God the Negotiator

Negotiation was the focus for one of the VST Studio sessions dealing with essential skills for leaders. The text was the famous passage in Genesis 18:20-33 where Abraham negotiates with God. The initial position is that God will not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if Abraham can find 50 righteous people within the city. By the closing God has reduced the number needed to ten.

The passage provides lots to think about; one surely is the image of God given in this very anthropomorphic tale.

I wonder which God is more fearsome? I don’t mean fearsome as the one with the power to destroy cities. We have had that power for decades, millennia actually. But fearsome as the one whom is the most provocative to our being and living.

If our God is unchangeable and unchanging – as older images suggested – perhaps there are fewer burdens, less responsibility, upon us? For what is a person, what is a leader to do? At most, discover the one path and stay within the ruts; the chariot will trundle along and the horse already knows the way. What could be done? What could we do? It’s the way it is; and it’s all good.

But if our God possesses the soul of a negotiator, what then?

What then might this God be expecting as a response, a counter offer to the current direction? What then might this God be presenting and waiting for us to be worthy conversation partners?  “It’s all good!” – Probably not. God might be waiting for a response that is better than good, which moves the conversations – and our relationship – along.

I wonder which God is the more fearsome and disconcerting and demanding and wonderful?

I wonder who is the God we serve most of the time.

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