A Rhetorical Statement

Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way. And the Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing . . .”—Genesis 18:16-17 (NKJV) 

As Abraham’s esteemed guests (two angels and the Lord, Himself) indicate they’re ready to leave, the faithful host rises to see them to the proverbial door. 

If you’ve ever hosted someone, you understand this moment. It’s the closing gesture that seals your time together in kindness. It’s the typical “after dinner mint” of polite society . . . not much happens or is expected to happen in moments like this. But God does something both surprising and significant—something we don’t see very often in Scripture. The Lord asks Himself a question concerning Abraham and His plan to destroy Sodom: “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” (Genesis 18:17-18 NKJV).

Whenever God poses a question, it doesn’t indicate that He’s lacking the answer. He already knows all that is knowable (Psalm 139, 147, 1 John 3:20). So, what we have here isn’t a question in the classical sense, but rather, more of a rhetorical statement. As God states that in light of all He had planned for Abraham and his descendants, He would let him in on the impending judgment about to befall Sodom’s citizens . . . including his nephew, Lot!

Why did God do this? For one thing, it’s evident when you read the rest of the account that the Lord anticipated Abraham’s response would be one of intercession. But suffice it to say, by revealing His future plans to Abraham, God also disclosed the patriarch’s heart and character. 

There’s an important connection to the Christian life here. God entrusts the truth concerning His ways to those who are in Christ because in doing so, it brings out their Christ-like character. 

If you’re a follower of Christ, you have something incredibly important in your possession, God’s Word. It reveals God’s plan for the world collectively and every single soul individually. That plan includes judgment of sin that can only be escaped by taking refuge in the cross, which took and satisfied the judgment of mankind’s sin. All people are either under the protection of the cross or under the sentence of divine judgment.

How do the recipients of this respond? Like Abraham, it should produce an intercessors heart in those who understand it. The revelation of God’s will by His Word reveals our character and connection to His heart, which is for all to be saved.

DIG: What question did the Lord ask Himself and what was He really saying?

DISCOVER: Why did the Lord determine to do this?

DO: Consider what effect the revelation of God’s plan should have on you.         

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.