Genesis 17-20

Abram has a son through Hagar, but still no son from Sarai.  Abram’s descendants are supposed to be like the stars or the dust!  Sarai’s not getting any younger either.  In the next few chapters, we will still see promises that God makes, but we will take a quick detour involving Lot in the next few chapters.

Genesis 17

  • God appears to Abram and tells him he will be the father of many nations.  His name will be changed to Abraham (meaning the ‘father of many’).  Kings will even be among his descendants.
  • In order to keep his side of the covenant, Abraham must circumcise all children on the 8th day after their birth.  Everyone belonging to Abraham (his family and servants) must be circumcised or will be cut off from the covenant.
  • God changes Sarai’s name to Sarah.  He says that she will have a son.
  • In Genesis 17:17, Abraham shows the first sign of disbelief in God’s promise.  With Abraham being close to one hundred and Sarah being ninety, Abraham just thinks God will bless Ishmael and will not have a son through Sarah.
  • God says in about a year, Sarah will have a son who should be called Isaac.  Both Isaac and Ishmael will be blessed.
  • When God left Abraham, Abraham had Ishmael (now thirteen) and all the other men with him circumcised.

Genesis 18

  • Abraham notices three men near the entrance of his tent.  He gets his servants to wash their feet and prepare a very nice meal for them.  My study Bible says that in this day, a person’s hospitality is based a lot on his hospitality (strangers were to be treated as highly honored guests).  Just to be honest, we are supposed to be nice to strangers in this time… remember, we might be entertaining angels!
  • They inquire about Sarah.  One of them says she will have a son next year.  Sarah hears this from a nearby tent and laughs.
  • God asks Abraham why Sarah laughed and if anything is too hard for Him (of course not!).  Sarah denied she had laughed (being afraid).  God said “…’That is not true.  You did laugh'” (Gen. 18:15).
  • One of these three men was the Lord (because the Lord talked to Abraham, telling Abraham His plan of why He was heading to Sodom, while the other two went on ahead).  God was planning on going to Sodom and Gomorrah to see if everything they did was wicked… and if so, He would destroy them.
  • Abraham, ever mindful of Lot, talked to God so that even if ten righteous people were in Sodom, God would spare the city.  My study Bible makes a good point… Abraham did not change God’s mind, but through Abraham’s probing, he realized that God is kind and fair. Prayer helps us better understand God’s mind.

Genesis 19

  • This chapter notifies us at once that those other two men were indeed angels.
  • Lot insisted that the strangers stay at his house, have their feet washed, and have a feast.  Although they first declined, they accepted upon Lot’s insistence.
  • That night, all the men of Sodom surrounded Lot’s house and asked for the men so they could have sex with them (here the Bible shows that homosexuality is a sin).  Lot offered his daughters to them!  Lot, Lot, Lot… what has the sinful city of Sodom done to you?
  • The men of Sodom became mad at Lot for not giving them the angels.  The angels saved Lot by pulling him inside his house and bolting the door.  Then they blinded all the men outside.
  • They warned Lot that they were going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.  He must take his family and flee to the mountains.
  • Lot’s two fiances thought he was joking and stayed in the city.
  • The next morning, the angels had to FORCE Lot, his wife, and his two daughters out of the city.  Lot asked them if he could stay in a village nearby instead of the mountains.  They said they would spare the village (the village of Zoar), but the family must hurry there and not look back.
  • Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt.
  • Abraham saw the smoldering Sodom and Gomorrah, but the Bible does not say what his response was.
  • Lot became afraid of the people in Zoar, so he actually did go to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters.
  • Lot’s two daughters became desperate, thinking they would never marry.  They wanted to preserve the family line… so they resorted to incest (morals of Sodom?).  Incest is wrong (see Deuteronomy 22:30 for example).  Ironically, their sons (who would be the ancestors of the Moabites and Ammonites) would become great enemies of Israel.  Instead of this incest, all Lot or his daughters had to do was perhaps go to Abraham and get Godly husbands for example.  There were Godly ways of preserving the family line.

Genesis 20

  • Abraham moved south to a place called Gerar.  Once again, he told the people there that Sarah his sister.
  • King Abimelech of this area started being nice to Sarah.  In a dream, God warned him that Sarah was married.
  • King Abimelech and the others in this area were apparently God-fearing people.  He returned Sarah to Abraham and gave him servants, silver, and other goods as well.  He also allowed Abraham to choose any place in his kingdom to live.
  • Abraham prayed for Abimielech and the people in his household.  The infertility that God had given them was lifted due to Abraham’s prayer.
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