Summary of passage: After visiting Abraham at his tent and partaking of food and water, the men get up to leave. Abraham walked with them aways. The Lord wonders if He should hide from Abraham what He is about to do–namely destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. For Abraham will become a great and powerful nation and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For He has chosen Abraham to keep the way of the Lord.
The Lord said the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that He himself will verify it.
So the men (other two presumably angels) went towards Sodom while the Lord remained next to Abraham.
Abraham challenges God repeatedly not to wipe away the righteous with the unrighteous, reminding God that He should only judge the wicked and not lump the righteous in with the same judgment as the wicked. [Abraham’s got some guts here.]
The Lord says He will spare the city if He can find 50 righteous people. But the Lord cannot find any.
Abraham does say he is nothing but dust and ashes and repeats how he is unworthy to request such a thing. But Abraham does anyways.
The Lord leaves and Abraham returns home.
7) Because Abraham was God’s chosen one (Isaiah and Genesis say). We (humans and Abraham) are God’s friends (Isaiah and John) and are no longer servants. And friends tell each other everything; they have no secrets. God chose man. James tells us “he (Abraham) was called God’s friend.”
Think about this: you are so close to God that you are walking next to Him as Abraham is doing. You are God’s friend and confidant. It would be natural for God to tell you His plans. It’s why God created man in the first place. It’s how God treated Adam in the Garden.
God told Abraham about Sodom because it is what friends would do–share and bond.
8 ) Mark says to consider carefully what you hear. John says the Holy Spirit within will guide us. John 8:47: “He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
Consensus seems to be that to hear God we must be God’s. We must have the Holy Spirit within. If you are not a believer, you will not hear God.
9) God punishes the wicked and not the righteous. He provides a way out for the righteous. God listens to the outcries against the accused and then verifies before He judges. God listens to our prayers for the wicked and offers up repentance. God is just; punishment will come to those who do evil.
10a) Lot and his family are spared.
b) To show Abraham that He listens to prayers, that He is fair, and that He answers prayers.
d) “The Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” when we do not know what to pray for. For God knows our hearts and our minds and the Spirit intercedes or guides us in accordance with God’s will.
e) Personal Question. My answer: If we do not ask, we do not receive. Abraham asked and asked and asked. He did not give up. For in his heart Abraham loved those people. Same for us. We must ask and ask and ask. For God will answer. (Matthew 7:7-8).
John 15:16: “I chose you..and the Father will give you whatever you ask in my (Jesus’s) name.”
Abraham reminded God of who He was. This is powerful in prayer. And Abraham was specific. We must be as well. General prayers won’t get the job done. Abraham was persistent; he did not give up. He kept negotiating with God. This revealed Abraham’s heart and how he loved those people (and their evil-hearts) so much he begged for their lives.
This is what God wants–to see our heart when we pray. And if our hearts and motives are in sync, then we shall receive.
Conclusions: I love thinking about me as God’s friend. We think of God as a Father and a judge. But He is also our best friend, the one we can confide anything to, the one who only wants the best for us and will do anything to help us.
God chose us to be His friends and to make known to us things–if we obey God and do what He commands (John 15:14).
So I will ask for more and pray more and talk to God more–as a friend and not just as “God–the Almighty and Ruler of the World.” For that is what He desires.
I liked the discussion on hearing God. Many people think they should hear God and when they don’t they get frustrated and turn from Him. It’s not that He’s not speaking; it’s that we are not listening (if we are believers). God won’t speak to you if you don’t know Him.
Asking is key. To receive we must ask. Same with hearing God. Not hearing Him? Ask Him to hear Him. What do you have to lose?