Welcoming committee

16 welcoming committee

The two angels arrived at Sodom during the night and encountered a man sitting at the city gate.

When Lot saw the two men approaching, he bowed low out of respect for the strangers. “Please, masters,” he said. “Come stay the night with your servant and wash your feet. You can get up early and be on your way if you wish.”

“No,” they said. “We’ll spend the night down in the square.”

Lot knew better than to let the men fend for themselves in Sodom after dark, so he pressed them until they relented and followed him home. He presented a feast before his guests, and recognizing them to be righteous and noble, he served bread made without yeast to symbolize the purity of their assembly.

As they were turning in for the night, they heard from outside the shouting of an approaching mob. All the men of Sodom, young and old, surrounded every side of Lot’s house and began banging on the walls.

“Where are your guests?” one of the Sodomites shouted. “Bring them out so we can give them a proper welcome.”

A roar of laughter followed and the banging on the walls grew louder.

Lot went out and latched the door behind him. He said, “Please, brothers, curb your evil for one night.”

The men stepped closer as Lot’s back was pressed against the door.

“I have two daughters,” he suggested in a panic. “They’re virgins, and you can do whatever you want with them. Please spare my guests, whom I have sworn to protect.”

One of the Sodomites reached around, grabbed Lot by the nape of his neck and said, “Down, dog!” Lot faltered, and his knees hit the hard earth.

Another Sodomite chimed in. “This man came to Sodom as an outsider, and now he’s trying to play magistrate. Suppose we tie you up naked and invent new ways to violate your laws.” And another said, “That’ll teach him to judge us.”

The crowd pressed in harder, some clamoring for Lot’s tunic and others rattling the latch of the door. Suddenly, the angels appeared from inside and pulled Lot back in the house, shutting the door behind them. Those who clawed at the door were struck blind and could no longer find the latch.

Amid the sudden but deafening silence, the mob dispersed unassuaged, assisting the blind men back to their sordid dens.

Inspiration: Genesis 19

Negotiating terms

 

15 negotiating terms

The visitors finished the food that had been prepared by their gracious host, and then stood to leave Mamre Oaks. Gazing out over the distant waters toward the fertile plain of Sodom, the Master asked, “Should I hide what I’m about to do from you, my chosen one?”

The sun began its early evening descent, and a warm breeze wafted through the encampment.

“You’ll be a great and mighty nation,” the Master said, his eyes meeting Abraham’s. “Every nation will be blessed because of you. I’ve chosen you to teach your children and their children to keep my ways, to walk justly and uprightly. This is the way of the promise.”

The Master turned again toward Sodom. “Sodom and Gomorrah have brought their wickedness to new levels. I’m going down to see just how bad it has become.”

The two men traveling with the Master began their way toward Sodom, but Abraham stood on the path, the words of the promise echoing in his ears.

Then he asked, “Master, will you destroy the good with the bad? What if you find fifty good people in Sodom. Will you still destroy the entire city? In other words, would the Judge of all the world do what’s unjust?”

The Master said, “If there are fifty good people in Sodom, I’ll spare everyone.”

Abraham then asked, “Who am I to press the issue, but what if you only find forty-five good people? Will you still spare the whole city?”

The Master answered, “For forty-five, I’ll spare both Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Abraham continued, “Forgive me for asking, but what if there are only thirty good people in Sodom? What then?”

The Master said plainly, “I won’t destroy the city if there are thirty good people living there.”

Again, Abraham spoke. “What if you find twenty?”

“Then I’ll spare the city.”

“Ten?”

The Master put a hand upon Abraham’s shoulder and smiled. “For the sake of ten good people, I will spare the entire city.” Then he set out for Sodom.

Abraham went into his tent and slept soundly.

Inspiration: Genesis 18