by Rev Samata Elia
In God’s confidence: God has declared his promise to make Abraham a great nation and Abraham had not portrayed that confidence. He had shown himself to be a man of integrity, compassion, and hospitality. Abraham gains God’s confidence so much that the Lord reveals his intention of taking action against wicked Sodom. Gaining God’s confidence bestows both favour and power. God will listen to such, as this story reveals. Through our covenant with Christ, we too have gained God’s confidence and he will reveal to us the mystery of his will. This means that we can boldly approach the Lord with our petitions. He may not grant what we ask but we have gained his ear.
Intercessor for the wicked city: Abraham was deeply concerned for the welfare of the city of Sodom, a concern, which was heightened by the fact that his nephew, Lot, and his family were living there. Abraham earnestly interceded with the Lord for the city and, even though the city was eventually destroyed. Lot and his family (save his wife) were spared. We need that kind of concern and that type of persistence for our sinful cities and country.
Can the righteousness of the few save the whole? This was the premise upon which Abraham based his intercession. He reasoned that if God were just, he would not destroy the righteous with the wicked. If so, when is the critical mass point reached, when the number of righteous people exerts too weak an effect to keep the whole society from self-destructing?
Prayer pattern: The Lord’s prayer is a pattern of prayer, to teach us the kinds of concerns we should lift to the Lord. This doesn’t mean our prayers should be an exact replica of our Lord’s prayer, but it provides a useful pattern. It informs us that God is our Father, who delights to grant us what is wholesome for us. It teaches us to seek God’s Will and dominion, rather than our own self-interest. It drives home the necessity of forgiveness to keep our relationship with God open and shows us that God is concerned with the little and everyday issues of life and not just the big picture.
You don’t have to beg the Lord: The story Jesus told (vv 5-8) features a man who goes to his neighbour’s house late at night to beg for bread, only to be met by resistance. But the beggar will not give up and eventually gets what he seeks. The world rewards those who beg, who refuse to give up. Sometimes the world even rewards those who bully their way. This is not the way with God. We have only to ask and God will grace us with what we need. “Ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.” (v 9)