And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
I. Notice FIRST THE WORDS OF GOD WHICH INTRODUCE THIS HISTORY. "Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great," &c. Behind this human manner of speaking what a lesson if; here! The judgments of God from time to time overtake guilty nations and guilty men; but, huge and overwhelming catastrophes as these often are, there is nothing hasty, blind, precipitate about them. He is evermore the same God who, when the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah waxed great, is described as going down to see and inquire whether they had "done altogether according to the cry of it."
II. In God's assurance to Abraham that if there are fifty, forty, thirty, twenty, or even ten righteous men found in the city He will not destroy it, we may recognize a very important law of His government of the world: this, namely, — THAT IT IS NOT THE PRESENCE OF EVIL BUT THE ABSENCE OF GOOD WHICH BRINGS THE LONG-SUFFERING OF GOD TO AN END. However corrupt any fellowship of men may he, however far gone in evil, yet so long as there is a sound, healthy kernel in it of righteous men, that is, of men who love and fear God and will witness for God, there is always hope.
III. This promise of God, "I will not destroy it for ten's sake," SHOWS US WHAT RIGHTEOUS MEN, LOVERS AND DOERS OF THE TRUTH, ARE. They are as the lightning conductors, drawing aside the fiery bolts of His vengeance, which would else have long since scorched, shattered, and consumed a guilty world. Oftentimes, it may be, they are little accounted of among men, being indeed the hidden ones of God crying in their secret places for the things which are done against the words of God's lips. The world may pass them, may know nothing of them, yet it is for their sakes that the world is endured and continues unto this day,
IV. Does not this remind us of one duty on behalf of others which we might effectually fulfil if a larger measure of grace dwelt in our hearts? — I MEAN THE DUTY OF PRAYER AND INTERCESSION FOR OTHERS. Prayer for others is never lost, is never in vain; often by it we may draw down blessing upon others, but always and without fail it will return in blessing on ourselves.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;