Why did God visit Abraham on his way to Sodom and Gomorrah? He said that he would go down and see if things were as wicked as it seemed in Sodom. But the God of heaven and earth has no need to “go down and see” in order to know the state of Sodom or any city.
On his way to Sodom, God stopped by the home of Abraham. Abraham looked up and three men stood near his tent in the heat of the day. According to the customs of his day, Abraham was quick to offer gracious hospitality for the men. They accepted his offer of a restful meal.
During the after-dinner talk, Abraham realized that he was not entertaining normal visitors. In some mysterious way, God’s very presence had come to call. And God decided to share his mission with Abraham. He was apparently on a fact-finding trip that would determine the fate of a city and its citizens.
Abraham could have kept quiet and let the Lord go on. After all, what business was it of his? So long as God did not bother Abraham and his household, what good would it do to get involved anyway? God knows what he is doing. Let him go to it.
Or Abraham could have offered his opinion. After all, he lived just a few miles away from the city. He could have told God that what he heard about Sodom was right. It definitely was a desperately wicked city. Abraham could have told God that he would not blame him for sweeping the place away in judgment.
But what Abraham did was simply astounding. He appealed to God for mercy. He asked that God spare the wicked citizens of Sodom. God agreed with Abraham that if just ten righteous people could be found in the city then he would spare everyone. Abraham interceded with God for a corrupt, violent, and immoral people.
True, Abraham’s nephew, Lot, lived in the city. His intercession could have been for selfish reasons. But he did not ask God to save only his kinfolk. He pleaded for God to show mercy on the entire population of Sodom. Abraham appealed to God for undeserved favor.
Abraham’s example of intercession with God is timely for us. By almost every measure imaginable the cities around us are declining rapidly. The most important measure, of course, is spiritual. And the spiritual condition of America is deplorable. We are driving hard and fast toward a truly desperate situation.
We could easily feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem and choose to simply protect our own. We could rightly be angry about the horrible circumstances and just agree that God should wipe out the wicked. But Abraham, the man of faith, offers us a better response: we should intercede with God for America, appealing for his great grace.
America needs godly people to cry out to the Lord for mercy. God our Savior is gracious. He told Abraham that for just ten righteous people he would spare the desperately sinful city of Sodom. Unfortunately for Sodom, not even ten righteous people were left in the place.
We must cry out to God for his grace and mercy before the righteous dwindle away to nothing and it is too late for our communities and neighborhoods. The Lord has promised that when his people, those called by his name, humble themselves and pray, that he will hear and forgive and heal the land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
May we be found faithful,