Genesis 21:1-21 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6 KJV)

Feed Your Spirit


Read Genesis 21:1-21

Having left Gerar with gifts from king Abimelek, the time has come for Abraham and Sarah that the Lord spoke of a year ago when He said, “I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” (Genesis 18:14) The Lord was gracious to Sarah, as He had said that He would be. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. (v. 2) As God said to Isaiah, “…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire…” (Isaiah 55:11) What God says in His word will never return to Him empty. Although His timing seems nearly always to be significantly longer than we would like. In Sarah and Abraham’s case, they waited twenty-five years.

Abraham names the newborn Isaac, which means laughter. Abraham laughed with joy when he received God’s promise of a son in Genesis 17. And unlike her cynical laughter in Genesis 18, Sarah now  responds with joy and laughter at the fulfillment of God’s promise. She says, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” (v. 6)

She also said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children?” (v. 7) Funny — I was thinking the same thing. Abraham one hundred and Sarah ninety, having a child, it’s miraculous. But as the Lord told Abraham and Sarah a year ago, in Genesis 18:14, “Is anything too hard for the LORD.”

And, in obedience to God’s command, Abraham circumcises his son when he’s eight days old.

Isaac grew and was weaned, some say that Isaac was between three and five years old at this time, and Abraham held a great feast to celebrate the weaning.

What a blessing it is when our children are weaned. When they’re weaned from the need to receive their spiritual nourishment from their parents. My son Gabe and his wife Charise have a six month old baby boy named Andrew who has a rare congenital deformity of the skull called Bilateral Isolated Frontosphenoidal Craniosynostosis. If nothing is done about it, it’s likely that the left frontal lobe of his brain won’t have enough room to grow. So he needs surgery, but the problem is that there aren’t many around who can handle this sort of surgery. This surgery requires that they cut off most of his skull, remove it, reconstruct it, and then suture or staple it back in place. If it’s not done with great precision Andrew could be blinded. Johns Hopkins is looking like they won’t be able to help him. The Mayo Clinic says they’ve never seen this type of craniosynostosis in the twenty-two years they’ve been taking cranio patients. But in spite of all this Gabe and Charise maintain a strong faith in the future that the Lord has planned for Andrew. It’s remarkable to watch their relationship with Christ grow as they pray through this trial. They have been weaned. While it’s heart wrenching to think about the surgery that awaits my grandson, watching Gabe and Charise grow in their faith causes me to want to celebrate.

But at Isaac’s celebration Ishmael, who is around eighteen at this time, mocks Isaac which prompts Sarah to say to her husband, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.” (Genesis 21:10)

Now Abraham’s very distraught because he loves his son Ishmael. He’s between the proverbial rock and the hard place. He doesn’t want to hurt Ishmael and Hagar but he doesn’t want to grieve Isaac and Sarah either. Should he listen to Sarah? The last time he listened to Sarah she told him to take Hagar and…

Here we have God’s model for a man when it comes to whether or not he should listen to his wife. God’s model goes like this: you should always listen to your wife. Always. Without fail. Listen every time she speaks. Every time she tells you to do something, listen to what she says.

Then, after listening, ask the Lord if He would have you act on what she’s said!

While you will be amazed at how your wife will respond to you if you can make her feel satisfied that you have listened to her and have understood where she’s coming from, you absolutely must run it by the Lord afterwards. And you can only do what He would have you do and nothing more, regardless of your wife’s wishes. Had Abraham done this when Sarah told him to, “Go sleep with my slave…” he wouldn’t be in this jam! But this time, concerning Sarah’s desire for Ishmael to go, God confirms what Sarah has said.

The Lord says to Abraham, Don’t stress out about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it’s through Isaac that your offspring will be counted, and named.

So the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He sent her and Ishmael on their way in the Desert of Beersheba.

When the water in the skin was gone Hagar put Ishmael under a bush and went a bow shot away to sit down. The New Living Translation calls a bow shot about one hundred yards or about ninety meters. She thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And she sat there and began to sob. (v. 15-18)

But God heard Ishmael crying, and the angel of God told Hagar to take him by the hand and lift him up, for, God said, He will make him into a great nation.

