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S*d*m and rescue and prayer

So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the LORD. And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. Genesis 13: 1-7 (circa BC 2000)
 

This world owes a huge debt to the Jewish people – to the descendants of Abraham. (Israel was the name of Abraham’s grandson.) Abraham was a man of faith – faith in the LORD God. It was because of his faith in, and following of the LORD, that Abraham, through the cross of Jesus Christ, was forgiven his many sins and failures.

Those who are followers of Jesus are made righteous in God’s sight only by faith – faith like Abraham’s. They join Abraham’s family as the family of God.

Abraham had a nephew named Lot. Let’s continue the history first recorded by Moses in around BC 1350 and preserved in the Israeli National Archives.

Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed S*d*m and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as S*d*m. Now the men of S*d*m were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.  Great sins? Inter alia, plenty liberal free-sex.
 
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‘To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.’ (C S Lewis, novelist and poet, 1898-1963)

The next thing recorded by Moses about Lot is that Lot and all the inhabitants of S*d*m were taken captive by all the minor kings in the territories surrounding the Jordan valley. Moses records this: So the enemy took all the possessions of S*d*m and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. They also took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who was dwelling in S*d*m, and his possessions, and went their way. Abraham the man of faith in the LORD, although not a king or a military man, heard about it and with the able-bodied  men on his staff, went out and defeated those armies. Moses records: Abraham brought back all the possessions of S*d*m, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.

Yes, men of faith take action to rescue people – even people whom others may despise. Followers of Jesus are continuing the rescue work of Abraham and of Jesus.

Moses records that things got even worse in S*d*m as the years went by. The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against S*d*m 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.”
 
 
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  ‘I will sing the wondrous story/ of the Christ who died for me -/ how he left the realms of glory/ for the cross of Calvary.’ (F H Rawley, hymn writer, 1854-1952)

When the LORD tells Abraham about things in S*d*m, Abraham pleads with God. He prays for all the people there, with all the love and concern which he has in his heart, that the LORD will not destroy S*d*m if there are even fifty righteous people there. He pleads and pleads with God.  The LORD agrees. S*d*m will be saved even if there are only ten righteous there. The day of justice arrives. On that day Lot is not destroyed. 

Yes, men and women of faith are like Abraham, who was like Jesus. They rescue folk who have been captured. Abraham the peace-lover took on many bellicose kings to rescue the people of S*d*m. And he prayed with all his heart for Lot and for all the people of S*d*m.
 
 
Richard Syvret

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