Following Abram’s rash action of fathering a child, Ishmael, by his maidservant, Hagar, we see, in Genesis 17, God’s determination to bless him and to make him a blessing to many people. God will not be put off by our objections (Genesis 17:15-19). To such objections, He gives this answer: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). Despite God’s plan to send blessing, there are still many hindrances. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were such hindrances to God’s purpose: “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous” (Genesis 18:20). Time and again, God held back His judgment. Still, the sin continued, and the judgment was coming. Even in the face of judgment, we must take great encouragement from the patience of God – “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it” (Genesis 18:32). God is looking for the remnant of faith. Out of such small beginnings, great blessing can come. Only a few were found faithful. They did not seem to be very significant. It was through this small band of faithful people that God carried forward His plan of salvation.
God’s plan of salvation reaches its fulfilment in our Saviour, Jesus Christ. In His teaching, as in the teaching of Genesis 17-18, there is both salvation and judgment. Some will be saved. Many will be lost (Matthew 7:13-14,21-23). If we are to be saved, we must follow the wisdom of the Proverbs – ”Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8). Above all, we must follow the “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing”, the living Word – our Lord Jesus Christ. Satan is seeking to destroy us – “let’s swallow them alive, like the grave” (Proverbs 1:12). To “go along with” those who do not honour the Lord Jesus Christ is to “rush into sin” (Proverbs 1:15-16). To live by faith in Christ is “to be kept by the power of God for full salvation” (1 Peter 1:5).