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, forinns were not to be met with as among us. While Abraham was thussitting, he saw three men coming. These were three heavenlybeings in human bodies. Some think they were all created angels;others, that one of them was the Son of God, the Angel of thecovenant. Washing the feet is customary in those hot climates,where only sandals are worn. We should not be forgetful toentertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angelsunawares, #Heb 13:2|; nay, the Lord of angels himself; as wealways do, when for his sake we entertain the least of hisbrethren. Cheerful and obliging manners in showing kindness, aregreat ornaments to piety. Though our condescending Lordvouchsafes not personal visits to us, yet still by his Spirit hestands at the door and knocks; when we are inclined to open, hedeigns to enter; and by his gracious consolations he provides arich feast, of which we partake with him, #Re 3:20|. 9-15 Where is Sarah thy wife? was asked. Note the answer, Inthe tent. Just at hand, in her proper place, occupied in herhousehold concerns. There is nothing got by gadding. Those aremost likely to receive comfort from God and his promises, whoare in their proper place, and in the way of their duty, #Lu2:8|. We are slow of heart to believe, and need line upon line tothe same purport. The blessings others have from commonprovidence, believers have from the Divine promise, which makesthem very sweet, and very sure. The spiritual seed of Abrahamowe their life, and joy, and hope, and all, to the promise.Sarah thinks this too good news to be true; she laughed, andtherefore cannot as yet find in her heart to believe it. Sarahlaughed. We might not have thought there was a differencebetween Sarah's laughter and Abraham's, ch. #17:17|; but He whosearches the heart, saw that the one sprung from unbelief, andthe other from faith. She denied that she had laughed. One sincommonly brings in another, and it is not likely we shallstrictly keep to truth, when we question the Divine truth. Butwhom the Lord loves he will rebuke, convict, silence, and bringto repentance, and if they sin before him. 16-22 The two who are supposed to have been created angels wenttoward Sodom. The one who is called Jehovah throughout thechapter, continued with Abraham, and would not hide from him thething he intended to do. Though God long forbears with sinners,from which they fancy that the Lord does not see, and does notregard; yet when the day of his wrath comes, he will look towardthem. The Lord will give Abraham an opportunity to intercedewith him, and shows him the reason of his conduct. Consider, asa very bright part of Abraham's character and example, that henot only prayed with his family, but he was very careful toteach and rule them well. Those who expect family blessings mustmake conscience of family duty. Abraham did not fill their headswith matters of doubtful dispute; but he taught them to beserious and devout in the worship of God, and to be honest intheir dealings with all men. Of how few may such a character begiven in our days! How little care is taken by masters offamilies to ground those under them in the principles ofreligion! Do we watch from sabbath to sabbath whether they goforward 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 prayedearnestly that Sodom might be spared, if but a few righteouspersons should be found in it. Come and learn from Abraham whatcompassion we should feel for sinners, and how earnestly weshould pray for them. We see here that the effectual, ferventprayer of a righteous man avails much. Abraham, indeed, failedin his request for the whole place, but Lot was miraculouslydelivered. Be encouraged then to expect, by earnest prayer, theblessing of God upon your families, your friends, yourneighbourhood. To this end you must not only pray, but you mustlive like Abraham. He knew the Judge of all the earth would doright. He does not plead that the wicked may be spared for theirown sake, or because it would be severe to destroy them, but forthe sake of the righteous who might be found among them. Andrighteousness only can be made a plea before God. How then didChrist make intercession for transgressors? Not by blaming theDivine law, nor by alleging aught in extenuation or excuse ofhuman guilt; but by pleading HIS OWN obedience unto death.
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