Interacting with God

4 July 2021 PM – Genesis 18:1-33 – Gen2021 – Scott Childs
Introduction: D. L. Moody once said, “I’d rather be able to pray than be a great preacher; Jesus Christ never taught His disciples how to preach, but only how to pray.” Abraham had a rare opportunity to talk in person to a Theophany of God (God visited him in a human body).
Transition: In Genesis 18, we see that Abraham interacted with God in three ways that we too ought to interact with God.
  1. Abraham Served Hospitably (v.1-8)
a.         Guests came as Abraham was resting.
1)         It was the heat of the day (mid-day) (v.1). Abraham was resting in the shade of his tent.
2)         Three men came walking up the lane toward his house (v.2). We know from verse 1 that it was Jehovah and two angels; however, Abraham did not know who they were. He assumed they were just travelling men.
3)         We have no reason to believe that Abraham suspected that these men were any other than ordinary travellers.
b.         Abraham welcomed them hospitably.
1)         Note Abraham’s hospitable welcome (v.2). He saw them. He ran to meet them. He bowed to the ground before them. He then invited them in for a rest (v.3-4). He offered to wash their feet. He asked them if he could prepare them a meal (v.5). Guests were rare.
2)         Abraham hurried to the tent and told Sarah to make fresh bread (v.6).
3)         He then ran to the herd, fetched a tender and good calf, had the servant dress, and quickly roast it (v.7).
4)         When all was ready, Abraham served the bread with butter, milk and BBQ beef (v.8). The honoured guests ate this fine meal under the shade tree in Abraham’s yard.
  • We as God’s people need to be hospitable. We ought to welcome church visitors and make them feel at home. Talk to them. Sit with them in church. With due prudence, we ought to invite Christians over for meals (not just our close friends). God clearly urges us to be hospitable. (Romans 12:13) “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” (1 Peter 4:9) “Use hospitality one to another without gru
2.        Abraham Listened Intently (v.9-22)
a.         He listened as his guests spoke about Sarah.
1)         God, his unknown guest, suddenly asked Abraham, “Where is Sarah they wife?” This must have instantly caught his attention. To this point, Sarah had politely remained hidden in the tent. He must have wondered how did these guests know Sarah? Who were these men? Why were they here? Where have they come from?
2)         Abraham listened as Jehovah told him that Sarah would have a son according to the time of life (v.10). Sarah, listening from the tent door, heard the prediction.
a)         Abraham and Sarah were both old (v.11). Sarah was now physically unable to conceive and bear a child.
b)         Sarah laughed in her heart at the thought of having a child at her old age (v.12).
3)         Jehovah showed His omniscience by asking Abraham why Sarah laughed (v13). Interestingly, God spoke to Abraham about the thoughts of Sarah. He was the head of the home. God held him responsible for his home. This is a sober reminder to every husband.
4)         Jehovah then declared His omnipotence and affirmed that Sarah WOULD have a son in nine months (v.14).
5)         By this time, Abraham must have called Sarah out to give account for herself, and she denied laughing, but Jehovah corrected her (v.15).
  • God knows us! We cannot hide anything from Him, not even the thoughts of our hearts. (Psalms 139:1-4) “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.” He also has a plan for our lives and has unlimited ability to perform His plan. We have no need to worry!
b.         Abraham listened as his guests spoke about Sodom.
1)         The three guests rose up to leave and looked toward Sodom in the valley eastward.
2)         Jehovah spoke to the angels with Him (read v.17-19). Abraham likely heard Him, but it appears that the conversation was not addressed to Abraham. Note God’s comments.
a)         Shall I hide the destruction of Sodom from Abraham?
b)         Abraham will become a great and might nation.
c)         All nations of the earth shall be blessed in him.
d)         God knew that Abraham would command his children and household to keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment.
  • God has placed the huge task of rearing children on the shoulders of fathers (with the help of mothers). This task demands parental authority and personal example. It is not a passive task. Taking your children to Sunday school and praying with them before bed is not Your children will not grow up to keep the way of the LORD if you do not biblically command it and actively live godly before them. (Ephesians 6:4) “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
3)         God then told Abraham the bad news about Sodom and Gomorrah (v.20).
4)         God said He would go down to see (v.21). He did not need to see Sodom physically for He already divinely knew, but He went (for our sake) so that men would see that He investigated before He judged. God is always just and fair.
5)         The angels then went to Sodom.
  • Abraham listened intently to God. Has God been speaking to you about something lately? Have you been listening intently?
3.        Abraham Prayed Fervently (v.23-33)
a.         Abraham interceded for Lot’s family
1)         Abraham drew near to God, v.23. God only hears the prayers of those who are close to Him (not in a physical sense, but in a spiritual sense). Remember the words in James 4:8, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
2)         Even the smallest unconfessed sin will hinder our prayers. We read in Isaiah 59:1-2, “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
3)         Notice the wording of Abraham’s intercession (v.24-27). Uncertain of the number of righteous people in Sodom, Abraham proceeded to narrow his request (v.28-32). He dropped the number to 45, then to 40, 30, 20, and finally to 10, (v.32). What a fervent prayer!
4)         We do not find a single word of rebuke from God for his persistence. In fact, in the New Testament, Jesus instructs us to keep on praying when we do not immediately get an answer. (Luke 18:1) “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
  • All around us are people who are heading for hell. We must earnestly pray for them and share the gospel with them. We may pray, “Lord come back soon” but we seldom pray, “Lord don’t come yet, my child (relative, friend, neighbour) is not yet saved. Please save them first.” May God give us a passion for souls!
b.         God answered his prayer
1)         God promised Abraham that He would spare Sodom if just ten righteous people lived in the city (v.32).
2)         God is holy and must punish sin, but He does not want anyone to perish. That was true then, and it is still true today. Judgment is coming, but God is still waiting. (2 Peter 3:9) “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Conclusion: Abraham interacted with God by serving hospitably, listening intently and praying fervently. How well have you been interacting with God? Have you been serving, listening, and praying as you should? Has God placed his finger on an area of your life that needs work? If so, will you obey Him tonight?
Song: Teach Me to Pray – 346