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.
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.
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