Far be that from you

Gen 18.16-33

Abraham, our father of us all (Rm 4.16), is indeed a fascinating figure. He is the archetype of the true people of God, rooted in a belief in God who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist (Rm 4.17). And he did question God nonetheless. God is God who is known through his acts and one of his acts was to go down to Sodom and Gomorrah and to see whether the outcry against them was true. And Abraham was worried that it would mar the credibility of God. What if there were righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah? Would he put them to death with the wicked? Should not be the Judge of all the earth do what is just? Far be that from him!

All of us have our pre-conceptions and notions about God — what kind of God we believe in and construct for ourselves. But then God comes to us in an unexpected way. He reaches us and changes those pre-conceptions about him. We encounter him through Scriptures, prayer, the Sacraments, and the Church. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that we are passive objects, merely waiting him to speak to us. We respond. And our response can come in different ways. We trust, we question. We believe, we doubt. We are silenced, we ask. Abraham asked back. And I believe God appreciates those questions that we have. He appreciated Abraham’s.

Indeed, perhaps our belief in God is dialogical.

Nevertheless, note how the story ended for Abraham. After much bargaining with God, “the LORD went his way… and Abraham returned to his place.” (Gen 18.33) Abraham didn’t follow the Lord to check whether the Lord was true to his promise. Abraham returned to his place. In the end, Abraham put his trust in him.

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