For nearly ten years, lawyer Randy Schoenberg represented Austrian Maria Altmann in her quest to recover her family’s paintings that had been stolen by the Nazis during World War II. The exquisite paintings, valued at more than $325 million, were discovered in museums where they had been displayed for decades. Schoenberg persisted on Altmann’s behalf, appealing to many judges, including the U.S. Supreme Court, before winning her case.
In Genesis 18, we find Abraham in a bargaining conversation with the Lord. Sodom and Gomorrah were the “Sin Cities” of the day. The mercy cries of the oppressed and powerless had reached the ears of the Lord (vv. 20– 21). God was on the verge of pouring out another round of destruction. But before God punished Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham courageously pled their case (v. 22).
Even though the Scriptures do not explicitly mention Lot, Abraham’s nephew and his family was most likely on his mind, since they were still in Sodom. The premise of Abraham’s argument to the Lord was: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” (v. 23). Beginning with 50 and working his way down to ten, Abraham witnessed the Lord’s mercy and goodness in one hypothetical measurement at a time. Using the skills of an experienced arbitrator, he interceded for the righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah.
Abraham’s intervention before God on behalf of the righteous may remind you of the way Jesus has intervened for us! Centuries later, Jesus would stand before the Father to intercede for our deliverance from death and destruction (Rom. 8:34).
>> For whom can you intercede today? As a godly leader, you may be asked to stand up for the rights of another. And certainly, we can intercede for them through prayer. Using Abraham as a model, pray for those you know who are lost and need the Savior.
Father, do not let injustice within Christian circles dissuade others from seeking You! Strengthen us to speak against wrongdoing and stand for righteousness, outside of the church, as well as within it.