Father Abraham: High Level Negotiation


Genesis 18:16-33

For me, this passage is amazing, one of the most amazing in all of Scripture. I say this for two reasons, first because we see into the mind of God as he considers what to do next and second because we see Abraham actually influencing to some degree, God’s plan through his intercession.

The visit mentioned in the previous post has ended and the Three are leaving Abraham’s place to go into town, for they have received information about the terrific conditions in the city of Sodom; they intend to investigate these allegations. As they are walking, the Lord considers whether or not He should tell Abraham what their mission is (18:16-19).  Then the Lord seems to have decided to brief Abraham and he said:

“The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.” (18:20-21)

For most of us, we think of Sodom and Gomorrah as places full of wild sex parties of all sorts, but that wasn’t what the “outcry” was really all about. If you read carefully the passages dealing with Sodom, you will see that these wild carrying-ons included mass rapes involving children and whole families; this place was no pleasure den, it was a house of horrors. Yet there was an outcry so not everyone was willing to indulge, and hence, the Lord wants to investigate before acting.

In 13:22-33 Abraham enters the picture and asks God not to judge the innocent with the guilty, asking that he spare the city for the sake of 50 righteous, then 40 and step by step on down to 10 righteous, and God agrees. God’s purpose in judging remains the same; if this is true, then he will put a stop to it, but He will spare those who were not part of the debauchery.

Abraham was cited multiple times in the New Testament as a model of faithfulness. Abraham had a relationship with God, a covenant relationship, and when he went to God to intercede on behalf of the righteous of Sodom, God granted Abraham’s requests; He answered Abraham’s prayers.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have a relationship with God, a covenant relationship. We also can have access to His presence to bring intercession for the righteous in various situations. What does this story tell us about God’s willingness to hear our prayers for the righteous?

Yes, exactly, there’s some Christmas hope for you!


About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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14 Responses to Father Abraham: High Level Negotiation

  1. Barbara Lane says:

    Sadly, I don’t think we really realize how important our prayers can be.

  2. In my book “Christianity & Islam: The Contrast” (to help Christians understand Islam, and Muslims understand Christianity) I have one entire chapter for the Muslims who cannot comprehend Jesus being God in flesh called “Jesus’ Life Before He Was Born”. It’s a long chapter because he appeared and spoke to quite a few people in OT times.

  3. BelleUnruh says:

    I love this story because of how God talks this over with Abraham and listens to his arguments. I believe God listens to all of us like this. Also, I think God wanted us all to know that there were no good people in Sodom but Lot. You are right, it was a house of horrors. If there was a city like that here, the military would be called in!

    People say God was mean to kill all the people of a city or of a nation. I used to wonder about that. But then I read about how the Canaanites worshiped their gods with offering live babies on an alter of fire etc. According to a commentary I read, some of the idol sexual worship may have involved children when Israel worshiped idols.

    I think God puts up with a lot from human beings, but then they go too far and he has to step in so they won’t keep hurting people. I think the story of Sodom shows this since, as you said, people were crying out to God about Sodom. Who knows how many people they raped to death.

    • Don Merritt says:

      All I know for sure is that things were so twisted that something had to be done, and God Himself stepped in and put a stop to i in a way that brought swift justice to the guilty.

  4. Citizen Tom says:

    It is a curious thing. Did Abraham actually influence God? An idol we have made. That we can imagine influencing. The Creator? The text can be interpreted that way. Yet we are told to pray in the Lord’s will, and that I guess Abraham did. Prayer is something that puzzles me more than anything.

  5. Pingback: The Father Abraham:Story by Don Merritt | franciscansonthemountains

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