Abraham Intercedes -from the Mission of God Study Bible
Today, I am continuing my series of posts related to The Mission of God Study Bible. One person I asked to contribute to the project was my friend and publisher Dr. Andrea Mullins. She is the publisher at New Hope Publishers and recently helped me on the journey to revise my book Compelled.
Andrea was kind enough to contribute an essay anchored in Genesis 18 about how God’s mission is expressed in the Old Testament life of Abraham. I trust that you will enjoy the essay and hope it positive challenge for you.
When the Lord appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre, He came with serious news. He was on His way to bring judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah (Gn 18:20-21). The Lord knew He would find moral degradation when He arrived in these cities, but His foremost desire was for their redemption. The people there had urgent need for someone to intercede. The Lord had covenanted with Abraham that Abraham would keep to the Lord’s way by doing what was right and just (vv. 18-19), and now He came looking to Abraham to share His burden for the sinful condition of Sodom and Gomorrah. Only as Abraham and his descendents fulfilled their roles as intercessors would the nations of the world be blessed. The Lord’s visit posed an unspoken question for Abraham: Will you intercede?
The condition of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Lord’s plan must have been hard for Abraham to absorb, but the Lord waited while “Abraham remained standing” before Him (v. 22). Abraham surely remembered his nephew Lot as He listened to God’s plans, and recalled the times he had been reminded of God’s covenant to make him a blessing to the nations. The Lord gave him time to decide his answer to the unspoken question: Will you intercede?
Abraham, the father of many nations, stepped forward, setting the example for generations to come. He asked for something that might have seemed impossible to anyone but Abraham. He asked God to extend to Lot and other righteous citizens in the cities the same grace that had been shown to him. The next morning Abraham looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah (19:27). No doubt he grieved to see smoke rising from the plain! Had the Lord chosen not to answer his prayers? In fact the Lord had remembered Abraham and rescued Lot (v. 29). The Lord is always ready to forgive and may choose to intervene without our intercession, but He is amazed and dismayed when His people fail to intercede (Is 59:15-16). The Lord’s unspoken question had been answered. Abraham had chosen to intercede on behalf of others.
Intercession demonstrates God’s compassion, righteousness, and justice. When we pray, He listens. When we give, He multiplies. When we serve Him as missions volunteers, business leaders, homemakers, teachers, or students, He empowers us to transform lives. Intercession is making Christ known. The covenant between the Lord and Abraham was an everlasting covenant that reaches to us through Jesus Christ, and because of Him we are blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3).
We do not always know the people for whom we have been called to intercede. Even so, the Lord expects us to care about each person’s redemption. He is making His plans known and waits for us to be His intercessors. Will you intercede by praying, or giving, or teaching, or telling, or going? Every day God invites you to hear from Him and respond. Will you intercede?