Genesis 18, Three Visitors

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Helen, Jun 17, 2002.

  1. Helen

    Helen
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    Sometime during the months that followed, Abraham again is visited by the Lord. Only this time it is not like the other times. This time Abraham sees three visitors near his tent. He greets them with a low bow and asks for the privilege of providing them with food and water.

    Some people think Abraham's reaction to the visitors' appearance indicates that he already recognizes them. I don't think so. His greeting to them was considered good manners in that culture. Strangers were to be cared for, for that was a land where water was not always abundant and there were no fast food diners around the corner!

    Bread is prepared, and a calf is killed for fresh meat, and instead of water, fresh milk is offered the visitors. And they eat.

    They ask about Sarah. She hears. She hears the prophecy of her having a child and she laughs. Then she lied about laughing, afraid. But the Visitor says, "Yes, you did laugh."

    Now we have one of the most interesting passages in the Bible. Watch what happens.

    First, the three men get up to leave. The Lord is one of them. He decides to reveal to Abraham what He is going to do.

    The LORD says, "...I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me."

    Note the "I will go down" first of all. The last time the Lord "came down" Babel was destroyed!

    But then notice who leaves to go to Sodom: the two men accompanying the Lord! In other words, the Lord already knew how bad things were in Sodom, but there had to be a verification, possibly for the sake of justice.

    Does Abraham know who he is talking to at this point? Yes. When did he realize? The Bible does not tell us. It may have been when they prophesied about Sarah having a baby in a year, though, as Abraham had heard the same thing from the Lord earlier.

    At any rate, Abraham is incredibly bold with the Lord now, seeking to save the city of Sodom from destruction. And so there ensues what seems like a bargaining. If there are fifty righteous men in the city, will the Lord destroy it?

    No, not if there are 50.

    45?

    Not if there are 45.

    40?

    Not if there are 40.

    30?

    No.

    20?

    No.

    What about 10?

    "for the sake of ten, I will not destroy it."

    And thus the conversation ends.

    What is the purpose of this conversation? Was the Lord amenable to bargaining? Could He be made to change His mind?

    The answer is no on both counts. God had a very important lesson for Abraham and for us here. First, go back to the promise He made to Abraham in chapter 15. Remember that Abraham and his people could not claim the land because the sin of the Amorites had not yet reached full measure? Here is the other half of that story. As long as there are only a few righteous men left, sin has not reached its full measure. It only takes a few righteous men to 'salt' a city, providing its inhabitants, and especially its children, with an alternative belief and lifestyle. But should that influence finally be gone, so that a city like Sodom could not be found to have even ten righteous men in it (and if believing God is credited as righteousness as it was with Abraham, then we would have to think that maybe this concept of 'righteous men' is actually a reference to those believing in the God of Abraham and Melchizedek), then that city is finally full of evil and ripe for destruction.

    Abraham did know that it would not be right to kill the righteous along with the unrighteous. In verse 25, he had said, "Far be it from you to do such a thing -- to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

    And the answer is always "Yes. The Judge of all the earth always does right."

    The Abraham Essay continues, mentioning these events:

    [ June 17, 2002, 01:44 AM: Message edited by: Helen ]
     
  2. Me2

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    Howdy Hellen,

    Well, We Could Talk About Spiritual beings having physical bodies, but id like to mention the disposition of abraham. When These "Spiritual Beings" Arrived, we can assume that the conversation would end about the baby..but we later learn of these beings mission to sodom.

    The Lord perks up with a lead in conversation..."seeing your such a great guy abe im gonna tell you a little secret" " Ive been hearing a lot of whining about those bad people in sodom"
    " So Im Gonna Go Checkum Out".
    I Hear An Implication of a person whining...maybe Lot...at Least I Think Abraham Focuses on this...

    Abraham is a warrior. A Leader of Bands of warriors..He's Listening to The Lord and Thinking that These Beings are about To Make War On Sodom...
    Is It Abraham That Mentions Destroying and killing...the lord agrees with the language that abraham is using....
    But The Effort Abraham Applies Toward "Saving" the Righteous in the City..only implies (to me) that he has a strong suspicion lots there... I Only Say This in the specificity of the words used in the conversation...God allowing the language describing a vengeful judge as well as a helpless intercessor.

    As The Conversation progresses, I Can Imagine Abraham Thinking That The Lord Is just like Him...A Warrior

    Helen, You Once Mentioned Sodom and Gomorrah Being Built on a Geophysical Fault Line..the reason i mentioned this..is a question

    Do You Think This Was This a Naturally Timed occurance..or Something Specific Over against Sodom or Gomorrah ? (seeing the proportions of the event...just to destroy a people?)

