Daily Word

Bold intercession  | Genesis 18:22-33

22 The other men turned and headed toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham. 23 Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? 24 Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes? 25 Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”

26 And the Lord replied, “If I find fifty righteous people in Sodom, I will spare the entire city for their sake.” 27 Then Abraham spoke again. “Since I have begun, let me speak further to my Lord, even though I am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose there are only forty-five righteous people rather than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And the Lord said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five righteous people there.”

29 Then Abraham pressed his request further. “Suppose there are only forty?” And the Lord replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the forty.” 30 “Please don’t be angry, my Lord,” Abraham pleaded. “Let me speak—suppose only thirty righteous people are found?” And the Lord replied, “I will not destroy it if I find thirty.”

31 Then Abraham said, “Since I have dared to speak to the Lord, let me continue—suppose there are only twenty?” And the Lord replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.” 32 Finally, Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me if I speak one more time. Suppose only ten are found there?” And the Lord replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”

33 When the Lord had finished his conversation with Abraham, he went on his way, and Abraham returned to his tent.

Genesis 18:22-33 (NLT)

Abraham’s love for Lot

This is such an amazing passage that reveals the character of Abraham and the Lord. Continuing from yesterday, the two men (angels) with the Lord headed on their way to Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham was deeply troubled, knowing that his nephew was in Sodom and would be wiped out with the city. How can he save his nephew and his family? 

Negotiation with the Lord

Abraham knows the Lord is just and righteous so will judge Sodom and Gomorrah. But he also knows He is merciful and gracious so he sets about to make this appeal. He did not know in advance what number would be acceptable so, in true negotiating fashion, he starts high with 50. Then works down to the lowest number he thought the Lord would accept (10), possibly even lower than he expected. My guess is he was thinking of Lot and his family. 

Did the Lord become frustrated with his request or did He reject Abraham’s attempt to negotiate with Him? No. “Evidently Abraham was not trying to wear God down by pressuring Him. Instead, he was seeking clarification from God as to the extent of His mercy. He wanted to find out just how merciful God would be in judging Sodom.” (planobiblechapel.org) In this exchange, we also learn that, “Effective prayer speaks knowing who God is, and how God works in a particular situation […] Abraham shows us that there are times when an intercessor must feel that the eternal destiny of men and women depends on the intercessor’s prayer.” (enduringword.com)

Personal example

I’ve had a few instances where I’ve tried the same tactic…with success. I boldly asked God for more than I originally thought was possible, much more. The result? God did it! Often we put God in a box and think on His behalf. We assess a situation then decide what God probably can or will do. But this is not His way. He desires for us to ask for the impossible…so that He alone can get the glory when His will is done.


  • Consider your current situation. Is there something you know is God’s will but you don’t know the degree to which He will answer? Are you praying for your relatives to grow in their knowledge of God? Don’t stop with 1, ask Him for all of them!
  • “Abraham’s intercession was effective because it was specific. He talked about specific numbers with God, and not only in broad, general terms. Often our prayers are ineffective because we really don’t ask the LORD to do anything. Instead, we often just toss wishes up to heaven.” (enduringword.com)
  • Could he have pressed further, like to just 1, meaning Lot? Would the Lord have relented from His plans for judgment? As we grow in our knowledge of the Lord, we can better understand the answer.
Two Bedoin’s negotiating. Image from aljazeera.com *

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