【Bible Study】Genesis 18: How Abraham Gained Access to God's Promise
Pastor Samuel Sharing
Brother William Sharing
Bible Study: Genesis
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 00: Introduction to Genesis
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 01 Part 1: May the will of God be done!
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 01 Part 2: Having A Vision Like God
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 01 Part 3: Make Things Happen
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 01 Part 4: Having A Vision Like God
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 02 Part 1: All of God's Creation Have Life!
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 02 Part 2: All of God's Creation Have Life! (2022-11-28)
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 03: People who Disobey the Word of God Will Be Cursed
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 04: You Shall Overcome Sin
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 05: Comfort in Labour and Painful Toil
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 06: The Way of Destruction and Salvation
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 06: To Walk with God or To Be a Hero
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 07: God is in Control
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 07: Only the Righteous and Those Owned by the Righteous Can be Saved
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 08: God's will is prosperity, not destruction!
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 08: The Desire of Our Mighty God
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 09: God sees People as Honorable
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 09: God's Desire is to Let Us Be Fruitful and Multiply On Earth
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 10: Blessing and Curse, Destruction and Mercy
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 10: Land, Languages, Clans,and Nations are Spiritual Matters
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 11: People Who Make Their Own Name Will Cause Destruction
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 11: The Corrupting Logical System of the World
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 12: Follow Abraham and Live for Eternal Life
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 12: Pay the Price For Destiny
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 13: A Person's Perspective Determines Their Future
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 13: Follow Abraham's Mindset and Understand Blessing and Curse
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 14: God Made Abram’s Name Great
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 14: The Almighty God Delivers Your enemies Into Your Hands
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 15: Becoming a Blessing to Many People
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 16: God Is the God Who Sees Us
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 17: Nothing is Impossible for God
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 18: How Abraham Gained Access to God's Promise
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 19: Lost Destiny, Lost Everything
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 20: Rely On God
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 21: Inherit The Divine Promise of God
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 22: Offer The Best to The God We Serve
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 23: You Are A Mighty Prince Among Us
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 24: God of Abraham Will Make Me Successful Today
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 25: Never Despise Spiritual Things
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 26: We Saw Clearly That The Lord Was With You
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 27: Only Character Counts
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 28: The Price You Pay For Spiritual Blessing
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 29: The Faith Enduring 14 Years
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 30: The Time to Yield The Fruit of Blessing
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 31: "God Is with Me" Is Most Valuable
- 【Bible Study】Genesis 33: The God of Israel
It is really nice to study the word of God together. What do you think God is trying to say to us in this chapter? I have been studying the Book of Genesis for many years, and I have some new findings every time I read it. It is always exciting to have new discoveries. If you ask me, I think this chapter is saying the Lord will bring about what He had promised. There is nothing difficult for God to deliver what He had promised, but it is very difficult for the people who receive the promise. The problem is who we are and whether we can receive the promise of Almighty God.
In the past years, I have studied carefully why there are so many people who cannot gain access to the promise of Almighty God. I am shocked that there are a lot of prayers are not answered. I have figured out one thing: the problem is us. If we are Abraham, it is not difficult for God to deliver what He had promised, I am sure you have a similar experience. Whenever I talk about Abraham, some Christians would say: “I am not Abraham.” If you are not Abraham, how can you inherit the promise of God given to Abraham? You need to know that you can become a person like Abraham and follow the footsteps of Abraham because he is our forefather who opened the path and gained access to the promise of Almighty God.
Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. He said: “If I have found favor in your eyes, my Lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way, now that you have come to your servant.” (Genesis 18:2-5 NIV)
At this time, I am not sure whether the words ‘my Lord’ in the verse mean Abraham knew the three men were the Lord. But one thing I am sure of is that Abraham received anyone who passed by the entrance of his tent. Abraham would receive any strangers passed by and said: “If I have found favor in your eyes, my Lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way, now that you have come to your servant.” It is a habit that led Abraham to gain access to the promise of God.
