Genesis – First, God.
God will listen to an honest, sincere heart! Then why don’t we speak with the God of Creation, who knows all, with complete honesty, relieving our hearts of the burdens we carry? Sometimes in our religious words, God must be waiting patiently with thoughts of “Get the point, Susan”, I know what you need, just ask.
This passage is nothing short of amusing when the three men (Jesus with two angels) tell Abraham, in Sarah’s hearing, that they will have a son by next year. “An old woman like me? Get pregnant? With this old man of a husband?” And then she denied that she laughed out loud at the thought…to GOD!
“I didn’t laugh”, says fearful Sarah. God came back with, “Yes, you did.” We don’t know if, like kids, they went back and forth with, “Yes, you did” “No, I didn’t” “Yes, you laughed, I heard you”. In this episode in the school of faith, we learn we are to be honest and reverent with God
I would like to think God was a bit amused at this conversation with Sarah. “Could it be that I will really have a son at my age” could have been a deep down thought coupled with a long suffering desire to give birth.
God teaches us a very important lesson with this honest conversation. With God nothing is impossible. ABSOLUTELY nothing. If God wills it, nothing will get in his way of accomplishing it.
Genesis 18, The Message
1-2 God appeared to Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent. It was the hottest part of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing. He ran from his tent to greet them and bowed before them.
3-5 He said, “Master, if it please you, stop for a while with your servant. I’ll get some water so you can wash your feet. Rest under this tree. I’ll get some food to refresh you on your way, since your travels have brought you across my path.”
They said, “Certainly. Go ahead.”
6 Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. He said, “Hurry. Get three cups of our best flour; knead it and make bread.”
7-8 Then Abraham ran to the cattle pen and picked out a nice plump calf and gave it to the servant who lost no time getting it ready. Then he got curds and milk, brought them with the calf that had been roasted, set the meal before the men, and stood there under the tree while they ate.
9 The men said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?”
He said, “In the tent.”
10 One of them said, “I’m coming back about this time next year. When I arrive, your wife Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was listening at the tent opening, just behind the man.
11-12 Abraham and Sarah were old by this time, very old. Sarah was far past the age for having babies. Sarah laughed within herself, “An old woman like me? Get pregnant? With this old man of a husband?”
13-14 God said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh saying, ‘Me? Have a baby? An old woman like me?’ Is anything too hard for God? I’ll be back about this time next year and Sarah will have a baby.”
15 Sarah lied. She said, “I didn’t laugh,” because she was afraid.
But he said, “Yes you did; you laughed.”
16 When the men got up to leave, they set off for Sodom. Abraham walked with them to say good-bye.
GOD THINKS OUT LOUD…
17-19 Then God said, “Shall I keep back from Abraham what I’m about to do? Abraham is going to become a large and strong nation; all the nations of the world are going to find themselves blessed through him. Yes, I’ve settled on him as the one to train his children and future family to observe God’s way of life, live kindly and generously and fairly, so that God can complete in Abraham what he promised him.”
20-21 God continued, “The cries of the victims in Sodom and Gomorrah are deafening; the sin of those cities is immense. I’m going down to see for myself, see if what they’re doing is as bad as it sounds. Then I’ll know.”
ABRAHAM INTERCEDES FOR THE LOST!
22 The men set out for Sodom, but Abraham stood in God’s path, blocking his way.
23-25 Abraham confronted him, “Are you serious? Are you planning on getting rid of the good people right along with the bad? What if there are fifty decent people left in the city; will you lump the good with the bad and get rid of the lot? Wouldn’t you spare the city for the sake of those fifty innocents? I can’t believe you’d do that, kill off the good and the bad alike as if there were no difference between them. Doesn’t the Judge of all the Earth judge with justice?”
26 God said, “If I find fifty decent people in the city of Sodom, I’ll spare the place just for them.”
27-28 Abraham came back, “Do I, a mere mortal made from a handful of dirt, dare open my mouth again to my Master? What if the fifty fall short by five—would you destroy the city because of those missing five?”
He said, “I won’t destroy it if there are forty-five.”
29 Abraham spoke up again, “What if you only find forty?”
“Neither will I destroy it if for forty.”
30 He said, “Master, don’t be irritated with me, but what if only thirty are found?”
“No, I won’t do it if I find thirty.”
31 He pushed on, “I know I’m trying your patience, Master, but how about for twenty?”
“I won’t destroy it for twenty.”
32 He wouldn’t quit, “Don’t get angry, Master—this is the last time. What if you only come up with ten?”
“For the sake of only ten, I won’t destroy the city.”
33 When God finished talking with Abraham, he left. And Abraham went home.
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
(With the help and insight of Commentator, Warren Wiersbe)
The School of Hospitality
Abraham was taking his daily rest during the heat of the day when he saw three strangers approaching. Few people ever traveled when the sun was so hot, so Abraham was immediately both curious and courteous. Hospitality is the first law of the East, and Abraham faithfully obeyed it.
The three strangers were the Lord Jesus Christ and two of His angels (Gen. 18:1, 22; 19:1). There was nothing about their appearance that told Abraham who they were, but as he fellowshipped with them, he learned that he was entertaining royal visitors. His ministry to the Lord was so acceptable that we ought to follow his example today.
