Genesis 18


            This chapter is divided into two parts:


Part 1.  Verse 1-15, God confirming the promise of a child to Sarah.

Part 2.  Verse 16-33, God and Abraham discussing the destruction of             Sodom and Gomorrah


Part 1

Verse 1-15,

God confirming the promise of a child to Sarah.


Verse 1, And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;   (This appearance of God to Abraham seems to have had in it more of freedom and familiarity, and less of grandeur and majesty, than those we have hitherto read of; and therefore more resembles that great visit which, in the fulness of time, the Son of God was to make to the world, when the Word would be made fresh, and appear as one of us.  {copied from Matthew Henry's Commentary Vol. 1, page 115.})

I.    Abraham is in the plains of Mamre.

A.     Gen. 14:13 - This is the same place he dwelt when he delivered Lot the first time.

1.       Lot will be delivered this time by God.

2.       Abraham will try to deliver Sodom and Gomorrah, but there are not 10 righteous in the cities.

B.     We don't have to move to a new place to have a new life.

1.       Sometimes when people commit great public sins, they desire to move away in hopes of leaving their sins behind.

a.      They forget they carry the memory of that sin in their own minds.

b.      What they need is to ask God to forgive them so they can forgive themselves, and learn to forget and by forgetting, begin to build a new life. (without moving).

2.       Sometimes we feel God can bless us more and we'll be more faithful in another place.

a.      The truth is that we're the same people wherever we are.

b.      We can be a great witness to God's grace toward us when those living around us see the change toward holiness taking place.


II.    Sitting in his tent door.

A.     This is the place of his domain, the place of his authority.

B.     Compare to Gen. 19:1 - Lot sitting at the gate of Sodom - the place of his domain, the place of his authority.

1.       This is the start of Abraham's kingdom, the end of Lot's kingdom.

a.      Ps. 1:1 - Lot walked, stood, and sat in the seat of the scornful.

b.      Gen. 13:10,11 - Lot walking and standing in the place where the wicked has power.  Gen. 19:1 - Lot sitting in the seat of the scornful.

2.       Abraham has faithfully taught his people the way of righteousness, Lot has been taught the ways of wickedness.

a.      Gen. 18:19 - Abraham faithfully taught his children and household.

b.      II Peter 2:7,8 - Lot, vexing his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds.

3.       Abraham is sitting in his tent door, it's small, but it's all his.

a.      The houses are much more impressive than the tents.

b.      The tent belongs to Abraham, the houses do not belong to Lot.

c.      Abraham is enjoying the will enjoy the works of his own labors, Lot will receive judgment of God because he enjoys the work of other hands.


Verse 2, And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

I.    Three men

A.     This is the Totality of the Godhead and two angels.

1.       Some would object to their being heavenly creatures since in verse 8 they ate.

a.      But remember in Luke 24:41-43, Jesus ate food after the resurrection, and He had a glorified body.

b.      Ezk. 47:12 - The Tree of Life (further described in Rev. 22:2), shall bear fruit which shall be for meat in eternity.

2.       Proof of the Godhead and the two angles.

a.      Verse 16-22 - When all three left, God stayed behind and talked with Abraham while the two angels went toward Sodom appearing later that day in its gates (19:1).  NOTE: The closer we are to God the more He will reveal to us.  Abraham saw all three men and talked with God while wicked Lot saw only the angels (didn't see God at all).  19:17-20 - Lot wouldn't follow the commands of the angels, therefore couldn't get near to God in fellowship.

b.      Verse 3 - Lord meaning master, LORD meaning Jehovah God.

3.       Total agreement

a.      Verse 3 - Abraham said, "My Lord" (singular): they said (plural).

b.      Verse 9 - They said (plural).

c.      Verse 10 - He said (singular).


B.     They appeared in the form of men.

1.       Judges 6:11 - An angel appeared in the form of man to Gideon. (verse 22)

2.       Judges 13:3,6 - An angel appeared as a man of God to Samson's mother.


II.    Abraham recognized them immediately.

A.     Gen. 19:1 - Lot also recognized the two angels.

B.     Saved people recognize God immediately because they have already been introduced to Him and know Him intimately.  Lost people, on the other hand, do not see Him as being different from any other man (Gen. 19:5).

C.     Abraham ran toward the trio to greet them.  Lot rose to meet them, but did not run to greet them.


Verse 3, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

I.    Lord - The word means master (This word is often applied to an earthly master.)  LORD - means Jehovah God.


II.    If I have found favour

A.     Doesn't count past blessings as a means of present favors.

1.       Knows that God is not required to bless him at all.

2.       Past blessings of God in now way means that we will always be blessed like that.

3.       All of God's blessings upon us are by grace, not of works.  Abraham is desiring continued grace (favor).  So should we.

