Ground for prayer
‘Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?’ Genesis 18:24–25
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: John 17:1–26
As to the manner of the prayer, observe the ground upon which Abraham went: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? He thought that the Righteous Judge would not destroy the righteous with the wicked. But was there not sin enough in the righteous to justify the Lord if he had suffered them to fall in the common calamity? Abraham was a believer; he did not trust in his own righteousness himself. He knew that strictly speaking there was not a righteous person upon earth. But those are righteous who are justified and accepted of God and who walk in his fear. As the threatened judgement was to manifest God’s displeasure in a remarkable way upon daring sinners, Abraham humbly hoped that the Lord would make a difference between those who feared him and those who feared him not. And the Lord allowed this plea. Had he been strict to mark what is amiss, he might have left even Lot to perish, for taking up his abode in such a place as Sodom. But he is gracious, and showed himself disposed not only to spare those who feared him, but to spare Sodom likewise for their sakes, if they were found to be so many as Abraham was willing to hope. And yet these were few. Abraham himself could not hope there were more than fifty and this number he diminished till he brought it to ten.
We may observe how truly those who fear the Lord are the salt of the earth. I think we may infer that neither London or Olney would long stand if the Lord had not a remnant in them. The world think little of this, that they are indebted for their preservation to those whom they despise.
FOR MEDITATION: They who have access to God by Jesus Christ have more power and influence than the greatest monarch upon earth. Mighty things have been done by prayer; and however little thought of by statesmen, I believe … it is the only effectual bulwark of our sinful nation.
John Newton to William Wilberforce, 2 October 1794
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 40 [2/3], GENESIS 18:32