In a world ruled by majority will, a headline declaring that a wicked city was saved by ten Christians seems impossible. Would such an event ever be reported in the news even if it happened? Would the citizens of that city ever know what tragedy had been averted? How could such a thing even happen?
A long time ago, such an event would have happened if only there had been ten righteous people in the city. There should have been many righteous people in that city but when it was inspected, not even ten could be found.
Abraham and Lot had traveled together and each acquired a large household and many possessions. It became clear to both them that they needed to separate so that there was enough pasture and water for the flocks and people. Abraham gave Lot the first choice of where he wanted to go and he chose the lush Jordan valley. So Abraham stayed in the high country.
There were some kings who also saw the benefits of the Jordan valley and mounted a campaign to defeat the rulers of the cities in the valley as far south as Sodom and Gomorrah. Victorious, they hauled off all the people and possessions as the spoils of war to Damascus and beyond. When word of this reached Abraham, he mounted a force of 318 trained fighters and defeated the kings and brought back all of Lot’s possessions, his women and people. It seems obvious that there were more than ten in Lot’s household.
One day, Abraham saw three men standing by his door. After a meal and some discussion, the men were looking down from the high country to Sodom in the Jordan valley. The Lord revealed that the outcry of wickedness had reached His ears and He was going to verify if “their sin is exceedingly grave.” Abraham knew there would be judgment. So he must have thought of Lot and his household and asked if God would destroy the city if there were fifty righteous people living there.
Fifty. Surely there must be at least fifty righteous people in Lot’s household. But then, Abraham may have remembered the people he rescued earlier and wondered how many of them were righteous. So he “negotiates” the number down to ten. Once again, Abraham is trying to rescue his nephew Lot.
Ten. Abraham couldn’t bring himself to ask for less. God agreed that He would not destroy the city if He found ten righteous people in it. But ten could not be found. The angels forced Lot, his wife and two daughters to escape and told them not to look back. Lot’s wife ignored the warning, so in the end, only three people escaped
“Will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:7-9)?
If God came to our city today, would He find faith? How many righteous people might be found?
While it’s possible that God would spare a city from disaster if ten righteous people were found in it, God is sovereign and right in all His ways and will avenge the wickedness. A city can be blessed by the godly acts and prayers of the righteous, of Christians that obey the Lord and live according to His rule.
Christians must stand up against violence such as that perpetrated against Muslim worshipers in the mosque in Quebec City this week. Who knows how many lives could be saved or what judgment could be averted when Christians live and act righteously.