“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? For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him… Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me…’
“Abraham still stood before the Lord. 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? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked!.. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?’ And the Lord said, ‘If I find at Sodom fifty righteous, 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, ‘Suppose twenty are found there.’ He answered, ‘For the sake of 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.’ And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.” Genesis 18:17-33
God had special plans for Abraham, and decided to confide in him about His judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah to put on full display His holy character and ways. Abraham drew near, and with each give and take, their conversation taught Abraham a little more about God’s holiness, long-suffering, mercy, patience, and love for this father of the nation of Israel. Familiarity and intimacy unfold and flower with each new request, each gentle answer.
God ordains heart-rending situations to take us deeper with Him. He knows the plans He has for us, and what will be required in days and years to come. He knows what we need to learn about Him, about choices and consequences, tough love, and persevering in prayer until He is finished speaking. He invites us to approach His throne in conversation and need, and converses with us, His friends. (Jeremiah 29:11; John 15:15; Hebrews 4:16)
In life’s conundrums, do we shrink back helplessly, cower in panic, or draw near to God in confidence? What has He revealed that beckons us closer in trust?
Lord, may Your sharing confidences with me help me grow more confident in Your goodness, mercy, and love.