We were on vacation – life was good. Everyone seemed happy and occupied. No one was currently eating sand or fighting over shovels or suffering from self afflicted salt intake. So I decided to do a quick peruse of facebook. (I wish I hadn’t.) With each swipe of my thumb my heart sunk deeper and deeper. Comment after comment regarded a decision I had no idea was taking place. NO IDEA was even up for debate.
Devotional Scripture: Genesis 18:16-33
Key Verse: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
The Supreme Court had ruled in favor of gay marriage. Was this really happening? Were they really trying to redefine marriage? I say “trying” because you can’t redefine something God has already defined. Homosexuality is wrong. (Just like adultery and pornography and stealing and coveting and misusing use God’s name…it’s all wrong!) How can they tell me it’s ok? They can’t! They just can’t! But they did. I wanted to hide – my entire family – forever. Because I knew God was not happy. It was a blatant slap in the face to the covenant relationship the Almighty himself established. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. This was serious. America was suddenly on a very slippery slope. And it scared me. Big time.
Because I know God is a righteous judge. I know he will not let explicit disregard for his standards go unpunished. “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless” (Isaiah 13:11).
Oh LORD hear me please. I didn’t make that decision. I didn’t want that decision. I do my best to uphold your standards. I do my best to honor you! Do you know that? Do you see me amid this rapidly decaying society? Or did some power-hungry-cares-nothing-for-God judge just ruin it for me? Do I now have to live in fear of your judgment because of people in Washington who care nothing for my beliefs; my values; my children; my life?
I don’t think so. Not in light of Genesis 18…After confronting Sarah in her unbelief. The Lord and Abraham go for a little walk toward the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Two extremely wicked cities. So wicked God could wait no longer to judge them. He informs Abraham of what he is about to do (for the purpose of teaching Abraham). When questions would arise from his children and grandchildren about God’s justice and righteousness and mercy I’m certain he told them of this conversation.
How good of God to reveal his plan and purpose to Abraham. Think about the anger, the surprise, the disbelief Abraham would have experienced come morning had this discussion not taken place. Our time with the LORD is essential for understanding who he is and what he purposes. So when those crazy-how-could-God-let-this-happen things occur our reaction isn’t anger, disbelief, and surprise. But peace, surrender, and trust.
The LORD tells Abraham “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” (Gen. 18:21). Not because he didn’t already know. But so Abraham would know God does nothing without a thorough investigation. So we would know God does nothing without just cause. He CAN be trusted. His decisions are always right.
Yet the reality of what God was about to do sincerely bothered Abraham. It’s evident he’s concerned for his nephew (Lot) who resides in Sodom. “Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Supposed there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?” (18:23-24) “And the LORD said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” (18:26).
But Abraham had to know…What if there are only 45, 40, 30, 20, 10 righteous in the city – will you spare it then? Yes. Every time God said he would spare the city for the sake of the righteous. We’re talkin depraved-beyond-repair-make-you-wanna-throw-up-perverted injustice happening in that city. But for the sake of just ten righteous people God would have spared it.
I don’t know what the future holds. But I know this: God cares for the righteous (Job 36:7). Those covered by the blood of Christ – he does not forsake. If I suffer it is for my good and his glory (Rom. 8:28). Should I fear the LORD? Absolutely – it’s the beginning of wisdom. Do I need to fear his wrath? No. “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).
Tough times may fall on this nation. Consequences may arise. But come what may – He will hold my hand. He will provide what I need (Matthew 6:30-33). He will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish me (1 Peter 5:10). I need not fear. I need not be dismayed for He is with me (Isaiah 41:10).
So where does it leave me? Where does the immoral decay of this nation leave me? It leaves me in the hands of a perfectly just God. A God who considers me his child. A God who loves me. A God who has forgiven me. A God who intimately “knows the way of the righteous” (Psalm 1:6). “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love” (Ps. 33:18).
If Christ is your LORD and Savior – it leaves you there too. We need not fear my friend. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
Contemplate and Evaluate:
Have you come to Christ for Salvation? If not please wait no longer. Jesus is the only way we can be reconciled to God.
Do you find Genesis 18 comforting or discomforting? Why or why not?