Shall Not the Judge of All
the Earth Do Right?
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So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”—Genesis 18:22–261
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?”2It’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. ... Abraham does not question the righteousness and justice of God, but “reminds” Him of it. ...
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 afar 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.—Loren3
The great rhetorical question
So often I find it hard not only to understand some of the difficult passages in the Bible, but also to understand why certain things are happening in the world. There seems to be so much injustice. There are no easy answers.
I love the great rhetorical question, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”4
One thing that we can be sure about is that on the last day, when it is all revealed, we will see God’s perfect judgment—and everyone will say, “That is absolutely right.” God has all eternity to put things right. In the meantime, we wrestle with many other clues we cannot yet solve. … [But] in the end, the Judge of all the earth will do right.
Some people might think that belief in a God who judges would lead to more violence in the world today. In fact, it is the opposite. When people stop believing in God’s just judgment, they are tempted to take it into their own hands.
David trusts that there will be a judgment—that God will be the judge and he will judge justly. “My accusers have packed the courtroom; it’s judgment time. Take your place on the bench, reach for your gavel, throw out the false charges against me. I’m ready, confident in your verdict.”5 In other words, David trusts that God will deal with his enemies.
If we believe there is a God who is going to execute judgment with perfect justice, then we can leave it in his hands and do what Jesus told us to do: love our enemies.6 … So many of the world’s problems today would be solved if people believed in the fact that there is a God who judges justly.—Nicky Gumbel7
God will do the right thing
There are a lot of things we don’t know, and we shouldn’t think that we can find out everything and understand everything in this life. As dear old Buddy Robinson used to say, “The love of God passeth mine understanding, and lands right in my heart. Anything I can’t understand, I wrap it up in a little bundle of faith, and I tuck it away until someday God explains it to me.”
Thank the Lord for the fact that “when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away!”8 We’ll know then. You’ll know all the answers then. Praise the Lord! So if you can’t figure it all out now, don’t worry about it; just wait till we see Jesus.
There’s one sure thing you can know—God is going to do the right thing. He’s going to do the just thing, the loving thing, the merciful thing. You can trust God to do the right thing.
You can’t pursue these questions with the natural understanding; the Holy Spirit has to reveal the truth to you. Almost every day God reveals something new to me which I never saw before, I’ve never understood before.
It’s been there all the time, been right here in the Bible all the time! But I never got the point until the Holy Spirit opened my mind and explained it. So thank God for His Spirit, amen? But you can’t expect to understand all these things in this life.—David Brandt Berg
Published on Anchor January 2018. Read by Reuben Ruchevsky.
2 Genesis 18:23.
4 Genesis 18:25.
5 Psalm 7:7–8 MSG.
6 See Matthew 5:43–48; Luke 6:27–36.
8 1 Corinthians 13:10 KJV.
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