Sermon 48 on Genesis Sunday 16th January 2005 Reading Genesis 19:29-20:18 Text Genesis 18:18

Abraham's Relationship with the Nations

1. Abraham’s relationship with the nations In Gen 18-19, we see Abraham in relation to Sodom and Gomorrah. Gen 18:18 = God told Abraham = because of his covenant position in the world – see Gen 12:3. Therefore, Abraham accepted the task and prayed = interceded for them (18:23-33). But he knew that they were wicked (13:13) and prayed for the righteous. Some principles: 1. God is the God of all the earth, not only His special, covenant people (see Gen 18:25) 2. God is their judge but He also purposes to bless them (18:18) 3. God has established His covenant people as the channel of blessing to others. The reality of this is seen in Abraham’s life repeatedly: (a) (b) Gen 19:29-38. Lot was spared. Two nations were born: Moab and Ammon. Two nations existed because Abraham interceded for the righteous in Sodom. Gen 20:1 – Abraham is now among the Philistines. God is their judge (v.3) and He will judge righteously (v.4). Abimelech had sinned but unintentionally (vv.5, 9). God would spare him but only through repentance and not without Abraham’s intercession (vv.7,17). This Philistine group did not die and continued to exist because Abraham interceded in prayer. Gen 21:18. Ishmael was not left to die in the desert but was kept alive and became a great nation. Why? The answer is in Genesis 17:18-20: because Abraham prayed for him and God heard his prayer.

(c)

We observe that four tribes or nations existed in history and were spared from death because Abraham was involved as the means of God’s mercy, because he prayed for them. 2. What should we think about these nations? In history, these nations became Israel’s enemies. The prophets declared that God would punish them. See Isaiah 15:1; 16:6 and Amos 2:1-3 for example. Despite this, the basic will of God was to bless even such nations as these. Look at Jeremiah 48:42 BUT ALSO v.47 and Jer 49:2 and yet v.6. The prophets who prophesied judgment also extended hope to them. Isa 19:16 but verses 19-25 are remarkable. 3. The position of Abraham has passed to the Church and its Head, Jesus Christ. It is prophesied that Christ would bless the nations. Isa 11:10; 49:5-6; and Psalm 72:17 for example. The Church has been entrusted with the preaching of the gospel for this reason. Luke 24:47 and Matthew 28:19.

But the church must also PRAY FOR THEM. 1 Timothy 2:1. Conclusion JESUS CHRIST IS THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD – that is, every man in every nation who believes in Him. John 1:29 and 1 John 2:1-2 and 1 Timothy 4:10. Queen Elizabeth II, at her coronation in 1953, was presented with an orb (the world) on the top of which was set a cross. These words were said to her: ‘Receive this Orb set under the Cross, and remember that the whole world is subject to the power and empire of Christ our Redeemer.” And the orb was laid on the altar. We, as a Church, have a part to play – more than a part – we are THE CHOSEN INSTRUMENT of God – the light of the world, the salt of the earth. This is bigger than individual witnessing to individual. The gospel has corporate dimensions: households and nations. Just as Moab and Ammon existed in history because Abraham prayed for them, so God has ordained that men of every nation will exist in eternity and be saved from hell’s destruction, because the saints have prayed for them. You may not realize it, but, if you are a Christian, you are here today because you have been prayed for. Look back in history and see saints on their knees praying for the gospel in Wales. Learn the purpose of God in Christ. Learn the power of prayer – interceding gospel prayer. We cannot preach unless you pray. If you do not pray in this way, you are failing to fulfil your Christian duty.