BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15

Summary of Genesis 18:1-15:

The Lord appeared to Abraham among three visitors one day while Abraham was resting in the heat of the day.  When Abraham saw these men, he hurried to greet them and bowed low, knowing one was God for he says, “my lord” while addressing them. Abraham entreats them to stay, and he washes their feet and brings food and drink for their comfort. They agree to stay.

Abraham bustles about, hurrying the preparations of bread, meat, and milk (it is God). The men ask Abraham where is Sarah. God Himself tells Abraham (again) that Sarah will have a child this time next year.

Sarah who was eavesdropping laughs, believing she is worn out. God, of course, hears Sarah and asks Abraham directly, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Then God says He will return this time next year and Sarah will have a son.

Then Sarah denies she laughed out of fear.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15

14a) They may not have invited the men to stay, nor feed them a meal. He selected the best calf to slaughter and brought curds and milk and baked bread. They both did the work themselves instead of servants, and we sense urgency in Abraham’s doings, indicating he knew his guests were special.

b) Personal Question. My answer: Attitude and joy, mainly. I either begrudge every moment and have a miserable time, or I have a good time and feel joy.

15) The first thing they ask is where is Sarah, so their visit was to confirm to Sarah that she would have a son. God says that when He returns, Sarah will have a son.

16) Because God heard Sarah laugh and knew she had.

17) Sarah had to believe God. We must believe God. God blesses (Luke 1:45) and rewards those who have faith (Hebrews 11:6; 11) Without faith you can’t please God.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15

I love how God includes Sarah and makes sure she understands and has faith in this culture where women did not matter. This shows God loves all equally.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15

It is possible that Sarah never conceived earlier because she never had faith in God’s promise.

Bible scholars believe this was only 3 months since the last time God appeared because Sarah is not pregnant yet.

Here we literally see the Triune God, appearing as 3 men. So cool!

map of mamre bible

We’ve seen Mamre a lot so far in the Bible

Abraham knew it was God. At what point, we are unsure. Did God appear the same? No one knows. He could have changed his appearance at will.

Note God called Sarah by her new name. (Genesis 17:15-16).

God says His promise over and over again because dumb humans need to hear it over and over again, albeit this appearance was for Sarah, not Abraham.  Genesis 17:17-22

Romans 10:17:  “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”

Both knew they’d have a son only be God’s miraculous hand, which may have been why they had to wait so long because God wanted to make it clear it was a miracle.

Doubt Versus Faith

As time passes and things don’t happen in our lives as we believe they should, we doubt as we see here with Sarah and Abraham. During their childbearing years, they believed. Now, it’s hard for them to do so.

Great commentary on the tree and this passage HERE

Some scholars think Abraham and Sarah were not having sex for whatever reason so God needed to reinforce His will personally, which is why He appears here.  In other words, they did not believe God (they were doubting His word) and were doing nothing to fulfill God’s will for their lives.

God heard Sarah’s laugh. We should remember God hears everything. God does not punish them for their unbelief. God is faithful to His promises despite our doubt (2 Timothy 2:13). He never abandons us like we do Him.

Hard is the same Hebrew word for wonderful in Isaiah 9:6 referring to Christ.

God talks to Abraham about Sarah’s doubt since he is the head of the household. He is responsible for her faith, or, in this case, her unbelief.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 12:10-13:4

Summary of passage:  Abram went to Egypt due to a famine.  Abram told Sarai to tell the Egyptians she was his sister in order to protect himself because he was afraid the Egyptians would kill him.  So Pharaoh married Sarai (thinking she wasn’t married) and treated Abram well because of it.  He was given sheep, cattle, donkeys, servants, and camels.

The Lord was angry at this so he punished Pharaoh and Pharaoh asked Abram why he lied to him. Pharaoh sent them out of his land.  They returned to the Negev much wealthier from his lie to Pharaoh.

Abram traveled back to Bethel where he had built the altar earlier (Day 4) and called on the Lord.

Questions:

11a)  Nothing is an act of nature since God is in control.  I think it was a test of Abram’s faith as we see as the story unravels and Abram’s self-preservation and self-reliance is revealed.  God never told Abram to go to Egypt; he was to stop in Canaan.  The famine is a test to see if Abram would rely on God for all his needs.  Obviously, Abram doesn’t.  He schemes and ultimately failed in this test.

b)  Acknowledging God, calling on Him, faith and trust in God.

12a)  Verses 11-13  Abram is telling Sarai to lie because he is afraid of being killed.  Verse 15 shows how Abram just stood by while he let Pharaoh take his wife as his own and fornicate with her.  Because of this in verse 17 we see how God punished Pharaoh for Abram’s sin.  Abram in verse 13:2 became rich because of it and doesn’t seem to show any remorse.  Hagar will also enter the picture (Genesis 16), a source of jealousy for Sarai.

b)  Israel (Abram’s descendants) will bear the Lord’s wrath due to Abram’s sin until the Lord brings Israel into the light.  We will also see in Genesis 16:1 some of the consequences of this sin in the form of Hagar, one of the maidservants Abram and Sarai acquired while in Egypt and what harm she causes.

c)  He didn’t punish Abram but instead punished Pharaoh and He allowed Abram to profit financially from the sin.  God blessed and protected Abram because God had bigger plans for him than this sin.

13a)  Bethel

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I definitely don’t see any repentance.  Just because you build an altar doesn’t equate with asking for forgiveness for your sins.  I see faith in building an altar.  That’s about it.

My take-away is to ask for forgiveness for your sins where Abram did not and to have faith that God will protect you on your journey in this life instead of scheming, lying, and allowing your wife to fornicate with others.

Put your faith in God and His promises–not in lies–for ALL things.  Only you can fail God.  God will never fail you.

Conclusions:  I had completely missed this the last time I read Genesis.  I didn’t remember Abram doing this to protect his own skin.  To me, it seems like Abram was having a high ol’ time, living it up, at Sarai’s expense (unless she enjoyed being the wife of the most powerful man of the known world, but we are not told anything with relation to how Sarai felt).

Abram threw her under the bus and seemed content to have her stay there forever.  God’s the one who saved her, not Abram.  To me, Abram is callous and doesn’t care.  He’s probably living large with his other wives while using the servants Pharaoh gave him.

I see Pharaoh here as the victim and actually as a guy with a heart.  As soon as he found out Sarai was married, he corrected it.  He was angry he wasn’t told.  I don’t see Pharaoh here as a guy to take another’s wife.  Yet he was punished because of Abram’s sin.  Talk about unfair!  Life, right?

Abram was just lucky he was God’s chosen vessel for the future or he could have been incinerated on the spot!

This sin must have been HUGE to God.  Here’s the woman who will bear the line of Christ and Abram allows her to be defiled by a Gentile unbeliever!  She could have conceived, died in childbirth, who knows?  Another slap in God’s face to how man has twisted the intent of marriage and not held it as sacred as God must.

Abram must have faith in God’s plans so we can only hope he learned from this and as Genesis unfolds we will see other tests he passes with flying colors.

But God’s plans are bigger than Abram’s sin so God worked through and in spite of Abram’s sin as He does always and for me and you.  Even when we sin, God is there to pick us back up and put us back on HIS path, not ours.

This is BSF at its best.  The facts of the story and then ONE application question that shows how to rely on God and not yourself.  Great stuff!