|Passage: Genesis 19-21|
On Tuesday, January 15, 2019, Yujin wrote,
Abraham introduces his wife as his sister in order to save his skin from a godless king, who might kill him to take his wife. King Abimelech does take Sarah with the understanding that she is Abraham's sister. God intervenes to save Sarah from defilement.
What are we to make of this story? Abraham certainly does not act like a man's man. It appears that he does nothing to keep Sarah from being taken by the foreign king. Apart from God's intervention, she would certainly have been defiled.
Yet, when Lot was captured along with the people of Sodom, he immediately gathered a team of trained men to rescue his nephew (Genesis 14:13-16). It appears Abraham had greater regard for his nephew than for his own wife. He honored someone who made the foolish decision to live in Sodom over the one who would bear God's promised child.
Abraham not only dishonors Sarah, he dishonors God, who told him that the heir of promise would come through Sarah. Even though he was eager enough to help God (a disasterous decision) in bringing forth his heir (by going into Hagar, Sarah's servant), now he makes no effort at all to protect Sarah, through whom that heir would come.
It is no wonder that God uses King Abimelech, a foreign and "godless" king, to rebuke Abraham. What is more, Abraham's deal with Sarah, namely, that she would always say that she is his sister to protect Abraham's skin, is even more evidence of his weak faith.
Even if Abraham faced an ungodly king among an ungodly people, as he feared, did he not believe that God was strong enough to deliver them? Apparently not.
Friends, all this is not to denigrate Abraham, the father of all who believe, but to encourage us. Abraham's faith was not perfect. It too required the frequent intervention of God and His exercise of grace. Abraham's faith was dependent upon God's grace. And our faith depends upon God's grace as well.
Let us daily thank God for His mercy and grace, by which our fledgling faith is upheld until He Himself consummates it in heaven.
|Passage: Genesis 19-21|
On Wednesday, January 15, 2014, Yujin wrote,
For we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the Lord that the Lord has sent us to destroy it (Genesis 19:13).
The sin of Sodom of Gomorrah is personified as a loud cry, reaching the highest heavens, so that God was compelled to judge the cities. I am reminded of a similar scenario with the Amorites, who lived in the land of Canaan:
In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure (Genesis 15:16).
The land of Canaan was the land promised to the Israelites; however, they would not receive it until the fourth generation, for that was when God determined that the sins of the Amorites would reach a measure worthy of complete and merciless destruction. We find a similar scenario for the capital city of Assyria:
Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me (Jonah 1:2).
Now, Ninevah was spared because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. God withheld His judgment for about 150 years, even until the time of Nahum, when God would finally and completely judge this city. This was the same scenario we find when God judged the world in the days of Noah.
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time... So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created
The downward spiral of wickedness can touch any nation, city or persons. The reason we may not often see the immediate and final judgment of God may be because there is a "tipping point" which has not yet been reached.
I remember going to the waterpark and seeing this gigantic bucket suspended over the center of the park. It was constantly being filled up with water pumped up from the bottom. It was tilted in such a way that when it was filled to a certain point, it would dump its entire contents over the park. Perhaps God's wrath is like this bucket, being continually filled up with sins. When it reaches the tipping point, God's wrath is poured out.
Friends, rather than filling up the bucket of God's wrath with our sins, let us instead repent of our sins and begin to add to our faith the good works that we know pleases God. Unlike the bucket of God's wrath, which is portrayed as continually being filled up to the tipping point, the grace of God toward all of us, who believe, is potrayed as already filled with every spiritual blessing so that we can continually draw from it a limitless supply of forgiveness, mercy and grace.
|Passage: Genesis 19-21|
On Wednesday, April 3, 2013, Fernando wrote,
Also know during your failures that the Lord will still surround you with his angels. He will even delay judgment around you until you are set aside, made holy, safe, saved and spared from the coming wrath. God we fail horribly, but it is by his hand that we are lead to safety and righteousness – What awesomeness!
|Passage: Genesis 19-21|
On Tuesday, January 15, 2013 (Last Updated on 1/15/2019), Yujin wrote,
They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway (Genesis 19:11).
