Gen 18:17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
Gen 18:18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
Gen 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
In chapter 18 God again promised Abraham a son. He had already declared what the name of the promised son was to be. The name “Isaac” means “laughter” or “he laughs”. We know that Isaac would bring joy to both Abraham and Sarah. There would be some testing involved as well. However, Isaac would be a different person than Ishmael. Ishmael would be a wild man. It is interesting to note how the nature of the parents can affect the child. Every child can be saved, but parents have an impact on what the child will be like. Abraham chose to disobey God and sinned with Hagar and the result was Ishmael. This sin would have a negative effect on Ishmael. He would not be interested in God and he would not be interested in peace with his brethren.
Isaac would be the promised child that God would give to Abraham and Sarah. They obeyed God and accepted His timing and His blessing in giving them this son.
Sarah had difficulty accepting the promise God was repeating. She scoffed at the prospect of being a mother at her age. She also did not believe that Abraham could be a father at his age. God rebuked her for this doubt.
After the LORD dealt with this matter, there was another matter that needed to be revealed. Notice in verse 17 that the LORD was consulting with the other two “men” that were with Him. We know the LORD is Jehovah. Who were the other two? It is possible that the Godhead was present here, cloaked in humanity for this purpose. God can do that.
God had a very serious matter that He was going to deal with. The plan was already in place. It was not a short-sighted plan. It was a necessary action that needed to be taken soon. God was not going to ask Abraham for permission to do what needed to be done. He was going to advise Abraham on what He was going to do.
In verse 18 we see God’s view of Abraham. The LORD knows the heart of each individual.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
These verses again show us how much greater God is than we are. The Calvinist assumes that these verses force certain people into their place of unbelief. In spite of the fact that God knows every heart, He still gives every person the opportunity to be saved. It is a genuine opportunity. It is not just something stated, but not possible.
Back in our text, God knew what kind of a man Abraham was. He knew that Abraham was a genuine man. He knew that Abraham had a level of trust in the true God that was rare then and is still rare today.
God had already promised that Abraham would be blessed in the earth. He had already stated that all nations would be blessed through him. He did not need to, but He wanted to keep Abraham informed of important events that would affect him.
In verse 19 the LORD knew that Abraham would not just personally have some identity with God. He knew that Abraham would pass on the truth to his children. Notice that he would “command” his children and his household after him. Abraham was not a pacifist. He took an active role in seeking to guide his family the right way. He would make sure that everyone living in his house and everyone working for him understood the importance of walking in the fear of the LORD. He could not force them to fear the LORD. He could impress upon them the imperative of doing so.
This is what separates many families today. The godly father does not just pretend to take an interest in God. He has a genuine interest in God. He wants his family to also have that same interest in God. He wants his boss and his co-workers to also have that interest. Walking with God is of greater importance to him than money and power.
We see as well that God’s blessings to Abraham were dependent upon his faithfulness to the LORD. God does not just throw out His blessings to anyone. A careless Christian cannot make use of God’s blessings. He would just defile them due to his wrong attitude. God’s blessings are too precious to be trampled in the mud. They are to be cherished and lived. We do not worship the blessings. We treat them with the honour they deserve because we worship the God Who possesses the blessings.
I listened to a few moments of an interview between a religious “Dr.” and a rock “musician”. The musician talked of how his mother was absolutely against rock music and “Christian rock” was even worse to her. This is what the man said. The Dr. was kind of scoffing at the idea that this man’s mother had such a “narrow” view of things. The rocker talked of how he loved God and how the rock music he loved was the vehicle that brought him to love God.
This man obviously had a love for a god. He was a “spiritual” man as all people are. He was pursuing a spirit, but it was not the Spirit of the living God. His philosophy is well accepted in modern day Christendom. Most religions have long capitulated to this evil philosophy. Most older people just shrug their shoulders and accept the changes. Some are more reluctant than others but they all concede that this is just the way it is.
A few godly people will say no, this is not acceptable. They will be seen as outside the norm and will be sidelined. However, they cannot be completely ignored. The rebels just wait for that group to die off so they can do what they want without that constant reminder. The Holy Spirit is not working in their hearts because they have seared their consciences. They are all in with their ungodly plans.
Abraham was not like that and he would not expect that to be the case for his children.
Because Abraham was a man who truly loved the Lord, the Lord could bless Him in ways that few would ever know.
It is important to take the time to meditate upon God’s Word and to be sure to be walking with the Lord to gain the understanding we need of Him. God is holy. He demands holiness from His children. That holiness is not an option. It is required. God also provides the means for His child to be holy. The Holy Spirit indwells every true child of God. He works in the heart of the saved person to draw that person closer to his Redeemer and God. Those who are saved and want to resist will face chastening.
Lot was a just man, but he was resisting God’s will. He did not enjoy life. He was vexed in his soul from day to day. His calloused attitude affected his children as well. We know that the natural man chooses the devil’s way. Just as water runs downhill, it is “normal” for sinners to sin. As we have noted before, there is a spiritual warfare taking place and those who are saved need to be prepared for that war. We need to be dressed and equipped for the war. The equipping is found in God’s Word.
God was about to bring His judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah and those two cities would be wiped out. Only Lot and his wife and two daughters would escape. The rest would perish. Lot’s wife would die soon after leaving because her heart was in that wicked environment.
God forewarned Abraham of what was going to happen. Abraham had a love for his family. He wanted to see souls saved. He did not want to see people perishing. God was more loving than Abraham. He also wanted souls to be saved. He knew that at times it is necessary to give a graphic picture of the consequences of sin. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were wicked people who hated God. God did not want others to assume that wickedness can be rewarded with good things. He needed to destroy them to show the rest of humanity that sodomy is wicked and must be judged. He wanted the rest of humanity to know that aligning with that wickedness will affect those who want to pander to the wicked.
Lot and his family would suffer because they did not want to stand for righteousness. Abraham needed to learn the importance of God’s righteousness in a greater way. He could ask God to be merciful. In the end he needed to understand that God was merciful.
A healthy fear of God is very important for all people. It is particularly important for those who are God’s children. When a child of God wants to live for the devil, he or she will have a negative impact on others. God does not want that. He cannot accept that. His Word shows us that this is not acceptable.
The wise person is the one who chooses God’s way. There will be challenges along the way, but there will also be blessings that outweigh the challenges. Abraham received blessings that he could only have through obedience to God.