If we were to ask a group of Christians about the “sins of Sodom”, chances are many would launch into a description of its various sexual sins and other forms of depravity. After all, Genesis 19:1-13 does depict a sick and warped society more than ripe for destruction.
Interestingly enough, though, the answer is more complicated than just that. Consider Ezekiel’s description: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy” (Ezek. 16:49, NIV). Though clearly the Lord was not going to overlook the other forms of depravity found in the city, Ezekiel’s focus here was on economic injustice and a lack of care for those in need.
Could it be that, in the eyes of God, these economic sins were just as bad as the sexual ones?
Coming after the time of Amos, Micah, and Isaiah, Ezekiel’s early prophecies sound a similar note of warning of the coming destruction. However, after Jerusalem falls to the Babylonians and its people are taken captive, Ezekiel’s focus shifts more fully to God’s promises of restoration.
Read Ezekiel 34:2-4, 7-16. Compare God’s assessment of the corrupt leaders of Israel with His own shepherding. How does their treatment of the weakest “sheep” contrast with His methods?
Even as bad as they have been, so as to be compared to Sodom, the Lord still was reaching out to them in hopes of turning them away from their wickedness. In God’s renewed plan for His people, they would be back in their land, Jerusalem would be restored, and the temple would be rebuilt. The festivals God gave would again be celebrated and the land would again be divided equally among the people as their inheritance (see Ezek. 47:13-48:29). It seems obvious that God’s intention was that His plan for His people, as first given to Moses and the people of Israel after their rescue from Egypt, would be restarted with the return of His people from captivity. This included concern for the weakest members of society, as well as those who might be considered outsiders.
How important is it to you that our God is a God who offers second chances—and more—even to His people who have gone wrong after having had the chance to make better choices?