BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
A SON PROMISED TO SARAH
In biblical times in the land of ancient Palestine, inns, hotels, and motels were very scarce, and so many travelers had to rely on its citizens to be hospitable towards each other. Here in Genesis 18 we see the seriousness exhibited by Abraham in his desire to welcome strangers in his home as he offers three men (angels) a royal welcome into his abode.
One day around noon Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent when he espied three men standing nearby. This passage tells us that Abraham jumped up and ran to meet them, bowing to them, showing the greatest of respect and acknowledgement, even calling them “LORD” (this indicates that he knew that they represented Divinity before him) and requesting that they abide with him for a while.
Abraham offered that they rest in the shade of one of Mambre’s oak trees, and allow his servants to bring them water to drink, and to wash their tired feet (v.4). In addition, he offers to prepare them fresh food (not leftovers), for them to be filled before they continued on their way (v.5). And so we see here, the great lengths to which a person should go to welcome another person into their home, because we never know (like in this case) when we may be entertaining “an angel of the LORD”.
Notice that the first verse in this chapter indicates that “the LORD appeared again to Abraham”, and so at least one these men was an actual “Theophany” of CHRIST, or, represented one of several Old Testament appearances by CHRIST JESUS” (Genesis 18:20-21 and 22:11-17, Exodus 3:2-3, Joshua 5:13-15, Numbers 22:21-35, and Judges 2:1-5).
And so, after the three angels accepted Abraham’s invitation, he ran back to the tent and instructed his wife Sarah to help him prepare the meal for them. After the food was prepared, Abraham took it and served it to his honored guests, and then, respectfully waited for them to finish eating.
One of the angels then requested to know where Sarah was, and Abraham responded that she was in the tent. The angel of the LORD then informed Abraham that by this time next year HE would return and Sarah would be nursing their very own son, conceived of their own bodies in their old age. Sarah, who was listening from their tent, laughed silently to herself, thinking, “How could a worn-out woman like me have a baby? Especially when my husband too, is so old”
However, the LORD divinely perceived Sarah’s thoughts and said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, “Can an old woman like me have a baby?” Is anything too hard for the LORD? The LORD then iterates HIS previous statement to Abraham, and upon hearing it again, Sarah became afraid and denied that she had laughed. However, the LORD rebuked her telling her “That is not true, you did laugh”.
The promises GOD makes to us are often concerning things that are “humanly impossible” to achieve, and despite our doubt, HE humors us, and brings those promises into reality anyway. Here in this passage we see, for the first time, GOD actually giving this aging couple an exact time-frame for the birth of their son, who would be named Isaac, and HE reminds them that nothing is impossible for HIM to do. GOD is able to work with us through our limitations and imperfections, even when we exercise only “mustard-seed faith” in HIS divine, unlimited abilities.
ABRAHAM INTERCEDES FOR SODOM
After they finished their meal, the three men of GOD rose up to begin their journey to Sodom to compete the second leg of their mission, the part that they had not yet discussed with Abraham. As they were leaving, however, they had a discussion among themselves as to whether or not they would tell Abraham of this other part of their mission, the fact that they were about to destroy the entire area, including all of the inhabitants, of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Notice that, in verse 16, when the angel spoke, the text states that, “the LORD said” and that throughout the remainder of this passage, Abraham is actually addressing the LORD HIMSELF, WHO here is the “pre-incarnate” JESUS. Remember that JESUS HIMSELF tells us that, before HE completed HIS earthy mission, that is chronicled in the New Testament Scriptures, which is before HIS resurrection and ascension back into Heaven, HE was not yet all-knowing. HE reminds us of that here (Vs.20-21), and in Genesis 22:11-17 (Old Testament), and Matthew 24:36 (New Testament).
In the Old Testament, pre-incarnate JESUS served HIS FATHER GOD many times in the capacity as GOD’s greatest prophet, delivering monumental, milestone messages to HIS earthy servants such as Abraham here in this passage, where HE says HE has to go to Sodom and Gomorrah to see if what HE heard was true, only “Then I will know” (Vs.20-21), and then again in Genesis 22:11-17 where HE says, “Now I know” (v.12), which indicates that HE did not know before-hand and was serving HIS FATHER on faith, the way we should too.
After discussing the situation among themselves, the two other angels went on toward Sodom, but “The ANGEL of the LORD” which always indicates that it is a “Theophany of pre-incarnate CHRIST” in the Old Testament, stayed behind with Abraham for a while. At that time Abraham posed the question to the LORD, “Will you destroy both the innocent and the guilty alike?”
Here Abraham shows a deep sensitive concern for those in the area of Sodom and Gomorrah who may be innocent (one of which was his nephew Lot), and he petitions to the LORD to spare the wicked cities for their sake, be it 50, 45, or even 10. The LORD agrees to spare the cities if even 10 innocent people can be found there, and of course, history now tells us that there were not even 10. When the LORD finished speaking with Abraham, he returned to his tent. Stay tuned.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander