Please read Gen 18:1-33; 19:1-38 beforehand
A. FINAL CONFIRMATION OF ISAAC’S BIRTH (Gen 18:1-15)
- The incident described in this pericope must have occurred shortly after the last time God had appeared to Abraham for the time of Isaac’s birth coincides with what God had promised at their previous meeting.
This was now the sixth time, of which we are aware, that God had communicated with Abraham in such a personal way.
Visitors from heaven
Three visitors arrived at his tent. They probably were the Lord Jesus and two angels that appeared in human form. Possibly they just all of a sudden appeared from nowhere and that was why Abraham became aware that they were supernatural beings and took so much trouble and was in such a hurry to entertain them hospitably.
In the New Testament Christians are cautioned to be hospitable to everybody since people in times of old, had, because of their hospitality, unknowingly served angels with food and drink (Heb 13:2).
“Where is Sarah, your wife?”
God had never before spoken to Sarah personally, promising a son to her, she had to accept God’s promise through her husband, Abraham. At this instance the Lord ensured that she was within hearing distance, before He again broached the matter. Her humility and faith was now rewarded by allowing her to have part in the conversation, though just by listening.
(Christian wives enjoy an advantage above Sarah in that they can personally perceive God’s words by reading the Scriptures and by listening to His Spirit.
Within a family, the husband, however, still remains the head and God firstly speaks to him regarding any important matters and then confirms it to his wife. The husband bears a tremendous responsibility, hearing correctly from God, therefore the wife needs to walk just as closely with God in order that her confirmation of what God conveyed to him, will carry weight and give him boldness to take decisions in regard to the family. The whole family’s welfare depends on this interaction between God, husband and wife.
Mr. Husband, in this decision of buying a new car, God wants to know “Where is you wife; is she in on it or are you taking the decision all by yourself?”)
The Lord then promised that Sarah would have a son within the next year. She laughed on hearing this, certainly not in a God dishonouring way, but because she pictured in her mind a grandma breastfeeding a baby. The Lord reprimanded her and asked whether she considered anything to be too great for God to bring about.
(How is it with you when you read God’s promises: Do you believe, or do you laugh? To praise God from a believing heart before the outcome is seen, is what pleases and honours Him. It is a privilege to hear from God, but remember, He speaks both promises and reprimands.)
B. ABRAHAM INTERCEDES FOR SODOM (Gen 18:16-33)
- With the matter of Abraham’s problem regarding his promised son having been dealt with, the Lord now involved Abraham in His administration of world affairs by advising him that He was going to inspect the situation at Sodom and Gomorrah.
As King of the universe He could not passively look on while communities were degenerating morally in such a bad way, because if this was allowed to continue unchecked, He would have to wipe out everybody on earth like in the days of the Flood. Furthermore, it was unfair to a new generation of babies to be born and then have to grow up in such a wicked world. God shared this crisis with Abraham His friend, telling him that He seemed to have no option but to destroy these cities.
Yes, God too has problems. He knows exactly what evil is taking place in every city, under each roof and in every heart and continually has to take the hart-rending decision to finally judge individuals or communities.
Abraham, possibly keeping in mind that his cousin and family resided in one of these cities, interceded for them and persuaded God to save them, even if only ten of the residents were righteous people. Like a competent advocate, Abraham used powerful arguments in “addressing the court”.
(It is sometimes said in good humour that if you get involved in business with one of Abraham’s descendants (a Jew) you will always be the loser. That might be because the Lord blesses them exceptionally or it might refer to this incident where Abraham bargained with the God Himself and managed to bring down the “price” from 50 to 10!)
Use your stand before God’s throne to intercede for others
(But now, in earnest: God has no delight in destroying people. From up there in heaven His eyes run to and fro from home to home to search for intercessors, evangelists, pastors and whosoever is willing to assist Him in turning sinners away from their wicked ways. When we hear of evil things happening in our country, do we just express our shock, or do we do something about it?
All Abraham could do at that moment, was to intercede in prayer and he did just that. His profound petition was considered and granted by the righteous, approachable Judge.
Likewise, will our prayers ascend to the courtroom of God where it will be carefully considered. Even at this moment, there may be some of your family and friends who’s lives are delicately balanced between pardon and judgement. Is God working powerfully in your heart by His Spirit to intercede for them once more. The robber on the cross escaped from the mouth of the dragon at the last moment.)
C. SODOM AND GOMORRAH DESTROYED (Gen 19:1-29)
- Lot and his family had chosen the wrong company
After being delivered by Abraham from the hand of their enemies who had carried them away as slaves, they again settled in Sodom.
Let us not get mixed up with evil people. We can befriend them to win them over to Christ, but we must always hold up the shield of faith between us and them and not allow our relationship with Christ to suffer. Should we have deviated from the Lord and been rescued by His grace, let us wake up and walk in fear and obedience and keep from doing as Lot did by settling once more in Sodom and Gomorrah, that is, by falling in love with the world and it’s enticements.
Lot retained a measure of godliness.
It would however seem as if Lot had at least retained his connection of faith with God. He received the two strangers (angels send by God to save him and his family) hospitably and took them under his roof. When the wicked men of the city tried to seduce them, he went out of his way to protect them. He also vexed his heart because of the wickedness of the people of the city and confronted them (2 Pet 2:7,8) but they took it as though he was trying to boss it over them. The fact that his two grown daughters were still virgins, also counts in his favour – he had influenced them for good.