He also ministered immediately. This chapter emphasizes that Abraham ministered to the Lord speedily. He ran to meet the visitors (18:2) and hastened to tell Sarah to bake some bread (v. 6). He ran to get a tender calf and saw to it that the young man hastened to dress the meat (v. 7). Keep in mind that this is an old man running around in the heat of the day! Only after he had served his guests did Abraham stand still (v. 8).
Abraham served the Lord generously and gave Him the best that he had. Sarah baked bread from “fine meal” (v. 6), and the meat was “tender and good” (v. 7). No leftovers or second-rate fare for such important guests!
Abraham’s service was marked with humility. He bowed to his guests (Gen. 18:2), called himself a servant (vv. 3, 5), and called the feast only “a morsel of bread.” He served the three visitors and then stood near to be available if needed. He interrupted a comfortable afternoon nap to become a servant to three strangers, but because of that service, he received tremendous blessings for himself and his wife.
Finally, he served the Lord cooperatively and involved the ministries of others. Sarah baked the bread; a young man dressed the meat; and no doubt other servants brought Abraham the butter and milk. “I would rather put ten men to work than do the work of ten men,” said evangelist D. L. Moody, and he was right.
Dedicated servants of God encourage and inspire others to serve the Lord. D. L. Moody was used of God to enlist and assist a host of workers, helping give birth to ministries still with us today. When we serve ourselves or our own ministries, our work perishes, but when we serve the Lord, He gives lasting and abundant fruit (John 12:20-28).
In this day of convenient motels and hotels, we rarely think about what it means to entertain strangers (Heb. 13:1-2), but hospitality is an important part of Christian ministry (Rom. 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9). In fact, “given to hospitality” is one of the requirements for leadership in the local church (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8). By lovingly serving others, we serve Jesus Christ our Lord (Matt. 25:34-40), and we promote the spread of God’s truth (3 John 5-8).
The Birth Announcement
The Lord had come all the way from heaven to give Abraham and Sarah an announcement: At that same time next year, Sarah would give birth to the promised son! The news was so incredible that Sarah laughed and questioned whether such a thing could happen to two elderly people. Abraham’s laughter had been born out of joyful faith (17:17), but Sarah’s laughter was marked by unbelief, even though she tried to deny it.
Sarah’s thoughts explode…
Whenever we doubt God, we are questioning both His veracity and His ability. Does He keep His promises? Does He have the power to do what He says He will do? The answer to both questions is yes (Rom. 4:20-21)!
“Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14). Of course not! If you need proof, then listen to Job (42:2), Jeremiah (32:17, 27), the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:37), and the apostle Paul (Eph. 3:20-21). If God makes a promise, you can be sure He has the power to fulfill it, and He will remain faithful even if we are faithless (2 Tim. 2:13).
Sarah eventually repented and, with her husband, trusted God, and He gave them the promised son.
Abraham Intercedes for a Lost World
Abraham belonged to that select company of God’s people known as intercessors, individuals like Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Jeremiah, the apostles, and our Lord Himself. In fact, our Lord’s ministry today in heaven is a ministry of intercession (Rom. 8:34); so we are never more like our Lord than when we are interceding for others. It is not enough for us to be a blessing to our Lord and our home; we must also seek to win a lost world and bring sinners to the Savior.
Be like Jesus, pray for the lost in your family, church and the world. God hears these prayers. Don’t give up.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Oh, that we would have the tenacity of Abraham when we interceded for the lost. Or maybe we do. i will never tire of asking you to provide a way for the lost people in our family to find their way back to you, loving you with all that is in them with loving others they way you love us. I will not give up, either. I love you, Lord and I know nothing is impossible with you. Absolutely nothing. Thank you for saving my soul. Thank you for hearing our honest, reverent prayers.
In Jesus Name, Amen
The Lord and the two angels left Abraham’s camp and started toward Sodom, but the Lord lingered while the angels went on (Gen. 18:16, 22; 19:1). In the first half of the chapter, Abraham is running here and there, but in the last half, he is standing reverently before the Lord and interceding for Lot and the other people in Sodom. Blessed are the balanced!
An intercessor must know the Lord personally and be obedient to His will. He must be close enough to the Lord to learn His “secrets” and know what to pray about (Amos 3:7; Ps. 25:14). The Lord’s words “I know him” (Gen. 18:19) mean “I have chosen him, and he is My intimate friend” (John 15:15). Abraham knew more about Sodom’s future than the citizens themselves, including Lot. It is the separated believer who shares God’s secrets.
Abraham drew near to the Lord (James 4:8), and the Hebrew word means “to come to court to argue a case.” Abraham was burdened for Lot and Lot’s family, as well as for the lost sinners in the five cities of the plain, and he had to share that burden with the Lord.
Never underestimate the importance of even a small number of believers. As few as ten people would have saved a whole city from destruction! If Lot had won only his own family to faith in the Lord, judgment would have been averted. Your personal witness today is important to God, no matter how insignificant you may feel.