And the men turned their faces from there, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.…
The tone of Abraham's intercession may teach us how familiar the intercourse with the heavenly Friend may be. The boldest words from a loving heart, jealous of God's honour, are not irreverent in His eyes. This prayer is abrupt, almost rough. It sounds like remonstrance quite as much as prayer. Abraham appeals to God to take care of his name and honour, as if he had said, If Thou doest this, what will the world say of Thee, but that Thou art unmerciful? But the grand confidence in God's character, the eager desire that it should be vindicated before the world, the dread that the least film should veil the silvery whiteness or the golden lustre of His name, the sensitiveness for His honour, — these are the effects of communion with Him; and for these God accepts the bold prayer, as truer reverence than is found in many more guarded and lowly sounding words. Many conventional proprieties of worship may be broken just because the worship is real. "The frequent sputter shows that the soul's depths boil in earnest." We may learn, too, that the most loving familiarity never forgets the fathomless gulf between God and it. Abraham does not forget that he is "dust and ashes"; he knows that he is venturing much in speaking to God. His pertinacious prayers have a recurring burden of lowly recognition of his place. Twice he heralds them with "I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord"; twice with "Oh let not the Lord be angry." Perfect love casts out fear and deepens reverence. We may come with free hearts, from which every weight of trembling and every cloud of doubt has been lifted. But the less the dread, the lower we shall bow before the loftiness which we love. We do not pray aright until we tell God everything. The boldness which we as Christians ought to have, means literally a frank speaking out of all that is in our hearts. Such "boldness and access with confidence" will often make short work of so-called seemly reverence, but it will never transgress by so much as a hair's-breadth the limits of lowly, trustful love.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.