The Outcry

Part I | Gluttony

The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. He said, "If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way--now that you have come to your servant." 

When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. Then the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?… Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know." The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. 

Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it." When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. "My lords," he said, "please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning." "No," they answered, "we will spend the night in the square." But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom--both young and old--surrounded the house. They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them." Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof."  "Get out of our way," they replied. And they said, "This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We'll treat you worse than them." They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else here--sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it." So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, "Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!" But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished." When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!" 

Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah--from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities--and also the vegetation in the land.
[excerpts from Genesis 18 & 19, I highly recommend reading these chapters in its entirety]

A Society Organized Against God
“However, the Bible gives considerable evidence that the sin of Sodom was not specifically sexual, but a general disorder of a society organized against God… the evidence in any case shows that the Bible itself did not agree that the sin was homosexuality. The use of the term “outcry”… argues in the direction of a general abuse of justice.” - Walter Brueggmann

We've heard this Before
The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.” - Exodus 3: 7

So What was the “Sin” of Sodom, why was there an “Outcry” against It?
"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

Abundant Food | Gluttony
“Habitual greed or excess in eating.” or “Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.” - Definition of Gluttony

The Fall of Man due to Gluttony?
“Thus, the event in the garden was not about sex or violence. It was not even about pride, as some have argued. Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was an act of gluttony. Adam and Eve took far more than they needed. They believed they could do whatever they wished with God’s creation for their own pleasure and benefit. These gluttonous desires drew humanity into the nothingness, and it took their lives. Adam and Eve did not need the fruit hanging in the middle of the garden. It was excessive. They chose it for an extra measure of satisfaction.” - Jeff Cook, “Seven”

In one sense, gluttony is about us — our bodies, our need for more experiences, more DVDs, more vacations, more clothing, more collectibles, more stuff. But like all expressions of sin, gluttony is primarily about separating ourselves from others. Not caring at all… - Jeff Cook

Gluttony is about the Worship of Self and Self-Indulgence at the Expense of Others.

We move from relationship to relationship, friend to friend, job to job, church to church seeking greater levels of satisfaction and/or trying to maintain that certain “high” like addicts. Gluttony is the addiction to self-pleasure.

Reflect | Rich Man and Lazarus
"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.' "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' " 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'" - Luke 16: 19-31

The Jews used to think that the more wealthy you were the closer you were to God. But his relationship with God was exposed for what it was by his relationship with the poor and the needy during his earthly life. 

  • The Rich Man’s view hadn’t even changed after death, see how he tries to order Lazarus around, asking God to send Lazarus to help him. 
  • The Glutton feels entitled to pleasure, satisfaction, painless living. 
  • The Rich Man knew the guy’s name, meaning it wasn’t simply a stranger, he had an opportunity to help this guy eventually. But did nothing.

The Story of the Indonesian Judge and the Grandma who Stole to Feed her Grandkids
"An Indonesian judge by the name of Marzuki was sitting in judgment of an old lady who pleaded guilty of stealing some tapioca from a plantation. In her defense, she pleaded to the judge that she had done the deed because she was poor and her son was sick while her grandchild was hungry. The plantation manager insisted that she be punished as a deterrent to others..." (read the rest here)

Gluttony is anything that Takes Up the Space for Others
Clothes, Food, Purchases, Pleasures, Hobbies that take up all the room for Others. 
It’s not about “moderation” but gratitude, gratitude always creates room for others. You want to share when you are thankful.

Sodom had no Room to Share
They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” - v5

A rabbinic interpretation, found in Tosefta Sotah… "and elsewhere, suggests that the affluent people of Sodom selfishly adopted a deliberate policy of maltreating strangers in order to discourage visitors to the city and thus not to have to share their prosperity with others.- Sarna / JPS Torah Commentary

When we make no room for others, we find God often removing us from the space we occupy for we are not doing what that space was purposed for, blessing for ourselves and Others.

Gain all you can, without hurting either yourself or your neighbor, in soul or body, by applying hereto with unintermitted diligence, and with all the understanding which God has given you. Save all you can, by cutting off every expense which serves only to indulge foolish desire, to gratify either the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, or the pride of life. Waste nothing, living or dying, on sin or folly, whether for yourself or your children. And then, Give all you can, or in other words give all you have to God. - John Wesley

Part II | Careless Ease

Transient

What Scripture meant by “Laziness” or “Careless Ease” in light of Sodom

Laziness basically meant “Unconcerned” about the Poor and the Needy.
NLT Version says, “Sodom’s sins were pride, laziness (Unconcerned), and gluttony, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.” (like Lazarus?)

