Beyond Church Doors

16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 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.”

22 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 for lack 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. Genesis 18:16-33

Undoubtedly, Abraham had heard about the wickedness in Sodom and Gomorrah. He also knew God was a God of Mercy. We know what was coming next after Abraham tried to convince the Lord to spare the two cities.

Early in this passage, however, we get a glimpse into the spiritual realm. “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great” is a very interesting statement. Whose outcry? Those who were mistreated and abused? Those who didn’t receive proper justice? Those who were helpless in the face of rampant sin?

We do know there weren’t a lot of righteous people in the two cities, including those who were crying out. How did those cities get to that point?

The two city names are synonymous today with debauchery and homosexuality. There are of course times when it’s easy to compare our society with what we know about those cities. I suspect there are quite a few more than 10 righteous people in each city in the country.

Still, there are systemic problems that demand a response from Bible-believing Christians (abortion and human trafficking are two). We are getting to a point where sitting on our hands and ignoring gross injustices will not cut it anymore. The world sees what we do and don’t do, and I suspect they laugh and mock at our inaction. They see the glorious church building projects, but fail to see the compassion and kindness of those who call Him Savior. We need to change that perception — whether it’s a right perception or wrong is hard to tell.

How do we do that? Quite simply actually. We find a need and go fill it, even if it’s filing papers in an office, these non-profits need people to volunteer their time and talents to help them do what they were called to do. Find a ministry that you can accept wholeheartedly and find out where you can fit in. You’ll be surprised at the red carpet they’ll roll out for you. Or it could be visiting shut-ins or nursing homes or church schools. They never turn away volunteers.

We are blessed to bless others, but because we focus inwardly so many times, it’s hard to see outside our church doors.

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