“Suppose There Are Ten

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					“Suppose There Are Ten?” –Abraham

“Suppose There Is One?” –God

Sunder and Sham Krishnan taught a seminar on the topic of prayer in our city. Two things they
shared were especially encouraging:

    •   Pray according to the character of God
    •   Know that your prayers make a difference

The two principles were demonstrated throughout Scripture, but it is the first recorded
intercessory prayer in Genesis 18, which impacted my thinking--when Abraham first hears of
God’s intentions to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Understanding God’s plan motivated
Abraham’s response, “Will You sweep away the righteous with the wicked?...Far be it from You!
Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” (Gen. 18: 23-25) He appealed to God’s Justice.
And knowing God’s character gave him the boldness to “negotiate” six times—pleading for God
not to destroy the city if there were 50, or 45, or 40, or 30, or 20, or 10 righteous people who
could be found within the city.

The question is, “Was Abraham’s prayer for judgment to be averted answered, or was it merely a
good attempt to affect an inevitable outcome?” For the first time I realized that the amazing part of
this story is not that there weren’t even ten righteous people in the city. The amazing part is that
God went BEYOND Abraham’s request in order to meet his desire, which was prayed according
to God’s character. Although Abraham was asking that the city not be overthrown, his request
was not primarily intended to spare a wicked city. His desire from the beginning was that the
righteous be spared. To that end, Abraham went down to “suppose there are only ten righteous?”

But what number did God go down to? How many righteous were
there, in fact? Four? Lot’s wife looked back, so maybe four minus
one. Three? Lot’s two daughters later demonstrated how the
immoral cities had influenced them, so maybe three minus two.           The character of
One? Lot.                                                               our God is able
                                                                         and desiring to
II Peter 2:7-9 says, “For if God rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by
the sensual conduct of unprincipled men...then the Lord knows how       go after the one
to rescue the godly from temptation…” The character of our God           and hold them
is able and desiring to go after the one and hold them fast.                  fast.
I thought of those who are surrounded by ungodly influences, and
the legitimate concerns we have about the society in which our
children (or for some, grandchildren) are growing up. And I thought of those who follow the right
way even when they are the only one in their family who do so. Even when we stop at ten, God
is the type of God who goes for the one (plus). Therefore let us have confidence and
perseverance to pray for those whose circumstances make it seem impossible that they would be
able to stand firm.

“Now to Him who is able to keep us from stumbling, and to make us stand in the presence
of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ,
our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.
Amen.” Jude 1:24

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