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2023 Daily Lenten Journey – Day 32

During Great Lent we get so focused on our fasting and extra prayers that we can forget we are not alone. We are on a group journey as a Church, but not only as a Church. As human beings, we share the journey of salvation with every human being. Today is a good reminder of our responsibility to those who may live outside the Church.

Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.”  So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the LORD.  Then Abraham drew near, and said, “Wilt thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked?  Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?  Far be it from thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”  And the LORD said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”  Abraham answered, “Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.  Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Wilt thou destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”  Again he spoke to him, and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.”  Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.”  He said, “Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.”  Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”  And the LORD went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.

Genesis 18.20-33

First, recall the entire story of Sodom and Gomorrah. God destroyed the cities because of their wickedness. Recall also that Lot had tried to convince the few righteous to leave, but they did not. Recall also that Abraham had begged God not to destroy the cities if only a few righteous were found. We can know for sure, because God has always proven to do what He promises, that He did not find righteous people there because the cities were destroyed.

I don’t want you to think that Abraham wasted his time praying to God for Sodom and Gomorrah. I also don’t want you to think that Abraham had some sort of power over God to ‘convince’ Him to change His plans. Because we know the whole story, we know God already knew there were no righteous in the cities.

God allowed Abraham to plead with Him, not as a negotiation, but out of love. Abraham loved his fellow human beings enough to plead with God for them. He did this whether or not God was going to change His mind. That is our lesson today. If we love our fellow human sojourners, we will pray for them.

Don’t allow the focus on extra prayers and fasting to distract you from praying for others. It isn’t that we shouldn’t fast and pray. We should. It isn’t that praying for others is more important than fasting. They are both important. It is our prayer and fasting that allows us to see more clearly what God desires for us.

Abraham could easily have ignored the people of Sodom and Gomorrah in the name of righteousness. They were filled with wickedness. He was righteous. It was his righteousness that called to his heart and gave him the courage to pray for them to God. I might even suggest that if your extra prayers and fasting aren’t drawing your heart to pray for others, then you need to turn it up a notch.

1 Comment

  1. JoAnn Metropoulos on April 2, 2023 at 7:04 am

    Guilty of not paying enough for those around me who sometimes discourage my true prayers. May the Lord enlighten me to pray for all my family and friends in all things,

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