Today, we need to know that nothing is difficult for the Lord, the problem is whether you will do the same as what Abraham was doing. Abraham had received many people in this manner, fortunately, the three men were the Lord appeared to him. Abraham did exactly the same as he used to and did not miss the promise.
So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread. (Genesis 18:6 NIV)
If people are stingy and thinking: “Why should I give a stranger who just passed by my doorstep? Why should I do that?” I am sure many of us have such a narrow mind, but I am not sure how many times you have missed the promise of Almighty God. I hope you do not miss the promise this time. How you treat people and how you treat God, how you treat the relationship with others are important factors. If you are Abraham, nothing is difficult for the Lord to deliver the promise given to you. But if you are not Abraham, it is very difficult for you to receive the promise even if it is not hard for the Lord. So, we better change ourselves.
Why was Abraham doing such things to strangers who appeared at the doorstep? Abraham washed their feet and gave them food to eat so they could go on their journey. If Abraham knew three men were the Lord, I am not sure whether he would say: “You can eat something so you can go on your journey.” God does not need food, He needs us to be the kind of person like Abraham. Do you know what would happen if people do not receive a stranger like this? They will have a high chance to miss the promise of Almighty God. Money is the main issue of why people do not receive strangers. If you have a mentality of poverty and being stingy, you will short-change yourself. You need to be generous, sometimes I am a bit stingy with myself, but I am generous to others.
Do you know how our brother William came onboard? One day, brother William brought his son to my office and his son said to me: “Pastor, if you are really serious, you could offer my dad a job.” I said to him: “Yes, I am serious, I am offering your dad a job right now.” Our brother William was saying: “Let me consider.” I was wondering: “What do you need to consider? I do not need you to do anything, I just want to give you a job and I will give you a monthly paycheck.” I just want him to be engaged and not the nitty-gritty of everyday life. I am sure he loves Almighty God, but he doesn't have any platform to get engaged. That’s why I wanted to engage him. Several months passed, brother William was still considering.
What I am saying is that we need to be generous. Sometimes I was cheated or short-changed, and my generosity got nothing in return. And to be honest, I am not looking for any return at all. What I am trying to say here is we can all become Abraham. We are the descendants of Abraham even though we are a few thousand years apart. I would like to encourage all of you to be generous. Let me ask you a question: "Has God ever short-changed me? No, I have gained access to the promise of Almighty God and I don't feel any shortage at all."
Let me tell you the truth, the church which I have founded never had any shortage. Money is the smallest issue among us, the issue is how we spend the money. The problem is not spending the money nor keeping the money, it is all about how to gain the access to the promise of Almighty God. God will provide all we need because nothing is difficult for Him That is why I told a lot of Pastors and Christians: “You have been shortchanging yourselves.” Do you know the reason why? They are not only stingy about the money but also stingy about their time, the efforts they put in. If you know how I serve people, I always serve them wholeheartedly.
Two days ago, I was on my way to visit a brother who is running a kiosk along the street in the Downtown area. I went to see him because he used a kiosk to preach the gospel. I received a call along the way, a brother had a fishbone stuck in his throat. For God to get rid of the fishbone is not difficult at all as I have done it many times. There was a time when I was sick and in the process of recovery, brother William called me, I asked him: “What are you busy with?" “I am busy with a fishbone in my wife’s throat”. I said, “Ok I'll pray with you.” After fifteen minutes, the fishbone was gone. Was it difficult? No, not at all. The problem is whether I am Abraham. That’s a challenging problem. For God to deliver the promise to people like Abraham is no problem at all.
