Many episodes in the Old Testament are vivid, capture life in the Middle East, and would have resonated powerfully with early listeners, as they do with folks in many parts of the world today. Bargaining is part of everyday life in the Middle East - just travel to the Holy Land - you will discover that in the first shop you visit! Why wouldn’t Abraham bargain with God to save the people of Sodom? He had relatives living there! This passage communicates the closeness of Abraham’s relationships with God; he is comfortable conversing with God and negotiating. We can also see God’s openness to Abraham, God’s willingness to bargain. (Is the number 10 significant? Well, in Judaism, at least 10 men (a minyan) are required for public worship.) How did the negotiating turn out? While Abraham’s plan to save his nephew Lot by bargaining to save the city failed, his family was spared. By whom? The very visitors who had traveled from their visit to Abraham (last Sunday’s reading) to the city of Sodom! Whether bargaining is part of our life or not, we can ask God to help us learn about prayer through this passage. Perhaps our prayer could become more like the personal relationship we see here.

Sunday, July 24, 2016