January 8 - Mercy for the Sake of Ten

By Douglas W. Martin

Today's Scripture: Genesis 18:32

Central Thought: Don't be afraid to talk to God about your problems.

    The Angel of the Lord stood there and delivered some incredible news to Abraham. The most wonderful resort cities of the entire area were divinely marked for total annihilation! Doubtlessly a lump formed immediately in Abraham's throat. He knew that his nephew Lot and his children were caught in the middle of God's judgment.

    Abraham started with the number fifty and respectfully began to call on the mercy of God as he decreased the number in increments of five. Finally, he left off his negotiations at the number of ten souls. Surely, there would be at least ten righteous souls in the cities that were about to be destroyed.

    Doubtlessly Abraham thought that Lot would have preserved his family and perhaps affected a handful of people around him. After all, Lot had served as a city elder; and Abraham had earlier risked his own servants and wealth to rescue the leadership of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain. Surely this was enough evidence of God's blessing and mercy and loving-kindness! With a trust in God and hope in his heart, Abraham returned home and the angels of God continued their journey to Sodom.

    It may seem incredibly strange that God, who knows everything, would dispatch a scouting party of angels in disguise to see up close and personal just how bad things had gotten in Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain. This does not indicate that God lacks divine knowledge and wisdom. Instead, it reveals God's desire to find an excuse for mercy.

    Mercy urged God to send a scouting party to verify the wickedness of the cities that were about to be face judgment. Mercy urged him to let Abraham know what was transpiring. Mercy stirred Abraham to intercede. Mercy was more than willing to hear a plea 'for the sake of ten.” Even today, mercy continues bringing about delays in God's judgment.

Devotional Prayer: Lord, Your mercy triumphs over judgment, and it is through mercy that Your grace affects my life as well as those around me. Help me to pursue mercy for others instead desiring judgment. Help me to understand that what I think is a delay is actually mercy at work, seeking a means of reconciliation.

Today's Bible Reading: Genesis 18:20-19:38; Matthew 6:26-7:14; Psalm 8:1-9; Proverbs 2:6-15