Today, the Scripture is from Genesis 18:16-33. Here, Abraham asks God to spare Sodom. He is concerned about the fate of the city of Sodom, which he believes is being destroyed due to its inhabitants’ wickedness. He pleads with God to save the city and its people. But, can Abraham really find ten righteous people in this city of sin? In the Bible lesson today, Abraham pleads for Sodom and how his negotiating skills lead to nothing.
Pleading for Sodom is a story about God’s justice, mercy and patience. Abraham’s story serves as a reminder of the importance of having faith and that justice will eventually prevail.
In truth, is this sinful city really worth saving? Abraham believed so but what about God?
Our life lesson is that God still waits for us but He won’t wait forever. Ultimately, it’s up to each one of us to decide whether we take advantage of this opportunity to redeem ourselves.
Justice for Sodom – Abraham Pleads His Case
Abraham came near and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it?
Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You!
Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”
So the Lord said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.”
And Abraham replied, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes.
Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You destroy the whole city because of five?”
And He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
He spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose forty are found there?”
And He said, “I will not do it on account of the forty.”
Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?”
And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
And he said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?”
And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the twenty.”
Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?”
And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.”
As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the Lord departed, and Abraham returned to his place. – Genesis 18:23-33
10 Good Men?
Wow! Abraham would have made quite a negotiator if he were alive today and worked for one of the largest corporations, don’t you agree? He would have made an excellent corporate lawyer, like a modern-day King Solomon. He could cut deals and get the best possible outcome for all sides.
Of course, ultimately, God made the choice, not Abraham, to spare or destroy Sodom.
Truth is, God allowed Abraham to “negotiate” because He knew there were not ten righteous people in Sodom. God knew that Abraham was a man of faith, and that his faith would be tested. He allowed Abraham to “negotiate” with God to show that He is merciful and willing to forgive us even when we have wronged Him.
On the other hand, Abraham knew that God was merciful so he came away from the prayer feeling that God was more than fair in His decision. As a result, Abraham had an even greater appreciation of God’s mercy and justice.
As for mercy, God allowed Lot, Abraham’s nephew and family to flee before the city destruction. This ultimately highlighted God’s great mercy and justice, which Abraham was grateful and thankful for.
The other word to study here is justice. Yes, God is merciful, as He shows in Scripture above by allowing the city to survive with just 10 good people. But, He distributes justice as well. By doing so, He shows that justice is just as important as mercy.
He punishes sin but His mercy allows the Sodomites one final chance to turn away from their sins. – They failed the test. In the end, God’s justice serves as a reminder to us to remain faithful to Him and that we will be judged for our actions.
Taking advantage of the opportunity
Today, God still waits for people to ask forgiveness. 60% of Americans say they’ve forgiven themselves for past misdeeds and 75% say God has forgiven them for mistakes.
God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to take our place in judgment. All we have to do is believe, confess and ask Him to become our Savior to be forgiven. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, taking on the punishment we deserved. If we accept His sacrifice and repent of our wrongdoings, He will forgive us and give us a new life.
God Gives Us a Chance as He Did at Sodom
Sodom made a choice and so do we. And remember, even though God is very patient as we see in His conversation with Abraham, one day will come when His patience will wear out. Then, the window of opportunity closes.
Where will I be that day? Where will you be? We must choose wisely today, for tomorrow may be too late. Please think about it.
Love in Christ
If you would like to learn how to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16 to learn more.