    I Love Genesis Me2
     
  3. Helen

    Helen
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    Hi Me!

    DO you have any idea how weird it feels to type that?

    Hi Me...

    Anyway, we are all spiritual beings with physical bodies. That's what human beings are! I think most of the time when humans have been recipients of prophetic announcements or other visits from God's angels, they have appeared in human form. I think anything else would be a bit more than most humans could handle. As it is, the first thing said by most of them is "Don't be afraid." So obviously, even in some kind of human form it seems that their reflection of the glory and holiness of God is terrifying to sinful mortals.

    You mentioned about the people of Sodom "whining". I'm not sure that is the sound that comes out during a rape... The NIV refers to what the Lord heard as an "outcry" and the King James simply as a cry. It is hard to describe the horror of that city. In Luke 17:28, Jesus says "It was the same in the days of Lot" and He is comparing it to the time of Noah! He parallels what happened to Sodom with what happened to the antediluvian world -- saying one was as bad as the other and the result was the same: total destruction. Don't think that the sin of Sodom was simply homosexuality. We can see from the time the angels visited that homosexual rape was also the norm. This kind of action does not crop up by itself, but is the end result of lawlessness, laciviousness, violence, and rebellion against God.

    In 2 Peter 2:7-8, we read that Lot was a righteous man, tormented by what he saw there day after day. So yes, Abraham was probably thinking of Lot, but he seems to have been thinking of all the people, too. Of course Abraham knew Lot was there -- he had had to rescue him once before when Sodom was sacked and the people carried off!

    You said Abraham was a warrior. How did you come to that conclusion? I only see one place where he went to battle, and that was to rescue Lot. Then he used a night sneak attack instead of an all-out daytime battle. He was a nomadic herdsman, albeit rich and well-known. He seems to have done everything possible to avoid harsh confrontations from what I can see. Maybe you can explain yourself so I can understand?

    Do you feel God is a vengeful Judge? Do you feel Abraham was a helpless intercessor? The Lord agreed to save the city if only TEN righteous men could be found in it. There were not ten. The only righteous man there was was saved from the destruction.

    As far as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the entire Jordan Rift was a geologically active area. But the timing is always the Lord's. Never doubt that!
     
  4. Me2

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    Its Just Me... Im Back Again,

    Abraham Was Rich !!!, From 75 years old in Egypt to 86 years old..The Rescue Of Lot (with 318 hired hands) to 99 years old. Hes Still Rich !!..

    Every day He Has To Be Concerned with maurauding bands of theives. Kings that Had Armies that were continually greedy. Abraham was a target of wealth. He Might have done a little bit of herding, but it seems he had a lot of business to attend to. Responsible for many lives. I Kinda Think of Him as Ben Cartright with a sword. Its The Way People Had To Be.
    Coming into Egypt..Incapable of Protecting His own Wife...11 years later..Hes capable of assembling an army to Protect What He Considers his own..

    Lot was the guy Judging Sodom. His Prayers Reached God..But To Do What ? Revenge,SIN??
    So The Lord Is Going To Witness Lots Judgment Call....
    So What Is The Penalty For Living An Inconvinent Lifestyle..? and where is that Law written at that time and point ?

    OK..Now the Judge thing...The Bible Is Written For Those Who read it.. Are They Ready To Meet God ? Are They Ready To Accept What They Discover ?

    Some See God As A Vengeful Judge and others See Him As A Soveriegn God Whos Character is AGAPE Love..I Look At The Bible and see Both STORIES. I Want To Verify Perfection !..I Look At God As He Demonstrates His Character Of Love And "See" Him Being The Judge.

    How Can His Ways of controlling his creation be defined under his character of love.?

    Did Anybody Kill Anybody...interesting..natural occurance?..theres the angle where God tucks in his justice in this story..and still seen as Love.

    Anyway, I Like To turn what God tells me topsy turvy. Not So Much To Debate, Just An Observation..Sometimes it sounds weird. So Why Did God Put It There ? To Discover What ?
     
  5. Helen

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    Well, Me2, you certainly have some very interesting ideas! At the end of your email you wrote: "Anyway, I Like To turn what God tells me topsy turvy. Not So Much To Debate, Just An Observation..Sometimes it sounds weird. So Why Did God Put It There ? To Discover What ? "

    I guess we look at the Bible a little differently! I tend to take it as it is written and when I can't understand something I look to the rest of the Bible for explanation and prayer for wisdom.

    But your comments are interesting! Thanks for taking the time for them.
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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