Genesis Chapter 18 – John Karmelich



1.                  My title this section is, “A study of three types of people:

a)                  The “truly saved” (Abraham);
The “barely saved” (Lot);
And the “un-saved” (The people of Sodom). “

b)                  Most of Chapter 18 reads of another encounter of Abraham and the Lord prior to Isaac being born.  It speaks highly of Abraham as he spends time with God.  Further he gets further understanding from God about prayerfully interceding on the behalf of others.

2.                  The first part of Chapter 18 is about three “men” visiting Abraham.

a)                  Most commentators believe these “men” were the Lord God and two angels.

b)                  God himself speaks to Abraham in this section of the text, so the assumption is he is one of the three “men”. 

c)                  The word “angel” is not used in Chapter 18.  The “angel assumption” is because the first verse of Chapter 19 states two angels are going to Sodom.  The connection is that two of these three were just visiting Abraham.

d)                 Jewish commentaries believe that God was not one of the three “men” and God is an “outside speaker” in this chapter.  Most of the Evangelical Christian commentaries believe that God-as-a man (Jesus in a preincarnate state) is one of the “three men” in focus.

e)                  This section leaves more questions than answers.  For example, how did Abraham know one of the three “men” was the Lord, or at least were sent by God (i.e., angels)?  Why were there three “men”?  Wasn’t it sufficient for the Lord to come by himself?  Why the necessity of the other two?  Further, these three guys actually eat food.  Do angels eat and digest food?  Is there a waste disposal system in heaven?  J

3.                  The next section of Chapter 18 is the famous story of Abraham “haggling” with God.

a)                  God tells Abraham he is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.  Abraham asks God if he will destroy Sodom if there are 50 righteous people in that city.  God says no.  Abraham asks the same question of 45 people, then 40 and works his way down to 10 people before Abraham quits.

b)                  This leads to ponder more questions:  Why didn’t God just tell Abraham “10 people” to begin with, assuming “10” was God’s final answer?  Why did God put up with this conversation in the first place?  God could have said, “I’m God, shut up and let me go and do my thing at Sodom”.  J   God does not have to justify his actions to Abraham or anyone else for that matter.  A question to ponder is the purpose of this section. 

c)                  The main thing to see is that God wanted to show Abraham and show us that God does not judge the righteous people with the wicked.  Even the “barely saved” Lot must be spared before any judgment can begin.

4.                  The more we read of Lot, the more we read of a “waste of a life”.  Lot was a literal person, but he is also a word-picture of the kind of person who believes in God, but doesn’t do much about it.

a)                  There will be many people “barely saved” in heaven, but without much reward.

i)                    Paul said, “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.  If it (his works for God) is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” 
(1st Corinthians 3:12-13,15, NIV).

b)                  We read in Chapter 19 that the angels can’t even begin to wipe out Sodom and Gomorrah until after Lot and his family are safely out of town.

c)                  It’s not like “Hey Lot, you’ve got 20 minutes until it starts raining brimstone.  My advice is to start running now or you will be buried alive in this soon to be disaster area”.  J 
It is more like, “We angels are not allowed to do our job until you get out of town, so will you please get moving so we can get moving?  We are “on the clock”, you know!” 

d)                 The main point about Lot is not that, “He was rescued because he was a good man.” 
He was only rescued because he believed in the God of Abraham.  Other than that, Lot doesn’t have much of an eternal resume.  

5.                  The third main “character(s)” in this section are the residents of the City of Sodom. 

a)                  This place was called “evil” as far back as Chapter 13.

b)                  It is the first recorded specific-location of judgment in the bible where that location is destroyed for its wickedness.

c)                  A question to ponder is why Sodom and Gomorrah gets destroyed.  Chapter 18 is about God discussing the destruction of Sodom with Abraham.  The actual event occurs in Chapter 19.   Here’s a verse to ponder prior to Chapter 19:

i)                    Sodom is destroyed as an example of future judgment. 

ii)                  This mostly refers to everlasting judgment, but I can also think of a few locations throughout history which I am convinced were also judged by God.  We’ll get to that when we discuss those verses.

iii)                “If he (God) 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;  
(2nd Peter 2:6 NIV)

