Hope for the Lost: The Plan and the Intercession
Part 3 of 4.
a. God’s chosen. After the meal, the three visitors head toward Sodom and Abraham accompanies them to set them on their way. The LORD asks the question if he should hide what he is about to do or should he tell him since Abraham will become a great and mighty nation and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? Then comes a key phrase, “for I have chosen him”. Literally, it means “I have known him.” God put his love and his grace on Abraham, why? So that he may command his family to keep the way of the Lord and that the Lord might bring to Abraham what was promised. That is why God chose to know Abraham, to befriend him. It is probably from this phrase “I have known him” that the idea that Abraham was a friend of God came from. 2 Chronicles 20:7, Isaiah 41:8, and James 2:23 all mention that Abraham was the friend of God. God, by his grace alone, chose Abraham to be his friend to reveal his plan. Once again in Genesis, we see clearly the doctrine of election. God chose Abraham from all those on the earth. God chose Abraham from amongst all the descendants of Seth, Noah, and Shem. God chose him to bless the nations by teaching his family about God and that the promised seed and the promised land might come to God’s people through him. Abraham was chosen to be the father of all those who believe in Christ by faith. All this was chosen for Abraham.
b. Abraham intercedes. The visitation of the Lord, the choosing of him as a friend, and the revelation of his plan all lead to Abraham responding to God in intercession. The election of God always causes a response in people. Remember that God has already told Abraham that he is to be a blessing and to bless the nations. God has created this situation for Abraham to walk in. And so God tells Abraham that he is prepared to destroy the people because of their great sin. Abraham then begins to plead for the people, not because Abraham believes he is more merciful than God but because he knows God’s infinite mercy. Abraham says, “far be it from you to do such a thing.” “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” He is asking for God to be merciful and just because Abraham knows God is merciful and just. He is asking for what God has already revealed to him. For the sake of 10 righteous people, God would not destroy the cities.
c. The nature of prayer. In this prayer of Abraham, we see the nature of real prayer. Charles Spurgeon once said, “there must be holy desires, or else prayer will be a failure. And those desires must be founded on a promise. If you cannot find that God has promised a blessing, you have no right to ask for it and no reason to expect it. There is no use in asking money of a banker without a check—at the counter, they do not know you—they do know the promise to pay from a check and if you present that, you will get the amount. You must bring God’s own promises to the Mercy Seat, which is the counter of the Divine bank, and you will obtain what you need, but only in that way. Observe, then, that faith is the bow and strong desire fits to the string the arrow which is to be sent upward. No arrow may be shot towards Heaven but that which came down from Heaven. Christians take their arrows from God’s quiver and when they shoot them they shoot them with this on their lips, “Do as You have said. Remember Your Word unto Your servant upon which You have caused me to hope.” So the successful prayer is the desire of a holy heart, sanctioned by the promise. True prayers are like those carrier pigeons which find their way so well—they cannot fail to go to Heaven, for it is from Heaven that they came—they are only going home!”