Its the start of the 52 Days of Prayers! How did you get on with today’s reading? Did you understand it or did you think, what on Earth is this about?
Did you ask yourself the questions that I spoke about yesterday?
What do I like about this bit of the Bible?
What don’t I like about it?
What does this tell me about God?
What does this tell me about me?
What do I need to go and do about it?
Today we’ve been reading the story in Genesis 18 about Abraham bargaining for the city of Sodom. The story goes that three men visit Abraham, one of whom is God himself. As they get up to leave two of the men head off to Sodom leaving God to hang back talking to Abraham.
God explains that people in the city are so wicked that God feels that he has no choice but to destroy the city. Abraham asks God if that is the correct course of action, what if there are 50 good people in the city, is it fair to destroy it all? God says ok if there are 50 good people, then I won’t destroy the city.
Abraham takes a moment and then asks God, what if there are only 45 good people will he still destroy the city for the sake of 5 people? God says ok then, no, if there are 45 good people in the city he won’t destroy it.
Abraham seems emboldened by God’s answer and tries again and again, asking if there are 40 people, 30 people and then finally, if there are 10 good people in the city will he still destroy them along with all the wicked people? And God says no he won’t.
A few things have come to mind as I read this.
In this story, it isn’t Abraham that comes to God, but God who came to Abraham and made himself available for Abraham’s questioning. God hung back, waiting for questions. It might say that Abraham drew close but that means he turned his mind to focus on God. God was already there. Isn’t that a great thought! That we don’t have to approach God, he is waiting to hear what we have to say. We just have to talk, like a you talk to any other friend.
God doesn’t mind when we question what he is doing. He has made space for us to talk to him. When we don’t understand, God is happy to listen to and answer our concerns.
And God is willing to show mercy when we stand in the gap between him and a place just as Abraham did. The fancy Christian word for this is to intercede. It basically means to ask God on behalf of someone else, often someone in trouble or difficulty.
And like Abraham prayed for the people of Sodom, it is important for us to pray for our town or city or country. To pray for the leaders in those places and to pray for peace and good things to be there. Our prayers really do make a difference. Your prayers, my prayers could be the difference between a place being a fabulous place to live and a place that is going to ruin.
So tonight, I’m not going to leave God waiting for me, I’m going to tell him, confidently, about my concerns for my town and my country. And I’m going to commit again to stand in the gap and regularly pray for the nations of the world.
See you tomorrow.
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