6.                  OK, enough introductory comments and bad jokes.  Let’s start into Chapter 18.

7.                  Chapter 18, Verse 1 The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

a)                  “The great trees of Mamre” appears to be Abraham’s home in what-is-today-Israel.  It was mentioned back in Chapter 13 when Abraham first came into that land, and it was the location of Abraham when he heard of Lot’s capture back in the episode of the “war of 4 kings versus 5 kings”.

b)                  We also know that this event was not long after the events of Chapter 17.

i)                    In Chapter 17, we had Abraham being told by God himself of the future blessings of Abraham and his family and the requirement of circumcism.

ii)                  In the last part of Chapter 17, we read of Abraham immediately obeying God and circumcising his son Ishmael and everyone in his household.

iii)                Now in Chapter 18, we are going to get the story of God “confirming” the promise of a future child.  The angels say in effect, “We’ll be back in a year, when, at that time, your son Isaac will be born.”

iv)                Prior to this announcement, we have the story of Abraham spending time with these three “men”.

c)                  Unto the big mystery: Who are these three men?

i)                    I discussed this in my introduction.  The most logical argument is that they were angels sent by God, based on the first verse of Chapter 19.  Remember the original text did not have chapter breaks.

ii)                  Abraham refers to one of the three as “Lord”.  Further, by Verse 10, it says the “LORD” spoke.  This refers to “Jehovah” himself, who apparently is one of the three men.  The other two, we assume are angels.  (There are Jewish commentaries that see this text as three angels and then God speaking.  I disagree with that interpretation, but it can be read that way.)

iii)                This means that God and angels can come in bodily form.

a)                  The Book of Hebrews gives us a clue about this: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2 NIV)

b)                  We also read of these three eating food.  One of the interesting things to notice about the 4 gospel stories is that whenever you read of Jesus’ appearing in his reincarnate state, he is always eating.  It is to show the literalness of Jesus in his new-body form.

c)                  I suspect if God and angels can suddenly appear in bodily form, they can just as easily disappear out of bodily form.  They don’t have to worry about digesting their food. 

d)                 That sounds like a good plan for us in heaven.  It sounds like we can eat what we want and not worry about gaining weight!  J

iv)                I, along with most Evangelical commentators believe that the one speaking in Verse 10 is a preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ.  Here is my basis for this:

a)                  Jesus said, “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father”. (John 6:46).

b)                  God the Father said to Moses, “But," he said, "You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live."  (Exodus 33:20, NIV)

c)                  If no one has ever seen the Father, and the “man” speaking to Abraham says that he is LORD “Jehovah”, that would make this person Jesus.

v)                  The next big question is why three guys?  Isn’t God sufficient by himself?

a)                  Why was it necessary for three  “men” to show up?

b)                  Although I can’t prove it, my best guess is based on this scripture: 

(1)               One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. (Deuteronomy 19:15 NIV)

(2)               What that Scripture means is that God set up a principal that it takes two witnesses for some sort of testimony to be held true.

(3)               The town of Sodom was about to be destroyed.  “Two witnesses” show up prior to the judgment.

(4)               Prior to the “big” judgment, which is discussed through the bulk of The Book of Revelation, there is a story of “two witnesses” to the nation of Israel spoken of in Chapter 11.  I see that as a “parallel” to these two angels coming to Sodom before its destruction.

8.                  Verse 3:  (Abraham is talking) He said, "If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way--now that you have come to your servant." "Very well," they answered, "do as you say."

a)                  Whenever you read the word “lord” in lower-case in most English Bibles, this word can be translated “sir” as well as a reference to the Lord God.

b)                  The fact that Abraham calls himself a “servant” (end of Verse 5) to these guys indicates that Abraham somehow knew they were sent by God.  The only reason we know it is God himself is because verse 10 says, “Then the LORD said”, referring to Jehovah.

i)                    I pondered if Abraham believed God sent these guys, why would he want them to “rest their feet” or give them some food?  Do angels in bodily form require nourishment and recuperation time?  J

9.                  Verse 6: So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. "Quick," he said, "get three seahs of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread."

a)                  Verse 6 is special in Middle East cultures, both in the Jewish and Muslim world.

i)                    The term “three seahs of fine flour”, also translated “three measures of fine meal” (KJV) is a reference to a “fellowship offering” or a “welcome offering” in that culture.  It is a gesture of being welcomed into that home.

ii)                  This idea is hard to translate to our American culture.  The best I can explain it is when we entertain guests, we might say, “Can I get you something to drink?” 
It is a way of greeting our guests and making them feel welcome.

