On a very hot day, as he was standing in the entrance of his tent, Abraham looked out and saw three men standing with the Lord by an oak tree. Abraham immediately went out to meet them. “Sir,” he said, “if it please you, do not go on past your servant. Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet, and then rest under the tree. Now that you have come to your servant, let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves; and afterward you may go on your way.”
The men answered, “Very well, do as you have said.”
After the men had had something to eat and were preparing to leave, Abraham walked with them for a short distance. The Lord had planned to bless Abraham, so he gave him a warning about two nearby cities. “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, that I must go down to see whether or not their actions are as bad as the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.”
The three men who were with the Lord walked ahead, but the Lord remained behind with Abraham. Abraham asked the Lord, “Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous people in the city; would you really sweep away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people within it?
The Lord answered, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
Again Abraham asked, “What if there are five less the fifty righteous people?”
“I will not destroy it,” the Lord answered.
“What if only forty are found there?”
“I will refrain from doing it for the sake of the forty.”
“What if only thirty are found there?”
“I will refrain from doing it if I can find thirty there.”
And Abraham asked about 20 and then 10. “For the sake of the ten,” the Lord said, “I will not destroy it.” But the Lord did not find even ten righteous people in the city, and he destroyed it. He allowed Lot, the nephew of Abraham, and his family to escape. But, because she disobeyed the Lord and looked back at the city, Lot’s wife was turned into a pile of salt.
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
Genesis 18 and 19
1. What did the Lord want to know about Sodom and Gomorrah?
2. What happened to Lot’s wife?
Although Biblical scholars and archaeologists have not been able to agree on where the actual site of the city of Sodom was, most believe it was probably located somewhere near the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. What is more important is that the city is used in the Bible as a symbol of wickedness and disobedience to God’s laws. Several verses in the New Testament refer to Sodom as a symbol of God’s judgment. Another lesson that can be found in the story of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah is that God listens to the prayers and petitions of his people, in this case Abraham, and he watches out for them, even when they are in dangerous places, which we can see from how Lot was saved from the destruction of the cities.
Peter Chrysologus (380-450), was raised in the Italian city of Imola. He studied the sacred sciences and was eventually ordained as a deacon by Bishop Cornelius. When Archbishop John of Ravenna died, Peter was appointed to take his place. Peter was well-liked, and he earned the respect of both Emperor Valentinian III and Pope Leo the Great. Peter built a baptistery, which is a structure that houses a baptismal font, as well as a church dedicated to St. Andrew. Copies of many of the texts of his sermons still remain, most of which are very short, because Peter did not want to bore or tire his listeners with long speeches. He often preached with enthusiasm and excitement, sometimes even to the point of running out of breath. The name Chrysologus means “Golden Words,” a name given to him because his sermons were so well-written and spoken. His sermons were responsible for him being named a doctor of the church. We honor him on July 30.