Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Still not knowing what was going on or what Laban was searching for, Jacob became very upset, as anyone would, and decided to let Laban have a piece of his mind, so Jacob addressed him. “ Come now Laban, what is my wrongdoing, what is my sin against you? You chased after me as if I were a thief; you have turned my belongings up side down, and what have you found? If I have stolen from you, then you must have found it; so place it here before me and my men and you and your men, and let them judge me whether I am a thief or not.” When Laban did not respond, Laban continued to lay out his indictment against Laban. “Twenty years have I served you; I looked steadfastly after your sheep and your goats, and your flocks, and when they had young ones, I looked after them also, and any of your flocks which were injured or stolen by animals I bore the loss myself. Thus, I served you summer and winter, by night and by day; and many a sleepless night have I had.” “Twenty years I served you, fourteen of those years were my wages for your two daughters; and I need not remind you how that came about; and after those fourteen years I was forced to serve you another six years and even so you changed the terms of our agreement, and cheated me out of my wages ten times. And even now, were it not for the fear of God of my fathers, of Abraham and Isaac, you would have sent me away empty handed. But God has seen my affliction and my labor, and that is why he intervened and warned you in your dream the other night regarding me.” Laban knew that every word spoken by Jacob was the truth; and he knew he could not deny the severity of the allegations made against him, nor the justice of Jacob’s claim; so he said, “Come now, your wives are my daughters; and their children are my children, even the cattle that you have belong to me. So what can I do unto you and unto them? I tell you what I will do, I will make a covenant of peace with you, and let it be a witness between us.” So that day did Jacob built a pillar of stones and he called the name of the place, Galeed; but Laban called it Jegarsahadusah; and they sat there and ate bread together that day. More
Monday, December 30, 2013
While Laban was addressing Jacob in what appeared to be conciliatory terms, Jacob must have been wondering what Laban’s next move would be. To be sure, Jacob did not believe any of his smooth talk about a feast and music and dancing to celebrate their departure. Even now Jacob would have thought, maybe he is just sweetening me up for the kill; and of his talk about missing personal items, Jacob saw that as merely his excuse for pursuing after them and doubtless even now intended him harm. Of course, Jacob had no idea what Laban was talking about because he did not know what Rachel had done. So now Jacob had a chance to speak, he sad frankly what he thought about Laban. “I must admit I was afraid of you; I felt sure you would take my daughters away from me by violent means.” Although he thought it, Jacob thought it not prudent to add “and perhaps[s, even slay me. “ Of course Jacob by this time knew exactly why his father in law did not raise his hand against him. He was afraid of what God would do to him; so like a true Arab, he spoke of kindness and friendship while his heart was full of envy and murder. Still thinking that his and his company’s hands were clean as far as Laban’s allegation of theft was concerned he invited Laban to search among his possessions which Laban did. Laban searched everywhere and did not find what he was looking for. He did not because his daughter Rachel had it under her seat and told her father she could not rise from her seat because she was undergoing that time of life that women undergo monthly. More
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Jacob and his wives, his children and all his household, departed post-haste, taking with them all of Jacob’s possessions and set out for his father’s house. It took three days before Laban found out. We may remember that on the day of the last agreement with Laban when the reward for his labor was set, Jacob had wisely set three days separation between his holding and that of Laban’s. So now little wonder that it took Laban about the same number of days before he found out that Jacob had gone. Be that as it may, as soon as Laban found out, with blood in his eye, he gathered unto himself a small army of men and set out in hot pursuit after Jacob, no doubt with every intention of doing him harm, probably even to kill him and take away all his livestock and all his possessions. Pursuing after Jacob, he finally caught up with him after seven days; but before doing so, the Lord appeared unto him in a dream and warned him and said, “See that you have nothing whatsoever to do with Jacob; don’t even speak to him or say neither good nor evil to him.” But it came to pass that when Laban caught up with Jacob he did speak to him and said, “Why did you steal away like a thief in the night? You stole away my daughters, and my grandchildren, and took them away like a thief at the edge of a sword. You also took personal things which belonged to me. Tell me why you think you had to steal away secretly. If you had come to me and told me you wanted to leave, I would have given you permission; but first I would have had a going away celebration with feasting and music and dancing. I would have been able to kiss my daughters goodbye, and we would have parted like friends and family. Why did you have to do it this way?” Even now, I have the power to hurt you; but your God came to me in a dream and warned me to have nothing to do with you; not even to speak to you, and to say neither good nor bad. But even so, there is still the matter of the things stolen from me, and I feel obliged to search your wagons.”
