Three basic factors contribute to the destruction of a society, and Sodom had them all! Sodom was destroyed because its citizens were proud, lazy, and gluttonous.
When a people become proud, their intellects excuse them from standards of basic decency. The Sodomites grew so proud and arrogant that they thought they could leave the natural order of sexuality and engage in homosexuality. God, however, viewed their perverted ways as "loathsome" (Ezekiel 16:50).
In addition to being proud, the people of Sodom were lazy and unconcerned about others. Being so self-centered, they had little to do with their time. People who are bored and unconcerned about others gradually begin to live for pleasure.
Finally, the inhabitants of Sodom were overfed gluttons. They had so much bread and food that their entire lifestyle revolved around eating and pleasure. Though, of course, we need food, it is never to be the focus of our lives. As Christians, we should "eat to live," not "live to eat"!
How can we guard against these three deadly diseases of society? We must continually humble ourselves in prayer before God. We must then work for the Kingdom of God, showing concern for and compassion to others and not just living for pleasure. We must regularly fast to remind ourselves that man shall not live by bread alone.
Prayer, godly work, and fasting are the "salt" that will preserve against the rot of condemned societies of the past.
43 “‘Because you did not remember
44 “‘Everyone who quotes proverbs
49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom:
53 “‘However, I will restore
59 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will deal with you as you deserve, because you have despised my oath by breaking the covenant.
17 The word of the Lord came to me:2 “Son of man, set forth an allegory and tell it to the Israelites as a parable.
5 “‘He took one of the seedlings of the land and put it in fertile soil. He planted it like a willow by abundant water,
7 “‘But there was another great eagle with powerful wings and full plumage. The vine now sent out its roots toward him from the plot where it was planted and stretched out its branches to him for water.
9 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Will it thrive? Will it not be uprooted and stripped of its fruit so that it withers? All its new growth will wither. It will not take a strong arm or many people to pull it up by the roots.
11 Then the word of the Lord came to me:12 “Say to this rebellious people, ‘Do you not know what these things mean?
16 “‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, he shall die
19 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, I will repay him for despising my oath and breaking my covenant.
22 “‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will take a shoot
42 “Then at last my fury against you will be spent, and my jealous anger will subside. I will be calm and will not be angry with you anymore.43 But first, because you have not remembered your youth but have angered me by doing all these evil things, I will fully repay you for all of your sins, says the Sovereign Lord. For you have added lewd acts to all your detestable sins.44 Everyone who makes up proverbs will say of you, ‘Like mother, like daughter.’45 For your mother loathed her husband and her children, and so do you. And you are exactly like your sisters, for they despised their husbands and their children. Truly your mother was a Hittite and your father an Amorite.
46 “Your older sister was Samaria, who lived with her daughters in the north. Your younger sister was Sodom, who lived with her daughters in the south.47 But you have not merely sinned as they did. You quickly surpassed them in corruption.48 As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, Sodom and her daughters were never as wicked as you and your daughters.49 Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.50 She was proud and committed detestable sins, so I wiped her out, as you have seen.
51 “Even Samaria did not commit half your sins. You have done far more detestable things than your sisters ever did. They seem righteous compared to you.52 Shame on you! Your sins are so terrible that you make your sisters seem righteous, even virtuous.
53 “But someday I will restore the fortunes of Sodom and Samaria, and I will restore you, too.54 Then you will be truly ashamed of everything you have done, for your sins make them feel good in comparison.55 Yes, your sisters, Sodom and Samaria, and all their people will be restored, and at that time you also will be restored.56 In your proud days you held Sodom in contempt.57 But now your greater wickedness has been exposed to all the world, and you are the one who is scorned—by Edom
59 “Now this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will give you what you deserve, for you have taken your solemn vows lightly by breaking your covenant.60 Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were young, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.61 Then you will remember with shame all the evil you have done. I will make your sisters, Samaria and Sodom, to be your daughters, even though they are not part of our covenant.62 And I will reaffirm my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord.63 You will remember your sins and cover your mouth in silent shame when I forgive you of all that you have done. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”
17 Then this message came to me from the Lord:2 “Son of man, give this riddle, and tell this story to the people of Israel.3 Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord:
“A great eagle with broad wings and long feathers,
covered with many-colored plumage,
came to Lebanon.
