Genesis Chapter 18 Series, Part 9, Verses 16-22

A parable is that which hides truth.
  • | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 28:35
  • Passages covered: Genesis 18:16-22, Genesis 18:17, Matthew 11:25-27, Amos 3:6-7,
    1Corinthians 2:6-7, 1Corinthians 2:8 & 8-10, Proverbs 28:5, Jeremiah 8:7, Matthew 24:37-39.

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Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. Tonight is study #9 of Genesis, chapter 18 and we are continuing in Genesis 18:16-22:

And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And JEHOVAH 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 JEHOVAH, to do justice and judgment; that JEHOVAH may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. And JEHOVAH 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 JEHOVAH.

We have been looking at God’s question in verse 17 in our last couple of studies. It says in Genesis 18:17:

And JEHOVAH said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

The thing God was about to do was to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain. We know from the historical account that God did not hide from Abraham the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. He revealed it to him and that is why Abraham proceeded to make intercession for his nephew Lot and the righteous in the city.

We went to Matthew, chapter 11 in our last study, but let us read these verses again, in Matthew 11:25-27:

At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

In this passage, we find that God does hide things from the “wise and prudent,” or the wise of the world. They may have high IQs and be very intelligent people, as far as the world goes, but when it comes to the truths of the Bible God hides Himself (He is Truth). He hides Himself from unsaved man and they cannot perceive Him. They do not understand, but God reveals things to “babes,” which in this context refers to those He has saved. He reveals Himself. He reveals the Truth. He reveals the Lord Jesus Christ, the hidden manna. He reveals the mysteries of the Word of God, the Bible.

This is not an isolated idea in the Bible. This fact is sprinkled all through the Bible. It says in Amos 3:6-7:

Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and JEHOVAH hath not done it? Surely the Lord JEHOVAH will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

Once again, here is a statement from the Word of God regarding God’s intention or plan and, in this case, it has to do with blowing a trumpet in a city and evil being done in a city. God ties the outpouring of His judgment in several instances to the blowing of a trumpet. We see this in the Book of Revelation where a trumpet is blown and there is judgment on the “third part.” The next trumpet blows and there is more judgment. Another trumpet blows and there is more judgment. Shall a trumpet be blown in the city and evil come upon a city and JEHOVAH has not done it? Has God not brought that judgment, like He brought upon Israel of old and like He brought upon the New Testament churches during the Great Tribulation and like He is now bringing against the world in the Day of Judgment? In that setting, it says in Amos 3:7:

Surely the Lord JEHOVAH will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

It is not just to Abraham that God reveals things. Again, the question was, “And JEHOVAH said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” The question was asked in regard to the judgment and destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Was it just Abraham? No – God came to Noah and told him to build an ark because He was going to destroy the world with the flood. It was God who came to Noah and said, “And yet seven days…” It was a revelation, was it not? It is a revealing of impending doom. It is a revealing of judgment and this is what the trumpets warned about – the approaching wrath of God. Noah was forewarned and now Abraham is being forewarned. When we get to the next chapter, Lord willing, we will see that Lot was forewarned to get out of the city and take his family.

This is a Biblical principal: “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” As a matter of fact, the Bible says God “will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”

A parable is that which hides truth.

There may be some people that say, “OK, we will allow that God did warn Noah and He revealed secrets to Abraham and Lot and other prophets in the Bible, like Jeremiah that warned Judah of destruction by the Babylonians.” They only think naturally, so they conclude it only relates to the prophets we read about in the Bible, like Amos, Jeremiah and Isaiah and other men that had the “office” of a prophet. You see, they do not understand the Bible, because they do not understand how God wrote the Bible. How has He written the Bible? The Bible says that Jesus spoke in parables and without a parable He did not speak. He did not speak without hidden truth. A parable is that which hides truth. The truth that is hidden is hidden from unsaved men, the natural-minded people of the earth. If they happened to be professed Christians, theologians, pastors, elders or deacons, it still makes no difference if they are not truly saved. They are still naturally minded men and the truth from the Word of God has been hidden from them and, therefore, they cannot know it or understand it because it is on a deeper level than their ability to grasp with their natural minds.

We read something interesting in 1Corinthians, chapter 2. It is a glorious chapter in which God lays out the methodology by which we can come to know truth. Leading up to that grand declaration that we are to compare spiritual things with spiritual, it says in 1Corinthians 2:6-7:

Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

This is what we speak as elect children of God; we speak “the hidden wisdom” when we speak about the things the Bible teaches. We might say, “David is a type and figure of Christ, as well as Joshua and Joseph. The parting of the sea pictures the passing over into the new heaven and new earth.” We constantly make references to the spiritual meaning of the Bible. That is how we speak. “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” This is the language of the kingdom of heaven.

You know, the language of the kingdom of God does not come naturally to the naturally-minded individual. The language of the world comes naturally to the natural-minded individual, but the language of the Bible is a spiritual language, which the natural mind cannot understand. It is truly a foreign dialect to the unsaved people of the world. They can even hear an explanation in the Bible from the mouth of Jesus Christ and who spoke more wisely than the Lord Jesus Christ? No one. And, yet, as Christ spoke to the crowds that would gather around Him, the majority of people would depart no better off because they were not able to understand the depth of meaning that Jesus spoke. They did not understand His language. Jesus said as much in the Gospel of John when He said, “My sheep hear my voice,” and He also said, “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep.” They did not have “ears to hear.”

