Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Genesis 18 - The death of monologue

I have to admit, Genesis 18 is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible. For some reason, I find the interchange between the Lord and Sarah very humorous. In verses 13-15 it almost feels like the Lord is being witty. When He hears Sarah laugh, He asks why she did that. She lies and says she didn't. His immediate response is, "Yes, you did laugh." For reasons I can't explain, that sounds like a scene from an episode of the show Frasier or something to me. I just picture God sitting back and saying, "Oh, you laughed. You laughed."

But the real cause for my deep affection for this chapter is that for me it marks the death of monologue and the birth of dialogue. The idea that we serve a God that speaks but does not listen, a God that gives words but does not receive them, a God that dictates but does not discuss, is laid to rest.

For when Abraham and God discuss the fate of Sodom, it's not simply a one way street. It's not that God is a four star General barking out commands to Abraham. Not at all. In this passage, He is listening. More than that, He gives Abraham freedom. Did you see what Abraham did? He kind of pulled a Blockbuster on God. (Yesterday on SCL I wrote that Blockbuster changed my service plan from infinite movies a month to 2 movies a month.) Abraham did something similar.

He placed a number in the conversation. God essentially said everyone is going to die. Abraham however changed "everyone" to "no one" if 50 righteous people could be found. That's gigantic. And then he eventually worked down to only 10 people being needed to save the city.

Some times we pray things like "just give me the strength to handle whatever it is that you throw at me Lord." That is a monologue prayer, as we are expecting to receive a monologue from God. I think God likes dialogue. I think this example shows His ridiculous flexibility in some situations. Why else is this passage in the Bible? I mean Sodom still fell. The result was still the same, but I think we're supposed to learn from and trust in the conversation Abraham had with God.

I think we're supposed to dialogue.

9 comments:

kenyongerbrandt said...

Great reminder. Thanks.

Dog snob said...

I like that. We all too often forget that God is right here with us and we can talk back and forth with him. Although, I don't think His answers are always as obvious as they were with Abraham, but they are there :)

Anonymous said...

I also love this chapter, especially verse 14. "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"

Kim

Ne'er-Do-Good said...

This is great. I love Abraham's exchange with God. It's as obnoxious and annoying a discussion as you could ever have with your friends, and no way would I have the patience to listen to "Ah, God, just one more thing..." without losing it. Reason #5,283 why I would make a terrible God.
His patience is infinite, and our God --in spite of the fact that no one is good, that everyone has fallen woefully short of His standard-- is a God who loves to love us. Our God is a God who saves.

jerlight said...

prodigal jon

thank you! i really appreciated your thoughts and insights. thanks for your encouragement!

vikki (Philippines) said...

"yes, you did" statement from God to Sara struck me, too... i believe God did not have the whiny tone when He said it... He understood enough Sara's unbelief...

He took note of her laugh and that makes Him very personal indeed... and apparently very humorous... that's why a dialogue with Him doesn't have to be boring...

Frusciante Portman said...

so the question now is...how to switch from a monologue to a dialogue? its easy to get lost in monologue because we cant always hear God so directly like abraham could. how do you know you are dialoguing if you cant hear anything? the answer is to open your heart to just being with Him and trusting that He is speaking with you in ways you cannot hear. its like resting in the Spirit. a friend and i were talking about this the other night. often, when being prayed over, we just want God to speak to us, out loud through one of the prayer ministers. and then the next thing you know youre on the ground resting. my friend and i admitted that we have gotten upset about this in the past. but someone said to her once, "why would you be upset about that? God decided to speak directly to your heart instead of through someone else." i think thats important to remember. what we cant hear with our ears we our hearing with our souls much more clearly.

Sars said...

Pulling a blockbuster on God- that's very witty of you! Yeah, now that you point it out, i think God does like dialogue. I also think we should be more like blockbuster in campaigning God for people we know who aren't close to him

Flesheater said...

haha blockbuster did that to me as well!


I've always heard G-d's response to Sarah as a joking (and yes even sitcom styled) reply.

And it's so beautiful that G-d wants us to talk to Him, to ask him questions to, to create dialoge... and to expect a reply.