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Abraham Persistent Prayer Gen.18

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ABRAHAM: PERSISTENCE IN PRAYER

GEN.18:16-33

INTRO: (EX: MINISTER & PARROT) MOST PEOPLE AGREE PRAYER IS IMPORTANT & POWERFUL—EVEN THOSE WHO DON’T PRACTICE IT OFTEN. WE KNOW ABRAM WAS MAN OF FAITH (HEB.11:8-12; 12-19) YET ABRAM STUMBLED A FEW TIMES TOO. HE LIED ABOUT HIS WIFE SARAH TWICE!  THOSE TIMES HIS FEAR OVERWHELMED HIS FAITH—I’M SURE WE COULD SAY THE SAME.  THEN HE TOOK HAGAR (GENTILE) –NOT A WISE MOVE—CREATED HOMELAND CHAOS—EVENTUALLY HAGAR & ISHMAEL HAD TO LEAVE.  BUT THEN THERE IS HIS GENEROUS ATTITUDE TOWARD HIS NEPHEW LOT—HE OFFERED HIM THE CHOICE OF THE LAND (GEN.13:8,9).  CH.18 BEGAN WITH ABRAM WELCOMING 3 SPECIAL VISITORS—ONE IS IDENTIFIED AS THE LORD (V.13) (IS THIS A PRE-VISIT OF CHRIST?)—THE PROMISE THAT SARAH WILL BEAR THE CHILD OF PROMISE IS REPEATED (17:19,21)—SARAH LAUGHED AT THE THOUGHT—WHO WOULDN’T?  BUT THEN THE QUESTION COMES—“IS ANYTHING TOO DIFFICULT FOR THE LORD?”

I.                  ABRAM’S CHARACTER

A.   HE WAS A MAN OF FAITH—FOR THE MOST PART ABRAM TRUSTED GOD. HE TOOK ISAAC UP THE MT. BELIEVING THEY WOULD COME BACK (GEN.22:5)—GOD CONSIDERED HIM HIS FRIEND (ISA.41:8) ABRAM HAD A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.  WE REMEMBER JESUS CALLED HIS DISCIPLES “FRIENDS” (JN.15:15)—NOW NOTICE IN THIS TEXT ABRAM DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE THE LORDS PRESENCE (HAVE YOU HAD THOSE TIMES?  IN ORDER TO INTERCEED FOR OTHERS WE MUST HAVE A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH LORD—WHICH MEANS SPENDING TIME WITH HIM—WORD—PRAYER—HIS PEOPLE.  (PS.105:4; ISA.55:6; JER29:14)

B.   HE HAD DEEP CONCERN FOR OTHERS—THIS FOLLOWS FROM THE RELATIONSHIP (EX: JOHN KNOX CARRIED GREAT BURDEN FOR HIS LAND—HIS WIFE PLEADED WITH HIM TO GET SOME SLEEP—HE SAID “HOW CAN I SLEEP WHEN MY LAND IS NOT SAVED?”  HE WOULD OFTEN PRAY ALL NIGHT—“LORD GIVE ME SCOTLAND OR I DIE”  AND GOD SHOOK SCOTLAND;  DAVID BRAINARD—MISS TO AMERICAN INDIANS SAID IN HIS DIARY “I SET APART HIS DAY TO FASTING & PRAYER TO PREPARE FOR MINISTRY. JOHN HYDE (PRAYING HYDE) IN INDIA “FATHER GIVE ME THESE SOULS OR I DIE” BY END OF HIS MISS. SERVICE AVG. MORE THAN 4 SOULS A DAY.) OUR TENDENCY IS TO THINK OF OURSELVES FIRST—MAKE IT ABOUT US—“YOU DESERVE THIS; YOU SHOULD HAVE THIS; ITS NOT FAIR TO ME”   GOD GAVE ABRAM A GREAT CALL & PURPOSE (GEN.12:1-3)—HE HAD TO LEAVE WHERE HE WAS & GO WITH GOD  (THE CALL TO THE CHURCH IS TO “COME OUT OF BABYLON” REV.18:4)  GET UP & GO WITH GOD!  JESUS SAID WHILE YOU ARE GOING “MAKE DISCIPLES!” ABRAM LOOKED FOR CITY NOT MADE WITH HANDS. HE PITCHED HIS TENT ALL OVER CANAAN BUT NEVER SAW THE FINAL PROMISE ON EARTH. YET THRU HIM ALL NATIONS WERE BLESSED—THRU HIM THE MESSIAH CAME. SO ABRAM HAD A WORLD VISION & WORLD RESPONSIBILITY. WE NEED TO GET BIGGER BURDEN FOR SPIRITUAL WARFARE. CHURCH IS ON MISSION FROM GOD.  WE ARE IN BATTLES ZONES THAT WONT BE WON WITHOUT PRAYER—CHURCH CAN DO JUST FINE WITHOUT A LOT OF THE STUFF IN OUR AGE—SHE CANT DO WITHOUT PRAYER—I DON’T MEAN TOKEN PRAYER—BUT SERIOUS/HEARTFELT/REPENTANT PRAYER. SO WE TAKE UP THE ARMOR & COVER THAT IN PRAYER (EPH.6:18-20)