iii)                In Middle East culture, offering guests bread made from 3 “seah’s (measures) of fine flour is a symbolic gesture that the guests are welcome.

b)                  I say this because Jesus himself refers to this “welcome offering” in a different context:

i)                    Another parable He spoke to them: "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened." (Matthew  13:33 NKJV)

ii)                  In this context, remember that leaven is a negative substance.  Leaven (yeast) is associated with sin.  Jesus is saying that the kingdom of heaven (age of Christian believers) will have “sin” mixed in with the “welcome offering of 3 measures of meal.”  It refers to false believers being mixed in with believers.

10.              Verse 7:  Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8 He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

a)                  Essentially Abraham told his guests, “You guys kick back here in the shade.  I’m going to have one of my servant’s kill, skin and BBQ a calf.  J  In the meantime, here, have some milk and curds (butter or cheese).

b)                  I noticed that this meal was not “kosher”.  Jews never mix meat products with dairy products in their meals.  It is based on a scripture that says, “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk.”  (Exodus 23:19,  In order to avoid that possibility, Jews never mix dairy and meat in the same meal.

i)                    I asked an Orthodox Jewish friend about this one.  He looked up some explanations for me on this:

a)                  One possibility is the fact that this offering by Abraham pre-dates the kosher rule given by Moses.

b)                  The other is that the angels were “non-Jewish” and therefore exempt. 

c)                  The other is that it takes several hours to kill, skin and cook the meat.  Therefore they ate “dairy” and “meat” at separate feedings.

d)                 The actual answer is not that important for the Christian reader.  I just thought it was an interesting bit of trivia to throw into this lesson. J

c)                  Let’s look at this in the bigger-picture of Genesis:

i)                    Chapter 17 had God describing future blessings to Abraham.

ii)                  God then tells Abraham of his requirement of circumcism.

iii)                Abraham then obeys God’s commandment and circumcises his son as well as all the other men of his household.

iv)                Now the next thing we read about is Abraham just “spending time” with God and these “men” who were sent from God.

v)                  (You can see this next sermon coming!  J).  That is a good pattern for us to follow.  First God calls us into obedience.  Then we act in obedience.  Finally, God just wants to “spend time” with him.  That too is a form of worship.  To spend time simply conversing with God.  Yes we properly prepare for him, like Abraham did with this meal offering, but it is also about just spending time with the Lord himself.

11.              Verse 9:  "Where is your wife Sarah?" they asked him.  "There, in the tent," he said.  10 Then the LORD said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son."

a)                  Think about the “why” question:  Why would these angels ask where is Sarah? 

b)                  I don’t think they were unaware of her actual location.  I think this statement is made as a reminder to Abraham about the promise of a future son.  To paraphrase:  “Hey Abraham, you are going to have a child through Sarah, not Hagar nor any other woman.  She’s in there.  I want her to overhear this message.  You’re going to have a child in a year. That means its time to put on some romantic music and get down to business!” J

12.              Verse 10 (cont.) Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.
11 Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, "After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?"

a)                  The key word here is “laughed”.  This is the second reference to laughter in 2 chapters.

i)                    Back in Chapter 17, Verse 17, Abraham laughed when God told him then he was going to have a son.  It was the first mention of laughter in the bible.  One gets the impression that Abraham laughed at time out of a sense of joy.

ii)                  Here in Chapter 18, we have Sarah laughing. Her laughter appears to be one of sarcasm and doubt.  A paraphrase of her laugh might be “Yeah right”.

iii)                The ramifications of that laugh are discussed in the next set of verses.

13.              Verse 13: Then the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, `Will I really have a child, now that I am old?' 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son."

a)                  First of all, here is your memory half-a verse for the week: 

i)                    “Is anything too hard for the LORD?”

ii)                  We would all probably live a lot longer if we can remember and act upon that verse.  One of the great mistakes all believers make is worrying.  Worrying is the opposite of faith.  Remember the saying, “If you are going to worry, why pray?  If you are going to pray, why worry?”

iii)                As my wife likes to say when I’m worried, “John, do you think God is big enough he can handle this situation?”  This means,  “Is anything too hard for the LORD?”

iv)                What is interesting is the angels and/or The Lord take the time and trouble in Verse 15 (coming up) to point out Sarah laughed in doubt, but didn’t punish her any further than to scold her.

b)                  Now back to the text itself.  God himself said to Abraham, not to Sarah, that God laughed.

i)                    It is almost as if God is reminding that it is Abraham’s “ministry” to keep his wife’s faith strong in the Lord.  This is a good reminder verse for husbands and fathers that one of our primary ministry duties is to pray for, encourage and build up our family’s faith.

