A Bargain With God –

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Have you ever made a bargain with God?  A bargain with God is when you promise to do something for God if God will do what you ask God to do.  The notion of a “Bargain with God” is arrogant in and of itself. In my youth, growing up in my parents’ home, sometimes in the middle of the night I would wake up and tip-toe downstairs to get a cold glass of water from the refrigerator.  The staircase was dark.  The hallway was dark.  The kitchen was dark.  As I would approach the kitchen I sometimes would initiate a conversation with God which would go something like this: “  God, I know you are real.  I know you are here.  Why don’t you show yourself to me in the kitchen?”

Once I would stand at the threshold to the kitchen, I would feel along the wall until I could feel the light switch and the deal with God was off.  As I think back upon that time in my life, the more I consider my conversation with the Lord, the more arrogant it seems.  I still wake up in the middle of the night and go downstairs to get a drink of water, but now I just go for the water and skip trying to seek a personal audience with the Lord.

The arrogance of attempting to create a bargain with God begins with the notion that a human being has the power to define the parameters of a deal with God.  David teaches us in

 Psalm 100: 3         Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. [1]

This Sunday I will be preaching a sermon entitled, “A Bargain with God” based on the conversation Abraham has with the angels who are set to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.  Remember, Abraham has a nephew, Lot, who is living near these two cities.  Word of the wickedness of the two cities has made it all the way to heaven and God is sending the angels to check it out first hand before blowing them to smithereens.  Abraham asks the angels if God will kill the righteous with the wicked?  The angels tell him, no, God will not kill the righteous with the wicked.

If you are in the Detroit area this Sunday, I hope you will stop by the Plymouth United Church of Christ, 600 E. Warren Ave. and check out, “The Bargain With God.”  The focus scripture is verse 23- Genesis 18: 23 Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?[2]

The larger passage is a beautiful example of Abraham looking out for his nephew Lot, and raising the question before the angels – “Will God slay the righteous with the wicked”

          Genesis 18: 22 So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26 And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.” 27 Abraham answered, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29 Again he spoke to him, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” 30 Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” 31 He said, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” 32 Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” 33 And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place. [3]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your thoughts about when Abraham questions God regarding slaying the righteous with the wicked?
  2. Have you ever attempted to make a deal or bargain with God? Why?
  3. What is your experience when trying to bargain with God?

 

Prayer:

My Lord and my God, help me to remember that you are the creator and not that which has been created.  Help me to understand your ways and your thoughts.  Grant that I might never attempt to place myself on your level.  Teach me to accept your teaching, your blessings and your love. Empower me to hope without limit, to dream beyond fear, and to love without constraint.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 100:3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ge 18:23). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ge 18:22–33). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.