A column of ‘what ifs’
Something different this week, something that may prove uncomfortable for many of you.
I expect some of my readers who profess different faiths — or no faith at all — to disagree, discount or otherwise disregard this particular installment. To you who disagree, I mean good will toward you, and I hope you will re-join me at a future date.
This will be a column of “what ifs.”
But first, some background — ancient background.
Recall the story of Abraham in Genesis 18. Three men showed up at Abraham’s tent and one told him that his wife would have a child. As the three visitors stood to leave, one of them — described as “the Lord” — said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing ...?”
They were on their way to Sodom to ascertain whether the city was as wicked as has been told to them. If they found it so, the Lord intended to utterly destroy the city. At that point Abraham — knowing that his nephew Lot and Lot’s family were in Sodom — began to contend for the salvation of Sodom.
You could describe it as a bargaining session, a negotiation, whatever — the fate of a city and its many thousands of inhabitants depended on the outcome of that conversation between one man and the Lord.
You remember the progression? Paraphrasing, Abraham asked the Lord if He found 50 righteous people in Sodom, would He still obliterate it. The Lord said he would spare the city for the sake of 50 righteous.
Then begins the intercession, or bargaining. Next comes 45, then 40, then 30, then 20, and finally:
“Then he [Abraham] said, ‘Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more; suppose ten could be found there?’”
“And He said, ‘I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.’ So the Lord went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.”
We know the end of that story: There obviously were not 10 righteous persons found in Sodom, and it soon disappeared under fire and brimstone. Lot, his wife and his two daughters got out safely (that’s four righteous, if you’re counting), at least until the wife looked back and became fatally saline.
OK, now scroll over to two scriptures in the New Testament. The apostle Paul commands Timothy (1 Tim. 2:1-4), “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
And then there’s the squirmingly unpleasant command of Jesus in Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies ...”
OK, that’s the groundwork for some “what ifs.”
• What if — 10 righteous people could be found?
(Who qualifies? Answer: according to orthodox Christian belief and based on scripture, anyone who believes in Jesus the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One of God, and confesses that belief is saved “from this evil and perverse generation” and immediately is clothed with the very righteousness of Jesus Himself. That is, Jesus is our righteousness. So, if you are “born again” and confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are one of the righteous ones.)
• What if — 10 righteous people agreed to pray a simple prayer once a day every day for 40 successive days?
(Which 40 days? Coincidentally, a group of local Christians are coming together beginning Aug. 10 to begin pairing up to read one miracle of Jesus each day for 40 days, leading up to the 40th day, Sept. 18, the Day of Atonement on the Jewish calendar. An open-air worship service “at the feet of Jesus” will conclude the feast that night in Fayetteville, the county seat of Fayette County. More details online at JesusFeast.org and in ads in this paper and online at www.TheCitizen.com.)
• What if — that simple prayer was a prayer that Jesus Christ would save into the Kingdom of God one Barack Hussein Obama, to the glory of God the Father? And I’m talking a complete, full-blown, no holds barred, Father, Son and Holy Ghost salvation of our President.
• What if — that prayer were answered, maybe within 14 months from the Day of Atonement?
• What if — that simple prayer, answered, would avert — at least for a time — God’s coming judgment on this nation?
What if, what if, what if.
Why 10, why not a thousand, why not 10 thousand?
Let it be 10 million, but I think we must have at least 10. More will be great, but 10 will do.
Are you one of the 10?