PLEADING THEIR CASE
I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. [About Sodom and Gomorrah] And if not, I will know.” Abraham still stood before the Lord. Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Genesis 18:21,23
To be the father of many nations in whom many will be blessed is surely a wonderful thing. Who wouldn’t want the favor that comes with the calling! But what it has required of Abraham has been far reaching. The responsibility of becoming a well-rounded leader will take him, over and over again, out of his comfort zone. He is about to become a mediator, like Jesus, for the righteous living in Sodom.
To be a spiritual leader means, among many other things, to live a life of prayer. It is to see another’s suffering and intercede. The Holy Spirit will enable me to know how to pray for others. Sometimes, I will sense that they need to be delivered altogether from pain. Other times, there will be prayers asking God to make the pain productive. And as in Abraham’s case, there will also be prayers for mercy, asking God to withhold deserved judgment. Can God’s mind be changed? Apparently yes. Scriptures proves that in many cases, God’s hand was about to strike and inflict punishment because of sin and rebellion but He ended up withholding it because of a righteous man’s intercession. A man or woman of God knew their place as a mediator. They stood between the sinner and God and pleaded their case. They repented for the sins of others and asked God to have mercy.
Prayers take on profound overtones when I realize that I can pray for my family, my church, and even my nation in this way. “Lord, stay your hand of judgment. Give us more time. There are more than ten righteous in our land. Purify us. Give us boldness so that we will draw the line of truth in the sand and bring others into the kingdom. Please don’t judge. Not yet.”
Is this subversive praying against the will of God? I don’t believe so. Psalm 106 recounts an act of mediation made by Moses. “They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt, and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. Therefore he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him, to turn away his wrath from destroying them.”
My prayers matter. Your prayers matter. Perhaps someone you love is about to enter a time of disciplinary action by God. Consider today that we are all priests, able to mediate on their behalf. We can be the catalyst to stay God’s hand, restore the breech, and prevent catastrophic consequences.
You set things up to need my prayers to intervene in the world. Help me see the weight of my intercessory role today. Amen