GOD REAFFIRMS HIS PROMISE – ABRAHAM’s INTERCESSION FOR SODOM (G-18-HBS)

GOD REAFFIRMS HIS PROMISE

Until you get to the New Testament, you may wonder why the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of Genesis are included in the Bible. They seem rather detached from the story of Abraham. They deal with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Chapter 18 is a rather lengthy chapter in which God tells Abraham about the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham intercedes on behalf of the cities of the plain. This is an illustration, I think, of the blessed Christian life, of life in fellowship with God. But in chapter 19, down in Sodom and Gomorrah with Lot, we will see what I would call the blasted life—all because of a decision that was made.

Unfortunately, we have both kinds among Christians today—those living a blessed life and those living a blasted life. There are those who have really made shipwreck of their lives; they have gotten entirely out of the will of God. I would not suggest even for a moment that they have lost their salvation, but they sure have lost everything else. As Paul says, they are saved, “. . . yet so as by fire” (l Cor. 3:15).

Genesis 18:1-16 KJV

[1] And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

[2] And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

[3] And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

[4] Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:

[5] And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

[6] And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.

[7] And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.

[8] And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

[9] And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.

[10] And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

[11] Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

[12] Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

[13] And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?

[14] Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

[15] Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

[16] And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.

Genesis 18:1

And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;


  • Abraham is living down there in Mamre, and he’s an old man, by the way.

 

Genesis 18:2

And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,


  • Notice the hospitality that Abraham extends.
  • The little story that I told in the previous chapter has a basis of fact, at least, although I don’t think it ever took place. The point is that this man Abraham is a very gracious, hospitable man.

 

Genesis 18:3

And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:


  • Abraham is really entertaining these men royally.

 

Genesis 18:4

Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:


  • It seems very strange to us to tell a visiting stranger to wash his feet and come in. We wouldn’t quite say that today, but this is probably the oldest custom that is known.
  • Remember that in the Upper Room our Lord washed the disciples’ feet—and there is a tremendous spiritual message there.
  • Here Abraham says, “Wash your feet.” It was a token of real hospitality when someone came into a home to have him take off his shoes and wash his feet. In that day they did not take off their hat, but they did take off their shoes.
  • Today we have reversed it. When you come to visit somebody, you leaves your shoes on and take off your hat.

 

Genesis 18:5

And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.


  • Isn’t this a marvelous way of entertaining?

 

Genesis 18:6

And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.


  • Abraham has prepared a sumptuous meal.

 

 

Genesis 18:7

And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.


  • He took a little calf, a servant killed and prepared it, and the chef probably barbecued it.
  • They had veal steaks or veal roast, I imagine, and all the trimmings that went with it.

 

Genesis 18:8

And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.


  • “And he took butter, and milk”—my, it was a real feast!

 

Genesis 18:9

And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.


  • In the culture of the day, it is not customary for a man to inquire about the wife of another man.
  • Therefore Abraham is probably curious about the inquiry we see here.
  • Perhaps there is something about these men that causes Abraham to accept the question, so he replies that she is in the tent.

 

 

 

Genesis 18:10

And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.


  • One of the guests speaks, and in so doing he states that he will return later.
  • Opinions vary on the figure of speech according to the time of life used to describe when the return will occur.
  • One view is that it will be at the beginning of another year from the present moment.
  • Another opinion is that it will be when the dormancy of winter is changing to the new life of spring. Romans 9: 9 offers the translation “at this time will I come,” but this doesn’t help much in pointing to one interpretation over the other.
  • Genesis 18: 1 implies that this conversation takes place in the heat of summer, so the interpretations of the timing of the promised return vary by only a few months in any case.
  • As the special guest continues, Sarah has positioned herself on the other side of the tent flap, directly behind the one who is speaking.
  • What she overhears is a shocking statement to one of her age, for the man announces that at the time of his return she will have a son.

 

 

 

Genesis 18:11

Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.


