Sermon Prep (part 1)

Posts in the Sermon Prep: Sodom series

  1. This morning’s sermon will be on …
  2. Sermon Prep (part 1)
  3. Sermon Prep (part 2): Lot
  4. Sermon Prep, part 3
  5. Sermon Prep: Finished!

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Remember how I decided to use all ya’ll to help me with my sermon prep? Well, the day is fast approaching, and I thought that, in the absence of any real content to add here at Addison Road, I would instead post my sermon prep here for you to peruse.

I imagine this will be similar to the sensation that most sane people have when they look at serial killer art: it wouldn’t be interesting, except that it comes from such a disturbed mind. Enjoy!

I start with a legal pad, a comfy writing utensil, and as many good verbal translations of the text as I can find. NASB is usually my first pick. Every major character or prevelant theme gets its own page in the pad, and I jot down clusters of questions or initial thoughts that come from the text. I tend to go translation by translation, and do a straight read-through rather than go verse-by-verse from translation to translation, scouring for distinctions in syntax. I’m not poking in the valleys yet, I’m looking for the mountains, the big things that were the most important to the author, and so should be most important to the reader trying to understand the text.

The text for this Sunday is going to be Genesis 18:16 – 19:29. So far, I have pages on my legal pad for Abraham, Lot, Sodom (city), Sodom (biblical references), What was Sodom’s Sin? (this one might stir up some firestorms), Justice and Righteousness, and Faith.

Here’s part one:

He’s the one already safe from harm in this story – the covenant is begun, promise given, he’s miles away from the city of Sodom.

18:17 What’s the significance of the Lord’s inner dialog on whether or not to tell Abraham? Perhaps he knows that Abrahams bargain will fail? The subordinating conjunction “since” seems to be a non-squitur here. How does Abrahams place in the covenant promise have any bearing on whether or not God reveals his plans to him? Is this just to highlight his position of safety in the narrative that follows?

He pleads for God’s mercy on behalf of the whole city, for the sake of the righteous.

Ink is significant – why is so much space devoted to Abraham’s “used car salesman” technique of bartering God down to 10 people?

18:25 “shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” this looks like a common OT technique for petitioning Yahweh – appealing to aspects of his nature as the basis for him ammending his actions. c.f. Moses with Israel. Not “do this thing for my sake” but “do this thing for your own sake, since it is within your character to do so.”

What’s the right response of those who have already been saved from judgement toward those who have not? Interceding prayer, passionate concern. There is no room in this story for human judgement, for people standing on the sidelines and cheering on the destruction. If we can talk about God’s righteous judgement and great wrath without our hearts breaking, we have not understood how deeply his grace reached down to us.

19:28 The last thing Abraham knows in this story is that his intercession didn’t work. When the angels leave him, he knows that his bargain is in play, and the next thing he sees is the ash and smoke of the wreckage.

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11 thoughts on “Sermon Prep (part 1)

  1. michael lee Post author

    By the way, input, feedback, suggestions are more than welcome. The solitude of this task is the most frustrating part of it for me, so any of you who want to kick in and spill some ink, please do.

  2. aly hawkins

    I think it may be worth noting that the LORD’s promise to Abraham has not yet been fulfilled, i.e., Isaac has not yet been born (or even conceived, presumably). It’s interesting to me that Abe is willing to trust that God will not go back on His promise, even if Abe risks pissing him off by begging mercy for Sodom. That either says a lot about Abe’s enormous faith “credited to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6, Rom. 4) or a lot about his sense of justice and compassion…maybe both.

    This is a great idea, Michael. I like doing Biblical interpretation and theology in community. It makes more sense that way.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on Lot and Sodom…

  3. corey

    Wow. I just went over to the God Hates Fags site. What a treat. And when I say “treat” I mean one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen.

    They’ll know we are Christians by our…

  4. Chad


    You’ve never been to the God Hates Fags?!?! I love that site. It reminds me where the natural and intellectually honest conclusion of legalism lies.

  5. corey

    no, until this afternoon I was blissfully ignorant of the existence of GHF- and subsequently of its sister sites:,, and, among others. That’s a lotta hate.

  6. Cliff

    This is very cool.

    I wonder if God’s inner dialog is about whether Abraham will still WANT God’s “blessing” to reach the rest of the world if he knows the fate of Sodom. That would suggest that God is taking a risk in revealing His mind to Abraham.

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