God has been wonderful to me. Till date I am amazed at His goodness to me and His faithfulness and loving-kindness. He called me from obscurity, a rich, childless and unhappy man and made me a father of nations- the chosen nation that has His seal even till this day. He called me His friend and treated me like one, and made me righteous. He made me immortal and a name that rings throughout generations and named Himself after me- The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
I can’t help myself though. I can and will spend all eternity talking about his mighty works and giving him praise. My praise can never be enough.
Now, back to my story.
I was ninety-years old and still waiting on God for a child. On this day, in mid-summer, the sun was beating on the earth with a fury and the sky was cloudless. I sat under the oak tree in Mamre. I was reminiscing on the events of the past twenty four years. I had lived a full life, had found God and had His promise of a better tomorrow. I allowed myself to imagine what my life will be like when my heir is finally born. If only it would happen soon, when I still have some energy left to roam the mountains with him, I wished. Somewhere between the thoughts, I drifted to sleep.
When I woke up, I saw three men coming towards me. They were strangers, I could tell from their dresses. Moreover, I knew every male in the city and I have never seen these faces before. They looked tired and famished and I guessed they must have come from a far town.
I stood up and went to meet them. With much persuasion, I compelled them to rest awhile and eat something. They agreed reluctantly stating that they had urgent business to attend to and won’t stay long.
Sarah, the ever perfect hostess made ready a sumptuous meal of barley cakes, butter, milk and roasted meat with wine in no time and set it before the men who chose to stay outside the tent. While they ate, I sent and fetched water to wash their feet.
While they ate, I looked at them closely and felt a stirring in my heart. There was something different about these men. Their skin was different, a shade lighter than the people in these parts and it seemed to glow. Their eyes were different too, and they held you rooted to the spot and you felt like they could read your innermost thoughts. I only felt this way when I was with the Lord. There is this feeling of being naked before Him and that you could not hide anything.
‘’so where are you from and what is this urgent business of yours? I asked conversationally.
The one that seemed to be the leader of the group largely ignored my question and said ‘’where is Sarah, your wife?’’
My heart picked up beat. How did he know my wife’s name? I wondered. Maybe he heard when I called to her earlier but I was not sure that I did mention her name.
Not to appear rude, I answered ‘’she is in the tent’’
He nodded and continued ‘’by this time next year, Sarah, your wife will bear you a son’’
Understanding registered. These men were prophets. That explained the feeling of being naked in their presence. I was overjoyed. God has confirmed His words and has set a definite time for the fulfillment of the promise.
The man frowned and sighed. I heard footsteps by the door and Sarah appeared by the tent door coming to clear the dishes. His words stopped her in her strides.
‘’why did Sarah laugh?’’ he was talking to me but his eyes strayed to Sarah standing by the door. I looked at her and was surprised. The man was looking intently at her face and I saw a slight shiver take hold of her. ‘’is it because I said that she shall bear a son by this time next year? Is that impossible? Is God not able to do all things and is there anything too hard for Him?’’
Sarah shook her head frantically and her eyes were wide with fear. ‘’I did not laugh my Lord’’ she said with a slight tremble to her voice. She was twiddling her thumbs and her eyes were darting about and not looking the man in the eye. I knew she was lying.
The man smiled and looked at me. In that instant, I knew that he had known that Sarah had been lying. Then he turned to Sarah and said ‘’by this time next year, you shall have a son’’. Sarah bowed and quickly disappeared into the tent.
The men rose up and made to leave. I walked them towards the road and I saw that they were headed towards the plains of Sodom. Immediately, my heart turned towards Lot and I felt that familiar wave of longing and anger. Since I had saved him from the invasion by Amraphel and his allies when they had invaded Sodom and taken him captive, about fifteen years ago, I had not set my eyes on him. The boy has simply forgotten about me. I was about to mention to the men that if they were going to Sodom that they should ask for my nephew Lot, who would most definitely welcome them into his house for as long as they planned to stay, when the leader stopped.
He opened his mouth and then closed it. Then he finally talked. ‘’shall I hide from Abraham, my plans? He is going to be a great man and he will surely instruct his children after him to follow my ways like he is. I will tell you what our mission to Sodom is’’
I was shocked. I had been talking with Yahweh all these while and He had dined in my house. It makes more sense now that He would know what Sarah had been thinking in her heart and also that feeling of being naked in His presence. I had been thinking the man was a prophet but in my wildest imagination, I hadn’t thought that Yahweh himself would come to me. I was still caught up in my thoughts when I realized that he was speaking.
‘’we are going to Sodom to destroy it’’ He said, ‘’because the cries of their wickedness and injustice has come to my attention and I have determined to go there and see for myself whether the reports are true’’
Hearing his plans, I began to sweat and my breathing became shallow. That was where my nephew Lot was! The thought of losing him sent a wave of fear and panic over me. I had promised to look after him when his father died and now, he was going to die with strangers.
The Lord was looking at me, waiting for me to speak. I was at a loss for words.
‘’say your mind Abraham’’ He prodded when I just stared.
‘’will you slay the righteous with the wicked?’’ I blurted out. ‘’will not the judge of the earth do right?’’
I was frantic and wanted the Lord to change his mind about destroying the city. ‘’what if you find fifty righteous people in the city? Will you still destroy the city?’’ surely, there must be at least fifty righteous men in Sodom, I thought.
‘’I won’t destroy the city if I find fifty righteous people’’ the lord replied but I saw something in his eyes. I knew then with a sinking feeling that He would not find fifty people in Sodom that were living right. I summoned my courage and kept intensifying my intercession till I bargained for ten righteous souls and He gave His word that the city would be spared if there were ten of them. By this time, the other two men had gone ahead and it was just I and the Lord that remained staying at the crossroad that led to Sodom.
When I left the Lord to return home, I had this feeling in my mind that He would not find ten righteous people in Sodom. The sin of Sodom must have been so bad for the Lord himself to come down to see for Himself. I knew I should have continued the intercession but I kept telling myself that this was Yahweh, the God of the whole earth and I, a mere mortal- dust and ashes, was standing in His presence and He had given me so much concession. I still had not yet recovered from the fact that I was in His presence and talking with Him, then I had to intercede for a whole city and my nephew’s life.
I think what stopped me from going any further in my intercession was the fear that even Lot would have been corrupted by the wicked ways of the land and maybe that was why he has distanced himself from me. The thought saddened me and kept me awake all night.
Early the next morning, I walked as fast as my legs could carry me to the crossroad where I talked with God and what I saw broke my heart. I couldn’t help the tears as they flowed freely. All the plains of Sodom was in flames, like the fire of a furnace and the skies was blackened with smoke.
My heart wept for my nephew. I had failed him and had failed his father too. I had not kept my promise to keep him safe. I had allowed anger to prevent me from drawing him closer. And now it was too late.
Mercifully, the Lord saved Lot. The knowledge brought no small comfort to me, although I never got to see him again.
Till next time when I continue my story.
Remember, God sees all and nothing is hid in His presence. He loves righteousness. He is full of mercy and loving-kindness, I am a witness to that.
Don’t give up in prayer, ask until you receive. Go to His presence with assurance and faith. All things are possible.
Please drop your comments in the comment box.
P.S Taking advice from my favourite reader and supporter, Yemie, Desert tales is the story of Abraham and this is an adaptation of biblical accounts. Read more about Abraham in Genesis from chapters 12-25.