The reason Sodom was destroyed isn’t what you think.


Sodom and Gomorrah painting by Dutch artist Willem de Zwart

Sodom and Gomorrah painting by Dutch artist Willem de Zwart

The mention of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah creates instant images in most of our minds. These are the cities that were known for the abominable acts of lewdness and homosexuality. They flaunted their wickedness, performing unspeakable things without any shame. Sexual perversion in Sodom was so common that the word sodomy was later used to describe the indecent and perverse acts of men with men or women with women. Those who consider themselves gay Christians and try to cover or minimize their sin by stressing God’s love and acceptance should pray over verses like Lev. 20:13, Rom. 1:26, 1 Cor. 6:9 and 1 Tim. 1:10.

The account of the devastating destruction of the terrible twin cities in Genesis 19 leads to the conclusion that the indecent acts of the cities’ lascivious lifestyles were the cause. In Genesis 18:20 the Lord says that the outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah was indeed great and their sin was exceedingly grave. That seems to wrap it up. Case closed.


The greatest cause of injury among Christians (and anyone else for that matter) is jumping to conclusions. While it seems justified in this case, there’s another side to the story. As is often the case in Scripture, insight into one event or person can be gained from a passage or two in another seemingly unrelated book.

Insight into the Sodom saga came recently as I came across the following passage from Ezekiel:

“As I live,” declares the Lord God, “Sodom, your sister and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done.
“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.
“Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore, I removed them when I saw it (Ezek. 16: 48-50).

Talk about a paradigm shift! Read this several times and let it sink in.

The abominations committed by the people of Sodom and Gomorrah grew out of their pride, their laziness and desire for their comfort, and their lack of concern for the poor.

In the passage from Ezekiel, the prophet is making the case that Israel’s punishment is justified because it is worse than that of her two “sisters,” Sodom and Samaria. Considering what happened to Sodom, the judgment on Israel would be unimaginable.

Bema (Judgment) Seat at Ancient Corinth

Bema (Judgment) Seat at Ancient Corinth

Let’s make application from this lesson. It’s a startling wake-up call to the Church and to us personally. It’s a reminder of what’s really important to our Heavenly Father and a reminder that our works will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ (see 2 Cor. 5:10) and we have just been given advanced notice of what will likely be included in the exam.



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Sodom and Gomorrah painting by Dutch artist Willem de Zwart
In public domain

Ruins of Bema Seat in Ancient Corinth photo by Ploync
Attribution license