Teaching Notes are Bible studies we taught before GraceLife Ministries began publishing articles online in 1995. Some were presented as sermons, others as group studies.
Our hope is that these older studies will be a blessing to you in your life and ministry. Please use them in any way God leads you.
These teaching notes are from a series of studies about the Book of Genesis.
[These notes are from a study from 45 years ago.]
And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 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, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 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.
Abraham, a very old man, was sitting at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day when he saw three men standing nearby. He hurried out to greet them.
The greeting of Abraham was a politeness of that age. Is is questionable whether he knew it was God. He seems very glad that they’ve stopped and he wants to refresh them for their journey. The word “servant” might simply be a term of friendship or openness to help.
All three answered and said, “So do, as thou hast said.”
The thee men were probably two angels and Christ the Son of God who was and is the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
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. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 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 told Sarah to bake some bread and a servant to prepare a choice and tender calf. Then he brought all of that plus butter and milk to the strangers who ate out under a large tree.
And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 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. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
The men asked where Sarah was and Abraham told them that she was in the tent. Then the Lord (or he) said that He would return the same time next year and Sarah would have a son.
Sarah heard all of this and laughed at the idea. She was waxed old and Abraham was old as well.
And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 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. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.
The Lord asked why Sarah had laughed saying, “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” Abraham and Sarah may have suspected they were talking to God by now and were afraid. Sarah lied about her laughing, but God said, “Nay; but thou didst laugh.”
And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 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.
The men begin to leave and look toward Sodom. The Lord speaks to the angels about hiding from Abraham what He’s doing to do. He talks about Abraham’s heritage as a powerful nation who will bless other nations.
Next, we get a new insight to the Lord’s choice of Abraham. Abraham was chosen so that he would direct his children and household to keep the way of the Lord “to do justice and judgment.”
This is the leading of the Spirit in our lives. We have been chosen to be Abraham’s children keeping the way of God and doing what is right and just.
And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 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. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 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?
God speaks to the angels so that Abraham can hear. The angels will go to Sodom to see if their sin is as bad as the outcry that had reached the Lord. The angels went to Sodom, but Abraham stayed with the Lord.
Abraham, concerned about Lot and his family, questioned the Lord’s destruction of the righteous with the wicked. He asks God if He would spare the city if there were fifty righteous people in it
Abraham is a bit theological here. “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?”
He is quite bold to speak in this manner, but we do get an insight to how God deals with the righteous and wicked.
And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
God will spare the whole place for the sake of fifty righteous people.
However, Abraham doesn’t have too much faith in the influence of Lot on the people of Sodom. He finally brings the discussion with God to sparing the city if ten righteous men are found. This is his last plea. He may have thought Lot’s influence would have brought several men to God, but how could he? Lot was trying to be one of God’s people in a fleshly place. He should have stayed with Abraham, but greed and pride led him to camp on the doorstep of the flesh. This type of believer is to going to affect anyone. The life that will affect unbelievers is one walking in the Spirit.
We will look at Genesis Chapter 19 in the next part of our special series.
[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from 45 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your life and ministry.]