Genesis 18: 16-33
Abraham Pleads for Sodom and Gomorrah
16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.[c] 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 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.”
22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord.[d] 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[e] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.” 29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?” He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.” 30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?” He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.” 32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more.What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
Last week’s devotional focused on praying our way through uncertain and difficult times and yielding to the will of God. This week let us remember that we all belong to a larger community.
In Genesis 18 Abraham talks with God and shows hospitality to three men who are believed to be angels. During this encounter Abraham learns that Sarah will bare him a son and that God will destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. What I find interesting about this scene is that Abraham spends no time discussing the details of his future son. Instead he negotiates with God for the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah. Other than maybe his nephew Lot, Abraham had nothing to lose in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet, Abraham spends his time of transition and uncertainty talking to God (praying) focused on the welfare of others. Others who Abraham had very little in common with other than shared humanity. Even more ironic is that God mentions Abraham being a blessing to all nations as justification for telling Abraham that Sodom and Gomorrah would be destroyed.
For at least this week, let us all try to imagine the types of blessings God could bestow upon us if God knew that we would still give priority to the those around us regardless of what we presumably have in common. What could God do with us if we truly valued the welfare of others? What would our prayer life look like if we trusted God’s providence for us so much that we wanted that favor passed on others?