He seized the top of a cedar tree
4 and plucked off its highest branch.
He carried it away to a city filled with merchants.
He planted it in a city of traders.
5 He also took a seedling from the land
and planted it in fertile soil.
He placed it beside a broad river,
where it could grow like a willow tree.
6 It took root there and
grew into a low, spreading vine.
Its branches turned up toward the eagle,
and its roots grew down into the ground.
It produced strong branches
and put out shoots.
7 But then another great eagle came
with broad wings and full plumage.
So the vine now sent its roots and branches
toward him for water,
8 even though it was already planted in good soil
and had plenty of water
so it could grow into a splendid vine
and produce rich leaves and luscious fruit.
9 “So now the Sovereign Lord asks:
Will this vine grow and prosper?
No! I will pull it up, roots and all!
I will cut off its fruit
and let its leaves wither and die.
I will pull it up easily
without a strong arm or a large army.
10 But when the vine is transplanted,
will it thrive?
No, it will wither away
when the east wind blows against it.
It will die in the same good soil
where it had grown so well.”
11 Then this message came to me from the Lord:12 “Say to these rebels of Israel: Don’t you understand the meaning of this riddle of the eagles? The king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, took away her king and princes, and brought them to Babylon.13 He made a treaty with a member of the royal family and forced him to take an oath of loyalty. He also exiled Israel’s most influential leaders,14 so Israel would not become strong again and revolt. Only by keeping her treaty with Babylon could Israel survive.
15 “Nevertheless, this man of Israel’s royal family rebelled against Babylon, sending ambassadors to Egypt to request a great army and many horses. Can Israel break her sworn treaties like that and get away with it?16 No! For as surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, the king of Israel will die in Babylon, the land of the king who put him in power and whose treaty he disregarded and broke.17 Pharaoh and all his mighty army will fail to help Israel when the king of Babylon lays siege to Jerusalem again and destroys many lives.18 For the king of Israel disregarded his treaty and broke it after swearing to obey; therefore, he will not escape.
19 “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, I will punish him for breaking my covenant and disregarding the solemn oath he made in my name.20 I will throw my net over him and capture him in my snare. I will bring him to Babylon and put him on trial for this treason against me.21 And all his best warriors
22 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take a branch from the top of a tall cedar, and I will plant it on the top of Israel’s highest mountain.23 It will become a majestic cedar, sending forth its branches and producing seed. Birds of every sort will nest in it, finding shelter in the shade of its branches.24 And all the trees will know that it is I, the Lord, who cuts the tall tree down and makes the short tree grow tall. It is I who makes the green tree wither and gives the dead tree new life. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do what I said!”
42 So will I make my fury toward thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry.
43 Because thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth, but hast fretted me in all these things; behold, therefore I also will recompense thy way upon thine head, saith the Lord God: and thou shalt not commit this lewdness above all thine abominations.
44 Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter.
45 Thou art thy mother's daughter, that lotheth her husband and her children; and thou art the sister of thy sisters, which lothed their husbands and their children: your mother was an Hittite, and your father an Amorite.
46 And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters.
47 Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways.
48 As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.
49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
51 Neither hath Samaria committed half of thy sins; but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than they, and hast justified thy sisters in all thine abominations which thou hast done.
52 Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters.
53 When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them:
54 That thou mayest bear thine own shame, and mayest be confounded in all that thou hast done, in that thou art a comfort unto them.
55 When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate.
56 For thy sister Sodom was not mentioned by thy mouth in the day of thy pride,
57 Before thy wickedness was discovered, as at the time of thy reproach of the daughters of Syria, and all that are round about her, the daughters of the Philistines, which despise thee round about.
58 Thou hast borne thy lewdness and thine abominations, saith the Lord.
59 For thus saith the Lord God; I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the oath in breaking the covenant.
60 Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.
61 Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant.
62 And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord:
63 That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God.
17 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel;
3 And say, Thus saith the Lord God; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar:
4 He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick; he set it in a city of merchants.
5 He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree.
6 And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs.
7 There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers: and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him, and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation.
