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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“And the Lord said, ‘Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave . . . ’”—Genesis 18:20 (NKJV)
Leading up to this moment in Scripture, God had determined to reveal the impending doom that was about to rain down on the city of Sodom, as well as to Gomorrah, its nearby sister-city.
One of His purposes in doing so was to reveal the intercessory heart that beat inside of Abraham’s chest. We can say with assurance that it pleased the Lord to do this, because we know it gives Him pleasure when His people plead for mercy on behalf of others. Abraham’s intercession will be seen as we move on in the story. But for now, let’s focus on a couple of things in this text.
First, as the verse above clearly indicates, God is completely committed to dealing with sin. The rampantly sinful lifestyles of Sodom and Gomorrah had reached such a level that God’s holiness could no longer tolerate their continuation. In the perfectly pure eyes of the One who is all-holy, the state of affairs had become “very grave.”
And because God is holy, His nature does not allow Him to overlook or pretend sin isn’t present when it is. He would be an unjust God if He did. God is a God of justice. In His divine just-ness, He is required to thoroughly judge and deal with sin.
But there’s a second point to be observed, and we see it in the next verse: “I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know” (Genesis 18:21 NKJV).
Notice the extra step the Lord takes here. He doesn’t just hurl thunderbolts at Sodom and Gomorrah from heaven. Instead, He waits to see if the situation requires the prescribed judgment.
Now, we know that God is perfect in all knowledge and understanding, and that He doesn’t need to do any of this in order to know what’s happening or what to do next. Clearly, it is not for His benefit. Rather, it’s for ours. By this, the Lord reveals to man that He isn’t hasty, impetuous, or impulsive in His judgments, but that He is a God of mercy.
This is welcome news, not just to those who lived in Abraham’s time, but for every person alive today. Sin still requires a just judgment. But God’s mercy has moved in such a way that He has judged sin upon Himself through the cross. It’s here that the justice and mercy of God meet and anyone trusting this as true will know His eternal mercies.
DIG: What two aspects of God’s nature do we see in this section of Scripture?
DISCOVER: How do the justice and mercy of God relate to the cross?
DO: Write down the effect the cross had on your own life.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.