Chuck Flesher is a retired pastor (Greencastle Bible Church) and chaplain (US Army colonel). He was one of my favorite speakers in high school chapels and the one who spoke at my high school graduation. He currently serves as the National Field Representative for the Associated Gospel Churches, a chaplaincy endorser for the US military and various other service organizations. The following article is posted with his permission.
In Genesis 18, the Lord and two angels in the form of three men appear to Abraham as he sits at his tent’s door during his afternoon rest. He runs to meet them, and some very fascinating dialogue takes place as the Lord, the angelic messengers and Abraham spend time together. During the course of their visit three very important questions are raised. In vs. 14, Yahweh, replying to Sarah, asks, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” In vs.17, the Lord asks Himself, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I’m going to do?” In vs. 25, Abraham asks the Lord “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
These three important questions have to do with God’s Ability, God’s Strategy and God’s Integrity. Believers who want to deepen their relationship with the Lord need to be asking these three questions and coming up with some solid answers.
First, is there anything too hard for the Lord?
Yahweh had revealed to two elderly people that they were going to have the promised son. Both of them laughed at this news. Abraham, however, laughed out of joyful faith (17:17), but Sarah’s laughter was born of unbelief, even though she tried to deny it (18:12, 13). Humanly speaking, she saw the news as an impossibility. She was clearly questioning God’s veracity and His ability.
If we’re honest we must admit we have questioned God’s ability, and in circumstances which required far less faith than Sarah needed. Does God keep His promises, and does He have the power to do what He says He will do? Will He supply all our needs? Will He direct our paths? Will He give the wisdom needed to help us in a seemingly impossible situation?
If God has called us to do something and has given us the promise of His Word, we can say with Jeremiah: “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, thou hast made heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.”
Second, shall I hide from Abraham what I’m going to do?
After a meal with the three visitors, Abraham (following the Eastern custom), walks with his guests a little way. As they look across the Southern ridge of the Jordan Valley far below sea level, they spy the fertile Southern cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Then the Lord asks this question. “In light of my special relationship with Abraham, shall I tell him what my plans are?”
And what is the Lord planning to do? Judge Sodom! He heard and saw (vs. 20, 21) the perversion and violence in Sodom and He is determined to do something about it. So, because of the Lord’s special relationship with Abraham as a friend (see James 2:23), He tells Abraham what He will do. God can’t hide from the Patriarch who He really is. God is not only merciful and gracious, but He is a God of pure righteousness and total justice. So, Abraham must tell his children what was behind the devastation of these wicked cities (vs. 19). This is a stewardship for the “friend of God.”
Believers today have a stewardship to reach the lost and dying. In the New Testament, Paul calls Christians “ambassadors for Christ” The Christian has a stewardship to beseech the lost to “be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). When we come to know Christ, each of us has committed to Him “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Third, shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
Abraham, the friend of God, becomes an intercessor for the wicked sinners of the five cities of the plain, and especially for backslidden Lot. Lot is a picture of a worldly, carnal believer. Peter (2 Peter 2:6-9) calls him “just Lot” although his words and attitudes are inconsistent with a believer. Vss. 24-32 indicate these are friends talking. The Hebrew word for “draw near” has the idea of coming to court to argue a case. The Patriarch’s appeal is to the Justice of God. “Lord, Lot is there. It is incumbent on you to do the right thing. Your Justice will not allow you to destroy the righteous with the wicked.”
Can we always trust God to do right? Yes, our very concept of what is right comes from Him. What is right? This incident shows us that God is committed to judging the wicked. That’s right! And He is totally committed to delivering His own. God is totally committed to delivering His own—first through Christ, and then through His righteous dealings with them (Phil 1:6).
If only Lot had won his family, five cities would have been spared God’s Judgment. We can never underestimate what just a small number of Believers can do for city, a state, or a nation.