Saturday, July 17, 2010

For the Sake of Ten. . .

Genesis 18:20-21 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. . .

Genesis 18:32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.

God’s hearing was filled with the cries of the victims of the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah. He heard again and again the pain and anguish resulting from the violence and depraved acts committed by these people.

God knows the number of hairs upon the heads of every man, every woman, every child on earth. He intimately knows the number of hairs upon the heads of every unborn child. He surely knows the exact number of feathers on every bird and the precise number of scales upon each fish in the sea. . .

Do you seriously think that He did not know what was going on in Sodom and Gomorrah??? He surely had a purpose in coming before Abraham. It was a test for Abraham. . .It was a lesson for Abraham. . .

Genesis 18:22-23 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. 23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

The angels turned and left for Sodom and Gomorrah. . .but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. . .Abraham did not bow his head. . .he did not avert his eyes and go about his business trying to camoflage the hidden thoughts in his heart. He did not leave felt things unspoken. . . Abraham was a righteous man. He did not pretend all was well, when his heart was troubled. He felt such love and compassion and concern for righteous men and women, whom he did not even know, whom he merely held out hope that they existed in Sodom and Gomorrah and was afraid that they would be caught up in their cities destruction.

For these unknown, but envisioned like minded brothers and sisters, Abraham delayed God’s progress, thereby preventing God from leaving with the angels. Abraham did not give way, did not defer. It almost appears that he stood in God’s path after the angels had left, having the audacity to bargain with God on behalf of the righteous, to prevent what Abraham thought to be an unrighteous act by God.

We are not told the heart of God. We do not know what His plans were when He arrived at Sodom and Gomorrah. We do know that the way of God is perfect. We do know that God had no need of Abraham’s bargaining, to be a perfectly righteous and holy God. . .

God did not rebuke Abraham for his lack of faith in God’s righteousness. God saw past the flaw in Abraham and still yet honored Abraham’s sincerely honorable heart. God respected Abraham’s breaking heart, by not merely listening to Abraham, but by giving the appearance of modifying His plan to accommodate Abraham’s concern.

Abraham and God bargained down until they arrived at the number of ten righteous people being required to save the cities and there they stop. Abraham pressed no further and God offered no further concessions below the number ten. . . For the two cities, God would call off the planned destruction for ten righteous people. . .

Five people in each city is that which God would require. . .One family in each city, is the minimum level of righteousness that God would allow for the cities to remain standing. To redeem the thousands of people of Sodom and Gomorrah, one lone family was required to be found in each city. A lone believer would not be enough. An isolated pair of believers, or a solitary couple would not suffice.

Believers must be able to gather together for their faith to survive. That is the purpose and reason for our communal gathering together, our communal worship and fellowship. We need each others faith and support to survive. We need brothers and sisters to lift us up in times of need. We must have brothers and sisters with whom to celebrate in times of victory and joy. . . We cannot long exist, alone spiritually in a spiritual wasteland.

For the equivalent of one righteous, believing family in each city the Lord would hold out hope that the cities could be salvaged without destruction. A family has shown itself fertile and capable of reproducing. For righteousness to grow and spread there must be good seed and fertile ground. A family has demonstrated that potential fulfilled through their repeated bearing and raising of children across the years.

What does your family’s righteousness count for? You are not evangelists. You do not travel the country spreading the Good news. You are not eloquent preachers of God’s word. What impact does your simple righteous family’s life, have upon your community? . .One lone family in each city would have prevented the burning death and destruction of thousands. . .For the lack of five individuals in each city, the cities were destroyed in a burning hail of death.

How far does your influence spread? How many evil winds do you break in the lee side of your steadfastness? How many rumors of malicious gossip die when they arrive upon your shores? How many dark corners to you bring light to? How much hope does your life give to those who have no hope? How many see your example of living for God and thereby gain an understanding of the grace of God? What impact does your continued worship have on your neighbors, in times of trial and pain?

How wide do your prayers spread for co-workers, city leaders, neighbors, friends? How contagious is the love you show? The courtesy. . .the forgiveness. . . the generosity each having its source as and inspired by the love of God, all flow outwardly from the righteous as a wellspring of living water, refreshing cool water, essential life giving water coming from God and flowing through us to a harshly arid desert land. . .

Never underestimate the importance of your family's righteousness and holiness in your community. God recognized your importance and spoke that He was willing to save two otherwise entirely wicked cities, wholly deserving of destruction for the hope of the righteousness and holiness offered by one such family in each. . .


I love you my God. . .
I thank you my Lord. . .

Dave Stokely

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