Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 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.” (Genesis 18:20,21)

After their conversation with Abraham, the Lord and the two angels head toward Sodom. What were they referring to in this statement? What does outcry mean?

As we examine the events that followed, we understand that these two cities were destroyed for their unbridled sinfulness. At several places, the Bible makes an example of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to convey that sin shall not go unpunished. The term outcry refers to a strong expression of disapproval at something that is shocking. It is obvious that the lifestyle of Sodom and Gomorrah was shocking to their neighbors who came into contact with the people of these cities. But there is more.

To comprehensively understand the term ‘outcry’ we need to go back to Genesis 3 where the earth was cursed due to man’s original sin.

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. (Genesis 3:17)

Not only was man condemned because of his sin, the ‘innocent’ earth was also cursed. In its original form, the earth was meant to be a paradise, where man lived in perfect harmony with nature- a pristine environment untainted by sin. The entry of sin was more than just disobedience to God’s command. It was also an input that destroyed forever the pristine nature of an equilibrium that knew no sin. The world thereafter would forever be condemned and would never be same again- it was cursed. Just like a computer purchased from the store- as you open it, it is perfect and works at its very best. However if one virus or malware enters the system, it might still function, but without its original efficacy.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:20,21)

Paul, while talking about the creation reinforces the fact that creation is subject to the bondage of decay. He also indicates that the men influence that process. Those who live in obedience to God can bring life into this disintegrating world, yet those who multiply their sin subject the earth to more frustration and groans. The entire creation cries out against the onslaught of sin.

The final source of outcry is from the army of witnesses in the heavenly realms interacting with us as we live our lives here on earth.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)

The entire heavenly realm, bound together by God’s love eagerly awaits men to turn to Jesus, the true source of all light and love. The heavenly host also rejoices when children of God live for God and honor him. But they also cry out when sin rules on earth.

The term outcry is used to indicate the seriousness of sin in the eyes of God and the shocking response it generates from men, the earth and the heavenly host.

As great as the sin of Sodom was, there is a greater sin.

Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. (Matthew 11:20-22)

The greater sin is, when people in whose lives God has invested in much, refuse to turn to God. As those who know God, it is the solemn duty of every Christian to love God and honor him above all else, failing which, he puts himself on shaky ground. There is not much distance between shaky ground and turning away from God.

Great was the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah. May the Lord help us to understand the seriousness of sin and the importance of living for him above all else.

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