Abraham and Sodom - Page 1 (series: Lessons on Genesis)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

The men rose up and looked toward Sodom

The men rose up and looked toward Sodom

Page | 1


April 3, 2019
By: Tom Lowe

Title: Abraham and Sodom (Gen. 18:16-33).

Genesis 18:16-33 (KJV)

16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:
28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.
29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake.
30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it if I find thirty there.
31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake.
32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said I will not destroy it for ten's sake.
33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

Introduction
The predominant theme of this message is justice. It grows out of the preceding verses (vv. 9-15). Certainly, God is able to do whatever He wants to do, but will it be just? The answer is obvious, as shown by His replies to Abraham's appeals.

This passage gives the basis for Abraham being called the friend of God (2 Chr. 20:7; Isa. 41:8{18]; James 2:23). Because he was the friend of God and all the nations of the earth will be blessed in him, he was allowed the high privilege of learning something about God's principles for punishment (Gen. 4:10; Hos. 4:2{19]; Jonah 1:2). We will find those principles in today's message.


Commentary
Let's begin by reading verses 16 and 17.

16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

Up to this point, the Lord has not revealed to Abraham what He was going to do with Sodom and Gomorrah: He is going to destroy them. He said, "Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?"

God says, "Abraham went with them to bring them on the way," which indicates that Abraham adhered to the custom of that day, that is, for a host to accompany his guests a little way.

Now notice the reason God is not going to hide it from Abraham; that He is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

Verse18 says, "Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?"

God reminded Abraham that he was the chosen means of blessing the nations, and He let him know that he was going to destroy the wicked cities of the plain. Why would God divulge such things to Abraham? The reasons can be summed up in the single word, "covenant;" the covenant established (ch. 15, 17) between God and Abraham had expressed promises

and obligations which could be fostered and furthered if God now revealed His plans. A covenant, moreover, is much more than a contract; it reveals a close and warm relationship, expressed here in the phrase "I have chosen him" (v. 19, NIV), literally "I have known him."

Verse19 says, "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."

One very outstanding feature of Abraham's character was that he not only prayed with his family, but he taught them about God from his personal experiences. He commanded his family as a man of knowledge, as a man of authority, as a prophet and king, as well as a priest in his own house.

Abraham not only took care of his children but of his whole household; even his servants were educated in the things of God. He made it his business to promote practical religion in his family. He did not fill their heads with matters of speculation or with uncertain lines of reasoning; but he taught them to keep the ways of the Lord, to be just, and live rightly, that is, to be serious and devout in the worship of God, and to be honest in their dealings with all men.

Abraham was not only concerned for his current household, but for all those households that would come afterward, that they would worship and serve God when he was in the grave.
This is a great tribute that God paid to Abraham as an outstanding family man—something worth coveting. Abraham will command his children and his household. Oh, how few husbands and fathers can say that today when so many men are absent from the home and women are left to raise their children alone? And how few husbands and fathers are actually masters in their homes and teach their families the principles of religion.

20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

This is the first appearance of the word Gomorrah. The actual story has to do with Sodom only. Sodom and Gomorrah were the two leading cities at the south end of the Dead Sea. The others—Admah, Zebolim, and Zoar—were to be destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah in the conflagration that was to purge the cesspools of sin. (Ultimately God spared Zoar as a new home for Lot.) The cities were about eighteen miles from Abraham's home at Hebron. It was possible for him to see the southern end of the Sea from the immediate vicinity of Hebron.

21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

This is the Lord's monolog about His judgment on the cities of the plain, with the major city being Sodom. Interestingly, God had a double motivation for revealing His plan: (1) All nations would be blessed through Abraham; therefore God told him that one city (Sodom) would be removed before it had a chance to be blessed through him. (2) Abraham was to teach his offspring righteousness and justice (what is right and just, v. 19) so that they might enjoy God's blessings.

Since the outcry of people against the grievous sins of Sodom and Gomorrah was so great, the Lord went to see if it was that bad. (Of course in His conscious He knew the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, but He wanted to demonstrate His justice to them.) God never does anything hurriedly or hastily. If the sin of those people was "complete," they would be judged.

"I will go down" (Gen. 11:7){20] indicates that God's justice moved Him to demonstrate that He had full possession of the facts. Actually, the two angels went to Sodom, and the Angel of the Lord stayed with Abraham.


22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

The Lord and the two angels left Abraham's camp and started toward Sodom, but the Lord lingered while the angels went on (vv. 16, 22; 19:1{6]). 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.

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{7]; Ps. 25:14{8]). The Lord's words "I know him" (v. 19) mean "I have chosen him," and he is my intimate friend" (John 15:15){9]. Abraham knew more about Sodom's future than the citizens themselves, including Lot. It is the separated believer who shares God's secrets.

Sarah and the servants helped Abraham when he prepared a meal for the three visitors, but when it came to the ministry of intercession, Abraham had to serve alone.




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