Dear FCC Family!
The reading for Day 6 of our most excellent adventure through the Bible is Genesis 18-21… And people say the Bible is boring. Ha.
The first half of Genesis 18 begins when the Lord and two of His angels stop by Abraham’s camp on their way to destroy Sodom & Gomorrah.
Abraham begs them to stay, wash their feet and eat a little bread, but brings them a feast instead. God tells Abraham that when He returned next year Sarah would have a son. Sarah laughs over the prospect due to both of their advanced ages, but denies her disbelief when God asks her why she laughed.
Do we ever question God’s goodness? We know He can do whatever He wants, but do we believe in both His goodness and power?
In Genesis 18.14 God says, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” (NASB)
That is the question we must ask ourselves in the midst of the valley of doubt: Is anything too difficult for the Lord?
God reiterates His desire to keep His Covenant with Abraham and Abraham’s kids.
The two angels go on they way to destroy Sodom & Gomorrah for the sake of justice. The unjust must be held accountable for their actions, that’s only right.
God is right.
Abraham spends the rest of the chapter begging God to have mercy on the righteous of the city. When we say righteous here we think of how Peter describes Lot as righteous in 2 Peter 2.7, which is one of the more confusing things in the Bible because as we’re about to read Lot doesn’t seem very righteous.
But then again, neither are we, really. Righteous here doesn’t mean that Lot or anybody else in Sodom were actually doing more good than bad, nor that they were holy in and of themselves. Righteous here is the same kind of righteous that we are: positionally by faith. Lot, for all his sins, did believe in God.
Abraham practices intercessory prayer here. As we read it we may think he is being rather bold to negotiate with God. We do it all the time in our prayer life, or in the off hand remarks we made about God and God’s sovereignty. Would we speak and pray as we do if we were standing before Him?
Prayer is a great mystery. Why does God want us to pray if God knows what He is going to do anyway? I’m not sure, but I do know that He does want you to pray, and to ask with the faith of a Child.
As Pastor Tim Keller has said,” The only person who dares wake up a king at 3:00 AM for a glass of water is a child. We have that kind of access.” This seems true enough.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Abraham was a friend and a child of God. He spoke to God like one.
In Genesis 19 we see that the penalty of sin is death. God destroys the city because as Genesis plainly has said multiple times already it was a city of exceeding wickedness and sin.
There has been a great deal of historical and biblical reconstruction of the events surrounding the judgement of Sodom by those who wish to blot homosexuality off of the list of sins for which Christ died.
They use all sorts of novel hermeneutical gymnastics to somehow make the Bible not say what it so clearly says.
The essence of being a Christian is to recognize one’s sins as sins, and to rest in the beautiful truth that Christ has died for all sin equally, rather than to take whiteout, or scissors to Holy Scripture.
Christians can freely admit that some Churches and some Christians have not always loved those struggling with certain sins, yet that is no reason to give up the ghost in the struggle against sin. Christians of all kinds need to recognize that those who struggle with homosexuality, as well as those who aren’t struggling with it because they’ve embraced the lie that it is God’s will for their lives, are deeply loved by God and need to hear the good news of Christ crucified for sinners. All people need to recognize, from the prodigal to the pharisee, that if you are too proud to call yourself a sinner, then you’re too proud for forgiveness.
Some have gone to Ezekiel 16:49-50 and Luke 10:10-13 to argue that the sin for which God destroyed Sodom was lack of hospitality.
No doubt lack of hospitality was one of many sins which Sodom was guilty, remember the city was exceedingly wicked.
But Lot does not insist that the Angels come stay the night at his home rather than stay the night in the town square because he was afraid they’d have to watch the wealthy and decadent Sodomites gorge themselves while their tummies rumbled. No, rather, he was afraid that the homosexuals, both men and boys, of the town would attempt to gang rape them. This attempt was exactly what comes to pass in Genesis 19. So, while there is no doubt that that the city was not destroyed merely for homosexuality, it is clear that when the Angels did go down to investigate the city, what they ran into was an attempted gang rape.
The situation goes from bad to worse when Lot offers up his virgin daughters to the rape gang. There are multiple explanations for this (including references to ancient mid-eastern hospitality codes) which have never made a great deal of sense to me. I think it’s best to say that it’s a very bad situation, and the Bible, as we talked about last time is merely recording what Lot did, rather than endorsing what Lot did. Fathers should protect their daughters.
It must be noted, however, without belaboring the point, that the rape gang showed no interest in raping Lot’s daughters, because it was a homosexual rape gang.
Things get more interesting as the Angels try to get Lot and his family out of the city before it is destroyed. They don’t really seem eager to leave. Thus far Lot has gone from grazing his flock near Sodom, to residing in Sodom, to hanging out at the city gate (in the ancient world the politics of the city were conducted at the city gate). He likes it there. His family like it there. The question the Christian must ask themselves in these types of situation is, “Am I influencing the world for Christ, or is the World influencing me?”
Often we’re not honest with the answer.
Lot’s future sons in law laugh at Lot when he tries to warn them of coming judgement. They scoffed, even back then, that God actually cares about what people do.
The Angels basically have to drag Lot’s family out of Sodom. Lot’s wife loved Sodom so much that she looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.
The end of Genesis 19 records Lot’s daughters plying him with wine and raping him while he was passed out. They wanted children, and didn’t think God could provide them with husbands. Their children’s children would form the nations of Moab & Ammon, who would be a perpetual thorn in the side of the Israelites. Yet in God’s grace, a Moabite woman would find her place in the family tree of King David, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Her name was Ruth.
It should be noted that what Lot’s daughters did to him is similar to what occurs on college campuses, frat houses, and bars across our the world daily. Rape is inexcusable, and always wrong whether it is done through black mail, physical force or drugs. In God’s design sex is always connected to love, safety, and marriage.
Deja Vu. Abraham doesn’t learn. There’s grace for that too.
God keeps His promise, as He always does! Isaac is born.
Now, despite having her own son, Sarah is still jealous of young Hagar and her son, Ishmael. Imagine that? It’s like humans were made for monogamy or something.
Sarah makes Abraham kick her out.
Hagar and Ishmael nearly die of thirst in the wilderness, but God takes care of them and promises to make a nation out of Ishmael.
Ishmael grows into a mighty archer, out in the wilderness.
As the chapter closes Abraham and the Abimelech make a covenant, or what we’d call a peace treaty.
Abraham plants a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.
Thanks for reading with me! Jesus loves you with eyes wide open.
After Darkness Light
~ Pastor Evan