Sunday, September 30, 2007

Genesis 22:13 - Why a ram?

Gen 22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

Why a ram and not a lamb? Jesus was called the Lamb of God. When Jesus was crucified, he was not a youngster, but a full grown man. The Ram was a full grown lamb. Another interesting thought is that he was caught in the thicket, (the crowd) by his horns. Horns represent power. Jesus put aside his power, (horns) and willingly gave himself up to be the sin offering.

Phil 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, (full of power) thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Phil 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Phil 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

John 19:10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
John 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Salvation, is God's power to translate us into the kingdom of God.

Luke 1:68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
Luke 1:69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Genesis 22 - Father, where is the lamb?


Father, where is the lamb?

Gen 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

tempt, test: nacah - to test, try, prove, tempt, assay, put to the proof or test

tempt...peirazĂ´: 2c - to try or test one's faith, virtue, character, by enticement to sin

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

The angel called out of heaven and Abraham answered; here am I.

Samuel responded

1 Sam 3:4 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.

Isaiah responded

Isa 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Do you hear the Lord's voice? Do you answer, here am I?

Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

We must respond in faith.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Gen 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

In the book of Chronicles, it is reported that the location of Araunah's threshing floor is "in mount Moriah" and that the Temple of Solomon was built over Araunah's threshing floor. This was also according to custom to be the place where Abraham brought Isaac to offer him, according to God's direction.

2 Chr 3:1 Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.

Some Christians believe that this was another place, where Christ was later crucified; Jesus was crucified outside the city gates. The verse says, "one of the mountains", the range of mountains called Moriah. There is no specific location given in the scriptures.

Perhaps neither custom is based on fact. There is no mention of this in the Bible. It is best to let the Bible have authority above here say and customs.

Gen 22:3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

Abraham was given the location. He had two men with him and Isaac. They prepared wood for a burnt offering unto the LORD.

Gen 22:4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

On the third day, on the third day God's son arose from the grave. On the third day of their journey, Abraham saw the place, far off.

Gen 22:5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

"We will worship and return"; he was speaking by faith. Faith in God will see us through many difficult times.

Gen 22:6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

Jewish teachings, put the age of Isaac in his thirties. He may have been the same age as our Lord Jesus Christ, who went to the cross at age thirty-three.

Gen 22:7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

They had wood and fire, they had a knife, but where is the sacrifice? Isaac was unaware that he was the sacrifice.

Jesus was aware, that he was the sacrifice. The agony in the garden of Gethsemene portrays his awareness and emotional suffering at this time.

Mat 26:42 He went awayagain the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

Luke 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Luke 22:45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,
Luke 22:46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
Luke 22:47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.
Luke 22:48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

Phil 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Gen 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

God will provide a lamb. Later, John the Baptist would announce Jesus, the Lamb of God.

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

The story looks forward to the sacrifice of God's son on the cross on Golgotha, meaning a skull. Calvary, is the Latin word for the place. The notion that Golgotha, "The Place of the Skull" (Matthew 27:33), was so named because of the skull-like appearance of the hill is a modern idea dating only from the 19th century. From early Christian times, virtually all commentators held that Golgotha was so named simply because it was a place of execution, where the skulls and bones of criminals lay scattered.

Gen 22:9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

Abraham knew the exact place, because God had revealed it to him. Abraham built an altar, which he always did in new locations. Then he bound his beloved son, Isaac. Later, our Lord Jesus Christ would be bound.

Mat 27:1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
Mat 27:2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

Gen 22:10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

As Isaac laid bound on the sacrificial altar, Abraham lifted his knife to slay him. The lambs throat would be slit, to bleed it. The shedding of blood was required.

Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

Gen 22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

Who was the angel of the LORD? Probably Gabriel, who came to Zacharias, Mary and Joseph.

Luke 1:19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings.

