The Fertile Fields of Sin in Sodom

Lot and the Men of Sodom

Shortly after receiving the promises from God, Abram (Abraham) journeyed out of Egypt with his nephew Lot (Genesis 13:1). A problem soon arose between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen because the land was unable to support all of their livestock (Genesis 13:6-7). Abram proposed that they separate in order to resolve the conflict and allowed Lot to choose which direction he would go (Genesis 13:8-9). Notice what the text says about his decision:

Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere—this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of the Lord… So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. […] Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom” (Genesis 13:10-12).

While the area around Sodom provided fertile ground for his livestock, Lot ignored a very significant fact about the city: “The men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord” (Genesis 13:13). Just as the ground was fertile to produce vegetation, conditions among the inhabitants of Sodom were fertile to produce the great wickedness in that city.
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How to Handle a Recession

Recession

Many people in the United States are anxious about the country’s economy. This is understandable with all of the job losses, home foreclosures, and falling value of investments. These things do not just face this country, but many places in the world are also facing economic turmoil.

The book of Revelation warned of the fall of the Roman empire that was to come. Naturally, when the empire fell, the global economy suffered. Under Roman rule “the merchants of the earth [had] become rich” (Revelation 18:3). When Rome fell, the merchants would “weep and mourn over her, because no one [would buy] their cargoes anymore” (Revelation 18:11). “And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning” (Revelation 18:19). But the Christians in that day were to have a different perspective: “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her” (Revelation 18:20). While the merchants were mourning, Christians were rejoicing.

We should understand that the collapse of the American economy is not exactly parallel with the fall of Rome. Rome was punished by God for sin (Revelation 18:4-8). The United States suffers because of irresponsibility and other factors. But like the Christians in the early church, our perspective about these things should naturally be different from that of the people of the world. So let us look and see what principles we find in the Bible to help us handle our current economic hardships.
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Retirement

Retirement

Retirement is a common concept in our society. Some employers offer retirement benefits to their employees, either in the form of a pension or by matching the employee’s contribution to a retirement account. Retirement seems like a reasonable expectation for a lot of people.
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Amos the Herdsman

The Prophet Amos

Preaching the gospel is a noble work. Paul wrote, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things” (Romans 10:15). Yet for many, the work of preaching the gospel has evolved into an occupation. They preach in order to make a living. If a congregation cannot pay them enough, they either move on or send out requests far and wide for outside support. If this does not yield any results, then they quit preaching.

Paul told Timothy, “Do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). That was the instruction. He did not say, “Do the work of an evangelist and fulfill your ministry as long as you can make a living doing so and do not have to work a secular job to support yourself.” Yes, Paul also instructed that “those who proclaim the gospel [should] get their living from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14). However, this instruction was given to a congregation telling them to support those who preach. It was not given to a preacher instructing him to solicit support from other congregations until he receives a comfortable living.
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A Lion Outside

Lion

The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside; I will be killed in the streets’” (Proverbs 22:13).

This is one of many verses in the book of Proverbs that talks about the sluggard. The sluggard is lazy. He does not want to do anything or fulfill his responsibilities. Instead, he makes excuses (“There is a lion outside”). Is it a legitimate excuse? Is there really a lion outside lying in wait for him? Actually, it does not matter. His slothfulness has made him believe in the possibility of a lion outside; therefore, just in case, he will decide to stay inside.
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Learning to be Idle

At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention” (1 Timothy 5:13).

This verse comes during Paul’s instruction regarding care for widows by the local church. He explained to Timothy why younger widows were not to be put on the list to receive continuing support. The danger was that they learn to be idle which would leads to other sins – in this case, being gossips and busybodies.
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Rest for the Weary

Tree

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

This is the great invitation that has been offered by Jesus. He offers the invitation and makes the promise to those who will come: “You will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
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