“And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” Genesis 18:23
The Lord makes a purposeful yet kind visit to Abraham, just a few days after Abraham’s obedience in the law of circumcision.
The purposes of God’s visit;
1. God's love concerning Sarah - Genesis 18:9-15
2. God's wrath concerning Sodom – Genesis 18:16-22
3. The discovery God made to Abraham of his design to destroy Sodom - Genesis 18:16-22
4. The intercession Abraham made for his family members living in Sodom – Genesis 18:23-32
Imagine being visited by God and two angels! As Abraham ministers to them, God again promises him an heir, and this time sets a date. “And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.” Genesis 18:10
a. God has an appointed time for all matters concerning our lives – “At the time appointed I will return unto thee” Verse 14
Sarah overhears His promise and laughs in disbelief. God rebukes Abraham for his wife’s unbelief. Sarah then denies that she laughed. Genesis 18:9-15
b. God fulfills that which He promises in our lives - how often do we forfeit the blessing because we look at the facts rather than responding by faith?
“And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.” Chapter 18:9
As a woman, and as a wife, I found this verse of great interest; having a small amount of experience with Middle Easterners, it is totally out of character for the wife to be inside the house, whilst the husband serves visitors food, and attends to their needs. So unusual, that the angels enquired about her – that also, is surprising of strangers.
I can’t imagine being visited by someone obviously extraordinary; hiding in the bedroom behind a cracked door, and not being a part of my husband’s ministering to our visitors – but that’s precisely how Sarah behaved in this instance.
c. God commands us to be a helpmeet to our husband - we are to be supportive of our husbands in everything they do – we complete them in every aspect of their lives.
d. God commands us to have respect for our authority – our Preacher and godly leaders. We are to be respectful of our authority in every instance!
With respects to laughing when someone gives you a positive pregnancy reading; “You’re going to be a mother in your 90’s,” is perhaps an issue I can identify with. I would like to think I would believe in a promise from God, rather than the factual state of my child bearing years.
At 45-years of age, I learned of my own precious pregnancy and laughed hysterically. I laughed so hard, that I was doubled over holding my very sore stomach. The news was a total surprise! Although I was not a first-time mother, as Sarah was, there was a 20-year gap between my youngest daughter Alison, and our son Caleb.
I did poise the question; “But how?” That being obvious, I then said, “I can’t believe it---this is amazing---wow!” In this instance, unlike Sarah and Abraham, we were not praying for a baby – but our Pastor’s daughter WAS! Praise God, because our son has been the source of incredible joy, comfort, and blessings for us both. He really is a miracle son, and we believe he will be a great man of God!
Both Sarah and Abraham then hear God’s thrilling words. “Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Genesis 18: 14
The two angels depart to complete a secret mission to Sodom. God then reveals to Abraham His intention to destroy that wicked cesspool of sin on the desert sand. Chapter 18:16-22 Abraham then begins his remarkable plea for Sodom. This is one of the most compassionate and persistent prayers in the entire Bible. “And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:” Chapter 18:27 His prayer was definite, it was reverent, and it was mixed with faith. At first, he asks God to spare the city if 50-righteous could be found? God agrees! Then, the request is for 45-righteous; then 40, 30, 20, and finally 10. Here Abraham stops. Why didn’t he go down to 5? Most likely he thought there would be at least 10-saved---there were, after all, Lot, Lot’s wife, 2-unmarried daughters, the married daughters and their husbands – totaling more than 10.
But Abraham was to be heart-broken; it would appear that only Lot and his two unmarried daughters were saved. We will cover this in Genesis 19.
I have read some of D.L Moody’s thoughts on Intercessory Prayer, and in this particular instance, I had Goosebumps up and down my arms. God is awesome!
