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 that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah has many layers to it.
But maybe one of those layers is overlooked. Namely, why did God go down to see what Sodom and Gomorrah was like? Surely he could see it from heaven.
God is omniscient, meaning he’s “all knowing.” He knows everything, even before they happen.
The activities of the citizens in Sodom and Gomorrah were certainly known by God in heaven. But Genesis 18 specifically states that God would “go down to see” just what they are up to.
Well, he didn’t go for himself. He went to Sodom and Gomorrah for his “friend” Abraham. (That Abraham was God’s “friend” see James 2:23.)
Part of this story is about God giving his people the opportunity to intercede on behalf of their neighbors, no matter who their neighbors are.
It is easy for us to pray for people we like and people we know. We pray most readily for our children, our parents, our families.
We also are ready to pray for our friends and fellow Christians. In just the last two weeks, Christians all over the country (and the world, no doubt) have been praying for the people and churches affected by the hurricanes in Texas and Florida.
And we have been praying for all the people in Texas and Florida, as well as the Mexicans affected by the earthquake there, and the Americans and Canadians affected by the wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.
But do we pray for others? Especially those who are evil? Especially those who are our enemies?
Jesus tells us to pray even for our enemies (see Matthew 5:43-48).
The story of Abraham praying for Sodom and Gomorrah is an extreme example of what Jesus tells all Christians to do.
We’re never really told the specifics of the wickedness of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. But it must have been pretty awful for God to not only come down from heaven to see it but also to threaten to destroy these two cities and three more because of their wickedness.
Abraham had a bit of a biased interest in these cities – his nephew Lot and his family lived there. Still, Abraham doesn’t pray that God would spare Lot and his family. He intercedes on behalf of all five cities.
As I said, God came down to give Abraham this opportunity. This would become a lesson for us today to pray for all people and intercede on their behalf, no matter who they are or what they do.
I do have to wonder, though, just how bad Sodom and Gomorrah must have been that God doesn’t threaten to do the same to the United States of America today. The wickedness in our own country is horrendous. Since 1973 (the Roe v. Wade decision) there have been nearly 60 million babies killed by abortion. Add that to the sins of adultery, homosexuality, rape, murder, violent crime – it is astounding that God doesn’t rain down fire from heaven on us!
Each day Christians are given the opportunity by God to pray, to intercede, on behalf of all people. Even those we don’t know and those who are our enemies.
And not just fold-your-hands-and-bow-your-heads kind intercession.
We also can intercede on their behalf by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. We can share – and show – the love of Jesus!
Jesus died for all the sins of all people of all time and that is the Gospel we are to share with everyone we meet.
It is hard to do that in today’s world, but it may never have been more important!
Heavenly Father, I pray for all sinners that they may hear your Law and follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit to repent of their sins. I pray also that you would use me to tell them the love of Jesus and how he forgives all their sins. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
©2017 True Men Ministries