Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mar 3: Genesis 18

Today's reading in our daily plan is Genesis 18. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • There’s an interesting dialogue between Abraham and God in the first part of this chapter. You might be wondering who the other two men were that God was walking with. Honestly, we don’t know for sure. We find out that it’s two angels, who later visit a city named Sodom, but we don’t know their names.
  • God recommits to Abraham that within a year he will have his promised son, even though he and his wife are very old.
  • Then we see that Abraham was clearly a good man. God said he was going to “investigate” the wickedness of a nearby town to see if it should be destroyed, and Abraham has the nerve to confront God and ask him to spare the city; Abraham asked God six times not to destroy the city.
  • How God is acting might strike you as strange because it's almost like he’s walking around looking to see who’s messing up enough to wipe out. This is a stereotype people have of God, and is certainly not how we see Jesus acting in the New Testament.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • Honestly, we’re not sure why God is behaving this way. We do know from history that these cities were very wicked, and we do know that God expects us to be perfect before him. But most often we see God in the Bible being patient with our sins. So we can only assume that God had been very patient with these cities but they refused to repent and turn back to God. In the end, we don’t have to understand it because God is perfect and justified in judging anyone. 
  • The bravery on Abraham’s part for people he didn’t live with shows his heart for other people. We can tell by Abraham’s “apologetic” requests that he feared God may kill him just for questioning him, but Abraham couldn’t stand by and not speak out for the people of the city. How God responded to Abraham showed how Abraham had found favor in God’s eyes because God gave Abraham his requests.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Maybe if Abraham would have asked once more, God would have spared the city altogether; we don’t know. But this should leave us with a question: Would we be willing to confront God to save the lives of people we don’t know? And maybe a more cutting question; Would our lives be righteous enough to find favor in God’s eyes for him to listen to us? How closely are you walking with God right now? Is there anything you need to talk to him about that you haven’t been?