In Genesis 18:19 God tells us that He chose Abraham (God changed his name from Abram in yesterday’s reading) so that he (Abraham) will teach his descendants to do what is right. But just as Abraham made mistakes so too will his descendants. That’s okay. God isn’t expecting perfection. He is expecting dedication. A teacher expects mistakes from a student. But a teacher accepts those mistakes for the time being but also expects the student to be dedicated and to improve. God is the same way.
I always find Abraham’s conversation with God to be interesting. He prays for the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah asking God to save the righteous people in these towns. As Abraham continues praying to God he starts to get a bit more bold. First he starts of with asking God if He will spare the cities if 50 righteous people are living there and then goes down by 5 in his next couple of requests (to 45 then to 40). His subsequent requests go down by 10. Abraham finally stops praying when God agrees to spare the cities if 10 righteous people could be found there. Perhaps Abraham was thinking that 10 would cover his relative Lot and his family. But sadly it didn’t.
Notice too that Abraham, after all these years is still living in a tent (Genesis 18:33). God hasn’t shown him where He (God) is sending him (Abraham) yet so Abraham hasn’t settled down. The fact that he still lives in a tent shows his deep commitment and faith in God.
In chapter 19 of we see the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed. Lot tried to warn his daughter’s fiances but they would not listen. They laughed at Lot. A couple of things come to mind. Certainly we can see the parallel today. Many people, including me at one time, laughed at the Bible and the people who tried to explain it to me. This will continue until the last days. But I also wonder at what kind of witness Lot had been while he lived there. The Bible doesn’t say so it is pure speculation on my part, but perhaps he was not living the kind of life that he should. And perhaps he had never really spoken to anyone about God before. So when he finally did, people thought he was crazy. Its a good lesson for us who call ourselves followers of Christ today. To have credibility we need to live the life that God wants us to and we also need to let people know what we believe.
The story of Lot is sad. He made the decision to live in wicked cities for earthly gain and it cost him. By the time his story ends in Chapter 19 he has lost his wife, all his possessions and is living in a cave with his two daughters. And to add insult to injury, his daughters abuse him so that he becomes the patriarch of two peoples, the Moabites and Ammonites, that will persecute the descendants of his uncle for generations to come.
In Matthew Jesus teaches against the sin of worrying. Did you know worrying is a sin? It is. When we worry we demonstrate lack of faith in God. Instead we should meditate on God’s word so that we can rest in Him no matter what our circumstances. Don’t think you know how to meditate? Of course you do. Meditation is worry, only directed at the proper things.
One of the most sobering passages in the Bible is Matthew 7:13-14:
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Think about this: if you had 100 apples and were going to give me a few of them, how many would you give me? Most people I ask this to say around 7.
These words of Jesus talk about two metaphorical gates. One leads to heaven. One leads to hell. The gate to hell is wide. The road on the other side of the gate is also wide and easy to walk on. Many people will find this gate. On the other hand, the gate to heaven is narrow. The road on the other side is not easy. Few people will find this gate. According to this passage and our definition of “few”, only about 7% of all human beings will go through this gate.
Both gates are there. Anyone can go through the gate to heaven. But sadly, most people (93% of them or so) will not look hard enough to find it. Or they will see the gate to heaven but will not choose it because the road on the other side is not easy. Or they won’t believe that it leads to where it says it leads. In any case, their eternity will not be pleasant.
Psalms and Proverbs provide some good lessons today but I am going to skip my commentary on those passages today so you can concentrate on what we just learned from Jesus. Please choose the right road!