Laziness meant the choice to not practice Empathy.
ASV says, “prosperous ease”… 

Life is good, settled, secure enough to enjoy things, friends, work. Life is quiet, inactive, you’re in a good social and economic status, which in turn has insulated you from the pain and need of Others. 

This “Laziness”, this “Careless Ease”, this “Unconcerned-ness”, this “Prosperous Ease” may look like the following: 

  • My kids are in a great school, why is there a need for all this education reform? 
  • My kids are not bullied, why cause all this fuss about bullying in schools? 
  • We have great health care, why deal with all this health care reform? 
  • I’m not gay, what’s the big deal with gay rights and protection of human lives in Uganda? 
  • I have enough to eat, so what if that Ekklesia member’s family is struggling, they should’ve worked harder. 
  • I’m going to heaven, I don’t want to bother people with the truth of the Gospel. 
  • I have a seat at Church, who cares if the Disabled Community has no seat here. 
  • I’m settled here at church, Ekko is now my church, I have so many friends now. That new comer has to make it on their own, find friends, who cares if that person is not invited to lunch, home group, etc. It’s their problem, even though it’s my home-church. 

A Maturing Christian is Hospitable, is Caring, and basically Gives a Damn about the Outcry around us, just like God cared! 

How to Know if You May be Experiencing Careless Ease {Insulated Living}

  • Are you anxious about your next meal? If not, you probably are at ease. 
  • Are you anxious about your kid’s welfare, health, education? If not, you are at ease. 
  • Are you anxious about your future due to money, injustice, lack of safety? If not, you…
  • Are you anxious about being shamed, bullied, killed, harmed because of who you are? If not, you are at ease. 
  • Are you anxious about facing God someday in Judgment Day? If not, you are at ease. 
  • Are you anxious about who to eat with, talk with, hang out with, acceptance, belonging, at Church, Work, School? If not, you are at ease. 

Do You have the Means and Do Nothing?
“This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love. This is the only way we'll know we're living truly, living in God's reality.” - 1 John 3: 16-19

What Do You Have? Do You See Someone in Need of What You Possess? 

  • Do you have Financial Security? 
  • Do you have Social (Friendship Circles) Security? 
  • Do you have Eternal Security? 
  • Do you have Physical Security?

The Epitome of the Prosperous Ease-Life | The Story of the Rich Man
"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. - Luke 16: 19-31

“Laziness” is Having our Empathic Senses Dulled by Gluttony
Clothes, Friends, Protection, Security, Food, Purchases, Pleasures, Hobbies have dulled our Empathic Senses.

  • "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.” He was insulated by his comfort.
  • “At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table.” Lazarus was within sight, within knowledge of this rich man, which meant that he had to consciously decide to ignore him. 
  • So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'

Even in hell this rich man saw Lazarus as something “less-worthy” than himself. He felt entitled even in hell enough to want to order Lazarus around from hell! 

Careless Ease then can be described as: an sense of security due to abundance of _______, that what makes one feel settled, safe... which can create a sense that things that satisfy me will continue to be enjoyed at a consistent and steady pace without much fear or anxiety, thus numbing me from care for others.

We are Called to Forget Ourselves Long Enough to Care
Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! - Phil 2: 4-7

{Listen to - "Excuse Me Mr."by Ben Harper}

Care Enough to Gain, in order to Give
“Gain all you can, without hurting either yourself or your neighbor, in soul or body, by applying hereto with unintermitted diligence, and with all the understanding which God has given you. Save all you can, by cutting off every expense which serves only to indulge foolish desire, to gratify either the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, or the pride of life. Waste nothing, living or dying, on sin or folly, whether for yourself or your children. And then, Give all you can, or in other words give all you have to God.” - John Wesley

It’s not about “moderation” but gratitude, gratitude always creates room for others. You want to share when you are thankful.

  • We are to give all we have to God. 
  • We want to make room for Others. 
  • We want the marginalized to find a Home. 
  • We want people of all abilities to feel Welcomed. 
  • We want the Orphan to grow up in a Family. 

Are you ready to make room, share and give? 
Plan today as a Couple, Family, Individual, as an Ekklesia!

Some Things Coming Up You Can Save Up For & Give To 
Recess Ministry from the Children’s Ministry. (Fall)
Ekko Adoption Fund (Father’s Day with Pastor James Yim). 
Express Eden Fund (Mozambique 2014 with Steve Lee and Andrew Ra, and the House, Land and Staff we Support there). 
Other Missional Effort - i.e. Johnson’s Dental Missions effort with UCLA, you supported that.

Transient

Don't be selfish; don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing. Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal's death on a cross. Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 
- Philippians 2: 3-11


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