Yesterday’s first reading from Genesis 18:16-33 about Abraham’s prayer for Sodom sheds light on, and to some degree qualifies, what I wrote in my last blog about the prospect of severe judgment on America and the Christian West.
The story of Abraham’s intercession illustrates God’s readiness to withhold judgment on the wickedness of many for the sake of a few who are righteous.
In fact, there is still a great deal of Christian faith and faithfulness in the United States that might preserve this country from judgment for awhile. Although many among our political, educational, media, and entertainment elites and ordinary people whose conduct resembles Rom 1:18-32, still there are many whose conduct shows love of God.
A battle is raging for the soul of our country. Although the trends don’t look great, it’s probably a mistake to write off America for destruction just yet, even if severe warning judgments may be expected.
From a biblical perspective, it’s interesting to see how long God is willing to wait before bringing definitive judgment to bear. Abraham is told that his descendants will not receive Canaan until the fourth generation, since “the iniquity of the Amorites is not complete” (Gen 15:16). Amos prophesies doom on Israel 30 years before it descends in 722 BC. Micah and Isaiah prophesy the destruction of Judah 150 years before Babylon destroys Jerusalem and exiles the people in 586 B.C. Along the way Hezekiah and Josiah bring reforms that stay God’s hand (2 Kings 18-20; 22-23); the repentance of even the most wicked kings like Ahab (1 Kings 21:27-29) and Manasseh (2 Chron 33:11-19) delays the outcome.
The truth is, we don’t know how much time is left to America and the Christian West. A major cultural change for the worse, when judged by the standard of obedience to God’s word in Scripture and Tradition, began in the 1960’s with the sexual revolution, legalized abortion, and atmosphere of rebellion against and denial of God, followed by the rampant consumerism of the period that followed. We’ve had about fifty years of heading in the wrong direction. How long will America and the West be allowed to continue? The judgment that comes on Sodom and Gomorrah teaches that God will eventually deal with those who persist in doing evil.
Nevertheless, this story also sets before us the magnanimity of Abraham, who boldly pleads with God to spare Sodom if even ten righteous people can be found there. Let us also intercede for America and on the other nations of the West, that God treat them and us according to his mercy rather than according to what we deserve.
More on the biblical perspective on divine judgment later this week or next!
First, we have the example of the righteousness and magnanimity of Abraham, who boldly pleads with God for mercy on Sodom if even ten righteous people (the NAB’s “innocent” is less precise) can be found there. We also should intercede for America and on the other nations of the West, praying for God’s mercy for the sake of the just men and women who stand to suffer greatly if North America receives what it deserves.