TODAY’S READING IN THE OLD TESTAMENT- GENESIS 18:20-19:38
Sarah might have scoffed at the idea of having a child at 90. It’s impossible! Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, might have thought it was too late in life for her to have a baby. It’s impossible! Mary, the mother of Jesus, might have thought it was too early for her to bear the holy child who would become the world’s Savior. A child born without a human father? It’s impossible! But as the angel Gabriel said to her, “Nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). Notice “THE LORD (Yahweh) said, “Sarah your wife will have a son by this time next year”. The LORD was among the mysterious men who visited Abraham and Sarah and brought them this good news. This most likely is a Christophany- a preincarnate appearance of Christ. He repeats the promise that they will have a son. But now they are given details about the appointed time. The child will be born within the year! And yes, it will be a boy! He will be the son of Abraham and Sarah. He will be blessed and be a blessing. He will be the father of Israel. He is a type of the coming Son of God’s promise, the promised Son of God.
“Is anything too difficult for the Lord?” Just as Sarah discovered that it was not too hard for the Lord to make the barren woman not just laugh, but sing, by giving her a child when her own capacity to conceive was dead, so Abraham would now discover that it is not too hard for the Lord to deal with the grievous sins of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Some revisionists reinterpret the events of Genesis 19 by saying that the sin of Sodom was the failure of the citizens to offer hospitality to the two angels (based on the fact that lack of concern for the poor and needy was listed among her sins in Ezekiel 16:49). However, the Genesis text tells us that the sin of the Sodomites was “exceedingly grave” (Genesis 18:20; 13:13). Genesis 19:5 tells us that the evil in the hearts of people from every quarter of the city, young and old, had intended nothing short of homosexual rape of these two visitors. Elsewhere in Scripture we see that this city publicly celebrated what the Bible condemns as sin (Jude 1:7; Romans 1:27; Isaiah 3:9; Leviticus 18:22; Isaiah 5:20; Romans 1:32). The destruction of the city and its inhabitants has become a lasting reminder of God’s ability to bring judgment to a populace (2 Peter 2:6; Isaiah 1:9).
It was not too hard for the Lord to rescue Lot and bring judgment on the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. He could easily turn a prosperous city into ashes. Before the Lord executed judgment on these cities, He called Abraham to join Him in intercession.
Abraham is not only known as “the father of our faith”, he is the only one in Scripture to explicitly be called “a friend of God” (2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23). Jesus called his disciples His friends (John 15:13-15) and He has made us friends of God.
We see that as a friend of God, Abraham ministered to the Lord, offering Him his best of hospitality, bread, and a fine meal (Genesis 18:5-6).
As a friend of God, Abraham would minister to his family:
Genesis 18:19 19 “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.”
As a friend of God, Abraham would minister to those who are lost. We see this in his intercession. Today the Lord Jesus intercedes for us and for those whom the Father has given Him. He came to seek and save that which is lost and He leads us in intercession for those who are currently lost to His love. Right now, Jesus is at the right hand of God making intercession for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).
Abraham has the conviction that God will do right.
Genesis 18:25 “Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?”
Abraham proceeds to ask the Lord to withhold destruction of Sodom if there are fifty righteous men within the city. The Lord concedes. Abraham presses further. He asks the Lord to spare the city if there are 45 righteous men…then 30…20…and finally 10. Abraham, like most human beings, overestimates man’s goodness and underestimates God’s holiness. “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). The only righteousness that a human being can have in God’s estimation is the righteousness of Christ that is imputed to those who, like Abraham, “believe God” for the Promised Salvation. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.
Earlier Abraham had rescued Lot (Genesis 14:12-16). Now God would rescue Lot. Lot must have believed God also, for in the New Testament he is called ‘righteous Lot’. We learn he was grieved by the sins of his neighbors.
2 Peter 2:4-10a if He (God) condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; 7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men 8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.
Jesus has won the friendship of God for you. Do you act like a friend of God? Do you minister to the Lord, loving and serving Him and His church with your whole heart? Do you show that you are a friend of God to your family by instructing them in His ways and treating them as God has treated you? Do you show that you are a friend of God by sharing His heart for the lost?
He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). He desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23; 33:11). Do we share His heart?
Brimstone and fire brought the city of Sodom to destruction. The angels had to drag Lot out. “He hesitated.” Even though he hated its sin, he had a position in that city, a reputable job at the city gate.
Genesis 19:16 16 So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the LORD was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city.
Lot and his family underestimated the severity of the situation. Lot balked at the inconvenience of escaping to the mountains. Lot’s wife defied the instructions and looked back and turned to a pillar of salt.
Lot was accustomed to making decisions based on self-will rather than the revealed will of God. He chose Sodom. He chose Zoar. He ends up fleeing in fear to a cave. His two daughters, desperate at the thought of not having husbands or children, get their father drunk and lie with him to conceive children and preserve their family through their father. The result would be offspring who would become the fathers of nations that would war with Israel. Moab was the child of Lot’s firstborn daughter, and Ben-ammi, the son of his second daughter. Ben-ammi is the father of the Ammonite nation. Moab is father of the Moabites. Both of these tribes would prove to be Israel’s enemies.
Although no word of God’s displeasure or judgment of this instance of the sin of incest, is given in the passage, there are plenty of references throughout Scripture that condemn this behavior: Leviticus 18:6-18; 20:11,12, 17, 19-21; Deuteronomy 22:30; 27:20-23; Ezekiel 22:11; 1 Corinthians 5:1.
The Sermon on the Mount ends with an invitation to escape destruction by heeding His Word and coming to Him on His terms and not our own. We cannot play games with God.
Matthew 7:13-15 (NASB)
13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
TODAY’S READING FROM THE PSALMS
This is a psalm that might sound familiar to you as it is quoted often.
Psalm 8:1 1 O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
What a tribute to the grace of God! He has dignified our humanity. He has taken us from the guttermost and saved us to the uttermost!
Psalm 8:3-6 3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; 4 What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? 5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty! 6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet!
The gospel restores our humanity to its highest privilege! The Bible has a greater vision for humanity than humanism!
Thank you, Jesus!
TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS 2:6-15
What a safety net we have! That is, if we walk in the ways of the Lord.
His Word is the source for wisdom, knowledge and understanding. These come from His mouth (v.6).
How can I know the right course to take and the right thing to do? And how can I benefit others?
Proverbs 2:7-9 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 Guarding the paths of justice, and He preserves the way of His godly ones. 9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice and equity and every good course.
PRAYER: O Lord, we know that nothing is too difficult for you! You created the universe. You dealt graciously with Abraham and Sarah. You caused the barren to sing! You rescued Lot! You sent Jesus to rescue us! Is anything too hard for You? You vindicate Your justice and mercy in the wondrous display of redemption’s love on the Cross. There Your Divine Justice saw my sin punished. There the floodgates of mercy opened, and gave me pardon, peace and eternal life. Who are we, that you should be mindful of us?
Jeremiah 32:17 17 ‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You!