Then Hagar’s eyes were opened by God and she saw a well of water nearby. So she filled the skin and the boy drank and lived.

And the scriptures say that God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. Eventually his mother arranged a marriage for him — she found him a wife from Egypt.


The Flesh and the Spirit:

Paul tells us in Galatians 4 that Hagar and Sarah represent the two different covenants. Hagar represents the covenant from Mount Sinai, that is the covenant based of the law. Hagar the slave woman represents the covenant that enslaves people — to the law.

But Sarah the free woman represents the new covenant, the covenant based on the son of God’s promise. God promised Sarah a son, Isaac. And God promised us His Son Jesus. Sarah the free woman represents the covenant that keeps us free from the law. Those in Jesus Christ are free.

That which is born of the old covenant is of the flesh. The plan to conceive Ishmael was produced from the flesh of Sarah and Abraham without consulting the Most High. The plan to conceive Isaac was produced from God’s Spirit. (Galatians 4:21-27)

Interestingly Paul continues in Galatians 4 pointing out that even as the son born according to the flesh, persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit, it’s the same today. Today those born of the flesh mock and persecute those born of the Spirit. (Galatians 28-31)

So what are we to do about it?

The Lord makes it as clear as can be when He says that “…he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Galatians 6:8 NKJV)

When we sow of the flesh, there’s a price to pay. It’s as though you have inside you a black dog and a white dog. The black dog is your flesh and the white dog is Christ’s Spirit within you. When you feed your flesh the black dog grows larger and stronger and meaner. He can begin to dominate the white dog. Giving attention to, nurturing, and nourishing the black dog will result in changes in your life. Sin awaits.

My pastor tells of a law enforcement officer in Southern California who asked him to share his story. He has a beautiful family and he had a beautiful marriage up until recently. While spending time on Facebook he encountered an old high school flame who had relocated to Colorado. They shared back and forth via Facebook for a while until she commented that she would be out in his area on business. They decided to meet for a cup of coffee to catch up. Then they decided to meet again. Eventually they began an affair. Awhile more and the old flame decided that she wanted a divorce. She told her husband in Colorado of her relationship with her old Southern California high school classmate. He committed suicide.

Now she wants to make the relationship with the law enforcement officer permanent.

He who sows to his flesh…

But, there’s good news. You have a choice, you can feed the white dog. As you partake of God’s word, as you attend church, as you pray for direction, you’re giving attention to, nurturing, and nourishing the white dog. He’ll grow larger and stronger. Your love for God will grow. Your love for others will grow. And the black dog will become weak and small.

I’m not talking about working your way to heaven. God is faithful even when we’re faithless. With Christ as your savior you’re going to go to heaven regardless. But 1 Corinthians 3 tells us that though we may get to heaven, by living for our flesh we can suffer loss. God’s word tells us that those in Christ who live for their flesh will still be saved but as one escaping through the flames. Upon your arrival into the afterlife those things born of the flesh will be revealed with fire as well as those things in your life that are born of the Spirit. On that day, I guarantee you, you’ll be wishing you had more fruit of the Spirit and less fruit of the flesh.

So for today, just for today, for just one day, feed your Spirit. Live your life for Christ.

You’ll never regret it.

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15


Genesis 21:1-21 

Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”

Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.

When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.

 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.


References:

Bible Gateway

Blue Letter Bible

Ray Stedman

Matthew Henry

Jon Courson


Genesis 20 — But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die

Mercy and Grace — courtesy of kevinstilley.com

Read Genesis 20

The last we saw Abraham, he was in the place where he had stood before the Lord. He was standing on the promontory overlooking Sodom and Gomorrah. The valley was smoking, with dense smoke like smoke from a furnace, the Bible says. They were utterly and completely destroyed. God is to be feared for His judgement is perfect, and also thorough. (Genesis 19:28)

