The Faithful Intercession of Abraham for Lot
Genesis 18:22-33 New International Version
22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 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? 25 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 all 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.” 27 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, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-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.” 30 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.” 31 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.” 33 When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
This passage reveals much about how intercession impacts the purposes and plans of God. It also shows us that prayer indeed changes things and is used by God to accomplish His purposes. When Abraham hears, that God is going to destroy Sodom, Abraham begins to think about his nephew Lot. Abraham is not aware of all that goes on in Sodom and is not aware of the depths of their sin. Abraham had most likely heard about the sin in Sodom because it was well known, but Abraham’s desire here is for the salvation of his nephew Lot.
Abraham begins by asking God a question. Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 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? The word righteous here in the Hebrew is ṣdyq and it means just; innocent, in the right; upright, devout . The word wicked in the Hebrew is rāšāʿ and it means guilty; wicked person . Abraham has been walking with the Lord. He has come to know the character of God. The God that Abraham serves is the true Living God. Abraham came out of a culture that was steeped in the worship of false gods or fallen angels. The character and nature of these demonic beings was far different than Yahweh. So, Abraham makes this appeal knowing that God will not sweep away the righteous with the wicked.
The city of Sodom was very wicked. The word sodomy comes from the practices that were taking place in Sodom. They were engaged in sexual practices that were against God and His word. The more the people of Sodom engaged in these practices the more they become demonically influenced and depraved as a city. Their actions drew the judgement and wrath of God. God always has an appointed time when He will judge and rightly deal with sin.
But without the faithful intercession of Abraham, Lot and his family may have been lost. There is a reason that God reveals this to Abraham. God knows the heart of Abraham and God knows when He reveals this to Abraham that Abraham will intercede. Abraham begins by asking if there are fifty righteous. This number begins to dwindle each time as Abraham asks God and God answers. We see here the boldness of Abraham in prayer. Abraham is not afraid to address God because of the relationship that has been established with Him. A major part of developing a deep and effective prayer life is our intimacy level with God. If we begin to walk with God daily and draw near to Him, it will impact the way we pray and how we approach God in prayer.
The number eventually dwindles all the way down to ten. Is the city of Sodom saved because of the prayers of Abraham? The answer is no. If we know our bibles, we know that the city of Sodom is consumed by the fire of God. But we see the effectiveness of the prayers of Abraham. Because of Abraham’s prayers two angels come into the city of Sodom to evaluate and determine the depths of their wickedness and sin. The men of the town surround the home of Lot because they desire to rape the two angels that have come into the town. The angels have manifested and presented themselves looking like mere men. But the angels intervene and blind those who surround the house. They warn Lot and his family to flee the town of Sodom.
Lot and his two daughters are saved because of the faithful intercession of Abraham. What this reveals to us is the power of prayer and especially faithful intercession for our loved ones. You may have people in your life that right now are living far from God and if they remain where they are, they will be destroyed by the wickedness they are either involved in or is trying to influence them. But God has laid it on your heart to pray for them. When God burdens our heart to pray that means God is desiring to move in a situation. Whether it is an individual life, a group of lives, or even a nation, as God’s people faithful pray without ceasing, the Lord is moving and accomplishing His purposes.
Ultimately the way we should pray over any situation is for the will of God to be done. For God to change hearts and open eyes to see and understand. From this account we see that number one prayer was needed to accomplish the purposes of God. It isn’t that God needs our prayers or needs us, but God chooses to use us, and this is how He has designed things on the earth. When God desires to move in anything concerning the earth, He will often move on the heart of someone who will respond in prayer and through their faithful intercession the Lord will accomplish His purposes. We won’t know the impact our prayers have had until we stand before the Lord someday and He reveals to us how the actions and decisions of our lives were used for the purposes of His kingdom.
I encourage you today to continue to pray for prodigals. Pray that they would return to the Lord and return to Him will their hearts and lives surrendered. Every time you pray the Lord is working. Every time you pray the power of God is being released. May we ask The Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in the place of prayer. To teach us how to pray. To strengthen us to continue in prayer until the purposes and plans of God’s kingdom are established. The saving of Lot and his two daughters was directly connected to the faithful intercession of Abraham.
Father thank you for the honor and privilege to pray. Father today I lift up to you my unsaved loved ones. Father I pray for prodigals that are in my life who once walked with you and have walked away. Father I pray that you would intervene. That you would open eyes and hearts to see and understand. Father help me to grow in my prayer life. Help me to remain faithful in the place of prayer. Father may all things be done according to your will, purpose, and plan in the name of Jesus, Amen!