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Shall Not The Judge Of All The Earth Do Right?

“That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25)

In verse 25, we have the second profound rhetorical question of Genesis 18: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Last time, the Lord posed the question: Is anything too hard for the Lord? Now, Abraham poses this one. I call them both rhetorical questions, those which are asked only to emphasize, not to gain new information. They are questions that need no answers, for the answers to them are already known and settled. Or are they?

For a great many skeptics of the Bible, this question of the Judge of all the earth doing right is something known and already settled, too. But in their viewpoint, the answer is a resounding No! One of the most common objections to the veracity of the Bible being raised in our generation (and it does really go back much farther) is what has been called the “character assassination” of God. Entire books have been penned by prominent atheistic philosophers and scientists ridiculing what they call the cruel, vindictive, and capricious nature of God. They take issue with the justice of God’s judgments as described in the Bible (particularly the Old Testament) and have even accused God of being immoral in His actions.

But it seems that Abraham put a little more trust in God’s ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Apparently, Abraham, having a very real and intimate knowledge of God, reached a different conclusion than those who prefer to smugly dissect the Word of God and cherry-pick a verse here and there that they personally find distasteful. Maybe Abraham learned a great deal more about the God of the Universe through his personal encounters with Him in the wilderness of Canaan than we are able to ascertain in a musty library 30 to 40 centuries later? At any rate, Abraham was convinced enough of God’s justice that he is emboldened to raise the question of whether or not God will arbitrarily destroy the righteous and the wicked when He judges Sodom and Gomorrah.

“And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” (Genesis 18:23)

It’s worth noting that Abraham drew near before he posed any question about the Lord’s impending actions. Before any of us can hope to make any kind of intercession with God, we must be close to Him. God is simply not going to hear the prayers from a heart that is far from Him, save the prayer that seeks to come closer to Him. Abraham does not question the righteousness and justice of God, but “reminds” Him of it. Abraham is not trying to determine whether or not God will judge the righteous and the wicked, all he really has in mind is knowing whether or not his nephew, Lot, who lives in Sodom is among the righteous that will not perish. Thus he begins his countdown of asking if the Lord shall spare the city for the sake of 50, 45, 40, and so on, righteous people. I believe that he certainly had his doubts about whether or not Lot was really a saved man or not, and this prevented him from just coming right out and asking. As the numbers got lower and lower, I think he became more and more concerned.

“Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.” (Job 37:23)

Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Abraham knew that God will always do what is right and just. Job and his friends learned this lesson, too. We could probably use this very question as the summarizing phrase for the entire Book of Job, in fact. It might be easy to stand far back and look at God’s actions and decide whether or not we feel that what He has done is right or not. But if we do as Abraham did, if we draw near to God, if we get to know Him, we will see that the Judge of all the earth invariably does what is right.

“The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” (Psalm 19:9)

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published January 18, 2010]

All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) of the Holy Bible

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

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7 responses

  1. Loren,

    Thank you for this post…. These sorts of thoughts go through my mind daily while praying for some personally known “lost sheep” of our Lord….. Like Abraham, one might tend to wonder if God cares to draw them back to him….

    In spite of the Old Testament records about Lot’s life, 2 Peter 2:7 says, “and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day with their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.”

    We need to keep on praying like Abraham, and oh how that stretches one’s hopes.

    Margaret

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  2. A couple of years ago at work, this Jewish woman who knew I am a Christian, was sort of taking me to task — she was questioning this very thing that you brought up in your post. She actually said to me “how can you trust a God that orders a person to send his daughters out to be raped?” After a moment of shock at that question, I explained that God did not make such a command but that piece of scripture was an event being told. She really was proud to be Jewish but the very Jewish scriptures that was part of her heritage, she rallied against as unfair and wrong.

    I once read a book called “God made in OUR Image.” It’s about how man has redefined God to fit man’s view of what God should be like. They, therefore, reject the God of the Bible because He does not fit the image or mold that man wants Him to be in.

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  3. “We need to keep on praying like Abraham, and oh how that stretches one’s hopes.”

    Very true! You brought up Peter’s assessment of Lot’s spirituality, a topic that I intend to discuss before I pass out of this chapter. Keep praying for those lost sheep, Margaret. I thank God for the fervent prayers of those who loved me enough during my own times of straying; without the which I know not where I might be.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful comments!

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  4. It is so unfortunate that people will make these railing accusations against God without even understanding what the Bible actually says. So many assume that because something is mentioned in the Bible, then it was God’s idea — or, at the least that He approved of it. As in your example, it certainly was not God’s intention for Lot to offer up his own daughters (another notorious example of this concerns “Jephthah’s vow” in Judges 11; Lord willing, I plan to address that when I reach that book).

    Thanks for sharing this observation!

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  5. […] a great difference we see between Abraham’s response here in Chapter 22 and that of Chapter 18: when God told him how he intended to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham knew with all certainty […]

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  6. Billie D. Thompson

    I really appreciate Tishrei thoughts on this verse..it seems to me that all of christian denominationism is to shape God into its image…but God is not changing…praising Him for being the one constant that we can lean and depend on in this everchanging world….

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  7. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

    Thanks, Billie, for visiting and taking the time to share your comments :)

    God bless you,

    Loren

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