Now we see Abraham on the move again. He heads South to the Negev and while in the region of the Negev, he spends some time in Gerar, a Philistine city South of the Gaza Strip on Israel’s West coast. It’s here in Gerar where we see Abraham make the same mistake a second time. As he did in Egypt, Abraham feared that the king would become taken with his wife Sarah’s great beauty and kill him to get him out of the way, that the king might take Sarah into his harem. So Abraham describes her to the people of Gerar as his sister. And Sarah describes Abraham to the people of Gerar as her brother. A half truth because although Sarah was Abraham’s wife, Sarah and Abraham also had the same father but did not share the same mother. So Abraham’s telling a half truth about his half sister. His motivation to do so was fear — the fear of man. Abraham tried to speculate on what was going on in the king’s head. He assumed that king Abimelek would kill him so he could have Sarah for himself. A suspicion of evil in others is often the little bit of leaven that leads to the pollution of the whole loaf. That is to say that suspicion of evil in others is often the seed that sprouts and grows into more sin. There’s great wisdom in being charitable towards others, in giving others the benefit of the doubt. For more on the trap of the fear of man and speculating on people’s motives see the previous post on Genesis 12:10-20.

Predictably, king Abimelek sends for Sarah and takes her for himself. Things look desperate. Sarah’s gone from the family and has become a part of the king’s harem. How low Abraham must have been feeling at that moment. He’s lost his beautiful wife because of his cowardly behavior. However the next two words, as they so often do, bring hope and light to the situation. The next two words are “But God…” (v. 3)

But God came to Abimelek in a dream… and said to him, “You are as good as dead…” God comes to Abimelek and lays the whole thing out. You, Abimelek, are as good as dead! Because Sarah is a married woman. Notice here that Abraham’s sin has opened up Abimelek to sin. As Matthew Henry says, “The sin of one often occasions the sin of others; he that breaks the hedge of God’s commandments opens a gap to he knows not how many; the beginning of sin is as the letting forth of water.”

Abimelek, who hadn’t yet gotten anywhere near Sarah,  pleads his case and says, Lord, I’m innocent, and the kingdom of Gerar is innocent. Abraham told us that she’s his sister, and she told us that he’s her brother. My actions were based on the best information that I had at the time. What more can I do?

God replies, Yes, I know, that’s why I kept you from her, that’s why I didn’t let you touch her.

God prevents Abimelek from sinning, He also prevents Abraham from suffering from sin, and He prevents Sarah from both. People sometimes pose the question, “How could a loving God allow evil and suffering?” The answer is that, yes, it’s true, since Adam, the world is in a fallen state, and with the fall came evil and suffering. But as we see here, things aren’t as bad as hell and evil men would have them, because of God’s intervention. The Lord in His mercy prevents greater sin and suffering. Sin and suffering don’t come from the Lord. (2 Thessalonians 2:7)

Now return her to Abraham, for he’s a prophet of mine, and he’ll pray for you and you’ll live, God continues. But, if you don’t return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die. (v. 7)

Early the next morning Abimelek calls a big meeting of all his officials and when he tells them about his dream they freak. With his whole administration afraid because of what’s happened, it’s obvious to Abimelek what he has to do next.

Abimelek summons Abraham to return Sarah to him. But first he chastises Abraham, he says, What is the deal? What did I ever do to you that you would bring this guilt upon me and my kingdom? Notice here that Abimelek recognizes that his actions have consequences for his kingdom. This is a good reminder to you. You’re example to your people is one of the most powerful dimensions of your leadership. The sin of the leader often results in the suffering of those who follow him. And the integrity of the leader averts disaster and results in blessings. (Traveler and the Chaplain, Matthew Henry)

Abimelek continues, You’ve done things to me that should never be done! What were you thinking?

Abraham replies, I was thinking that there’s no fear of God in this place, and that you would kill me to get me out of the way so you could take my trophy wife from me. Oh, and by the way, she really is my sister you know. We both have the same father but different mothers. When God told me to travel from my father’s household, I figured that I better have a plan to deal with kings like you who might want to kill me for my wife. So I concocted this plan for Sarah to say that she’s my sister.

