That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
Most are familiar with the conversation which was taking place when this question was asked. Earlier, three angels had visited Abraham and Sarah, and subsequently informed Abraham that, at some point future, God’s promise to him would be fulfilled and Sarah would have a child. This child, of course, would be the child of the promise to Abraham. That, however, is a different story.
It also came to light during the angels’ visit that, due to the great sin in the city, Sodom was facing judgment and destruction by God. After informing Abraham of this, the angels turned towards Sodom and headed off to complete their mission. It is with this background that Abraham’s conversation with God, in which our question was asked, took place.
Abraham no doubt knew of the great sin and rebellion taking place in the city of Sodom; it was likely well known and notorious, as rampant sin usually is. Abraham also know there were righteous people in the city; he knew this because he knew his nephew Lot and his family were living in the city. Immediately Abraham began pleading that God would spare the city, and not destroy it, for the sake of the righteous who were still there. It was during the start of this conversation that our question for today was asked. We know the story. Abraham asked God to spare the city for the sake of 50 righteous people; God agreed. Then forty five, and God agreed. So it went until God agreed to spare the city from destruction for the sake of only ten righteous people living there. So, let’s take a look at this situation and this question some.
Of course, God does right. This isn’t a dissertation on the justice of God, so this will be brief. God always does right, period. In fact, God can only do that which is right. I know many will disagree on this point, especially since it is the destruction of two cities we are talking about here. Nonetheless, God’s actions are always right and correct. If we don’t get it or agree, it is not because God’s action is wrong, but because our thinking on it is wrong. Easy, right?
Abraham’s question was rhetorical, as he knew the answer. Abraham knew that God would not destroy the righteous of those cities along with the wicked. Abraham understood not only God’s justice, but God’s mercy. Abraham knew God would show mercy to his own, and that is why he asked what he did. Abraham was not actually asking God if He would do the right thing; he was simply acknowledging that God would do the right thing.
Abraham interceded for the cities. We don’t know from the story exactly what Abraham was thinking as he questioned God and continually pressed Him for more and more, but we can make some possible observations.
Abraham humbled himself and acknowledged God’s sovereignty as he sought God’s mercy on these cities, telling God, I am but dust and ashes.
Abraham insured his relationship with God before interceding for the cities. He drew near. If we expect to intercede for others, we also have to draw near to God. God listens to those He is close to.
Abraham was burdened for his loved ones. We know from earlier reading that Abraham must have loved Lot greatly. This was not the first time he had acted to save Lot from a bad situation. In fact, it was not the first time Abraham had interceded on Sodom’s behalf!
I think Abraham wanted the city to be spared so that others in the city might eventually come to faith in the one true God. I think it broke Abraham’s heart to see all those people perish in a lost condition.
Why did Abraham keep seeking concessions from God until he had it down to only needing 10 righteous people to spare the cities? Sadly, I suspect it was because Abraham was pretty sure that only Lot and his family were believers and righteous. As we discover later, Abraham probably should have kept going, as only Lot and his two daughters were saved out of those cities.
God executed judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah, and both were destroyed. The judge of the Earth enacted judgment on those who deserved it. But notice that the judge of the earth also protected His own, in the form of Lot and his daughters. Finally, note if you read this story, that God also offered salvation to others, who chose to reject. This would include Lot’s sons in law, and even his own wife.
So, of course the Judge of the Earth shall do right!