Monday, July 18, 2016

Genesis 18:20-32 Abraham’s Intercession for Lot

KEY TEXT: Genesis 18:20-26 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." 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?”

KEY THOT: God will judge a city when its evil becomes too rampant and blatant. In the case of Sodom, one of its most grievous sins recorded was homosexuality (Gen. 19:4-5) (hence the English word sodomy). And because of this great evil, the Lord decided to destroy Sodom, together with its twin-city Gomorrah. But the Lord first confided with Abraham his intention b Joefore he executed the plan (Gen. 19:17-19).When Abraham remembered that his nephew Lot and his family were still living in Sodom, he interceded before the Lord on their behalf. His prayer was an appeal to God’s mercy: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (v.25). And he pleaded with God to spare the city for the sake of 50, 40, 30, 20 and finally down to 10 righteous persons. God agreed to spare the city if he could find 10 righteous ones. But apparently, there were only four: Lot, his wife and two daughters. His sons-in-law were too caught up in the lifestyle of the city to take his warning seriously: So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, "Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city." But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting (Genesis 19:14).

So, in fact, there were not 10 righteous people in Sodom and it was destroyed. But even though Lot’s wife and his two daughters left Sodom with him, Sodom did not leave them. Despite warning by the angels not to look back as they fled to the mountains, Lot’s wife did: But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). 

While intercession may bring divine intervention to deliver someone out of judgment, he or she would still have to make the decision to flee from the judgment. No one can do that for us. The angels were sent to Lot's home, yet Lot's sons-in-law refused to flee Sodom while his wife left reluctantly. As for Lot’s two daughters, despite having left Sodom, Sodom had not left them, as witnessed by their wicked plan: And the firstborn said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father." So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father (Gen. 19:31-33). 

God has delivered us as believers out of the world into the marvelous light of the kingdom of his beloved Son through our faith sealed by baptism. But it now remains for us to put the world out of us. No one can do that for us. We have to take personal responsibility to get the world out and put to death the deeds and desires of the flesh. 

Father, You have delivered us out of this world through our baptism into Christ. Now we ask You for Your grace to deliver the world out of us as we put to death the deeds and desires of the sinful flesh. Amen.

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