14.              Vs. 15: Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, "I did not laugh."  But he said, "Yes, you did laugh."

a)                  If you were doing a movie of this scene, you would have Sarah “invisible” to the camera.  She is inside the tent eavesdropping while Abraham is on the “porch” talking to God.

b)                  The text says Sarah laughed and then denied it. Notice there is no mention of Sarah “confessing her sin” or God punishing her for this action, other than to rebuke her lie. 

i)                    Notice there is no further punishment by God for her laughing, nor for her lying about it.  God made a promise of Sarah having a son, and it was unconditional.  That means Sarah was going to have a son no matter what she did, assuming she took the necessary actions with Abraham. 

ii)                  When God makes unconditional promises to us, they stand true despite our actions.  It doesn’t excuse those actions, but it doesn’t prevent God from going through with what he promised for us.

15.              Verse 16:  When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."

a)                  Let me paraphrase this section:  “I, God have a decision to make.  I am going to destroy Sodom.  Do I tell Abraham I am going to do this or not?  Abraham will be blessed as the household of the Messiah and their family will be righteous before me.  Do I let them know about the judgment on the world or not?”

i)                    Let me start by saying God does not ponder decisions. J   If God is perfect, then God knows all things and God knew in advance what was going to happen.

ii)                  This text is written for Abraham’s sake and for our sake.

iii)                It is a “colorful” way of showing that God is going to reveal to Abraham his plans for destroying the wicked.  God wants Abraham and us to know that He reveals his plans for us.

a)                  “Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”  Amos 3:7, NKJV

b)                  So what is the purpose of this “decision”?  I believe that God wanted Abraham and us to understand that God separates the “saved” from the “unsaved”.

i)                    God wants us to understand there is a judgment day for those who turn from God.

ii)                  It is not for us to mock and say, “You’ll get yours”.  It is for us to realize the eternal consequences of turning away from God.  It is for us to see people not as sinful, but as hurting people who also need God.  Further, it is given as a sense of comfort.  There are a lot of unjust things that happen in the world.  I can “sleep nights” knowing that there is an eternal judgment for those who turn from God.

c)                  There is another principal that is important in this text.  Notice Verse 19 again:

i)                    “For I (God) have chosen him (Abraham), so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD…”  (Genesis 18:19, NIV)

ii)                  What this means is that God gave Abraham this revelation about the future and about future judgment so that he could teach his children about the ways of God.

iii)                This gets back to the fact the primary ministry of all family men is to raise their children in the Lord.  This is a priority over any other ministerial work that we are called to do.  This responsibility falls on the man.

a)                  How does one do that practically?  Here are a few examples:

b)                  Let your children see you go to church, pray regularly and read your bible.  They will remember how you act as much as anything you say to them.

c)                  Lead them in prayer.  Study the bible with them.  Don’t ask them if they want to, just lead them.

d)                 Allistar Begg once said, “The greatest day in my childhood is the day when I told my father, “I’m not going to church and you can’t make me”.  His father replied, “Watch me”!

iv)                This is why in the New Testament, one of the requirements to be an elder in the church is to raise up a Godly family.  (Ref.: 1st Timothy 3:4).

a)                  If you can’t be trusted in raising your family in the Lord, how can you be trusted for other Christian service?

v)                  Of course, for single moms, or for wives with unbelieving husbands, this job, unfortunately now falls on you.  I’m convinced that our rewards in heaven are heavily determined how we raise our children as much as any “outside work”.