This time, I was driving, and at the same time, I prayed for the brother who got a fishbone stuck in his throat. Then I asked another co-worker to pray for him because I needed to handle the conversation with a brother who ran a kiosk. When I came back at night, I heard this brother went to the hospital because the fishbone was still there. It was very painful. He went to the hospital but the doctor said: “We can’t do much”. Then he asked, “What am I going to do?” They said: “Good luck.” So he came back and called me again. This time, I prayed for him. One and a half hours later, the fishbone was gone. It’s amazing! Let me tell you, nothing is difficult for the Lord, but it is difficult for us to be Abraham. If you want to choose to be Abraham, then nothing is difficult, a fishbone will become a peanut-sized problem.
Is it amazing? I have a desire to know the heart desire of the Lord. I said, “Lord, whatever you want me to do, I will do it.” I trust the Lord. This kind of faith is what I am quite shocked about. When I look at myself, I say “Oh, how can this person have this kind of faith? How can he become such a guy?” In my heart, I do not want to be a stingy person. I was not a stingy person by birth. After receiving Christ, I know I want to gain access to the promise of Almighty God. I know that is the treasure and the most valuable thing to me. That is why, in the past days, I never went into the shortage of anything because God was with me. What I am trying to tell you is that Abraham made his whole family keep the way of the Lord by doing what was right. So that the Lord would bring about what the Lord had promised to him.
It is not difficult to be like Abraham at all. If you know that is a very good investment and will yield a good return, are you going to be hesitant to invest in what Abraham invested? A lamb, a cow, some milk, or some curd, is not a big deal compared to the promise of God. Don’t be a stingy person because stingy people can not gain access to the promise of Almighty God. Why have I given you two fishbones stories already? There are many other times, too, not just twice. I know it is not too hard for the Lord, but it is a little bit harder for you and me to be like Abraham.
From today onward, don’t say anything like: “I am not Abraham” anymore. Instead, say: “I am Abraham. I want to be a generous person. I want to walk along the path in the footsteps of Abraham. How he did it, I will do it.” That is so amazing. I'm sure you will yield a good return. When Abraham suddenly realized that was the Lord. Fortunately, he did not let it pass by. Then they asked: “Where is your wife Sarah?” Abraham said to himself: “My wife was just given a new name, how do you know? A stranger directly called the name of my wife, Sarah. Oh, yes, this is the Lord. Fortunately, I gave them a good treat.” By then, he had probably treated a thousand strangers, he received them well. But this time, the strangers happened to be the Lord. And this time, he got back one thousand times more than he invested. Think about it, do you think it works?
Alibaba’s original investors have probably gained a thousand times in return. That means every dollar gets 1000 dollars back. That’s amazing. This time God said,
“I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”(Genesis 18:10, NIV)
So there was an interesting conversation between Sarah and the Lord. Sarah said, “ I did not laugh.” The Lord said, “Yes, you did.” This kind of argument will not stop Abraham from gaining access to the promise of Almighty God. Abraham was Abraham, even if he had this kind of wife. Sarah’s laugh would not delay the promise of God to be fulfilled. The critical thing is whether you are Abraham. Abraham trusted in the Lord and he believed what the Lord promised him would surely happen.
Do you know what kind of belief I have? I believe every one of our brothers and sisters in this church will be healed. Isn’t it an amazing belief? With this kind of faith, you can gain access to the promise of Almighty God. Whether you have a terminal illness, suffering from a bone with a piece of metal in it, all kinds of problems, nothing is difficult for the Lord. I know many of our brothers and sisters tend to be stingy, tend to be themselves. But that is not important. Whether you are yourself, whoever you are, you’d better be Abraham. Having faith like Abraham, nothing is difficult for the Lord. If your kidney fails, God can give you a new kidney; if your heart fails, God can give you a new heart; if your brain fails, He can give you a new heart too. Nothing is difficult for the Lord. A learning disorder is not difficult to the Lord. Just trust in the Lord. Faith and believing in good things are not so difficult. “I believe I will be healed.” What’s so difficult about that?
