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. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:23-25
Abraham’s only tie to the great cities of Sodom and Gomorrah was his nephew Lot and Lot’s family, so it makes this passage all the more poignant as he bargains, that’s right, bargains with God for their salvation. He knew God planned to deliver Lot and his family, but surely in these large cities, surely among the families, good fathers, husbands, men of integrity existed. And so Abraham bargains. If there are 50 good men, 30, what about 10? Let’s say there are 10 good men, will You not destroy these cities? God hears Abraham’s pleas and assents to his bargain. Undoubtedly, God already knew there were not even 10, but I sense He was proud of Abraham for considering with compassion these two cities, for praying there was a seed of hope within their walls that could turn them around from self driven destruction.
Paul wrote, that where sin increases, so does the grace of God(Romans 5:7). I don’t have to go farther than my bedroom mirror to find a sinful person. Thanks to Jesus, I am also a forgiven child of God. If I am not careful, I might rest in His Grace and ignore the thousands upon thousands, who continue to wander as Jesus said, like sheep without a shepherd.
I might become like Jonah, who really wanted God to destroy Ninevah and its 100,000 inhabitants expressing his anger first by running from God’s call, and then heeding God’s Call with foot dragging compliance. Poor old Jonah, who ended up sulking because in spite of his half hearted call to repentance, the Ninevites did and God spared them.
Am I like that about certain sinners, thinking them not worthy, too wicked to save? Or, do I turn a blind eye in the name of tolerance to obvious sin that damages individuals, confuses families, and sends society on a slippery slope to destruction, avoiding personal discomfort of calling for repentance? Will we one day as Christians find ourselves bargaining with God for the world of the lost? Surely there are at least 10 righteous men? Or will we work, will we stand up, will we pray, will we love the lost, will we be Jesus’ agents of salvation?
“There are two kinds of people both in life and in death: the saved and the lost. Jesus is the only agency of salvation.” Lucy Kinya
Genesis 18: 20-33 (Old Testament Lectionary Reading for July 28, 2013, Proper 12, Year C)