When the oppressed cry out

20 Then the Lord said, “The cries of injustice from Sodom and Gomorrah are countless, and their sin is very serious! 21 I will go down now to examine the cries of injustice that have reached me. Have they really done all this? If not, I want to know.” (Gen. 18:20-21)

When the cries of the oppressed have reached the ears of God, he will come down. 

This is a powerful story… and not for reasons that are just too easy to use as “targets” in our cultural wars.

The story is powerful because God visits Abraham FIRST before going to examine the situation in Sodom and Gomorrah. He knows Abraham will talk to HIM about the situation, and Abraham will plead for the city.

The story is powerful because God hears the cries of the oppressed. Sodom and Gomorrah were not “neighborly” in any sense of the word. They were abusive in EVERY sense of the word (which is far beyond the narrow cultural war view we take today.)

The story is powerful because Abraham does indeed intercede, even though God ultimately has to act.

These two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl have raised more awareness this year than any other year to human trafficking. There are dozens of teams representing hundreds of people in New York/New Jersey these two weeks talking about human trafficking because Super Bowl week is a HIGH traffic time for sexual abuse and prostitution.

This past week was also the commemoration of Roe v. Wade and the prayers of many who went up asking God to hear the cries of those who never got to utter their first cry.

There are abuses in so many places and there will be a time when those cries will reach the ears of the Father and action will be taken.

It’s not one tiny sliver of sin. We don’t get to pick the sins according to our political beliefs. It’s greed. It’s sexual abuse. It’s selfishness. It’s physical abuse. It’s marginalizing the poor. On and on. It’s across the political spectrum and every one of stand in the need of prayer and repentance.

The question is this: are we the kinds of people where God would come and talk to us because he knows we would take up intercession on behalf of the city? Or, does he pass us by because all we’ll do is say, “Yep. Burn ’em up!”

Let us hear the cries of the oppressed. Let us pray on behalf of the oppressed. Let us pray for the sake of the righteous. Let us hear what God is trying to stir in our hearts for the purposes of intercession. 

Consider These Numbers

The Super Bowl last week garnered a record number of viewers in the U.S. : 111.3 million.

Hundreds of players in the NFL train year round for the opportunity to square off on television’s biggest stage. Only two teams and few dozen players will make that stage. One team walks off the LOSER.

But they train like maniacs for months to get to that stage so that over one hundred million people can see them. They train for glory.

And the world population is around 6.8 billion.

These players put their bodies through a lot of discipline and 99.8% of the world will NOT see what they are doing. Yet, they do it willingly. It is the glory of the game. It is fleeting. Everyone knows the Giants won’t repeat next year. It’s the NFL. It’s rare to get to the Super Bowl even in back to back years, let alone win.

For that very fleeting glory those men are willing to lay it on the line.

Meanwhile, millions of Christians have the opportunity to “play” for eternal glory. Not for the adoration of millions of viewers. It is for an audience of One. And it is not simply to be noticed by the One. It is the opportunity to lay it all on the line so that OTHERS can have the chance to see the One…

And we can’t get ourselves out of bed sometimes. We think about going to church for worship. We scramble to find our Bibles. We give our pocket change to missions.

Anything wrong with this picture?

24 Don’t you know that all the runners in the stadium run, but only one gets the prize? So run to win. 25 Everyone who competes practices self-discipline in everything. The runners do this to get a crown of leaves that shrivel up and die, but we do it to receive a crown that never dies. 26 So now this is how I run—not without a clear goal in sight. I fight like a boxer in the ring, not like someone who is shadowboxing. 27 Rather I’m landing punches on my own body and subduing it like a slave. I do this to be sure that I myself won’t be disqualified after preaching to others.(1 Cor. 9:24-27, CEB)