Gen 22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

The test was over. Abraham had shown himself faithful and obedient. God is faithful and so was Jesus our Lord. Can we be anything less, having received God's grace?

Rom 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God gave Jesus, for us. Abraham was willing to give up Isaac. Is there something or someone that you cannot give up to God? Many want God to just agree with them and provide good things. They like to receive, but a disciple must leave all.

Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

Gen 22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

Gen 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:...

Gen 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

Jehovahjireh: Jehovah sees

Gen 22:15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
Gen 22:16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
Gen 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
Gen 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Faith was required to receive God's covenant.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
James 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Gen 22:19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.

It was the third day, and Isaac arose and went with his Father and men to Beersheba.

Gen 22:20 And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor;
Gen 22:21 Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,
Gen 22:22 And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.
Gen 22:23 And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham's brother.
Gen 22:24 And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, shebare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.

We will hear more of Rebekah, the wife to be of Isaac.

Will we obey God, even if it means giving up our Isaac? God requires people to be of faith. Be faithful and obedient disciples of the Lord. It is not about our will, but it is to serve and worship the Lord. What we give up, he may return to be used for his glory.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Genesis 21 - Beersheba


Gen 21:22 And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest:

Abimelech was king of Gerar, the same that is spoken of in the preceding chapter, and Phichol was the general of his army. Phichol means, voice of all. The natural man, exercising authority, apart from God.

God is with you in all you do. This was evident to the king, the blessings of the LORD. Abraham had the presence and the power of God. Abimalech, a worldly "religious" man had his own religion, but not the power of God.

2 Tim 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Gen 21:23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.
Gen 21:24 And Abraham said, I will swear.

Abraham had deceived Abimelech before, when he said Sarah was his sister. He asks that Abraham not lie to him, nor his son, nor his grandson: return the kindness I had given to you. Abraham swore to it.

This was as a peace treaty with the Philistines. Maybe this is why Israel seeks to make peace with the current Philistines, the Palestinians? God would say later, in the time of Moses, to destroy the evil people, for the land was promised to Israel and the people in the land were worshipping idols and doing everything opposing the way of God.

Exo 23:27 I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
Exo 23:28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
Exo 23:29 I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
Exo 23:30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.

Abimelech was not wanting to worship with Abraham, perhaps he considered him a threat. Many religions consider the people of faith in the Living God a threat. Let's be "tolerant" of one another. We are not interested in that city that you seek, but we have cities of our own right here, and we have great plans and programs to develop them and to make them nice places to live. Now, Abraham, I want you to promise me you won't get involved in our programs and plans and mess everything up. Abraham did agree to have a covenant, a peace treaty with this king, but there was one thing bothering him, the well, which was symbolic of the word of God. His people were messing with it.

Gen 21:25 And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away.

Mat 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

It "comes with force", and power upon the souls of men: it was attended with the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; with persecution. Another well. There was the well of water that sprang up for Hagar, now this well. A well speaks of the water of the word. Jesus is the well, the Word of God. The religious people wish to stop the flow of living water. They take a little of the word and twist it's meaning. Some have no use at all for the well, they wish to stop it. Jesus, the Living Word; the one who refreshes and brings new life.

On the Internet we spoke with a woman who uses tarot cards and mediitates and receives directions from the spirits. Openly Pagan, she had no use for the Bible, the well, for she said it was written by men. She said we were Fundies, and had closed minds. Yes I love the fundamental truths of the word of God, written by men inspired of God. Fundies have more fun, more joy, because they have God within. The source of truth is the Holy Spirit who opens the word to us, drinking from the spring of living waters. We know Jesus, the source of life, why would we want to go to a false religion?

Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2 Tim 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Gen 21:26 And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.

Jer 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

Gen 21:27 And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.

Sheep and oxen were used in making covenants, as they were sacrificed, cut the sacrifice in pieces and passed between them, in token of the compact and agreement they entered into with each other; signifying that whoever broke it deserved to be cut in pieces as those creatures were. Some of the animals may also have been given as gifts.

Gen 21:28 And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.
Gen 21:29 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?
Gen 21:30 And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.

They were a living reminder to Abimelech of the covenant. Seven refers to the filness, the fulness of the covenant between them. The well signified life and the living word, without which the man of faith could not survive. Perhaps they symbolized living sacrifices and the grace of God?

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Gen 21:31 Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.

Beersheba from Be'er meaning spring and sheba, meaning oath. Well of the oath or well of the seven.

Gen 21:32 Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.

These Philistines originally came from Egypt.

Gen 21:33 And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.

Groves, were used as places of worship. The pagans worshipped the trees, as today. This has almost eliminated the lumber industry in much of the United States. Abraham was different, he planted a grove as a place to worship the everlasting God who, is from everlasting to everlasting, or "the God of the world", the Creator and upholder of it, and the preserver of all creatures in it; him Abraham invoked in this place, prayed unto him, and gave him thanks for all the mercies he had received from him. It would be a place of shade in the arid desert, watered by the well of Beersheba, a place of refreshing, as Jesus is this to us. Jesus is the well of life, the Living Word.

Jesus spoke to the outcast Samaritan woman, at the well

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
John 4:11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
John 4:12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Jesus receives the outcasts of the world, those who religious people have no use for.

Gen 21:34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.

Abraham sojourned very quietly and comfortably for many years, chiefly at Beersheba; the Jewish writers say he sojourned here twenty six years. Here, he found rest from the well, the spring of living waters, the word of God.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Genesis 21-Ishmael - a separate nation

Ishmael - a separate nation

This was promised earlier

Gen 16:11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
Gen 16:12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

Gen 17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
Gen 17:8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
Gen 17:9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

Gen 17:18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
Gen 17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
Gen 17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
Gen 17:21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.

Gen 21:14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.
Gen 21:15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.

She sent the child under a shrub, to shelter him from the heat. The child was not a baby, but 16 yrs old.

Gen 21:16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.

Hagar was very upset and this upset Ishmael. Ishmael had been the favorite of Abraham and now he was thrown out into the hot wilderness. He too cried out, perhaps in prayer or feeling his mother's anguish, he cried too. They both were beside themselves with fear.

Gen 21:17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

Psa 102:17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.

The angel heard the voice of the lad, not a babies cry. Hagar was weeping, and God heard the voice of Ishmael, a son of Abraham. He had made a promise of blessings and of a great nation through Ishmael.

Gen 21:18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

lad : a boy, lad, servant, youth, retainer

Word usage: young man 76, servant 54, child 44, lad 33, young 15, children 7, youth 6, babe 1, boys 1, young 1

Take hold on him with thine hand, and hold him up with it, he being so weak that he could not sit up without being supported:

Gen 21:19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

Isa 41:17 When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
Isa 41:18 I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

Muslim View

Muslims, have a very similar narration of the same sequence of events in the Qur'an. However, in the Qur'an, the details differ from the narration of the Old Testament. Muslims respect Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, and Ishmael (pbut) as very decent, moral and pious people. Muslims believe that the prophet Abraham (pbuh) received a revelation from God to take Hagar and her BABY, Ishmael, to a barren desert in Northern Arabia (Paran), more specifically to the future location of Makkah, and to leave them there. When Abraham began to leave, Hagar called out to him "where are you leaving us?" After repeating the question three times she asked him "Did God command you to do this?" Abraham answered "yes." So Hagar said: "Then He will not forsake us." When Hagar and her baby ran out of water she began to fear for her baby's life and took to running back and forth between the two hills of "Al-Safa" and "Al-Marwa" in search of water. Meanwhile, God sent an angel who caused water to gush out of the earth for them. This became the water of the well of "Zamzam" which the pilgrims of Makkah drink from today. Once water was found in this place the Bedouins began to settle there and it became the city of Makkah. Centuries later, Muhammad (pbuh), the prophet of Islam, was born to the descendants of Ishmael. The rites of hastening between the two hills of "Al-Safa" and "Al-Marwa" have been preserved in the Muslim's yearly pilgrimage to Makkah even to this day.The reason for Hagar's journey was not Sarah's jealousy, Ishmael's mockery, or the racial superiority of Sarah. It was only the command of God, pure and simple.

