‘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.’ Genesis 18:32
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Matthew 5:43–48
When the Lord had intimated to Abraham his purpose concerning Sodom, it prompted Abraham to pray for the place. The occasion, the manner and the force of this prayer are very instructive. The occasion, or rather the motive, was compassion to sinners. No doubt Abraham thought of Lot, but he does not directly mention him. He knew Lot’s character and hoped there were more like him. But he is not content to plead for the righteous only, but rather uses them as a plea for the preservation of the whole place. Though the men of Sodom were great sinners, Abraham prayed for them; though he was safe himself, he pitied them. This is a right spirit. May the Lord cause it to abound more in his people. We are by nature even as others and the grace that has saved us is able to save the vilest. We should not look on them with indifference, or give them up absolutely as reprobates. Secret things belong to the Lord, but it is our duty to pray and hope. We cannot be too much displeased with their sins; we cannot be too compassionate to their persons.
FOR MEDITATION: [for the Fast Day, Friday 13 December 1776]
His grace despised, his power defied,
The LORD, displeased, has raised his rod;
And legions of the blackest crimes,
Ah where are now the faithful few
Profaneness, riot, lust and pride,
Who tremble for the ark of GOD,
Are signs that mark the present times.
And know what Israel ought to do?
LORD, hear thy people everywhere, Who meet to mourn, confess and pray;
The nation and thy churches spare, And let thy wrath be turned away.
O may a blessing be on this day’s work throughout the kingdom. Lord, if thou awaken thy people to pray, thou wilt surely incline thy ear to hear. And we may expect more from the prayer of faith, than from fleets and armies, and all that politicians account wisdom.
Diary, 13 December 1776
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 40 [1/3], GENESIS 18:32