by Verena Johnson
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So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived (Genesis 19:29).
Interestingly, the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is often used to prove that the God of the Old Testament is angry, vengeful, harsh and judgemental. Yet I see so much of God’s grace and mercy in it.
Firstly, God allows Abraham to bargain with him for the lives of any righteous people living in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16–33).
Then, even though there aren’t even ten righteous people, he still sends angels to rescue Lot and his family, even though they don’t necessarily want to be saved. When they hesitate to leave, the angels have to grab their hands and lead them safely out of the city.
God even lets Lot bargain with him to save a small town nearby from destruction. Why? Just because Lot says he can’t run all the way to the mountains! Can you imagine what God’s reaction would have been as Lot told him how tiny the town was, with only a few very sinful people, so it won’t really matter?
However, our merciful God agrees to Lot’s request, and he waits patiently for Lot and his family to get to Zoar (which literally means ‘very small’) before he begins the terrible destruction of the cities.
Why does God do all this? ‘For the Lord was merciful to them’, it says in verse 16. God showed incredible mercy towards Lot and his family with all their faults, regardless of the result of his wife’s choice to look back.
He shows incredible mercy towards us. Through Jesus’ death on the cross, he has saved and rescued us from ultimate destruction. He takes us by the hand and leads us at times when we hesitate or are lost or confused. He patiently listens to our requests, demands and complaints about what he is doing and doesn’t treat us as we often deserve. He loves us despite all our shortcomings. He will never turn away from us, even when we turn away from him or look back.
Spend a moment now to reflect on God’s incredible mercy towards you.
Merciful God, thank you for the incredible mercy you have shown towards me. Thank you for saving me, taking me by the hand and leading me through the messiness of life. Thank you for your patience and unending love towards me despite all my faults. Amen.
Verena is a Church Worker Support Officer for the LCA Church Worker Support Department, where it is her privilege to support congregations, pastors, lay workers, employees and volunteers of LCA. In her spare time, she is involved in drama ministry, women’s ministry and prayer ministry. She has three children and eight grandchildren in three different states.