Rabbi Jonathan Sacks Radical Then, Radical Now, Harper Collins, 2000
Abraham's bewilderment is clear. This sensitive human being gazes at a brilliantly structured universe, a splendid piece of art. He is overwhelmed by the grandeur of a sunset and by the miracle of childbirth; he marvels at the roaring ocean waves and at the silent, steady beat of the human heart. The world is indeed a palace.
But the palace is in flames. The world is full of bloodshed, injustice and strife. Thugs, abusers, rapists, kidnappers and killers are continuously demolishing the palace, turning our world into an ugly tragic battlefield of untold pain and horror.
What happened to the owner of the palace? Abraham cries. Why does G‑d allow man to destroy His [sic] world? Why does He permit such a beautiful palace to go up in flames? Could G‑d have made a world only to abandon it? Would anyone build a palace and then desert it?
Note that the owner of the palace does not make an attempt to get out of the burning building or to extinguish the flames. He is merely stating that He is the owner of the palace that is going up in smoke. It is as if, instead of racing out, the owner were calling for help. G‑d made the palace, man set it on fire, and only man can put out the flames. Abraham asks G‑d, "Where are you?" G‑d replies, "I am here, where are you?" Man asks G‑d, "Why did You abandon the world?" G‑d asks man, "Why did you abandon Me?"
Rabbi Getzel Davis
Like Moses’ burning bush, the burning world is a wake up call. Perhaps we, like Abraham can encounter G!d amidst destruction. How long does it take to stare at a burning bush and realize that it has not been consumed? 3 minutes? 7 minutes? If most people were walking down a street and saw a burning bush or a burning garbage can, they would either keep walking or run to put it out. But both Moses and Abraham stopped to gaze and listen to the destruction. And both of them found G!d.