Applying the teaching of a remarkable passage in Genesis 18 to the world today reveals a profoundly encouraging aspect of the priceless potential value of small churches.
The Judge of All the Earth Reveals the Profound Value of Righteous People
Genesis 18 records a remarkable exchange between Abraham and the Lord, the Judge of all the earth:
22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:
28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.
29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.
30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.
31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.
32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.
This conversation reveals that the Judge would have spared Sodom, despite its exceeding sinfulness, had there been even ten righteous people in it. Thus, the presence of even ten righteous people among a vast number of exceedingly wicked people in a contemporary city, state, or country potentially could have a profound sparing effect on the entire population!
The Incomparable Potential Value of a Small Church
By applying this truth to our world, we learn that a small church of as few as ten righteous people could have a precious priceless value for a community that no other group could have for it. This reality should profoundly encourage all believers in small churches to persevere in walking worthily before God regardless of how small their ministry may be!
Because the revelation of this remarkable exchange in Genesis 18 was in the context of intercessory prayer by a righteous man, we should also learn of the immense potential value of even one righteous person who intercedes faithfully for his city, state, and country. Moreover, we should allow this passage to motivate us to be faithful to attend prayer meetings in our small churches, and we should make intercession for our communities one regular aspect of our praying for them.
May God grace all of us in every church to be true to Him, especially in private and corporate prayer for our communities.