Genesis 18:16--21:34 Notes
*Read Jude verse 7 for the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah.
*Note the approach Abraham uses in asking for mercy for the two cities.
*Note the patience and grace in God's answer concerning whether He would destroy the cities.
*Lot tries to protect those whom God sent to protect him. He is noble in his desire, but misguided in his methods.
*Note the brashness with which sin was practiced in Sodom and Gomorrah. Does it seem familiar?
*Lot's wife had the sure Word of God. She needed to understand the concept of shaking the dust of sin from our feet.
*God's destruction was total. His motive is His surpassing love.
*After being delivered, the daughters of Lot don't trust God and Lot allows himself to be used.
*Abraham commits the same sin as before. This appears to be a struggle for him. Such temptations exist in people's lives. Christ has won the victory over them.
*God is faithful in fulfilling the promise of Isaac in spite of Abraham's sin.
*Ishmael and Hagar are unfaithful, Sarah responds unfaithfully. God promises blessings so Abraham goes along.
*Here is another appearance of the "Messenger of the Lord."*Abraham's good relationship with his neighbors is an application of his faith. So is ours.
1. What kind of sins were prevalent in Sodom and Gomorrah? How are these things present with us? Why did God do what He did? How should we approach these matters in the church and society?
2. How should we apply Abraham’s prayers to God in chapter 18? What do we make of the way God responds? What is prayer? Why do it? What does it mean to “pray without ceasing”?
3. What possible reasons might Lot’s wife have had to turn around? Why was her reasoning wrong? What application do we make of this?
4. What was the reasoning of Lot’s daughters? Is it logical? Is it right? What’s wrong with this picture? What is Lot’s responsibility in this? How do we apply this to our lives?
5. Were Hagar and Ishmael right in their treatment of Isaac? Was Sarah right in her response? How did God respond? How easy is it to be carried away by pettiness? How do we resist these temptations?
6. What kind of a neighbor was Abraham to Abimelech in chapter 21? How was that demonstrated? What application do we make of this?
Read Genesis 18:16-19:11. In the 1970s Jim Jones led 911 of his followers to a Central America commune called Jonestown. They were a cult who basically worshipped Jim Jones. When their activities were about to be exposed, they murdered a congressman and his staff, and then killed themselves by drinking poison. The nation and the world were shocked by this event. But this was not the first time mass sin had taken place. Satan is not content to have disciples who will join him in hell, he wants them to bring everyone else with them. Sodom and Gomorrah had sunk into total depravity. The sexual sins openly practiced there were a grotesque symptom of how deeply they had sunk. They were destroying the lives of those around them. God would not allow them to go on dragging people to hell with them. He determined to destroy them. He promised to spare the cities if He found 10 righteous people there. There were not ten to be found. He delivered Lot and his family and destroyed the cities for the sake of those around them.This destruction was an act of love. Sin separates us from God. God’s mercy will not allow mass sin to destroy his people. Are we experiencing similar spiritual depravity in our society? Yes. Is it possible that sometime in the future God would destroy our nation unless it turns around? Yes, it’s possible. How do we respond to these things that go on among us? First, we do not participate in the sinful words and actions we see around us. We do this out of our thanks to God for delivering us from sin’s bondage through the death of His Son. Second, we bring the law and gospel into the lives of those around us. The solution to this is not our hatred, but the love of God in Christ which changes lives. We will leave the big picture to God and focus on one soul at a time. We are sinners who have received the saving, transforming grace of Jesus. Let us in grace spread it to others. Pray that God would use us as instruments of His mercy.
