Home thoughts from

Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


April 2018

Daily Bible thoughts 1662: Tuesday 1st May 2018: Genesis 20:1-7: Marriage matters.

Genesis 20:1-7: Marriage matters.

“Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, ‘She is my sister.’ Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.  But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, ‘You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.’  Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, ‘Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? Did he not say to me, “She is my sister,” and didn’t she also say, “He is my brother”? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.’  Then God said to him in the dream, ‘Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.’” NIV UK

The great heroes of the Bible, as we have noted before, were flawed. They had feet of clay. Here we see Abraham repeating an earlier sin (Genesis 12). He had fallen off his horse at this fence before. Here he was again, chewing turf! He had displayed such godly, prayerful behaviour in recent times. Why should he once again resort to deceit, to scheming? Like all of us, Abraham was a ‘mixed bag.’ Of late, I’ve been re-visiting the history of early Pentecostalism. I have seen clearly that some of the great men who were used to bring many people to Christ; who performed notable miracles, were flawed and failing. They could say things which were not nice. They could quarrel and compete. They were not totally free of personal ambition. Yet God did use them. You see, a gift is a gift. It’s not a reward. It’s not necessarily a sign that someone is particularly godly, or that all their theology is correct. In spite of his sin, it is still the case that Abraham was a ‘’prophet’’ (7), and he was powerful in prayer. ‘The best of men are men at best.’

I also take heart from this story that God can reach anyone He chooses (3).He can call them up at any time. He has their private number. Both in Bible days and now, God speaks to people in dreams-especially in areas where people don’t have easy access to the Bible. When you try to talk to a person about Christ, you may find their line ‘engaged.’ But the Lord can get through. Don’t doubt it. To you they may be ‘ex-directory; but not to Him!

Once again, this story brings us face to face with the sanctity of marriage. It is a serious thing to violate it. Marriage matters. It is much more than a physical, biological coming together of two people: a man and a woman. It is a covenant. God is involved. To attack marriage is to declare war on God. He conducts the wedding, effectively, and He is deeply invested in these two people staying together through life. If you read what ‘Proverbs’ has to say about fidelity and infidelity in marriage, you are bound to see that adultery is a self-destruct mechanism. If you hide the book of ‘Proverbs’, alone, in your heart, you will not venture into that territory. It sets up a clear, strong fence at the top of the cliff. As someone said, a fence at the top is better than an ambulance at the bottom.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for your good gift of marriage. Graciously help us to guard our marriages, and walk in faithfulness before you and with each other.


Daily Bible thoughts 1660: Friday 27th April 2018: Genesis 19: 26-29: Take God seriously.

Genesis 19: 26-29: Take God seriously.

“26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. 27 Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 He looked down towards Sodom and Gomorrah, towards all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace. 29 So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.” NIV UK

‘The inhabitants of the cities of the plain had no idea that they were awakening that morning to the last day of their lives (Genesis 19:23). Life was going on as usual, and then the fire fell (Luke 17:26-30).’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘The Wiersbe Bible                 Commentary (OT)’, p.79.

Here are at least 3 lessons from this short passage:

  • Sin is serious (The sin described in Genesis 19 is a serious matter);
  • God’s judgment is real. We should look and learn, and fear God. We should recognise that contemporary cities could suffer a similar fate, for God has not changed. He never will. One day we will all have to face God as our Judge, if we do not trust Jesus to be our Saviour;
  • A praying person, however, can make a major difference. God listened to Abraham and He saved Lot. In wrath, He remembered mercy. Don’t fail to pray for your relatives – however lost they may seem. One intercessor is a difference-maker. ‘In the same way, God will remember our intercessor prayers. He may not grant our exact requests; He did not spare Sodom as Abraham had asked. Instead, he rescued Lot out of Sodom, which – at least for Lot – was better. So it was God’s mercy, activated by Abraham’s prayer, that resulted in Lot’s salvation.’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.160.

Never forget that although God hates sin, He loves sinners, and wants to save them.

