A Daily Genesis

Genesis 18:23-33

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 18:23a . . Abraham came forward[/B]

Abraham "came forward" in that he became somewhat assertive in this next scene. He was sort of like a godfather to the Sodomites, in spite of their decadence. That is amazing; yet, is so typical of the really holy men in the Bible to intercede for people who certainly didn't deserve it. (e.g. Ex 32:30-35)

There's nothing intrinsically wrong in taking the initiative to speak with God. After all, if people always waited for God to speak first before they ever said a word in prayer, hardly anybody would talk to God at all. Not that God is shy, it's just that He rarely ever says anything out loud, so a normal person would tend to think The Almighty was indifferent to His creations. But that just isn't true. We know from the Bible that God desires a rapport with everyone.

Some people wait until they're desperate and out of options before turning to God. But it is so insulting to treat God like a spare tire or a First Aid kit. It's better to begin a rapport with Him early, now, before a crisis occurs. (cf. Pro 1:24-33)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 18:23b . . and said: Will You sweep away the innocent along with the guilty?[/B]

The answer to that is of course a resounding YES!

"I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me." (Deut 5:9)

[B]Q:[/B] How is that fair: holding children responsible for what their parents do?

[B]A:[/B] Ex 20:5-- along with Ex 34:7, Num 14:18, and Deut 5:9 --is often construed to mean that children are held responsible for their parents' sins; but that isn't it. What we're looking at here is collateral damage. It is apparently God's prerogative to get back at people by going after their posterity and/or the people they govern.

There's a horrific example of collateral damage located at Num 16:25-34. Another is the Flood. No doubt quite a few underage children drowned in that event due to their parents' wickedness. The same no doubt happened to the children in Sodom and Gomorrah. Ham's punishment for humiliating Noah was a curse upon his son Canaan. And during Moses' face-off with Pharaoh, God moved against the man's firstborn son along with all those of his subjects.

There are times when God chooses to punish people by going after not only themselves; but also the things that pertain to them; including, but not limited to, their progeny. I don't quite understand the logic of that kind of justice; but then again: I don't try; I just go along with it; primarily because it's futile to find fault with God.

Although Lot was living in a very bad environment, and among very bad people who caused him much mental and emotional stress (2Pet 2:4-9) it didn't eo ipso make Lot himself a bad man. In the final analysis, when it was time to make an end of Sodom, God made a difference between Lot and Sodom and got him out before it was too late. It's horrible to contemplate that some civilizations are so far gone that it's necessary to nuke 'em from orbit and start all over from scratch.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 18:24-25 . . What if there should be fifty innocent within the city; will You then wipe out the place and not forgive it for the sake of the innocent fifty who are in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing, to bring death upon the innocent as well as the guilty, so that innocent and guilty fare alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?[/B]

I think Abraham's question was more rhetorical than anything else. Of course the Judge of all the earth deals justly; no true man of faith would ever seriously question his maker's integrity.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 18:26-29 . . And the Lord answered: If I find within the city of Sodom fifty innocent ones, I will forgive the whole place for their sake. Abraham spoke up, saying: Here I venture to speak to my Lord, I who am but dust and ashes: What if the fifty innocent should lack five? Will You destroy the whole city for want of the five?

. . . And He answered: I will not destroy if I find forty-five there. But he spoke to Him again, and said: What if forty should be found there? And He answered: I will not do it, for the sake of the forty.[/B]

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 18:30-33 . . And he said: Let not my Lord be angry if I go on; what if thirty should be found there? And He answered: I will not do it if I find thirty there. And he said: I venture again to speak to my Lord; what if twenty should be found there? And He answered: I will not destroy, for the sake of the twenty.

. . . And he said: Let not my Lord be angry if I speak but this last time; what if ten should be found there? And He answered: I will not destroy, for the sake of the ten. When the Lord had finished speaking to Abraham, He departed; and Abraham returned to his place.
I'm guessing Abraham stopped at ten because he assumed there had to be at least that many righteous in Sodom who didn't deserve to die; but according to Peter; he was wrong. There was only one: and that's all there was in Noah's day too. (Gen 7:1)

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