Prayer in the Face of Coming Judgment (Gen 18:16-33)

I.  The Lord revealed the coming judgment of Sodom 16-21

A.  The men set their faces towards Sodom, Abraham accompanied them 16

16 The men got up to leave. They looked down toward Sodom. Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way.

B.  Why the LORD revealed His plans to Abraham 17-19

1.  The Lord told Abraham because of the Covenant He’d made with him 17-18

 17 Then the LORD said, “Should I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?  18 He will certainly become a great and powerful nation. All nations on earth will be blessed because of him.

2.  The Lord told Abraham so that Abraham would train his people to live in righteousness and justice 19

19 “I have chosen him. He must direct his children. He must see that the members of his family after him live the way I want them to. So he must direct them to do what is right and fair. Then I, the LORD, will do for Abraham what I have promised him.”

C.  The Lord told Abraham of the impending judgment of Sodom 20-21

1.  The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah 20

 20 The LORD said, “The cries against Sodom and Gomorrah are very great.

2.  The investigation of God 21

21 Their sin is so bad that I will go down and see for myself. I want to see if what they have done is as bad as the cries that have reached me. If it is not, then I will know.”

The sins that the Bible tells us of Sodom are:

  • Encouragement of sexual violence, rape, and general depravity (Gen 19)
  • The open display and vaunting against God. Isaiah 3:9 The expression of their faces bears witness against them, And they display their sin like Sodom; They do not even conceal it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.
  • Adultery, deceitful living, encouragement of those who do evil, refusal to give up sin. Jeremiah 23:14 “Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; And they strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.
  • Arrogance, indifference to the needs of the poor and needy in her community, haughtiness (pride), and depravity. Ezekiel 16:49 “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. 50 “Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.”
  • The toleration of sexual decadence. Jude 1:7 …they in the same way as these(citizens of Sodom) indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”

II.  Abraham’s intercession for the city of Sodom. 22-33

A.  Abraham was left alone with the Lord 22

22 The men turned away. They went toward Sodom. But Abraham remained standing in front of the LORD.

B.  “Will the Lord sweep away the righteous along with the wicked?” No!   23

 23 Then Abraham came up to him. He said, “Will you sweep away godly people along with those who are evil?

C.  Abraham’s Scenarios 24-32

1.  What if there are 50 godly people found? 24-26

24 What if there are 50 godly people in the city? Will you really sweep it away? Won’t you spare the place because of the 50 godly people in it? 25 “You would never kill godly people along with those who are evil, would you? You wouldn’t treat godly and evil people alike. You would never do anything like that! Won’t the Judge of the whole earth do what is right?”  26 The LORD said, “If I find 50 godly people in the city of Sodom, I will save it. I will spare the whole place because of them.”

2.  What if there are 45 godly people found? 27-28

27 Then Abraham spoke up again. He said, “I have been very bold to speak to the Lord. After all, I’m only dust and ashes.  28 What if the number of godly people is five less than 50? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?” “If I find 45 there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

3.  What if there are 40 godly people found? 29

 29 Once again Abraham spoke to him. He asked, “What if only 40 are found there?” He said, “If there are 40, I will not do it.”

4.  What if there are 30 godly people found? 30

 30 Then Abraham said, “Lord, don’t let your anger burn against me. Let me speak. What if only 30 can be found there?” He answered, “If there are 30, I will not do it.”

5.  What if there are 20 godly people found? 31

 31 Abraham said, “I have been very bold to speak to the Lord. What if only 20 are found there?” He said, “If there are 20, I will not destroy it.”

6.  What if there are 10 godly people found? 32

32 Then he said, “Lord, don’t let your anger burn against me. Let me speak just one more time. What if only ten are found there?” He answered, “If there are ten, I will not destroy it.”

III.  The Lord departed, and Abram returned to his home 33

33 When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left. And Abraham returned home.

Conclusion:  Prayer in the Face of Coming Judgment

Acts 17:31 …(God) has set a day when he will judge the world fairly. He has appointed a man to be its judge. God has proved this to all people by raising that man from the dead.”

We must build a close friendship with God.

Restated: Abraham had become a friend of God.  Before you can plead that others would be spared God’s judgment, you should be sure that you have been spared.

We must appreciate the wickedness of sin.

Restated: Abraham agreed that the people of Sodom were wicked, and outnumbered those who were righteous and godly.  You should understand WHY God judges sin before you begin to ask Him NOT to judge sin.

We must trust that God is righteous, and so will always do right.

Restated: Abraham did not argue for God to be unfair, or to not punish sin, but trusted that God would do the exact right thing—always, and all the time.  We must trust that everything God is does is an expression of His perfect righteousness.

We must pray that more would become righteous in the eyes of God.

Restated:  Abraham prayed with the hope that God would find many righteous people in Sodom.  If being righteous in the eyes of God is the only thing that can save a person—pray that more people will become righteous!

The Big Point:  The righteousness that saves is the righteousness that is granted to all who simply trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation!  Pray and live to the end that more people would escape judgment through gaining the righteousness of Christ!

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