Scripture Read: Genesis 18 - 19
Title: God's Mercy In the Midst of Debauchery and Destruction
(H) Highlight verse:: "Is anything too hard for the LORD?" Genesis 18:14
(E) Explain: Time and again God makes outrageous claims and promises. Time and again He follows through. These two chapters, I have felt, are unusual and complex. There is a lot going on and it is really easy to lose sight of what the passages are trying to say. The accounts deal with the words and deeds of these three visitors who come to see Abraham. The text doesn't give them names but it is assumed that two of these visitors are Angels and one is the LORD himself.(This is called a Theophany.). These two passage deal with the two things... unbelief and judgment of sin.
In the area of unbelief we see this happening with Sarah as she hears about the promise of having a child in her old age. The text tells us that upon hearing this news she laughed in disbelief because she was so old. When confronted about it she denied it, but the visitors assured her it was going to happen.
In the area of judgment we read the familiar story of Sodom and Gomorrah. There are countless commentaries, thoughts, and opinions as to what is going on in this passage. Personally, I believe many lose the forest for the trees in this passage. People try and pinpoint a specific sin that Sodom and Gomorrah is being punished for but really all we know is that it was a wicked and evil city and God is going to judge and destroy it. I don't think it was just because of sexual sin (it certainly was one of the reasons) but I think the city had become so base and full of debauchery that God had to deal with ALL the evil that was going on, and He did.
However, amidst all of this evil is a man and his family... Lot. Lot is the nephew of Abraham. In chapter 18 we read about Abraham's intercession. He knew his nephew was living in this evil city and he did not want to see the city destroyed. He prays to the LORD and the LORD agrees to the terms of Abraham, yet God cannot find even 10 godly people in this city. BUT, God does save Lot and extends his mercy to his family. Unfortunately his future sons-in-law don't believe him and his wife is perishes because she longed to go back.
Yes, I see God's judgment in all of this, but I also see His mercy. God would not let one righteous person perish in the destruction. Lot was spared, because of God's mercy. Unfortunately, many perished but I think this should show that God doesn't take the rebellion of sin lightly.
(A) Application: God does discipline and punish for sinful activities in our life. Sin is a cancer that separates us from God. It infects us so that we cannot have proper fellowship with Him. When we allow sin to reign in our lives, God will deal with us... Fortunately, because of Jesus and God's mercy He will not destroy those of us who are called His sons and daughters, but He will discipline us and that is rarely if ever fun.
As a Christian I must seek to live my life to please God. I must, through the power of the Holy Spirit, commit to living in obedience and turning from sin in my life. I cannot live in sinless perfection, that is impossible, but I can commit my life to obeying God and His commands and praying that I may live a life that is pleasing to Him. I never like it when I am disciplined by God, but I do know that He does discipline me, because He loves me.
I am also reminded in the passage about the power of intercession. I need to pray for my friends who do not know or follow Jesus. Abraham prayed or interceded for His nephew to be saved from destruction and I believe I am called to do the same (pray for/intercede) for my friends and peers who are content to live amidst sin or who are willingly let sin rule their lives.
(R) Respond: Lord, help me when I laugh in disobedience to your promises, remind me daily that nothing is too hard for you. You can do anything, and you empower me to live a life where I can firmly believe this. Remind me daily, to pray for my friends who do not know you as their Lord and savior. Help me to pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are allowing sin to rule in their lives. I pray that you would lovingly draw them back to your presence. I pray for myself that I would not let the lures and temptations of sin to influence my life. May I live a Spirit-filled life that is pleasing to you. Search me Lord and help me to see the sins in my life before I feel the need to expose the sins of others.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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