Men Who God Confides In

Gen 18:17-20

17 And the LORD said,"Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him." NKJV

Who is this Abraham that God would confide in him what He planned to do?

Abraham was just an ordinary man with an extra ordinary faith. He was a man who had connected with God in a unique and special way. No one else in all the earth has ever had that special position that Abraham did. But sometimes we think of him as some sort of super saint. But was he?

I think Abraham was much like you and me. Although he was rich for his day and time yet he had many struggles. God had called on him to forsake his family. We do not know why except they did not share in what Abraham was about to do.

He also was tried by a famine that forced him into Egypt where he lied about his wife in order to save his own life. Think of the struggle that he had in providing not only for his own family but for over 300 souls that depended upon the decisions he made.

He was also a man who struggled with God. God had promised him almost 25 years before that he would have a son. But this will now happen a year from this chapter. Through that time he has often struggled with a God who was far more silent than He was revealing. He has waited for years wandering around as a wander in a land that he owned none of. And though he was wealthy there was no one to inherit it all.

Than there was the incident with Hagar. At the suggestion of Sarah Abraham had taken Hagar, Sarah's bondslave and she had conceived a child that they thought would be the promised seed. Instead of waiting on God he had applied earthly thinking to a problem that only God could solve.

If Abraham had been examined by the deacons of any Baptist Church, he would have been found quite deficient. Abraham was not a perfect man but he did have something that made him special.

He had a relationship with the eternal. He had talked to God face to face. He had been given unbelievable promises and he had believed God. Therefore he would have what on earth he desired most. He would be a father. Not only of Isaac and Ishmael but of a multitude of nations. And so he is called the father of many nations.

But the passage we have read today has something special to say about him. And that is what we want to speak about today.

