by Sal Huckel
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‘Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?’ (Genesis 18:25).
We are shocked by the sinful actions of those in Sodom and Gomorrah and the drastic judgement upon them. Abraham is also astounded by the Lord’s plans and understandably concerned about the risk that righteous people will perish for the sins of the multitude.
One way of reading this passage might be to see Abraham trying to change the mind of God, bargaining with him for numbers. He receives an answer, for how many will be spared, and then asks boldly for a little more assurance. And again.
Is this really about Abraham keeping God accountable for the numbers? Or is this Abraham finding out something of the character of God? The Lord knows, of course, how many righteous people there actually are in that place. Spoiler alert: there are none. The Lord knows this; Abraham does not. The Lord answers the questions reliably and faithfully. He is patient with Abraham as Abraham comes to terms with this situation.
We know that the Lord does not change. We do not change his judgement with questions like this. He is showing his constancy, but although we cannot comprehend it, we must take those answers on face value. We learn in the next chapter that Sodom and Gomorrah were indeed destroyed. We can only deduct that there were not even ten righteous people there.
Notice that just as in our reading yesterday, where the petitions of others caused the king to act, so here the Lord tells Abraham that an outcry has reached him. We have a responsibility to speak up, however difficult or futile it may seem, against injustice and evil in this world. We petition the Lord to act. We entrust justice to him.
Lord, you are the ruler over all the earth, the God who does not change. Help us to trust your constancy, to revere and worship you and appreciate your sovereignty. Where there is injustice, unrighteousness and evil, may we speak out against those things and cry out to you. Amen.