Click here to read Genesis 18:1-19:38

This passage opens with God and two angels appearing to Abraham to confirm the promises that God made to him by telling him that He would return in a year and they would have a son. God also revealed to Abraham the judgment He had in store for the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which lead to Abraham pleading with God for justice and to spare the lives of the righteous. God once again showed how much He listens to His people by agreeing to spare the city if there were 10 righteous people.

We soon get a clear picture of how wicked of a place it is—men of the city gather around Lot’s house, threatening to break down the door to have sex with his guests (the two angels).  God destroys the cities, but spares the lives of the righteous—Lot, his wife, and his two daughters.  But even though Lot is called righteous (here and in the New Testament – 2 Peter 2:6-9), we see how much the wickedness of the city rubbed off on Lot.  Not only does he attempt to save his guests from being sexually assaulted by offering his daughters, but he also gets drunk and impregnates his daughters.

This passage as a whole serves to contrast two important names in the history of the area—Abraham and Lot.  On one side there is Abraham, who trusted God, even to the point of moving completely, and who relies on and looks forward to the promise of God.  On the other side is Lot who is still called a righteous man.  However, Lot shows that he has no problem with relying on worldly promises when he moves from his tent near Sodom to moving into the city and becoming a judge there.  Rather than avoiding all of the debauchery and living outside of the city, Lot chooses to be a bigger name and enjoy a “better” life.  It won’t be long before we see Lot’s descendants (Moabites and Ammonites) at odds with Abraham’s (Israel).

There are two other important themes in this passage.  The first is that of justice.  God not only states that Abraham will teach his household to follow the Lord by doing what is right and just, but God’s justice becomes the focus when Abraham is asking God to spare Sodom for the sake of the righteous.  God agrees and not only is God’s judgment again shown as just, but it also highlights that it is good for Abraham, as God’s chosen, to be so deeply concerned with justice.

The second them is the relationship between God and human beings.  In this passage is the first time that there is extended interaction between God and a human and it marks the first time that a human addressed God first.  This passage offers a clearer understanding of the progression of a relationship between God and human beings.  God first chose to reveal Himself to Abraham and Abraham accepted God’s revelation and invited Him to eat and fellowship.  After they had fellowshipped for a bit, God chose to reveal even more—specifically His judgment on sinners.  Abraham responded by praying to God and petitioning on behalf those who would fall under God’s judgment and in return, God listened.  All of this shows the developing relationship between God and Abraham as God reveals Himself and Abraham responds.

Tomorrow we’ll see that no matter how well that relationship is developing Abraham will still make mistakes.

Names Places
Major 

God – God

three men – God and 2 angels

Abram/Abraham – son of Terah, descendant of Shem

Sarai/Sarah – Abraham’s wife

Lot – Abraham’s nephew and a judge in Sodom

Lot’s two daughters – who slept with him in the cave

Lot’s wife – looked back when fleeing and turned
into a pillar of salt

men of Sodom – townsmen who tried to have sex with
Lot’s guest

Lot’s sons-in-law – didn’t believe Lot about Sodom’s
impending destruction

Moab – son of Lot’s older daughter (and Lot). His
descendants were the Moabites and caused problems for Israel

Ben-Ammi – son of Lot’s younger daughter (and Lot).
His descendants were the Ammonites and caused problems for Israel


Major 

tress of Mamre – where Abraham lived

Sodom – extremely wicked city where Lot lived

Gomorrah – another very wicked city

Zoar – very small town where Lot fled

Minor 

none


Minor 

none


Interesting facts:

Does God change His mind?

If it looked like God may have changed His mind in previous passages, it definitely becomes a question in this passage.  In Malachi 3:6 God says “I the LORD do not change,” but what does the Bible mean then when it seems like God is changing His mind here in response to Abraham, or right before the flood when God said that He was grieved that He made man on earth?

The simple answer is that this is an anthropomorphism (okay, not all that simple).  What this means is that the author is using a term that normally applies to human actions to attempt to explain what God is doing.  Unfortunately, while we are made in the image of God, there is still an immeasurable gap between the creator and His creation.  This means that we are only able to describe God’s actions through what we know (as though there is any other way for us to describe and understand!) and the result of this is it sometimes looks like God is doing something that we would—changing His mind about whether creating humans was a good or not, for example. But there are two important things to note.  First, God is alive and responds to different circumstances and interacts with humans as we act.  Second, God’s plan never changes.  From our perspective it very well may look like all the circumstances have changed, but God knows what He is doing.

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