8 It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine.
9 Say thou, Thus saith the Lord God; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof.
10 Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew.
11 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
12 Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon;
13 And hath taken of the king's seed, and made a covenant with him, and hath taken an oath of him: he hath also taken the mighty of the land:
14 That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping of his covenant it might stand.
15 But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such things? or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered?
16 As I live, saith the Lord God, surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die.
17 Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons:
18 Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all these things, he shall not escape.
19 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; As I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head.
20 And I will spread my net upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon, and will plead with him there for his trespass that he hath trespassed against me.
21 And all his fugitives with all his bands shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered toward all winds: and ye shall know that I the Lord have spoken it.
22 Thus saith the Lord God; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent:
23 In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.
24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it.
8 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest,
3 Every high priest
7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.
“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
9 It will not be like the covenant
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord.
10 This is the covenant
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
I will be their God,
11 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness
8 Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven.2 There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle,
3 And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too.4 If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law.5 They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”
6 But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.
7 If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it.8 But when God found fault with the people, he said:
“The day is coming, says the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel and Judah.
9 This covenant will not be like the one
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
and led them out of the land of Egypt.
They did not remain faithful to my covenant,
so I turned my back on them, says the Lord.
10 But this is the new covenant I will make
with the people of Israel on that day,
I will put my laws in their minds,
and I will write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11 And they will not need to teach their neighbors,
nor will they need to teach their relatives,
saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’
For everyone, from the least to the greatest,
will know me already.
12 And I will forgive their wickedness,
and I will never again remember their sins.”
13 When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.
8 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:
5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
13 But they soon forgot
14 In the desert
but sent a wasting disease
16 In the camp they grew envious
and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the Lord.
it buried the company of Abiram.
18 Fire blazed
a flame consumed the wicked.
and worshiped an idol cast from metal.
for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
21 They forgot the God
22 miracles in the land of Ham
23 So he said he would destroy
had not Moses, his chosen one,
to keep his wrath from destroying them.
and did not obey the Lord.
27 make their descendants fall among the nations
28 They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor
and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods;
30 But Phinehas
and the plague was checked.
for endless generations
13 Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done!
They wouldn’t wait for his counsel!
14 In the wilderness their desires ran wild,
testing God’s patience in that dry wasteland.
15 So he gave them what they asked for,
but he sent a plague along with it.
16 The people in the camp were jealous of Moses
and envious of Aaron, the Lord’s holy priest.
17 Because of this, the earth opened up;
it swallowed Dathan
and buried Abiram and the other rebels.
18 Fire fell upon their followers;
a flame consumed the wicked.
19 The people made a calf at Mount Sinai
they bowed before an image made of gold.
20 They traded their glorious God
for a statue of a grass-eating bull.
21 They forgot God, their savior,
who had done such great things in Egypt—
22 such wonderful things in the land of Ham,
such awesome deeds at the Red Sea.
23 So he declared he would destroy them.
But Moses, his chosen one, stepped between the Lord and the people.
He begged him to turn from his anger and not destroy them.
24 The people refused to enter the pleasant land,
for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them.
25 Instead, they grumbled in their tents
and refused to obey the Lord.
26 Therefore, he solemnly swore
that he would kill them in the wilderness,
27 that he would scatter their descendants
exiling them to distant lands.
28 Then our ancestors joined in the worship of Baal at Peor;
they even ate sacrifices offered to the dead!
29 They angered the Lord with all these things,
so a plague broke out among them.
30 But Phinehas had the courage to intervene,
and the plague was stopped.
31 So he has been regarded as a righteous man
ever since that time.
13 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:
14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.
15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
16 They envied Moses also in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the Lord.
17 The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan and covered the company of Abiram.
18 And a fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.
19 They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.
20 Thus they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.
21 They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;
22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.
23 Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.
24 Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:
25 But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.
26 Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness:
27 To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands.
28 They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.
29 Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.
30 Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed.
31 And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.
7 One who is full loathes honey from the comb,
but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.
8 Like a bird that flees its nest
is anyone who flees from home.
7 A person who is full refuses honey,
but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry.
8 A person who strays from home
is like a bird that strays from its nest.
9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend
is as sweet as perfume and incense.
7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.
9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.