I see trouble coming my way. What can I do? Things seem hopeless. Reading in the book of Genesis I find a story of someone else who saw trouble coming his way.
The Lord came to Abraham and told him that He, the Lord, was going to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of the evil within them. A man from Abraham's family, Lot, who followed the Lord, lived in Sodom. Others who followed the Lord may also have been living there. What could Abraham do in this time of coming trouble when things seemed hopeless? The following from Genesis gives the story.
Scripture - Genesis 18:22-33; 19:27-29
22 So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26 And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27 Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29 Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” 30 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.” 31 He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” 32 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.” 33 And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Ge 18:22–33).
27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.
29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Ge 19:27–29).
In a time of coming trouble, when things seemed hopeless, Abraham:
- Still stood before the LORD after the LORD said what He was going to do.
- Drew near to the LORD.
- Asked the LORD to work.
- Interceded for others.
- Continued coming to the LORD six times.
- Reminded the LORD of His care for the righteous.
- Reminded the LORD of His justice.
- Acknowledged his own nothingness before the LORD.
- Came back to the place that he had spoke with the LORD to see what the answer might be.
The LORD’s response to Abraham:
- The LORD listened to Abraham’s plea.
- The LORD said He would do as Abraham asked.
- The LORD did what He said that He originally would do.
- The LORD remembered Abraham and saved his family who believed.
- The LORD showed mercy for Abraham’s sake.
I have often had times of trouble in my life, or I see trouble coming on the horizon. Sometimes this produces a feeling of hopelessness in me. What can I do to stop it? I don’t feel that there is anything.
When I look at this passage in Genesis, I see that Abraham found himself in a situation that seemed hopeless. God said that He was going to destroy two cities because of their wickedness. Abraham could have just left it at that, but he did not. He drew near to God and asked Him to work. Abraham interceded and didn’t give up. The result for Abraham was that God listened, and in God’s time of action He remembered Abraham and saved his family. God had mercy.
I too can stay before God when I see that there are difficult and hopeless times. I can draw near to God and ask Him to work. I can intercede for others in need. I can continue coming to God.
When coming to God, I do not just ask for what I want, but also remember who God is and remember who I am before Him. God is a caring God. He is a righteous and just God. I, on the other hand, am nothing before God. And yet when I come before God, I can ask expectantly in hope before Him, and He will listen.
As Abraham came the next morning to see how God acted, he saw that God had indeed acted on his righteousness and justice, but that God also remembered Abraham and in mercy did as he had asked and saved the righteous, his family. Do I come before God expectantly, not giving up in my asking and then looking for how God will answer? In this passage I see by Abraham and God’s interaction that I can.
“Dear LORD, You are righteous, merciful, and just. In my troubling and hopeless times, I come in stillness before You, drawing near to You. I ask that in these times, You will have mercy and save. I will not cease to ask. Help me come expectantly before You whatever Your answer may be. Oh LORD, remember me. It is Jesus name that I ask it.”
Amen and Amen.