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by Ron Rose
Face to Face with God
    While Abraham was still basking in the news of a coming son, God shared his plans to destroy the notoriously wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham was immediately concerned, since his nephew Lot was living there at the time. With cautious audacity Abraham bargained for the fate of the cities. The creature dared to reason with the Creator, and the Creator was willing to listen.

The LORD said, “Should I tell Abraham what I am going to do now? ... “I have heard many complaints against the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. They are very evil. I will go down and see if they are as bad as I have heard...” Abraham stood there before the LORD. Then Abraham approached him and asked ... “Surely you will not destroy the good people along with the evil ones .... You are the judge of all the earth. Won’t you do what is right?”... Then Abraham said, “Though I am only dust and ashes, I have been brave to speak to the Lord.”
GENESIS 18:17-27
    Abraham asked God if he would destroy the cities if fifty good people could be found there. God agreed to spare the cities if fifty good people could be found. Like negotiators searching for common ground, Abraham haggled with God from fifty, to forty-five, to forty, to thirty, to twenty, to ten. Abraham stopped there, not daring to go any farther. Ultimately, ten good people could not be found, and after Lot and his family were rescued, God totally destroyed the corrupt cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    The conversation was unprecedented and striking. The tent-dwelling, altar-building, promise-believing man from Ur stood nervously toe to toe with his God, and God allowed it. Not only did he allow it, he was willing to modify the plans of heaven at Abraham’s request.

Reflection: God not only shared his plan with Abraham, he even allowed Abraham to stand toe to toe, eye to eye and humbly challenge him. This open, straightforward approach to God is assuring. God allows his people to learn more about his actions and concerns and intentions, even if our knowledge comes as a result of questioning. God listens and takes our concerns seriously.


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