To my ABQ Dwelling Ladies: Who would have had a knowing smile and eyes that said “Just let her talk.” for the ladies in my BSF group tonight.
Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
The question on my BSF homework lesson said:
“Since God already knew the number of righteous men in Sodom, why do you think He let Abraham continue in his prayers?”
My written answer said:
“God is in relationship with Abraham and they spoke as friends.”
Really Leah? That’s all you’ve got?
Yes. It is. At the time that I was doing the lesson I once again did mental gymnastics over the omniscience of God. So in response I wrote down the simplest answer hoping I wouldn’t be called on.
So you know what happened right? You guessed it…I was called on for my answer. And wouldn’t you know it…right in the middle of my doubt, the Holy Spirit moved. I opened my mouth and that written answer did not come out that way it was on my paper. Instead the ladies in our group were witnesses to what happens when the Holy Spirit needs to get my attention…and does so in a public way.
My verbal answer went something like this…
Well, God is in relationship with Abraham and that they are friends. <deep breath> But the question says “Since GOD already knew….” And yes…GOD already knew. But God also knew that Abraham didn’t already know. So God let Abraham talk. He let Abraham bring what he needed to bring. He let Abraham speak his fear and his doubt and his concern.
I think God does that with us sometimes.
This passage reminds me of Exodus 32 & 33 where Moses and God are talking about the sin of the people. God has declared that He will give them the promised land but that He will not go with them. And Moses questions God about His decision.
In Genesis 18 Abraham says “Shall not the judge of all the world do right?” But Abraham knew…OF COURSE HE WILL.
In Exodus 33 Moses says “How will folks know that your people and I have found grace in your sight if you won’t go with us??” But Moses knew…OF COURSE HE’S GOING WITH US.
But the conversation isn’t FOR God. The conversation is for God’s friend.
God says “What do you think about My plan?”
And we cry “WHY GOD WHY?”
God says “Keep talking.”
And we cry “FAR BE IT FOR YOU GOD TO <fill in the blank>!!!”‘
God motions sweetly and says “Keep talking friend.”
And before we even know it, like Abraham or Moses, we are reminding God of who He is.
“God you are ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgressions and sin…” (And yes…I miraculously rattled off a passage of scripture from Ex 34:6-7 that I have never memorized!)
Ultimately the conversation isn’t for Him. He sure as heck doesn’t need to be reminded of His own nature. Right? The conversation is for us. He walks us through our doubt, back to the place where we can remember what it is we know about Him.
Then we finally say “I still don’t know why God. But I still know YOU, God. Do what you came to do.”
I finished the last 3 lines holding back my ugly cry. And when I finally shut up the ladies all looked at me with varying degrees of wonder. As in “I wonder if she’s off her meds.” Or “I wonder if she knows she just talked 100 miles an hour?” Or “I wonder how she fit all that in the 1/2 space on our paper to write our answers.
Here’s what I know for sure.
Not a word of that was for those ladies. If they got something from it…terrific. But that was all for me.
God and I have been in a season for quite some time. I’m still God’s friend. We still talk a lot. But I have been saying “WHY GOD WHY?” about a lot of things and God’s answer has been “Keep talking.” God is walking me through my doubts, fears, and concerns. He’s not ready to give me details of the plan. But God is ready to remind me of who He is and what I know…again.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy one of Israel,
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you.
He will be with you,
He will not leave you nor forsake you;
do not fear or be dismayed.”
“You are My flock, the flock of My pasture;
you are my people and I am your God.”
says the Lord God.”
“You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall deliver me with songs of deliverance.”
“Therefore I will look to the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
My God will hear me.”