Hello, hello and welcome to the Marios Podcast. You are listening to a series on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is episode four, so if you are just joining us, guess what(?), you can binge listen all four episodes on your favorite podcast app, or at mariosministries.com! And I do recommend you go back now and start with episode one. That will provide you the necessary context and background for today’s discussion.
I am so thankful that you are listening though. I believe God is speaking to us through this study and revealing Himself to us in very special ways, so I hope you endure until the end.
Today, the God of Abraham, Part 4.
We left Abraham after receiving a reiteration of God’s promise towards him and actually receiving a sign of the “Abrahamic covenant,” remember that term? And do you remember what was the sign? That’s right, it was circumcision. God also changed Abram’s name to Abraham, for he was going to be the father of multitudes. God also change Sarai’s name to Sarah.
Abraham then did what God asked of him. On the very day he received the message from God, He circumcised himself, Ishmael (the son he had had with Haggar, which we also learned was NOT the son of the promise) and his whole household. So, we pick up now in Genesis chapter 18.
Here we learned that the Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre. The text tells us he looked up and saw three quote-unquote “men” (we’ll discuss more about why I put that in quotes) and he ran to them. He bowed before them and listen to how he speaks, “O Lord, [he says] if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant….” And in that manner, he offers them refreshment and rest through his hospitality. Abraham seems to recognize these men, these beings, as coming from God, by the way he treats them. One of them seems to speak from the Lord. Some have suggested these was the presence of the pre-incarnate Jesus, but we have nothing to really go on that. Perhaps we can say they are heavenly beings; I’ll show you why in a second.
But, whoever they are, these messengers from God accept Abrahams invitation and he and Sarah work to make them feel honored. As they eat, they ask Abraham, where is your wife? And he says, she in a tent.
This is important, I want to slow down here so that we can all get what is happening. The Lord is going to speak and with this sort of calling out to Sarah, it’s almost like he is drawing her inn. She needs to hear what God is going to say. She is in fact standing behind the door and will now surely be attentive. Here’s why I say this is important. In the Hebrews 11 passage we have already referenced in previous episodes, the Hall of Faith passage, as it is known, Abraham’s faith is not the only one mentioned. Sarah’s is also mentioned, independent of Abraham.
Here’s Hebrews 11: 11: “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.” Do you see that? By faith Abraham believed God. But it was by faith also that Sarah herself will conceived past her child-bearing years. Don’t forget that as we read this scene.
The Scriptures tell us that “the Lord said [to Abraham], ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.”
Now, before we get into Sarah’s reaction. Let us consider that the term Lord here is different from the term that Abraham used when he first saw the men. In our English Bible the difference can be missed because it is merely identified as Lord in small letters or lord in small capital letters. The term Abraham used in the beginning is in small letters. It is the Hebrew word Adonai, meaning lord or masters. But Here, when Scripture tells us who is speaking the term is Lord in all small caps, it means Yahweh, which you’ve probably heard was not pronounced for the Jews but it refers to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the Israelites specifically.
So, what we are about to hear are the very words of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That’s what this, “The lord said, in verse 10 means.” It can get confusing with the three beings, but let’s stay alert.
Now, Sarah, again is listening to this behind the tent and she laughs saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?”
On the one hand, you can sympathize with her, just as we did with Abraham. Think about it, the Lord gave this promise to Abraham decades before when they were younger, and nothing happened. That was the whole Haggar episode, right. They can’t have children, so they are going to “help God” fulfill his promise. God rejected that and insists she will bear a son, even now.
It is almost as if God wanted to wait until the day when they could not, humanly speaking, rear children, beyond any medical issues that she might have had, so as to leave no doubt who was bringing this child about. The time is now where both Abraham and Sarah scientifically unable to bear children.
And that is the point, isn’t it? It is as though, this is the perfect time now for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to shine.
The Lord said to Abraham, why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘shall I indeed bear a child, now in that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord?
That question still reverberates throughout the earth’s atmosphere. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Remember that as you face your own struggles, your own impossible promise. Is anything too hard for the Lord?
