Friday, August 20, 2010

Bible Notes: Gen 18-19

Gen 18:1-2. “And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him” (ESV). What a thrilling thing! What a gracious manifestation!

PRAYER WATCH: Gen 18:12-14. Sarah laughs at the prospect of pregnancy in her old age, but Yahweh does not and queries, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Here is a question to ask the Lord when in prayer. It can be added along with Yahweh’s challenge to Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short?” (Num 11:23 NIV). These are verses to encourage and bolster confidence in prayer. So even now as I pray for some marriages, for example, I ask the Heavenly Father, “Is the Lord’s arm too short?”

JUDGMENT WATCH: Gen 18:20-21. Why does Yahweh need to “go down to see” whether the outcry against Sodom is true or not? Is he not omniscient? Of course. But it shows us the justice of the Lord God. He is not capricious; his information is not second-hand. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” (1 Cor 2:16 ESV). Whatever judgment the Lord delivers is just.

PRAYER WATCH: Gen 18:22-33. Prayer affects the actions of the Lord. He listens to the prayers of his people and adjusts his behavior accordingly, in keeping with his wisdom and will. Abraham is humbly bold in his prayer, revising the Lord’s threshold of 50 righteous people all the way down to 10.

PRAYER WATCH: Gen 19:29. The rescue of Lot is not mentioned in Abraham’s conversation with the Lord in 18:22-33, but the Lord knows the burden of Abraham’s prayer even if Abraham does not/cannot articulate it. The new minimalist threshold is not even met: ten righteous people in Sodom? No. But the Lord spares Lot, that “righteous man” (2 Pt 2:7), in keeping with Abraham’s unspoken concern. Perhaps this is an example of the Spirit aiding our inarticulate prayers (cf. Rom 8:26).

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