Parashah Vayyera (And He Appeared) Genesis 18 – 22

Not much here- only the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, not to mention the Akedah, the binding of Isaac (traditionally read at Rosh HaShannah.)

There is also the second time Abraham “pimped” Sarah, when Abimelech took her to wife because Abraham (with Sarah’s agreement) said she was his sister, not his wife. Abimelech was the king of the Philistine city and his entire household was cursed with not bearing children because he took Sarah as wife.

There is so much written about the Akedah I am not even going to try to comment on it, but I do feel that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah has a lesson for us, something more personal than the story we read.

The people living in these two towns were wholly and unashamedly depraved. The bible makes sure we know that both young and old, meaning everyone, was depraved and sinful. I am not surprised, though; after all, doesn’t the society create it’s own morals? If you were alone in the desert, wouldn’t you form your own ideas about right and wrong? Look at modern cultures: some drink coffee, some drink tea, some nap in the afternoon and some don’t nap at all. Some believe that salad should be after the main course and others eat it first. There are many, many different cultural mores and values, not just about food and work, but about childbirth, capital punishment, education of the young, just to name a few. Lot offered his virgin daughters to the mob of men so they can gang rape the girls instead raping the guests in his house, the cultural ideal at that time being that to protect and care for a traveler was of the utmost importance. The care of a stranger was more important than protecting your own daughters from sexual abuse. We see this cultural standard also in Judges, 19.

Our society today, right here in the good old U S of A, is becoming more and more like Sodom. In the days of Sodom, people learned about social mores by observing their neighbors. There was no Face Book, Twitter or NetFlix to see what was happening all over. But today? We can see depravity as acceptable everywhere, in the newspapers, on TV, on our phones, and even inside the house of worship! How many of you have heard of “churches” that are pro-abortion? Churches that are specifically for homosexual and trans-sexual people? Churches that are abusing children, both physically and sexually? Churches? Places of worship? That’s what they call themselves.

Have you ever watched the History or Discovery channel specials on anything biblical? They debunk God, almost making it seem that He is a myth. I have more often than not heard references to biblical stories and lessons as being nothing more than passed down myths. The narrator refers to the “writer of these stories” as having made them up from existing legends. They show many biblical “scholars” who talk about the truths that God gave us in His word with cynical, disrespectful terms, as if they were referring to some fictional novel. And when they have someone who speaks of the bible with reverence for God, they make him or her look like some idiot, whose opinion is childish and uneducated; essentially they make faith-based obedience look like some uneducated, sect-like conditioned thinking.

Halloween is tomorrow- we give the kids candy because if you give no treat your house gets tricked. We know that the small children don’t understand anything about what their costumes and that day really represent, so we (myself included) condone, as it is, the demonic foundation of this day because we don’t want to hurt the feelings of the small children.

And what effect does that have? It plants a new seed of Sodom. This is how societies become depraved: little by little, one small concession to the mob mentality after another, until you have God thrown out of the courtroom, out of the schools, and even out of the places of worship.

Anyone who says they worship God cannot also acknowledge as acceptable those things God says are not.

God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. We need to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, too- not the towns of millennia ago, but the sinfulness and depravity that exists in our own hearts. Yeshua said that which goes into the body doesn’t defile us, but that which comes out of the mouth is what defiles us (Matthew 15:11), so exorcise that which defiles you. The words we speak, especially in anger, are straight from our hearts. We later apologize, and say, “I didn’t really mean it”, but isn’t that a lie? If we didn’t mean it, we wouldn’t have said it! THAT is the truth- what we say in anger or under stress is what is in our hearts. When we lie to the one we said it to we are really lying to ourselves because no one wants to face the truth of what is in his or her defiling, evil heart.

The towns and people of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God, but we need to destroy the spirit of Sodom and Gomorrah in ourselves. When we call on the Holy Spirit we can get the spiritual strength to overpower our evil hearts. Eventually, the Torah will be written on our hearts, these hearts of stone will be replaced with hearts of flesh and we will be living Torahs, just as Yeshua is the living Torah.

Until that day, we need to work at destroying Sodom in us.

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