Genesis 18; Genesis 19; Matthew 6:1-18

1 The Lord appeared to Abraham at the sacred trees of Mamre. As Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent during the hottest part of the day, 2 he looked up and saw three men standing there. As soon as he saw them, he ran out to meet them. Bowing down with his face touching the ground, 3 he said, "Sirs, please do not pass by my home without stopping; I am here to serve you. 4 Let me bring some water for you to wash your feet; you can rest here beneath this tree. 5 I will also bring a bit of food; it will give you strength to continue your journey. You have honored me by coming to my home, so let me serve you." They replied, "Thank you; we accept." 6 Abraham hurried into the tent and said to Sarah, "Quick, take a sack of your best flour, and bake some bread." 7 Then he ran to the herd and picked out a calf that was tender and fat, and gave it to a servant, who hurried to get it ready. 8 He took some cream, some milk, and the meat, and set the food before the men. There under the tree he served them himself, and they ate. 9 Then they asked him, "Where is your wife Sarah?" "She is there in the tent," he answered. 10 One of them said, "Nine months from now I will come back, and your wife Sarah will have a son." Sarah was behind him, at the door of the tent, listening. 11 Abraham and Sarah were very old, and Sarah had stopped having her monthly periods. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself and said, "Now that I am old and worn out, can I still enjoy sex? And besides, my husband is old too." 13 Then the Lord asked Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, "Can I really have a child when I am so old?' 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? As I said, nine months from now I will return, and Sarah will have a son." 15 Because Sarah was afraid, she denied it. "I didn't laugh," she said. "Yes, you did," he replied. "You laughed." 16 Then the men left and went to a place where they could look down at Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on their way. 17 And the Lord said to himself, "I will not hide from Abraham what I am going to do. 18 His descendants will become a great and mighty nation, and through him I will bless all the nations. 19 I have chosen him in order that he may command his sons and his descendants to obey me and to do what is right and just. If they do, I will do everything for him that I have promised." 20 Then the Lord said to Abraham, "There are terrible accusations against Sodom and Gomorrah, and their sin is very great. 21 I must go down to find out whether or not the accusations which I have heard are true." 22 Then the two men left and went on toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham. 23 Abraham approached the Lord and asked, "Are you really going to destroy the innocent with the guilty? 24 If there are fifty innocent people in the city, will you destroy the whole city? Won't you spare it in order to save the fifty? 25 Surely you won't kill the innocent with the guilty. That's impossible! You can't do that. If you did, the innocent would be punished along with the guilty. That is impossible. The judge of all the earth has to act justly." 26 The Lord answered, "If I find fifty innocent people in Sodom, I will spare the whole city for their sake." 27 Abraham spoke again: "Please forgive my boldness in continuing to speak to you, Lord. I am only a man and have no right to say anything. 28 But perhaps there will be only forty-five innocent people instead of fifty. Will you destroy the whole city because there are five too few?" The Lord answered, "I will not destroy the city if I find forty-five innocent people." 29 Abraham spoke again: "Perhaps there will be only forty." He replied, "I will not destroy it if there are forty." 30 Abraham said, "Please don't be angry, Lord, but I must speak again. What if there are only thirty?" He said, "I will not do it if I find thirty." 31 Abraham said, "Please forgive my boldness in continuing to speak to you, Lord. Suppose that only twenty are found?" He said, "I will not destroy the city if I find twenty." 32 Abraham said, "Please don't be angry, Lord, and I will speak only once more. What if only ten are found?" He said, "I will not destroy it if there are ten." 33 After he had finished speaking with Abraham, the Lord went away, and Abraham returned home.
