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VALE of SIDDIM (an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly)

September 22, 2010
Genesis 13:13 “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.”
It was an unexpected twist to an otherwise very routine day in Kalamazoo. Last spring, while heading north on Rose street, a voice called out from behind me. I turned to see a younger man, closing in and desiring to talk. As I immediately took the conversation into issues of eternal significance, this guy (named Jeremy) asked “what do you think about homosexuality?” After responding in accordance to Romans chapter one, he argued “well actually the bible doesn’t say anything against it.” After a brief conversation he headed west and disappeared inside a channel 8 news van parked outside the county courthouse.  (He must work for channel 8.) As if the conversation wasn’t enough to catch me off guard, it then dawned on me….”I think I was just hit on…..YUCKERS!!!” Despite being fully aware of how wicked our culture is becoming, when one is approached in such an unnatural way, it’s disturbing. I bring this up because recently the story of Sodom and Gomorrah was a point of focus. Not so much the goings on in the cities, but rather the ramifications of those actions.
The land surrounding the Dead Sea is 1312 feet below sea level. It is the lowest depression in the world. With water flowing in, but nothing flowing out, the sea is literally a dead place with such a high level of salt that a person can float with no effort. But this land wasn’t always like this. It’s just speculation, but I wonder if, at one time, water flowed into the Red sea from this place. This would facilitate the then fertile nature of the region as a steady flow of -water would be continuously passing through. Whether there was a flow into the Red sea or not, this desolate spot on the globe is a perpetual reminder that the wages of sin is death and blatant iniquity can bring down a people. And so we begin with the following passage:
 Genesis 13:10 “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest into Zoar.”
 When Abraham allowed Lot to choose which way he would go (because the land could not sustain them both) he chose the plain of Jordan because of the abundance of water. “Even as the garden of the LORD” suggests that this was an incredibly lush environment. I don’t believe that this land was 1312 feet below sea level prior to the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the cities round about them. (Except for Zoar) This may be the result of rock slamming the area from the sky. The reason for writing about this is to highlight a single truth…sin equates to death. Of all the problems in our world, economically, socially, and what have you, the underlying cause is sin.  It goes without saying that wickedness is becoming increasingly rampant. love of money, love of pleasure, a desire to satisfy self; even at the expense of others, a forsaking of natural affection, and forgetting the Creator who holds in his hand the breath of life. Every condition that the bible states will prevail prior to the return of Jesus is present.
While all unrighteousness is sin, the act of homosexuality seems to be the proverbial final straw for any city or nation.  When I was a youth, this lifetyle was not widely condoned by the majority. Now it’s not only widely accepted, it’s almost fashionable in some circles. A person who maintains a biblcal perspective on this issue is considered intolerant and uncaring for others. This is fortified by the widely held (and erroneous) belief that a non-straight person is “born that way.” Regardless of public opinion, however, this lifestyle is unsustainable, unnatural and it brings swift judgment upon those who are given to it. I remember reading the words of Frank Bartleman in response to the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. (Frank Bartleman was on the scene during the Azuza Street revival) In that time, pastors were running to and fro, comforting the citizens by stating that “God wasn’t in the earthquake.” Frank wrote about how the Lord showed him that it was indeed a “judgment event.” Even a hundred and four years ago, this was an incredibly wicked city. A major problem in our age is that we simply don’t grasp the seriousness of sin. Sin cannot abide in the presence of a holy God, in whom is no variance or turning. It is the reason for untold billions being forever separated from the presence of the Lord Jesus and it was the reason for the demise of two unimaginably wicked cities in the region of the Salt (Dead) Sea.  
Genesis 14:10 :And the Vale of Siddim was full of slime pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain.”
Not only was this region well-irrigated, it had…..wetlands? The reason that Lot chose to pitch toward Sodom probably had nothing to do with an appriciation for city life. (Although we learn in Genesis 19:19-22 that he did fear being overtaken by some evil in the wilderness; prompting him to request permission to flee to Zoar) It was because the land could support a large amount of livestock. Mrs lot, on the other hand, appeared to love the city and subsequently began to persuade a moving in its direction. Soon the family was within its borders, where Lots righteous soul was vexed daily by the conduct of his new neighbors. He most likely moved there to satisfy Mrs Lot; setting in motion a course that would result in her being turned into a pillar of salt. The LORD  delivered Lot and his family, but Lot suffered tremendous loss. This relates very much to the present because, when Revelation chapter thirteen becomes fully manifest, the greatest temptation will be from loved ones seeking to save their lives in this world. In the eyes of the deceived, standing for Jesus will appear heartless and contrary to all that they consider “good.” None of us will be fully able understand the whole of what’s coming, prior to its manifesting. We must be close to Jesus and trust him in these hours. As for the fate of unrepentant Sodom, Gomorrah, and the plains about them, we know the story well:
Genesis 19:23-25 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.
Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.”
Genesis “19:26 “But Lots wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”
If we love our lives in this world, we shall lose them. The next scene must have been beyond description.
Genesis 19:27-28 “And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD:
And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.”
 Jeremy from channel 8 was thoroughly persuaded in his mind, that it’s ok to lie with mankind as with womankind.  (YUCKERS) But a desolate depression at the conclusion of the Jordan River reveals that a perverse lifestyle void of repentance results in death. (They wearied themselves to find the door after being stricken with blindness…how wicked is that?) All unrighteousness; regardless of its form or its devices, results in destruction and separation from God. Sin in the life of a saint  will ruin their testimony, turn them into unprofitable servants, and if not repented of,  eventual shipwreck.  This post gave attention to a primary form of perversion, but the primary message is that sin has consequences. Well I’ll be going for now. May we continually examine ourselves and keep our hearts with all diligence.
Blessings always in Jesus name.
Luke 13:2-5 “And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these galilaeans were sinners above all Galilaens, because they suffered such things.
I tell you Nay; but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Or of those eighteen, upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
I tell you nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
 
