Sunday, January 05, 2014

Genesis 16-18 Covenant vocation of God’s people

From Genesis 16-18
Gen 16.1-6; Story-Sin; Sarai gives Abram her servant Hagar and she becomes pregnant
Gen 16.7-15; Story; The LORD protects Hagar and Ishmael
Gen 16.16; Story; Abram is noted to be eighty six years old
Gen 17.1-14; Law; When Abram is ninety nine years old, the LORD renews the covenant, renames Abram to Abraham, and issues the covenant obligation of circumcision
Gen 17.15-21; Story; God promises to establish his everlasting covenant with Isaac, not Ishmael
Gen 17.22-27; Story; Abraham circumcised his whole family
Gen 18.1-8; Story; The LORD appears to Abraham. Abraham prepares him food and refreshments.
Gen 18.9-15; Story; The LORD predicts that next year they will have a son. Sarah is caught laughing to herself in disbelief.
Gen 18.16-33; Story; Abraham intercedes repeatedly for the righteous in Sodom.

Passage and comments
Today I would like to comment on a section of these chapters that considers Abraham as the bearer of God's promises and what this means for his vocation. What it means for God's people today.

[16] Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. [17] The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, [18] seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? [19] For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” [20] Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, [21] I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.” [22] So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. [23] Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? (Gen 18:16-23)

We need to consider this passage in the light of Genesis 12 where God gives Abraham a series of promises. We see here the implications of these promises and in particular the one which said 'all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him'.

Following this statement by the Lord, Abraham begins to intercede for Sodom and it is evident that Abraham is acting out his vocation. Looking out for the salvation of the innocent. He pleads with the Lord, 'Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?' (Gen 18:23).

This is the kind of behaviour God expects of his people. To look out for those who will come under judgement. While the passage has Abraham looking out for the righteous, of whom God eventually saves. God's people today I would hope have a heart for those who will come under judgement when Jesus returns.

Story of Jesus

Jesus is the Christ. He will return and judge. For those who have repented and follow him as Lord, he will save them and give them new resurrection bodies (1 Cor 15). For those who do not obey the truth, there will be a resurrection of judgement (John 5). Lets have a heart and let people know about Jesus today. Jesus the judge. Jesus the saviour.