B.     Abraham desires the Lord to remain.

1.       God's children always desire the Lord to remain with them.

2.       The fellowship of knowing God is near is greater than all other blessings.

3.       Abraham is desiring sweet fellowship even though his wife, Sarah, does not believe the promise of her bearing a child.


Verse 4-8, Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: {5} And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. {6} And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. {7} And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. {8} And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. - Abraham is a gracious host.

I.    Verse 4,5

A.     Water to wash the dust of the road off their feet.

B.     Rest in the shade of the tree while food is being prepared.

C.     Comfort your hearts with rest, food and fellowship and go on your way refreshed.


II.    A morsel of bread turns out to be fresh baked bread, butter, milk, and a calf, tender and good.

A.     This is the best Abraham has to offer.

B.     We ought to give our best to the Lord and his workers.


III.    Abraham prepares the menu - not his wife.

A.     When unexpected company arrives, it's a good idea for the husband to help his wife (even if they have servants) prepare the meal, even if the guests must be left alone while it is being done.

B.     There is no evidence of fussing from Sarah, or that she even went to greet the visitors.

1.       Verse 6 - Abraham went into the tent to Sarah.

2.       Verse 9 - Sarah was in the tent when the meal was finished.

3.       This doesn't reflect on the hospitality of Sarah, but reveals that she is submissive to the customs, and does not show herself until called upon.

4.       How directly opposed to "women's liberation"!!

5.       I Peter 3:6 - Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him "Lord" (master).

a.      In the context of I Peter, this is how a believing wife wins an unbelieving husband to the Lord.

b.      A woman today would call her husband "sir".

C.     Verse 6 - Abraham knew how to bake bread and here instructed Sarah as to how to do it!!!

1.       It's not wrong for men to learn to cook. (even to baking bread).

2.       Wives ought to take instructions from their husbands.

3.       Some are willing to follow "how to" books, but not the instructions of their husbands.

D.     Verse 7 - Abraham ran to the herd (even though he was close to 100 years old) and hastened the servant to dress it.  There was need for haste for the men would be rested soon and be hungry.


IV.    Abraham waits on table.

A.     We may have great promises of blessings and have great riches and great reputation, but no service of God should be too low for us.


V.    The guests did not feel "put out" by waiting for the meal, or by Abraham standing over them while they ate.  (It doesn't look like Abraham ate with them.)

A.     We need to learn to give graciously to those whom God directs.

B.     We also need to accept graciously from those whom God directs.  (If someone wants to give you something with no "strings" attached, accept it from God and be thankful.)

C.     I remember "Dad" Hensley giving me a towel and wash cloth when I went away to college.  He had little wealth but gave me those nice gifts.  I wanted to refuse them, but my grandmother told me to accept them.  I did, and my accepting his gifts gave him much pleasure.  I received more pleasure from his small gift, because of his desire to give me a gift, than I received from "well to do" people.


Verse 9-15, And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. {10} And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. {11} Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. {12} Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? {13} And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? {14} Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. {15} Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

I.    After the meal, the three direct the conversation to one of the purposes for visiting Abraham's home.

A.     As we see in verse 12, Sarah did not believe the promises of God.

1.       This doesn't mean she's lost.

2.       She doesn't believe the promise because she considers it physically impossible.

3.       You can see they know nothing about the Virgin Birth as yet.

4.       The fulfilling of the promises does not rest in our believing or "having faith", but in God.  17:4 - "As for me."

B.     Sarah is in the tent.

1.       I Tim. 5:14 - This is the woman's place.

2.       She's not out running around, sticking her nose into other people's business.

C.     The men are sitting with their backs toward the tent door, close enough so that Sarah can hear.


II.    The promise again confirmed.

A.     When the promise was given before, there was no time set for the fulfilling of that promise.

B.     Verse 10 - The child shall be born in one year.

C.     The birth shall be a miraculous intervention of the LORD in the bodies of Sarah and Abraham (verse 11 - Sarah is past the child bearing age.)


III.    Sarah's reaction.

A.     She heard it - verse 10 - The person must hear the promise before they can accept it or reject it.

B.     Sarah laughed within herself.

1.       This does not show outright unbelief for she did not scorn or reject the promise.

2.       She laughs because she believes she and Abraham are too old to have children, she laughs at the physical impossibility of the thing.

3.       There appears to be no external reaction at all.  When she is rebuked for laughing, it is because God sees and knows all things that go on inside us.  None of those things shall slip by God (whether good or bad.)

