There has been lots of speculation about the 3 men who visit abraham in this chapter, but I really don’t care. Some say its the trinity, or 2 were angels and one was the Lord himself in human form. Two angels arrive at Sodom in chapter 19:1, which supports the angels idea. Abraham does address them as “my Lord” the first time he speaks with them. When I read it I assumed the Lord was in addition to the 3 men, and he spoke to Abraham as he did in the previous chapter, just with a voice of God or in his head or something.
Anyway the point is, its a holy visitation and Abraham instantly recognises that and treats them with as VIPs. If they are angels, we now know they like bread and veal!
Sarah laughs, probably with delight as well as at the ridiculousness of it, when she hears of their mission to promise her a son. Then lies about it, and they correct her.
This is now the fourth time god has promised that Sarah and Abraham will have a son. They take lot of convincing. If only they had the benefit of the scriptures, they would know that extreme conception is one of God’s most beloved ways of showing his intervention in a birth.
Pretty much everything about the argument between God and Abraham over Sodom is remarkable. Firstly, the Lord has an interior monologue when he wonders if he should tell Abraham about the destruction planned for the city. I mean, its probably a rhetorical question, he’s probably meaning “as if I’d hide this from Abraham, the chosen one”. But its a weird detail. Shows how relational god is. He’s sort if thinking about how to “sell” it to Abraham.
Abraham is invested in his plea for the good not to be destroyed with the bad, as his relative Lot lives in Sodom.
Is what follows a bargain? It has the structure of haggling, like beating down the price in a marketplace. But God was perhaps always going to spare the righteous, so by asking the questions, Abraham is simply learning and revealing the extent of God’s mercy, or indeed the extent of Sodom’s (and our) depravity. When I read this previously, I thought it was showing that no one is righteous, it was about original sin. But that reading forgot the family connection.
What I take from it is the way Abraham speaks to and is spoken to, the immedicacy of the communcation. I think listening to God is about listening to yourself, the prompts that you often surpress.
This is the character of God.
If someone new comes into your life who seems to be very significant, but you can’t say specfically why, perhaps god sent them.
Don’t be daunted when a scenario that might involve a laughably ridiculous blessing pops into your mind. Perhaps god has that in mind too.
If you are caught lying to god, move on. He knows we lie and he knows the truth.
Don’t be afraid to struggle with god if something does not make sense. Perhaps a greater blessing awaits.
Don’t be afraid to put the minutiae of your family or other concerns into the bigger picture of the fate of nations. God loves everyone, and knows how many hairs are on their heads.
Praise God who is with us, and is love