Spiritual Analysis- Genesis 18:27-32

27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:

28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.

29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.

30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.

31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.

32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.

Abraham beseeched the Lord to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if there were fifty righteous people therein, and God had assented. Now we have this sequence where Abraham repeatedly petitions the Lord, seeing if He is willing to spare it for fewer and fewer righteous souls.

It’s natural to see this as a sort of bartering between and Abraham and God, though they are not haggling at extremes and meeting in the middle, as with the typical markets. Instead Abraham is procedurally seeking out the very limits of God’s mercy.

And while Abraham is concerned for the righteous, it is not as if that same concerns is absent from God, Himself. Ultimately God will be even more merciful than Abraham’s final plea asked for. God will only find Lot and his family as being worthy, which is less than ten souls, but He will lead Lot and his family to safety before destroying the city.

Perhaps we sometimes feel the need to convince God to not just be good, but to be very good, like Abraham was doing. And I imagine that He’s rather amused at our concern in those moments, for He is always intending to be much more good than we could even ask for!

Spiritual Analysis- Genesis 18:23-26

23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

26 And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

The Lord had just brought Abraham into His plans, informing Him that Sodom and Gomorrah would soon be destroyed, and Abraham took the opportunity to speak up for any righteous people that might live in that city. Perhaps Abraham’s thoughts were specifically with his nephew Lot, who had gone to dwell in that land.

I examined these same verses back in March, and what stood out to me was how Abraham’s chief concern was not that the guilty might escape their just punishment, but that the innocent might be unjustly condemned. His perspective is focused on the good in the world and trying to save it, rather than on destroying the evil.

Of course God knows better than Abraham the state of the city and what He will find there, but He still takes Abraham’s concern seriously. In this way He shows care for His son’s heart. And even though the outcome will still be the same, He is willing to do what He can to ease Abraham’s mind on the matter.

Spiritual Analysis- Genesis 18:16-21

16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.

17 And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

20 And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

I’m not sure if there are any other passages in the Bible that give as clear a picture into the mind of the Lord as this one does. We see how He weighs the quality of Abraham before telling Him that He will destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

And this marks an important shift in the relationship between Abraham and God. This is God opening up to Abraham about His private plans, plans that deal with other people and not just Abraham. He is inviting Abraham to give Him his opinion, to counsel with Him, to be a partner and not just a servant. Jesus called out this exact sort of shift in relationship in John 15:15: “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends.”

And, as we will see tomorrow, Abraham does have counsel to offer. He will make a case to God, and God will take it very seriously because He respects Abraham’s opinion.

Spiritual Analysis- Genesis 18:9-15

9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.

10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

13 And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?

14 Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh

I find this passage rather comical. Sarah finds the Lord’s promise incredulous and inwardly laughs. But of course, with God no inward thought is private. When He calls her out she tries to deny it, but He reiterates “nay; but thou didst laugh.”

And then He drops it. He reproved her for doubting Him and corrected her for lying to Him, but He doesn’t need to punish her for having a moment of everyday human incredulity.

Because Sarah’s behavior is actually very common. When we speak with God we frequently forget just who it is we’re talking to. I, myself, have tried to bargain with Him and con Him, I’ve made promises that I knew I wouldn’t keep, and I’ve quickly disbelieved His declarations of love. I’ve made the mistake of seeing Him as just another man, and He has called me out on that. But then, as with Sarah, He has also patiently waited for me to take Him seriously so we can move forward.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 18:1-8

1 And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:

5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.

7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.

8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

I decided to include all eight above verses because I wanted to stress how Abraham went above and beyond when caring for the Lord and His companions. He ran to meet the Lord and His companions where they were, he bowed before them, he offered food, he had their feet washed, he went beyond the promised “morsel of bread” to fresh cakes, veal, milk, and butter, and he gave them this sudden feast under the pleasant shade of a tree, standing attentively by while they ate.

Is there any question how Abraham views his relation to the Lord? Is there any doubt of the immense respect that he has to Him? Abraham reveres the Lord. He knows that he is God’s servant, and he insists upon serving Him to the utmost of his capabilities. And as I read this passage I am swept with a feeling of “I wish I were a servant like that.”