The Expository Files

God Makes No Mistakes

Genesis 18:1-33

Anyone who understands the truth about God knows that God does not make mistakes. Not a one. Never.

But that is not to say that it does not appear to us that sometimes maybe He has. But it is our perspective that is limited, while God's is infinite. In the final analysis, the mistake will always be ours, due to our limited knowledge and wisdom (Job 42:1-3; Isaiah 55:8,9).

If you were to think that only people that were unbelievers, or perhaps with only very weak faith, would ever question God's decisions, plans or deeds, you would be wrong. In fact, the foremost example of faith in the Bible is that of Abraham. But sometimes, even Abraham had questions in his mind about whether God was doing the right thing.

He handled his puzzlement correctly. He was, after all, a man of great faith. He did not foolishly charge God, or mock Him, or rebel against Him, or curse Him. That is what many have done, and are doing, even today. But he did have some serious questions. I think, if we were to admit it, we would all have to say the same thing. Sometimes it is difficult for us to understand why God did this or didn't do that. That puts us in the company of Abraham, as long as we handle our puzzlement the same way he did. We continue to live by faith even when we do not perceive all of the answers. Being in the company of Abraham is being in pretty good company.

God's Friend
"...and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,' and he was called the friend of God." (James 2:23).

First, Abraham walked with God in his life. Whatever questions Abraham may have had from time to time were not the result of his being hostile in mind toward God. He was not a rebel against the King of all.

Abraham's attitude was always, "When God speaks, I will respond in faith." He was quick to hear, not merely listen. In the New Testament, the Bible says, "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going." (Hebrews 11:8). This was typical of how seriously Abraham took the word of the Lord. That is what faith is all about.

That is exactly what our attitude ought to be as well. We need to have that kind of reverence for the Lord our God. The Lord has spoken in these "last days" to us in His Son (Hebrews 1:1-3). In this message, revealed in the New Testament, we find the revelation of God's will, and ought to have just as much respect for it as Abraham had for God's word to him.

Abraham's Guests
"Now the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day." (Genesis 18:1).

There were three that came to Abraham. He was very hospitable to them, offering them shelter and food (Genesis 18:1-8). The Lord and two angels are the guests, though it appears that Abraham does not know that at first (see Genesis 18:16,17; 22,23; 19:1). He is just being hospitable. The New Testament tells us to be likewise (Hebrews 13:2).

As the guests were eating they inquired about Abraham's wife, Sarah. They promised that by this time the following year, despite her extreme age, she would have a son. Sarah overheard, and laughed at such an unlikely event. But the Lord responded, "Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son." (Genesis 18:14; see vss. 9-15).

We would all do well to always remember that question when we have doubts or are dismayed. "Is anything too difficult for the Lord?"

Abraham - The Lord's Confidant
The Lord had decided to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their extreme wickedness. Their evil had constantly challenged God, and they had despised the opportunities granted to them to repent. Time was up!

Abraham had pleased God. The Lord expresses confidence in Abraham; "...since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? For I have chosen him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; in order that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him." (Genesis 18:18,19).

Today, you and I can also be "friends of God"! Jesus said, "You are My friends, if you do what I command you." (John 15:14). It worked for Abraham, and Jesus says it will work for us as well.

God - How Could You?
The Lord had made the coming destruction of Sodom known to Abraham. Abraham was flooded with dismay. "And Abraham came near and said, 'Wilt Thou indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?'" (Genesis 18:23).

Abraham had relatives living there. Once he had saved the city form a foreign invader. Not everyone in Sodom were corrupt, were they? Abraham is very disturbed by this decision God had made.

The reason is that Abraham had always believed that God was just. But this did not seem just to Abraham... to "sweep away the righteous with the wicked." That does not seem fair to me either. But I know something Abraham does not know, at least not yet.

Abraham sums up his problem. He said, "Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt Thou indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from Thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from Thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?" (Genesis 18:24,25).

Ultimately, Abraham found out the truth (Genesis 18:25-33). God was no tyrant. He already knew there would be no righteous souls involved in the destruction. God would be just, and Sodom would be destroyed. The Lord would not treat the righteous and wicked alike. Abraham's problem had been that he had not known all the facts.

Sometimes it is the same way with us. We do not know all the facts, all the end results and we do not have access to all the important information. When we lack all the answers, we choose to live by faith. We do not have all the facts, but the Lord does. We trust in our God to do what is right as we trust in Him for victory. God makes no mistakes.


By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 12.4; April 2005