Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Abraham continued...
Abraham could have also bypassed God and gone directly to the people of Sodom, telling them to flee, and telling them judgment was coming. It is one thing when God tells you to go and warn a city or a nation, it’s quite another to take it upon yourself to do so.
Unless God gives you specific instruction to warn the people, the best course of action you can take is to bring your prayers of intercession before God. Pray for the nation you are in, pray for your neighbors, your family, your friends, long before you sermonize or try to evangelize them. It is God who stirs the heart to repentance, it is God who draws men unto Himself, and prayers on behalf of the lost are an essential link in the chain of an individual coming to Christ with true repentance of heart.
Because Abraham had a solid relationship with God, he also cared for his contemporaries and pleaded with God on their behalf. The love of God compels us to love our fellow man. The love of God compels us to intercede and come before Him not occasionally, or once in a while, but continually and with steadfastness.
Abraham could have given up after his first petition. He could have shrugged his shoulders after throwing out the number fifty in regards to Sodom, and said, ‘well, that’s that. I did my part. It was worth a try.’
Instead of giving up however, Abraham tried again, and again, lessening the number, hoping against hope that God would spare the city for the sake of the righteous dwelling therein.
From Abraham’s conversation with God, we can also infer that sometimes God spares a city laden with sin, due to the handful of righteous living therein.
Genesis 18:26, “And the Lord said, ‘If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sake.’”
For the sake of fifty righteous, God would have spared the entire place. Do you realize that the world is currently mocking, belittling, and defaming the very people due to whom the city they are in has not as yet been judged of God? Do you realize that for the sake of the righteous God is withholding His judgment for yet a little while longer?
When we possess the heart of God, we can’t help but weep on behalf of our people and our nation. Upon seeing Israel as it was, Jeremiah wept. Paul wept on behalf of his countrymen. Upon seeing Jerusalem as it was, Jesus wept. Upon seeing America as it is, we ought to likewise weep, petitioning God not for clemency, but for a little more time to reach the lost, to preach the gospel, and to lift high the name of Christ.
We cannot grow cold and callous; we cannot disengage, run to the hills, and never give those we have left behind a second thought, because our duty is not to be at ease in Zion but to be beacons of light that others might likewise find it.
This is not a game of musical chairs. We ought not to be content merely because we have found a seat at the table, but love must compel us to cry out, and to reach out, even when those we are trying to reach misconstrue our intentions and despise us for it.
If before God judged Sodom the citizenry thereof would have heard that a man named Abraham was praying for them and interceding on their behalf, they likely would have laughed and mocked as enthusiastically as those of our day do upon hearing that someone is praying for them.
We do not pray for the lost to get a thank you from them. We do not pray for the lost so they might appreciate us, or see how loving a Christian we really are. We pray for the lost because it is our duty, and the love of God burning in our hearts compels us.
Most of the time interceding on behalf of the lost is a thankless endeavor – one for which you will likely be mocked and ridiculed – but you do it nevertheless because it is your nature. You have been transformed, renewed, given a new heart, and your new heart beats for those who have not as yet come to know the love and mercy of Christ Jesus.
Romans 9:3-5, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen, according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.”
Paul’s singular, all-consuming desire was to see the salvation of his brethren, and his kinsmen…his fellow Israelites. Paul was not a man to mince words, and if he wrote that he could wish himself accursed from Christ for his brethren, it was not because he couldn’t find the right words, and it was not as though he meant something else. This was his heart, this was his motivation, and this was his passion.
Is your passion for the lost on par with Paul’s? If not, why not?
We must be motivated to go beyond our comfort level when attempting to reach the lost, not because of some earthly reward we might receive, but because of the eternal reward which is waiting for us. We attempt to reach the lost, not because at the end of the month we’ll have more commitment cards to show off than the church across the street, but because the love of Jesus compels us to be tireless in our trumpeting His love and mercy toward mankind.
May we labor while we can, doing all we can for the Kingdom.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.