In German “warum” (pronounced varoom) means “why”. When I was taking high school German, my dad taught me to remember this by thinking of a kid shouting “varoom” with a toy car and associate that with little kids who constantly ask “why? Why? Why? Why?”.
Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?” “If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.” (Genesis 18:27-28 NIV)
I was laughing when I listened to Genesis 18 the other day. Here is Abraham, being so noble, courageously asking God about sparing any righteous people in Sodom, a city which God intends to ransack (more or less) because of the evil there. And yet, Abraham is suddenly acting like a 4 year old: “Hey, God what if there’s 50 righteous people? What about 45? What about 40? What about 30? What about 20? What about 10?”
I picture the scene unfolding with God trying to walk away calmly and Abraham bouncing along asking for assurance in the most annoying way possible. If you’re like me, at this point you are envisioning an exasperated God, rolling his eyes as if to say “Yesss Abraham, I will say yes to any amount of righteous people!”
But God was not rolling his eyes. In fact, in Gods perfect love for us, patience abounds (“love is patient, kind, etc.”). And thank goodness God is so patient because, really, how different are we from Abraham?
I’m a 25 yr old female and (perhaps predictably) you could easily substitute me for Abraham bouncing alongside God prodding relentlessly, except instead of the safety of the righteous in Sodom, I’m asking about my future spouse and my future kids.
And yet, God does not tire of my dialogue with him. On the contrary, he encourages it.
And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? (Luke 18:7 NIV) (The Parable of the Persistent Widow)
We may laugh to ourselves about Abraham’s seemingly childish ways (I know I did) but, rather than being annoyed as a human might, God is pleased with Abraham and with us for actively seeking a relationship with him… no matter how many times he has answer the same question.
Here is a hilarious video of a little girl who caught the “why bug” (just try not to envision this interaction between Abraham and God)