The reading of Genesis is always a refreshing venture again, and I have come back to it in my daily readings; have been enjoying 2-3 chapters each morning and today came to chapters 18-22, which include Abraham’s faith and Lot’s lingering in Sodom as judgment is coming soon.
What strikes you, as you begin surveying Abraham’s life from chapter 12, is that his was exclusively a life of faith and that faith was particularly related to promises freely given to him by God. Beginning in chapter 12 through chapter 25 when he died, numerous promises were made to Abraham, which Abraham was to believe. He was told simply to obey and to believe.
Promises given to Abraham–12:2, 7; 13:14,17; 15:1,4-6,15,18; 17:2,6-8,16,19,21; 18:10,14,19 21:1,12; 22:17
Abraham lived on the promises of God, and we are his children, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; we too are to daily live on the promises of God, which are far more and far fuller than Abraham ever experienced; faith means reading, seeing, believing, appropriating, and pleading the promises of God. Faith lays hold of God’s promises and believes personally that what He has promised, He will be faithful to do in our lives. Ours are the promises and ours is the faith of Abraham. Let us be always believing God, which is believing what He has promised us in Christ.
Lot, on the other hand, is a difficulty; he’s the consummate mixed-bag; not one of us would call him righteous or believe that he was righteous unless the New Testament told us that, and even then, we would tend to call him compromising Lot rather than righteous Lot. We are given Lot’s biography in Genesis chapters 13-4 and 19, and it is not a pretty picture; he had chosen to pitch his permanent tent near Sodom and then was finally settled in the city, even though it grieved his righteous soul very much, so says 2 Peter 2:7.
In one particular especially, Lot’s life shows us something about the so-called free will of man, which worldlings and religious people proudly and strongly protect, saying, “God never violates our free will or never forces Himself on anyone.” Tell that to Lot. Genesis 19:16 says that when the angels came and warned Lot and his family to get out of Sodom quickly since the city was going to be destroyed, Genesis 19:16 says that “Lot lingered.” He chose to not quickly obey the angels’ directive command. The angels did not then say, “Well, Lot won’t come and we have to be gentlemen, and since Jehovah never forces a man’s free will, we will just have to leave him there.” On the contrary, vs. 16 says, “the men [angels] seized him, his wife and two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him.” The angels dragged them out without asking permission. Free will was not involved, and God did force them to come out of Sodom, and that force was amazing grace, with the Bible even calling the seizure “the Lord being merciful to him.” So much for Lot’s “free will”!
We see the same thing in Genesis 20:6, when it says of Abimelech, king of Gedar, that after he had taken Sarah from Abraham, God warned Abimelech in a dream, and said, “It was I who kept you from sinning against me; therefore, I did not let you touch her.” A pagan king would have slept with Sarah, or worse, raped her so he could have her, but, unknown to him, the God of Abraham “kept” him from the sin; hence, an example of God controlling a king’s will and choices.
There are many other examples throughout Scripture showing that God caused kings, rulers, men, women, children, and even animals to do exactly what He purposed for them to do. God rules over the affairs and often times, controls the will and choices of men, even when they don’t realize it.
Let us walk in the faith of Abraham and keep our view of man’s free will in line with the Bible. Both truths are important. Oh, the loveliness and applicability of God’s truth!
– Mack Tomlinson
When you have a difficult day or time & things seem to go wrong, consider Mary heavily pregnant having to travel a long journey to Bethlehem for a census. In our wisdom we would not have had her do that. But God knew what He was doing and so He does with our circumstances (Rom 8:28) – Kevin Williams