From Mamre the men set out and arrived within sight of Sodom, with Abraham accompanying them to show them the way. Now the Lord had wondered, ‘Shall I conceal from Abraham what I am going to do, seeing that Abraham will become a great nation with all the nations of the earth blessing themselves by him? For I have singled him out to command his sons and his household after him to maintain the way of the Lord by just and upright living. In this way the Lord will carry out for Abraham what he has promised him.’ Then the Lord said, ‘How great an outcry there is against Sodom and Gomorrah! How grievous is their sin! I propose to go down and see whether or not they have done all that is alleged in the outcry against them that has come up to me. I am determined to know.’
The men left there and went to Sodom while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Approaching him he said, ‘Are you really going to destroy the just man with the sinner? Perhaps there are fifty just men in the town. Will you really overwhelm them, will you not spare the place for the fifty just men in it? Do not think of doing such a thing: to kill the just man with the sinner, treating just and sinner alike! Do not think of it! Will the judge of the whole earth not administer justice?’ the Lord replied, ‘If at Sodom I find fifty just men in the town, I will spare the whole place because of them.’
Abraham replied, ‘I am bold indeed to speak like this to my Lord, I who am dust and ashes. But perhaps the fifty just men lack five: will you destroy the whole city for five?’ ‘No,’ he replied ‘I will not destroy it if I find forty-five just men there.’ Again Abraham said to him, ‘Perhaps there will only be forty there.’ ‘I will not do it’ he replied ‘for the sake of the forty.’
Abraham said, ‘I trust my Lord will not be angry, but give me leave to speak: perhaps there will only be thirty there.’ ‘I will not do it’ he replied ‘if I find thirty there.’ He said, ‘I am bold indeed to speak like this, but perhaps there will only be twenty there.’ ‘I will not destroy it’ he replied ‘for the sake of the twenty.’ He said, ‘I trust my Lord will not be angry if I speak once more: perhaps there will only be ten.’ ‘I will not destroy it’ he replied ‘for the sake of the ten.’
When he had finished talking to Abraham the Lord went away, and Abraham returned home.
When Jesus saw the great crowds all about him he gave orders to leave for the other side. One of the scribes then came up and said to him, ‘Master, I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’
Another man, one of his disciples, said to him, ‘Sir, let me go and bury my father first.’ But Jesus replied, ‘Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their dead.’
Shall I conceal from Abraham what I am going to do, seeing that Abraham will become a great nation with all the nations of the earth blessing themselves by him
The line above struck me as I was going through today’s readings. There are times when I’m eager and I wish that God would reveal to me his plans. It’s difficult sometimes to be patient especially after constant prayer and all that you hear within you is the word “wait”. There are times when I imagine God secretly working behind the scenes, stirring in motion the cogs and gears to his plan, even though all I see and hear in front of me is just silence. Conversely, there are also times when my faith becomes challenged, and I start to wonder if there is even a plan.
A few things struck from today’s first reading. First, that God does have a plan for all of us. There are times when we may feel tired trying to bring certain plans that we have into fruition, but when we surrender our plans to God, we allow him to work His blueprint into our lives. Rather than striving without rest, fuelled by our anxieties, regrets and unfulfilled plans, we are called by God to lay down our burdens and rest in Jesus instead – to take up a yoke that is lighter and easier to bear – and to trust that He will bring into fruition His plans for us; plans to bless us and not to harm us.
Second, there is an intimacy that God shares with his people. He is willing to share his thoughts with us, if we are willing to actually listen. And He encourages us to do the same. God didn’t have to share with Abraham his plans regarding Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet God did. And He allowed Abraham to converse with him and to appeal to his mercy. He is open to speaking to us if we are willing to enter into a conversation with Him.
Third, we are called to deepen our intimacy with God, as we learn to trust in His timing and His plans. Although God subsequently did destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, he remembered Abraham and delivered Lot and his family (with the exception of Lot’s wife) from the destruction of the two cities. When we learn to trust in God’s timing and plans, we learn to face the circumstancs in our lives and see every situation as an opportunity for us to engage God, be it for our benefit or that of others. When we do that, we begin to experience his goodness and sovereignty more tangibly as we encounter him in the circumstances of our lives.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Cassandra Cheong)
Prayer: Dear Father, help us to open our eyes and ears to you, that we may identify the numerous opporunities in our lives to encounter you.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Father for your never failing love and faithfulness in our lives.