Abraham Pleads for Sodom (NIV)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.[c] 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.[d] 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[e] 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.
It is a funny but tragic text. I read it today before the congregation. What struck me is how Abraham bidded God down to ten from fifty. I wondered why one was not sufficient. I think one should be sufficient. If one faithful person exists among a multitude of creeps and opportunists and materialist monsters, shouldn't that be sufficient to make a city flourish with righteousness?
Even if only one is guarding a community and standing for the law and even if everyone is against that one, that one is still standing up for the human rights of the community to individual property (held sacred in the ten commandments), and to uphold the laws against stealing and stealth, shouldn't that be enough to block the socialists from eclipsing God with their devilish demands for "redistribution"?
If even one stands against adultery, against the lying of the newspapers in terms of the bearing of false witness, should not that be enough for a city to flourish in the eyes of God? Or do you really need a quorum of at least ten? Jesus does say "Whenever TWO or more are gathered in my name, you will have a church," and thus one may not be sufficient. Perhaps you need a group, or at least a small group. Kierkegaard posits the one. He posits Abraham as sufficient, and that his "teleological suspension of the ethical" which allowed him to sacrifice his son to God on religious grounds as a necessary breach of the law for the LAW, would be sufficient and perhaps it was in Abraham's case. But it wasn't sufficient to save Sodom. Lot was the only person in Sodom that could be found to be righteous. He was Abraham's relative.
After extracting Lot and some of his immediate family members (the wife looks back and is turned to stone), the city was turned to ashes. Does the ten have to mean a certain proportion of Americans must remain faithful? If so, what proportion? And does it mean that the Christians must be faithful to all tenets held by the faith, or can a Christian allow for sodomy as an aspect of "love," and yet subscribe faithfully to all other tenets? Many Lutherans have left the ELCA over this distinction, fearing that "sodomy" is not covered by the proposition to "love one another," since it is specifically outlawed in Leviticus, and in Romans, to name two of the most prominent places, and seems to have been the principle sin to which God objected. If everyone in a city is a sodomite or believes that it is an aspect of "love," but there are ten hold-outs - will that be sufficient to save America?
If ten is not sufficient, what is the matter with sodomy such that it is seemingly the most major crime? How is it worse than masturbation, or worse than adultery, or worse than usury? Is it just one of many crimes? Or is it especially abhorrent in the eyes of God? The people of Sodom want to subject God's angels to penetration through rape, and it is proposed they take a young virgin instead for their lusts. But this won't satisfy them. They want to sodomize angels.