Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Old Testament reading from this week is found in Genesis 18:17-33, where Abraham repeatedly asks the Lord to show mercy on the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Verses 20-21 tell us that the sins of the people have caused an outcry to the Lord. In contrast, in verse 19, Abraham is to be a blessing by operating in righteousness and justice. There is a definite element of obedience to God expected of Abraham and his descendants.
At issue, in verse 26, is justice. Will God do justice? Then again, we realize that Abraham is not asking for justice so much as for mercy. If God were to act in a just manner, He would destroy everyone who ever sinned. This would include every human being. Since sin brings death, God’s justice should logically lead to death.
By the end of the conversation, God has agreed that He will show mercy on the whole city if there are ten righteous people. They don’t have to be sinless, but there is some expectation of ribht behavior, obedience to God. If we consider this, it is a strikingly low threshold. Yet the city fails in the test.
There are probably two critical takeaways from this. First, God expects his people to live a righteous life. We do try to act in accord with God’s commands, which are for our good. Our second takeaway is that God is the merciful Lord. As we fail to live according to God’s command, we ask His forgiveness and mercy. He shows his love for His people by redeeming them from the curse of sin. This leads us to thanksgiving and praise.
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