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Daily Devotional | Bargaining with God


Have you ever tried to bargain with God? Maybe you were so desperate for His favorable response that you were willing to promise anything. People often point to today’s reading as an example of bargaining with God, but there was more to Abraham’s story.

In Genesis 18:16–33, the Lord reveals another reason He stopped by Abraham’s tent. He said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me” (vv. 20–21). Of course, God knew all about the sins of these people. But God was revealing Himself to Abraham as a fair and righteous judge. He was also teaching Abraham about His grace.

Abraham was deeply troubled by this announcement of judgment. After all, he had a special interest in these people. Not only did Lot and his family lived there, but Abraham had also saved them all from marauders (Gen. 14). Abraham asked God, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” (v. 23). He was concerned that these people would be judged unfairly. Notice that he prayed not only for Lot to be spared but also for Sodom and Gomorrah as a whole. He reasoned that a few righteous people would be enough to spare them all.

God demonstrated His grace in response to this request as well. People often describe Abraham here as bargaining with God, but that is not really the case. Notice that God never presented a counteroffer. Every number Abraham suggested, God agreed to it, from 50 down to ten.

We too can pray that others will come to a saving knowledge of God. And we can trust that “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9).

Pray with Us

In this world, we see many evils go unpunished. In our righteous indignation, Lord, remind us of Your compassion for sinners. Though You promise justice, the invitation to salvation remains open to the worst of them.

BY Ryan Cook

Dr. Ryan Cook has taught at Moody Bible Institute since 2012. He earned his bachelor of arts in Bible and Theology from Moody and his master of arts in Old Testament from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He has worked in Christian education and served as a pastor in Michigan for seven years. During his time as a professor at Moody, he earned his doctorate from Asbury Theological Seminary. He now lives with his wife, Ashley, and their three children in the Chicagoland area.

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