The Presence of Believers-Genesis 18:22-33

Genesis 18:22-33 “The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 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? 25 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?” 26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” 27 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, 28 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.” 29 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.” 30 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.” 31 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.”  32 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.” 33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.”
Genesi 18:22-33  “Quegli uomini partirono di là e si avviarono verso Sodoma; ma Abraamo rimase ancora davanti al Signore. 23 Abraamo gli si avvicinò e disse: «Farai dunque perire il giusto insieme con l’empio? 24 Forse ci sono cinquanta giusti nella città; davvero farai perire anche quelli? Non perdonerai a quel luogo per amore dei cinquanta giusti che vi sono? 25 Non sia mai che tu faccia una cosa simile! Far morire il giusto con l’empio, in modo che il giusto sia trattato come l’empio! Non sia mai! Il giudice di tutta la terra non farà forse giustizia?» 26 Il Signore disse: «Se trovo nella città di Sodoma cinquanta giusti, perdonerò a tutto il luogo per amor di loro». 27 Abraamo riprese e disse: «Ecco, prendo l’ardire di parlare al Signore, benché io non sia che polvere e cenere. 28 Forse, a quei cinquanta giusti ne mancheranno cinque; distruggerai tutta la città per cinque di meno?» E il Signore: «Se ve ne trovo quarantacinque, non la distruggerò». 29 Abraamo continuò a parlargli e disse: «Forse se ne troveranno quaranta». E il Signore: «Non lo farò, per amore dei quaranta». 30 Abraamo disse: «Non si adiri il Signore e io parlerò. Forse se ne troveranno trenta». E il Signore: «Non lo farò, se ne trovo trenta». 31Abraamo disse: «Ecco, prendo l’ardire di  parlare al Signore. Forse se ne troveranno venti». E il Signore: «Non la distruggerò per amore di venti». 32 Abraamo disse: «Non si adiri il Signore, e io parlerò ancora questa volta soltanto. Forse se ne troveranno dieci». E il Signore: «Non la distruggerò per amore dei dieci». 33 Quando il Signore ebbe finito di parlare ad Abraamo, se ne andò. E Abraamo ritornò alla sua abitazione.”
 
     Abraham, it seems, was convinced that there were righteous people in Sodom so his plea was not just about saving his nephew (Lot) and his family but also others in Sodom. As the Lord moves toward Sodom in judgment, Abraham makes his intercessory request based on the justice of God. God’s judgment would be prevented on six different benchmarks: 50, 45, 40, 30, 20 and 10 people. God already knew how completely corrupt Sodom had become but this passage needs to be seen through the eyes of Abraham who makes his appeal to the attributes of God in justice to judgment. “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked” (v. 23)? It is noteworthy that the wicked would be preserved for the sake of the righteous.
     The presence of believers in this world is the very reason that judgment has not already taken place. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” But judgment is coming and the sin of this world is nearly over. You may not be appreciated, but your presence amidst a depraved world is noticed by God. Sodom was destroyed because there weren’t even ten righteous people in it. As our world grows increasingly wicked, may we continue to be intercessors for the sake of the lost.
Pray with me: Lord, I live in a world that is heading toward judgment. Help me to not just pray for myself but plead the case of others even when they reject You.


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