Sometimes I tell my brothers and sisters that God is with you. But they reply: “ impossible.” What kind of answer is that? Don’t you want to be healed? Are you going to carry on with sickness? If you are Abraham in God’s eye, nothing will be too difficult. But if you are not, even if nothing is difficult for the Lord, it is very hard for you to gain access to the promise of Almighty God. I have this kind of belief that everyone will be healed. Do you know where this comes from? In the Bible, everyone came to Jesus and they were all healed by Jesus Christ. No matter what kind of curse it was, it didn’t matter to Jesus. Jesus healed them. It was amazing! I want to do exactly what Jesus did. And this is the faith that I have and want to be a blessing for many people. That was the destiny that Abraham was seeking all along.
Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.” (genesis 18:18, NIV)
Do you want to seek the destiny of your life? Do you want to become a blessing for many other people? If you are a stingy person, you will say:” Why should I be a blessing for other people? I want to be a blessing for myself. I'm just a plain person.” Sorry, you are not Abraham, as Abraham was not a narrow-minded man like this. A lot of Christians do not know what they have said. “It's so difficult for me to gain access to the promise of Almighty God. I won't get that promise. ” If you want to get the promise, you’d better have the destiny. You’d better have the same destiny as what Abraham was trying to develop. Abraham opened the path of destiny. I found this and called it a Doctrine of Destiny. In Chinese, it is called Mingding. Mingding means Destiny.
A lot of people say they don't know what the Doctrine of Mingding is. The doctrine of Mingding means the Doctrine of Destiny in English. Why should we inherit from Abraham? Because he was a great man and God’s promise will be fulfilled for him. Do you want to be this kind of person? I'm sure you want to. If some people want this, but say:” Yeah, I was not born. I was born to be cursed…”
What kind of language is this? yeah. Hello, What kind of comment? To me, when I read the Bible containing such a powerful promise, I say: "yes! Abraham, you’d better direct me, let me keep the way of the Lord and do what is right and just." So to have faith in the Lord you have to satisfy the following requirements.
Number One: not to be stingy, be generous and treat the stranger well as well as your good friends. I hope you are not going to cheat your good friends.
Number Two: have a strong faith in God. God said to Abraham that next year his wife would have a son, even though his wife laughed.
Number three: have a destiny. You know what you are living for. Are you living for your stomach? If you are, your stomach will compete with other people's stomachs. When you see nice food, you will want to fill your stomach. As you wouldn't let go of the food to give it to others. Then eventually you will see that person carrying a big fat belly that you can barely see his thighs. Because the belly will have blocked the view.
Destiny is very important! What do you want to live for? You live for the promise of our Almighty God, becoming a blessing for many people. So many times, some of the brothers and sisters say:" I also feel life is meaningless." Hence why they come with me to minister to the people who are in need. Then they come back with a response that they don't have time. You don't have time? But how come I have time? Because this is important to me but not to you. And what is so important to you? A meaningful life? Feeding your stomach is still the top priority in your life.v You may think you have enjoyed yourself, but it's not, it's sorrow. Sorrow is because you short-change yourself. You could not gain access to the promise of God.
Sometimes I feel sorry about such a brother or sister who has the same mentality. Every time I encourage people to minister but the response is "tomorrow I need to work". Not only did I need to work but also managed to minister to their needs. By the time I asked her to come out to Minister to other people to pray for other people then their work got in the way.
Do you know that God had a very good relationship with Abraham? Because he was Abraham. He was the kind of person who walked with God. Do you know what walking with God is? You have a similarity with God. If you are the opposite, having similarity with the devil then that's sorrow. What kind of character do we have? What kind of mentality and thinking logic is that? If you have a thinking logic like the devil, I have to tell you that your life will be full of sorrow. How can you curse me? No, I'm not cursing you, it is yourself cursing yourself. Am I right? I hope I have not upset some of us.
