The relationship between mankind and the God of Abraham was clearly a very personal one; one in which they talked, and spoke to one another. Abraham was, of course quite respectful of the privilege, and always used the most subservient language in those conversations. But that respect did not stop the man from mounting, what we could call, and argument with God. The 18 chapter of Genesis tells the story.
The Lord heard about the sinfulness of those two towns, Sodom and Gomorrah. We don’t know what the sin was, but evidently it was something The Lord didn’t like; and he decided to sweep the whole population of both places away, and the men following God’s command started toward the two towns.
Abraham though remained standing before the Lord, and raised an issue with a question, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” followed by a supposition, “Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Shall not the judge of all the Earth do what is just?” And, the Lord saw the reason in Abraham’s argument and relented. If there were indeed fifty righteous, he would not sweep it away.
But that wasn’t the end of it, because Abraham continued the conversation, asking next, “What if there are 45 righteous?” and then 40, and 30 until he had whittled the number down to ten; and the Lord answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” And thus this leaves us to conclude that God is approachable; that God can show mercy when asked; and God is generous to those who approach him with legitimate prayer and concern.
Jesus also taught about prayer. The Apostles had been watching him when he was in prayer, and when done, asked him to teach them how to pray. He did that and gave them a form to use which we all do today when we join and repeat the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father who art in Heaven...”
He also went on to teach us and the Apostles that God is approachable, and because He loves all who do his will, he will surely give us what we ask for. Jesus cites the example of how we act when our children ask for things: If your child asks for an egg, will you give him a scorpion? He then finishes by saying, “How much more will the heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
Talk to God. Ask, and you shall receive. Amen
The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.