This month we are journeying through the books of Genesis and Exodus. Today’s story is from Genesis 18:16-33 and 19:1-29.
If you remember from last time, Abraham and his wife Sarah had three visitors come to them. (Probably angels, possibly Jesus was one of them based on the text, but it doesn’t explicitly say.)
When it was time for the visitors to leave, they warned Abraham that the people of the city of Sodom and it’s neighbor Gomorrah were very wicked. They made REALLY bad choices and God was NOT happy. He said He would destroy the cities because the people were THAT bad.
But Abraham asked, “God, but what if there are 50 people who are making good choices? Who follow You? Will You save the city if 50 people love you?”
God answered, “Yes. For 50 people, I will save the city.”
Then Abraham asked “What if there’s only 45 people?”
God replied, “For 45 people, I will save the city.”
Abraham then asked “What about only 40?”
“For 40 righteous (people who make right choices) people I will not destroy the city.”
Then Abraham got bold and asked about 30, or 20….”or maybe God…what about even 10? Will you save the city if only 10 people follow You?”
And God once again answered “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
Isn’t God patient? He let Abraham ask and ask and ASK. This story also shows us that God is listening to us. He already knows what we’re going to say, but He is alive and real and His heart can be moved by people who love Him.
So then the visitors went to Sodom and stayed with Lot, Abraham’s nephew. The people in Sodom wanted to do very bad things to the visitors, but Lot stopped them. The people were so bad, they then threatened to do bad things to Lot, but the visitors pulled Lot back into his house and warned him to GET OUT because indeed these people WERE making terrible choices and God WOULD destroy the city.
(If you have older children, you can discuss how in order to save his guests, Lot offered his daughters to the bad men for them to do whatever they wanted to the girls. This is not ok and i don’t believe Moses or God is condoning with Lot did. We have to remember that everyone in the Bible (besides Jesus) sinned and was susceptible to making terrible choices. Characters (real people!) in the Bible stories are not portrayed as heroes or villains…though it sometimes appears or is taught that way. Everyone in the Bible is a complex person with real emotions, and choices. This was bad choice. We also need to remember when we talk to people who don’t believe in God, that we are no better than they are. Christians are often called hypocrites because we falter just as much as people who don’t follow Christ, but it is not our choices that give us our righteousness, but the grace and patience and mercy of God.) (Romans 5-6)
God had mercy on Lot and his family (which means He was nice to them even though they didn’t deserve it.) Lot hesitated leaving, but the visitors took Lot, his wife and their two daughters out of the city. Lot was more sure of his evil city than he was of God. But God saved Lot and had the angels move him out of there. They told them to go to the mountains, but Lot asked if they could just go to a different, closer city instead.
Again, God was patient and had mercy on Lot and his family and said ok. BUT, they were warned, when they left “DON’T LOOK BACK!”
When the sun came up the next day, God sent burning fire and sulfur like a volcano on the cities and it destroyed everything there…the plants, the animals, even the people.
As they hurried away, Lot’s wife disobeyed and she looked back and do you know what happened? She turned into salt. (In Luke 17, Jesus implies that she actually WENT back). Even though God was very patient to listen and merciful to Lot and His family, there are still consequences when we disobey God.
Even though God was angry at the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, He listened to Abraham because Abraham loved and served God. He also showed patience and mercy to Lot and his family.
When you talk to God, do you know that He is listening and He cares about what you have to say?
What does patience mean?
What does mercy mean?
God showed us mercy by sending His son Jesus to die in our place. He shows us mercy every time we make bad choices. If we ask for His help, He will lead us away from sin, like He led Lot and his family away.
Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all!