The question of [Genesis 18:23] is one of the most profound in all of Scripture.
Abraham asks this question to the Lord immediately after the Lord declares to Abraham that the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah was imminent [Verses 20,21]. However, there was a problem. Lot, Abraham's nephew, lived in Sodom with his family [Genesis 19:1]. When hearing of the impending judgment, Abraham feared for the safety of his nephew. Thus, Abraham begins a dialogue with the Lord with the intention of preventing the judgment on Sodom.
Abraham begins to "negotiate" with the Lord:
[Verse 24]: Lord, would you spare the city if You should find 50 righteous people therein?
[Verse 28]: Lord, would you spare the city if You should find 45 righteous people therein?
[Verse 29]: Lord, would you spare the city if You should find 40 righteous people therein?
[Verse 30]: Lord, would you spare the city if You should find 30 righteous people therein?
[Verse 31]: Lord, would you spare the city if You should find 20 righteous people therein?
[Verse 32]: Lord, would you spare the city if You should find 10 righteous people therein?
The Lord answers "YES" to each of Abraham's questions. Abraham stops "negotiating" with the Lord at [Verse 32]. Abraham's logical conclusion was that, if the Lord would evaluate Lot and his family members, all 10 members would surely be found righteous thereby cancelling the impending judgment on Sodom. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The Bible describes Lot as being righteous yet vexed with the actions and words of the people around him [II Peter 2:6-8]. Sodom was not a good influence on Lot. The evil surrounding Lot had a negative impact on his own spirituality and testimony. Thus, we read in [Genesis Chapter 19] that the Lord NEVER found 10 righteous people in order to spare Sodom. The judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah was carried out as the Lord had declared. Lot's married daughters and his sons-in-law mocked Lot's warnings and never departed. Lot's wife hesitated and chose to look back at the judgment of the Lord. She was consumed into a pillar of salt. In the end, only Lot and his 2 single daughters obeyed the directives of the Lord and obtained salvation from the judgment.
Many spiritual lessons can be learned from these passages to help us better understand the Lord's character:
(1) The Lord is LONG-SUFFERING
Sodom and Gomorrah were first mentioned back in [Genesis 10:19]. The cities were mired in sin for the longest time [Genesis 13:13]. The fact that the Lord delayed His judgment for such an extended period of time (approximately 400 years since the Flood) demonstrates that He was willing to be patient with their actions. However, the Lord's long-suffering should lead people towards godly repentance. Unfortunately, the residents of these cities just did not care about whether or not they were tempting the Lord.
(2) The Lord is MERCIFUL
The Lord was actually willing to spare the cities from the judgment if He could find ONLY 10 righteous people from among thousands. If this is not an example of the great mercy of the Lord, then I do not know what is [Psalms 86:5].
(3) The Lord is RIGHTEOUS in judgment
The Lord means what He says, and He says what He means. Pertaining to judgment, there is none like the Lord. The Lord always proclaims His judgments beforehand. The Lord always allows the possibility for godly repentance. The Lord always carries out His judgments in the precise manner in which they were detailed and against whom they were declared. The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished [II Peter 2:9].
In conclusion, when Abraham asks "Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?", the Lord has clearly demonstrated that His answer is "NO". The righteous belong to Him.
Thanks for reading.
answered 29 Jun '10, 22:14
What do we mean when we ask the same question?
I am not even convinced that it was God who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. I am a they that came from the heavens to earth (on business) fan. Atomic bomb and all that..bombs reduce people to 'salt' and we would more than likely head for the hills ourselves if we saw angry alien beings coming our way.
And then there were all those 'strange visitors' around just before it happened. See - Sumarian Tablets.
answered 16 Feb '10, 06:21
Inactive User ♦♦
If you are seeing this message then the Inward Quest system has noticed that your web browser is behaving in an unusual way and is now blocking your active participation in this site for security reasons. As a result, among other things, you may find that you are unable to answer any questions or leave any comments. Unusual browser behavior is often caused by add-ons (ad-blocking, privacy etc) that interfere with the operation of our website. If you have installed these kinds of add-ons, we suggest you disable them for this website