How desperately wicked these men of Sodom must have been! Suddenly struck with blindness, they should have cried out in horror and sought consolation, but instead they "wearied themselves trying to find the doorway," presumably to commit immorality with the visiting guests of Lot.
As I consider this scene, I cannot help but think of the many people who are steeped in all manner of addictions, whether to drugs and alcohol, pornography and sex, food, video games, television, golf, dramas, etc. The heart of addiction is a lack of self-control. And the danger of addiction is the extreme lengths people will go to satisfy their craving. It is the sinful nature that drives addiction, so that the root that produces addictions can never be fully eradicated in this life. It can only be restrained.
If the heart of ungodly addiction is a lack of self-control, then the heart of righteous discipline is having self-control. As addiction is something that must be restrained, discipline is something that can be developed with training. Consider the following verses:
For physical training is of some value, but [training in] godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8).
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11).
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
While addictions should always be avoided, godly disciplines should be vigorously pursued. We ought to train for it, not only in avoiding the triggers for addictive behavior (Romans 6:11-13) but also filling our minds with God's Word (Psalm 119:9,11), engaging our spirits with alert prayer (Matthew 26:41), taking every opportunity to live in line with God's will, and praising and thanking Him for everything (Ephesians 5:15-21).
The Christian's dilemma is that while we pursue increasing self-control, we recognize that we are ultimately not in control, that a certain measure of sinfulness is almost inevitable:
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do... I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. (Romans 7:14-23).
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want (Galatians 5:16-17).
But in every case there is also a message of forgiveness and grace, by which even in our helpless and sinful condition, we are saved:
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin (Romans 7:24-25).
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law... Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:18,24).
As John also writes,
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 1:8-2:2).
Friends, as we pursue godly discipline, let us hold fast to our hope in Christ. Always confessing our sins, let us consider how we might spur one another on toward the kind of righteous living that God desires:
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:23-24).
|Passage: Genesis 19-21|
On Wednesday, January 18, 2012 (Last Updated on 1/15/2013), Yujin wrote,
Someone asked an astute question recently...
What is the purpose of some of the “random” stories in Genesis? The one specifically I’m referring to is chapter 21:22 the story of Abimelech and Abraham and the well of Beersheba. If the well of Beersheba or the treaty they arrange has significant importance later and I have forgotten, that’s one thing. However, this story just seems so random to have been inserted here. What “Godly” significance does this have if it’s not random? I see a little bit of the tie in to chapter 19 when we first learn of Abimelech, but other than it’s the same characters, it just seems weird to insert it here.
Here was my response...
That's a great question. One thing to keep in mind is that Moses writes all of these accounts (Genesis through Deuteronomy) to the second generation of Israelites coming out of Egypt. They are likely hearing these words in the Plains of Moab on the east side of the Jordan getting ready to take possession of the land God had promised to their forefather Abraham.
Relating the account of Abimelech would give them a bit of history regarding one of the kings in the land. Abimelech was the king over the Philistines. Both Abraham and later his son, Isaac, had dealings with him and perhaps Abimelech's son (with the same name Abimelech) over the exact same matters, namely, the partiarchs' wives and wealth. Both Abimelechs envied the patriarch's wives and wealth. For Moses these accounts would give some indication of the problems the Philistines posed to these patriarchs. Perhaps their inclusion was to give the Israelites greater incentive to obey God in wiping them all out.
|Passage: Genesis 19-21|
On Wednesday, February 23, 2011 (Last Updated on 1/15/2013), Unmi wrote,
The story of Lot is another intriguing account. In Lot we see an example of a "carnal" believer. A man who knows God, but wants to live "in the world." Lot and his family lived in the city where not even 10 righteous people were found, so they surrounded themselves with unrighteous people and essentially had no fellowship with those followed their God. We see how both Lot and his daughter's morality have been compromised by influences from the society they were living in. The biggest problem with Sodom was sexual immorality.