Daily Bible thoughts 1659: Thursday 26th April 2018: Genesis 19:14-25: ‘Hurry’

Genesis 19:14-25: ‘Hurry’

“So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, ‘Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!’ But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. 15 With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, ‘Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.’16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, ‘Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!’ 18 But Lot said to them, ‘No, my lords, please! 19 Your servant has found favour in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to me in sparing my life. But I can’t flee to the mountains; this disaster will overtake me, and I’ll die. 20 Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it – it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared.’ 21 He said to him, ‘Very well, I will grant this request too; I will not overthrow the town you speak of. 22 But flee there quickly, because I cannot do anything until you reach it.’ (That is why the town was called Zoar.) 23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah – from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities –                                                              and also the vegetation in the land. ” NIV UK

The gospel message carries with it an urgency, because those who reject Jesus Christ, and his offer of salvation (rescue) are ‘’condemned’’ (John 3:18). This wonderful passage in John’s gospel shows that it is not God’s desire to judge the world, but to save it. However, by our stubborn refusal of the light, we condemn ourselves to perpetual darkness.

The note of judgment must be sounded in gospel preaching, otherwise we are not proclaiming the full gospel. We must say what the Bible says, even though some people may treat it as a ‘joke’ (14).

Our message also is that people should ‘’Flee’’ for their lives. In our case, we are not saying, ‘Flee from your country, your city, your town, or your village.’ But we are most definitely saying, ‘Flee to Jesus.’ In Him alone we find refuge from the judgment we so richly deserve.

PRAYER: Lord, we live in a day in which there is pressure on us to not say that certain things are wrong. Many people do not want to hear that they are accountable to Almighty God. So please strengthen your people to ‘stay true to truth’; to remain solidly faithful to you.

Daily Bible thoughts 1658: Wednesday 25th April 2018: Genesis 19:4-13: Which Bible are you reading?

Genesis 19:4-13: Which Bible are you reading?

“4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom – both young and old – surrounded the house. They called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.’ Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, ‘No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.’ ‘Get out of our way,’ they replied. ‘This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.’ They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. 10 But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. 11 Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. 12 The two men said to Lot, ‘Do you have anyone else here – sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.’” NIV UK

A famous preacher was quoted as saying words to the effect that if God does not judge America, He will have to apologise to Sodom and Gomorrah. It was a graphic way of making his point. The same thing could be said with reference to the entire western world – for starters. In reading this story, the predominant sin of Sodom is obvious. It is also clear that the judgment of God fell on the city because of it. When some professing Christians say they read their Bibles, but can’t see what’s the big deal with this kind of behaviour, I have to wonder, ‘Exactly which Bible are you reading?’ Genesis 19 is NOT advocating such conduct.

What a contradiction Lot is. Part of eastern hospitality included a strong sense of the duty to protect one’s guests. But how could a father treat his daughters in such a careless fashion? Lot was a foreigner in Sodom, as was pointed out to him. But too much of that city had entered his own soul. He was a deeply compromised man.

‘What had happened to Lot’s personal values that he would offer his daughters to satisfy the sensual appetites of a mob? (In contrast, Abraham would offer his son to the Lord.)’ Warren Wiersbe

PRAYER: ‘The world is ever near me, around me and within; O Jesus draw thou nearer, and shield my soul from sin.’


Daily Bible thoughts 1657: Tuesday 24th April 2018: Genesis 19:1-3: Prayer being answered.

Genesis 19:1-3: Prayer being answered.

“The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. ‘My lords,’ he said, ‘please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.’  ‘No,’ they answered, ‘we will spend the night in the square.’  But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.” NIV UK

Don’t forget that these two angels were despatched to Sodom in answer to Abraham’s prayers. ‘Abraham, who lived outside Sodom, had more influence than Lot, who lived in the city.’ Warren Wiersbe.  When Abraham had his divine visitation ‘’he was sitting at the entrance to his tent’’ (18:1). But Lot ‘was sitting in the gate-way of the city’’ (19:1) when the ‘’two angels’’ came calling. Like his uncle, he showed kind and generous hospitality to his visitors. But he was not like him in outlook. Lot had some time previously traded his tent for a settled home. As he was in the gate-way, it may indicate that he was a person of influence. But in order to affect ‘Sodom’ you have to be salty salt and bright light. The overall impression we get from Lot’s story indicates he was not. In fact, but for 2 Peter 2:7,8, you might question whether he was a believer.