Read Genesis 18:16-33. At first glance, Abraham’s prayers to God may seem a little bold. But note Abraham’s reverence and respect to God as he asks these things. Abraham knew God to be merciful. He was asking God to show that mercy and God was willing to do so. God is patient and loving in this conversation. He, too, desires the welfare of the saints. God only acts out of love. Abraham is calling on that love and God gives it. Our prayers should go to God in trust, respect and reverence. God is not to be haggled with, but He does desire our heartfelt, faith led prayers. He wants to hear our concerns. So we lay our prayers before Him, always asking for His will and always trusting that He will do the most loving thing. God hears the trusting prayers of those who have faith in Him and answers with His boundless love and mercy. Pray to God.
Read Genesis 19:12-29. One of our constant struggles is the fact that we are sinners. Jesus has redeemed us. We have the wondrous promises of God. Still we sin. Each sin we commit is a lack of trust in God’s Word. Such is the case with Lot’s wife. She had the sure Word of God concerning what was to happen. She was specifically told that under no circumstances was she to look back. What specifically caused her to look back is a matter of speculation. Ultimately she did not trust or heed the Word of God. We have the certainty of God’s Word. Yet we sin. What do we do about this? God has already done it by sending Christ to save us. How do we resist the temptations that would drag us away from the Word? We need to be constantly reaffirmed in God’s promises. That is the reason we come to church to hear the Gospel and receive the Sacraments. It is also the reason for Bible study, devotions and the like. May God confirm us each day inHis wondrous grace. Pray for God’s reassurance.
Read Genesis 19:30-38. We live in a society that over reacts. If you disagree with someone about something you are said to hate them. If you witness to them about Christ you are deemed a snob who thinks he’s better than everyone else. If you question the effectiveness of the way we are dealing with social problems you are accused of not wanting to solve them. Lot’s daughters are guilty of over reacting to their situation. Granted, it must have seemed to them like the world was coming to an end. Their cities were destroyed and their mother turned to salt. One can understand the sense of panic except for one thing, God’s promise. These women committed sin because they did not trust God to provide families for them.They never should have thought of it because they should have left the solution to God. They never should have done it because it was clearly sinful. Lot should never have allowed himself to be used this way because God had delivered them and promised to bless them. Many things occur in our lives that may lead us to panic. In such times, we flee to the promises of God. We consider His blessings and trust Him to get us through. Above all, we remain faithful to His Word because we know He will faithfully fulfill His purpose in our lives. Our inclination is to sin. We must test our thoughts and actions against the Word and trust in Him to see us through. He will. Pray about this.
Read Genesis 21:1-21. Have you ever tried to settle an argument where both parties are wrong? It’s no fun. Hagar was wrong to react to Isaac as she did. Sarah was wrong to react as she did. No doubt both could have justified their reactions. So what! God works good in this bad situation by blessing it even though it resulted from mutual wrong. Our personal relationships do not need reacting to wrong with wrong. God has not called to an eye for an eye. He has called us by the unfair act of the cross. God is rich in His blessings, even when we are unfaithful. Should we then so whatever we want because God will bless anyway? Of course not! Such an attitude is mocking God. Let us humble ourselves before God, examine our actions and reactions. Let us repent of our sins and apply Christ to our thoughts, deeds and responses. Pray about this.
Read Genesis 21:22-34. Abraham desired to be a loving neighbor, not taking advantage of Abimelech, but being a blessing. He persisted in his love for his neighbor. He desired to behave in an honorable and serving way. Neighbors are almost a lost commodity in our society. “Love your neighbor as yourself” has been replaced with “love yourself”. The concept of making sacrifices for your neighbor seems to have gone the way of the record player. Whether there are record players is not important. Whether we show the love of Christ to our neighbors is vital. Abraham applied his faith to his conduct with his neighbor. What kind of neighbor we are should be an application of faith. Christ is our life. In thanks to Him for our life, let us be Christ-like neighbors, whether our neighbors ever return our kindness or not. We are not called to be neighbors like our neighbors are to us, but as Christ is to us. We have the wonderful privilege to show Christ to our neighbors by the way we honor, respect and love them. Pray that our lives would be lived in thanks for God’s mercy and that our thanks would be express by the neighbors we are to others.