Genesis 18

* The Lord appears to Abraham. (1-8) Sarah's unbelief reproved.

(9-15) God reveals to Abraham the destruction of Sodom. (16-22)

Abraham's intercession for Sodom. (23-33)

1-8 Abraham was waiting to entertain any weary traveller, for

inns were not to be met with as among us. While Abraham was thus

sitting, he saw three men coming. These were three heavenly

beings in human bodies. Some think they were all created angels;

others, that one of them was the Son of God, the Angel of the

covenant. Washing the feet is customary in those hot climates,

where only sandals are worn. We should not be forgetful to

entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels

unawares, #Heb 13:2|; nay, the Lord of angels himself; as we

always do, when for his sake we entertain the least of his

brethren. Cheerful and obliging manners in showing kindness, are

great ornaments to piety. Though our condescending Lord

vouchsafes not personal visits to us, yet still by his Spirit he

stands at the door and knocks; when we are inclined to open, he

deigns to enter; and by his gracious consolations he provides a

rich feast, of which we partake with him, #Re 3:20|.
9-15 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, #Lu

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, ch. #17:17|; 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.
16-22 The two who are supposed to have been created angels went

toward Sodom. The one who is called Jehovah throughout the

chapter, continued with Abraham, and would not hide from him the

thing he intended to do. Though God long forbears with sinners,

from which they fancy that the Lord does not see, and does not

regard; yet when the day of his wrath comes, he will look toward

them. The Lord will give Abraham an opportunity to intercede

with him, and shows him the reason of his conduct. Consider, as

a very bright part of Abraham's character and example, that he

not only prayed with his family, but he was very careful to

teach and rule them well. Those who expect family blessings must

make conscience of family duty. Abraham did not fill their heads

with matters of doubtful dispute; but he taught them to be

serious and devout in the worship of God, and to be honest in

their dealings with all men. Of how few may such a character be

given in our days! How little care is taken by masters of

families to ground those under them in the principles of

religion! Do we watch from sabbath to sabbath whether they go

forward or backward?
23-33 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.
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