  • At this point, Abraham is 99 and Sarah is 89 years of age (compare Genesis 17: 17, above).
  • Sarah’s age means that she is no longer experiencing the monthly cycle that is associated with the ability to conceive children.
  • We may compare the life situation of these two with that of Zacharias and Elisabeth in Luke 1:5-7.

 

 

 

Genesis 18:12

Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?


  • Sarah quickly evaluates the announcement by the stranger to be preposterous, and this prompts a silent laughter within herself.
  • To burst forth in laughter would reveal that she is eavesdropping on the conversation of the men.
  • Sarah is fully aware that both she and her husband are waxed old. To her, it is quite unreasonable to think that she can conceive and bear a child (compare Romans 4: 17, 19).
  • Therefore both Abraham’s laughter of delight and the laughter of Sarah’s doubt are reflected in the name of their son to be born (see the commentary on 17: 17).
  • At some point, Sarah’s doubt gives way to faith since Hebrews 11: 11 says, “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.”

 

 

 

Genesis 18:13

And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?


  • The most important fact of this verse is that the speaker is now designated as the Lord. When the four letters of this word are all capital letters, it indicates that this is the divine name Yahweh.
  • The speaker is the Lord himself, and He is the special messenger from Heaven. Some scholars believe that this is a manifestation of God the Son before He is born as a babe in Bethlehem.
  • The special nature of this messenger is seen in the bold pronouncement and in being able to know the unexpressed thoughts and silent laughter of Sarah.
  • The three guests were earlier called “men” (Genesis 18: 2), and Hebrews 13: 2 uses the term “angels.” The word angel can mean “messenger,” and that is the situation here.

 

 

 

Genesis 18:14

Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.


  • The Lord’s responses continue with a rhetorical question and an affirmation.
  • The thrust of the question Is any thing too hard for the Lord? is repeated in different circumstances in both the Old and New Testaments.
  • As a question, we see it in Jeremiah 32: 27.
  • As a statement, we see it in Jeremiah 32: 17; Matthew 19: 26; Luke 1: 37; and Romans 4: 21.
  • The difficult statement I will return unto thee, according to the time of life is identical in Hebrew to the one found in Genesis 18: 10 (above), except for the added word certainly there.

 

 

 

Genesis 18:15

Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.


  • Sarah reacts with a feeble attempt to defend herself. Perhaps she rationalizes that there has been no audible laughter, but God knows a person’s heart and thoughts (compare Matthew 9: 4; 12: 25).

 

 

 

Genesis 18:16

And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.


Abraham didn’t have a front gate, so he walked out with them a little farther than the front gate to bid them good-bye. And as they walked out from where Abraham lived, they could look down to Sodom and Gomorrah.

Abraham walked out a ways with these guests, and down below there, they saw Sodom and Gomorrah. They were the great resorts of that day, and they must have been very delightful and beautiful places to be.

 

GOD ANNOUNCES THE COMING DESTRUCTION OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH

Up to this point, the Lord has not revealed to Abraham what He is going to do with Sodom and Gomorrah.

Genesis 18:17-33 KJV

[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.

 

 

Genesis 18:17

And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;


  • The Lord is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • Notice now the reason that God is not going to hide it from Abraham.

 

Genesis 18:18

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


  • Abraham is going to have a tremendous influence. He is going to influence multitudes of people, including the succeeding generations.
  • That is true right now today. As you read this information, Abraham is influencing us—we cannot avoid it.

 

Genesis 18:19

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.


  • God says, “I’d better not hide it from Abraham because he will get a wrong impression of Me.”
  • Notice by the way, that this man Abraham had discipline in his household.

 

Genesis 18:20

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


  • It is a good thing that God told Abraham He was going to destroy these cities, because otherwise Abraham would have gotten a wrong impression of God.
  • He would have thought that God was rather dictatorial and vindictive and that He was One who apparently showed no mercy for or consideration of those who were His.
  • Abraham would really have had a distorted and warped view of God, and so God lets him know what He is going to do.

 

Genesis 18:21

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.