C.   HE WAS GIVEN A CHARGE (18:19): LOOK AT THE LORDS CHARGE TO HIM  “DO RIGHTEOUSNESS & JUSTICE”  GOD CHOSE HIM (LIT. IT SAYS GOD “KNEW” (YADA) HIM—THEN ABRAM WAS TO TEACH HIS CHILDREN TO FOLLOW THE WAY OF THE LORD---THAT MEANT BEING ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE THINGS AFTER GODS HEART—DEFENDING THE INNOCENT—TAKING UP THE CAUSE OF THE OPPRESSED---JA.1:27 DESCRIBES PURE RELIGION “LOK AFTER ORPHANS/WIDOWS & KEEP ONESELF FROM BEING POLLUTED BY WORLD—CHURCH CALLED TO BE ACTIVE IN SERVING & SHARING LOVE OF CHRIST (WHICH MANY OF YOU ARE DOING FAITHFULLY)—BUT WE HAVAE TO KNOW HIM TO MAKE HIM KNOWN—TO BE EFFECTIVE IN PRAYER WE HUNGER/THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS—KEEP IN STEP WITH GOOD SHEPHERD WHO KNOWS OUR NAMES—SHOWS US PATH OF RIGHTEOUSNESS/REFRESHES OUR SOUL/PREPARES TABLE/ANOINTS HEAD WITH OIL.

 

II.               ABRAM’S PERSISTENCE

A.   GOD INVITES US TO ASK: MATT.7:7,8—ABRAM ASKED GOD 6 TIMES “SPARE” (FORGIVE)-HIS HEART ACHED FOR THOSE CLOSE TO HIM (LOT & HIS FAMILY)—ONCE LORD MADE HIS INTENTIONS KNOWN ABRAM COULDN’T LET IT GO. (LK 8—WIDOW & UNRIGHTEOUS JUDGE) HOW MUCH MORE WILL GOD ANSWER HIS CHILDREN!  BILLY GRAHAM SAID “HEAVEN IS FULL OF ANSWERS TO PRAYER FOR WHICH NO ONE BOTHERED TO ASK”----THERE WAS A “GREAT OUTCRY” FROM CITIES OF SODOM & GOMORRAH (THEY WERE FILLED WITH INJUSTICE/OPPRESSION/BRUTALITY—THE WORD “OUTCRY” IS SAME WORD USED OF ISRAEL CRYING OUT TO GOD IN EGYPT  (EZEK.16:49,50)  IN V.22 THE ORIG. HEB TEXT READS “GOD STILL STOOD BEFORE ABRAM”—IT SEEMS SOME SCRIBES FOUND THAT OBJECTIOINABLE SOT HEY CHANGED IT & FOOTNOTED IT. BUT EITHER WAY ABRAM APPROACHED GOD IN REVERECNE—“DUST & ASHES”  “DON’T BE ANGRY WITH ME”. ABRAM WAS A BARGAINER WHO KNEW GOD DIDN’T OWE  HIM ANYTHING---BUT ABRAM THREW THE CRY FOR JUSTICE BACK AT GOD---HE WAS VERY BOLD—“IF JUDGE OF ALL EARTH DOESN’T DO JUSTICE HOW CAN A SINFUL HUMAN PURSUE IT?”  “FAR BE IT FROM YOU” ABRAM SAID IN V.25—IN OTHER WORDS IT WOULD MAKE YOU POLLUTED TO JUDGE CITIES WITHOUT REGARD FOR THE INNOCENT—THAT WOULD VIOLATE YOUR HOLINESS.  GODS HOLINESS IS OPPOSED TO THE PROFANE (ROM.1:18-20)  ABRAM INTERCEDES AS A LAWYER IN COURT---

B.   GOD HEARD ABRAM’S CRY FOR JUSTICE; GOD WILL SPARE (FORGIVE) IF 50 RIGHTEOUS ARE FOUND—BUT ABRAM IS NOT SURE SO HE BRAGAINS DOWN TILL HE MAKES A FINAL OFFER—HE HAS PUSHED ENVELOPE AS FAR AS HE CAN (SOME THINK 10 IS REQUIRED # OF JEWISH MEN NEEDED FOR WORSHIP TO TAKE PLACE)  GOD IS JUST & DOESN’T WISH ANY TO PERISH. THE IMPLICATION IS IF ONE RIGHTEOUS IS FOUND THE CITY WOULD BE SAVED. (THINK OF JONAH & NINEVEH)—BUT THE CITY WOULD BE CONSUMED (19:15) THE JUDGE HAS ACTED JUSTLY.  LOT HESITATED TO LEAVE BUT LORD HAD COMPASSION (19:16)  & GOD REMEMBERED ABRAM (19:29) AS HE DID NOAH. ABRAM’S INTECESSION BROUGHT RESCUE—THERE IS NO MENITOIN HERE OF LOT BEING RIGHTESOUS (PETER DOES IN HIS LETER 2PET.2:7)  

ABRAM RETURNED HOME (LIT. “TO ENTRANCE OF HIS TENT”)—PHRASE USED WHERE SACRIFICES WERE OFFERED & REVELATIONS MADE—THINK OF MOSES & TENT OF MTG—AND THIS IS WHERE ABRAM WAS WHEN THE NARRATIVE STARTED!  IF WE ARE TO BE EFFECTIVE IN INTERCESSION WE MUST STAY CLOSE TO THE LORD

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