16.              Verse 20:  Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know."

a)                  Does this mean God was unaware of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah?  Of course not!

b)                  This is about God revealing his plans to Abraham.  Remember that Abraham’s nephew Lot is living in Sodom.  Abraham is telling God that he is aware of the outcry of the sins of these locations.

c)                  Further, we will read of the one “man”, who I believe is The LORD himself, (Jesus in a preincarnate state) staying to “haggle” with Abraham while the “two witnesses” then go to Sodom and Gomorrah to see how bad things are.  As to the two men, we’ll discuss them more in Chapter 19.  Meanwhile, we still have more of Chapter 18 to finish.

d)                 Let’s talk about “God hearing the outcry”. 

i)                    Does that mean someone was praying while suffering?  Not necessarily.  If God who is perfect in judgment and love, hears the pain of those who are suffering whether or not they are in formal prayer.

a)                  “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.”  (Psalm 68:5, NIV)

e)                  These verses are good to remember when we read or hear of innocent people being hurt.

i)                    God is a God-of-justice as well as a God of love.  God hears the cries of those who are hurting, and the innocent who have suffered.  Yes God still wants us to pray on their behalf, but even without our prayer, God is aware of their fate and desires to do something about it.  We pray for them and help others as God desires to work through us to alleviate such situations.

17.              Verse 22:  The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing--to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

a)                  From here to the end of the chapter, we have the famous story of Abraham “haggling” with God.  Notice God simply answers each of Abraham’s questions without any further commentary or discussion.

b)                  This is a case where God is working “on Abraham’s level”.  God is trying to teach Abraham a lesson about how God separates the evil from the good.  It is almost as if God is saying “I’m only going to give you one-word answers.  I want you to continue asking questions until you understand what I’m trying to do”

i)                    Note that God will often “work on our level”.  God knows a lot more than he reveals to us in our prayers.  God will often answer our prayers directly and succinctly even though there may be a lot more.

c)                  Why did Abraham “start” with 50 people?

i)                    I can’t prove this, but I suspect Abraham was thinking about Lot.  Maybe Abraham hasn’t seen Lot since he rescued him.  Remember that Abraham and Lot separated in Chapter 13 because they were so blessed they didn’t have enough room for both of them and their stuff.  Maybe Abraham “guessed” that the size of Lot’s household was around 50 people and Abraham started there.

d)                 There is a classical debate in Judaism comparing Abraham to Noah.  It goes as follows:

i)                    When God told Noah He was going to destroy the world, Noah said in essence, “Where’s the wood? I’ve got to start building an ark.  J

ii)                  When God told Abraham He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham interceding on behalf of the “Godly people” of those towns.

iii)                The question is, “Is Abraham a “better person” than Noah because he dared to question God and intercede on people’s behalf? Noah never pondered if there were righteous people to be saved, he just said in essence, “that’s God’s problem”.

iv)                I don’t know if I can solve this debate.  After Noah, God promised never to do another worldwide flood.  God never said anything about specific-location destruction and that is the question Abraham is pondering before God.

e)                  The main question being asked by Abraham in this text is whether or not God will destroy a specific location if there is Godly people still living in that location?

i)                    Abraham “tests” God by asking “How many godly people having to be living in a location prior to destroying it?  Abraham starts with asking about 50 people, and eventually works his way down to 10 before he stops.

f)                   Notice Abraham pleads with God based on His reputation.  I encourage you to reread this section and notice how Abraham pleads based on the goodness of God, as opposed to Abraham’s “own goodness” or the “goodness of Lot”, etc.

i)                    Abraham does not say, “God, spare those people because they are good people.”  Abraham prays to God based on God’s “reputation” to keep his word.

ii)                  That is something for us to remember in our prayers.  We do not pray to God to help people because they are “good people and their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds”.  We ask God to intercede because “His reputation is on the line”.

a)                  You will often read prayers in the Old Testament based on asking God to bless the nation of Israel because “that is what you promised”.  It is not a prayer based on “look at how good we are”, but based on “You promised”.

b)                  This is a reminder to us to keep God’s promises in the forefront of our minds when we pray and intercede for others.

18.              Verse 26:  The LORD said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake."  27 Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?"  "If I find forty-five there," he said, "I will not destroy it."

a)                  We’ve now got God down to 45.  I believe Abraham works in small increments partially out of fear of not wanting to “Get God upset” and partially for Abraham to comprehend how few (if any) Godly people there are in Sodom and Gomorrah.

b)                  Again notice how Abraham is based his prayers on God’s reputation and not his own goodness.  Abraham refers to himself as “nothing but dust and ashes” in Verse 27.  This type of prayer reminds us that God created us (out of “the dust of the earth) and our bodies will return to that form. God is in charge and we are not.  We plead to God based on His reputation, and not ours.