Then Abimelek did the same thing that Pharaoh did when he found himself in this situation, he gave Sarah back to Abraham and he gave him sheep, and cattle, and male slaves, and female slaves. And he gave Abraham 1,000 shekels of silver (around 25 lbs. or 12 kilos). Interestingly, when Abimelek does so he says to Sarah, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver,” (emphasis mine) reminding Sarah and Abraham that they deceived him by withholding that Abraham is Sarah’s husband. (v. 16)

And finally, Abimelek told Abraham to live wherever he wanted in the kingdom of Gerar.

All of these blessings were given to Abraham, not because Abimelek was impressed with Abraham, but rather, because Abimelek was impressed with Abraham’s God.

Now while Abimelek held Sarah, God had caused all the women in Abimelek’s household to become barren. So after the king returned Sarah to Abraham, Abraham prayed to the Lord and He healed all the women so they could have children again.

This brings us to the end of Genesis chapter 20.

God’s Digital Red One Camera:

My son Nathaniel has made a couple of independent films. He shot his first one on regular film but for his second movie, he used an amazing digital camera called the Red One.

What a difference. When he used regular film there was no easy way to take bad scenes and delete them from the reel of raw footage. All of the lousy scenes, all of the scenes that he and his team wished they could do over, may not have made it into the final version of the movie, but they remained on a reel of raw footage, in a canister, preserved there, forever.

But with the Red One camera, Nate and his team could, with relative speed and ease, delete scenes that they no longer wanted around.

Do you ever wish that you could delete scenes from your life? Do you ever wish that you could go back in time and do life over?

Of course you do! We all do. We all have regrets over the way we’ve handled different situations in life. No doubt Abraham did after lying to Pharaoh and then blowing it again with Abimelek. After making his wife vulnerable that way in order to preserve his own skin — twice.

I am so glad that I’m not God. If I were God, at this point in Abraham’s life, I’d be saying to him, “Are you kidding me?!? Didn’t we go through this same deal with Pharaoh, just a few chapters ago? What part of honoring Me through integrity and honesty don’t you understand? I was going to hold you up as the father of faith, but no more. From now on you’ll be known as the coward who hid behind his wife’s skirt. You blew it Abraham.”

But thankfully, I’m not God. And mercifully, God didn’t respond that way.

Instead God protected Sarah from Abimelek. Instead God protected Abraham from Abimelek and the army of his kingdom. Instead God blessed Abraham with favor from the king of Gerar.

Instead, in spite of Abraham’s sin, God calls him His prophet — Genesis 20, verse 7 is the first time in the Bible that the word prophet is used. Talk about grace, after Abraham lies and behaves in this milk-livered manner, God in His grace and mercy, identifies Abraham as His prophet, He tells Abimelek that Abraham belongs to Him.

Instead, and again in spite of Abraham’s sin, God uses him to heal Abimelek’s household through Abraham’s prayer.

Instead, God even calls Abraham the father of faith in Galatians 3.

And now, for you and for me, God, who’s perfect memory films, if you will, every moment of your life, and every moment of mine, the One who records even every thought in your mind, He is using the Red One camera.

Do you have some scenes in your life that you want to delete? Do you want a chance to start over? I have great news. God has provided a way. He sent His Son to die on the cross for your sins. He sent his Son to erase from God’s perfect memory your sins and mine.

Want to start your life over again? Jesus said you can be born again. (John 3:1-17)

Want to delete some scenes from your life? Enter into the new covenant with Jesus Christ and the Lord will forgive you and delete your sins from His memory. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

In spite of Abraham’s sin, in spite of the fact that Abraham is committing the same sin for the second time, God is abundantly merciful and gracious to Abraham. And just think, this is before the new covenant! Just think how much more merciful and gracious God will be toward you and toward me now that Christ has died on our behalf. Now that Christ has torn the curtain of the temple in two from top to bottom.  (Mark 15:38) Now that the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39)

You can start over. You can have the sin in your life erased from God’s memory.

Accept Jesus Christ as your savior.

Take hope in the words of Jesus:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:17

See So Your Life Is Falling Apart .


Genesis 20:

Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.

But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”

Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”

Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”

Early the next morning Abimelek summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid. Then Abimelek called Abraham in and said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.” And Abimelek asked Abraham, “What was your reason for doing this?”

Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”

Then Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him. And Abimelek said, “My land is before you; live wherever you like.”

To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”

Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again, for the LORD had kept all the women in Abimelek’s household from conceiving because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.


References:

Traveler and the Chaplain – A Christian Parable

Bible Gateway

Ben Courson

Blue Letter Bible

Matthew Henry

Ray Stedman

Jon Courson


Both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father–Genesis 19:30-38

Lukewarm Christian

Revelation 3:16

Read Genesis 19:30-38

In verse thirty we read that Lot became afraid to stay in the little town of Zoar. Perhaps he thought that because Zoar was in the plain it would meet the same demise as Sodom and Gomorrah. Or perhaps he found Zoar to be just as debauch as Sodom. Or perhaps he simply came to the realization that he had insisted upon his own plan instead of following the instruction given him by God’s messengers, which is always a losing proposition. Whatever the reason, Lot took his daughters out of Zoar and took up residence in a cave in the mountains.

In 1 Kings, another one of God’s men found himself in a cave. After Elijah had called down fire from heaven, after Elijah had defeated the prophets of Baal, in fear for his life he fled from Jezebel to a cave in the side of a mountain. Elijah found himself in the cave of depression.

When the Lord asked, “What are you doing here Elijah?”

Elijah responded, “The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left…”

The Lord answered by letting Elijah know how far from reality he was. God said, in effect, Hey, you’re not the only one left. There are still 7,000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal. So snap out of it. I have things for you to do. (1 Kings 19)

In Lot’s cave his two daughters decide that Lot is the only man left on earth with whom they might have sex with to carry on their family name.

Both Elijah and Lot’s family were dwelling in the cave of depression where reality becomes distorted. In Elijah’s case, Elijah wasn’t the only one left. In Lot’s daughter’s case, Lot wasn’t the only man left. It’s helpful to remember that when you’re in the cave of depression, everything seems 7,000 times worse than it really is.

So Lot’s daughters, so accustomed to the lascivious culture of Sodom, so polluted by the culture they grew up in, decide that their only hope for having a family is to engage their father in an incestuous relationship. They concoct a plan to make Lot drunk with wine and then to have sex with him while he’s so out of it that he doesn’t know what’s happening.

Eldest daughter enacts the plan the first night.

Youngest daughter takes the next night.

And they both become pregnant.

Here we see again the influence of Sodom on Lot and his family. Lot becomes drunk. Lot’s daughters, rather than seeking the Lord for a solution to their problem, come up with their own plan involving incest. And the result is that the eldest daughter gave birth to Moab, Lot’s son and grandson simultaneously, and the father of the Moabites. And Lot’s second daughter gave birth to Ben-Ammi, father of the Ammonites. Of course both the Moabites and the Ammonites would become enemies of Israel making war against them and killing Israelis. The wages of sin is death, literal physical death, in this case.

Incest is an obvious sin, as is drunkenness. But there’s another mistake that Lot made here in chapter 19. One that’s easily overlooked. Lot, there in his cave on the side of the mountain, living in relative isolation, allowed himself to fall asleep, so to speak. With the influences of Sodom no longer around him, Lot fell into perhaps the most subtle and dangerous trap that a believer can fall into. Lot became sleepy, he lost his edge, he lost his spark, he let his guard down. Lot relaxed.

In Acts chapter twenty we find the story of a young man named Eutychus who was listening to the Apostle Paul teach late into the night. The young man was seated on the sill of a third story window. As the night wore on he became sleepier and sleepier until finally, he fell completely asleep and fell out of the window, plummeting to the ground from three stories up.

Falling asleep is so easy to do for you and for me in today’s culture. If you think about it, even those of us with modest means live much better today than did the kings and queens throughout most of human history. We have air conditioning, and central heat, and grocery stores, and fast food, and two hundred channels, and a thousand news outlets, and video games, and e-books, and the list goes on and on. The creature comforts we have today are amazing. There has never been a time in history when so many were so comfortable. We’re far more comfortable than Eutychus was while he was sitting on that window sill.

And that’s the problem, like Lot when we’re comfortable we’re prone to drift off course.

Church?

