“Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.”
Psalm 6: 1
Genesis 19 - 21
The account of humankind continues. After the meeting with Abraham the angels continue to Sodom. Remember how Abraham pleaded for the city (18: 16-33). On their arrival they are met by Lot who beseeches them to stay at his house for their own safety. The house is soon surrounded by the men of the town who demand that Lot brings them out so they can have sex with them. The Angels intervene and blind the men. Lot can only persuade and take his wife and two daughters to safety; less than the minimum of ten agreed by the Lord for the salvation of the city (18:33). Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed in an incredibly powerful way and Lot’s wife is turned to a pillar of salt as she looks back (19: 25-26). Lot and his daughters move in fear to a cave where incest occurs at the instigation of the daughters with a drunken, unaware Lot, in order to preserve their family line.
The account moves back to Abraham who has moved on to Gerar where he again has Sarah identified as his sister. King Abimelech took Sarah but was warned by God in a dream not to go near her. Abraham is confronted, admits his sin and then prays for the healing of Abimelech and his household who had suffered in illness because of Sarah.
God’s promise and words are fulfilled as Isaac is born and circumcised. Ishmael and Hagar are sent away but under God’s protection and with a future. Abimelech returns to see Abraham to seek and secure a treaty as he is aware of God’s power and fears for his kingdom
Once again we are confronted with a myriad of issues that we could interpret and focus on; this will be the normal state of affairs as we move through God’s Word. Narrowing it down, I will focus on the issues of our failings, God’s judgement and His faithfulness. We see a trend in these three chapters that we will see regularly in the Scriptures. It is the inclination of those in a relationship with God falling foul of sin. This is followed by some form of consequence and judgement from God that brings the people back to Him and solves the matter. In this process we see God’s amazing faithfulness, patience and love. For example Lot chose to live in Sodom, a city seemingly fully opposed to God and wicked, a city that caused him (Lot) great torment, yet God saved him (2 Peter 2: 7-8). He soon failed again in fear and incest. Then there is Abraham who with whatever motive did not trust God and put Sarah at risk. Also put at risk was the family line for the promised Messiah. God intervened and saved all. Finally we see the consequences for an earlier lack of trust that led to Abraham having a child, Ishmael, with Sarah’s servant, Hagar. The two were sent away with the promise of God’s blessing and protection (21: 12).
When we consider the absolute holiness of God, His patience and grace with us is astounding. Think of the sinful city of Sodom; He would have spared the city for the sake of ten righteous people. Consider the continual failure of His creation and His faithfulness. This should encourage us massively as we face the sin in the world and in ourselves. There is though, a warning to heed in this. In Matthew 11: 24 Jesus spoke of towns where He had performed miracles and how they had rejected Him and His Kingdom. He warned that it would be worse for them than for those in Sodom on the day of judgement. This tells us something about judgement! There is an accounting for all of us before the Lord. On that day we need to be standing in the white robes of righteousness purchased for us by Jesus Christ and worn by faith.
The Question of Application
Do you truly grasp the holiness of God and the sinful nature of humankind? If we did we would understand the punishment Christ has taken for us and the grace bestowed upon us when we place our faith in Him. Does this generate immense gratitude in your heart? What will change in your life today?
Almighty God, through the birth, life, death and resurrection of your Son you have poured on us the new light of your incarnate Word. You have shown us the fullness of your love and the depth of your faithfulness. Help us to turn from our sin and failings to walk in His light and dwell in His love that we may know the fullness of His joy. All to your glory. Amen
He is Faithful sung by Jesus Culture
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.