A sermon idea based on Genesis 18:20-32.
The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…
For every outcry of pain and oppression, Christians should be raising an outcry to God for justice and mercy.
Information about the text that matters to the message…
When you mention “Sodom and Gomorrah,” most people who grew up in the Christian tradition automatically think of a couple of cities destroyed because of some kind of deviant sexual behavior committed by various individuals living there. But that’s not the story even the Bible itself tells.
The truth is, the cities of the plain faced judgment because they were treating people so unjustly, especially strangers passing through.
God chose to relationally draw Abraham into the conversation about the destruction of the cities because of Abraham’s nephew, Lot, who lived there. This passage looks at the conversation that took place between Abraham and the messengers.
God clues Abraham in on the fact that judgment is about to fall upon the cities and Abraham responds by asking God to simply be true to his own just and merciful character.
There’s a lesson in intercession, for sure, but this passage isn’t structured like a patriarchal prayer, but rather like a judicial inquiry. Abraham is relating to God as a righteous judge, asking for God to be both just and merciful.
It’s like any of us, today, crying out to God with a question of, God, I thought you were good. How can the world be like this?
And the answer is that we keep coming back to the goodness of God’s nature. We can know that, no matter how hard things get, God will continue to be love.
The big call-to-action in the message…
We can call out to God, boldly, on the basis of what we know about his character as he has revealed himself.
About the Art: Oaks at Mamre, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.