The Prayer God Couldn’t Answer

Genesis 18:16-25 “And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I 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 know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

Text Genesis 18:32 “I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.”

The heat of the day has subsided as Abraham’s heavenly guests prepare to leave. Before departing Abraham is enlightened to the business at hand; Sodom is ripe for judgment! Abraham immediately enters into intercession on behalf of the city; “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” Abraham’s prayer, “Peradventure ten shall be found there” and God said, “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.” The next morning “he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah . . . and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace” (Genesis 19:28). Sodom had been destroyed! Sodom was not spared for lack of a petition. James said, “ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2). It is evident that Abraham is making his request made known unto God. Sodom was not spared for lack of power. The same God that had sufficient power to utterly destroy the cities of the plain could have saved Sodom. Sodom was not spared for lack of passion; “but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9). Jehovah said, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33:11). Sodom was not spared because of procrastination; “And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law . . . Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked” (Genesis 19:14). There are no less than ten in Lots family; surely he has spoke to them about the Lord and a judgment to come! While Lot failed in his preparation, Abraham had not failed in prayer! The glorious news is; Abraham’s prayer was worth praying; “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt” (Genesis 19:29). While there was one prayer God couldn’t answer, there was one He could; “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?”