C.     The pleasure Sarah mentions is not sexual pleasure, but the pleasure of child bearing.

1.       Only a childless couple can know the distress of having no children.

2.       Only God can make an adopted child be like your very own.

3.       A woman has great pleasure (settled satisfaction) in bringing forth life from her body.

D.     The word "wax" means to slowly become, especially as compared to:

1.       Ex. 22:24 - wrath of the Lord shall wax hot.

2.       II Sam. 3:1 - David's kingdom waxed stronger and stronger.

3.       II Tim. 3:13 - Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse.


IV.    Verse 13 - Abraham receives the rebuke deserved by Sarah.

A.     This rebuke comes from the LORD - Jehovah God.

B.     Num. 30:6-8, 10-15 - The rebuke is directed at Abraham because he is the head over Sarah.

C.     Those we are the head over and responsible of, we shall give account of.

1.       Abraham is not accountable for Sarah's unbelief, but for his speaking to her concerning the truth.

2.       Abraham is not accountable for her cover up lies.


V.    Verse 14,15 - Apparently at his point, the Lord turns and begins to address Sarah.

A.     Whether she comes out of the tent or whether they speak through the tent is not known, but the remark in verse 14,15 is directed to Sarah.

B.     Sarah has misunderstood the very basis of faith.

1.       God works in things that are too hard for man.

2.       God overcomes all barriers.  (physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual.)

C.     Sarah tells a lie because she is afraid.

1.       This is no excuse.

2.       Acts 5:1-11 - Ananias and Sapphira also lied and died.

3.       The difference is:

a.      Ananias and Sapphira died because of the love of money.  Sarah lied because of fear.

b.      Ananias and Sapphira lied not only publicly, but also to the Lord's church.  Sarah lied in her heart.

c.      This shows there is a difference between a private sin and a public sin.

d.      We are more accountable for a public sin because more people are affected by it.

D.     God ended the conversation with a statement of the facts.  Sarah couldn't deny this.



Part 2.

Verse 16-33

God and Abraham discussing the destruction of

Sodom and Gomorrah


Verse 16-22, And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. {17} And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I 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 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. {20} And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; {21} I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. {22} And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

A.     Verse 16 - After the meal is completed, the journey continues toward Sodom.

1.       Abraham continues being a good host by helping them leave.

2.       Matt. 5:41 - If one compels you to go a mile, go two miles in a show of good faith and companionship.

3.       Since God did not compel Abraham to go the first mile away from his home, this act reveals Abraham's desire for continued fellowship with God.

B.     Verse 17-19

1.       God is consulting with Himself as Neh. 5:7 (Nehemiah consulted with himself.)

2.       God reveals to mankind what He wants to.  Deut. 29:29 - All secret things belong to God, and the revealed things belong to us.

3.       If Abraham hadn't gone on with God, he might not have learned about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  It is a great value for us to go the extra mile.  There are things we can learn that we don't learn any other way.

4.       Reasons for telling Abraham about Sodom and Gomorrah.

a.      Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation.

b.      All nations of the earth shall be blessed in him.  This is according to Gen. 12:3 - blessings to those that bless him, and cursing to those that curse him.

c.      The savior of the world, Jesus Christ, will be born of his seed.

d.      Abraham will teach (and has already taught) his family and household servants.  (See Gen. 17:23-27)

e.      Abraham has taught in such a way as to cause willing obedience.

f.       Because of Abraham's obedience, God will let his have greater blessings.

g.      NOTE: God always gives greater and greater blessings to those that have proved faithful in lesser things.  Luke 16:10-13 - When we are faithful in our money (one of the lesser things), God will commit to our trust the "true riches".

C.     Verse 20 - The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah

1.       Gen. 4:10 - Abel's blood cried to God from the ground.

2.       Rev. 6:10 - The souls under the altar crying for judgment on their blood.

3.       Nobody "told God on" Sodom and Gomorrah, for He knows all things.

D.     Verse 21 - God going down.

1.       "going down" - a good indication that heaven is up.

2.       Why would God have to go down?

a.      To show to all men that he is correct in all His judgments.

b.      To show us that we must make perfectly sure of the facts before we make a judgment.

3.       If God has predetermined everything (sin and repentance) why does He here give indication that He will shortly make the decision as to the destruction or sparing of Sodom and Gomorrah?

a.      There is an error in theology to believe that God has predetermined sin.  He allows sin.

b.      God is here speaking after the manner of men that He might:

4.       win men.

5.       Cause Abraham to desire to intercede for sinners.

a.      God already knows who will be saved, but deals with men as if He doesn't know because man doesn't know.  God's desire is for men to trust God, not predestination.

b.      I Tim. 2:4 - Who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.

E.      Verse 22

1.       The two men (angels) turn toward Sodom and Gomorrah.  Their next appearance is in Gen. 19:1.

2.       The Lord and Abraham stand together -- This conversation shows us that God and Abraham already knew Sodom and Gomorrah would be destroyed.  He desired Abraham to plead for them.

3.       There is no Bible record that God ever went to Sodom and Gomorrah to find out about their wickedness.  This shows that God's intention was to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and for Abraham to be a witness against them.


