When God Blesses Cities

Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire. Isaiah 1:7

The play "Brigadoon," by Lerner and Loewe, is pure fantasy. It is about two New Yorkers on vacation who come to a most strange Scottish city. In the 18th century it vanished under a religious spell. But every 100 years it allegedly comes to life for a day, shows itself as it was then, and disappears again. 

The Bible speaks of two cities that disappeared from the face of the earth by fire and brimstone: Sodom and Gomorrah. They will never appear again because the Dead Sea covers the sites. Saint Jude writes in his epistle that they perished because of "sexual immorality and perversion" (Jude 7). Saint Peter adds that God "made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly" (2 Peter 2:6). Unlike Brigadoon, they were not imaginary cities but were very real--real in their sinfulness, and real was God's judgment on them.

In a certain sense Sodom and Gomorrah live on, not only because the Bible, in both the Old and New Testament, makes mention of them but also because their sins continue in other cites. Jesus said of the cities of His time--Capernaum, Korazin, Bethsaida--that a greater judgment awaited them than did Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, because they rejected the ministry of the very Son of God (Matthew 11:21-24).

Saint Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians that the Scriptures were written for our learning and warning. We are not to repeat the sins that displease God and arouse His anger. Sodom and Gomorrah are long gone, but some of their sister cities live in the same iniquities.

The Scripture teaches us, too, that communities where righteousness prevails and God is honoured are blessed. All the truths written in the Bible give us endurance, encouragement, and hope because they bear witness to Jesus Christ, God's own sacrifice for the sins of all (Romans 15:4).

PRAYER: O Holy Spirit, give me strength so that I may be a wholesome influence and a faithful witness for Christ where I live. Amen.