‘Abraham was a pilgrim and stranger, only passing through this world, but Lot had gradually abandoned his tent and settled down in Sodom. Instead of keeping his eyes on the heavenly city (Heb. 11:10, 14-16), Lot looked toward Sodom and began to walk by sight (Gen. 13:10-11). Then he moved his tent near Sodom (v. 12), and finally he moved into Sodom (14:12). Lot’s location in the gate indicates that he was a man of some authority, for that was where official business was conducted (Ruth 4:1ff.).

Had Lot gone to Sodom because God directed him, his being there would have fulfilled divine purposes. After all, God put Joseph in Egypt, Daniel in Babylon, and Esther in Persia, and their presence turned out to be a blessing. Worldliness is not a matter of physical geography but of heart attitude (1 John 2:15-17). Lot’s heart was in Sodom long before his body arrived there. No doubt he got his first love for the world when he went to Egypt with Abraham (Gen. 13:1, 10), and he never overcame it.’ Warren Wiersbe.

The last sentence is conjecture, but for the rest, I feel there is warning in it that it’s possible to be a worldly kind of Christian – one who lives well away from God’s real purpose for their life. You cannot bless your world in the way God wants you to if you are content to be lukewarm.

PRAYER: Lord, set me ablaze by your Spirit, and keep me burning. ‘Never let my heart go cold…’


Daily Bible thoughts 1656: Monday 23rd April 2018: Genesis 18:16-33: Standing in the gap.

Genesis 18:16-33: Standing in the gap.

“16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down towards Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.’  20 Then the Lord said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.’  22 The men turned away and went towards Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: ‘Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing – to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?’  26 The Lord said, ‘If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’  27 Then Abraham spoke up again: ‘Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?’  ‘If I find forty-five there,’ he said, ‘I will not destroy it.’  29 Once again he spoke to him, ‘What if only forty are found there?’  He said, ‘For the sake of forty, I will not do it.’  30 Then he said, ‘May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?’  He answered, ‘I will not do it if I find thirty there.’  31 Abraham said, ‘Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?’  He said, ‘For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.’  32 Then he said, ‘May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?’  He answered, ‘For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.’  33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.” NIV UK

‘History belongs to the intercessors.’ Walter Wink.

Warren Wiersbe points out that earlier on, in chapter 14, Abraham had intervened to rescue Lot; now he interceded for his rescue. In the first place, an intercessor stands in the counsel of the Lord. He, or she, is given insight into what God is doing, or intends to do. So they are able to pray in an especially enlightened way. Abraham knew what was going to happen to Sodom before the people there (including Lot) did. ‘’The LORD confides in those who fear him…’’ Psalm 25:14a. It is interesting to me that the last words in the chapter say: ‘’When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham…’’ You think, ‘But hasn’t Abraham been speaking with God?’ Well yes He has. But the initiative is always with God. ‘When God intends a great mercy for a people, first He sets them a praying.’ Matthew Henry.

With the knowledge he was given, Abraham prayed. He appealed to God’s justice (23-25). When the Lord rescued Lot, however, it was on the basis of His mercy and grace (19: 16 & 18). But God listened to Abraham. Prayer is powerful.

“If they [lost sinners] will not hear you speak, they cannot prevent your praying. Do they jest at your exhortations? They cannot disturb you at your prayers. Are they far away so that you cannot reach them? Your prayers can reach them. Have they declared that they will never listen to you again, nor see your face? Never mind, God has a voice which they must hear. Speak to Him, and He will make them feel. Though they now treat you despitefully, rendering evil for your good, follow them with your prayers. Never let them perish for lack of your supplications” (Charles Spurgeon: Metropolitan Pulpit, vol. 18, 263-64).

