Leading Question: If God came to your house for lunch, what would you feed him?
Scripture Focus: Genesis 18:1-19:29; James 5:16; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25
The Big Idea: Despite his faults, Abraham models the three missional qualities of hospitality, love, and intercessory prayer.
- Previously, God had told Abraham that he was to be channel through which God would bless all peoples. In Gen 18, we see Abraham taking the initiative to provide hospitality to three strangers. He brings food, washes their feet, and offers shelter for them to rest, never suspecting that the strangers are the Lord and two angels!
- By these simple acts, was Abraham fulfilling his mission as a channel through whom God could bless the world? Really? Is caring for the physical needs of others enough, or does missionary work require the missionary speak overtly about God?
- It may seem like a small thing, but Abraham provides a calf, curds, milk, and bread for the Lord and the two angels. According to Gen 18:8, God ate the food! What lessons might we learn from all this? Is God a vegetarian? How should we respond to the various types of food that are set before us when we are engaged in reaching out to others?
- Is it possible to reach the hearts of other people if we never eat with them? How important is food in mission?
- When the Lord finally reveals his mission to judge Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham responds by pleading for the people of Sodom. Clearly, he cares about them and loves them despite their wickedness.
- How does Abraham’s pleading for mercy for Sodom differ from our reactions to vile and violent people today? Have we ever asked God to destroy the wicked?
- We should notice that Abraham didn’t just want the righteous to be spared, he desired that all of the city be shown mercy. Again, how does his attitude differ from ours?
- If we truly love those who are different from us, will we ever want them to be destroyed?
- The Sabbath School Lesson presents the conversation between God and Abraham as an example of intercessory prayer.
- What do we learn about intercessory prayer from this story, and did Abraham’s intercession for the people of the city work? Did Abraham’s prayer change God?
- When faced with violent and vile people today, isn’t it important to stand up to them and work for reform and for justice? Is intercessory prayer, asking for God to spare them, the best approach?
- What role does intercessory prayer play in mission today? If prayer for others is so effective, why do we also need to physically go out to the world?