Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Genesis 18 - 19

Genesis 18:1-15 – Truth to Believe

Early in the afternoon three men appeared to Abraham.  We know this because verse 1 says “in the heat of the day”.  Two of the men were angels and the other was the Lord.  The Lord did not reveal himself right away.  He let Abraham serve him and the angels first.  Why did Jesus come to visit Abraham?  Perhaps it was a test of his heart.  Abraham pasted the test.  He demonstrated hospitality and love for the human needs of those around him. 

Are you tuned in to the needs of others?
How would you respond if God came for dinner tonight?   

Another of the Lord purposes of the visit was revealed by asking about his wife, Sarah telling she would have the promised son.  This is the sixth time that we see the revelation about the promised son.  Sarah overheard this and laughed to herself in disbelief and said to herself that she was too old and worn out to have a son.  The Lord asked, “Why did Sarah laugh..” – Gen. 18:13.  This shows us that the Lord knows our innermost thoughts and what we do in secret.  Then He said, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” – Gen. 18:14.  Nothing is impossible for God.  After all He is the Creator.  They both believed in God, but now she’s facing her unbelief in a promised son.  Now she has to believe the truth.  Perhaps if she had believed sooner, it would not have taken her so long to conceive. 

What truth in scripture seems impossible for you to believe?
Has God asked you to do something and has He given you everything you need to do it, but you don’t believe you can?
Does your doubt impact the way you parent?  The Bible says we should be sexually pure, but this is not the way of the world.  So we as parents think this is not possible for our children.  Do you parent out of your unbelief?
Rom. 8:28 says “in all things God works for the good”.  Do you ask, is this for people whose messes are like mine?

God knows our innermost thoughts and is willing to do the impossible.

Principle:
God’s Word challenges us to believe the impossible.

Genesis 18:16-22 – Truth to Pray

Then when the men were ready to leave, the Lord revealed His other purpose for the visit.  Abraham was God’s covenant friend so He announced His plan of judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah.  Sin was so grievous there and had been for a long time that God would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. – Gen 18:20.  He gave Abraham the opportunity to plead for the righteous people who lived there.

Lot and his family lived in Sodom.  Abraham had risked himself and rescued Lot in the past and even though Lot had returned to Sodom, Abraham still wanted to spare him.   So Abraham pleaded with the Lord to spare the righteous people of Sodom.  He asked, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?  What if there are fifty righteous people in the city?...” Gen. 18:25.  “The Lord said, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’”.  Gen. 18:26.  Then Abraham spoke up again boldly asking if there are 45 righteous men, then 40, then 30, then 20.  Each time God said He would not destroy Sodom if righteous men were found until Abraham was down to 10. – Gen. 18:26-33.  Our attitude toward homosexuals should be that they are sinners in need of a savior, just like any lost person.

Abraham was humble, persistent, and bold.  He was open to God as he talked with Him.  He knew God was just and righteous and had authority.  God listened patiently to Abraham as He does when we pray.  The passage doesn’t say that Abraham stopped pleading with God, but that God left.  “When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.” Gen. 18:33.

Does this mean we can change God’s mind?  If not, why pray?  I think it is a lesson to Abraham and to us that prayer is important.  God allows us to intercede in order to reveal His mercy.  It shows that God takes no pleasure in destroying the wicked.  It also shows the power of righteous people can have and it teaches us the value of intercession.  Prayer gives God the opportunity to mess with your heart and to align it with His.

Principle:
Walking intimately with God by trusting His Word will align our heart’s desire with His.

How will you describe your relationship with God, as friend or acquaintance?
Prayer is a way for God to change our heart.  The enemy wants us to not take the time to pray.  Are you available for God to change your heart?
Does your prayer life involve only those around you?
How might your pray concerning the lost?

