God had promised Abraham and Sarah a child; not through a surrogate; not be adoption, but one of their flesh and bone. One day as Abraham was possibly contemplating this promise of God he and Sarah have some visitors show up:
“And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the LORD said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.’ And the LORD said, ‘Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto Me; and if not, I will know.’ And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.” Genesis 18:16-22 (KJV)
There are three of what the book of Genesis calls men, but Abraham recognizes one as being the LORD Himself. So these other two men must have been angelic escorts. For the LORD of the universe to appear as a man is almost unheard of unless you know of Jesus, of course.
You will notice in the text before the text above there were further promises of a son for the two; the Patriarch of our faith, and his wife Sarah. Then the two “Men” departed and went toward Sodom; and Abraham went with the three for a little distance, then the LORD considers telling, and does tell Abraham what He is about to do in Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham pleads for the cities, and probably due to Lot’s being present in the city of Sodom, so Abraham prays for mercy for the cities in the behalf of any that are righteous in the cities getting all the way down to only 10 people (18:32).
With the passage above we see two of the “Men” angels go on without the LORD. One thing we can see by this is that the LORD knew Abraham, and Abraham knew the LORD. That is important for us to know. One can know the LORD; know all one can know about Him, and still not be known by the LORD. Now is the time to have the will to discern. Abraham had the discernment that this was truly the LORD. He heard the LORD’s word, believed it and pleaded his case before Him.
Note that it was the LORD who came to Abraham and entrusted to him that which He was about to do in the matter of the judgment of a people. Is Abraham angry that God would consider such a thing? It sure does not seem that way to me. He discerns that God is worthy and has cause to pass judgment upon the people. Sometimes I do not see that some Christians have the right heart for God in His judgments today. We hear far too often, “Now, God wouldn’t do that. He does not judge in that fashion.” O, really. Where do you read that in Scripture? That kind of judgment is based on sinful human emotion, comparing God with their own feelings rather than the truths of Scripture.
We have lost the Will to Discern. Consider the following verses from Matthew’s gospel:
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:15-20 (KJV)
Jesus teaching us to beware of false prophets. False prophets, false teachers, “In sheep’s clothing” teaching things about God that are not true. The word of God is true, and any teacher, preacher, or spiritual leader who teaches that God does not or will not judge is false; and should not be heard.
God is holy, righteous and just; and because He is love; He also must judge the righteous judgment. He will not allow His children to sin successfully. “By their fruits you shall know them.” Do not throw the words of Jesus (“Judge not…”) at those who know the word of God, because we are also told to make judgments; such as “By their fruits you shall know them”. You will be putting yourself on a mighty thin thread when and if you do.
-Tim A. Blankenship