that He is the one punishing them for their sins. For instance, as Peter equally reminds us in our opening bible text, there was a time God had to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them until they became nothing but ashes. Why? It was because of their wickedness and filthy lives. They were so immoral and unreasonable that their men (old and young) even thought of molesting the angels that came into their cities to assess the level of their wickedness. (Cf. Gen 19:1-5)

That, by the way, is something we should keep in mind. God, from time to time, sends His angels to assess and experience firsthand what is going on in our lives, homes, communities, cities and even countries. In fact, this is one of the reasons we are told in the Scriptures to be hospitable and kind to all people, including strangers, for we cannot tell when we will be interacting with God’s angels. What report or testimony, then, will they bring before God concerning us? And what will their testimony about us make God do to us? Will it make Him elevate us or make Him demote or destroy us? (Cf. Heb 13:2)

Two angels were sent by Him to Sodom and Gomorrah to see whether the degree of their wickedness was as outrageous as the outcry against them suggested. Also, they were sent to see if there would be enough righteous people, even if they were only ten, in these cities to make God change His mind about them and give them another chance. So, the fate of these people was resting to a great extent on the assessment of these angels. Yet, that very night that they chose to sleep in the city, the men there were bent on sexually molesting them. And they would have succeeded, if they had just been ordinary men and not angels. (Cf. Gen 18:20-23)

Now what more evidence did these angels need to conclude that these two cities must be destroyed? None! So, they carried out God’s sentence on them and destroyed everybody and everything there. However, that same day, Lot and his wife and two daughters were shown favour and led out safely. Yes, Lot’s wife eventually perished on the way. But it was not because she was a partaker of the sins of the people of those cities but because she disobeyed an angelic instruction. (Cf. Gen 19:12-26)

What is the point of all this? It is that God knows how save those whose hearts are devoted to pleasing Him when He is punishing the wicked for their sins. Why were Lot and his daughters saved on the day that Sodom and Gomorrah were judged? It was because God was merciful to them. And why was He merciful to them? It was because, though they daily saw the wickedness being done in those cities and had their hearts tormented by it, they would not partake in it, encourage it or sponsor it. And they proved their innocence in all these things by welcoming the angels sent by God and bringing them into their house for comfort and safety, when no one else would take notice of them.

In like manner, we too can expect to enjoy God’s favour and mercy anytime He brings judgment on the wicked in our world, if we will not partake in their wickedness or encourage or sponsor it. So, if your heart is already fainting because of the horror of wickedness around you, remember these things and strengthen yourself in the Lord. And someday, you will be glad that you remain steadfast in righteousness, when you are made to witness the judgment of the wicked around you from a place of safety.

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