Monday, September 18

Genesis 18:20-33 (ESV)

20 Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether[a] according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

Abraham Intercedes for Sodom

22 So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26 And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

27 Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29 Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” 30 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” 31 He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” 32 Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” 33 And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.


Reflection

Abraham gets pretty gutsy with God in today’s reading from Genesis. Not only does he question the Lord's intentions, he challenges the Lord to ponder his values of justice. This passage is often referred to as the first prayer of intercession that we find in the Bible.

I don't know about you, but I would like to be a bit more like Abraham in the way I talk to God and in the way I talk to people who do not seek justice for every person. Surely God would spare us all even though there are wicked people among us, right?

This passage and the verses before it (Genesis 18:17-19) remind us how important it is for us to pray for and to teach others to pray for our lost and hurting world. Look around you. Turn on the news for just a moment. Scroll through your Facebook feed. God’s people are hurting and things are not improving.

It is up to us who are righteous to pray for those who are hurting and lost. We should not wish that they would fall further away, or that they would be left behind. Rather, we should be praying that our Lord would save them as Abraham asked Him to save the people of Sodom.

It is my hope that we can all find a way to stand up for our friends that we love with the God that we love. Let us also stand up with our God for those we do not know for the sake of each of our souls.


Prayer

Dear Lord, have mercy on us all. We pray for those who are hurting and lost in this world. Bring us near to you, and comfort us as we find our way back. Help us to pray for our fellow

brothers and sisters. In Jesus' name, Amen.

 

Written by Sam Neahring Director of Children and Family Ministries sneahring@stjohns-springfield.org