Vol.XI No.XII Pg.1
February 1975

Pleading With God

Robert F. Turner

Gen. 18:23-33 records what at first appears to be a con game. Abraham reminds God that it would be unjust to destroy the righteous of Sodom and Gomorrah along with the wicked; and seems to imply that since the cities are home to any who may be righteous, the cities might be spared for their sake. Then God, agreeing to spare the city for fifty righteous, is asked, peradventure there shall lack five-and so on, until God had agreed to spare the city for ten righteous men.

Before rejecting this as a cheap bargaining with God, consider Abrahams unselfish concern for others, his humility (vs. 27,30,32), and most of all, the use of his God-given privilege to plead, in his own style, with his Maker. Apparently God listened as long as Abraham pled. Compare this with the importunity and persistence with which Christ urges to pray (Lu. 11:5-f; 18:1-8). When our children make childish requests are we insulted, or do we appreciate their confidence and faith that my dad can do anything. Abraham may have shown us all an open gate. Study each phrase of the following comment. Delitzsch observes (K.&D., Vol. 1, p. 231): This seemingly commercial kind of entreaty is... the essence of true prayer. It is the holy anaideia of which our Lord speaks in Lu. 11:8, the shamelessness of faith, which bridges over the infinite distance of the creature from the Creator, appeals with importunity to the heart of God, and ceases not till its point is gained.

This would indeed be neither permissible nor possible, had not God, by virtue of the mysterious interlacing of necessity and freedom in His nature and operation, granted a power to the prayer of faith, to which He consents to yield; had He not, by virtue of His absoluteness, which is anything but blind necessity, placed Himself in such a relation to men, that He not merely works upon them by means of His grace, but allows them to work upon Him by means of their faith; had He not interwoven the life of the free creature into His own absolute life, and accorded to a created personality the right to assert itself in faith, in distinction from His own. (Re-read, carefully.)