Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday, June 30-by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 1 Chronicles 19-20, Psalm 119:81-88, Romans 12
Today's scripture focusGenesis 18

A Son Is Promised to Sarah

18 The Lord appeared again to Abraham near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground.
“My lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while. Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet. And since you’ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey.”
“All right,” they said. “Do as you have said.”
So Abraham ran back to the tent and said to Sarah, “Hurry! Get three large measures[a] of your best flour, knead it into dough, and bake some bread.” Then Abraham ran out to the herd and chose a tender calf and gave it to his servant, who quickly prepared it. When the food was ready, Abraham took some yogurt and milk and the roasted meat, and he served it to the men. As they ate, Abraham waited on them in the shade of the trees.
“Where is Sarah, your wife?” the visitors asked.
“She’s inside the tent,” Abraham replied.
10 Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!”
Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. 11 Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. 12 So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?”
13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
15 Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.”
But the Lord said, “No, you did laugh.”

Abraham Intercedes for Sodom

16 Then the men got up from their meal and looked out toward Sodom. As they left, Abraham went with them to send them on their way.
17 “Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked. 18 “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him. 19 I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.”
20 So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant. 21 I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.”
22 The other men turned and headed toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham. 23 Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away both the righteous and the wicked? 24 Suppose you find fifty righteous people living there in the city—will you still sweep it away and not spare it for their sakes? 25 Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?”
26 And the Lord replied, “If I find fifty righteous people in Sodom, I will spare the entire city for their sake.”
27 Then Abraham spoke again. “Since I have begun, let me speak further to my Lord, even though I am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose there are only forty-five righteous people rather than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?”
And the Lord said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five righteous people there.”
29 Then Abraham pressed his request further. “Suppose there are only forty?”
And the Lord replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the forty.”
30 “Please don’t be angry, my Lord,” Abraham pleaded. “Let me speak—suppose only thirty righteous people are found?”
And the Lord replied, “I will not destroy it if I find thirty.”
31 Then Abraham said, “Since I have dared to speak to the Lord, let me continue—suppose there are only twenty?”
And the Lord replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the twenty.”
32 Finally, Abraham said, “Lord, please don’t be angry with me if I speak one more time. Suppose only ten are found there?”
And the Lord replied, “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”
33 When the Lord had finished his conversation with Abraham, he went on his way, and Abraham returned to his tent.

God always keeps his promise. Nothing is impossible with God. We can't hide from God. These are truths that we know in our head but all too often doubt in our heart.

"I will never leave you or forsake you" we know it but when tough times come or when things seem out of control. We've read about miracles and heard of miracles but sometimes things seem too big and our faith wavers and we doubt that "all things are possible". Sometimes the darkness of sin makes us believe that we can hide from God. But we can't.

Sarah didn't believe God could do something so big even if it was promised. She did believe in God's plan, she was doing what she was supposed to be doing as a wife, but she didn't think that her desire to be a mom would ever be realized.She couldn't fathom the possibility and then she laughed at its absurdity.

Matthew Henry says:

Where is Sarah thy wife? was asked. Note the answer, In the tent. Just at hand, in her proper place, occupied in her household concerns. There is nothing got by gadding. Those are most likely to receive comfort from God and his promises, who are in their proper place, and in the way of their duty, Luke 2:8. We are slow of heart to believe, and need line upon line to the same purport. The blessings others have from common providence, believers have from the Divine promise, which makes them very sweet, and very sure. The spiritual seed of Abraham owe their life, and joy, and hope, and all, to the promise. Sarah thinks this too good news to be true; she laughed, and therefore cannot as yet find in her heart to believe it. Sarah laughed. We might not have thought there was a difference between Sarah's laughter and Abraham's, 17; but He who searches the heart, saw that the one sprung from unbelief, and the other from faith. She denied that she had laughed. One sin commonly brings in another, and it is not likely we shall strictly keep to truth, when we question the Divine truth. But whom the Lord loves he will rebuke, convict, silence, and bring to repentance, and if they sin before him.
How often do we doubt the things of God's promise just like Sarah did. We just think it is impossible. We laugh. We doubt. We lie about our laughter and doubt. 

And yet, even with our laughter and doubt, God continues to shower on his grace. Even with the evilness of Sodom, God showers his grace even if there are just a few believers in the whole place. Abraham begged for the people of Sodom. He pleaded with God. Do we plead with God for the grace against our friends and family that do not know Him. Do we believe that our prayers make a difference or do we believe it's just too big for God? Do we laugh? Do we doubt?

Matthew Henry thoughts:
Here is the first solemn prayer upon record in the Bible; and it is a prayer for the sparing of Sodom. Abraham prayed earnestly that Sodom might be spared, if but a few righteous persons should be found in it. Come and learn from Abraham what compassion we should feel for sinners, and how earnestly we should pray for them. We see here that the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Abraham, indeed, failed in his request for the whole place, but Lot was miraculously delivered. Be encouraged then to expect, by earnest prayer, the blessing of God upon your families, your friends, your neighbourhood. To this end you must not only pray, but you must live like Abraham. He knew the Judge of all the earth would do right. He does not plead that the wicked may be spared for their own sake, or because it would be severe to destroy them, but for the sake of the righteous who might be found among them. And righteousness only can be made a plea before God. How then did Christ make intercession for transgressors? Not by blaming the Divine law, nor by alleging aught in extenuation or excuse of human guilt; but by pleading HIS OWN obedience unto death.
God always keeps his promise. Nothing is impossible with God. We can't hide from God. May we learn and believe these truths. 

Tomorrow's scripture focusGenesis 19:1-29
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 Chronicles 21-22, Psalm 119:89-96, Romans 13

1 comment:

TammyIsBlessed said...

Great thoughts here Pam.

What I love about this passage is that we see both God's justice and His mercy. He cannot sweep sin under the rug, there must be judgment. But He was also willing to spare the entire city for the sake of only 10 righteous people. How sad that there were not even 10.

I liked this quote by Pritchard....
Since God knows all things from beginning until the end, prayer doesn’t change God’s mind. But it may change our mind. In this case, prayer changed Abraham’s mind about God. He knew he was just, but was he also merciful? After the prayer, he could say with confidence that God is merciful not only for hearing his prayer but also for agreeing to spare the city for the sake of ten righteous people.

Abraham recognized that a holy God has a right to judge His creation. We live in a society that completely rebels against that very thought.

This quote as well....
This passage makes it clear that it is not the presence of evil but the absence of good that brings God’s judgment. Ten people could have saved Sodom. No matter what we may think of the sin of Sodom, this much is beyond debate: God wanted to spare that wicked city.
which reminds me of the quote by Edmund Burke All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.