Genesis 18:16-33

October 17, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Bible Study | 1 Comment
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Then the men rose up from there, and looked down toward Sodom; and Abraham was walking with them to send them off. The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? “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.” And the LORD said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. “I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD.

Abraham came near and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? “Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? “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?” So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.” And Abraham replied, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes. “Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You destroy the whole city because of five?” And He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” He spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose forty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it on account of the forty.” Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” And he said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the twenty.” Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.” As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the LORD departed, and Abraham returned to his place.

Last week, we saw how God came to Abraham and promised that he and Sarah would have a son of their own who would be the heir that would eventually become a might nation of people. When Abraham heard this, he laughed at the thought of him having a child at 100, but he didn’t doubt. Sarah laughed too, but she doubted, and God called her out on it. The announcement of Isaac coming at the same time next year wasn’t the only reason that they came though….

Abraham is walking with God and the two angels to see them off after they’ve refreshed themselves. The LORD rhetorically asks if He should hide what He is about to do to Sodom and Gomorrah. He reiterates His promise and then expounds on why He chose Abraham. Abraham was chosen to be in covenant with God 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 God’s promise will come to pass. He then tell Abraham what His plans are for both Sodom and Gomorrah. The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah are so vile and wicked, they have so permeated the culture and lifestyle of the people that the outcry of those sins has been heard by God. He tells Abraham that He will go down and see if they have truly done all that He has heard they have done. This doesn’t mean that God didn’t know what was going on or if the sins of the two cities were as terrible as He said they were. Instead, this only means that God’s timing was complete. The sins of the two cities had put them so far away from God that they had no way to return. This would also be true of the Amorites when Israel would get released from Egypt. The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah had reached their fulfillment and God’s time of judgment had come.

Abraham clearly knew what God was talking about and his response to God shows this. “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” This response also shows that Abraham understands the character of God and how He will not condemn the righteous for the sins of the wicked. Abraham then begins to ask God if He will destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if there are fifty righteous people in the cities. God says that if He finds (He already knows) fifty righteous people, He will not destroy the cities. During the entire discussion, Abraham remembers and recognizes his position in the conversation (I am but dust and ashes). Even so, he continues to whittle the number of righteous down to ten people. It may be that this is the number of people who were in Lot’s family (remember that Lot moved from the valley to the city itself).

Regardless of the reason, ten is the lowest number of righteous people that the Lord allows Abraham to reach. Despite the number of righteous in the city, the judgment has been determined. After this dialogue, God departs and Abraham returns to his tent.

God’s judgment is sure. When God decides to judge, that judgment will come to pass. God has decided to judge sin. He has determined that the just punishment for sin is an eternity of conscious torment in hell. This judgment will come to pass upon those who meet the necessary criteria. To meet the criteria, you don’t have to do anything. You and I start out at birth meeting the criteria. We are conceived in sin and it is this sin that will send us to hell. Unless something about us is changed, we will automatically receive the judgment God has planned for those who live in sin. For us to escape the wrath of God’s judgment our sins must be erased. The problem is, there is nothing that you and I can do to erase that sin. The only thing that can remove our sins and allow us to be free of God’s just judgment is our repentance and faith in Christ. Some might ask, “But, aren’t repentance and faith things we do to get saved?” No. Both repentance and faith are gifts given to us by God which allow us to be saved.

Please. If you aren’t born-again, if you haven’t repented of your sins and put your faith in Jesus Christ alone to save you; do so now. While you have time….

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