Year 2 Day 229
Read - Genesis 18
Message - Scott Woodburn
Abraham found himself sitting at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. If his mind was on the warmth of the afternoon he soon had altogether more serious business to transact for Abraham received a visit from the Lord God Himself.
We can’t be sure if Abraham initially knew who his visitors were, but regardless he extended a hand of grace filled hospitality to the Lord. Cakes were to be baked, a young calf was to be slaughtered and the visitors would be offered the meal with curds and milk. It was at this stage that the Lord made it clear why He had come to visit Abraham’s tent. The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” (v10)
This was an extraordinary claim. Sarah by her own admission was “worn out” (v12) and so she laughed at the thought of a child so late in life. We can quickly judge Sarah’s laughter harshly and yet we are just the same! We know the promises of God and struggle to believe that they are true. How often have we been rebuked when the Lord has answered a prayer that we thought to be impossible? As Abraham and Sarah would be told “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (v14) The elderly couple would be given a son for the Lord is not in the habit of lying or failing to keep His promises.
Such a wonderful promise is quickly followed by serious judgement. The Lord told Abraham that judgement was coming upon Sodom and Gomorrah. ”Then 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.’” (v20-21)
These cities were well known for their wicked ways and while the Lord is always patient, eventually His bowl of judgement will be poured out. Abraham rightfully refuses to rejoice at the impending destruction of the wicked. Indeed he is concerned that those counted as righteous might be caught up in God’s wrath (v23). What if there are 50 righteous? What about 45? What about 30 or 20? What about just 10? Will the Lord sweep away a whole city along with 10 of His own?
The Lord’s response is gracious. “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” (v32) Did the wicked of Sodom and Gomorrah consider the grace of God? Did they know the danger they were in? Did they consider that the presence of God’s people was a blessing and not a hindrance? Of course not. They had no regard for the Lord or His people and continued upon their sinful path until it was too late. Many thousands of years have passed since the Lord visited Abraham’s tent and yet sinful humanity still refuses to be told. But told what?
Many Church leaders have spoken plenty in the past week about climate change and they have urged great action to take place before it is too late. I’d rather have many church leaders speaking plenty about Christ and urging repentance and faith before it is too late.
Humanity has not changed but praise be, neither has the Lord. He remains the God for whom nothing is impossible - even the salvation of sinners. He remains the God for whom sin is an abomination - never underestimate His holiness and wrath. He remains the God who cannot break a promise - rejoice that His Word is true. He remains the God who preserves all of His children - His eye rests upon the very hairs of your head. He remains the God who has appointed a day of judgement - the righteous will not be swept away but the wicked will perish. Rest in Him this day for our Lord will always do what is right (v25).
Q106 What do we pray for in the sixth petition? In the sixth petition, which is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” we pray, that God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted.