Genesis 19-21

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Chapter 19—  This is a story I am SURE you have heard before…. Sodom and Gomorrah (further referred to as S&G).  Lot (whose name means “covering”) was greeted by two angels in the “gateway to the city”.  The gateway to the city was a place of prominence and status.  Lot had been sucked right in to the lifestyles of the “rich and evil!!”  And he liked it.  Isn’t our world a LOT (I actually didn’t mean to make that pun but there you have it.)  like S&G today… where the lines of right and wrong, good and evil, moral and legal … can EASILY suck us in and one day we wake up confused as to what the “right” thing to do is.  EVERY thing we put into our minds is potentially dangerous for us if our foundation is not the Word of God, which is why we need God so much.  Just think about the TV, radio stations, movies, things we hear on the news, politics, financial corruption, murders, and on and on that as we continue to listen we eventually become numb to the evil and that is a dangerous place to be.  Without God’s Word continually running through our hearts and minds .. the lines are easily blurred .. after all who doesn’t like nice things, good music, fun TV, going out with the gang, being in a position of authority, etc??  I certainly don’t live in seclusion, but I try to make sure I am prayed up and armed with the Word of God in my heart so I am aware of things around me.  And some days I do better than others.

God sends two angels to get Lot out of S&G before the destruction.  I believe Lot is aware that these men are angels and why he wanted to protect them (like they needed it).  He KNEW the wickedness of the people there.  However, notice the angels did not want to even enter into the city, but did.  Did you also notice that the angels and/or God did not question Lot about “What were you doing?”  “Who is in your bed?”  “We saw you getting drunk the other night?” “Why are you so accepting of this evil lifestyle around you?”  There was NO condemnation … there was simply a mission that showed God honored the conversation he had with Abraham to save Lot from the destruction.  And, HE did!!

Several things were SHOCKING to me in this chapter:

  • The men of the town came to Lot’s door DEMANDING he bring the two men/angels out to them so they could have sex with them!!! How’s that for a greeting???  Lot tells his “friends” no don’t do that.
  • TAKE MY TWO DAUGHTERS INSTEAD.  I can’t imagine my Dad saying this under ANY circumstances!!  Either option here is just WRONG!!!
  • The angels PULLED LOT BACK INTO THE HOUSE, SHUT THE DOOR, AND BLINDED THE MEN SO THEY COULD NOT FIND THE DOOR.  Did you notice that the angels had to also PULL LOT OUT OF THE CITY even after they warned him that God was going to destroy S&G!!! ?? Lot was actually thinking about staying or thinking of all he would be giving up … all of his luxuries… that is how much of a hold “it” had on him!!
  • The angels tell Lot and his family (several of whom thought he was joking about S&G going to be destroyed) NOT TO LOOK BACK and NOT to stop ANYWHERE on the plain.  They tell him to go to the mountains or he will be swept away. 
  • LOT TELLS THE ANGELS NO!!!  JUST SLAP ME NOW!!  Can you imagine telling an ANGEL ummmm NO?  He can’t “make the trip up the mountain”.  OH BUT MY!!!  So he manages to get their protection so he can flee to Zoar.  Zoar means “insignificance”.  It was one of the five towns slated for destruction, but the GRACE of God protected Lot and changed the plans for Zoar!!!  Can you begin to see why Lot’s name means “covering”?  Lot was being saved by God’s grace because of his relationship with Abraham (his Uncle… his covering).  Abraham had prayed for Lot’s protection.  God had promised to bless Abraham (which extended to all his family).
  • HOLY SMOKE!!!  By the time Lot reached Zoar, the Lord rained down burning sulfur on S&G!!  The JUDGEMENT for sin was/is HELL.  Can you imagine the smell?  Interestingly, this is the material that kills them… BURNING SULFUR . The SAME material used for HELL!!!
  • Lot’s wife disobeyed the angels, LOOKED back, and POOF…turned into a pillar of salt!! (Did you notice that her name is not mentioned in the Scriptures??… ummm guess there is a reason for this. I also noticed that we are never told back in Genesis WHEN Eve died… thought this was an interesting detail as well.)   Appears these are two more consequences for two different women.
  • Lot eventually moves to the mountain and lives in a CAVE.  He makes NO attempt to ask Abraham to help him, help find husbands for his daughters, or reach out to him in anyway.  So, he is living in a cave! 
  • Do you ever wonder, if you would have listened to God the first time He told you do to something, how your life may have been really different.  Don’t get me wrong. I believe Romans 8:28 with all my heart.  However, we have all missed the mark and did things … our way rather than God’s.
  • The next thing we see is quite gross .. like ICK!!  Lot’s daughters get him drunk until he passes out so they can have sex with their father so they can have children.  You may not have thought about it, but back when we were reading about Noah… he became so drunk that his son Ham found him naked and MOCKED (mocking is NEVER good) his nakedness and was then cursed by Noah.  I personally have nothing against drinking. However, we must use wisdom if we drink so we are still in control of ourselves.  We also have the responsibility to be aware as to if our drinking will lead anyone we are “hanging out with into sin” and if so we are to stay away out of respect for them. 
  • Each of Lot’s daughters become pregnant with a son ICCCKKKKKK again!!!.  One son is named Moab (means of his father).  The other son was named Benammi (means son of my people).  MAKE A NOTE IN YOUR BIBLE BECAUSE MOAB BECOMES THE MOABITES AND BENAMMI BECOMES THE AMMORITES. These two nations become enemies of Israel!!  AMAZING that both daughters thought this was acceptable.

