Genesis 19:30–20:18: The Correction of Abraham

by Apr 30, 20180 comments

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In the wake of Sodom’s destruction, it is tempting to think that good has now decisively triumphed over evil. The men of Sodom “were wicked, great sinners against the LORD” (Gen. 13:13), but if they are now gone, then only the righteous are left: Lot and Abraham. As this next passage shows, however, indwelling sin remains even in the righteous. So, even though the Apostle Peter three times calls Lot “righteous” (2 Pet. 2:7–8), we now see Lot descending into horrifying sins of drunkenness and incest. Not even righteous Abraham (cf. Gen. 15:6) comes through this passage unscathed. Here, we see him falling back into his old con of lying about Sarah’s relationship to him as a wife that we saw back in Genesis 12:10–20. Then, Abraham informs us that this is a lie that he has passed along everywhere they have travelled (Gen. 20:13).

If the corruption of sin extends even to righteous men like Lot and Abraham, then what hope do ordinary believers like you and me have? Furthermore, how does God react to our sin? Does our sin surprise him? Does he consider abandoning us and moving on to more worthy objects of mercy? Absolutely not, for God promises that he will never leave us nor forsake us. If so, then, on the other hand, does God ignore and minimize our sin, sweeping it under the rug? Does keeping his covenant promises mean that God will show favoritism toward us by downplaying and excusing our sin? Not at all. Instead, the Scriptures testify that God reveals his covenant love toward us by disciplining us: “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb. 12:6; cf. Prov. 3:12). In this passage, we see the way God disciplines three figures whom he loves: Lot, Abimelech, and Abraham. From this passage, we see a wide variety of ways in which God disciplines those whom he loves.

Discussion Questions

1. Brainstorm as many values of our surrounding culture (good, bad, and indifferent) as possible. By what means do the values of our culture reach us? How do those values influence us? What sins are we tempted to treat lightly because of our culture? What godly virtues do we tend to minimize because of our culture? From what do you need to repent?

2. What role do consequences play in our sanctification? In what ways do we ignore and suppress the consequences that arise from our sin? What does Israel’s history with the Moabites and the Ammonites teach us about the extent and severity of consequences that can arise from our sin? What consequences are you ignoring and suppressing right now?

3. How do we reconcile God’s word of condemnation with God’s love toward us? What does God want from speaking his word of condemnation to us? What would happen if God did not speak a word of condemnation toward us? How does God’s word of condemnation from the law magnify his love toward in the gospel and the glory of Christ?

4. How many ways have you seen God correct you? How does God use others (including unbelievers) to correct you? What does Abimelech’s humble, introspective rebuke to Abraham teach us? What would be lost if Abimelech had quietly returned Sarah to Abraham without any rebuke? Whom might you need to confront in a loving, humble, and introspective way?