“Not this morning, the game’s on TV.”

“I’m supposed to play a video game with a friend I met online.”

“We’re going out to eat later.”

“I just need to stay home and relax. I just need to sleep in.”

It’s so easy to get sleepy. Perhaps easier today than at any other time in history. And when you get sleepy bad things happen. You fall out of the third story window, or you fall into sin as Lot did, or you become a body at rest that tends to remain at rest. You become a lukewarm Christian, filling your life with secular things, comfortable things, things that cause you to drift away from your Lord.

I remember a time when I felt completely in my comfort zone. Things were going well at work, I was playing basketball and golf on my days off. I spent quite a bit of time playing video games and watching TV.

“So what’s the problem?” You might be saying.

“There’s no sin in that,” you might be thinking.

Nothing that I was doing was a problem or sinful in and of itself. The problem was that I wasn’t engaged in my relationship with Jesus Christ. I was living for pleasure. Other than a short prayer in the morning when I woke up, I wasn’t doing anything that would draw me closer to Him! I was on cruise control and asleep at the wheel. I was having zero influence on anyone for God’s kingdom. Nada. Nothing. I wasn’t praying for people. I wasn’t praying for the Holy Spirit and consequently I didn’t have much in the way of love for others. I was lukewarm. All Christians have their ups and downs but I believe that had I continued that way, I would have crashed and burned, eventually. During that time in my life I was the one who Jesus said in Revelation 3:16-19 He would spit out of His mouth.

If you, dear reader, are in such a comfortable place, please, wake up! Don’t remain lukewarm. Don’t risk getting spit out. It’s not too late. After Eutychus fell three stories, Paul ran to him, embraced him, and revived him.

Run to Christ, run to church, run to your Bible, run to your prayer closet and ask God to do whatever it takes to make your relationship with Him everything He wants it to be!

He loves you. Leave the comfortable sleepy place you’re in and go to Him because of Jesus’ words:

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

Matthew 16:25-26


Genesis 19:30-38:

Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.”

That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.

So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father. The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today.


[Image via Linda N – Creative Commons]

References:

Bible Gateway

Ben Courson

Blue Letter Bible

Matthew Henry

Ray Stedman

Jon Courson

Genesis 19:1-29 Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!

Jesus said, “Remember Lot’s wife.” (Luke 17:32) (Photo courtesy of devotionalonjesus.blogspot.com)


Read Genesis 19:1-29

Verse 1: The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city.

The two angels who we saw in our last couple of posts departed from the Lord and from Abraham and made their way to Sodom where they found Lot sitting in the gateway of the city. Keep in mind that these angels have no distinguishing physical characteristics that would indicate that they’re angels. No wings, no glow, no halo. As it was with Abraham, for all Lot knows, they’re just a couple of travelers.

In our story Lot begins well. He says to the two angels, Stay at my place tonight. You can wash up, spend the night in a comfortable bed. Then tomorrow you can be on your way. After some conversation that might be typical of a situation like this one: “Oh I wouldn’t dream of it.” And, “Please, I insist.” And, “I won’t take no for an answer.” They wind up at Lot’s house where Lot feeds them.

But before they go to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. All the men! The whole town comes out and surrounds Lot’s house. Can you imagine? Close your eyes and imagine your house in the middle of the night surrounded by all the men in your town. God help Lot! These men began making demands. They hollered at Lot for him to let out the two travelers so they could sexually abuse them. The Bible is very specific about what they demanded. They said, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

So Lot tries to appease them. He opens his front door, slithers through, and then quickly shuts the door behind him, the crowd pressing him, wanting to break through the door. Lot says to the crowd, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

In his desperation, Lot offers his daughters to the mob. That’s so appalling!

And also ineffective besides. Because the mob says, This outsider comes into our town and is now judging us! Who are you to judge? We’ll do to you worse than what we intended to do to them.

But the travelers weren’t ordinary travelers. They were angels. They reached out and quickly pulled Lot back into the house. Then, in the first revelation to Lot of their true nature, they struck the entire mob with blindness.

Then the two asked Lot, Do you have any people here, family, sons-in-law, sons, daughters, anyone? Get them out of here because we’re going to destroy this place. The outcry of the Lord against it is so great that He has sent us to destroy it.

So Lot sneaks out of his house, past that blinded mob, and finds his sons-in law. He warns them. He pleads with them to “Hurry and get out because the Lord is about to destroy the city!”

But his sons-in-law don’t heed his wisdom. They respond, What’s the big deal? Your view on this issue is a joke. They decide to risk staying in the city. Lot, through God’s grace, is being delivered out of sinful Sodom, and therefore it’s his duty to do what he can for the deliverance of others, especially his relations. You and I are, by God’s grace, delivered from our sin, and even as Lot did what he could to help deliver others, you and I must do what we can to bring others to Christ, especially our relations, that they too are delivered from their sin.

As dawn approached the angels are now becoming agitated and behaving more urgently. Take your wife and daughters, they say, or you’ll be wiped out when the city is destroyed!

And here Lot wavers. He hesitates. So, in God’s mercy verse 16 says, the angels take the matter into their own hands and grab Lot, Lot’s wife, and Lot’s daughters and they lead them quickly out of the city. In a way, this is a picture of salvation. Lot, who’s called a righteous man in 2 Peter 2:7, isn’t saved from the sinful city by his own actions but by God’s grace. And you and I are the same. We don’t come to Christ on our own merit, but it’s by God’s grace we’re saved.

As soon as they’re clear of the city one of the angels instructs Lot to flee further away, to get out of the plain to the mountains. And he also instructs them not to look back. These warnings also speak of our salvation. We’re to remain clear of sin, for that’s the same as looking back at Sodom. We’re to lean not on ourselves or the world, for that’s the same as remaining in the plain. And we’re to go to Mount Calvary, the place where our savior died for our sins, as Lot was to go to the mountains.

Lot, begs and pleads with them, No! Not the mountains, please let us run over to that little town over there. It’s a town sure but it’s a small town.

The angels respond, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.”

So Lot, Lot’s wife, and Lot’s daughters flee to Zoar. By the time they got there the sun was high over head. Then the Lord rained down burning debri on Sodom and Gomorrah. He destroyed the cities and all the surrounding vegetation. But He preserved Lot and Lot’s daughters. And He preserved Lot’s wife, until she turned around and looked back. Whatever supernatural destruction that God rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah had the effect of destroying anyone who looked upon it. Filled with longing for her old life, Lot’s wife disobeyed the instructions from the angels. She looked back and she perished. (Luke 17:32)

The next morning Abraham returns to the place where he stood before the Lord. He looks down upon the plain at Sodom or Gomorrah and he sees that the cities are destroyed,  a dense column of smoke rising from the land. Today many archaeologists believe that the ruins of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah lie at the bottom of the Dead Sea. In fact the locals don’t call it the Dead Sea but for centuries have called it the Sea of Lot. Check out the satellite view of the Dead Sea on Google Maps:

. Not a lot of green to be found there.


Lot in Sodom and Sodom in Lot:

There’s something in this passage of scripture that’s so important, I can’t end the post without addressing it. At the beginning of our story, the two travelers find Lot sitting in the gateway of the city. In that time, in that culture, when a man sat in the gateway of the city it meant he was a part of the leadership of that City. The gateway of the city is where the leadership met to make policy decisions or to hold hearings. It was sort of like a city council chambers and a municipal court combined. The fact that Lot was seated there means he served as the mayor or perhaps as a councilman — he was a part of the leadership of the city of Sodom.

That’s interesting because when Lot first decided he wanted to dwell in the region of Sodom he began by first looking at Sodom. Then pitching his tent toward Sodom, he began to orient himself and his family toward the city so to speak. The New International Version says, he pitched his tent near Sodom. Then later, during the time when Abraham rescued Lot from the invasion of the five kings, we saw that Lot had moved into the city and was dwelling in a house there. (Genesis 14)

Now we see Lot has become further engaged in the culture of Sodom. He’s a part of their leadership. No doubt, with good intentions, wanting to influence the culture of the city for God’s kingdom.

