January 26, 2016

Today you should read: Genesis 18:16-33

One question resonated in my mind today after reading this section of scripture.

“How compassionate are you?”

Think about Abraham where we find him in Genesis 18. While his primary concern was Lot (his trusty nephew), he still chose to intercede on behalf of one of the wickedest cities in the history of the world. He pleaded with the Lord to save the city. Is this how the dialogue between me and God would have gone? Probably not.

Here are some things I found to be fascinating from this passage:

1) The nearness of God to Abraham. The Lord was having a conversation with him. Fascinating, even though we see this over and over again in the Bible. This is the same access to God we get through the Holy Spirit and His Word! Immanuel, God is with us.

2) God had special plans in store for Abraham. No doubt in my mind that this was a part of God’s molding of his character and spiritual depth.

3) This was one seriously depraved place. Not even 10? Wow. How many righteous would He find in our city?

4) The Lord is Judge AND Savior. We must seek Him while His offer is on the table, and we must get the news of that offer to everyone we can.

Back to the question that the Lord placed on my heart. No, I am not very compassionate at all. I would have probably prayed for the destruction of Sodom, much like I do for the destruction of many evils we experience on this planet right now. But I want that to change. Do I want evil to come to an end? ABSOLUTELY. But I also know that I was desperate for the grace and mercy of Christ, and I didn’t deserve it for a second. My commitment is to pray for the salvation and transformation of those who pilot or participate in the atrocities of our day (while also asking the Lord to put an end to this evil and to return soon!).

This all reminds me of a powerful song by Matt Redman. We sang this a few years ago during October Missions Emphasis (maybe in 2013?). The general theme: that worshiping God would motivate me to pray for people to come to Christ and inspire me to do whatever I personally can to get the gospel to the darkest corners of the globe. If you have a moment, take a listen:

What did the Lord teach you today, CPC? How can we pray for you?

By: Todd Thomas

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Author: cpclexington

Lexington & Richmond KY

9 thoughts on “January 26, 2016”

  1. This passage always brings up the question of “it is possible to negotiate with God and does he change his mind?” I’ve always assumed the answer is no. So whenever we see these little negotiations between God and man it leaves me feeling a little unsettled… Like I’m missing something.

    1. Great question brother! I don’t think it is a negotiation with God in the way that we understand that. I think Abraham did know the wickedness of the city and was pleading for a glimmer of hope.

      It does beg the question about prayer, because we often look at these in light of the totality of scripture and think to ourselves, “If God is sovereign and already knows what He is going to do, then what is the point of praying to Him and pleading with Him?” That’s a good one to wrestle with. It brings me to something R.C. Sproul said on this topic:

      “Sometimes we think our prayers are pointless because we know God’s mind cannot be changed. Yet we do not know what the Lord has decreed, and Scripture is clear that our prayers really do have an effect in God’s plan to bring about His will. He really does interact with us and respond to our intercessions, so we should never be afraid to come to Him in faith, remembering that He is sovereign but also moved by our requests.”

      I summarize that like so: We don’t fully comprehend the balance between God’s sovereign plan and His attentive ear to our prayers. But, these two things do night fight each other. They are in perfect harmony with our incredible God.

  2. “and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.” – Luke 13:9

    Isaiah 59:1
    Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short
    That it cannot save;
    Nor is His ear so dull
    That it cannot hear.

    I think this passage illustrates the prayer of intercession and the the patience and graciousness of our Father.

    Have a great day!

  3. Wow Todd! Very powerful! God used what you said in staff meeting yesterday to speak to me about this. I woke up thinking about it this morning. Praying for the world – I want to do better at this too!

  4. To the person who asked whether negotiations change God’s mind, I don’t think they do. God already knew he wasn’t going to find 10 righteous people in Sodom. Yet he allows Abraham to negotiate with him, perhaps to show Abraham the depth of his mercy.

  5. Thanks, Todd!

    Passages like this make me wish that I could speak with God face to face in the same way Abraham did, but passages like this also remind me that John 16:7 holds true.

    Thanks, Todd for highlighting this very point.

  6. Good Word! Thanks Todd. After a 14 hour work day yesterday and another busy day today, I have a tendency to lack compassion and mercy when I’m tired. This was just what I needed going into a dark workplace. Compassion and prayer for the lost.

  7. Amy Carmichael wrote, “And shall I pray to change Thy will, my Father?…No Lord; that shall never be. Rather I pray Thee blend my human will with Thine.”

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