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When Moses records these events in Abraham's life, it is with deliberation—no insignificant or random detail is included. These stories would inform the theology and sociology of the newly-liberated Hebrews. Today's reading begins with Abraham's "haste" in chapter 18 when the three guest show up. He "ran" to meet them. (It has been years since God had spoken to him.) He hastened to inform Sarah to prepare a meal for them, "Make ready quickly … (verse 6). He then "ran" to the herd. All this in spite of his old age. He recognized that something big--something God-sized--was happening.
In the following two stories we see a number of parallels:
1. The echo of the flood story is heard in Abram's pray for Sodom, "Will you destroy the righteous with the wicked?" God saving eight people in the flood emboldened Abraham's request that Sodom be spared if ten within were righteous. Effective prayer is based on God's character based on His past activity.
2. Lot's daughters resemble Noah's son Ham:
a) both commit sexual sin of a sort
b) both stories involve wine
c) both are in a minority: 8 people on earth, three people in a cave
d) both produce people groups characterized by complete sexual brokenness: Ham/Canaanites; Lot's daughters/Moabites and Ammonites.
The final story, that of Abraham and Abimelech, contentions similar elements: God does not slay the righteous with the wicked and sexual sin.
Several global truths shine in these chapters:
1. God hears and uses intercessors
2. Sexual sin dominates where God is not feared. People are sexually broken because they are spiritually deficient.
3. God does not destroy the righteous when He judges the wicked.