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by | Feb 12, 2024 | Relationship

The LORD said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?’ … Then Abraham drew near and said, ‘Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will You then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?’ And the LORD said, ‘If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’ Abraham answered and said, ‘Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will You destroy the whole city for lack of five?’ And He said, ‘I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there'” Again He spoke to Him and said, ‘Suppose forty are found there.’ He answered, ‘For the sake of forty I will not do it.’ Then he said, ‘Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.’ He answered, ‘I will not do it, if I find thirty there.’ He said, ‘Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.’ He answered, ‘For the sake of the twenty I will not destroy it.’ Then he said, ‘Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”

(Genesis 18:17-18, 23-32 ESV)

There is the strangest mixture of reverence and cheek in this story, and I absolutely love it. God is planning to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah—but He doesn’t just go ahead and do it. Instead, He deliberately stops at Abraham’s tent, and why? So that Abraham can try to talk Him out of it, apparently.

And that’s what Abraham does. Oh, he is reverent enough. He is always aware that he is talking to the Almighty God. But look what he does! He bargains God down. What about 50? What about 45? And so forth and so on, until he’s talked God down to ten people. He sounds like a used car dealer!

How can Abraham get away with this? The answer lies in intimacy. Abraham is a child in God’s family, and children can say things to their fathers that no outsider could ever say. And God welcomes it.

This is the kind of relationship God invites us into, as well. He is not looking for distant worshippers, people who are afraid to say “boo” to Him. He is looking for people who will trust Him as a child trusts a good father. This is why Jesus suffered, died, and rose again—so that all of us who trust Him may become children of God and live in this sort of love with Him.

Prayer: Dear Father, teach me to trust You and love You with this sort of closeness. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on July 19, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved

Reflection Questions:
1. Tell about a time when you said or did something to a friend or family member that outsiders would consider cheeky, but in your relationship, it was right.
2. Does God make you nervous? Why or why not?
3. Do you ever argue with God? Why or why not?