Last Sunday, September 9, our text was Genesis 19 – which is the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. This is not a text that I would choose to teach from every Sunday, but one of the benefits of studying through the Bible is that we are can’t avoid the subjects that are addressed in it that are difficult or uncomfortable, and thus we study the whole counsel of God’s Word.
Interestingly, we received more feedback about that teaching than we have gotten about a sermon in a long time. If you weren’t here for that sermon, you can check it out here.
As we studied the text we saw that the depravity of Sodom included sexual assault and child molestation.
Is our society any better than Sodom? Maybe in some ways – and we certainly have at least 10 believers in our town, but these same sins that were part of the culture of Sodom are present in our society as well, at alarming rates.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, there is an average of 207,754 victims of sexual assault in the United States each year – and that is only those over age 12. It is estimated that roughly 40 million Americans – 1 in 6 people – experienced sexual victimization as children.
As we know from the Bible, sin is destructive. And the damage and pain caused by sexual assault are especially damaging, and cause deep wounds that are often carried for an entire lifetime.
But God’s Word gives hope to those who have been abused and hurt by others, even in the most extreme ways. God’s Word tells us that God is the judge of the Earth, and he will deal with sin rightly and fully; He will not sweep offenses like this under the rug. Furthermore our God is Jehovah Rapha: “The Lord Who Heals” (Exodus 15:26). Our God is the God who heals and restores, and true healing and restoration can be found in Jesus, not only for our bodies, but for our whole being: for our minds and for our souls; for our “psyche” (the Greek word for soul). He is even able to heal the wounds of abuse and assault and restore completely what has been lost.
When a person is ‘born again’ they become a new creation: a new life with a new identity. And the old, unregenerate person they were before they came into a relationship with God through faith in Christ is ‘put to death’. Colossians 3:3 says ‘For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.’ And what that means is that in Christ, who you are is not defined by the things that other people have done to you, nor by the things that you have done to others – but you are defined by who you are in Christ: a beloved child, who has been ransomed, redeemed, restored, forgiven, justified…the list goes on and on.
Additionally, God’s Word tells us that the Lord is the God who sees and the God who hears (Genesis 16). And what that refers to is not only that he observes everything that happens to us – even the injustices and hurts that no one else sees or knows about – but it means that he intimately cares about and is concerned about what happens to us.
For those who have suffered terrible offenses, there is not only hope in the Lord for this life only, but the ultimate hope of the Gospel is that in the Kingdom of God – the New Heavens and the New Earth – every tear will be wiped away, there will be no more suffering and pain, and those who mourn will be comforted, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied (Revelation 21:4; Matthew 5:4,6)
Let us be people who pray for the victims of sexual assault and who do whatever we can to prevent this extremely damaging abuse from happening in the first place. What we see in the Bible is that the Lord cares very much about the protection of the weak and those who are most vulnerable in society. Check out this collection of Bible verses which describe the Lord’s concern for those who suffer. We reflect His nature when we share His concerns and take up His causes.