The relationship between God and Abraham reached a level that God would discuss with Abraham when He was going to do something. God does not need to discuss anything with me. But He wants to because I am Abraham. If I carry this kind of destiny and want to be the blessing for many people and all nations on Earth, do you know what happened? God will say I have chosen him and I would not hide from him on what I'm going to do.
Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous (Genesis 18:20 NIV)
Do you know what the point is over here? The point is that God wanted to test Abraham. God wanted to destroy the city where Lot resided. And Abraham knew what his heart desired. If you want to speak to God, you'd better know God.
Abraham knew God was the God of righteousness that He would not demolish the city because there were 10 righteous people. For the sake of 10, He would not do it; for the sake of 20 or 50, He would not be destroying the city. But the problem was it fell below 10 so it was dangerous. Do you know why? Over Noah’s era, the whole Earth only had eight people, Noah’s family. Eight is below 10.
Abraham surely knew the story about Noah and that was the reason why he asked about 10 people. He Stopped. The point is how could Abraham talk to the Lord in such a manner? Abraham knew the outcry of the city. He knew some of the strangers passed through Sodom, passed through Gomorrah that was raped even until they died. It was horrible! Just imagine if they had social media at that time, all channels would have been broadcasting such crucial and sorrowful stories happening in this city of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In the next chapter, you will learn how horrible the city was. Did Abraham know? Of course, he did! But why did he ask God to not destroy the city? Why? Abraham knew the heart desire of the Lord. Abraham might have suffered in this city.
If God passes by and talks to you as a stranger, you’d better treat him well. If God talks to you, you’d better know the heart desires of God. You’d better know God is the God of right and just; God is a God that is full of mercy.
If Abraham did not bargain with the Lord, but instead he said to the Lord that: “destroy the city, I hate the city! I have been waiting for this moment for many years! Quickly destroy it!” Do You know what would happen? You would shortchange yourself! This kind of person can never gain access to the promise of God.
You may think this city is horrible and you have suffered a lot for years. But you are horrible! What you have seen is a reflection of what you think and who you are. What kind of people are you? Are you narrow-minded? Full of hatred? Are you calculative? You are stingy but that is not Abraham. Abraham was a generous person, a gentleman who was full of mercy. What God has commanded us is to act justly and love, mercy and walk humbly with Him. That's what God wants from us.
Now you understand when I have talked to someone harshly, I want them to be good, even though God reveals how horrible the person is to me. I serve or I minister to this kind of people like ministering to the Lord. It’s very challenging! Sometimes I know what kind of people they are, they are like those in Gomorrah, in Sodom.
But every time, I minister to this kind of people who are suffering from all kinds of diseases, sometimes worse. So many times, when I am praying for the person, the Holy Spirit will reveal to me what kind of the person they are. But yet, do we have the mercy of the Lord? Challenging! Many times, I wanted to give up, I cried out to the Lord, “Why do you bring these people to me? I hate to minister to these people.” But I have to defeat my carnal thought, my flesh. I got to bend it and force myself to walk along the path of Abraham. That's exactly why God is with me. I have this ambition for the Lord. I want to be a blessing for many other people. My life is meaningless if I live my life for myself. But I live for others, for the Lord, and want to be the blessing for many others. That is my job and what I am supposed to do.
You and I have to choose what kind of person we want to be. To be the kind of person like Abraham, we have to change ourselves inside out. If we only want to be ourselves, no change is needed. But so what to be yourself? Being stingy? Calculative and full of sorrow? Then you cannot gain access to the promise of Almighty God. Nothing difficult for the God of Almighty, but it is so difficult for you and me to be Abraham. That's the problem! God says
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.” (Genesis 18:19 NIV)
Do you want the promise that God gave to Abraham to happen in your life? Then you’d better be the one like Abraham.
May the Lord bless you!
Tags mercy carnal flesh Destiny Faith generosity God's promise Promise of God Nothing difficult Stingy Generous No shortage To be like Abraham Nothing is difficult strong faith live for destiny heart desire Short-change