Monday, 6 January 2014

(7) January 7: Genesis 18-19 and Matthew 6

Ask God to open your mind, heart and will to understand, delight in and obey what you read.

To discover:
As you read note the attitudes to God being displayed.

To ponder:
Our God keeps his promises; and this is no laughing matter. He visits Abraham in the guise of a man (some think the pre-incarnate Son of God). Sarah is in her mid-sixties. Her laugh betrays her unbelief. But God is well able to keep his promises. Today too, many laugh at his promise of eternal life. We needn’t be rocked by such scepticism. “Nothing is to hard for the LORD.” Let that fuel your prayers today.
            God’s judgement is laughed at too (19v14). Yet these chapters affirm God will do what is just (18v25). He hears the cries of even the non-Christian oppressed, and will act accordingly (19v13). This may mean judgement against cities or nations today (though we are not told when this is the case as we are here). But justice will come to all on the last day. However God will not punish the righteous – ie. those who seek to obey him through faith.
            The depths of human depravity are also seen in Lot and his daughters. In engaging real life the Bible is sometimes X-rated. Lot is deemed righteous (2 Pet 2v7). But what a lapse! He displays a right concern (19v6-7), but acts upon it appallingly (v8).
            Nevertheless, his example challenges us too: Like the LORD and his two friends visiting Sodom, we know Jesus sees all. We know he will soon come with justice. We’ve heard his call to warn others and flee. Like Lot we must speak even if people laugh. Like Lot we must run and not look back.
          There are minor themes here as well: Abraham’s hospitality is made a model for the Christian attitude to strangers. We too may entertain angels (Heb 13v2)! But consider his call as a father (Gen 18v19). This verse would challenge Hebrew fathers to do the same so that God would fulfil his promises to Israel - to their benefit. If we desire the same for our family, this instruction is too important to be crowded out by busyness or ducked because it might mean conflict.

Praying it home:
Thank God that he is just and does not overlook sin. Thank him also for warning you so that you and your family might be saved. Ask for courage to warn others, and the determination and wisdom to direct your family to keep the way of the Lord. Why not jot down how you are going to do that.

Thinking further:
As we’ll see elsewhere, God often works through the natural order. The miracle isn’t in what happened (volcanic eruption?) but in its circumstances (on these wicked cities and timed just after the conversation with Abraham and the escape of Lot). It is possible the description of Lot’s wife turning to salt describes her being covered with the salt and other substances there are much of in the region. But it may be more super-natural. Nothing is impossible with the LORD.

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