That’s a noble cause. The question is though, how much of Lot’s influence found its way into Sodom, and how much of Sodom’s influence found its way into Lot?

Let’s have a look at how much success Lot had influencing Sodom. Verse four tells us that all the men in the city surrounded Lot’s house and demanded that Lot allow them to sexually abuse his guests. “All the men,” apparently not one was influenced by Lot for God’s kingdom. And when Lot addressed the mob to influence them to leave his guests alone, they responded by telling him they’d do worse to Lot than they would to his guests!

When Lot approached his sons-in-law to warn them to leave the city they thought he was a joke! They didn’t respect his warning. They disregarded his counsel, wise though it was.

In our story, Lot’s influence on Sodom never materializes. We don’t see converts. We don’t see people following Lot out of Sodom.

And how much was Lot influenced by Sodom? To Lot’s credit he took in the two strangers and even tried to protect them from the angry crowd. But he did so by offering his daughters! The value he assigned to his daughters’ purity and safety was apparently eroded away, influenced by the culture of Sodom. He had such a disregard for his daughters sexual purity that he offered them to the mob outside his house. “Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them,” he said.

And Lot’s wife, she was also influenced by Sodom. She longed for her old life there. She longed for the familiar culture there in Sodom. And as a result she perished. Lot’s family was influenced by Sodom to the point of death, at least for Mrs. Lot.

We also see Lot’s hesitation to obey the instruction that he received from God’s messengers to escape the city. Then he argues with the angels when they direct him to flee to the mountains. He pleads with them to go to the little town of Zoar instead.

Later in this chapter we’ll see Lot become entangled in incest.

How much of Sodom was in Lot? Too much.

Where are you at in relation to the culture you live in? How much of your godly influence is finding its way into the culture around you and how much of the culture around you is finding its way into you?

There’s a great truth to be learned from Lot’s story. I hear people say they want to hit the bars so they can influence people for Christ. I hear people say they want to go to the big party because they want to shed a light in a dark place. I hear people say they want to live in a certain city because that city needs God’s influence. But more often than not, they’re like Lot. They’re walking into a situation where they’ll be influenced, more than they will influence others for Christ.

When’s the last time you sought the Lord in prayer on behalf of others? When’s the last time you took someone to church? When’s the last time you shared something from the scriptures with a friend?

When’s the last time you saw evidence that someone in your circle was influenced by you, for Christ?

And what of our culture’s influence on you? When’s the last time you’ve been to church yourself?

“Yea but most of my friends don’t go to church.” You’ve been pulled away! Influenced away from your Father who wants to enjoy intimate fellowship with you. Go to church and influence your friends to go with you!

How much time are you spending in God’s word?

“Yea but I found this scripture that I don’t think could be true.” You’ve been distracted from your relationship with the One who loves you so much He died for you. Don’t let that one scripture distract you. Even the most godly have moments of doubt. Spend time in God’s word–daily.

When’s the last time you took in music that edifies God?

“Yea but secular music is so much better, that’s what me and all my friends listen to.” You’ve been drawn into the world and away from that which will draw you closer to Him. Be wise, take in that which will inspire you for Jesus Christ.

Jesus said of God’s scriptures, “…until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear…” (Matthew 5:18) Trends in culture over the last couple of millenia have come and gone and come back again. But the newest writings of the Bible are  2,000 years old yet remain true and timeless.

It’s alarming but true never the less that Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father…” (Matthew 7:21)

On that day I guarantee you, you won’t care about one single cultural trend. You won’t care about what your friends are doing. You’ll only care about Jesus’ opinion. You’ll only care about hearing the words, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Your faith must become your own. Make changes. Make changes now. Martin Luther said it well when he proclaimed, “How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never’.” Start today. Draw near to God.

Come near to God and he will come near to you.

James 4:8


Genesis 19:1-29

The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”

But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

 “Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door.

The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the LORD against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.”

So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

But Lot said to them, “No, my lords, please! Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it—it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.”

He said to him, “Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.” (That is why the town was called Zoar.)

By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the LORD. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.

So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.


References:

Bible Gateway

Ben Courson

Blue Letter Bible

Matthew Henry

Ray Stedman

Jon Courson