Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.
– Ezekiel 16:49
My feet throbbed as I eased into bed after a long day.
Like millions of other Americans, I’m gearing up for the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Yesterday afternoon I baked and frosted dozens of sugar cookies for family members. A humungous turkey commandeers the bottom shelf of the frig. Today I’ll bake pies and rolls and the family’s favorite broccoli casserole. On the big day tomorrow, the turkey will go in the oven and the kitchen will fill with the savory scent of abundance.
It’s been a hard year for our family, filled with loss and trial. The sweet memories of Thanksgivings past and the hope of Thanksgivings future ease away the pain as the holiday aromas swath me in nostalgia. I remember all God has done for us, all the blessings we still have.
There is so much for which I am thankful.
In the heartache, I am reminded how much a sense of need draws us to God. Conversely, I realize abundance often makes us complacent and arrogant instead of grateful.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about that verse in Ezekiel about the city of Sodom. Most people, if asked what their guilt was, would probably answer that it was immorality. And yes, they were immoral. Both Genesis 13:13 and 18:20 tell us they were very wicked, committing serious sins in the eyes of God.
Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.
– Ezekiel 16:50
And there’s the word that bothers me. Thus.
Reading the two verses together, we find that Sodom was full of unthankful people. They did what they wanted. They played, ate, cared only for themselves, and became proud. They were well-fed, bored, haughty, and without compassion. Thus they gave themselves over to wickedness.
One was a consequence of the other. That’s sobering stuff.
The destruction of Sodom began with their lack, not their lust.
They lacked gratitude. Therefore, their unthankful hearts turned to stone and fell into sin. Like them, any people who forgets their God are doomed, unless they realize what they have done and ask God for forgiveness.
This Thanksgiving, I want to turn those verses around. I want to accept our neediness as a chance to see God’s mercy. I want to embrace the pain in our lives that keeps us humble and gives us compassion for others who are suffering. I want to work hard for Jesus and the humanity He loves who are hurting all around us.
Most of all, I want to be thankful, every day of the year, for everything.
Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.
– Isaiah 30:18