MANY life lessons in this story ALONE.  Don’t we all take risks each day and try to ride the fence.  I know God has jerked me right out of situations I have been in to protect me and REDEEM me!!  I also know God gently, lovingly kept knocking at the door of my heart until I asked HIM to be my Lord and Savior.  God is so good.

Chapter 20 – As I began reading this, I started thinking to myself… NO, NO, NO, Abraham…. You have already been down this road.  DON’T do it!!  BUT… the words just kept going and there he was… LYING AGAIN about Sarah being his sister.  And then I of course think of myself…. How many times have I done things over and over again that I KNOW I should not be doing (like eating a dessert on my anniversary while I am really trying to eat healthy)???  Can you relate to Abraham, he becomes afraid again, hasn’t asked God beforehand for direction, and whoops…. There it goes… down the old path.  Just think about how old these Scriptures are but how appropriate they are for today!!!  Powerful eh??

Let’s compare Abraham’s first time he lied in Genesis 12 with this incident in Genesis 20.

Abraham lied to Pharaoh Gen 12 Abraham lied to Abimeleck Gen 20
Abram was 75 years old, Sarai is 65. Abraham was 99 years old, Sarah is 89
Abram did not ask God if he should go DOWN to Egypt THIS IS 24 YEARS LATER
Abram told Sarai to lie and NOT tell Pharaoh about being his wife.  Abram feared that his life would be in danger.  Apparently in that time if leaders wanted the wife and possessions of another, they simply killed the man and took what they wanted. vs 2 Abraham tells Abimelech that Sarah is his sister.  The comman customs of the day were that a man (remember Abraham is still a Nomad living in tents, although a very wealthy one) could make deals with other men BECAUSE of their sisters or other family members… you get my sister, we share the land or are nice to each other.
Sarai was 65 and BEAUTIFUL.  Pharaoh’s men told Pharaoh about her and she was brought before Pharaoh.  vs 1 Abraham has not asked God what to do before he does this.  He is depending on his own thoughts, heart, and customs…. AGAIN.  Lacking trust and patience again in his fear.
Neither Sarai nor Abram showed their trust in the Lord and depended on their fears, thoughts, comman customs. vs 11 Abraham made an ASSUMPTION that Abimelech and his nation were not God fearing. This was an incorrect judgement on Abraham’s part.
The LORD inflicted Pharaoh with serious diseases vs 7 God CAME to Abimeleck in a dream to tell him Sarah was married and if he did not return her to Abraham he would die.  Abimelech has a conversation with God in his dream and tells him they told me they were brother and sister, but he had not touched Sarah.  God told Abimelech that he had KEPT him from her.  God acknowledges  Abimelech’s clear conscious.  However, tells him that Abraham is a prophet, and he must pray for Abimelech so he will live.
Pharaoh asks Abram WHY vs 9-11 Abimelech asks Abraham WHY and he explains he didn’t think they were a God fearing nation and was afraid.
Pharaoh sends Abram away with his wife, Lot, and his possessions. vs 14- Abraham confesses his sin
vs-14 Abimelech brings Abraham sheep and cattle & returned Sarah.
vs -15 Abimelech tells him to PICK ANY place on his land and live anywhere he would like!!
vs-16 Abimelech told Sarah he was giving Abraham 1000 shelels of silver for any offense to her.
vs 17 Abraham prayed and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and slave girls so they could have children.

