GENESIS 19:1 – 21:34 and MATTHEW 6:1–18
God visited Abraham with two angels in chapter 18. He announced the coming birth of Isaac as well as sharing with Abraham what he was about to do in Sodom (Gen 18:17). This verse flows perfectly with Amos 3:7. May God grant that we walk in intimacy so that we come to know his heartbeat and burden. This kind of relationship provokes an intercessory prayer in Abraham as he hears what God is about to do. True intercession is knowing God’s heart whether it pertains to judgment or for restoration as seen in Nehemiah (Neh 1:4-10). Lot is visited by (presumably) the same two angels on the same day as seen in chapter 18 with Abraham. Note how sinful the city of Sodom was. Word must have gone out that there were two fair men at the home of Lot. Does the sin of Sodom know no boundaries? Lot was aware of the sinfulness of the city resulting in his beckoning them to his home. He was not aware that they were angels.
It took the intervention of the angels to preserve Lot while simultaneously blinding the Sodomites outside Lot’s home (Gen 19:10-11). Lot somehow thought it would be acceptable to offer his daughters in the place of the two strangers. I guess the future incestual relationship that took place with his daughters should not come as a surprise. God was extending great mercy to Lot and his household. In verse 22 the angels could not extend their hands of judgment until Lot and family were safe (Gen 19:22). This was due in large part to God answering the prayer of Abraham (Gen 19:29). There is much to learn from this account since the sin of Sodom is so rampant today. First, homosexuality is an absolute perversion of something that God Himself established. Marriage was intended to be a loving and harmonious relationship between a man and a woman. This is enhanced when we see the bridegroom (Christ) being married to the bride. (The Church) Whenever you see the sin of Sodom in the ascendancy you know that judgment is at the door. Secondly, God answers prayer. It is also important to note that Lot was considered a righteous man (2 Pet 2:6-7) yet became desensitized through the wicked lifestyle taking place around him. This is a warning sign to us. Lot, a righteous man had to literally be dragged out of Sodom. As in the days of Daniel can we see the handwriting on the wall? The enemy was scaling the impenetrable fortress of Babylon yet the king and the people were oblivious to the destruction that was about to hit them. I fear much is the same today. Even in the church world I don’t think we fully understand what is coming. It should be our prayer to be like Daniel and his three friends; men who were of an excellent spirit who stood strong as faithful witnesses in their sodomite generation. Remember, Sodom would have repented if they had the light that we have today (Mat 11:23). The intercessory prayer life that Abraham exhibited should also be emulated.
There are similarities to what seen earlier in chapter 12. Once again we see God sovereignly intervening to spare Abimelech and Abraham. Despite his indiscretion God still blessed Abraham with abundance and favour. He was also used of God to pray for Abimelech and his wife that they might bare children. Abraham made errors of judgment at times however it was mightily outweighed by his obedience and faithfulness to God. His ability to take God at His Word so pleased the Lord that it allowed for him to become the father of our faith. As the Bible makes clear it is better to obey than sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22). Abraham exemplified obedience throughout the entirety of his life. We do well to learn from his example.
The promise of Isaac was fulfilled. This was a miracle and one that needs to serve as an encouragement for each of us. The Bible makes clear that there is nothing too hard for the Lord (Gen 18:14). This is what God spoke to Abraham and Sarah when he said that Sarah will yet conceive. Do you have an impossible situation confronting you? That verse is also repeated in Jer 32:17, 27.
There are times when we need to learn to take God at His Word; to believe in what He is saying, confess and do it. This flows well with a portion of scripture seen in today’s New Testament passage (Math 7:7-11). Do you see that the word ASK is mentioned in each of these verses? There are times when we may feel reluctant or that we are bothering God when we petition Him. There is a persistence required on our part assuming that we are asking according to His will. In fact we honour God when we approach Him this way. ASK< ASK< ASK.
There is a strong sense of being in a season where God looks to answer prayer through the miraculous with signs and wonders following. God provided a miraculous son for Abraham and Sarah. Interestingly, when praying for Abimelech and his wife the miracle of child birth was also granted to them. The following old charismatic song comes to mind when contemplating on the subject of God’s miraculous provisions.
“Have any rivers you think are uncrossable? Have any mountains you cannot tunnel through? God specializes in things thought impossible. And he can do what no other god can do.
Lord, we ask for our respective miracles. It is important to note verse 9 where we find Ishmael mocking Isaac. This seed form conflict is now manifesting itself on today’s world’s stage in full-blown enmity between the Arabs and Israelis. Can we appreciate the potential of an uncircumcised ATTITUDE and MOTIVE? These are attitudes that form in the heart requiring the need for heart circumcision, hence our need to understand and appropriate the message of the New Covenant. The church must not gloss over these issues; we must never cease in allowing God to get to root issues in our lives (Mat 3:10).
There are many important truths that can be seen in this chapter. It is a continuation of the sermon on the Mt. as seen in chapter 5. The portion that stands out in this section are verses 10, 25-34. The Lord’s Prayer provides a wonderful framework in how one should pray as opposed to being a prayer in of itself. “Thy kingdom come Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” This verse provides a window into true spiritual warfare. When we as a people understand what God is looking to do on earth we enter into the realms of warfare. In my opinion the greatest spiritual battles take place when God looks to establish His kingdom on earth as He has decreed it in heaven.
It is here where the enemy opposes. This is the turf the battle ground where the greatest of battles are fought. The best example of this is Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.” This is a direct fulfilment of Math 6:10. Jesus was about to become sin for the sake of mankind. This was ordained of the Father even before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). In the garden; God was establishing His kingdom by allowing His Son to become sin. It also required a relinquishing of the will as seen in the agonizing cry of Jesus; not my will, but thine be done. Remember, it was in the area of the will where Lucifer fell (Isa 14:13-14). It is in the area of the will where Jesus prevails. It is in the area of the will where we too can prevail. Not our will, not what we think but what God says. We must always seek after God’s agenda, not our own.
In verses 25-34 The Lord goes to great lengths in exhorting us to put our trust in Him and not take thought of tomorrow and the things needed. We know these things but have we ever been tested on them? Our reliance must not be upon man, the world our possessions etc but on Him alone. I always sense a measure of faith arising as I read these verses. The days before us will require this measure of trust in the Lord as the world we live in continues to deteriorate. The anchoring verse that puts this whole theme into perspective is verse 33.
“But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
If we live take hold of the above verse we will succeed in the things of God.