Part 7 – Genesis 18:16-33 – HOW COULD A LOVING GOD SEND PEOPLE TO HELL?

Posted: July 16, 2010 in Genesis, Genesis 18
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Part 7 – Genesis 18:16-33 – HOW COULD A LOVING GOD SEND PEOPLE TO HELL?

Chinese War Sword

In the early years of her life she witnessed horrific events as members of her family were beheaded in conflicts in China. Although she was only a little girl, MI LEE (not her real name) was forced to watch and still hallucinates about these terrible and barbaric events.

At 93, she can’t speak much now and her eyes are not the best, but her lovely face lights up when her daughter tells her that the Pastor is saying hello to her. This little old Chinese woman who attends my devotions faithfully served as an officer in the Salvation Army for most of her life, helping the poor and destitute and preaching the gospel.

WILLIAM BOOTH, the founder of the Salvation Army would have been proud of Mi Lee. Her faith in God and in her Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, is strong despite the evils perpetrated against her.

If 9/11 taught us anything, it is the presence of evil in this world. All of a sudden the world believed in evil, but people like William Booth and Mi Lee seek to hold back the tide of evil, to introduce the flavour of eternity into the world, and expose such evil to the light. To be salt and light. (See Matthew 5:13-16)

London had William Booth. Australia has Mi Lee. SODOM HAD A MAN CALLED LOT. They answer the question “HOW CAN A LOVING GOD SEND PEOPLE TO HELL?”

In Genesis 18, Sodom is about to be destroyed by God’s judgment, but God’s grace and love have given the people of Sodom every opportunity to repent. They have had the EXAMPLE AND LEADERSHIP OF LOT in their midst. Did Lot try to represent God to Sodom? I think he did.

I have heard messages about how Lot gave into the temptations of evil as he first LOOKED TOWARDS SODOM (Genesis 13:10), then WENT DOWN into the valley, by CHOOSING THE BEST LAND (Genesis 13:11) “then Lot MOVED HIS TENTS to a place near Sodom and SETTLED AMONG THE CITIES of the plain” even though “the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the Lord” (Genesis 13:12 NLT). Then he began to LIVE IN SODOM itself (Genesis 14:12) and finally we find him “SITTING IN THE GATE” which indicates a place of authority in the city. He’s received a lot (excuse the pun) of criticism.

Lot is always spoken of as WORLDLY AND SELFISH but is he seeking to be an influence for good? Is he simply being salt and light in a tasteless and dark city (see Matthew 5:13-16)? It’s not enough to say he was wrong to mix with evil people. William Booth did and he made a difference. Jesus did and the Pharisees accused Him of doing the wrong thing too. Lord let me always be willing to be a positive influence for you with those around me who don’t know you.

2 Peter 2:6-9 (NLT) says “…God also rescued Lot out of Sodom BECAUSE HE WAS A RIGHTEOUS MAN who was sick of the shameful immorality of the wicked people around him. Yes, LOT WAS A RIGHTEOUS MAN who was tormented in his soul by the wickedness he saw and heard day after day….” Maybe Lot means well by bringing up his family in this evil city. Not sure I’d want my children brought up in Sodom and Gomorrah. Sydney is bad enough! But perhaps he has good intentions as a leader in the city.

But despite any possible efforts of Lot, now their evil has reached the point of no return and JUDGMENT IS IMMINENT. An outcry for justice, perhaps from those who were oppressed in Sodom, has risen to God and the only appropriate response is about to take place.

DID SODOM DESERVE JUDGMENT? Oh Yes! And as a matter of fact I do too! It’s only by God’s grace that I am saved.

God bless you Church as you are instruments of God’s grace giving lost people with whom you interact everyday the opportunity to repent and give their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mi Lee didn’t turn away from God when life was overwhelmingly assaulted by the forces of evil. She didn’t bring her beliefs down to the level of her circumstances. She reached out to Christ and lifted her circumstances up to the level of her beliefs. As a consequence she has made a difference in the world and showed the love of Christ to those around her with unmet physical, spiritual and emotional needs. She still does. Help me to make a difference such as this, Lord.

Pastor Ross

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