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Friday, June 26, 2015

INTERCEDING AGAINST JUDGMENT

Many are saying America and possibly most of the world is under the imminent judgment of God in these days. I am reminded of God's judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah. God said the outcry against Sodom was great. People were crying out to him in oppression and suffering. God could not be a God of compassion and not judge the selfishness, wickedness, prejudice and violence we have turned to today. And yet as He was preparing to rain fire down upon Sodom the Lord invited Abraham to intercede for the city. If God is making you aware of imminent judgment, He is inviting you to intercede in prayer. Do you sense the urgency to intercede in prayer even if you are not sure how to do that? Interestingly enough Abraham came to some principles that will help us pray in these days.
First, Abraham appealed to God's love for righteousness. "Will not the judge of all the earth do what is right?" We need to pray for churches and believers and people who seek righteousness in high places in our society. They may be our only hope against immediate judgment. This week one of the most prominent pastors in America stepped down from his pulpit because of moral failure. I saw several Face Book posts on it. I made a comment on one of them. "If you were our enemy, who would you attack?" But while I had respected this man, I had never prayed for him. God forgive me.
Another principal that Abraham discovered was the intercession of the gospel. Some of you are skeptical of Abraham's understanding of the gospel. But he grasped a core principle in his interaction with the LORD over Sodom. The Lord loves righteousness so much that He was willing to spare the wicked because of the righteousness of the righteous. How does that relate to the gospel? That is its very heart. The only reason any of us are spared from immediate and final judgment is that God has imputed to us the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He alone is truly righteous. He is our only righteousness. He is our only hope. Interceding in the face of judgment must be based upon the spread of the gospel. Many of us in these days sense an urgency to pray for unreached and unengaged people groups in the world. That is intercession for the gospel. Are you praying and giving and going and sending so the gospel will be available to all who Jesus died to save?
Today, I believe there is another facet of interceding in the face of judgment. That is crying out to God for His supernatural hand in our ministry to hurting people. The first major judgment of God was a mercy on the world because of what we had become. God saw that the thoughts and intents of the heart of man were only evil continually. (Gen. 6:5) I do not know what kind of judgment God is preparing to send. We may well be preparing to taste the 7 bowls of God’s wrath upon the earth. But the Bible speaks of another kind of judgment that is in many ways worse. This is the judgment of what we become. In Romans 1 Paul says that God gives men over to the perversions and corruption of our hearts. 2 Timothy 3 says that in the last days people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud arrogant, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. These are days in which we need to pray for God to use us to heal in the face of incredible wickedness all around and within us.

Father, we cry out for Your mighty hand upon us as we seek to be righteous, as we spread the gospel and as we show compassion to a hurting world.

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