For the Sake of Ten

Georgia – Genesis 18:16-33, “16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
 20 Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 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.”

 22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 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? 25 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?”

 26 The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

 27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?”
      “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

 29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”
      He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

 30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”
      He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

 31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”
      He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

 32 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.”

 33 When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.”

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is a famous one, in and out of holy books and popular culture alike. I found it interesting to look at the account of its trial and the carrying out of its sentence. We know that shortly after this takes place, Lot meets some angels and offers them hospitality. Lot’s neighbors surround his place and demand to meet them. Right then and there the angels know that there are fewer than ten righteous people and they tell them to leave. Lot doesn’t think he can make it that far and suggests a nearby place to hide. Then they’re off and Lot’s wife looks back on the destruction and she pays the price.

Not only were the men indecent, but We also learn from Ezekiel 16:49-50 that, “49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”

Perhaps Josephus’ account is more telling: “Now, about this time the Sodomites, overwhelmingly proud of their numbers and the extent of their wealth, showed themselves insolent to men and impious to the divinity, insomuch that they no more remembered the benefits that they had received from him, hated foreigners and avoided any contact with others. Indignant at this conduct, God accordingly resolved to chastise them for their arrogance, and not only to uproot their city, but to blast their land so completely that it should yield neither plant nor fruit whatsoever from that time forward…And the angels came to the city of the Sodomites…when the Sodomites beheld the young men, who were outstanding in beauty of appearance and who had been received into Lot’s house, they set about to do violence and outrage to their youthful beauty….Therefore, God, indignant at their bold acts, struck them with blindness, so that they were unable to find the entrance into the house, and condemned the Sodomites to destruction of the whole population…Now this country is then so sadly burnt up, that nobody cares to come to it… It was of old a most happy land, both for the fruits it bore and the riches of its cities, although it be now all burnt up. It is related how for the impiety of its inhabitants, it was burnt by lightning; in consequence of which there are still the remainders of that divine fire; and the shadows of the five cities are still to be seen, as well as the ashes growing in their fruits, which fruits have a colour as if they were fit to be eaten: but if you pluck them with your hands, they will dissolve into smoke and ashes.”

Should our nation be held accountable for it’s actions, let us remember that if there were only a few more righteous people, the whole place would have been spared. I hope that we will not find ourselves uttering the same lament.

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...Anyway, that's just how I feel about it ... What do you think?

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