When reading Genesis 18-19, it is hard to miss the theme of hospitality and intercession that Abraham was passionate about. Abraham models for us this important behavior that is still important to God today for His children to practice.
Abraham sees three strangers hanging out in his wood line during the heat of the day. Upon seeing them he runs to meet them and beg their favor. He brings them water to clean their feet and refresh themselves and says he will get some chow.
Abraham calls for Sarah to get three seah’s of flour, which is a huge amount of flour that no 4-5 people could eat, not even the heaviest of eaters. In addition, he grabs from the herd a tender and good calf and has a servant prepare it. Abraham is laying out a spread for these strangers, with no expectation of a return from them. He is doing it simply to be courteous and neighborly.
Following this meal, the visiting men and the Lord begin heading towards Sodom and Gomorrah because their sin is grave. God says he is going to go down and investigate the behavior of the sodomites himself because the outcry against their sins is stinking up heaven.
So what does Abraham do? He stands in God way and says will you kill all of Sodom and Gomorrah if there are fifty righteous folks down there? Surely a good and just God would not kill fifty innocent people to bring justice against the wicked. God agrees and says if there are fifty then He will spare the towns on their behalf.
Abram then argues God down to ten people. If there are only ten righteous folk in Sodom and Gomorrah, would a just and righteous God kill all the inhabitants and thereby kill the righteous with the wicked? God says, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”
Now we know in chapter 19 those 10 righteous folk are not located. Not only are there not ten righteous folk, but the inhabitants lose their minds in their desire to rape the visitors. The behavior of Sodom and Gomorrah is the exact opposite towards visitors as Abraham’s. Lot however behaves like Abraham and God saves Lot and his family from destruction, although Lot’s wife will shortly succumb to temptation.
Today, we must not forget this lesson in hospitality and intercession. We must show our faith and love by being generous with others and faithful to God. We must pray before the throne to intercede on behalf of others so they might be redeemed and saved. This function of faith is an important in Christianity as it was in the Hebrew tradition, but for many Christians, I think we have forgotten our call to love our neighbor as ourselves.