It has come up several times in Genesis that God hears. He heard Able’s blood calling out to Him. He heard Hagar’s weeping and came to her aid. In this reading we learn that He heard the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah. Not only that, but He heard, and listened to Abraham, as he interceded for the righteous that might be there.
This outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is an important thing to understand. The word ze’aquh means a plaintive cry, or a call for help. It is the cry of the oppressed and the violated. It is the call that goes out when someone has nowhere else to turn and they cry for relief.
People assume that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because they were practicing homosexual sex. This was only one aspect of their sin. They were perverted in their sexual appetites reveling in violence, rape, and pain. Other sections of the scriptures describe different aspects of their sin: murder, exploitation, injustice, arrogance, heartlessness, and idolatry.
What we need to understand is that Sodom and Gomorrah reveal the absolute worst in humanity. This is what it means to be totally depraved. This is mankind without the curbs of God’s law and love.
How then are we to respond to this? Are we to pray for the God to rain fire on the wicked? Are we to pretend that their wickedness doesn’t matter; like it is not my business?
There is a time and a place for praying for God to bring His judgment and vengeance on the world. The Psalms sometimes have this kind of language, and the reality is that God will bring that end in His time as He hears the outcry against the sins of the world. However, Abraham gives us a better model to follow. He interceded for the Sodom and Gomorrah.
Intercession is also Jesus’ choice when confronted with the sins of the world. His intercession is not just prayer, however. He stood in the place of every sinner and died for every sin – even sins like those of Sodom and Gomorrah. Our cry for relief in this world is one that is always tempered by mercy because mercy is what Jesus has shown and given to us.
Look to the cross and see how God responds to sinners. Cry out to him on behalf of the oppressed and violated. Trust Him to bring vengeance. But more than vengeance, ask God to turn the hearts of the wicked that they too may have life and forgiveness.