And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?”
In this passage, Abraham bargained with God. God (the One who became Jesus Christ, see John 1:18) came down to earth accompanied by two angels. He had heard of the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah and had come to see if it was as bad as reported (Genesis 18:20-21).
Abraham knew that his nephew Lot and his family were living in Sodom and were not as corrupt as the rest of the city’s inhabitants. So Abraham decided to ask God if He was going to destroy everyone—apparently with the hope of saving Lot and his family.
Abraham didn’t come right out and ask specifically about Lot, but asked in a general way. Abraham knew God is both just and merciful, but perhaps he wanted reassurance. So he asked a question he thought he knew the answer to: “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” (verse 23).
Abraham bargained with God not from a selfish motive, but for the sake of others. This is a lesson we can learn. We should try not to be selfish in our requests to God. Moses approached God in a similarly unselfish way when God was going to destroy the people of Israel for their rebellion (Numbers 14:11-20).
When we approach God with a request, do we think and ask about it in a way that considers God’s perspective? For instance, when we ask God to help us overcome sin, do we consider that by living more righteously, we can bring greater honor and glory to His name?
Abraham started by asking God if He would spare Sodom if there were 50 righteous people there, and he worked his way down to 10. And God told Abraham that if He found even 10 righteous people, He would spare the city.
In this case, God answered that He would not inflict total destruction on an evil city if there were as few as 10 righteous people there. At the time of the end, God will prevent total annihilation of all life for the sake of His people (Matthew 24:22).
But as we shall see later, there weren’t even 10 righteous people in Sodom.
To learn more about the problems in Sodom, read our Dec. 13, 2013, Daily Bible Verse Blog post: “Lot Settles Near Sodom.”
Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “The Sins of Sodom.”