Muslim Questioning the Bible?

It now becomes evident that sometime after God sent down the Old Testament, someone decided that they did not want the Arab descendants of Ishmael to be included in God's covenant with Abraham. They wanted it exclusive to the Jewish branch of his descendants. Therefore, the Old Testament was "corrected" in order to show that God's intent was that His covenant be with the Jews only.

Solution; write their own "holy book", the Quaran.

Gen 21:20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.

The wilderness required skill, God was with him and made him an archer, so that he could animals to eat.

Gen 21:21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.

Egypt is a type of the world. Hagar came from Egypt and was a slave. She was a bond woman and not free. Abraham did not marry Hagar, although because of relations she was as a wife.

Gen 16:3 And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

The word used for wife is also translated, female or woman.

God sees the sexual union as becoming one flesh.

1 Cor 6:16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

Putting away Hagar was as a bill of divorce.

She had no legitimate claim to the covenant which God gave through Abraham and Sarah. Isaac was a miracle birth. Ishmael was an act of human will and flesh. The seed of Abraham and Sarah would lead to Jesus, son of man(David), Son of God. The seed of Ishmael would lead to Mohammad. The message of Muslims is death to the infidels, carried out by violence. The Message of the Christian is life in Christ through the cross of Calvary. A christian seeks to convert unbelievers through the power of prayer and seeks peace with God and other people.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Isaiah 25 - Song of Joy in Tribulation

Song of Joy in Tribulation

Isa 25:1 O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.

In the midst of tribulation, those in Christ Jesus can praise him for all He has done in the past. We can have peace in the midst of tribulation, knowing that God is faithful. Jesus is faithful and true to his promises.

Psa 43:5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Isa 25:2 For thou hast made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built.

As Babylon of old fell, so shall the cities of the nations who come against Israel, for they are his covenant people. They too must receive Messiah and come into the new covenant.

Isa 25:3 Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee.

The fear of God will come because of his wrath. We fear him out of love and respect.

Isa 25:4 For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

God is strength to the poor of spirit, those who do not trust in their own strength, but in God.

Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

A refuge from the storm, a hiding place from the storms of life. Praise and the word, strengthen us.

Psa 32:7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Psa 119:114 Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

Mark 4:39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
Mark 4:40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

Isa 25:5 Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.

Evil people will be destroyed and sent to hell, with it's burning fire. The branch not connected to the true vine, but to satan, will be broken off and cast into the fire. The cloud is the presence of God, a shelter to his own people and judgement to those who oppress them.

John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

In times of trouble we can trust God and sing praises, we build our faith up in his word. He is our shelter, our faithful and true Lord and a terror to our enemies. Blessed be the LORD, how great is our eternal God.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Genesis 21 - Isaac, Son of the Promise

Isaac, Son of the Promise

Gen 21:1 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

The son seems to be given almost more for Sarah’s benefit here than for Abraham’s. I do not think it too far afield to suggest that Sarah wanted that son more than Abraham did. Abraham loved Ishmael, the son of his flesh.

Gen 21:2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

It was 25 years after a son was promised to Abraham and Sarah. Sarah heard the promise at age 65 and she was given Isaac at 90 years of age.

Gen 17:21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.

It was God's faithfulness, not Abraham's good works, that brought about the promised birth. Being past childbearing age, it was a miracle of God. It was God who promised the child; it was God who accomplished His word. And this was done right on schedule.

Gen 21:3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.
Gen 21:4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.