  • In other words, God is saying to Abraham, “I know the situation there, but I’m going down to investigate.” God never does anything hurriedly or hastily.
  • Abraham now has time to turn this over in his mind. It is also a good thing that God told him because he did have a wrong idea of God and of Sodom and Gomorrah—he was wrong about many things.
  • This is one of the reasons that God is telling us as much as He is.
  • There are a lot of things that He does not tell us, but He has told us enough so that though a man be a fool and a wayfaring man, he needn’t err therein.

 

Genesis 18:22

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


  • Abraham is now waiting before the Lord.

 

Genesis 18:23

And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?


  • What is the first thing that enters Abraham’s mind?
  • The first thing that enters his mind, of course, is Lot. He had rescued Lot once, and now Lot is again in danger down there.
  • I think that Abraham had wondered many times about Lot and his relationship to God, but at least he believes that Lot is a saved man.
  • He is asking God, “What about the righteous?” I believe that Abraham would have told you that he thought there were many people in the city of Sodom who were saved.
  • He could not understand why God would destroy the righteous with the wicked. What a picture we have here!

 

Genesis 18:24

Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?


Abraham begins with fifty. He says to the Lord, “Lord, suppose there are fifty righteous down there in Sodom. Would You destroy the city if there were fifty righteous?”

 

Genesis 18:25

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?


  • That is still a question that many people ask: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
  • And there is an answer to it. The rest of the Bible testifies to the fact that the Judge of all the earth always does right.
  • Whatever God does is right, and if you don’t think He is right, the trouble is not with God, but the trouble is with you and your thinking.
  • You are thinking wrong; you do not have all the facts; you do not know all of the details.
  • If you did, you would know that the Judge of all the earth does right. We are wrong; He is right.

 

Genesis 18:26

And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.


  • And Abraham thinks this over.

 

Genesis 18:27

And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:


 

 

Genesis 18:28

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.


  • In other words, Abraham says, “If there are forty-five righteous left, would You destroy the city for forty-five?” And God tells him, “If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.”

 

Genesis 18:29

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.


  • This makes the man a little bit bolder, and he says to the Lord, “Suppose there are forty?” The very interesting thing is that God says, “I will not destroy it for forty” And Abraham keeps on bringing the number down.

 

Genesis 18:30

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.


  • He says, “How about thirty?” God says, “If there are thirty there, I still won’t do it.”

 

Genesis 18:31

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.


  • Abraham says, “Suppose there are twenty there?” God says, “I’ll not destroy it.”

 

Genesis 18:32

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.


  • Abraham is overwhelmed now, and he takes another plunge: “Suppose there are ten righteous there. Would You destroy it if there are ten?” And God says, “If there are ten righteous in the city, I will not destroy it”

 

Genesis 18:33

And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.


  • Now the question arises: Why didn’t Abraham come on down below ten?
  • I’ll tell you why: At this point he is afraid that Lot is lost, and this disturbs him a great deal; so he is not going to come down any further.
  • But he could have come down to one. He could have said, “Lord, if there is one in that city who is righteous, would You destroy the city?”
  • Do you know what God would have said?
  • He would have said, “If there is one who is righteous in that city, I am going to get him out of that city, because I would not destroy a righteous man with the city.”
  • How do I know that is the way it would have been?
  • Because that is the way it worked out.

There was one righteous man there—Abraham didn’t believe it, but God knew him—and that one was Lot. God said to Lot, “Get out of the city. I cannot destroy it until you are out.”

Do you know that the Great Tribulation period cannot come as long as the church is in the world?

It just cannot come, my friend, because Christ bore our judgment, and the Great Tribulation is part of the judgment that is coming. This is the reason that the church cannot go through it.

This is a glorious picture of that truth. We are going to see that Sodom and Gomorrah are a picture of the world—and what a picture!

What a condition the world is in today—it is very much like Sodom and Gomorrah.

That does not mean that the Lord is going to come tomorrow. I do not know—and no one else knows—when He will come. But He could come tomorrow, and it certainly would be in keeping with the carrying out of the picture which is before us here in Genesis.

 

 

 

 

I hope that you have really enjoyed this post,

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