PERSIST IN PRAYER23 Abraham came near and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You 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 You 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 You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” (Genesis 18:23-25)
The first ever intercessory prayer was made by a man who was standing right next to Jesus when he brought his requests to the Lord! The pre-incarnate Yahweh had come down from Heaven on one of his many recorded appearances in Scripture on a mission. He had visited Abraham on the plains of Mamre to prophesy to Sarah and Abraham that they were going to have a son/heir and then had planned to move on to Sodom and Gomorrah to take care of some really pressing business.
Sodom and Gomorrah were like modern day western civilization: rich, powerful, prideful and full of moral degenerates. They became a walking testimony of what happens to a people who exemplifies the Total Depravity of Man, as described in Romans 1:18-32 (click to read). Here is how God Himself described Sodom in Ezekiel 16:48 "As I live," declares the Lord GOD, "Sodom, your sister and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49"Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. 50"Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it."
The pride and the idolatry and the perverted, unnatural sexual abominations and worse....they all rose up in a massive stink to Heavens. Sodom was destroyed in less than a day by fire and brimstone and the same Judgment await modern corrupt man. The Lord is gracious, merciful and compassion and the only thing restraining His Hand is His Grace, Mercy and Long-suffering and hope that not many perish.
Abraham saw this coming as he stood side by side with Jesus overlooking the soon-to-be destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. His nephew Lot and Lot's wife and two daughters lived there. How Abraham prayed is an example of our intercessory prayers for our villages, cities, states and nations. Abraham knew the corruption and sexual perversion of Sodom. He didn't even try to pretend there were many righteous people there. He started with asking the Lord to not destroy the city if there were 50 righteous people, then 45-40-30-10. In the end, God only rescued four people - the Lot family and one was quickly taken out for looking back and longing for the past - Lot's wife. But look at the words, in part, that Lot uses while interceding and standing in the Gap for a paradigm of past and future judgment which we do not comprehend.
- Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? (verse 23)....here we pray for the last, following his example as well for our Christian brethren to stand strong in persecution.
- Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked.... (verse 24).....here we continually and persistently prevail for God to stay His pending doom on our civilization so just, oh just a few more can be saved and brought to a knowledge of Christ. We know it is bad, but God is Good.
- And Abraham replied, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes...(verse 27)....it should dawn on us just to Whom we are speaking and making seemingly outlandish requests. Pray in humility but also let us pray in gratitude that the Creator and Judge of all the Earth is even speaking with, and listening to us! This is an amazing fact, truth and blessing!
- Read the rest of Genesis 18 up to verse 33 and see how Abraham just bargains and bargains and then read and see Jesus just be patient and kind and just as gracious as He can be.
The Lord is patient with us the same way. Abraham sought mercy from the eventual divine destruction of a demonic destiny - Sodom. We know what the end of all things will be from the prophets and the Book of Revelation. However our calling, as Christians, the people of God, is to pray with the same passion for the lost, the hurting, the prideful and misguided. Our position in Christ, while interceding in prayer is to be like Abraham in this prayer, just like Moses was when God wanted to destroy Israel during the Exodus for dancing around that golden calf that Aaron made. We are to be persistent in prayer, believing the attributes and accuracy of the Sovereign God He is and to do so in humility.
In the end, the end will come, but not before our prayers reach Heaven alongside the foul odor of sin. In that way, God will save, whom He will rescue, just as He rescued Lot and his family.