19.              Verse 29:  Once again he spoke to him, "What if only forty are found there?"   He said, "For the sake of forty, I will not do it."  30 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?"   He answered, "I will not do it if I find thirty there."  31 Abraham said, "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?" He said, "For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it."  32 Then he said, "May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?" He answered, "For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it."

a)                  Abraham stopped at ten.  I suspect if Abraham wanted to, Abraham could have gone all the way down to “one” and God would have answered.

b)                  I suspect Abraham was afraid to go below “ten” because Abraham was concerned about the household of Lot.  It was almost as if Abraham was afraid to ask if Lot is “in our out”.

c)                  I suspect Abraham now saw the depravity of his nephew Lot.  Remember that Abraham had a big household of servants, all of which agreed to be circumcised.  Contrast that to Lot, who now lived in Sodom, and “at the most” had a family of 10 righteous people.  You get the impression that back in Chapter 13 they were “equally blessed”.  This implies of the “downhill spiral” of Lot’s life once he separated from Abraham.

20.              Verse 33:  When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

a)                  Notice Abraham didn’t say, “let me go to Sodom and rescue Lot”. 

b)                  I think Abraham understood that God had to rescue Lot out of Sodom before any judgment and destruction can begin.  I think it depressed Abraham to realize there is only 10 people, at the most in Sodom and Gomorrah that still turned to God.

21.              Well, at this point, I can either call it quits at Chapter 18 or run very long and cover Chapter 19. 
I think I’ll give everyone a break and lighten up this week. 

a)                  Let me end with a couple of comparisons between Abraham and Lot:

i)                    The contrast of Abraham and Lot is that Abraham had a “major influence” of the world around him while Lot’s world had a major influence over him.

ii)                  Abraham was blessed by God and his godly-household grew.  Lot became influenced by Sodom and “Sodom affected Lot more than Lot affected Sodom.

iii)                I believed Abraham focused his life on trying to live for God and was blessed by it.  Lot focused his life on “trying to make a buck” and by the end of Chapter 19, ended up losing all of his material possessions.

b)                  So what was the difference?  Was it simply a matter of God making the promises to Abraham and not to Lot?

i)                    The answer is both.   God, in His sovereign will does have the right to choose some over others.  I believe God also knows in advance who will follow Him, and to what level, and chooses us accordingly.

ii)                  If you think that is not fair, follow God better and you’ll know He choose you! J

iii)                The main thing to see is the contrast of living your life for God versus living your life primarily concerned with your own desires.  Lot was “saved”, but because his focus of his life was on things other than God, it ended up being a waste. 

iv)                These chapters teach of the love of God for the “saved”, which includes Lot.  Lot was saved a few chapters back in the “4 kings versus 5 kings war” and was saved from Sodom’s destruction.  Despite the fact He should have seen God working in his life, Lot focused on other things, and lost all he attempted to gain.

v)                  Let me end by saying I’m not against “making a living” or doing some thing for entertainment purposes.  My point is we need to be concerned with what “drives our live”.  Is our primary concern pleasing God or ourselves.  I have learned the hard way, as most people have, that if you learn to please God first, you are then given the God-given ability to do “all else” by God working through you.

vi)                On that somber note let’s pray:

22.              Heavenly Father, we thank you for these lessons about Abraham and Lot.  May we see the contrast in their two lives and live our lives appropriately.  Help us to “root out the Lot aspects” of our lives so we may better focus on what you desire for us.  For we ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.





GE 19:1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 "My lords," he said, "please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning."

    "No," they answered, "we will spend the night in the square."


3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom--both young and old--surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them."


6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof."


9 "Get out of our way," they replied. And they said, "This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We'll treat you worse than them." They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.


10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.


12 The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else here--sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it."


14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, "Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!" But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.


15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished."


16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!"


18 But Lot said to them, "No, my lords, please! 19 Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can't flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I'll die. 20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it--it is very small, isn't it? Then my life will be spared."


21 He said to him, "Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it." (That is why the town was called Zoar. )


23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah--from the LORD out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities--and also the vegetation in the land. 26 But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.


27 Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the LORD. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.


29 So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.


30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let's get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father."


33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and lay with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.


34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, "Last night I lay with my father. Let's get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and lie with him so we can preserve our family line through our father." 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went and lay with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.


36 So both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. 38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.