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Monday, July 22, 2019

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Many of us are familiar with this story of Abraham's persistent plea for the sake of the righteous folk living in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. It reads like a reverse auction, pushing for the limits of God's compassion: Will God save the cities for 50, 45, 40 people? How about if there are 20? What if there are only 10?

This whole plea for the sake of the righteous is preceded by the words "Abraham came near ..." He has already hosted these guests with a meal, heard the promise of a child, and walked down the path with them, but this is the moment Abraham draws near to the Lord -- when Abraham's compassion reflects God's own compassion. "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it," says the Lord.

We pray for others precisely because God's compassion is stirring in our hearts. For whom do you feel compassion? How might your prayers and actions on their behalf reflect God's care?

Draw me near, O God, to your compassionate heart. Give me patience and persistence in my work and prayers for others. Amen.

Amanda Kempthorne, '09
Pastor, Lord of Life Lutheran Church, North Pole, Alaska

Genesis 18:20-32 (NRSV)

20 Then the Lord said, "How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin!
21 I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know."
22 So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Lord.
23 Then Abraham came near and said, "Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?
24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it?
25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?"
26 And the Lord said, "If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake."
27 Abraham answered, "Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.
28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?" And he said, "I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there."
29 Again he spoke to him, "Suppose forty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of forty I will not do it."
30 Then he said, "Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there." He answered, "I will not do it, if I find thirty there."
31 He said, "Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there." He answered, "For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it."
32 Then he said, "Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there." He answered, "For the sake of ten I will not destroy it."


This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.