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?" (Gen 18:25)You know the context of this verse. But just in case there are people reading this who have never heard of Sodom and Gomorrah I will give it to you.
Abraham has been visited by three 'men' who we discover as we read are actually two angels and an theophany of Jehovah (God). God confirms His promises to Abraham during a meal prepared by Sarah. After the meal, the three 'men' set course for Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham goes out with them to accompany them part of the way. On the way God then asks the question;
"Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him." 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." (Gen 18:17-21)God tells Abraham that He will destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. The modern evangelical would respond, "Good riddance!" But not Abraham. Abraham has a connection with Sodom. He is not enticed by their sin, in fact, he hates their sin. But he has family in Sodom. Lot is there with his family. Lot is a righteous man. Now there are many lessons we could learn from this, how we should pray for our loved ones, grieve over the plight of sinners, etc. But we won't repreach lessons learned right now. We want to look at Abraham's appeal to God.
Abraham is an extraordinary man. He is has been chosen by God to be the man through whom all the earth is blessed. He is the father of the Messiah. He is made into a great nation, indeed many nations. He is the father of faith.
In Genesis 18:25 (see above), we see why. Abraham knew God. He knew that God was holy and just. He knew that God would never punish the innocent, to the point that He would spare the wicked on their account. God is just.
Now we know that there are none who are innocent, there are none righteous, and that we all deserve death. So Abraham is not calling on God to ignore Lot's sins, but rather expressing his full confidence in justification by faith. "Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness." In the same way we must understand that Lot was counted righteous by his faith. It is upon this basis that we must understand Abraham's appeal. Not that Lot does not deserve death, but that God had promised life for those to whom He imputes His righteousness.
So Abraham says to God, "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!" It is not in God's character to rescind His righteousness, nor is it in His character to punish anyone unjustly. This, of course, is where the cross comes in. The cross is the place where God did punish the Righteous One, but only after He had imputed our sins to Him. So God remains just at the cross, since Christ became sin for us, so that we could by made the righteousness of God in Him. This is the only way God may remain just, if He does not destroy everyone who has ever lived, since we are all sinners. Sin must be paid for, either by Christ or by us. Faith in Christ identifies us with Christ in His sufferings so that it can be said that our sin has been punished and His righteousness has been given to us.
Alrighty then! We have reached the actual post! Abraham asks an amazing question at the end of his appeal to God's character. He asks, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?" In effect he says, "God there is one thing that I know about You, and that is that You are just. You will never do wrong or treat anyone unfairly, but You will always do right."
The fact is, God always does what is right. We may not understand what or why He does what He does, but we can trust in Him to be right in it. He takes a newborn child. He is right. He allows us to suffer. He is right. He allows us to fall into sin. He is right. The murderer goes free. He is right. Unimaginable crimes against humanity take place that God can stop if He wills, but He doesn't and He is right. How do we make sense of this? If God is just and always right, then why are there so many wrongs in the world? Why do the wicked prosper? Well just looking at the story of Sodom and Gomorrah shows us that the wicked do not always prosper. They are destroyed. And even though it seems at times that the wicked fare better than the righteous in the he present, we have full confidence that there is a judgment coming. The righteous will be vindicated by life eternal and the wicked punished for eternity.
But what about the here and now? How can we deal with all of the wrongs that have taken place? How do we deal with the deaths of infants, for instance. By trusting solely in the justness of righteous, wise, and loving God. It is almost a cliche to quote this verse, but that does not make it untrue.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28)Commend your troubled thoughts to God. Rest in the truth that in right now our sufferings are working together for our betterment, and that in the end we will see that all things were molded by the hand of our loving, wise, omnipotent, and just God for our good and His glory.