  1. Shall I hide from Abraham?
    1. God is about to bring great judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah.
      1. Their sins have become deserving of complete and total destruction.
        1. We cannot go into the reasons in this message for lack of time.
        2. But suffice it to say that this was a very grievous sin in God's eyes and was much more that not being a hospitable people.
      2. But before God does this he will tell Abraham what His plans are.
      3. One of the most amazing passages in the Bible is where Abraham intercedes for the people of Sodom because of his nephew Lot who was then living in the city.
    2. Various reasons for God telling Abraham are given by various expositors.
      1. Some that Abraham as future possessor of this land would be consulted on such a dramatic judgment.
      2. Others are given but the one I like best is the one given in the text.
        1. Abraham will be great and will have an affect on his children's children for a thousand generations.
        2. Of the approximate 6.4 billion people in the world about half have a direct relationship to Abraham and have been affected by his life.
  2. He will become a great and mighty nation.
    1. Primarily here reference is made to the Jewish nation.
  3. All the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.
    1. Jesus Christ would come from the descendants of Abraham and through Him all people groups of the earth will receive a blessing.
  4. I have known him.
    1. Do you find it interesting that it doesn't say, "Abraham has known Me."
      1. God is the initiator in relationships.
      2. Abraham was great not because he was great but because God made him great.
      3. In our relationships with God the truest verse is "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to our own way."
      4. 1 John 4:19 We love Him because He first loved us. NKJV
      5. 2 Tim 2:19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." NKJV
    2. But God also brought Abraham to know Him, to reveal Himself to Abraham
      1. Jesus said that was eternal life. John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. NKJV
      2. John 10:14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. NKJV
    3. The word does not simply mean to know about but means to set affection upon.
      1. It is the same word used to describe the conception of children.
      2. Gen 4:1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, NKJV
      3. God uses this word to describe the unique relationship the Israelites had with God. Amos 3:2 "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; NKJV
    4. So then God confides in those who He has known and those who know Him.
      1. The other day I heard someone say, I believe in God. But you see that is not the question. The question is do you know God and does He know you in that special sense.
      2. Faith is active, Abraham pursued God.
      3. Only a dead faith does not pursue God and a dead faith is about as good as a dead cat.
  5. He will command his children & household.
    1. Of all that Abraham will do, the most significant is that he will command his descendants.
      1. So many men are AWOL when it comes to their children.
      2. One third of the children in America will go to bed tonight in a different home than their father.
      3. But for even those fathers who are at home, they have little influence on their children.
      4. The average teenager in America watches 21 to 29 hours of TV per week. The average [father] spends seven minutes a week with his kids. - Walt Larimore, Focus on the Family broadcast
    2. As a people, the descendants of Israel have had a continued consistence for over 3,000 years.
      1. The only way that happened was that Abraham committed his faith to his children and grand children.
      2. After four hundred years the story of Abraham's encounter with God was not forgotten by his descendants.
      3. Do we spend that kind of time with our children?
      4. Is that why in America the children of Christian parents overwhelmingly do not continue their relationship with the church or with God.
      5. It is easy for even Christian fathers to forget what they are to be doing.
      6. Eph 6:4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. NKJV
      7. Deut 6:6-9 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. NKJV
    3. Abraham was that type of man.
      1. He made sure of where his children stood.
      2. As a society we spend form 5 to 6 thousand dollars a year to educate our children and that is just in grades K-12
      3. We will send them to school for over 15,000 hours just to get them through high school.
      4. At the same time, if they attended every Sunday for two hours that would only be 1,352 hours in that same time.
      5. While if it is true the fathers spend 30 seconds a day in meaningful conversation that is a little less than 40 hours in 13 years.
      6. Abraham's children would follow him for generations because he built it into them.
  6. They will keep the way of the Lord.
    1. This means that they will be followers of God.
    2. They will continue in God's word in His laws.
    3. Abraham set an example for them to follow and was consistent in it.
      1. Do you think there were any questions in Isaac's mind about his father's dedication to God as he lay on that altar waiting to be sacrifice.
      2. Do you think that those around Abraham had doubts when he gave to Melchizedek a tenth of all that he had.
  7. To do
    1. Righteousness
      1. What is right.
      2. The right thing to do.
    2. Justice
      1. The idea here is that to demand justice from others and to judge them when they do not do what is right.
      2. The Jewish people became a people governed by the laws of God.
      3. They demanded that all do what was right.
      4. This comes from a strong belief in absolute moral values.
      5. Those come from a relationship with the moral value Establisher, God.

Therefore, because Abraham would have such a continued profound affect upon his descendants God took him into His confidence.

What about us fathers? Can we, dare we to exercise that type of influence on our children? Or do we dare not to? God help us to first know God and then to make it the top priority of our lives that our children know Him too. 

 This message was preached at FBC Toulon,

by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com  

 

 

Gen. 26: 4 And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."

Deut 4:9 Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, 10 especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, when the Lord said to me, 'Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.'

Deut 6:6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deut 32:45 Moses finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 and he said to them: "Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which you shall command your children to be careful to observe--all the words of this law. 47 For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess."

1 Sam 3: 12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. 14 And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.

Prov 6:

20 My son, keep your father's command,

And do not forsake the law of your mother.

21 Bind them continually upon your heart;

Tie them around your neck.

22 When you roam, they will lead you;

When you sleep, they will keep you;

And when you awake, they will speak with you.

23 For the commandment is a lamp,

And the law a light;

Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,

19. For I know him, that he will command his children. The second reason

why God chooses to make Abraham a partaker of his counsel is, because

he foresees that this would not be done in vain, and without profit. And

the simple meaning of the passage is, that Abraham is admitted to the

counsel of God, because he would faithfully fulfill the office of a good

householder, in instructing his own family. Hence we infer, that Abraham

was informed of the destruction of Sodom, not for his own sake alone, but

for the benefit of his race. Which is carefully to be observed; for this

sentence is to the same effect, as if God, in the person of Abraham,

addressed all his posterity. And truly, God does not make known his will

to us, that the knowledge of it may perish with us; but that we may be his

witnesses to posterity and that they may deliver the knowledge received

through us, from hand to hand, (as we say,) to their descendants.

