Sodom and Gomorrah #5 (Genesis 18:26)
In the previous verses we discussed how Abraham presents his defence in an attempt to save the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. God assents, and while doing so, He tells Abraham the fundamental role of the righteous person in the world.
In the previous verses, Abraham brings forward the argument that destroying Sodom will cause collateral damage. Not only this is unjustified, but it will also invalidate the role of the righteous man and the motivation to be one. God accepts Abraham’s arguments, and He adds that for fifty righteous people He will forgive and not destroy the place.
This is the very first time that God defines the role of the righteous.
For their sake alone God will keep the world going, even if their number is as small as fifty in an entire city.
This is a critical point. After all, it is easy to be evil, it is even easier for a person to live their lives without struggling with moral questions. But being a righteous person is hard, probably one of the hardest paths to follow. Being righteous means to strive for a continuous moral awareness. Being righteous is about fighting your own temptations, as sin is craving all of us. Being righteous means to not follow the majority, not to yield to peer pressure. This is particularly difficult when your entire environment looks at morality as something to ridicule, if not to fight against. And being a righteous person in Sodom and Gomorrah was nothing but excruciating.
There are many reasons and excuses to choose the easy path, and why not to follow a moral code. Why go through all this pain? Why fight against our own desires? Why struggle when the obvious path is easy, always calling us, always displaying the temptations we are missing.
In this verse God, for the first time, gives us the answer. If I find a few righteous people, He says, I will save the entire city, the entire world. This is the role of the righteous. To keep morality and therefore our world going, even if the majority succumb to sin.