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Genesis 18:20-33 (NIV)
20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 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.” 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.
Sunday, we learned about the importance of interceding for others in prayer. For the next three days, we will look at some important examples of this in Scripture. We begin early in the Bible, with the judgment on Sodom. This was a city which had such great wickedness that an “outcry” had gone out to God from all the victims of the city’s violence. Before God even says what he will do, Abraham begins to plead with God for the city. He makes a key prayer move that often happens in Scripture: Abraham reminds God of God’s own character. God is just, and it wouldn’t be fair for God to destroy the good people of Sodom along with the wicked. Abraham’s example teaches us to pray for God to be merciful to sinners for a similar reason: it wouldn’t be just to punish sinners when God’s punishment has already been placed on Christ. In this way, Christ’s intercession for us on the cross leads us to intercedes for our fellow sinners in prayer.