Sunday School Lesson 3/27/22…

The intercession of Abraham for the people of Sodom (Genesis 18:16-33)

Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? — having in mind righteous Lot, who dwelt in Sodom, whom he knew to be a just man, Abraham was convinced there were righteous people in Sodom so he appealed for Sodom on the basis of God’s justice.

After the LORD revealed to Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom, and while the two angels were walking toward that city, Abraham’s great intercessory countdown began: fifty…forty-five…forty…thirty…twenty…ten.

The LORD would not have destroyed Sodom if ten righteous men could be found. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. (v. 32)

In the end, He did not destroy the righteous with the wicked. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. (Genesis 19:16)

Abraham’s prayer is a wonderful example of effectual intercession. It was based on the righteous character of the Judge of all the earth (v. 25) and evidenced that boldness, yet deep humility which only an intimate knowledge of God can give. Only when Abraham stopped pleading did the Lord close the matter and depart (v. 33). There are many mysteries in life for which the truth of verse 25 is the only satisfying answer.

MacDonald, William. 1989 Believer’s Bible Commentary. Nashville, TN Thomas Nelson.

With the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah imminent, God paused, yet again, to allow them another chance. This time Abraham would be a part of the forbearing process. Abraham appealed to God’s justice, by saying, Will you really sweep away the righteous with the wicked?

 Evans, Tony. 2019. The Tony Evans Study Bible. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible.

“Won’t the Judge of the whole earth do what is just?” Abraham bases his argument on the justice of God. And when a man dares to do that, it is mighty pleading, for, depend on it, God will never do an unjust thing. If we dare to plead his righteousness, his infallible justice, we plead most powerfully.

Spurgeon. 2017. The Spurgeon Study Bible: Notes. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Thus the theme of justice predominates: those who will enjoy God’s blessing (a) will teach justice (v. 19); (b) may intercede for just judgment to preserve the righteous; and (c) know that God may preserve the wicked for the sake of the righteous. Certainly Israel learned from this that God is a righteous Judge, that righteousness exalts a nation (cf. Prov. 14:34), and that righteous people help preserve society (cf. Matt. 5:13). These truths should have been as great a concern to Israel as they were to Abraham who turned them into compassionate intercession.

 Ross, Allen P. 1985. “Genesis.” In The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, edited by J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, 1:60. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Who: the LORD and Abraham; What: intercession for the people of Sodom; Where: The plains of Mamre at Hebron (cf. 13:18; 14:13); Why: Justice and righteousness. Wherefore: We can and should intercede for others.


Dave the Bible student

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