Verse 23-33, And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? {24} Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? {25} That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? {26} And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. {27} And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: {28} Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. {29} And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. {30} And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. {31} And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. {32} And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. {33} And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

I.    Draws near.

A.     Abraham drew near to God as in prayer to be sure and get his request answered.  We can't pray when we're a long way off from God.

B.     Abraham was greatly desiring his prayer to be answered because:

1.       God's plan had worked.  In verse 21, God acted like He didn't know how bad the sin was.  Of course, God knew exactly how much sin was in Sodom, but he wanted Abraham to realize just how bad it was.  Now Abraham has the right kind of burden for these lost people.

2.       Abraham knows the things that go on in Sodom and the surrounding (5) cities (Gen. 14:8).  He knows that Sodom will be destroyed.

3.       There are times when God wants us to realize just how bad sin is in this world and what He will do to sinners.  God reveals this to us or makes us realize that hell is real for them, because He wants us to pray for them.

4.       Isn't it remarkable how God deals with us through grace so that we will "work" for Him??


II.    Abraham pleading with God for Sodom and Gomorrah does not mean that Abraham is more compassionate than God.

A.     Note that the compassion of God and Abraham ended at the same place (if there were 10 souls).

1.       Our compassion for sinners ought to be exactly like God's.

a.      I Tim. 2:4 - God desires all men to be saved.

b.      We ought to desire that all men be saved.

2.       When God reaches the place of exercising judgment on the lost, we ought to say "glory be to God".

B.     Note that Abraham was pleading for people he didn't agree with.

1.       Abraham didn't agree with the sinfulness of the people, but he didn't call on God to destroy them, or say "It's about time You did something!"

2.       God also wants us to pray for the salvation and submission of people we don't like.

a.      Most of the time, we pray that God will punish those people that have wronged us.  It's very seldom God does anything because we have asked Him with a wrong heart.

b.      Matt. 5:43-48 - God desires us to pray for those that hurt us and despitefully use us and persecute us.  This will prove that we are the children of God.  Any lost person can pray that God will destroy their enemies, but only a true child of God will pray that God will bless their enemies.

3.       This doesn't mean that a church is never supposed to exclude anyone.  When people sin public sins, they should be excluded from the fellowship of that church.

a.      This means that in excluding people, our hearts need to be for them, not against them.  They have not broken one of our laws, but one of the laws of God and it ought to break our hearts because now God will destroy them (their bodies).


III.    The righteous and the wicked. (Verse 23)

A.     The righteous are the saved - II Peter 2:8.

B.     The wicked are the lost.


IV.    Abraham is asking for mercy for the righteous (who are living in the wrong place) and the wicked (who are doing the wrong things).

A.     The principle is:  Those who know they have received mercy at the hand of God are more likely to ask mercy for others.

1.       Abraham believed in the doctrine of Total Depravity and knew that he didn't deserve God's mercy.  He knew that the people of Sodom also didn't deserve the mercy of God.  That's why He asked God to be merciful to them.

2.       This is how we ought to be.  We ought to ask God to be merciful to the most wicked of sinners.  They don't deserve mercy, but then we don't either.

3.       Most of time we think we are pretty good folks and we are saved and that makes us special, so we begin to "pick out" the people we pray for that we think deserve the mercy of God.  Note that our prayers are going unanswered.

4.       We need to pray for folks that we don't know, even if we know that they are great sinners.  This is what Abraham did.

B.     Abraham didn't live with the sinners of Sodom or even try to get along with them or try to excuse their sinful lifestyle.

1.       We need to separate ourselves from the sinners of this world and do the very best we can to live for God.

2.       While we are doing this we don't need to be proud because we are "serving the Lord".

3.       While we are in this world we are going to be around sin and wickedness, but we ought not let the sin and wickedness get in us.


V.    The wicked of Sodom may be spared because of the righteous living among them.  See the Parable of the Tares (Matt. 13:24-30).  The wicked are allowed to live until the harvest and then destroyed.  Otherwise, the good seed would also be destroyed.


VI.    Luke 17:28-31 - As it was in the days of Lot, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man.

A.     There was not 10 saved people in the five cities of the plain.  Therefore, God destroyed them all.

B.     There will be very few saved people in the world when the Lord returns.

1.       Some would declare that there are many saved people in the world today.

2.       If there are so many saved people, why is sin and wickedness on the increase?

3.       There is a lot of "religion", but just how much salvation is in the world today?

4.       Why is there such a great increase of rape, incest, fornication, adultery, drinking, smoking, homosexuals, robbery, and murder?

5.       Why is it that all of these things and more are being accepted as an "alternate life style?"

6.       The answer is:

a.      There are fewer saved people in the world today.

b.      There are fewer saved people that are standing for the truth.

c.      It's just like it was in the days of Lot, and the Lord is going to come back pretty soon.