1 When the two angels came to Sodom that evening, Lot was sitting at the city gate. As soon as he saw them, he got up and went to meet them. He bowed down before them 2 and said, "Sirs, I am here to serve you. Please come to my house. You can wash your feet and spend the night. In the morning you can get up early and go on your way." But they answered, "No, we will spend the night here in the city square." 3 He kept on urging them, and finally they went with him to his house. Lot ordered his servants to bake some bread and prepare a fine meal for the guests. When it was ready, they ate it. 4 Before the guests went to bed, the men of Sodom surrounded the house. All the men of the city, both young and old, were there. 5 They called out to Lot and asked, "Where are the men who came to stay with you tonight? Bring them out to us!" The men of Sodom wanted to have sex with them. 6 Lot went outside and closed the door behind him. 7 He said to them, "Friends, I beg you, don't do such a wicked thing! 8 Look, I have two daughters who are still virgins. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do whatever you want with them. But don't do anything to these men; they are guests in my house, and I must protect them." 9 But they said, "Get out of our way, you foreigner! Who are you to tell us what to do? Out of our way, or we will treat you worse than them." They pushed Lot back and moved up to break down the door. 10 But the two men inside reached out, pulled Lot back into the house, and shut the door. 11 Then they struck all the men outside with blindness, so that they couldn't find the door. 12 The two men said to Lot, "If you have anyone else here - sons, daughters, sons-in-law, or any other relatives living in the city - get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The Lord has heard the terrible accusations against these people and has sent us to destroy Sodom." 14 Then Lot went to the men that his daughters were going to marry, and said, "Hurry up and get out of here; the Lord is going to destroy this place." But they thought he was joking. 15 At dawn the angels tried to make Lot hurry. "Quick!" they said. "Take your wife and your two daughters and get out, so that you will not lose your lives when the city is destroyed." 16 Lot hesitated. The Lord, however, had pity on him; so the men took him, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand and led them out of the city. 17 Then one of the angels said, "Run for your lives! Don't look back and don't stop in the valley. Run to the hills, so that you won't be killed." 18 But Lot answered, "No, please don't make us do that, sir. 19 You have done me a great favor and saved my life. But the hills are too far away; the disaster will overtake me, and I will die before I get there. 20 Do you see that little town? It is near enough. Let me go over there - you can see it is just a small place - and I will be safe." 21 He answered, "All right, I agree. I won't destroy that town. 22 Hurry! Run! I can't do anything until you get there." Because Lot called it small, the town was named Zoar. 23 The sun was rising when Lot reached Zoar. 24 Suddenly the Lord rained burning sulfur on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah 25 and destroyed them and the whole valley, along with all the people there and everything that grew on the land. 26 But Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. 27 Early the next morning Abraham hurried to the place where he had stood in the presence of the Lord. 28 He looked down at Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole valley and saw smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a huge furnace. 29 But when God destroyed the cities of the valley where Lot was living, he kept Abraham in mind and allowed Lot to escape to safety. 30 Because Lot was afraid to stay in Zoar, he and his two daughters moved up into the hills and lived in a cave. 31 The older daughter said to her sister, "Our father is getting old, and there are no men in the whole world to marry us so that we can have children. 32 Come on, let's get our father drunk, so that we can sleep with him and have children by him." 33 That night they gave him wine to drink, and the older daughter had intercourse with him. But he was so drunk that he didn't know it. 34 The next day the older daughter said to her sister, "I slept with him last night; now let's get him drunk again tonight, and you sleep with him. Then each of us will have a child by our father." 35 So that night they got him drunk, and the younger daughter had intercourse with him. Again he was so drunk that he didn't know it. 36 In this way both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their own father. 37 The older daughter had a son, whom she named Moab. He was the ancestor of the present-day Moabites. 38 The younger daughter also had a son, whom she named Benammi. He was the ancestor of the present-day Ammonites.
1 "Make certain you do not perform your religious duties in public so that people will see what you do. If you do these things publicly, you will not have any reward from your Father in heaven. 2 "So when you give something to a needy person, do not make a big show of it, as the hypocrites do in the houses of worship and on the streets. They do it so that people will praise them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. 3 But when you help a needy person, do it in such a way that even your closest friend will not know about it. 4 Then it will be a private matter. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you. 5 "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites! They love to stand up and pray in the houses of worship and on the street corners, so that everyone will see them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. 6 But when you pray, go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you. 7 "When you pray, do not use a lot of meaningless words, as the pagans do, who think that their gods will hear them because their prayers are long. 8 Do not be like them. Your Father already knows what you need before you ask him. 9 This, then, is how you should pray: "Our Father in heaven: May your holy name be honored; 10 may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today the food we need. 12 Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. 13 Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.' 14 "If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done. 16 "And when you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. 17 When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, 18 so that others cannot know that you are fasting - only your Father, who is unseen, will know. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.
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