When the angels saw that his endeavours to protect them and his family were not having any effect, they intervened supernaturally and struck the men of the city with blindness. Then they warned Lot and his family to flee from the city.
Lot went outside to caution his sons-in-law, but they made fun of him. At daybreak Lot and his people had not yet left the city that was about to be judged, so the angels had to grab them by their hands and, as it were, drag them outside, then instructing them to flee to the mountains.
Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt.
Even at this critical time, Lot still argued with the angels, saying that there was this nearby little settlement called Zoar and whether they could not go there for protection. This was granted and the angels left, but at the last moment, Lot’s wife could not resist the temptation to look back. God’s toleration came to an end and He punished her, by causing her to turn into a pillar of salt.
(This must have been a weird monument; a woman for ever looking over her shoulder.
Some people’s hearts are so bound to the things of this world that, while standing on the verge of hell, listening to the screams of pain of the lost, they would still be looking over their shoulders, mourning for the earthly joys and possessions they are leaving behind, (Luke 17:32-33) instead of fleeing to the safety of the Lord Jesus.)
A sunrise of doom
At sunrise God caused fire and brimstone to rain down onto Sodom and Gomorrah and all of the landscape around them and everything went up in flames.
(Godless people think that they are very clever to continually get away with their sins, but when, at last, God allows judgement to fall on them, there will be no possibility of escape. Time of grace will have passed.)
Regret that came too late
When, many years before, Lot had chosen the pastures around Sodom and Gomorrah, he had thought that he was doing the best for him and his people, but now he lost everything: house, furniture, cattle, sheep, goats, camels. All that he retained was his own life and that of his two daughters.
God was merciful towards them, not because of their own faith, but because of His friend, Abraham’s, intercession.
D. LOT’S LOT (Gen 19:30-38)
- Lot’s family ties were cut
In the end, Lot and his daughters, because of fear for the people of Zoar, had to flee to the mountains and live in a cave.
Why did he not seek refuge with Abraham who would have accepted him with open arms? Maybe he was ashamed because of his earlier choice and the outcome of it.
Lot slide into moral decline started with liquor
Now his life deteriorated badly. He had lost everything in life. This was more than he could bear. It would seem as if he gave himself over to liquor and was drinking himself into a stupor.
(When some people are struck by catastrophe, they become despondent and in seeking for a way of escape, reach for the bottle.
Alcohol is a mocker: it made a spectacle of both Noah and Lot, although both of them were men of God. Alcohol is like a pet snake in a bottle. While everything is going well at home, it is entertaining to sit down in a chair and play with it, swirling it around in your glass as you watch your favourite TV programme, but should something go wrong causing the bottle to break, the snake escapes and bites whoever comes in its way, having been teased for so long.
The Word teaches us not to give any room for the devil. When a person is used to take a sip now and then, and some or other crisis hits him, he is in a greater temptation to choose this comfort to still his fears and pain, than some-one who does not know the effect of alcohol at all. It is safer not to keep a snake at all. This makes sense? (Prov 23:29-36).
Let me put it like this: most people never experience the effect of drugs like cocaine, etc. so when they fall into depression or fear, they will not even think of taking these drugs to help them cope. The same with alcohol: never touch it and it will never be a temptation to you.)
Lot’s daughters followed in his footsteps.
If Lot had continued to trust God, even in his time of misery, He would have shown him a way out of it; had He not already showed him mercy by leading out of Sodom and Gomorrah? But, Lot no longer trusted God. His faith just caved in. This also affected his daughters.
(Oh, let all parents take heed: your example can make or break you children!)
After some time, Lot’s daughters made him drunk, had intercourse with him and gave birth to children. They did not do it because of sexual desire, but had a nobler motive namely, to conceive a posterity for themselves. Yet, these deeds were of the flesh; their own plans to have children, instead of requesting and trusting God to provide for them. He never is without a plan to provide in the needs of them that wait on Him.
It is clear that the immorality of Sodom and Gomorra had also blunted their morals to such an extent that they had succumbed to this temptation. And just see what a terrible sin, incest, they had to commit to reach their goal. Were they angry with God because He had slain their husbands in Sodom?
Descendants of Lot.
The Moabite and Ammonite nations sprung from this sexual intercourse. They were two godless nations who were always at war with God’s people, Israel. It might have been better if these two daughters had rather remained celibate.
Encouragement and warning.
Lot had started off well with the godly Abraham, leaving the land of sin, but he ended up in a bad way: a drunken, shabby, demoralized widower, living in a cave, a father that had committed incense with his daughters.
Abraham’s life is incorporated in Scripture as an example and encouragement for those that are obedient to God; Lot’s is reflected there as a warning to those that do not enquire from Him when making choices. Abraham’s life is calling out: “Follow me!”; Lot’s is warning: “Do not follow me!”
(Who would you and I like to be: an Abraham or a Lot? Let us walk before the Lord, follow Him carefully, step-by-step, and we too will become godly men and women like Abraham, the friend of God.)
IF YOU HAVE BEEN BLESSED BY THIS STUDY GUIDE, OR HAVE ANY REQUEST, QUERY OR OTHER COMMENT, PLEASE USE THE CONTACT FORM BELOW.