Wherefore, it is the duty of parents to apply themselves diligently to the

work of communicating what they have learned from the Lord to their

children. In this manner the truth of God is to be propagated by us, so that

no one may retain his knowledge for his own private use; but that each

may edify others, according to his own calling, and to the measure of his

faith. There is however no doubt, that the gross ignorance which reigns in

the world, is the just punishment of men's idleness. For whereas the

greater part close their eyes to the offered light of heavenly doctrine; yet

there are those who stifle it, by not taking care to transmit it to their

children. The Lord therefore righteously takes away the precious treasure

of his word, to punish the world for its sloth. The expression after him is

also to be noticed; by which we are taught that we must not only take care

of our families, to govern them duly, while we live; but that we must give

diligence, in order that the truth of God, which is eternal, may live and

flourish after our death; and that thus, when we are dead, a holy course of

living may survive and remain. Moreover, we hence infer, that those

narratives which serve to inspire terror, are useful to be known. For our

carnal security requires sharp stimulants whereby we may be urged to the

fear of God. And lest any one should suppose that this kind of doctrine

belongs only to strangers, the Lord specially appoints it for the sons of

Abraham, that is, for the household of the Church. For those interpreters

are infatuated and perverse, who contend that faith is overturned if

consciences are alarmed. For whereas nothing is more contrary to faith

than contempt and torpor; that doctrine best accords with the preaching of

grace, which so subdues men to the fear of God, that they, being afflicted

and famishing, may hasten unto Christ.

And they shall keep the way of the Lord. Moses intimates, in these words,

that the judgment of God is proposed, not only in order that they who, by

negligence, please themselves in their vices, may be taught to fear, and that

being thus constrained, they may sigh for the grace of Christ; but also to

the end that the faithful themselves, who are already endued with the fear

of God, may advance more and more in the pursuit of piety. For he wills

that the destruction of Sodom should be recorded, both that the wicked

may be drawn to God, by the fear of the same vengeance, and that they

who have already begun to worship God, may be better formed to true

obedience. Thus the Law avails, not only for the beginning of repentance,

but also for our continual progress. When Moses adds, to do justice and

judgment, he briefly shows the nature of the way of the Lord, which he

had before mentioned. This, however, is not a complete definition; but

from the duties of the Second Table, he briefly shows, by the figure

synecdoche, what God chiefly requires of us. And it is not unusual in

Scripture, to seek a description of a pious and holy life, from the Second

Table of the Law; not because charity is of more account than the worship

of God, but because they who live uprightly and innocently with their

neighbors, give evidence of their piety towards God. In the names of

justice and judgment he comprehends that equity, by which to every one

is given what is his own. If we would make a distinction, justice is the

name given to the rectitude and humanity which we cultivate with our

brethren, when we endeavor to do good to all, and when we abstain from

all wrong, fraud, and violence. But judgment is to stretch forth the hand to

the miserable and the oppressed, to vindicate righteous causes, and to

guard the weak from being unjustly injured. These are the lawful exercises

in which the Lord commands his people to be employed.

That the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

Moses intimates that Abraham should become possessed of the grace

promised to him, if he instructed his children in the fear of the Lord, and

governed his household well. But under the person of one man, a rule

common to all the pious is delivered: for they who are negligent in this

part of their duty, cast off or suppress, as much as in them lies, the grace

of God. Therefore, that the perpetual possession of the gifts of God may

remain to us, and survive to posterity, we must beware lest they be lost

through our neglect. Yet it would be false for any one hence to infer, that

the faithful could either cause or deserve, by their own diligence, that God

should fulfill those things which he has promised. For it is an accustomed

method of speaking in Scripture, to denote by the word that the

consequence rather than the cause. For although the grace of God alone

begins and completes our salvation; yet, since by obeying the call of God,

we fulfill our course, we are said, also in this manner, to obtain the

salvation promised by God. Calvin's Commentary