Since God decided in the previous verses that He would let Abraham in on His plans for Sodom and Gomorrah, He now shares what is about to happen. First, He indicates that He has heard an “outcry” from the two cities. The Hebrew word used here is ‘za’aq’ and it normally refers to a cry for aid. Whether this actually came from the more God-conscious citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah or whether it came from the heart of God Himself is not known at this point in the text although later evidence points to the fact that it was more likely the latter. In fact, this crying that God reacts to may be something similar to what was referenced in Genesis 4:10 when God, after Cain killed Abel said to him “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” Yet another interpretation may be that since verse 21 refers to “its outcry”, there is an implication that the outcry originated from the inanimate cities themselves, and perhaps not the people in the cities. In any case, God had to do something.
As we watch the world today we cannot help but wonder how much more God’s eyes and heart can withstand as truly our own generation’s “sin is exceedingly grave” as was that of Sodom and Gomorrah. God will act in due time. In the case before us here, God indicated that He personally would go down to the cities to see if indeed the facts match His sensed outcry. And He added that He would not be fooled. He would know whether or not it does. Man does not ultimately get away with sin.
His “going down” may refer to God simply moving along from Abraham’s place to Sodom and Gomorrah, since these words seem to have been uttered as God was leaving Abraham’s tent. On the other hand, the Hebrew words seem to indicate a translation that includes some descending from above or on high. Either way, God finds His way to where inequities abound and He deals with them.
But before we leave these verses there is one slight glimmer of hope. God still wants to check out if indeed there is any chance that it is not as bad as He has heard or felt. Perhaps there are some there that have not partaken in the great sin of the two cities. God always looks for those wherever trouble or unrighteousness abounds.
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