Genesis Study #7

Bible Class – Study #7 (Gen 18-20) – Notes and Discussion questions

Genesis Study #7: The vexation of Lot

Main passage of study: Gen 18:22 – 20:18

Related passages For:
Pt A: Jud 6:39, Job 8:3, 42:6, Ps 89:9, Isa 1:9, Jer 5:1, Mal 3:18, Eph 6:18, 1Ti 2:1, He 4:16, 7:25, 10:22, Jas 4:8
Pt B: Ge 13:13, Lev 18:22, Jud 19:22-4, Eze 16:49, Ro 1:26-7, 1Pe 4:4, 2Pe 2:7-8, Ju 1:7
Pt C: 1Chr 21:1, Ps 11:6, Jer 51:6, Ac 10:14, 1Co 3:15, Rev 18:4
Pt D: Dt 29:23, Ps 105:42, Jer 49:18, Am 4:11, Lu 17:28-9, 32, 2Pe 2:6
Pt E: Ge 9:21, Nu 21:29, Dt 23:3, Jdg 11:5, Neh 13:23, Zep 2:9, Jas 1:8
Pt F: Ge 12:11-3, 24:62, 26:1, 31:24, Ps 105:11-15, Pro 21:1, Mt 2:12

Outline & Notes

  1. Abraham’s intercession– Gen 18:22-33
    1. The Lord’s character – Genesis 18:22-25
    2. The Lord’s compassion – Genesis 18:26-32
    3. The Lord’s conclusion – Genesis 18:33
  2. Abhorrent intentions – Gen 19:1-11
    1. Lot’s reception – Genesis 19:1-3
    2. Lot’s rabble – Genesis 19:4-5
    3. Lot’s response – Genesis 19:6-8
    4. Lot’s rescue – Genesis 19:9-11
  3. Abrupt intervention– Gen 19:12-22
    1. Lot’s faithful messengers – Genesis 19:12-13
    2. Lot’s mixed messages – Genesis 19:14
    3. Lot’s mixed emotions – Genesis 19:15-17
    4. Lot’s merciful messengers – Genesis 19:18-22
  4. Absolute indignation – Gen 19:23-29
    1. The Lord’s judgement raining down – Genesis 19:23-25
    2. Lot’s wife looking back – Genesis 19:26
    3. The land’s smoke rising up – Genesis 19:27-28
    4. Lot’s sending out – Genesis 19:29
  5. Abominable intimacy – Gen 19:30-38
    1. Lot’s dwelling – Genesis 19:30
    2. Lot’s daughters’ designs – Genesis 19:31-32
    3. Lot’s drunkenness & degradation – Genesis 19:33-36
    4. Lot’s descendants – Genesis 19:37-38
  6. Abimelech’s integrity / Abraham’s indiscretion – Gen 20:1-18
    1. Abraham’s displacement – Genesis 20:1
    2. Abraham’s deception – Genesis 20:2
    3. Abimelech’s dream – Genesis 20:3-7
    4. Abimelech’s demand – Genesis 20:8-10
    5. Abraham’s defence – Genesis 20:11-13
    6. Abimelech’s discharge – Genesis 20:14-18

There are some tremendously solemn subjects dealt with in these chapters from the depths of human depravity to the tragedy of departure in the life of a believer. In Abraham, we witness the extremes of his power with God in prayer and of his falling into old patterns of fear and a lack of faith in God. Thankfully, his story does not end there. But for Lot, these pages bring to a sad conclusion the account of a man whose love for the world precluded him from having a meaningful testimony for God and led to shame and loss in his family. Nonetheless, one consistent theme throughout these sad accounts is the faithfulness and the sovereignty of God in spite of human failure as God’s plans and promises abide.

Textual notes

● In Ge 19:1, “the two angels came” is to be preferred over “there came two angels”. It seems clear from the context that these are the same two who left Abraham and the Lord in the previous chapter. It’s also interesting that this is the first time that they are identified as ‘angels’ as in ch 18, they are only referred to as ‘men’. Perhaps, the solemnity of their heavenly mission is being emphasized here.

● Also in Ge 19:1, Lot is found sitting in the gate of Sodom. In ancient cities, the gate was often where important men of the city gathered to take counsel, to make judgements and to supervise those coming and going. So this might indicate Lot’s official participation in city government.

● In Ge 19:2, we have the first mentions of ‘house’ and ‘open square’ or ‘street’. This contrasts Lot’s chosen pathway in life over Abraham’s pilgrim existence.

● In Ge 19:26, we read that Lot’s wife “looked back”. The word does not just indicate an accidental glance but a look of intention and could even be rendered “lagged back” or even “returned back”.

● In Ge 20:13, Abraham says “God caused me to wander”. This Hebrew word is used 50 times in the OT and always in a negative sense of ‘going astray’ or ‘staggering’. It’s sad that Abraham is blaming God here for his predicament.

Doctrinal notes

● In 18:23, Abraham was already ‘before the Lord’ but he then ‘came near’. Prayer is not just about being in God’s presence but about drawing near to Him.

● In the utter destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah, we have a clear demonstration of God’s hatred of sin, especially when it is practised so openly and shamelessly.

Discussion questions

1. In Ge 18:23-32, how does Abraham provide a good example for us to follow of interceding in prayer on behalf of others?

2. Since Sodom was indeed destroyed by God, do you think that we can say that the Lord answered Abraham’s prayer?

3. Read over the details given at the beginning of chapters 18 and 19. What similarities and differences do you notice?

4. The New Testament tells us that Lot had a ‘righteous soul’ in 2Pe 2:8 but he was clearly not living a separated life from the world. What evidences do we see of Lot’s compromised life in Gen 19?

5. What lessons on evangelism can we learn from the interactions of the angels with Lot and his family in Gen 19?

6. A principle that we see in the word of God is that whenever God brings significant judgement, it is not without longsuffering and mercy extended to escape that judgement. What other examples of this principle do we see in the word of God?

7. Lot’s wife has often been held up as an example to unbelievers in the warning call of the gospel, but what lessons might there be for the believer from her tragic end?

8. We don’t read any of Abraham’s words as he stood over the obliterated cities of the plain but from this account and perhaps other examples in the Scriptures, what is an appropriate response for the believer to the judgement of God?

9. In Ge 13, Lot had the choice of the whole land spread out before him but here at the end of chapter 19, he feels that his only option is to dwell in a cave up in the mountains. What can we learn about Lot’s choices and their consequences?

10. The people of Moab and of Ammon would become enemies for the people of God. Which examples of this can you find in the Old Testament?

11. It seems surprising that after all of Abraham’s experiences with the Lord that we find him in chapter 20 backtracking into territory and into behaviours that got him into trouble before. What can we learn from Abraham’s mistakes in this chapter?

12. Why do you think that God intervened in such a direct way with Abimelech to stop things from progressing further? Should not Abraham have already learned this lesson?