Day 2: Vayera/Genesis 18:16-33
When and after Elohim, with the two others, were departing Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre, there were two debates that ensued. The first was not with Abraham, rather it was with Elohim discussing His plans with the other men. The second was with Abraham and was a result of the previous discussion. Both instances were documented for standards by which Elohim speaks to His people and standards by which we may address Him.
Man, including Abraham, wrangles with himself in debate over large and small issues. To do or not to do, obey or rebel, what to say and what not to mention. All of these can be seen as a means to gain for one’s own self or to be pleasing to Elohim. All can, additionally, be done for blessing or to try and manipulate Elohim into blessing us, again being self-serving. Obviously, one cannot, and should not try to manipulate anyone, not the least being the Creator. Yet, the fascination that man has with debate, advocacy, and intense dialogue should not be abated on the grounds of evil inclinations. It is quite clear that man has received the ability, even desire, to dialogue in this fashion from the Creator Himself. It would seem that He has this character trait and has passed it along to His potential helpmate.
Upon walking away from Abraham’s encampment, Elohim begins a seemingly Self-contained, Self-pointed conversation. He is, though, walking with the three others that had dined at the with Him. His disclosure is just that—a tell about His character and His plans. The two other men had already garnished favor as they were most likely part of His angelic host and could be trusted with Elohim’s plans. The Master divulged His purpose for discussing Sodom and Gomorrah’s impending doom with these angels because they would be His hands, feet, and mouthpiece in such a defiled place. Conversely, Abraham was His servant, and the place where they dined and talked must have been undefiled so as to host the pre-incarnate Messiah. Elohim’s disclosure to His angelic servants was a primer for the discussion about to take place with Abraham. Interestingly enough, it would seem that YHVH shares counsel with the host of heaven, not for the sake of gaining insights or permission but to give information and disseminate ultimate wisdom. Those angels did not necessarily know that it was in Abraham’s, or his following generations, best interest to understand Elohim’s plans for Sodom and Gomorrah. That interest was intercession on behalf of Lot and to teach future generations how to intercede and have discourse with Elohim.
What this all spawned was not mere knowledge, but real wisdom and courage that Abraham mustered in order to be a functioning helpmate to Elohim. It is important to remember that man was created for this capacity; and, a helpmate is not a mere trophy wife, but a reflection of Who the Husband is. The wisdom that the first conversation wrought was the intercession begun by Abraham for any righteous to be found in the depraved cities, most specifically, Lot and his family. What could be seen as pleading or begging, upsetting or conniving, was really a prayer of intercession and the pointedness of Abraham describing Elohim’s revealed character.
This, in reality, is what makes Israel who we are. We wrestle with Elohim, not to win, but to gain insight to His will, purpose, and blessing so that those can rest His nation and individual members.
What we could see as an adversarial nuisance, Abraham dialogued as a form of reasoning and effectual debate. It was not detached from emotional outcry, nor was it self-serving for the sake of what would benefit Abraham. After all, Lot’s descendants would not be linked to Israel in ultimately positive ways, only in short- and medium-range protection.
Our conversations, debates, and tension caused in dialogue with each other usually have to do with self-motives and selfish ideals. Abraham gives a wonderful example of how to entreat YHVH and how to approach fellow Covenant keepers (and others) by means of respect and declaration of Truth rather than hammering others’ heads with vain doctrines and philosophies. Most importantly, the conversation between Abraham and Elohim is what Elohim desires of us as He discloses His plans to the heavenly host and allows us to overhear what the Ruach says to us. It is not a debate session to convince someone they, or YHVH, is wrong. It is an opportunity to intercede while discussing the Truth and accepting that Truth, even as it exposes the wrong in each of us. In turn, Elohim will see the reflection of Himself in each of us as we look to His purpose and will for our lives.
Dwell upon Isaiah 1:17-18, “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together,” says YHVH, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.”