The answer is plain. Which is why Sarah, sort of comes to her senses and, realizing what she has done, she tries to deny that she had laugh because she was afraid. Which is, of course, is another bone headed move. Can we hide anything from God? Of course not, and God calls Sarah out on it on verse 15, saying, “No, but you did laugh.”
Always remember, let the fear of the Lord lead you to repentance. There is no fooling God.
But do not lose sight of what we are doing here. We are getting to know the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in very meaningful way. Nothing is impossible for him. And nothing is hidden from him. He is omniscient, that is he knows everything, and he is omnipotent, that is, he is all powerful. This is our God.
The story then shifts. Genesis 18:16 tells us that the men that were with Abraham “looked down toward Sodom” this is where Abraham’s nephew Lot chose to live. Abraham goes to send them on their way and God says, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” He continued, “For I have chosen him… to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice…”
Again, we must step back and stand in awe of this God. The God of Abraham, cares. He is going to reveal His plan to Abraham, out of His great love for his children. He is going to invite him in into his plan and revealed his sovereign will.
The Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not. I will know.”
The story tells us that the men that were visiting him went towards Sodom, but the Lord remain with Abraham. Then Abraham drew near to God and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Supposed there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing…” Abraham is assuming, as we all do most times, that there are about 50-50 righteous and unrighteous in any given place. Don’t we assume that? But that is not reality. The Lord tells him, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
So, Abraham presses the matter, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” So he’s asking if there’s forty five.
God again is clear, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
Abraham continues this line of thought and asks about 40, 30, 20, and the Lord answers him, with incredible love and patience on each, even emphasizing, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” And the Lord leaves.
Friends, listen closely, especially you young people, or if you have kids. We have a generation today that is eager to fight for justice. Listen closely, you are not more compassionate the Jesus. You are not more loving than our God. You are not even close to being as interested in the wellbeing of the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Indeed, if you want to fight for justice, stop following the fads of the world and come under the guidance and authority of Scripture, of the Word of the One True Judge of heaven and earth. It is the only way to change the world.
We get to chapter 19 here, in the book of Genesis, where Scripture reveals to us that the two that left Abraham where angels who are now entering Sodom. Lot was at the gate and sees them, bowed before them and asks them to come to his house to spend the night (similar to the way Abraham received them, somehow, they both knew these were messengers from God). They refuse at first, saying they would stay at the town square, but he insists, and they acquiesce. He serves them but soon the hospitality turns to horror as the real reason why God had sent the angels there was revealed.
The wickedness of the people of Sodom, except Lot, had become so great that they headed down to Lots house and demanded that he gave the two angels to them the they may, [quote] “know them” [end quote]. This phrase to know them, of course, is the same type of phrase used in Genesis 4:1 when Adam “knew his wife Eve,” and she became pregnant, so we know the level of corruption that the Sodomites had reached.
It is hard for us to imagine, but we can see why God had heard the cry against these people who would sexually assault strangers in this manner. Verse 4 of Chapter 19 tells us that “both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house to demand this.
Lot went out to try to calm them down saying, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.” But they are enraged now. The level of tension is so violent Lot offers to bring out his two daughters instead. We really don’t know if he’s just trying to buy time, for this is a horrible proposition too, but they are not having it and they push him against him, threatening to deal with him even worse than with the angels, who they intend to grab by force. Verse 9 says they “drew near to break the door down,” when the angels reached out, grabbed him and brought him in. They struck everyone with blindness. And, as you can imagine is chaos ensued.
They tell Lot and his family to get out of the city for they will destroy it.
Lot tells his sons-in-law who were supposed to marry his two daughters, but they don’t take him seriously. The angels say to him, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. The angels seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, Scripture says, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.
Just think of the patience and care of the God of Abraham.
The angels tell him, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” Lot pleads to be allowed to go to a nearby city and he is allowed to do so. The angel says, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.”
Lot get there with the rising of the sun and Scripture tells us, “the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.”
This too is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob friends. He will not put up with wickedness forever. He will intervene on behalf of the oppressed. And woe to those who are the oppressors, they will know true justice.
Will pick up here next time.