Gen 17:10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
Gen 17:11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
Gen 17:12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
Gen 17:13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

Gen 21:5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.
Gen 21:6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.

The original skeptical laugh from Sarah, had turned into joyous laughter at his birth.

Gen 21:7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

The birth of Isaac was an old testament type of the birth of Jesus.

Both sons were promised
Both were expected, but the timing remained with God
Both were given names from God, before they were born
Both births were miracles
Both births brought joy

Gen 21:8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
Gen 21:9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

The flesh person always mocks the Spiritual. One Jewish scholar said that it was more than mocking, that there may have been sexual abuse towards Isaac.

mocking : laugh, mock, play

a) (Qal) to laugh

b) (Piel)

1) to jest

2) to sport, play, make sport, toy with, make a toy of

Ishmael was 13 or 14 years older than Isaac, who may have been 3 at his weaning. A three year old would be no match for a 16 year old.

This is a type of the flesh warring with the spirit. The child of the flesh, Ishmael attacking the promised son, Isaac. This is explained by Paul in Galatians.

Gal 4:22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
Gal 4:23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
Gal 4:24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
Gal 4:25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
Gal 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Gal 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
Gal 4:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
Gal 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
Gal 4:30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
Gal 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Gen 21:10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

Fromthe beginning, the bondwoman despised Sarah.

Gen 16:4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

Now her son was mocking her promised son, Isaac. They must be cast out. On a personal level, we are to cast out the works that mock our relationship with the LORD, and follow the spirit.

Rom 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Rom 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
Rom 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

We are to walk in the freedom of grace and have Spiritual fruit.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Gen 21:11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.

It was grievious to Abraham because he loved Ishmael, the son of his flesh. We also love our flesh, our old habits, our pleasures of the flesh. But, there comes a time when we must cast them out. We must not allow them to mock the new person of faith and promise.

Gen 21:12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

It was God's will that Ishmael be removed from the house of the promised seed. The seed will continue through Isaac and Jesus would be the promised deliverer, the Messiah of God.

Ishmael was allowed to stay in the house without a word, but when Isaac came, then Ishmael had to go at last. He never takes away an "Ishmael" until he has given an "Isaac"! Because this is so, we need to be very careful about judging others. We may see Ishmaels in their lives and want to root them out, saying, "You must get rid of this habit." But when God takes away an Ishmael, he first gives an Isaac. In other words, he never tells us to give up some manifestation of self-indulgence until he has first givenus some fruit of the Spirit of grace to take its place in satisfying that longing of the heart. However, when he does give us that manifestation of grace and blessing, then the self-indulgence has to go. (Steadman)

On a personal level, I had to give up some things, and when I did God opened up a new ministry to me: Eaglewings ministries. As we give up things that hinder we can reach out to others by God's grace abiding within. We are the people of the promise, the people of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is work to do, not bondage to sin, but spiritual fruit, because we love the LORD.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Genesis 20 - Wandering Abraham

Wandering Abraham

Gen 20:1 And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.

After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha, Abraham left the mountain, overlooking Sodom, and jourmeyed south. I wonder if he was moving away to distance himself from Lot and his daughters? Gerar is in the land of the Philistines, in south west Palestine. Abraham had just finished a time of intercession and meeting with God; an intimacy which many Christians aspire to have. Some claim to have reached such a high place. We sing the hymn "Higher Ground", I want to scale the utmost height, And catch a gleam of glory bright, and some full of pride say that they never sin. Self righteousness will always fail.

Gen 20:2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.

The Bible shows it's heroes as they were, with their weaknesses and their strengths. This was not a moment of strength for Abraham. He repeated what he did thirty years earlier in Egypt; out of fear for his own life he called Sarah his sister. Now Sarah must have been a beauty at 90 years of age, for the king to take her for his harem. One commentator said of this, was Abraham any better than Lot here? Lot offered his virgin daughters to protect two strangers; whereas Abraham offered his wife to protect himself. The natural man is prone to stumble. We must renew our minds, putting away sinful habits and patterns and conform ourselves after Jesus Christ, and walk in the Spirit. Beware of stumbling, following a spiritual high. Jesus himself shows us this pattern. For in a high point in his ministry, immediately he faced a time of testing.

