Genesis Lesson 12 Day 2

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Genesis 18:16-33

Abraham intercedes for Sodom and Gomorrah.

The three men

Genesis 18:16-33 repeatedly translates references to one of the men as, Lord. The topic of discussion in these verses is the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah.  The man identified as The Lord says he is visiting those cities to determine if the outcry against them warrants destruction. The fact that He has the authority to make such a determination and has the authority to negotiate with Abraham on this topic, suggests He is indeed the Lord. Angels do God’s bidding.

Genesis 18:22 specifically identifies only one of the men as Lord.
Genesis 19:1 refers to the two men as angels. “The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening…”  

3. God’s relationship with Abraham in verses 16-21

Yahweh chose Abraham, and they formed a covenant relationship. Because of his destiny, God used this opportunity to teach wisdom and justice.

The reasons stated in this passage are important. God’s purpose in revealing this to Abraham was not just to share interesting or shocking information, and it wasn’t to simply satisfy Abraham’s curiosity. God wanted to do something in Abraham’s life through what He would reveal to him.1

Yahweh said, “Will I hide from Abraham what I do, since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed in him? For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Yahweh, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that Yahweh may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him.” Genesis 18:17-19

Other thoughts about their relationship

  • His nephew Lot and family lived there and might lose their livelihood, possessions, and even their lives. 
  • God created man for fellowship, and He gave man dominion over the earth.
  • He gave Abraham the land, which includes Sodom and Gomorrah, so Abraham needed to know. 
  • Abraham is his friend, so he shared what was going on.
  • Friends of God are granted the privilege of receiving whatever they ask in His name.

Surely the Lord Yahweh will do nothing, unless he reveals his secret to his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7

Abraham was the only man in the Old Testament called the friend of God (2 Chronicles 20:7). In the New Covenant, all saints are called God’s friends, and the Lord reveals His secrets to us. How awesome it is that Almighty God has elevated us to a place of honor where He shares His plans with us!2

You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant doesn’t know what his lord does. But I have called you friends, for everything that I heard from my Father, I have made known to you. You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you will ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you. John 15:14-16

4. Abraham asks God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah.

Abraham came near, and said, “Will you consume the righteous with the wicked? Genesis 18:23

Effective intercession is a matter of drawing near to God so we can pray with His heart. He reminds the Lord of his own nature and principles.1

Abraham asks if God will spare the cities if he finds 50 righteous there, then 45, then 40, then 30, then 20, then finally 10.

God listened to Abraham 

God is slow to anger and does not react rashly. He carefully considered and investigated the extent of the reason for the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah.

Even if the Lord determined the outcry was correct, He was willing to relent on the basis of ten righteous. We don’t know how many people lived in the region God intended to destroy, but it seems safe to assume that ten was a tiny percentage of the unrighteous.

The Lord didn’t consider Abraham’s prayer inappropriate. I believe the Lord listened and continued to respond to Abraham because of His friendship with him and because the Lord wanted Abraham to know the depths of His compassion and mercy.

The Lord did not correct or reprimand Abraham, so I believe the Lord was not displeased. After all, when Abraham displayed compassion and mercy, his heart resembled the Father’s.

Holy Spirit influences our prayers (Romans 8:26-27)

The Holy Spirit searches our hearts and since He knows the will of God, helps us pray through “with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance” and intercedes and pleads on behalf of the saints in harmony with God’s will.

5. Abraham’s beliefs about God’s nature

  • He is a righteous judge who would not punish the innocent along with the wicked.
  • We can come boldly to the throne of grace. (Hebrews 4:16)
  • We must respectfully fear Him.
  • He will do what is right and just.

6. Using Abraham’s prayer as an example

  • Remember my desire to be a friend of God.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to search my heart and pray through me and on my behalf.
  • Share my heart and my concerns with the Lord.
  • Ask questions.
  • Ask for wisdom and understanding.
  • Listen and immediately act on what I hear.

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2 AWM Living Commentary

3 Spirit Filled Life Bible*

4 New Living Bible Translation*

5 ESV Bible Translation*

6 Strong’s Concordance, public domain

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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from ESV Bible translation.

My answers, research, and notes for BSF Bible Study Fellowship questions Genesis Lesson 12 day 2

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