WEEK TWO, DAY TWO, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK TWO THEME: PRAYER
DAY TWO TITLE: THE GOD OF PRAYER
SCRIPTURE: GENESIS 18:16-33
SCRIPTURE SNIPPET: “Abraham was walking along with them to send them off when the Lord said, ‘Will I keep from Abraham what I’m about to do? Abraham will certainly become a great populous nation, and all the earth’s nations will be blessed because of him. I have formed a relationship with him so that he will oversee his children and his household after him. And they will keep to the Lords path, being moral and just so that the Lord can do for Abraham everything he said he would.’ The the Lord said, ‘The cries of injustice from Sodom and Gomorrah are countless, and their sin is very serious! 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.’ …… Abraham approached and said, ‘Will you really sweep away the innocent with the guilty? What if there are fifty innocent people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not save the place for the sake of the fifty innocent people in it? It’s not like you to do this, killing the innocent with the guilty as if there were no difference. It’s not like you! Will the judge of all the earth not act justly?’
PONDERINGS: Before the Exodus, before the Prophets and Priests, there was Abraham and God. Abraham and God have a very special relationship. I think Abraham picked up the desired relationship God had for the Garden of Eden before the Fall. God and Abraham visited together and discussed things, and God is aware that Abraham is a righteous man. God knows Abraham’s heart and his diligent obedience. They were trusted and open friends with the proper respect. Abraham visited openly with God and followed God’s lead with his life. In this incident, God (the Lord / my Lord) and a few others have been visiting. When the visit had come to an end, the ‘Lord’ commented to the ‘others’, “Will I keep from Abraham what I’m about to do?” … Should I tell Abraham? I’m sure that Abraham was on his seat’s edge with curiosity. But when he learned the plan, his curiosity turned to devastation on behalf of any righteous “others” that might abide in Sodom, especially Lot and his family.
Abraham’s open relationship with God is obvious as he questions God seven times about his intentions with the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah in light of the righteous ones who are surely there too. He poses some scenarios beginning with a lofty, “What if there are fifty righteous people there” and then working it all the way down in small increments til he gets to ten – “What if there are ten?” God promises after each of the seven inquiries that he wouldn’t destroy it should he find the current number that Abraham is working with there. Each time, Abraham’s request is accepted and agreed upon. Each time, Abraham second guesses his request. He, too, must be aware of all that is going on in Sodom and Gomorrah, but his empathy and compassion for both loved ones and innocent folks engulfs him. He prays on behalf of his loved ones and those who are innocent. He’s not sure exactly how many of them have remained righteous, but he “bargains” for at least ten… if there are only ten left, may they please be spared.
Abraham is bold – in the Common English Bible Version, Abraham says to God, “It’s not like you to do this, killing the innocent with the guilty as if there were no difference. It’s not like you! Will the judge of all the earth not act justly?” His zeal for innocence is impressive, and here he is pleading on their behalf. This may be one of the very first intercessory prayers of the Bible. He implores the God of the universe to be just in his decision.
Abraham is respectful. He seems to recognize the fact that he may be pushing the limits with these continued requests, but he kindly and confidently pushes on. And God is patient. He hears the heart of Abraham and the love for his family members who may be destroyed not because of their own actions but because of those around them. He is pleading for their safety and wholeness.
God loves his own, and visits with them and God is always at work. He visits with Abraham on his way to observe the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah. God takes time to hear each of Abraham’s requests even though it is clearly time for him to press on with the situation at hand. God is not in a hurry and doesn’t scold Abraham for any of his requests. Abraham makes specific requests and then expounds on them. Abraham is empathizing with the situation and caring for those he knows and those he may not know. The people do not know what is coming – that this is their day of judgment, but Abraham does and he involves himself through prayer – open, honest, risky communication with God the Father.
Likewise, as children of God in line with Abraham and through the blood of Jesus, I/we have that same ability in my/our realtionship with God. I can visit with him and just enjoy His company and I can come to Him with all my concerns both personally and for others – even others I really don’t know but who are just on my heart. Maybe our Godlikeness in the moment encourages God’s heart. The very nature of God would have been concerned even for ten anyway. God is not a destroyer of good and he doesn’t slight the righteous just because they live in a bad neighborhood. No, God knows the number of hairs on each of his children’s head, and he will never leave nor forsake not even one.
The “kingdom” picture here for me is that Abraham went to bat for others that he knew or maybe didn’t know that are doing their best to lead a righteous life amist a world of evil, and this act of love and compassion for others means the world to God’s heart. Here is God’s friend, Abraham, caring selflessly and carelessly for others. Love is extended to the heart of God on behalf of others. Abraham “gets it” and God is pleased to listen patiently to Abraham and honor his prayer. As I am able to walk ever more closely with my God, I am also ever more concerned for all the ‘others’ out there. I hear of a horrible offenses or wrongs and immediately feel the pain those involved must also feel. I identify and care when anybody else’s sweet grandbaby is suffering because I know how much I love my grands and never want to see them suffer – NEVER. Through God we are all linked – part of a great big huge extended family – and my prayers are to always be ready to reach out in love and care for the other as if it were myself or my own.
This is God’s Kingdom – right here, right now- He will handle the evil – He is the judge and though it is easy to think I know best how to judge, it is not my job. My job is to go humbly and directly to My Father and care for those who are innocently caught in a situation, but not the root of the situation. God will judge, and he will judge righteously and with full authority. I will pray for righteousness and wholeness always and everywhere. Thanks for the example, “Father “Abraham.