Eternity Daily Bible Study
The Life Of Abraham
Verses: Genesis 18:16-21
Topic: God Confides In Abraham
Date: 24th January 2006
Genesis 18:16-21 MKJV And the men rose up from there, and looked toward Sodom. And Abraham was going with them to bring them on the way. (17) And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham the thing which I do, (18) And Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the persons of the earth shall be blessed in him? (19) For I know him, that he will command his sons and his house after him, and they shall keep the way of Jehovah, to do justice and judgment, that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him. (20) And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, (21) I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which has come to Me. And if not, I will know.
God confides His plans for the doom of Sodom and Gomorrah to Abraham and Amos says that this is typical of how God operates:
Amos 3:7 MKJV For the Lord Jehovah will do nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
Before Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians God sent prophet after prophet to Israel, and before the ten northern tribes were captured by the Assyrians many great prophets including Elijah and Elisha were sent to Samaria. And before any major city or nations such Nineveh or Babylon or Egypt were judged prophets were sent to warn them. Thus before any major move of God, He reveals it to His prophets, who then convey it to us.
This also happened in the New Testament with the prophet Agabus warning of a great famine (Acts 11:28) which took place during the reign of the emperor Claudius. In recent times a young boy warned many Armenian Christians to flee in time to escape the Turkish massacre of 1.4 million Armenians that occurred during World War 1. The spiritually sensitive hear God and sense what He is doing in the earth, while others are given explicit warnings by the Holy Spirit.
God trusted Abraham with this information because of Abraham's place in redemptive history – as someone who would become a great nation and would raise a family that feared God. God does not confide in everyone, rather He confides just in a few, who are closest to Him, and we should listen carefully to them.
The expression “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do...” has the feel that it would almost be a breach of trust in God's relationship with Abraham if He concealed what was going to happen to Sodom and thus possibly to Lot, Abraham's nephew. (We see later that Abraham's prayer saves Lot from destruction - Genesis 19:29) There was a relationship between Abraham and God that made such a sharing right and proper.
God knew something about Abraham that was of immense importance: For I know him, that he will command his sons and his house after him, and they shall keep the way of Jehovah, to do justice and judgment, that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him.
God knew Abraham as someone who would make sure that His will was done. Abraham would “command his sons and his house after him”. That is he would be a person of considerable moral authority whose example and commands would last for generations. This moral authority is characteristic of all the prophets. It should also characterize all Spirit-filled Christian workers and when it is absent, then something terrible has happened!
The fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise is dependent on practicing righteousness and social justice: to do justice and judgment, that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him. Salvation by faith does not mean that we are free to be unjust, greedy and wicked. If we want God's will fulfilled in our life and the blessings of Abraham to descend (for we have inherited them in Christ see Galatians 3) then we must “do justice and judgment”. That is we must act rightly in all our ways.
In the Hebrew “justice” here is tsedekah which is equivalent to “righteousness” that is to be straight and ethical. “Judgment” is mishpat which involves applying legal precepts to everyday life so that it is ordered correctly. Thus both internal righteousness and correct living and social justice are meant here. It is not enough to merely believe the right things, one must also have those beliefs internalized, and then have them acted out in daily living.
God is not hasty to judge but actually goes down to Sodom to see if the outcry against it is true. I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which has come to Me. And if not, I will know. This is a good example for church life where rumours can destroy reputations and lead to actions against innocent folk. I once knew of a pastor who was blacklisted by a certain denomination because of a rumour that he had a “Calvinistic” book on his shelves! We need to be slow to judge, and keen to always check the facts first.
In this glimpse into how God relates to a prophet / friend of God
we find that:
1. God confides His plans for major events to those who are close to Him.
2. That God desires His leaders to exercise moral authority
3. That the complete fulfillment of God's blessings depends on both internal righteousness and outward obedience and justice.
4. That we are to be slow to judge and keen to check the facts first.
This lifestyle of intimacy with God, moral authority, personal righteousness, social justice and a patient and just verification of things is the mark of a true man of God.
John Edmiston (email@example.com)
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