Genesis 19:1-38 – Truth that Saves

The two angels arrived in Sodom in the evening and Lot met them.  The Lord did not go with them.  He would not have been welcomed there.  Lot seemed to know they were divine guests and offered for them to wash their feet and spend the night at his house instead of them staying in the square.  After they ate and before they had gone to bed, all of the men (young and old) from all over the city surrounded the house.  This sounds like rampant homosexuality.  They wanted the two men visitors to come out and have sex with them.  They came to gang rape the visitors.  Lot pleaded with them not to do this wicked thing and offered his two daughters instead.  They didn’t want his daughters and tried to break down the door.  Lot was not a man of character and was focused on himself.  Hospitality was more sacred than sexual morality to him.  God condemns homosexuality.  “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have don what is detestable…” Lev. 20:13.  “Do not be deceived; Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”1 Cor. 6:9b-10.  .  Our attitude toward homosexuals should be that they are sinners in need of a savior, just like any lost person.

“God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.  Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.  Even the women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  In the same the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion…..God have them over to a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done……… they not only continued to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” Rom. 1:24-32This was the story of Sodom.

The two angels pulled Lot back and struck the men blind so they could not find the door. – Gen. 19:1-11.  The two angels told Lot of the coming of the city’s punishment and hurried Lot and his family safely out of the city.  They told Lot and his family to flee for their lives and not to look back. – Gen. 19:12-17.  Lot spoke to his sons-in-law to convince them to flee with him, but they thought he was joking.  Lot had no credibility with them and was not a good witness for God.  Lot hesitated – Gen 19:16.  Lot was literally dragged from the city by the angels, because his heart was in Sodom.

Do you have credibility with those around you?
What kind of witness are you in times of crisis?

God destroyed Sodom as an example of that happens to the ungodly.  “if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) – if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.”2 Peter 2:6-9.  God saved Lot, but he lost his friends, his property, his character and his life’s work.  He was saved because of Abraham interceded for him.  We are saved because of the One Who intercedes for us, Jesus Christ.  Lot did not deserve to be saved.  Neither do we.

Sodom was a city of great sin.  Homosexuality was their way of life.  God showed great mercy to Lot and his family and let them live because of Abraham’s prayer.  This shows that God can save others when we pray.  Lot was told to go to the mountains, but he wanted to go the city of Zoar.  Lot was selfish when he asked God to save Zoar thinking it would be a better place to live.  He wanted things his own way.  Lot’s wife didn’t obey the Lord.  She liked Sodom and didn’t want to leave so she looked back and was turned to salt. – Gen 19:18-26.

God let him live in Zoar, but Lot soon left Zoar even though God had promised to keep him safe there.  He did not trust God so he went to live in a cave with his daughters.  He lived the rest of his life scared to death. 

Lot’s daughters were not familiar with praying.  They wanted to preserve the family line so they got him drunk and lay with him.  Both became pregnant by their father.  They knew their actions were wrong.  They lacked trust and respect for their father.  Sex between close members in a family was wrong.  God did not punish Lot’s descendants because of this.  They became important nations, the Moabites and the Ammonites of today.  Jesus was a descendant of Ruth who was a Moabite.

We learn from these events that God doesn’t need our help and we should not try to manipulate people and events of the world.  There are similarities between Sodom and the world today.  Immorality and perversion are rampant.  Homosexuality is always considered sin the Bible – not an alternative lifestyle.

Principle:
By grace, an abiding relationship with God makes life meaningful and eternally secure.

God will judge all the earth.  Faith is the only way to escape eternal death.  Abraham interceded for Lot and his prayers made a difference.

Who needs you to stand in the gap in prayer for them?
Are you willing to pray for them knowing your prayers matter?
Do you have an affair with the world?
Will God convict you of sin? 
Do you negotiate with Him?  

Lot is an example of one who accepts Jesus as Savior, but never makes Him Lord.
It’s not time to negotiate, but to recognize how much He loves you enough to warn you.  Lot missed out on fellowship with God and with others.  He had no influence on others.  He had many chances, but chose the world.  He wasted his life.

What will you do so you don’t waist the life you have been given?
Do you read this story and think you can’t be in it?  You can go to church weekly, but choose not to be in fellowship with God.  Redemption does not cure our sinful nature.  We need to stay close to God.  He reveals Himself in His Word.

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