Genesis 16-18 Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?

From Genesis 16-18

01 Genesis Earth

The LORD aware of the covenant role he has given Abraham lets him know of the upcoming destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham steps in to intercede for the righteous.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

The LORD and two angels appeared as men to Abraham and Sarah at the oaks of Mamre. This is one such instance where the LORD is argued to be the preincarnate Christ. There he promised him that he and Sarah would have a son next year. Sarah laughed at the idea and was caught. The LORD assured her nothing is to hard for him (Gen 18.1-15).

[16] Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way.

[17] The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,

[18] seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

[19] For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” (Gen 18:16-19)

‘Set out’. The LORD and his angels set out for Sodom. Abraham follows them not knowing what they are about to do.

‘I have chosen him’. Abraham’s election puts him in a special position to learn about the LORD’s plans.

The LORD reveals his plans to his people in advance.

He does this because he chose Abraham. Because of the promises the LORD gave him he will become great and all the nations of the earth will be blessed in him.

‘Keep the way of the LORD’. The covenant comes with its own obligations for Abraham and his household. They are required to keep the way of the LORD. Some in the OT kept the LORD’s commands. In doing this they will receive the promises.

[20] Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, [21] 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.”

[22] So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. [23] Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? (Gen 18:20-23)

So the LORD tells Abraham what he has heard and gives a strong indication what he is about to do.

‘Outcry against’. Sin, violence and spilt blood cry out for justice. The LORD hears this outcry and is moved to establish justice. To put an end to sin. To bring judgment.

‘Go down and see’. The LORD desires to see if these cities are as bad as the outcry suggests. The two men with him turn and leave, their intentions already set. But the LORD remained with Abraham.

Following this statement by the Lord, Abraham begins to intercede for Sodom and it is evident that Abraham is acting out his covenant role. Looking out for the salvation of the innocent. He pleads with the Lord, ‘Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?’ (Gen 18:23).

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.

God negotiates with Abraham because of his and his families covenant role. Specifically, all the world will be blessed in him. The blessing of Abraham’s family on the nations will be a means by which God will demonstrate his grace.

Sadly for most of Israel’s history, they had enough trouble looking out for themselves let alone the nations around them.

This is the kind of behavior God expects of his people. To look out for those who will come under judgement. While the passage has Abraham looking out for the righteous, of whom God eventually saves. God’s people today I would hope have a heart for those who will come under judgement when Jesus returns.

Story of Jesus

In the gospel Jesus tells a story of impending judgment.

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.

The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’

25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’

27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ ” (Lk 16.19-31)

Jesus is the Christ. He will return and judge. For those who have repented and follow him as Lord, he will save them from this destruction.

Let’s have a heart and let people know about Jesus today. Jesus is the judge. He is also the saviour.

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.