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Greg Brothers is an Adventist pastor in Oregon.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Such a deal!

Abraham was not the man you’d send out to buy a good used car – not if you could help it.

No, the sad fact is that Abraham got snookered just about every time he tried to make a deal. Think of what happened, for instance, the time things got too crowded for both him and his nephew.

Abraham: “Lot, it’s time we split up – and since it’s only polite, I will give you the opportunity to choose first just exactly where you want to go. Then you will defer to me as the eldest, and once you’ve do that, I will then go ahead and make my choice.”

Job: “How about I just pick what I want and be done with it?”

Abraham: “Oh.”

And then there was the time Abraham bought a piece of land to use for Sarah’s grave.

Abraham: “How much?”

Ephron the Hittite: “For you, it’s free!”

Abraham: “But seriously – how much?

Ephron the Hittite: “400 shekels of silver” . . .

. . . an outrageous price, since this would be more than thirty-years wages for a working man! In short, Ephron’s reply is nothing more than an opening bid; he’s obviously expecting Abraham to make a counter-offer. But what does Abraham say?

Abraham: “Oh . . . well, I guess that’s okay.”

I mean – really, where’s the Consumer Protection Agency when you need it?

In fact, the only time Abraham seemed to get the better of his opponent is the time he bargained with God. You remember the story – God reveals to Abraham that He’s going to destroy Sodom. Abraham objects; “What if there are fifty righteous people in that town? Would you destroy them too?”

“Okay,” says God. “I won’t do it if there are fifty righteous people in that town.”

“What if five people are missing,” says Abraham. “What if there are only forty-five righteous people in that town? And what about forty? Or thirty-five?”

And so it goes, until Abraham has finally talked God into saving Sodom for just the low, low price of ten righteous men.

All of which would be amazing enough, until you remember that it’s Abraham doing the bargaining here. Abraham – the one man on the planet who’s paid the sticker-price on every car he’s ever bought!

So how does Abraham manage to make such a great bargain with God?

Either there are untapped depths to this guy that we never see anyplace else . . .

Or maybe . . . maybe when people’s lives are at stake, God doesn’t bargain so hard?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel that Abraham had set the opening bid too high (50 righteous men). If he had started with
30 and then reduced to 1 (i.e. Lot), Sodom might be spared by God or ... NOT. But, who am I to judge the father of Faith/Friend of God? Only God have all the facts to judge righteously. So, the lesson I learned is to consult with God for any transaction that you engage (Proverb 3:5-6). Recall the bad consequence of not inquiring of the Lord.(Joshua 9:14)

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!

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