Daily Words of God: Knowing God | Excerpt 36
God Must Destroy Sodom
(Gen 18:26) And Jehovah said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
(Gen 18:29) And he spoke to Him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And He said, I will not do it.
(Gen 18:30) And he said to Him, Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And He said, I will not do it.
(Gen 18:31) And he said, Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And He said, I will not destroy it.
(Gen 18:32) And he said, Peradventure ten shall be found there. And He said, I will not destroy it.
God Only Cares About Those Who Are Able to Obey His Words and Follow His Commands
The passages above contain several key words: numbers. First, Jehovah said that if He found fifty righteous within the city, then He would spare all the place, which is to say, He would not destroy the city. So were there, in fact, fifty righteous within Sodom? There were not. Soon after, what did Abraham say to God? He said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there? And God said, I will not do it. Next, Abraham said, Peradventure there shall thirty be found there? And God said, I will not do it. And peradventure twenty? I will not do it. Ten? I will not do it. Were there, in fact, ten righteous within the city? There were not ten—but there was one. And who was this one? It was Lot. At the time, there was but one righteous person in Sodom, but was God very stringent or exacting when it came to this number? No, He was not! And so when man kept asking, “What about forty?” “What about thirty?” until he got to “What about ten?” God said, “Even if there were only ten, I would not destroy the city; I would spare it, and forgive the other people besides these ten.” Ten would have been pitiable enough, but it turned out that, in fact, there was not even that number of righteous people in Sodom. You see, then, that in the eyes of God, the sin and evil of the city’s people were such that God had no choice but to destroy them. What did God mean when He said that He would not destroy the city if there were fifty righteous? These numbers were not important to God. What was important was whether or not the city contained the righteous that He wanted. If the city had but one righteous person, God would not allow them to come to harm due to His destruction of the city. What this means is that, regardless of whether or not God was going to destroy the city, and regardless of how many righteous were within it, to God this sinful city was cursed and execrable, and should be destroyed, should vanish from the eyes of God, while the righteous should remain. Regardless of the age, regardless of the stage of mankind’s development, the attitude of God does not change: He hates evil, and cares about the righteous in His eyes. This clear attitude of God is also the true revelation of the substance of God. Because there was but one righteous person within the city, God hesitated no longer. The end result was that Sodom would inevitably be destroyed. What do you see in this? In that age, God would not destroy a city if there were fifty righteous within it, nor if there were ten, which means that God would decide to forgive and be tolerant toward mankind, or would do the work of guidance, because of a few people who were able to revere and worship Him. God places great stock in man’s righteous deeds, He places great stock in those who are able to worship Him, and He places great stock in those who are able to do good deeds before Him.
From the earliest times until today, have you ever read in the Bible of God communicating the truth, or speaking about the way of God, to any person? No, never. The words of God to man that we read of only told people what to do. Some went and did it, some didn’t; some believed, and some didn’t. That’s all there was. Thus, the righteous of that age—those who were righteous in the eyes of God—were merely those who could hearand follow God’s commands. They were servants who carried out God’s words among man. Could such people be called those who know God? Could they be called people who were made perfect by God? No, they could not. And so, regardless of their number, in the eyes of God were these righteous worthy of being called the confidants of God? Could they be called God’s witnesses? Certainly not! They were certainly not worthy of being called God’s confidants and witnesses. And so what did God call such people? In the Bible, up until the passages of scripture that we have just read, there are many instances of God calling them “My servant.” Which is to say, at that time, in the eyes of God these righteous people were the servants of God, they were the people who served Him on earth. And how did God think of this appellation? Why did He call them so? Does God have standards for what He calls people in His heart? He certainly does. God has standards, regardless of whether He calls people righteous, perfect, upright, or servants. When He calls someone His servant, He is of the firm belief that this person is able to receive His messengers, and able to follow His commands, and can carry out that which is commanded by the messengers. And what does this person carry out? That which God commands man to do and carry out on earth. At that time, could that which God asked man to do and carry out on earth be called the way of God? No, it could not. For at that time, God asked only that man do a few simple things; He uttered a few simple commands, telling man to only do this or that, and nothing more. God was working according to His plan. Because, at that time, many conditions were not yet present, the time was not yet ripe, and it was difficult for mankind to bear the way of God, thus the way of God had yet to begin to be issued forth from God’s heart. God saw the righteous people He spoke of, whom we see here—whether thirty or twenty—as His servants. When the messengers of God came upon these servants, they would be able to receive them, and follow their commands, and act according to their words. This was precisely what should be done, and attained, by the servants in God’s eyes. God is judicious in His appellations for people. He did not call them His servants because they were as you are now—because they had heard much preaching, knew what God was to do, understood much of God’s will, and comprehended His management plan—but because their humanity was honest and they were able to comply with God’s words; when God commanded them, they were able to put aside what they were doing and carry out that which God had commanded. And so, for God, the other layer of meaning in the title of servant is that they cooperated with His work on earth, and although they were not the messengers of God, they were the executors and implementers of God’s words on earth. You see, then, that these servants or righteous people carried great weight in the heart of God. The work that God was to embark upon on earth could not be without people to cooperate with Him, and the role undertaken by the servants of God was irreplaceable by the messengers of God. Each task that God commanded unto these servants was of great importance to Him, and so He could not lose them. Without these servants’ cooperation with God, His work among mankind would have come to a standstill, as a result of which God’s management plan and God’s hopes would have come to naught.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II