Monday, July 19, 2010

Pentecost 9c - Genesis 18:20-33

Sodom and Gormorrah by Henry Tanner 1920-4
Abraham does not dispute the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah or the punishment God has planned for the twin sin cities. Abraham’s concern is for the collateral damage caused by God’s righteous wrath which must in his mind include his nephew Lot and Lot’s family. Each proposal preceded by “Far be it from you” asks God to reconsider the just sentence on the wicked for the sake of a diminishing population of righteous. He stops at ten because he either senses he’s gone as far as God will go or he can’t imagine there would be less than ten righteous in the cities on the plain. Unfortunately for the wicked there are only four who are counted righteous, although the character of Lot’s turning back wife turned to salt is questionable. And Lot’s daughters prove to be as sinful as Sodom (Genesis 19:30-36) while Lot drunk in a cave is no saint. So what if no one is righteous? What then? What Abraham didn’t know and we can hardly imagine is that God’s desire was that mercy would triumph over judgment for it is God’s will to be both just and the one who justifies. So since none were found, God in Christ became the One through whom we are counted righteous and who knows, might also be the ones for whose sake the city is spared.

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