For Lot, he offers his daughters to thefor sex in order to protect his house guests...
For his daughters, they get their father drunk and have sexual relations with him to have children "as is the custom all over the earth." Were the loose sexual inclinations of Lot and his daughters influenced by the society they lived in?
Does where we live, who we "hang out" with, influence our thinking, our behavoirs?....YES it does.
Even as a believer, if we keep exposing ourselves to the morality of this world, it will corrupt us.
When I see "Christians" embrace homosexuality as a norm, embrace "choice" over "life,"
I see those who have allowed "the world" to corrupt their morality. They are allowing "the world" to tell them what is right and wrong instead of using God's standard.
The importance ofcan not be overstated. It's not just about "eating and playing" together, but about encouraging each other to remain faithful, praying for each other esp during times of trial, and even rebuking each other (in love) when one of us falls astray...
Yujin comments... These are excellent applications. But just so that we might not mischaracterize Lot, Abraham's nephew, as "carnal" just because he lived in a wicked city, let us consider the testimony of the apostle Peter regarding him and his time there:
if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment (2 Peter 2:6-9).
So Peter calls Lot righteous and indicates that he was ceaselessly tormented in his soul by all the unrighteousness around him. He likely regretted his decision to choose this fertile land for his group rather than the less fertile ones, which may not have been filled with such evil people. What is more, it is likely that God rescued Lot not simply because he was Abraham's nephew but because he was among the less than ten righteous in the city.
Even so, the point that society and culture influences our morals and behavior is certainly true. This is one of the reasons why God told the people of Israel to completely destroy the idolatrous Canaanites from the Promised Land. Otherwise, they would influence them to forget God and worship their idols.
|Passage: Genesis 19-21|
On Monday, January 17, 2011 (Last Updated on 1/15/2013), Yujin wrote,
One of our members asked me the following questions. I include my response here in case some of you may be wondering about the same things.
(1) Why was Lot sitting at the city gate? This spot is usually the place where the judges and magistrates of the city sit. Therefore, it is possible that Lot was no mere citizen of Sodom but also a recognized official. The other possibility is that he took on this responsibility without having the position (cf. Genesis 19:9, where the men of Sodom says that he "keeps acting as a judge"). Now, if we enter the realm of conjecture, perhaps Lot embraced this role because he recognized the wickedness of this city and wanted to turn it around before it would be judged by God. My basis for this conjecture is 2 Peter 2:7-8, where we read,
... and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)
If Lot was merely apathetic about the unrighteousness around him, Peter would not have given him such a glowing review. And this would also explain why Lot was trying to protect his visitors from defilement. That he regarded these men over the preservation of his daughters seems strange to us; however, it may also be because of the ancient's high regard for a man's word. Remember, Lot tells the men of the city in Genesis 19:8, "Only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.' He had given them the security of his home, and therefore felt responsible for them. Now, the wicked men of Sodom could probably care less about a man's word, but it serves to distinguish "righteous Lot" from them. Finally, who do you think Abraham was thinking of when he was interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah? Don't you think he was thinking about his nephew and his family? He did not want God to judge his relatives along with the wicked people of Sodom. He imagined that at least there were at least ten righteous in Lot's family. There were not even that many; however, God sent his angels to at least preserve Lot and his two daughters.
Another thought may be that Lot's daughters did not share his own high morality. Perhaps unbeknownst to Lot (in light of Genesis 19:8) these daughters were already permiscuous, like the rest of the city. Perhaps this was the reason why the people of Sodom preferred the "new" men to women they may have already had in the past. What is more, perhaps Lot's daughters, themselves not a paragon of morality (e.g. they were hardly hesitant to deceive, to make drunk, and to commit incest with their father), would have given little protest to being sent out to the people. But keep in mind that this is all conjecture.
The question is why Lot and his family did not choose to leave earlier. Again, perhaps he thought that he could turn the city around. But sadly, that was not to be.