Mark 1:11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Mark 1:12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.
Mark 1:13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

Jesus never failed, but we sometimes fail.

Gen 20:3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.

This was terrible sin in God's eyes and also in this pagan King's eyes. Yet, on the Internet some speak of swapping of partners for social pleasure. These same people regard the Christian witness as intolerant. What does God think of this? You are a dead man, unless you repent.

Gen 20:4 But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?
Gen 20:5 Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.
Gen 20:6 And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.

God protected Sarah, from whom the Messiah would come. If another had taken her, the promised seed of Abraham would be in doubt. Abimelech did this thing innocently, but God spoke to him in a very serious manner, " thou art a dead man." Talk about a nightmare! Who would not fear God with such a warning. Abimelech had been deceived by Abraham, who told the truth, she is his (half sister), but withheld that she was also his wife. God is just and would spare a repentant innocent king and his nation. God had already taken measures to protect Sarah, perhaps in making the men impotent.

God restrains sin.

2 Thes 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

Gen 20:7 Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

God can speak truth directly into peoples hearts, even in dreams. This is the first recorded dream in the Bible. Can we reject such truth? Even though Abraham is in sin, he is still a prophet and a man of prayer. God's mercy has not left Abraham, even though Abraham wasn't trusting God the way he should. It is reassuring to know that God does not abandon us when we fail, if we are truly saved.

Gen 20:8 Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid.
Gen 20:9 Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.
Gen 20:10 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?

This was as in Egypt 30 years before.

Gen 12:17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife.
Gen 12:18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?

A heathen king is correcting Abraham, man of faith and the chosen man of God, and he was right to do so. We may think that because we are Christians that the world does not see our sins. They do see them, but they are not our judges, we must answer to God.

Rom 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Rom 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Rom 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

We may be protected and loved, but what does our bad behavior do to the image of our LORD?

Rom 2:21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
Rom 2:22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
Rom 2:23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
Rom 2:24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
Rom 2:25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.

Gen 20:11 And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake.

The fear of God and faith in him was at this time lacking in Abraham. He was doing what was right in his own eyes. The flesh can be self righteous.

This old Adamic nature with which we are born, which is perverted and twisted so that it never operates as God intended it to, is totally depraved. That does not mean that it cannot do what appear to be nice things in the eyes of others and even of ourselves. There is something about the old self, the flesh, which is able to simulate righteousness. In the flesh's pursuit after pseudo-righteousness, even if it succeeds in an outward demonstration of a sweet and lovely nature, it has never achieved anything but self-righteousness. Self-righteousness always demands self-praise, a longing to be admired and to win the attention of others. (Stedman)

Gen 20:12 And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.
Gen 20:13 And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt show unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

Abraham repeats the early failed plan of his trying to protect himself.

"There is a terrible meaning in this verb wander which Abraham uses. The Hebrew word occurs exactly fifty times in Scripture and never in a good sense. It is used of animals going astray, of a drunken man reeling, or staggering, of sinful seduction, of a prophet's lies causing the people to err, of the path of a lying heart. Six other words are translated wander, any one of which Abraham might have used, but he used the worst word available." (Barnhouse)

Gen 20:14 And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.
Gen 20:15 And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee.
Gen 20:16 And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved.

Abimelech gives Abraham wealth to atone for his transgression.

Gen 20:17 So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.
Gen 20:18 For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife.

Abraham was still connected to God, for he prayed for Abimelech and all were healed. It is by God's grace, not man's righteousness. We are not to exalt man, but learn who we are in Christ. We do nothing apart from God, but with God we can do his will.

John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.