Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pleading for the Righteous

Then the LORD said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know."  So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD.  Then Abraham drew near and said, "Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?  Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?  Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?"  And the LORD said, "If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake."  Abraham answered and said, "Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.  Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?" And he said, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there."  Again he spoke to him and said, "Suppose forty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of forty I will not do it."  Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there." He answered, "I will not do it, if I find thirty there."  He said, "Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it."  Then he said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there." He answered, "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it."  And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.  ~Genesis 18:20-33

This passage of Scripture leapt into my mind this morning as I was thinking about some Christians' views regarding other nations, particularly Iran.  I have been shocked over the last couple of weeks that some Christians believe wholeheartedly that our policy should be one of violent instigation towards other countries.  A former elder at our former church even adamantly advocated that we should turn Iran into a "radioactive wasteland".  To say that we were quite disheartened that a man who used to teach us the Word of God was espousing this view is putting it lightly.  Just as with Sodom & Gomorrah, there are wicked people in every country, including Iran (& including the U.S., I might add).  Unlike Sodom & Gomorrah, there are also righteous people there.  Even our brothers & sisters in Christ.  There are also innocent people there - men, women, & children - who wish us no harm.  Should we really be so gung-ho to blow them all to kingdom come, as though they are all wicked?  Should we really be okay with murdering members of our own eternal family simply because they reside in another country also populated by those hostile to us?  I just can't see how our consciences should be able to abide "sweep(ing) away the righteous with the wicked".  Abraham's couldn't, & he pleaded for their lives before the Lord.  God agreed that it would be unjust to take this action.  So should we.