Monday, January 7, 2013
The Face of God's Justice
Justice of God....
Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous 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?”
But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and left him outside the city.
So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the Plain, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had settled.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord;
may your blessing be on your people!
This is a familiar story where Abraham stands before The Lord and pleads with him for the life of his nephew Lot and family. Abraham is aware that Sodom and Gomorrah are scheduled for destruction because of their evil and wickedness. He does not dispute the fact that these are evil towns and I'm sure his heart has been broken by the fact that his nephew had chosen to live there...but Abraham has a heart for his nephew.
In reality the nephew Lot is probably not all that righteous. He has chosen to live among very sinful humanity. He has given two daughters to marry men of the city. When you read the story closely you discover something about those men. First of all when the two angels arrive at Lot's home it tells us that every man of the city came to try and "have" those men - and it makes the point that "to the last man!" In other words, even Lots sons-in-law were involved in the vile practices of the city...and yet, for the sake of Abraham...and he sake of Lot, the angels allow Lot to go out and offer to save those two men and their wife's, who are two of Lot's daughters. They laugh at Lot...and we don't often think about the fact that two of Lot's daughters along with their entire families were lost...because they refused the salvation which was being handed to them.
And yet Abraham pleads for his nephew, and God is willing to offer them the chance to be saved.
This story does reveal to us the justice of God, but in the story we also see the transformation of Abraham into a man with a heart like God. Abraham, in trying to understand God's justice and pleading for the salvation of Lot begins to take on the very nature of God. Isn't it eventually God who shows his love for all of fallen humanity in lovingly giving his son to die for us all? And while salvation is offered to all of humanity there are those who will laugh it off and choose to do their own thing.
This truly is the justice of God. What we see in this story is that God loves us so much that he desperately wants us to be saved. But interestingly it is really not about the righteousness of Lot that God is willing to save him, but because of the intercession of Abraham. Lot was not righteous ... And none of us can be righteous under our own power or strength. It is only by the work of God in our lives that we are saved. Just as Abraham in this story is transformed into the very image of God, we see him in the intercessory role of Jesus Christ. Jesus in becoming human now sits at the right hand of the father forever interceding for all of us. And we are Lot.
But there is more here as well. As we continue in our walk with God we are continually transformed into his image and in the process we take on more and more of his nature. This means that we fine ourselves overcome with pain over the lost around us and we are the ones who are standing and pleading before God for those who have wandered off the path.
This is where we find the justice of God lived out...in our own lives ... In our passion, and in our intercession.
God may your passion so fill me that I would be willing to stand before you daily making intercession for those I love who are lost. Amen.