Scripture Reading: Genesis: 19:17
Welcome to today’s banquet of God’s love and mercy. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah holds a very germane place in the entire scriptures. The city of Sodom and Gomorrah was a place of sin, devastation, ruin, destruction, slavery, evil, above all a place of death; it was a place where the human nature ruled and life in the Spirit of God was never to be found. And those that live by the human nature have only opted for death. (Rom. 8:6) Throughout the scriptures, God has always made the move to save humanity even when they wandered away from His love. God in His love and mercy wished to save Lot and his family against the impending destruction that awaited Sodom and Gomorrah. The simple instruction given to Lot and his family by the angels is “Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop in the valley. Run to the hills, so that you won’t be killed.” (Gen. 19:17) The city of Sodom and Gomorrah remained appealing to Lot’s wife and so she disobeyed God by looking back. The result of such action was that she became a pillar of salt. (Gen.19:26)
At baptism, we are taken away from Sodom and Gomorrah, to enjoy God’s mercy and undying love. But the truth is that there is this constant struggle within us which continues to urge us to consider once more Sodom and Gomorrah. Egypt equally enjoys some of the identity of Sodom and Gomorrah. When God had delivered the people of Israel from the hands of Pharaoh, there were constant cries to return back to their old ways of life in Egypt (Ex.16:2-3); they preferred to remain in slavery all their days, enjoying the vanities of their old lives. The glories of this world are only vanities; they are temporal and vanish like the human breath. (Eccl. 1:2) St. Paul had similar experience in which he would want to consider looking back at the old ways of life. No wonder he had cried: “I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate.” (Rom.7:15) A sister once shared her experience of her Christian life thus far. She said: “I really find it really difficult leaving my old ways since I embraced Jesus Christ. The things I use to enjoy when I was being controlled by my flesh, I no longer enjoy again. I really missed my old way of life.” It was vivid that the sister was at the verge of going back to the old way of life; she was beginning to give Sodom and Gomorrah attention. Much more, she is yet to finally hand over to God.
Dear friend in Christ, in baptism, we have put to death the old way of life and have embraced the new way of life in Christ Jesus, and this new self is being renewed in Christ Jesus. (Col.3:9-10) We must put to death the life of Sodom and Gomorrah which gloried in immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness which is idolatry, for all these things bring about the wrath of God. (Col.3:5-6) The call away from sin and to embrace life in Christ demands that we do not go back to our previous life, for “Whoever has put his hand to the plough and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God.” (Lk.9:62) Here is an admonition from the letter to the Hebrews for those who are considering getting back to Sodom and Gomorrah: “It is impossible for people who have once been enlightened and who have tasted the heavenly gift and have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the beauty of the Word of God and the powers of the supernatural world, and in spite of all these if they cease to believe and fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because they are again crucifying the Son of God and holding him in mockery.” (Heb. 6:4-6)
MASS: VIOLETJer 7: 23-28; Ps 95: 1-2. 6-7. 8-9; Lk 11: 14-23 TORIBIO DE MOGROVEJO,BP
- Take this song: I have decided to follow Jesus (3x); no turning back (2x).
- Begin to bless the Lord for granting you salvation.
- Seek forgiveness for having gone astray from the stream of mercy.
- Pray that everything that has held you from experiencing the power of the risen Lord should cease to take a hold of your life. (Take seriously)
- Make a solemn submission to the Lord not to look back at those things that have kept you from Christ.
Exercise: Pray to be part of the International Retreat for all Distributors, Partners and Users of Daily Strength Devotional holding on Thursday 27th to Friday 29th April 2017 at the Jubilee Retreat and Conference Centre, Effurun, Warri, Delta State.