Hey all. Welcome back! Today’s story is from Genesis 18:16-33 and 19:1-29. Our lesson from last year can be found HERE.
So our friend Abraham was getting ready to move to the next place God told him to go.
God said, “Abraham will become a great and powerful nation, and everyone else on earth will be blessed through him. I have chosen him, so that he will lead his children and his household to follow Me by doing what is right.”
God then told Abraham about two cities nearby. Sodom and Gomorrah. God told Abraham the cities were very bad and the people did terrible things to sin against God (disobey Him.)
Abraham knew his nephew Lot lived in Sodom and so he asked God: “Will you get rid of the good people just because some of them are wicked? What if there are fifty righteous (right with God) people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not save the place for the sake of the fifty good people in it?
The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will save the whole place for their sake.”
Then Abraham spoke up again: “What if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”
“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
Once again Abraham spoke to Him, “What if only forty are found there?”
He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”
He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
****Abraham knew God would do what He wanted…and he knew it was a bold thing to ask God to save the city. We know we can talk to God anytime and ask Him anything…even if it seems crazy because we know NOTHING is too hard for God. But like Abraham, we must also remember God is in charge. Abraham was talking to God on behalf of the people of Sodom–he was interceding…that means to come between and negotiate…or to come between and bring peace between two people. Abraham was trying to help save the people. Can you think of anyone else in the Bible who intercedes? Someone who talks to God for US?
Jesus! Jesus talks to God for us and we can also talk to God for other people. When we pray for our friends who are sick or sad…or when we pray that they come to know Jesus that is interceding…we are coming to God FOR them, to ask God to help them, just like Abraham did for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.****
Now let’s get back to the story….
Two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot (Abraham’s nephew) was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please come to my house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the middle of the city.”
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him to his house. He made a meal for them and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They tried to do very bad and mean things to Lot and his family. Lot even made a bad choice and said “Don’t hurt me or my visitors! Here take my daughters instead!” Isn’t that a terrible thing to say??
But the angels saved Lot AND his daughters. God was merciful (nice even when they didn’t deserve it) to Lot and his family. He saved them because of his promise and love for Abraham…not because they deserved to be saved. Then the angels said “Do you have anyone else here in the city who belongs to you? Any family? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The people here are so bad that God has sent us to destroy it.”
So Lot went out and told his family, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking and they didn’t go.
When the sun was about to come up, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
When he hesitated, the angels took his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Run for your lives! DON’T look back, and DON’T stop anywhere on the way! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah. (THIS is a video of what burning sulfur in a volcano looks like). The whole city, all the people animals and plants were destroyed. But Lot’s wife didn’t obey the angels and she looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. God had told them not to look back. He wanted them to obey Him. When it says she became a pillar of salt that could mean she was covered in the ashes from the sulfur and died, or that the burning sulfur overtook her…she didn’t obey and move fast enough. When God gives us clear directions, we should always obey Him, and keep our focus on Him…not on what we are leaving behind. God’s way is ALWAYS the best way.
Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down at Sodom and Gomorrah, and he saw the smoke from the land, like smoke from a furnace. When God destroyed the cities, he remembered Abraham and kept him safe, and he saved Lot and his family too.
In this lesson we learn the importance of obeying God and putting Him first..not thinking about other things that might seem better (like Lot’s wife who was so sad about leaving she disobeyed God). We can always remember God’s way is the BEST way. We also learned about God’s favor toward Abraham and how Abraham used that favor to help others. He KNEW God and talked to Him to try to help the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. When we love God and follow Him the Bible says we become God’s children and can come to Him anytime. (Hebrews 4:16) We should always remember to come to God to intercede for others–we can pray to God for the things we need, but like Abraham, we can pray for other people too. Jesus does that for us. (Hebrews 7:25) In everything we do, we try to be more like Jesus and when we pray for other people we are bringing them before God, just like Jesus does for us.
God’s way is the best way by Veggie Tales.
(Interestingly enough, I found a slew you tube videos about prayer for kids…but not anything about praying for OTHERS. So…if anyone finds anything…please feel free to share in the comments. I may need to make up my own song for that one!)
Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all.