BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 16, Day 5: Genesis 19:15-38

Summary of passage:  The angels are urging Lot to hurry to leave Sodom with his family before it’s too late.  Lot hesitated so the angels had to pull Lot and his family out of the city since the Lord was merciful.  The angels warned them to flee to the mountains and not to look back or they would be swept away.

Lot pleads to flee to the small town of Zoar at least instead of the mountains and this request is granted.  The Lord rained down sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot’s wife disobeyed God and looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.  The next morning Abraham saw smoke but God remembered Abraham and saved Lot because of him.

Lot and his daughters left Zoar out of fear and settled in the mountains after all.  They lived in a cave.  The older daughter convinced her sister to get Lot drunk and sleep with him so that they could conceive since there was no other man around.  They did so unbeknownst to Lot and both became pregnant.

They boar two sons named Moab and Ben-Ammi, who became the father of the Moabites and the Ammonites respectively.  These cities fought with Israel for centuries.

Questions:

13)  Everything.  The wife died.  They didn’t take any of their wealth or livestock with them–only the clothes on their backs it seems.  They lost their moral compass with the incest.  Tragic.

14a)  He rescued Lot. He had the angels pull Lot out of the city and then God agreed to let them move to Zoar.

b)  What Lot built up did not survive the fire test.  Nothing he built survived.  He suffered loss and Lot will be saved but only as one escaping through the flames.  In other words, Lot has no works to show for his faith.  Lot has done nothing worthy with his life. (Please read from 1 Corinthians 3:10 to understand the passage.  We also discussed this passage last year.  Click HERE to review especially question 8b).

15)  Moab and Ammon.  While the Israelites are wandering the desert, God instruct Moses to not harass the Moabites because He has given them Ar and to not harass the Ammonites for God has given them land.  However, the Moabites and the Ammonites did not help the Israelites when they were passing through their land out of Egypt and instead pronounced a curse upon the Israelites.  As a result, God banned them from entering the assembly of the Lord and forbade the Israelites to be friends or allies with them.  God also turned the curse into a blessing.

Jesus was descended from Ruth who was a Moabite.

Conclusions:  Interesting to me how sin leads to curses and blessings.  How the Moabites and the Ammonites were sworn enemies to the Israelites for most of history; yet, God chose Ruth to be in the line of Jesus.  God can turn the hearts of individuals despite the sin of their ancestors.  Man can overcome his inherit sin and his circumstances and culture and environment to do God’s will.  Encouragement for us all that indeed good can come out of evil.

Interesting how God blessed the Moabites and the Ammonites with land even though they are sinful and ungrateful and treat their relatives, the Israelites, horrible.  God blesses them but then He punishes them when they don’t turn from their ways (Zephaniah 2:8-11).  God will turn their land into a wasteland and take back His blessings (the land) and give it to the Israelites.

Interesting Thought:  Some scholars believe Sodom and Gomorrah lie at the bottom of the Red Sea.  However, the Red Sea has receded in modern times and archaeologists are not convinced of this.  Some even claim to have found Lot’s cave, Zoar, Sodom, and Gomorrah on dry ground.  Google if interested to find this research.

Map Work:

Good maps of Sodom, Gomorrah, and Zoar were hard to find.  This is the clearest I could find:

http://www.wyattnewsletters.com/sodom/PICS/sodom.gif

Another one:  http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/sodom-and-gomorrah.html#Map%20of%20Possible%20Locations

This one shows where the Moabites and Ammonites were eventually located in addition to Sodom, Gomorrah, and Zoar.  This site also goes over the passage.  You have to scroll a bit to see this one:

http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/sodom-and-gomorrah.html

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 16, Day 3: Genesis 18:16-33

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.

Questions:

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.

c)  No.

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?

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 16, Day 2: Genesis 18:1-15

Summary of passage:  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.

So Abraham bustles about, hurrying the preparations.  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 (stupid move), believing she is worn out.  God 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 when confronted (again, stupid).  For God knows our hearts.

Questions:

3)  Verses 10 & 14; Genesis 17:21

4a)  In 19:1, 2 angels appeared to destroy Sodom.  So here I’d say two men were angels and one was the Lord himself.  Verse 18:1 says “appeared” as if out of thin air.  It specifically says “The Lord appeared” so God was one of them.  But it was God in the form of Jesus Christ because John 1:18 & 1 Timothy 6:16 says that no one has ever seen God Himself.

b)  He bowed low to the ground, offered them water and food, and washed their feet.

5a)  She was afraid and Sarah only thought she was too old.  She never spoke the words out loud.  Only God knows our thoughts.

b)  Hebrews says, Yes, Sarah did believe and seems to say she wouldn’t have conceived if she hadn’t.  Perhaps this is why it took so long for her to conceive.  She doubted and she doubted and until finally her heart turned.  God was testing her.

c)  She had to believe that what the Lord said He would do, He would do.  Believe in your heart.

6)  You have to believe nothing is impossible with God.  That He will allow a virgin to conceive (Luke 1:37-8).  That He will make us new as if we were born again once we believe (John 3:4-5).  Jesus explains to his disciples that all things are possible with God, even a camel passing through the eye of a needle and all can have salvation with faith (Mark 10:24-27).  God will allow a 90 year-old woman, Sarah, to conceive for nothing is too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14).

Conclusions:  Great lesson for me!  If you have any doubt in your heart, God will not come through.  It seems to me Sarah doubted and doubted and God repeated and repeated until finally she believed. And she was scared to believe.  But she did.  And I bet that very day she conceived.

God holds up His end of the deal.  He says, “Look, it’s this simple:  believe.”  And man says, “Give me a second to think this through.”

God says ok, for He has all the time in the world.  We, on the other hand, only have limited time to accomplish His purposes.

It’s hard for us but not God.  Yet we think it’s God holding us back when it’s really us–due to our unbelief.

Powerful lesson!

End Notes:  God again, less than 3 months later, comes IN PERSON and REPEATS His promise to Abraham.  Why?

1)  God repeats His promises over and over again because dumb man NEEDS to hear it–to strengthen his faith.  Romans 10:17:  “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”.  Or God Himself in the personage of Christ if you are so lucky to receive such a message.

2)  Some scholars think Abraham and Sarah were not having sex for whatever reason so God needed to reinforce His will personally.  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.

Also to note:  God read Sarah’s heart.  Even though she didn’t laugh out loud, God heard her.  God knows our heart as well and we should live as if He hears our every thought.

Even though Sarah and Abraham both laughed at God and His promises, God did not respond in anger nor did He punish their unbelief.  He remained (and remains) faithful to them and to us.  He never abandons us like we do Him.

God never changes despite the whims of man.  He loves us always and forever.

Note in verse 13:  “The Lord said to Abraham”.  God correctly addresses Abraham about his wife’s unbelief and about her reaction for Abraham is the head of the family and is therefore responsible for his wife’s belief (and in this case, unbelief).