When the men got up to leave, they looked out over Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them off.
1. The importance of his character. He was not only the friend of God, but the father of "a great nation," in which God would have a special interest, and through which "all other nations should be blessed." Let him be in the secret.
The whole wonderful scene springs out of the theophany. Abraham's faith has given him a special position with the Lord. "Shall I hide from Abraham that thug which I do?" &c. The true priesthood and mediatorship is friendship with God. The grace of God first gives the likeness and then exalts it. The Lord knew Abraham because Abraham knew the Lord
. The superior angel, the Lord, remains behind his companions that Abraham might have the opportunity of intercession; so the Lord lingers in his providence that he may reveal his righteousness and mercy. As to the pleading of the patriarch and the answers of the Lord to it, we may take it -
I. As it bears on the CHARACTER OF GOD.
1. He is open to entreaty.
2. He is unwilling to destroy.
3. He spares for the sake of righteousness.
4. He "does right" as "Judge of the earth," even though to the eyes of the best men there is awful mystery in his doings.
II. As it reveals the CHARACTERISTICS OF PATRIARCHAL PIETY.
1. It was bold with the boldness of simplicity and faith.
2. It was full of true humanity while deeply reverential towards God. Abraham was no fanatic.
3. It waited for and humbly accepted Divine judgments and appointments not without reason, not without the exercise of thought and feeling, but all the more so as it prayed and talked with God.
4. The one living principle of the patriarchal religion was that entire confidence in God's righteousness and love, in separating the wicked and the good, in both his judgments and his mercy, which is the essence of Christianity as well. "The right which the Judge of all the earth will do is not the right of mere blind law, or rough human administration of law, but the right of him who discerneth between the evil and the good, too wise to err, too good to be unkind." - R.
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?
God communicates Himself, and the knowledge of His ways and designs, to His faithful ones. There was a special propriety for this mode of dealing with His servant Abraham. Consider this —
I. As ONE OF THE PRIVILEGES OF GOD'S FRIENDSHIP WITH HIM. Communication of secrets is one of the special privileges of friendship. Where we trust our secrets the intimacy must be very close, and the confidence of love very great. God imparted to His friend Abraham a twofold secret.
1. The secret of loving intercourse.
2. The secret of His purposes.
II. AS DEPENDING UPON HIS DESTINY AND CHARACTER. Abraham was not only a saint, but also a representative man, through whom God intended to convey great blessings to mankind. He was the human foundation upon which God's most gracious purposes concerning the race were to he erected. The friendship of God with him, therefore, is to be considered —
1. With regard to his destiny. God had known him, that is, determined him for a purpose.(1) Political. He was to "become a great and mighty nation" (ver. 18).(2) Religious. Abraham was to be the founder not only of a great but of a holy nation.
2. With regard to his personal character, God knew that Abraham was a righteous man, and that he would be just and upright in the government of his family, bringing them up in the fear and love of Himself. So would they enjoy the benefits of the covenant of grace, and avoid the doom of the wicked.
The Congregational Pulpit.
I. WE ARE TO PONDER THIS MOST INTERESTING SCENE. In it we shall find three leading acts.
1. The condescending visit of God to Abraham.
(1)The Lord appeared to him in the form of a man.
(2)The Lord suffered Himself to be a guest at Abraham's table.
(3)One main object of the visit was to evoke faith in the heart of Sarah; without which the promise could not have been fulfilled.
2. The revelation of the Lord's purpose to Abraham (vers. 16-22).
3. Abraham interceding for Sodom (vers. 23-33).
II. APPLY TO OURSELVES. As Abraham's spiritual seed, we are called to be friends of God.
1. Jesus calls us His friends (see John 15:15).
2. Jesus manifests Himself to us as He does not to the world. Certainly, this is an inward and spiritual manifestation; but it is not less real or delightful than that vouchsafed to Abraham.
3. He condescends to be refreshed by us. When we do His will, and offer Him praise, He sees of the travail of His soul, and is satisfied. He sups with us.
4. He reveals to us His secret. This relates to His second coming, to the destruction of the world, and the final overthrow of the ungodly. The fate of Sodom represents that of all the earth.
5. We are permitted to intercede for others.
2. The good use he would make of it. Being previously disclosed to him, he would be the more deeply impressed by it: and according to his tried and approved conduct as the head of a family, would be concerned to impart it as a warning to his posterity in all future ages. As the wicked extract ill from good, so the righteous will extract good from ill Sodom's destruction shall turn to Abraham's salvation: the monument of just vengeance against their crimes shall be of perpetual use to him and his posterity, and contribute even to the "bringing of that good upon them, which the Lord had spoken concerning them.
PeopleAbraham, Mamre, Sarah
PlacesCanaan, Gomorrah, Sodom, Sodom and Gomorrah
TopicsAlong, Bring, Conduct, Direction, Face, Leave, Rise, Rose, Sodom, Thence, Walked, Walking
Outline1. The Lord appears to Abraham, who entertains angels.
9. Sarah is reproved for laughing at the promise of a son.
16. The destruction of Sodom is revealed to Abraham.
23. Abraham makes intercession for its inhabitants.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 18:16
4140 angel of the Lord
5076 Abraham, life of
1511 Trinity, relationships in
4275 Sodom and Gomorrah
1095 God, patience of
5077 Abraham, character
5548 speech, divine
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