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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Negotiate with God

Genesis 18:16-33 tells us about Abraham negotiating with God about the fate of Sodom.  God has seen the wickedness in Sodom and has told Abraham he is going to destroy the city.  Perhaps fearing for his nephew Lot and his family who lived in Sodom, Abraham began a negotiation reminding God that it may not be right to destroy all the city when righteous people are living there.  God agreed to spare the city if fifty righteous people could be found.  Perhaps Abraham knew the character of the city that he knew there might not be fifty righteous people living there.  So he began to negotiate with God; if forty-five can be found will the city be spared?  God agreed with that number.  However, Abraham continued to negotiate downward in increments of five until he finally reached the number ten.  If ten righteous people can be found in the city can it be spared?  God agreed with ten.  Of course we know by reading the full account that even that number could not be found; ultimately God passed judgment over the city and destroyed the city.
I wonder if sometimes we don't have the same heart as Abraham as we live in a world that we are seeing devolve with corruption, greed, sin and wickedness as each day passes.  God has clearly stated His requirements for living and has laid them out in the Bible for all to know.  I believe if we listen closely we will find that people are negotiating with God trying to convince Him to change His mind about what He has commanded and clearly made known. 
The problem is that we really are no different in character and personality than those people in Sodom so many years ago.  Even in our negotiations we falter and stumble inevitably further into sin even if God has provided the Grace to accept our negotiated terms.  We can never be satisfied with what we have since when we move outside of God's Grace we revert to our sin nature and never find satisfaction; we always want more than what we have. 
Through the process of negotiation we forget that God, the Creator of the Universe, sets all the boundaries, establishes His commands and communicates to us what He requires.  His Grace is sufficient for each of us, but we believe we need more, and ultimately desire more.  We bargain with God to bend a little, "I know God you have stated you want us to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us, but you know how sweet vengeance is.  Could we just strike back a little, just to teach our enemy a lesson?"  "We know God you are not a respecter of persons and you look on the heart rather than the outside of a person, but surly you can understand that there are different ethnic groups and class distinctions that have to be recognized in our cultures and since we are living here we should parcel out the stations in life for different people groups, shouldn't we?"
God is not slack, as some men count slackness, but He will render judgment in spite of our futile efforts to negotiate His changing His mind.  Perhaps the best thing for us to do is submit to His Grace and allow Him to provide for us His power through His Spirit to strengthen us to live within the provisions He has already made for us, and refrain our futile attempts to negotiate a change of mind for Him.
Jim Killebrew

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