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Bargaining With God (Genesis 18:24)

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We’ve all been guilty of it.

You know you haven’t been living the life you should, then you find yourself in a tight spot and try strike a deal.

“God, if you’ll get me out of this jam, I promise I’ll….”

You can fill in the blank however you want. It may be something spiritual-related that you should’ve been doing all along, or something physical, like a health concern.

In some cases, maybe it’s even asking for help with your fantasy football team.

We’ve all been there.

But does that make it right?

When We Bargain

The irony of bargaining with God is that there is literally nothing we could offer God that He doesn’t already have.

Paul reminds the “very religious” Athenians of this in Acts 17:22-25. God doesn’t dwell in temples made by people nor is He “served by human hands, as if He needed anything.”

Since God created everything, there’s nothing that we could then produce that He didn’t already make. Unless we can manifest matter out of thin air, everything we would offer Him is already His to begin with.

What God does require is our hearts, but we should’ve been giving that to Him anyways. When we ask Him for something, and in return we’ll serve Him, that’s what He already expects! He started that process by giving His Son; we’ll always be on the receiving end of that deal (Luke 17:10)!

Abraham Didn’t Bargain

If you look again at what Abraham asked of God though, it’s not bargaining at all. He’s not trying to exchange something for the life of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, he’s interceding on behalf of the righteous that he believes are still there.

When he asks about the 50 people, then the 45, then 40, 30, 20, and ten, he’s asking God to remember those people and act in accordance with His nature — which is righteousness. 

Abraham didn’t offer anything except to go look for those ten; if he found them, God agreed to spare the city.

This should help us understand how we need to talk to God too. When we “bargain” with God, we can’t come with anything to offer because He doesn’t need anything.

What does He want? Souls. Hearts. Obedience. Love. Devotion. Repentance.

If we turn to Him and offer that, the conversation changes for the better.