This is all related to how God has written the Bible and to the understanding He grants to those He has saved that we might understand the Bible.

It goes on to say in 1Corinthians 2:8:

Which none of the princes of this world knew…

What did they not know? It relates back to verse 7: “the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” We can understand the “princes of this world,” in this case, to be mankind in general. If we look at the language of Ezekiel 28 where God speaks of the king of Tyrus and said he was in the Garden of Eden and he was spoken of in the highest terms in relationship to the original creation. It is a reference to mankind. Mankind was created in the image of God and Adam was the son of God.

Again, it says in 1Corinthians 2:8-10:

Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

So, the princes of this world are unable to know. They just do not know the hidden truths of the Bible. I would like to take a look at a few verses where God emphasizes this point. He stresses this point in several places, but let us start in Proverbs 28:5:

Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek JEHOVAH understand all things.

“Shall I hide from Abraham the thing which I do?” No – because Abraham was not an evil man. Abraham had been an evil man before God saved him. He was as guilty as anyone else, but God had forgiven all His sins. When God speaks of evil men, He is speaking of those that are still evil because their sins were not atoned for by the Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, they are evil through and through. They have had no payment made on behalf of their sins. They understand not judgment.

On the other hand, those that seek JEHOVAH (the elect) understand all things. “Surely the Lord JEHOVAH will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” Do you see how God is saying He will do “nothing,” and that covers quite a lot of information, does it not? God says He will do nothing, but that He will reveal his secret unto his servants and they that seek JEHOVAH understand all things. Of course, we must understand this in the light of everything else the Bible says. It must be according to God’s program of “times and seasons” as truth was revealed over the history of the world. There was the time path of the Old Testament where God revealed a good deal of truth to His people. God revealed even more in the time of the New Testament. The Apostle Paul said that a mystery had been revealed to him and he was referring to the fact that the Gentiles would be fellowheirs along with the Jews. Then there was the time of the end when more would be revealed, as God said to Daniel, “Shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.” It also says in Daniel 12:4 that knowledge would increase. Yes – knowledge would increase but the revealing of spiritual truth is of no significance to the unsaved, regardless of the “time and season” they may live in. In other words, they do not grow in knowledge of the deeper things of the Bible or the “deep things of God,” as we read in 1Corinthians, chapter 2. They cannot, even though mysteries are being revealed and hidden things are brought to light, they still lack understanding.

God also addresses this in Jeremiah 8:7:

Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of JEHOVAH.

Once again, there is a contrast. In this case, the turtle, crane and swallow have some understanding of the time, but God finds fault with His people because they know not the judgment of JEHOVAH. It is just like when the Lord Jesus came to Israel, but the Bible says they knew not the time of their visitation. They did not know that Almighty God was literally standing before them “in the flesh,” in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is how blind and ignorant unsaved men can be when it comes to perceiving spiritual truth. They have no ability because it must be granted to them and this only happens through salvation when God gives a man a new resurrected spirit and He restores spiritual sight and life. None of the unsaved have that restoration of the soul, so they are dead in their spirits and they cannot perceive these things, whether they be Jews of old or the professed Christians of the New Testament. It is no wonder there is a whole world of “Christendom,” with all those churches and congregations, that can speak with one voice on only one thing: “No man knows the day or hour.” You can ask them about the Lord’s Table, baptism, salvation and any other doctrine and you will hear 100 different answers from 100 different churches. However, amazingly, they have all agreed on the unified conclusion that “no man can know the day or hour.”

And you know what? It is absolutely true of them: “but my people know not the judgment of JEHOVAH.” The evil man understands not judgment, but it is not true of God’s elect. Those that seek JEHOVAH understand all things: “Surely the Lord JEHOVAH will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets,” or, as it says in our verse, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” No – God does not hide it from Abraham. He does reveal these things to His servants, the prophets and this refers to the spiritual “prophets, priests and kings,” which applies to every true child of God. God reveals truth to His elect. He warned Noah and told him, “And yet seven days.” In keeping with the fact that evil men understand not judgment, Noah built an ark that testified to the coming flood, but we read in Matthew 24:37-39:

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

No one should think that they “knew not” because they did not hear it. It has nothing to do with the fact that they did not hear it through the preaching of Noah, a preacher of righteousness. They “heard it” through every nail that was hammered in to that ship as it took shape and was finally completed. The people of the world of that day saw it with their eyes and they heard the preaching, but they “knew not” because evil men understand not judgment: “My people know not the judgment of JEHOVAH.” It is the nature of the natural-minded individual to lack spiritual understanding of the truth. It was only once they experienced the flood waters as pools of waters fell from the sky and as they were literally drowning that they “knew” the judgment through the experiencing of it. They experienced the judgment of God and through the experience of that wrath of God, they finally came to know it. So it is with all natural-minded people regarding the judgments of God. The professed Christians that remained in the churches and congregations do not know or perceive the judgment of God upon the corporate churches.

But we will have to talk more about this when we get together in our next Bible study.