The angels of the Lord are off to visit His wrath upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham bargains for the lives of the righteous living there. He asks the Lord for compassion on the whole for the sake of the few.
I don’t know about you, but I have tried to make some “bargains” with God in my life. “I will never again do _____ if You will do _____.” Or “I will forever do ____ if You will do ____.” I honestly don’t know how well He listens to these kinds of pleas. He knows the truth behind them. We are trying to get out of a sticky situation. Most often this kind of promise isn’t kept once His part is fulfilled. And I’m CERTAIN He knows that going into the deal. But He loves us enough to listen anyway.
Abraham had a different kind of “deal” he wanted to strike with God. His “bargain” wasn’t for himself but those of Sodom. I don’t know if he had personally heard about the behaviors going on in that city but we know that God had. God had had enough of it and it was time to put a stop to it. Left unchecked, sin WILL spread. If you don’t believe me, look at our society today. What was once known to be sin is not accepted as “an alternative lifestyle” or simply accepted as part of the norm. I shudder to think where our society would be today if God didn’t periodically step in and put a stop to our behaviors.
But Abraham didn’t want the righteous swept away with the wicked just because of where their homes were located. So he interceded for them. He demonstrated compassion and put his own life at risk to do so.
Abraham knew he was approaching the Lord from a place of weakness. He didn’t have the authority to order the Lord to change His plans. He honestly didn’t even have the right to ask Him to, but for the sake of the righteous he would do it anyway. His appeal was for justice for all. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” ( verse 25b). Would it be “just” for the righteous to pay with their lives for the sins of the wicked? No, it would not. So the Lord agreed to spare the wicked instead for the sake of the just. God knew the hearts of everyone in that city. He knew who the “righteous” were and how many of them there were.
Once the Lord had agreed once to Abraham’s pleas, he kept going. From 50 to 45 to 40 to 30 to 20 and finally to 10. Looking for just 10 righteous men in that whole city. Abraham’s courage could only take him so far. He stopped at ten and would plead no longer. I have a feeling he believed there were at least ten righteous men in that city. But he also knew their sin was great and that even that number was pushing the envelope. That’s why he went so low with his numbers.
If I were in Abraham’s place I would have been cringing each time I asked Him to lower His limits. I think Abraham was too but for the sake of the people he put his disregarded his own safety aside
. Is this because he had just heard the Lord speak of him being an influence over all the nations of the earth? Did he feel embolden by the fact that the Lord said He had chosen him? I can’t imagine the courage he summoned up for that conversation but I can imagine his compassion. He didn’t want to see anyone being hurt, especially when they were innocent of the charges. And the Lord listened to his heart.
We are told now to come boldly before the throne of God’s grace to make our petitions. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice we have something Abraham sever dreamed of. We have an advocate who pleads our case for us to the Father. I guess Abraham was acting as the advocate for Sodom’s people. They certainly didn’t deserve his interceding on their behalf any more than we deserve Jesus’ intercession. But He does it anyway.
Father God, thank You that You do listen to the cry of my heart too. I wish my pleas were as altruistic as Abraham’s. Was he asking because of Lot or did he have other people in mind? Thank You that You listened even though You knew the true count was WAY below his request.
Thank You Lord Jesus for being representing my intercessions with God. Even though You invite me to come with boldness I will still come in humility. Thank You that You listen to my heart.