“Nothing is more pleasing to our Father in heaven than direct, importunate, and persevering prayer. Two Christian ladies, whose husbands were unconverted, feeling their great danger, agreed to spend one hour each day in united prayer for their salvation. This was continued for seven years, when they debated whether they should pray longer, so useless did their prayers appear. They decided to persevere till death, and, if their husbands went to destruction, it should be laden with prayers. In renewed strength, they prayed three years longer, when one of them was awakened in the night by her husband, who was in great distress for sin. As soon as the day dawned, she hastened, with joy, to tell her praying companion that God was about to answer their prayers. What was her surprise to meet her friend coming to her on the same errand! Thus ten years of united and persevering prayer was crowned with the conversion of both husbands on the same day. We cannot be too frequent in our requests; God will not weary of His children’s prayers. Sir Walter Raleigh asked a favor of Queen Elizabeth, to which she replied, “Raleigh, when will you leave off begging?” “When your Majesty leaves off giving,” he replied. So long must we continue praying.”
“…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:17b
As believers, prayer is the voice of our life. As a man lives – so he prays! To pray well I must live well. He, who seeks to live with God, will learn to know His mind and to please Him - and he will be able to pray according to His will.
As we give ourselves to walk with God, we shall learn to pray; I have personally seen the results of intercessory prayer multiple times over however, on this particular occasion, this experience is so close to my heart, and affected me far greater than I had previously experienced , and I am yet to have such a time as this. As I intercess for others, I do anticipate that my prayers will be answered in God’s perfect timing.
It was February 2, 2003; the Lord’s Supper, and my heart felt deeply pressed for the salvation of my 19-year old daughter Alison. This was not your ordinary Sunday; having prayed daily for at least a period of four years, I desperately wanted her to know Christ. I can’t remember the preaching that day, but I will never forget the presence of the Holy Ghost burning in my heart like never before.
As I meditated on the cross, my eyes were flooded with tears. The crying was endless, and as the tears rolled down my face like waters through a gully, they pooled onto my lap and made it impossible to conceal my sorrow.
The service ended, and our preacher’s wife approached me; “Deborah – are you OK? Can I sit with you?” I looked up, and with swollen eyes I said, “I want God to have mercy and save my baby.” At that point, I had no doubt in the mercy of God, but I was pleading (intercession) on my daughter’s behalf. We bowed our heads and prayed. Before we had finished, we were both wiping many tears away, and having a sense of the unspoken and supernatural, I left church that day anticipating that we had gotten a hold of God, and He was preparing the path for my daughter’s salvation.
The very next day, my daughter asked if she could meet up with me in the afternoon. When she arrived, we had very few words before she broke down and sobbed uncontrollably – "the comforter had come!” Just reliving this experience is enough to moisten my eyes---this was a tender moment, and one that has left an indelible mark on my heart. The inner chamber is the place where this has to be learned!
God WAS working on her heart – all the way through my 4+ years of praying DAILY. I never gave up hope, and never ceased to lift her up to the Lord. Monday, February 3, 2003, Alison trusted Christ!
But I cannot say I have continued with such vigor. My prayer life has been refreshed and renewed after studying the plea of Abraham for God to spare Sodom---if He found 10-righteous men.
Are you using intercessory prayer for your loved ones? Have you been praying for a long time, and perhaps weeks and months have lapsed, and the Lord has not heard their name from your lips. Picture them hanging over a cliff with their face toward hell! That ought to be enough to spur you on in your prayer life – it does me!
Your burden may be different; leanness for 7-years is a long time isn’t it? Have you given up asking and believing God will continue to provide supernaturally? Do you pray for the affliction of an addicted love one? Is the rope of worldly enticement wrapped around the neck of a rebellious child? Don’t give up! We all need someone to believe in us, and a prayer-warrior who will continue to pray on their behalf – don’t give up! Satan loves complacency, and he studies our prayer life (or lack thereof).
The sayings of the world are opposite to what God says; “When I see it, I’ll believe it.” To practice Christianity, you’re going to have to believe it before you see it! There are some of us that are trying to believe something for our present life; we have situations in our life where we have been asking God for something, for something that we have not seen; direction, deliverance, for others – He’ll ask us at times to act upon our belief before we see it. God is pleased when people believe before they see – that’s vision!
Faith believes before you see it. He was alive, He died, He rose from the dead, and He is our Creator!
I Love You,