Righteous people corrupted by the ways of this world are a very common
happening, for such people are all around us, and we even read about some of
them in pages of our Bibles.
We know even Noah, whom God said walked with Him, ended up sacrificing animals and getting drunk after the flood, which was against the heavenly will of God.
God said He considered Abraham to be righteous because of his faith, but as we read about last week, and as we will discuss in more detail today, Abraham also fell into the corrupt ways of this world.
God said that David was a man after His own heart, because he repented when he did something wrong, but he was still an adulterer and a murderer, which we know is against the heavenly will of God.
This is why we believe that Paul told the Roman people in Romans 3:23…
23. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
However true this may be, it is no excuse for us to do anything counter to
the heavenly will of God, for as Jesus commanded us in Matthew 5:48, we are
to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect.
Righteous people should do everything they can to avoid being corrupted by the ungodly ways of this world.
Let’s take a look at Genesis 18:11-33, and see if we can spot any righteous people corrupted by the ways of the world…
11. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing.
We are picking up this passage where we left off last week, when Abraham was talking to the three men, one of whom was a theophany of the Lord, about Sarah having a baby in her old age.
12. And Sarah laughed to herself, saying, "After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?"
Sarah only sees the physical conditions, and not the spiritual fact that God
has the power to do anything.
This is the way the world thinks and Sarah, like Abraham, was corrupted by worldly doubt.
13. And the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I
indeed bear a child, when I am so old?'
14. "Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son."
We never know when the Lord will similarly engage with us, so we need to simply trust in the Lord and not doubt as Sarah did or as the world does.
15. Sarah denied it however, saying, "I did not laugh"; for she was afraid. And He said, "No, but you did laugh."
We can be worldly and lie and hide the truth, or we can tell the truth and follow the heavenly will of God.
16. Then the men rose up from there, and looked down toward Sodom; and
Abraham was walking with them to send them off.
17. And the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,
18. since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed?
19. "For I have chosen him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice; in order that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him."
We hope that all of us note the conditional nature of this great gift of
God; for the Lord left it to Abraham to command his children and household
to keep the way of God (His heavenly will).
Then the Lord tells us why He was looking upon Sodom…
20. And the LORD said, "The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.
These communities are living in the corrupt and evil ways of this world; they have rejected the heavenly will of God.
21. I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know."
The truth cannot be hidden from the Lord.
22. Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD.
Does this mean that only two of the men went toward Sodom, or was the Lord
with the three men?
We are not told, but like many things in the Bible we need to trust in the Lord.
And putting on his righteousness hat, Abraham questions the Lord’s plans, which is most likely why He informed him of His plans.
23. And Abraham came near and said, "Wilt Thou indeed sweep away the
righteous with the wicked?
24. "Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt Thou indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it?
25. "Far be it from Thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from Thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?"
The Lord taught Abraham about His righteous way, so this is why we believe that Abraham is now questioning the Lord, for what the Lord said bothers Abraham, for to him is sounds like the Lord is being unrighteous, and thus Abraham feels compelled to find out what the Lord really means.
26. So the LORD said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city,
then I will spare the whole place on their account."
27. And Abraham answered and said, "Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes.
28. Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, wilt Thou destroy the whole city because of five?" And He said, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there."
Abraham is still not satisfied…
29. And he spoke to Him yet again and said, "Suppose forty are found there?"
And He said, "I will not do it on account of the forty."
30. Then he said, "Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?"
And He said, "I will not do it if I find thirty there."
31. And he said, "Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the twenty."
32. Then he said, "Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it on account of the ten."
33. And as soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the LORD departed; and Abraham returned to his place.
The Lord now knew that Abraham’s righteousness would extend to every other
living being in the world, for those living in Sodom were not Jews, yet
Abraham cared for their welfare as well as that of Lot and his family who
moved to that location.
This also seems to indicate that Abraham also may have understood that even in Sodom and the corrupt places around it, there still could be some righteous people.
Let’s think about righteous people corrupted and righteous people who are not corrupted as we look at Psalm 138:1-8…
1. I will give Thee thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to Thee before the gods.
People corrupted by the ways of the world are really making gods of their
evil acts for they care more about them than they do about God.
Thus, these are the words of a righteous person who is not corrupted by the ways of the world, but is a witness before them of who we are to live in the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven.
2. I will bow down toward Thy holy temple,
And give thanks to Thy name for Thy loving kindness and Thy truth;
For Thou hast magnified Thy word according to all Thy name.
Righteous people who are not corrupted by the ways of the world realize that God’s Holy Spirit is always with them, so their praise and worship is part of their nature and produces an almost constant stream of praise and thanksgiving, whether or not they are in their churches or temples.
3. On the day I called Thou didst answer me;
Thou didst make me bold with strength in my soul.
Righteous people should feel the constant presence of God within them who strengthens them.
4. All the kings of the earth will give thanks to Thee, O LORD,
When they have heard the words of Thy mouth.
This is a wonderful thought to have, but unfortunately the vast majority of
our world leaders may hear the words of righteousness and immediately reject
them, and continue to live in the corrupt ways of the world.
An example of this is that the majority of people want tighter background checks on potential gun purchasers, and want a ban on assault weapons, but most elected officials have sold their souls to the powerful gun lobby and block every motion to improve the present situation.
5. And they will sing of the ways of the LORD.
For great is the glory of the LORD.
We hope and pray that one day soon this will be the case.
6. For though the LORD is exalted,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the haughty He knows from afar.
This is true and should put the fear of God in the heart and soul of everyone who lives by the corrupted ways of this world.
7. Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
Thou wilt revive me;
Thou wilt stretch forth Thy hand against the wrath of my enemies,
And Thy right hand will save me.
This is the feeling that all righteous people have, and they know that even if they die, they will be in heaven; and thus have no fear.
8. The LORD will accomplish what concerns me;
Thy loving kindness, O LORD, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Thy hands.
God is always faithful.
Righteous people should never allow themselves to be corrupted by the ways of the world.
We need to stand firm against the righteous people corrupted by the ways of the world, as well as the evilness of the world.
Righteous people need to hold fast to the heavenly will of God.
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