Show me ten righteous men.
When Abraham intercedes to save Sodom from destruction in Genesis 18, he tries to negotiate with God. He starts his bidding by asking God to spare the city if fifty righteous men can be found within its walls. God agrees and even gives Abraham a buffer by only requiring 45 righteous men to be present. Feeling a bit emboldened, Abraham says, "Well, then, what if I can find forty righteous men?" God responds, "Yes, I'll spare the city for forty men." Exploiting what he no doubt sees as God's abounding grace, he negotiates again through thirty and twenty, all the way down to ten, and God again says, "Yes, Abraham, if you can find even ten righteous men in Sodom, I'll spare it." Well, we all know what happened. Let's just say, there is no Sodom today!
So, why did this narrative play out the way it did? Quite simply, the city of Sodom had turned so corrupt and so carnal that there were not even ten righteous, God-fearing men to be found among its people. It was the ancient world's version of "Sin City," and there was nothing for which it could be commended. What a sad state of affairs for a city and all of its inhabitants!
Yet, as we wag our judgmental fingers at the Sodomites, we must recall our own state of affairs. Were there an Abraham advocating for America today, would he negotiate down to ten? And, if so, what would happen to us? Honestly, I don't know, but I do know one thing: there was at least one righteous man among us yesterday who is no longer with us today. The Rev. Billy Graham was not a perfect man, but he was as close to perfection as they come. He lived by conviction, principal, and honor, and he gave everything in service to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Rev. Graham used to say that he was not made for this earth; rather, he was merely a sojourner here, en route to heaven and his eternal home. Well, Rev. Graham, welcome home...and thank you.