Summary: The unsaved receive temporal blessings on account of the righteous, but God will not grant these blessings indefinitely.
If you’ve ever watched “Shark Week” or know much about sharks, you may have heard about a unique fish called Remora. They are sometimes called “suckerfish” or “shark-suckers.” These fish have a unique suction design and attache themselves to sharks, stingrays, and other large ocean fish. They glean transportation, safety and food from the otherwise dangerous predators, while giving nothing in return. Like train hoppers, steam ship stow-aways, subway turnstile jumpers, and wedding crashers, they get a free ride, enjoying all of the benefits of full-fare passengers, but paying none of the cost.
There are many lessons from Genesis 18-19. They include:
Hospitality. (Abraham hosts the angels and LORD)
God’s Power. (Sarah learns that she will have a child)
God’s Judgment. (Sodom destroyed)
God’s view of Homosexuality
Today our attention will be on God’s patience toward Sodom and His willingness to spare the city “for the sake of ten righteous.” A spiritual principle is in place here. The unsaved receive temporal blessings on account of the righteous, but God will not grant these blessings indefinitely.
We are going to examine these two propositions today. First, let’s look at the text that presents this theological truth. We find in Genesis 18 The RIGHTEOUS are a source of Blessing from God.
This truth is expressed in Psalm 5:12 "For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield." The shield with which God covers the righteous also covers those who do not know the Lord. Today, there are children who do not know the Lord, but who are covered by the grace that God bestows on their parents. There are husbands who benefit from God’s grace on their wives, and unsaved wives who benefit from the grace that God bestows on their husbands.
The story begins in Genesis 18:1 where, “The Lord appeared to Abraham.” Abraham is resting outside the door of his tent. It was the mid day siesta and the coolest place was under the shade of a great tree. Suddenly, three visitors appear from nowhere. Abraham immediately knew this was a visit from the LORD. We know this because of his words and his reaction. He “hurries” v. 2. He “bows down.” This Hebrew word is “hawa,” the same word that is most often translated “worship.” Abraham also focuses his attention on one of the three visitors, whom he recognizes as the LORD. This is most likely a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, since no angel would receive worship. Abraham Addresses the “Lord,” (singular - showing that the LORD is of greater significance than the angels). He shows hospitality to the LORD and the ANGELS by preparing food and inviting the guests to be refreshed. This hospitality was a foundational cultural principle and Abraham’s hospitable behavior as a righteous man is stated in stark contrast to the inhabitants of Sodom who violated every cultural more and principle of decency.
There are TWO PURPOSES for the LORD’s visit. FIRST, to inform Abraham and Sarah about the birth of a son.
SECOND, to demonstrate God’s justice in judging Sodom.
The key to this entire chapter is Genesis 18:19 "For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”" God’s judgment on Sodom was so that the promise that he made to Abraham would be fulfilled. God would not allow these wicked inhabitants to remain in the land where they could corrupt Abraham’s descendants. IMAGINE THIS: Here, the pre-incarnate CHRIST appears to Abraham keep Abraham’s lineage protected so that ONE DAY, a descendent of Abraham could give birth to the INCARNATE CHRIST!
God’s justice in judging Sodom is because the entire city and the inhabitants of the plains would corrupt and threaten the purity of the Jewish people, who were chosen so that the entire world could be blessed through the birth and redemption of CHRIST. It’s all about God’s PROMISE
Abraham Pleads with God to Spare Sodom “for the sake of fifty righteous.” Genesis 18:23 "Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?" Abraham reduces his request five times. First by FIVES, and then by TENS
(1) 18:24 “for the sake of fifty?”
(2) 18:28 “for five less?” (45)
(3) 18:29 “for forty?”
(4) 18:30 “for thirty?”
(5) 18:31 “for twenty?”
(6) 18:32 “for TEN?”
Abraham speaks with the LORD as with a FRIEND. Abraham is not arguing with God, as it may appear. He is completely reverent and respectful, asking his requests with great humility. Abraham asks God to do what he knows is within his character. He reminds God of his justice and begs for mercy, not for himself, but for others. This is the mark of a true man of God and a Friend of God. Abraham was indeed a friend of God as noted in 2 Chronicles 20:7 "O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?"