Scriptures and Stats

 

 

Select only ONE of the two choices below.
Choice 1:
Genesis 18: 20-33
(18) Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their
sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the
outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
(22) The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing
before the Lord. Then Abraham approached Him and said “Will you sweep away the
righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you
really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in
it? Far be it from you to do such a thing-to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the
righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of the earth do
right?”
(26) The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the
whole place for their sake.” Then Abraham spoke up again “Now that I have been so
bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the
number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because
of five people?” “If I find fifty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
(29) Once again he spoke to him, ” What if only forty are found there?” He said, “For the
sake of forty, I will not do it.” Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me
speak. What if only thirty can be found there?” He answered, “I will not do it if I find
thirty there.” Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what
if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
(32) Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if
only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned
home.
From the account in Genesis 18:20-33, we see Abraham pleading with God for the sake
of the righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah. Beginning in verse 20, the Lord says
“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I
will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached
me. If not, I will know.”
1
Knowing that God is aware of all of the sin, Abraham begins by asking God “Will you
sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” You will note that Abraham begins with
pleading for the sake of 50 righteous people, then works his way down to just 10. The
Lord concludes in verse 33 by saying that “For the sake of the ten, I will not destroy it.”
As in Genesis 18: 20-33, we may want to know information from a large group of people, but
ultimately conclude that there was no way to find out what we need. If we know the parameters
of sampling, this statistical approach can provide relatively reliable information. Has there been
a situation in which, had you known how to accurately use this ‘sampling’ technique, you could
have made a more informed decision? Share how you could apply the truth of this scriptural
passage in your everyday life.
Choice 2:
Revelation 3:14-22
(14) “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen,
the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are
neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are
lukewarm-neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(17) You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not
realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from
me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you
can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
(19) Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. There I am!
I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come
in and eat with him and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit
with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.”
In statistics, we organize data, draw visual summaries, rank data, and generally calculate
measures of central tendency. When we speak about measures of central tendency, we most
often address the mean or arithmetic average as one way to help us understand the data.
Averages are used frequently, and for many people, they compare themselves against the
average; this is especially true in education.
In Revelation 3:14-22, it is clear that Jesus directed John to admonish the Laodicean church for
being lukewarm (average). Although the stakes for being lukewarm were considerable (eternal
rejection), we can learn from this admonition and determine to not be ‘average’ in God.
How could you encourage someone to not be “average” in their faith?