Bargaining with God (Genesis 18:16-33)
If you shop yard sales, garage sales or estate sales, chances are you are looking to bargain for the things you wish to buy. In retail stores you know that if the price tag says $19.95, you’re going to pay $19.95, so you don’t bother to dicker about the price. But at rummage sales, there’s a possibility the seller is willing to haggle over the price. If you’re good enough at the game (which I’m not), you might only pay $10 instead of $20. You can get some good deals if you’re good at bargaining.
Can you imagine being brave enough to bargain with God? When you’re bargaining with a seller, you hold the money and he holds the merchandise. You each have something the other wants, so you have some bargaining power. But when it comes to God, He holds everything! So it may come as a surprise that the first instance of intercessory prayer found in the Bible shows Abraham bargaining with God!
You may think Abraham to be a bit bold in this story. But if you look closer, you discover that God was actually encouraging Abraham in his prayer. God took the initiative by revealing His plan to Abraham, His friend, who was moved to pray, based on what he knew of God’s nature, for a sin-sick city that staggered on the brink of judgment. The lesson in this story is:
The knowledge of God’s purpose and God’s character should move us to pray for a world under judgment.