Genesis 19-21: Of cities and Kings

John_Martin_-_Sodom_and_Gomorrah

Sodom, Gomorrah and Abimelek.  King Abimelek is terrified of Abraham because he recognizes that God is with Abraham.  The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah did not recognize God in any way, shape or form.

In a nutshell, these are the two responses possible in life.  Either you recognize God as powerful and supreme, or you don’t.  The consequences of those responses are laid out pretty plainly as well.  This is something that is uncomfortable, even for Christians.  We don’t like to talk about God’s righteous judgement, of the wrath that awaits for those who turn away from God and who willingly act in ways that he disapproves of.  As we read further into the historical books of the Old Testament, you may find yourself asking why God instructs the Israelites to act so harshly against the other nations in Canaan and why so much blood is shed.  Part of reading those accounts with open eyes is asking yourself about whether the inhabitants of the land were honouring God in lives and their worship.  The other part of that is understanding that God was trying to keep Israel free from the influence of these other nations.  He warns them of this in places like Exodus 23.  Unfortunately, they do not heed this warning (as Numbers 25 shows us).

The other challenge from today’s reading comes in the account of how Sarah demands Abraham deal with Hagar and Ishmael.  Isn’t it funny that the one who hatched the plan to get Abraham a descendant through Hagar is the one who calls foul on the whole thing.  Our schemes seem like such a good idea at the time, but how often to we come to realize the folly of our decisions once they play themselves out fully.  The redeeming part of that whole situation is God.  God took what Sarah orchestrated in her fallenness and redeemed it, changed it.  God is good at that.

Happy reading.

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture?  What was something I already knew?
  •  What was new from this piece of scripture?  What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  •  How does this passage apply to my life, here and now?  Do I need to do anything about it?
  •  What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 22-24

 

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