 

Something occurred to make these two outcomes so different.  What I noticed was that God warned Abimelech in a dream.  Now, Abimelech was from Philistine, but he must have been God fearing in some fashion for God to come to him in a dream and to protect him so he did not sleep with Sarah.  And look how the endings are so different.  Basically Pharaoh sent Abram packing with all his people and belongings.  Pharaoh was not warned and I am thinking he possibly slept with Sarah.  ANY way you look at it Abraham and family were saved by God’s grace.  The consequences in both cases were most humiliating to Abraham in front of other leaders and their people.  And it is proof once again that none of us are perfect or free of sin.  Where the “rubber meets the road” is what we do once we sin… do we turn to God and obey him… repent… stop doing what we are doing with HIS help … or do we ignore the still small voice and keep going down the road headed to worse consequences?

Chapter 21 – The Lord was GRACIOUS to Sarah, she became pregnant and bore Abraham a son they named Isaac.  God’s promise fulfilled!!  Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 (it has been a year from Gen 18:10).  25 YEARS have passed since Genesis 12:4 when God made his promises to Abraham and then told him he would have a son from his body!!

Verses 9-10 — A feast for Isaac after he is weaned.  I am guessing he was between 4 and 6.  Ishmael was 16 or 17 at this point.  Ishmael MOCKED Isaac (his character is showing through.  ALSO REMEMBER how Hagar despised Sarah after Hagar knew she was pregnant??)  Do you think Ishmael picked up on Hagar’s attitude toward Sarah and acted on it?  Sarah told Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away and God agreed.  Abraham was very sad but sent them on with food and water.  Neither Ishmael nor Isaac could have developed in all God had for them if they remained together.

Ishmael represents our old nature.  We will find out soon that his nature/character does not change a lot although God keeps HIS promises to him in making him successful and giving him MANY descendants.  We will see in upcoming chapters that EVEN Ishmael’s 12 sons (12 Tribes) can’t get along with each other … there is constant bickering.  Again, I come back to Hagar’s detest for Sarah when she knew she was pregnant.  Did all of this hate get passed down to the future generations?  I don’t know… but certainly worth thinking about.  Ishmael’s birth was totally predictable (not God’s plan but once Sarah told Abraham to sleep with Hagar for the promised son … the outcome was predictable).    Isaac represents our new nature.   Possibly Abraham could have fathered more children at his age.  However, there is NO way Sarah would have been able to have a child without God’s intervention.  When we become Christians we are new creations.  However, the old nature NEVER goes away.  It takes up less and less space the more we mature as Christians, but it NEVER goes away.  This is why it is so important that we TRANSFORM our minds with the Word of God.

Verse 22 – Abimelech wants Abraham to swear he will not deal falsely with him (and can you blame him after the “she’s my sister incident”?).  Abraham agrees.  The next verse we see Abraham confronting Abimelech about the well he dug being stolen.  Abimelech says he knows nothing until just now.  The KJV states “a well they took violently away”.  Maybe Abimelech didn’t know what his men had done.  However, the point is LOOK at Abraham’s character showing through.  Abraham bought animals to make a treaty with Abimelech.  The NIV uses the word treaty in this verse and the KJV uses the word covenant.  Abraham asks Abimelech to accept the lambs as his witness that he dug the well.  The covenant was made at Beersheba (“meaning well of sevenfold oath”).  After the covenant was made, Abimelech and his men returned to Philistine.  After the covenant, Abraham calls God the EVERLASTING GOD!!  Abraham could have handled this so differently and the consequences could have been drastic.  When I saw that the word covenant was used rather than the word treaty in the KJV … my eyes were opened to see that Abraham was treating Abimelech the way God had treated him in making a covenant.  WHAT an awesome teacher God is, and Abraham’s character absorbed the lesson which became a part of him.

Even with all the sin, can you see the story of REDEMPTION, the story of an everlasting LOVE, the story of how God KEEPS HIS promises, the story of SALVATION for you and for me!!!  God can NOT sin nor can he lie.  He is a God of HIS Word…. on every page!!

Sharing HIS love,

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