Coffee and a Bible

Tell Them Why (Genesis 18:17)

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As a kid, you’re not always told why things happen.

That’s fair. My own kids ask a billion “why” questions on a daily basis. If I tried to explain every little thing to them, we would never leave the driveway, much less get anything accomplished.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t explain anything to them. 

Truly, some things are worth explaining to others. Not only what we’re doing, but why we’re doing them.

God Brings Abraham Up to Speed

In Genesis 19:17, right after the angels depart Abraham and head towards Sodom and Gomorrah, we get a rare glimpse into the mind of God.

God apparently “talks to Himself” — not said to denigrate God but to put it in terms we humans understand — and asks whether or not He will “hide” His plans from Abraham.

After all, according to God, Abraham is tasked with being the father of a great nation. That doesn’t just involve being the first one in the genealogical line, but teaching his progeny what it means to follow God.

This whole scene shows that Abraham’s role in this scene is not as a passive observer, in stark contrast to the “let go and let God” crowd that wants to take their hands completely off the wheel.

Instead, Abraham is told the plans of God so that he can “command his household to keep the way of the Lord” which will then “bring upon Abraham what He has spoken of him.”

The insinuation is clear, then. Failure to obey the way of the Lord will result in the loss of the covenant promise.

Which is exactly what happens to the nation of Israel when they’re swept away into Babylonian and Assyrian exile a few hundred years later.

Explain the Why!

In Exodus 12:23-27, Moses picks up on this desire to know the “why” behind certain actions. 

He tells them that, after they leave Egypt and engage in a regular observance of the Passover, that their children will have questions: “What does this rite mean to you?”

In response, you are to tell your children about the deliverance that God gave them.

Isn’t that what we do during the Lord’s Supper? We examine ourselves and remember His sacrifice? Without “remembering His death” (1 Corinthians 11:26), that memorial loses its meaning.

We need to be willing to explain the “why” behind our actions. In 1 Peter 3:15, Peter tells us to “always be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in us.” What people want to know, when they ask us about our faith, is why we hold on to the faith that we have.

Can you explain that to others? Or do you even know yourself?