And the men turned their faces from there, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.…
The intercession of Abraham is the first prayer that the Bible records; and in its great characteristics, human and spiritual, it is one of the most remark. able. It is the intercession of a good man, a friend of God, for men who, in their wickedness and their defiance of God, had well-nigh approached the utmost possibilities of human evil.
I. A MAN'S PRAISE POWER IS NOT AN ARBITRARY THING; IT IS THE RESULT OF LONG ANTECEDENT SPIRITUAL PROCESSES. It is very significant that it is Abraham and not Lot who is the intercessor for Sodom.
1. Jehovah does not even impart His confidence to Lot; only at the last moment, when all is determined, He mercifully sends His messengers to bring him to a place of safety.
2. Even supposing Lot had been made acquainted with Jehovah's purpose, he would not have been capable of interceding for Sodom as Abraham did. He had not the requisite spiritual qualifications. There was spiritual life in Lot, but it ever leaned to the worldly side of things. There was spiritual life in Abraham, but it leaned to the heavenly side of things.
II. THE PRAYING POWER OF MAN IS CONDITIONED UPON THE CIRCUMSTANCES BY WHICH HE SURROUNDS HIMSELF. Abraham was at Mamre; Lot in Sodom.
III. EVEN WHEN GOD VOUCHSAFES TO VISIT A MAN, MUCH OF HIS SPIRITUAL BLESSING DEPENDS ON HIS CHARACTER AND CIRCUMSTANCES.
IV. IT IS INSTRUCTIVE TO COMPARE THE INTERCESSION OF ABRAHAM WITH THE PLEADINGS OF LOT WHEN THE ANGELS SOUGHT TO DELIVER HIM. The prayer of Abraham is perfect in its humility, when daring in its boldness. The prayer of Lot is troubled, selfish, and self-willed.
V. There is one contrast more, which is very suggestive. THE NARROW, SELFISH, SELF-WILLED PRAYER OF LOT WAS ANSWERED; THE HOLY, CHRIST-LIKE INTERCESSION OF ABRAHAM WAS UNAVAILING. Therefore it is no criterion of a right or wrong prayer, that it does not receive the kind of answer we solicit.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.