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Monday, October 30, 2017

Abraham's Heart...and...God's Wrath



. . .Genesis. . .
Chapter 18



Before Destruction
. . .God Visits the Righteous











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

"Mamre"
= #H4471
= place of nourishment
= for "strength"/vigour

Abraham was sitting in a place of "strength" in the plains of "Mamre"...positioned in spiritual...as well as physical...strength.

It was not his own strength that had brought him to Mamre ...It was all God's doing...for we are told in Hebrews 11:8, that Abraham was a man of faith...He had been thoroughly nourished by the Word of God.

Therefore, we can also assume that it was not uncommon for Abraham to commune with God in his tent...in the heat of the day.

...HOWEVER...there was something very different about this particular "visit" with the Lord...on this particular day.

v.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, ..."

Interesting...Abraham is visited by "three" men...reminding us of the Godhead...then bowing and referring to this Visitor(s) addressing (T)Him as, "My Lord." 

v.3
"And said, My Lord, 
if now I have found 
favour in thy sight, 
pass not away,
I pray thee
from thy servant:
v.4
Let a little water, I pray you, 
be fetched, 
and wash your feet
and rest yourselves 
under the tree:
v.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."

Abraham is definitely being blessed by this visit...He begs his Lord to, please stay...offers to provide Him with some water to wash His feet...inviting Him to rest under his tree...offering to bring a little bit of bread...so they can find comfort and be refreshed from their journey.

But...then...Abraham's next remark reveals some presumption ...He presumes that the entire purpose of their visit is to find comfort and refreshment ...or... is Abraham actually, very politely asking them if there could be more to this visit?...a visit that already holds a very unusual blessing.

If these visitors have more on their mind at this point...they aren't telling...So Abraham just continues serving them ...content with being blessed with their company and their willingness to stay.
















In any case...Abraham's "morsel of bread"...suddenly turns into a huge banquet...perhaps another maneuver to enjoy their presence and fellowship a little longer.

v.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.
v.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.
v.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."

Abraham has just spent a lot of time and effort to make his Visitors/Lord welcome in his home...Will he be rewarded with some vital information now? ... We will see.

* * * * *
God Informs Righteous Servants. . .










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

When the men/"his Lord" rose up to head toward Sodom ...Abraham walked with them.

Abraham proved to be a worthy servant.  Apparently his joy in serving his Lord, gave him the privilege of walking with them.

Maybe Abraham thought he was showing them the way...but if this "Visitor" is...Who we think He is...They surely could have found Sodom on their own...In fact...when the men "rose up"...they were already looking "toward Sodom."

v.17
And the LORD said, 
Shall I hide from Abraham 
that thing which I do

The Lord considers whether to reveal His plans to Abraham...or to hide this information from him.

In making this consideration, the Lord takes a close look at the character of Abraham and reviews all of the plans He has made for Him: 

v.18
Seeing that Abraham 
shall surely become 
a great and mighty nation
and all the nations of the earth 
shall be blessed in him?

(1)..The Lord has big plans for Abraham...He intends that all the nations of the earth will be blessed in him.  

These plans seem to be a directly linked ...determining factor... regarding the type of information the Lord will entrust to Abraham.

v.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.

"justice"
#H6666
right
= morally virtuous

#H6663
just
clear/cleanse

"judgment"
#H4941
right in legal sense
= lawful
= proper

#H8199
= judge/legal/right & wrong

(2)..The Lord already knows everything about Abraham.
. . .He knows that Abraham will make certain his family keeps the "way"/Word of the Lord...and that they will do what is "justice" and "judgment" according to the will of the Lord. 

. . .Abraham will be faithful in commanding...and instructing his family so they will do what is morally clean, right, proper, and lawful before God.

God is the Preeminent God...His hallmark is to reveal to His servants the events that will take place in the future.  

He does not give this important information to everyone.

...only to those servants He can trust to obey His will...servants like the Apostle John, who was called to share end time information with the other trustworthy servants of God:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ,
which God gave unto him, 
to shew unto his servants 
things which must 
shortly come to pass
and he sent and signified it 
by his angel 
unto his servant John:  
-Rev.1:1

Now I tell you 
before it come
that, 
when it is come to pass
ye may believe 
that I am he.  
-John 13:19


God Warns the Righteous 
. . .of Wrath to Come

v.20
And the LORD said, 
Because the cry 
of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, 
and because 
their sin is very grievous;

"Cry"
= #H2201
= outcry/clamour

"grievous"
= #H3513
= heavy/burdensome

Something is very wrong in Sodom and Gomorrah.  The sounds coming out of these places are not normal.  Perhaps they are very vexing sounds of misery...the sounds of extremely dark places...so deeply burdened with sin...they have become void of the knowledge and love of God...and are now only able to experience the pain and suffering that accompanies the final stages of man's deadly spiritual disease...called "sin." 









While men build towers to achieve powers...in reality...they are spiraling downward on the wide road that leads to destruction.  The only direction they are going is backwards...de-volving ...such is the nature of sin... It is an increasingly eroding process... that ends in personal death...as well as the death of a civilization.

At this point...a loving God must step in to stop the cancer of sin from totally destroying all He has created and intended to use to bless mankind.

v.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.

The Lord confirms the reason for His visit.  God has come to evaluate the situation...and...in doing so ...has chosen Abraham to be a witness for humanity.

. . .God. . .
. . .Willing to Extend Mercy 
. . .on Behalf of the Righteous












v.22
And the men 
turned their faces from thence, 
and went toward Sodom
but Abraham stood yet 
before the LORD.

Here is a mystery. . .How can the "men"/"Lord" go toward Sodom and yet the "Lord" remain behind with Abraham?"

Simple answer. . .God can do anything...He certainly is able to be in many places at the same time.

v.23
And Abraham drew near, 
and said, 
Wilt thou also destroy 
the righteous 
with 
the wicked?

The Spirit of God stayed with Abraham, knowing he was being called to be an advocate for the righteous...and for the purpose of establishing the fact that it is not in God's nature to pour out His wrath on the righteous ...or...include them in the punishment of the wicked.

Abraham begins to bargain with the Lord:

v.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?
v.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?

God is clearly using Abraham's discourse to establish the workings of God's heart for the record...validating His great mercy and perfect justice.

Abraham is a man of faith...he has walked with God...he has experienced God's personal involvement in his own life.

He knows that God is consistent with His own Word and nature ...Therefore...Abraham has confidence in knowing that it is "far from thee"...totally outside of God's nature...to include the righteous with the wicked, when He pours out His wrath.

So Abraham continues to bargain for the lives of the righteous...to the point of exhaustion:

v.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.
v.27
And Abraham answered and said, 
Behold now, 
I have taken upon me 
to speak unto the Lord, 
which am but 
dust and ashes:
v.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.
v.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.
v.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.
v.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.
v.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.

v.33
And the LORD went his way
as soon as 
he had left communing 
with Abraham: 
and Abraham 
returned unto his place.

. . .HOWEVER. . .while the Lord could not find ten righteous ...And symbolically...God's limit had been reached.

. . .NEVERTHELESS. . .God remained consistent with His Word and nature...and did not pour out His wrath on even three righteous. 

. . .BUT. . .instead...REMOVED them BEFORE destruction.



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