Abraham was one of the first great intercessors. When God told him that He was going to destroy the city of Sodom, Abraham immediately became concerned for his cousin Lot, and for any others who were righteous in the city.
And Abraham came near and said, “Wilt Thou indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 “Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt Thou indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 “Far be it from Thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from Thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” 26 So the Lord said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.” 27 And Abraham answered and said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, wilt Thou destroy the whole city because of five?” And He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29 And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose forty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it on account of the forty.” 30 Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31 And he said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the twenty.” 32 Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.”
Notice, in Abraham’s intercession he began by questioning God: “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? . . . Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Already we can make two conclusions about what an intercessor is:
1. An intercessor has concern for another. Abraham was concerned for Lot and for any other righteous people in the city.
2. An intercessor is bold. Abraham was willing to face up to God and to tell Him how he felt. Likewise, he was extremely bold to question God and to even suggest that He was going to act unjustly by destroying the city.
Upon further observation, I have found two more things that are true of Abraham’s intercession, and that also must be true of any intercessor:
3. An intercessor is persistent. In his boldness and out of his concern for others, Abraham continued with persistence to intercede for the righteous. For when God told him that He would spare the city if fifty righteous were found, that was not good enough for Abraham. “What about forty-five”, he said, “or forty, or thirty, or twenty, or ten.” “Will you destroy the whole city if ten are found there?” But as it turned out, not even ten righteous were found. So God delivered Lot and his family, and destroyed the city with all the wicked. The point we are making here is that Abraham, out of his concern for the righteous, was persistent in his intercession before God. Therefore, we conclude that an intercessor must be persistent.
4. An intercessor draws near to God. Verse 23 tells us that Abraham “came near” the Lord. I get the picture that he was eye to eye before the Lord, probably griping His shoulders and desperately begging Him to reconsider what He was about to do (No man has seen God, because God is a spirit; therefore, in this case, God [Yahweh] had made himself in the form of a man). In all of our attempts to intercede for others we must also draw very near to the Lord—as close as we can. We must look Him in the eye. We must grab Him. We must show Him how we feel. It is required of an intercessor