Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Today’s faith principles are found in this story of Abraham’s life that involves some very special guests at his house.
Genesis 18: 22-25 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? 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? 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?”
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself has just appeared to Abraham and Sarah to confirm that in one year they will have a son. The two angels that accompanied Jesus have left to go down and visit the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to see the terrible sinfulness of the people living there. Jesus stays behind with Abraham, and we can learn some lessons from their conversation.
- Abraham’s faith relationship with God had grown to the point where he was able to ask God to explain His purpose. Abraham asked God to explain the relationship between choices, actions, and character. This is an important step in a growing faith in God – to humbly seek to know more about God’s character by asking questions about circumstances that don’t make sense. We want to know God intimately and deeply so we can begin to understand that what He does is always a product of His character. Abraham was not attempting to correct God, or manipulate Him into a self-centered outcome: he was genuinely seeking to understand the relationship between God’s justice and the treatment of the righteous and the wicked. It benefits us to seek the heart of God when we don’t understand His actions, so long as we do it with a humble and submissive heart.
- By faith, Abraham was a man of intercession on behalf of others. He had already rescued Lot once, and now was pleading with God to save him again. I wonder how consistent we are being in pleading to the Lord on behalf of the lost around us? We are surrounded by people, even in our own families, who are trapped in sin. They are headed for the proverbial precipice of destruction and they need an intervention of God to turn them away from certain judgment. The angels are ready to be sent, and God’s compassion is ready to be extended. All that is lacking is the intercessory prayers of God’s people on their behalf. God is certain to respond. Let us remain consistent and persistent in our prayers for the unsaved and for the saved who have fallen away.
- Faith understands that God’s mercy protects the righteous in judgment. The last statement we have from the Lord in this conversation is this – “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” Abraham was confident that there were ten righteous members of Lot’s family left, so the city would be spared from destruction. He was wrong. His sons-in-law rejected Lot’s request to leave the city. Would Lot now be destroyed in judgment with everyone else? No! In His mercy the Lord had the angels remove the righteous ones from the city before it was destroyed. God wants the righteous to live by their faith in Him, and not by any connection to the world, so He put Lot’s family to a test of their righteousness: don’t look back once you have left the city. Lot’s wife failed the test, and suffered the judgment of worldly attraction. Oh that we would be careful to live in the righteousness we claim, and to walk in the faith we profess.
May God use these thoughts to build us up in our faith, fill us with confidence in His saving power, and overwhelm us with compassion for the lost around us.