For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them has become great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord has sent us to destroy it’ Genesis 19:13
“And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him”
In our studies in Genesis, we have seen how God promised to make Abraham the father of a new nation from which the prophets of God and the Saviour of the world would come. However, up to this point in the story, Sarah, Abraham’s wife had not yet given birth to a son and
both she and Abraham were extremely old.
Today we have another amazing story. At the start of the story we will see three men who came to visit Abraham. However, these three men were more than mere humans. Two of them were angels and the other was the LORD God Himself! Some might say that God could not have appeared to Abraham in the form of man, but they have forgotten that God is great and that nothing is too hard for Him. God can do anything, except that which is unrighteous.
In this lesson, we will be reading from four chapters of Genesis. The Scripture says:
“And the Lord appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo,
three men stood by him:
and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the ground, and said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant. Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that, ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said,
So do, as thou hast said.
And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead, and make cakes upon the hearth. And
Abraham ran unto the herd,
and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hastened to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. And they said unto him,
Where is Sarah, thy wife?
And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and lo,
Sarah, thy wife, shall have a son.
And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself saying, After I have become old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, who am old?
Is anything too hard for the Lord?
At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. And the men rose up from there, and looked toward Sodom; and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For
I know him,
that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he has spoken of him. And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because
their sin is very grievous;
I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from there, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord.
And Abraham drew near,
and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are in it? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee.
Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
And the Lord said, if I find in Sodom fifty within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, whom am but dust and ashes: Suppose there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for the lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five,
I will not destroy it.
And he spoke unto him yet again, and said, suppose there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake. And he said unto him, Oh, let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose there shall thirty be found there. And he said,
I will not do it,
if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Suppose there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. And he said, Oh, let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Suppose ten shall be found there. And he said,
I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.
And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had ceased talking with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.”
(Gen. 19:1-5) “And there came two angels to Sodom that evening; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; and he said, Behold now,
my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house,
and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on you ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in upon him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round,
both old and young,
all the people from every quarter. And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men who came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.” Many of the men of Sodom were homosexuals and loved it, a sin which God hated. (See Romans 1:26,27)
(Gen. 19:6-29) “And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, and said, I pray you, brethren,
do not so wickedly.
Behold now, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said,
And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now we will deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed hard against the man, even Lot, and came near
to break the door.
But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great; so that they wearied themselves to find the door. And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? Son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whosoever thou hast in the city,
bring them out of this place;
for we will destroy this place, because the cry of them has become great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spoke unto his sons-in-law, who married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons-in-law. And when morning arose, then the angels hastened unto Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And
while he lingered,
the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him outside the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said,
Escape for thy life;
look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord! Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shown me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil overtake me, and I die”. This is the solemn story of how God judged the cities of
Sodom and Gomorrah
with burning sulphur from the sky. Today the ruins of Sodom lie under the Dead (Salt) Sea in Israel. To pursue sin is never a wise choice.
Now, in the rest of the lesson, we want to continue in Genesis and see how God gave Abraham and Sarah a son, thus fulfilling the promise He had made to them so long ago. The Scriptures say: (Gen. 21:1-7) “And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born to him,
And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son, Isaac, was born unto him. And Sarah said, God hath made me laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have nursed children? For I have borne him a son in his old age”. Thus did God fulfil the promise He had made to Abraham and Sarah a long time before. Sarah, who was known as one “who can’t have children,” bore a son just as God had said. They called him Isaac, which means
But not everyone was rejoicing over Isaac’s birth.
The Scriptures say: (Gen. 21:8-14) “And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar, the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for
the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son,
even Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because
he is thy seed.
And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a skin (bottle) of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and gave her the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba”.
but it had to be, since God had revealed to him that the new nation, and the Saviour of the world, would come through Isaac—not through Ishmael. Ishmael, who was about fifteen years old, made fun of Isaac and had no appreciation for God’s plan to make of Isaac a great nation which would offer salvation to the world.
So what happened to Ishmael?
The verses which follow show us how he went with his mother and lived in the desert near Egypt, and married an Egyptian woman.
Ishmael became the father of the Arab race,
which became enemies of the nation which came from Isaac, just as God had predicted to Abraham. (see Genesis 16:12) To this day there is rivalry between Arabs and Jews, as you well know! God loves the Arabs and the Jews and all people in every nation and wants them to turn to Him.
We trust that you have again seen that
the true and living God is a faithful God who cannot go back on His word.
That is why He judged Sodom and Gomorrah–just as He said. That is why He gave Abraham and Sarah a son in their old age–
just as He had promised He would do
And that is why He had Abraham send Ishmael away–that His unchanging purposes might be established.
We urge you to study the next lesson because, God willing, we will be looking into the most significant event in Abraham’s life: the story of Abraham’s sacrifice of his son. . . .
We leave you with this verse from the Word of God:
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements, and His ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33)
We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any other questions that you might have