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 called the father of nations in whom many are blessed was an awesome thing. The favor that came with the calling was coveted but what it would require of Abraham was not clear when the blessing was conferred. He didn’t know that, among other things, he would become a mediator for the righteous who lived in Sodom. It is a heavy burden at times.
On the other side of the cross, we all became mediators. Jesus, the High Priest, made us a kingdom of priests, a spiritual family who intercedes for others just as He intercedes for us in heaven. We carry others’ needs to Jesus and He carries our needs to His Father. Like Abraham, we cry out for the unrepentant, asking God to have mercy on them, to withhold deserved judgment. Can God’s mind be changed? Apparently, yes. Scriptures tell many stories where God’s hand was about to strike, to inflict punishment because of sin and rebellion, but He ended up withholding it because of one man’s intercession. The mediators knew their crucial role. They understood that they stood between the sinner and God to plead their case.
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.”
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, staving off catastrophic consequences while the call for repentance can be heard.
Help me consider the weight of my intercessory role today. Amen