We’ve all “pushed our luck” at some point or another. Whether it was with our parents, or with school, or with our jobs. I would venture to say that most of us have even pushed our luck with God too. But at least we’re not in bad company:
Remember back in Genesis 18 when Abraham pleaded with God on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah for Lot’s sake? Here’s a snippet of how that conversation went:
Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” | Genesis 18:23-26
How bold of Abraham! But this was just the beginning of the conversation. Abraham posed this question to God FIVE more times after this. And each time, he knew he was pushing his luck. Each time, he knew he was pressing God with his annoying questions. And yet Abraham continued to plead with God, in complete humility, for the sake of his nephew.
Despite how annoying and even foolish it may come off to us, Abraham displayed godly characteristics in his petitioning of the Lord:
- He came before the Lord with humility
- He demonstrated great faith in God’s character
- He asked only that which he knew was within God’s character to do
- He showed a great, courageous, bold, and selfless love for Lot
- He understood God’s mercy and trusted God to act according to it
- He displayed patience and perseverance in His pleading with God
- He resolved to be content with whatever decision God would make
Abraham asked God if He would spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of 50 righteous people, then 45, 40, 30, 20, even 10 people (Genesis 18:27-33). And each time, God said,
But Genesis 19 tells us that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So what happened? Not even ten righteous people could be found in the whole place in order for God to withhold His wrath. Despite all this, God honors Abraham’s intercession for Lot.
I can’t speak for the rest of Lot’s family, but 2 Peter 2:7 tells us that Lot was a righteous man. In all of Sodom & Gomorrah, there was only one righteous, and God sought to spare him and his family from His wrath.
Abraham, a righteous man, interceded for Lot, another righteous man.
But Christ provided an even better intercession for us.
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. | Romans 5:8
The perfectly righteous for the exceedingly unrighteous.
The Lord Jesus Christ interceded for us before we were worth interceding for. And as He interceded for us, His perfect attributes were grandly put on display:
- He humbled Himself to enter this world as a baby and to die on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8)
- He demonstrated great faith in the Father’s character (John 17)
- He did only that which was within His character to do (2 Timothy 2:13b)
- He showed a great, courageous, bold, and selfless love for us (Hebrews 12:2)
- He understood the Father’s mercy and trusted Him to act according to it (Luke 23:34)
- He displayed patience and perseverance in His pleading with the Father (2 Peter 3:9)
- He resolved to be content with whatever decision the Father would make (Luke 22:42)
Christ is our perfect interceder, going beyond what any man could do, ransoming our souls, winning our salvation. If you know Him, then praise Him for this truth! If you don’t, get to know Him! It’s a decision you won’t regret.
And what can we learn from Abraham? If we’re going to push our luck with God, may we do it in a way that honors Him, as Abraham did. Approach Him in humility, with boldness, in faith, with an accurate view of who He is, in love for Him and all people, with patience and perseverance, asking only that which is within His character. Lastly and most importantly,