‘Undoubtedly he was thinking of Lot and his family as he progressively lowered the number of righteous people that might be needed to save the city. We don’t know why Abraham stopped at ten (verse 32); perhaps he calculated that Lot’s extended family now included ten persons. But Abraham had learned enough; he had learned that God is as concerned with the few as he is with the many, that He desires to save rather than to punish..In fact, there turned out to be only one ‘’righteous’’ person in Sodom – Lot; and God delivered him…God had greater concern and compassion for the righteous than Abraham did. Abraham stopped at ten; God was not willing that even one should perish (see Matthew 18:12-14). Since this is true, let us not tire of interceding on behalf of even one soul; God will not tire of hearing us.’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.159.


Daily Bible thoughts 155: Friday 20th April 2018: Genesis 18:9-15: God knows.

Genesis 18:9-15: God knows.

” ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ they asked him.  ‘There, in the tent,’ he said.  10 Then one of them said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.’  Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, ‘After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?’  13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, “Will I really have a child, now that I am old?” 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.’  15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, ‘I did not laugh.’  But he said, ‘Yes, you did laugh.’” NIV UK

God knows everything about us, but still loves us. This is not an excuse for sin, nor should it be a motivation to spiritual complacency. But it should cause us to be grateful that we are deeply loved; that we are engulfed in an unfathomable sea of mercy; that grace is all around us. Sarah’s laughter, and her lying, were known to God. This did not stop Him keeping His promise regarding Isaac. How good is our God.

Daily Bible thoughts 1654: Thursday 19th April 2018: Genesis 18: 1 – 8: Ready to serve.

Genesis 18: 1 – 8: Ready to serve.

“The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.  He said, ‘If I have found favour in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way – now that you have come to your servant.’  ‘Very well,’ they answered, ‘do as you say.’  So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. ‘Quick,’ he said, ‘get three seahs  of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.’  Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.” NIV UK

‘Resting in the afternoon is a normal practice in the East, and don’t forget that Abraham was nearly a hundred years old. Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do is take a nap!’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word’, p.28. Wiersbe also makes the point, in his Old Testament Commentary, that few people travelled when the sun was so hot, so Abraham was immediately curious and courteous. ‘Hospitality is the first law of the East, and Abraham faithfully obeyed it.’

God may ‘appear’ to you any ordinary day as you do what you usually do. You may sense Him come close as you sit quietly, or as you contemplate nature. Be alert; be ready. He still ‘visits’ homes. Are you prepared for Him today? Ready to worship; to give Him the reverence He deserves? (2) Will you be quick to respond? (It’s been pointed out that this was an elderly man running around in the heat of the day). Will we be eager to serve Him; to give our absolute best? (3-8). Wiersbe makes the point that although Abraham had 318 servants, He served the Lord personally. He then stood by (8), presumably to be available for further service, if needed.

When asked why he spent so much time doing practical jobs in the church building, one man who had been a works manager, replied, ‘I have a good Master.’

‘All ministry must first be to the Lord, for if we fail to be a blessing to the Lord, we will never be a blessing to others.’ The Wiersbe Bible Commentary (OT), p.76. (See also Colossians 3:24, 25).


Daily Bible thoughts 1633: Wednesday 18th April 2018: Genesis 17:23-26: Painful obedience.

Genesis 17:23-26: Painful obedience.

“23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, 25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen; 26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day. ” NIV UK

I simply want to make the point that Abraham fully obeyed God, even though there was pain involved. Doing what God tells you do can be costly. There must be no hiding of this truth. But it’s always the right, and best, way to live. The price of disobedience is far greater and far worse.  Amy Carmichael, missionary to India, wrote to a friend who was perplexed about a painful experience, “I will say what our Heavenly Father said to me long ago, and says to me still very often: ‘See in it a chance to die.’” Warren W. Wiersbe.

As followers of Jesus, we also know that any opportunity to die is equally one to rise again. Good Friday and Easter Sunday go together in Christian history and experience. If ‘it’s Friday’, we know for sure that ‘Sunday’s coming.’

PRAYER: Lord, I need your strength. Help me, please, to obey you fully in every area of my life.


Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: