Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Abraham
Ever since I could remember, I’ve always thought of Abraham as the first intercessor. If we study the word of God with diligence, we realize Abraham was the first man to stand in the gap for a people, the first to intercede on behalf of not one but two cities which had forsaken all that was moral and decent, and had given themselves over to the lusts of their flesh.
It was not for the sake of the reprobate, and those who practiced their grievous sin unhindered that Abraham interceded; it was for the righteous within the city that he pleaded time and again.
God informed Abraham as to what was about to happen to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. As God often does, He forewarns and foreshadows that which He is soon to do, informing His beloved well ahead of time concerning what is to come. As we will soon see, the notion of God revealing future events is not something new, but has been around since the beginning of recorded history, when He revealed to Noah that He would punish the world and the sin therein by flood.
God does not hide what He is doing from His children. The only ones who ought to be ignorant of God’s plans are those who do not know God, and have no relationship with Him. Tragically however, more and more believers today are ignorant of what God has planned, because their rational mind refuses to believe that God still communicates with His children on such an intimate level.
The angels of the Lord had appeared to Abraham by the terebinth trees of Mamre, and they were three in number. Abraham treated them kindly, taking butter and milk and a calf which he prepared, and setting it before them, and they ate.
After telling Sarah she would have a child even though she had passed the age of child bearing, the men rose from there, looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on their way.
Genesis 18:17-19, “And the Lord said, ‘shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
What an honor it is for God to say, ‘I have known him’ of a man. God didn’t pick Abraham randomly, He didn’t just close his eyes and point to someone roaming about the earth, He knew Abraham, knew that he kept the way of the Lord, and that he did righteousness and justice.
God knew the character of Abraham, long before He communed with him, and sent His messengers to him.
Because God knew Abraham, He knew he could not keep His plans from him.
Genesis 18:20-21, “And the Lord said, ‘because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”
It’s almost as though God couldn’t quite believe what He was hearing concerning Sodom and Gomorrah. Although the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah was great, the Lord had decided to go down and see whether or not the citizenry of these two cities had done altogether according to the outcry against them, or if there had been some exaggeration along the way.
God classified the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah, and the sin they were accused of committing as very grievous. Since the word grievous means serious, dire, heinous or severe, we understand that these were no run-of-the-mill, ordinary, every-day shortcomings, but something horrid enough wherein it warranted the Lord’s personal investigation.
What many choose to gloss over is that there was indeed an outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah, so there were still those who saw their sin for what it was and cried out to God.
We are living times very similar to those of Abraham and Lot. Sin has once more peaked, and since God has not changed, without true repentance there is no other conclusion, there is no other possible outcome, than the fate visited upon Sodom and Gomorrah.
If God however is yet allowing for a time of grace, if He is still allowing for a season wherein men can still repent, our duty is still to pray that the hearts of the lost might be reached, that the righteous might be protected, and that the glory of God be made manifest even in His judgment.
When it comes to interceding on behalf of others, and praying for others, Abraham’s example is a shining one, not only due to the love he showed toward the righteous, but also due to his persistence, repeated petitions, and continued pleadings even at the risk of wearying God.
The first obvious lesson we can glean from this exchange between the Lord and Abraham, is the implied relationship and intimacy.
In order for God to hear our prayers and answer them, there must be a relationship and a fellowship with Him. Abraham was God’s friend, and God could not keep hidden what He was about to do because of this.
Before Abraham came before the Lord to plead for the lives of those in Sodom, he was an obedient servant of God who kept the way of the Lord, and did righteousness and justice. Try as one might to say that righteousness and keeping the way of the Lord have no bearing on whether or not He answers our prayers, the word of God says otherwise.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.