Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 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.” The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 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? 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?” The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”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, 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.” 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.”
Abraham found himself standing directly between the wrath of God and the people living within the walls of Sodom and Gomorrah. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah had become so wicked – so disobedient – that God was ready to wipe them off the face of the earth.
But that would mean more than a horrible death. And Abraham knew it. For the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, that horrible death would merely be a transition to eternal separation from God in hell.
So Abraham begs. And he’s not simply begging that God spare any God fearing people. If that was his goal he would have asked God to spare the righteous before he went on to destroy the cities. He doesn’t do that. He asks God to spare the wicked for the sake of any God fearing people. But why!?
To give these wicked people more time. More time to come to know the love their God had for them. More time to come to know the fact that God had promised to send someone who would pay the price not only for their wickedness, but for the wickedness of all people to ever live!
We know who that someone is. We know who that someone is because God kept his promise. That someone is Jesus. And yes, he’s paid the price for the wickedness of all people who have ever lived – even the people who once lived within the walls of Sodom and Gomorrah – even yours and mine.
If you’re looking for something to pray for this week, pray Abraham’s prayer. Pray for the “wicked” people of this world who disobey their God every day, just like you and me, and yet don’t know what Jesus has done for them. Ask God to give them more time. And ask him to send someone, maybe you, to share Jesus with them.
Thankful to know – eager to share – just like you,