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3 comments

  1. This was an awesome teaching, timbob, one that I will print out to share. You are so right to say that all of our troubles and pain are brought on my our sin. When someone does a heinous criminal act, there is always someone offering an excuse why it wasn’t their fault. It was the alcohol or drugs that MADE them do it. It was because they grew up in a single parent home, or that they felt unloved that they did this crime. No one calls it by the right name which is SIN! There is no excuse. Mitigating circumstances may contribute but every sin begins in the mind. Before it is acted upon it is dwelled upon! There is always time to do the right thing but most don’t. For that, many are pershing on the wide road of destruction. So sad.


  2. Hi Marianne. It’s amazing that the single element that separates one from God gets so little attention from many pulpits. This morning, I unexpectedly found myself readin in Ezekiel chapter 14. The elders of Israel had come before Exekiel to hear the word of the Lord, but they had idols in their heart. It’s something that we all must be aware of. I know of certain in my life that great care must be taken to ensure that they don’t threaten to take the place of my first love.

    Philippians 3:15 is a great comfort. If we become otherwise minded, the Holy Spirit will let us know. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    Blessings always in Jesus name.


  3. I don’t want to detract from the message of your post. Please consider this a ‘rabbit trail’, if you are interested in posting it. 🙂

    The ‘slime pits’ mentioned in Genesis 14:10 also translates as ‘tar pits’. Out of curiosity, I did some research as to what kind of geology one would find where there were tar pits, salt, and sulfur.

    These elements are found in areas where petroleum is also found. If I understood correctly, the geology of such places allows for mud, oil, or sulfur spewing volcanoes to come up overnight.

    Interestingly, there are three places in the US that seemed similar to the Valley of Sodom:
    1. A small petroleum seep at the Great Salt Lake in Utah
    2. The (underground) salt dome deposits that are located in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas
    3. In the San Joaquin Valley of California, where there are several well known tar pits

    It may be that nothing like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah will ever happen in these places . . . but strange things ARE happening in Arkansas and Louisiana, including unexplained earthquakes (and the massive bird deaths that happened shortly after I was researching this subject).

    We have already had two major disasters in that region: Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill. Are we seeing the prelude to something else?

    Also, here is a link to some fascinating information regarding what is most likely the actual location of Sodom and Gomorrah!
    http://www.arkdiscovery.com/sodom_&_gomorrah.htm



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