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Jacob told his wives, how he had served their father Laban faithfully; but that Laban had deceived him and changed his wages ten times, but God did not allow Laban to hurt him. It is true that God had a hand in the whole affair, Jacob explained to his wives. For if Laban decided that all the speckled cattle were Jacob’s wages, then they all came out speckled; if he decided that all the rings streaked, they all came out thus marked. But in so far as your father’s cattle became mine, I took them not away; God gave them to me. Jacob related how in a dream he saw what was about to happen. He saw the ring streaked, speckled, and spotted animals. And the Angel of the Lord called his name and said, “Jacob, lift up your eyes and look, and see all these spotted, speckled and ring streaked animals I will give to you because I have seen the way Laban has mistreated you. “ And then the Lord said, “I am the Lord to whom you prayed and made a vow at the altar at Bethel, therefore, get yourself out of this land, and return unto the land of your kindred.” Then Rachel and Leah enquired of their husband whether there was any portion or inheritance available to them in their father’s house; for as far as they could see, all of their father’s wealth had vanished. In other words, as far as they were concerned, their lot for better or for worse was with their husband. So they told Jacob, in a few words, we are with you, your lot is our lot; so do according to God has directed you to do. I think that one can see in this story, a valuable lesson, that is, faithful service, even under an abusive and dishonest worldly master, will eventually be rewarded by a just and never failing heavenly Master. More
Friday, December 27, 2013
BRAGADAYJAH 104 How many times have we been hurt, or known of some person being hurt by some vicious lie, usually made up without foundation? Many, many times, we find that envy or jealousy is the root cause of much finger pointing and tongue wagging, which sometimes can lead to murder. We know that Cain slew his brother Abel through sheer jealousy. That was early in the history of man’s sojourn on earth; and it continued on at the time of Jacob’s troubles with Laban and continues today. The agreement with Laban and Jacob was well laid out and established. The ritual with the stripped rods apart, Jacob earned the right to what he possessed under the terms of the agreement. He had served Laban well and God was blessing him. His flocks increased exponentially while Laban’s did not; but that was due to no fault of Jacob's. God was having his way with both men. However, Jacob heard what Laban’s sons were saying, and from the look in Laban’s eye, and the countenance of his face, Jacob knew that Laban believed or was affected by, or even encouraged what his sons were saying. Jacob was clearly troubled by Laban’s attitude towards him and so he turned to the Lord, who advised him to leave and return to the land of his fathers, that is to say, the home he had fled from, the Lord promising to be with him. As a result Jacob called his wives, Rachel and Leah and communed with them, apprising them of what was happening between Laban and himself, and told them what he and they must now do. More.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
BRAGADAYJAH 103 There is no doubt that the chosen of God are filled with all wisdom, and are clearly taught to be cautious. Jacob had an agreement with Laban and he took the time to take steps to ensure there was no mistake or misunderstanding with regard to the import and terms of the agreement; and so that very day, way up front; at the beginning to implement their mutual understanding. People do not usually renege on their contract the same day, or so soon after it is made; they rely on the passage or thief of time to do so. And so, accordingly, Jacob set about that very day to remove all the marked and spotted and brown animals out of and away from Laban’s flock and took them as far away as possible, some three days journey, so that there was no chance of intermingling, or intermeddling, and these he left under the care of his sons. O for son’s on whom a father can rely. It would seem that this man Jacob was despite his apparent simplicity in the eyes and estimation of Laban was a very cunning man who was clearly also something of a herbalist. We remember the earlier story of the mandrakes and the suspicion that he knew something about them, and perhaps used them to sustain, maintain or supplement his constant, if not incessant seed producing capability. Now we find him using small branches, rods, of the polar, hazel and chestnut trees, and by stripping the green off the bark, made white strips appear in the rods. Next he situated the rods near the water troughs so that they would somehow cause the animals to conceive when they came in to drink; and the flocks conceived and brought forth offspring which were similarly streaked, speckled and spotted. But in all of this he kept his flocks away and separated from Laban’s. And so in course of time, Jacob’s flocks increased exceedingly; so did his servants, his camels and his asses. For the Lord did bless him exceedingly; but it was not long before he heard the grumblings of Laban’s sons. The complaint was, he had stolen their father’s cattle.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Now after Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob thought it was time for him to sever ties with Laban and return to his own country. So he approached Laban and said, “I have served you well these many years. I have done all you have asked and or expected of me and more; so now let me take my wives and my children and all that belong to me and leave.” But Laban did not quite see it that way. His reply was to try to appeal to Jacob’s loyalty and humility. “Yes you are right, he said, but I can’t let you go right at this time. You see, I am being mightily blessed because of you; and if I let you go, I’ll be sending away my blessing; for I know that God is blessing me for your sake.” “However,” Laban added, “if it’s a question of wages, name your price and I will pay it.” Jacob tried to reason further with Laban. He pointed out that when he first arrived, Laban had but a few cattle; but through his service, he now had a multitude. “Yes the Lord has blessed you because of me; but now the time has come for me to start thinking about my own family and my and their well being.” Still Laban continued to try and bribe Jacob and asked him what he wanted in order that he should stay. Jacob, realizing that there was no other way to persuade Laban, said “if you will agree to let me go, I will again look after your flock. But I will go through the herd today and I will remove all the speckled and spotted, and all the brown of the cattle, the sheep and the goats and of all such shall be my hire. And when the time comes for my departure, and I shall claim all such as are spotted, speckled or brown, let it not be said that I have stolen from you.” Laban realizing that this was a sweet deal for him readily agreed; it was for the time a done deal. More
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
So Leah slept with her husband with Rachel’s consent as part of their bargain, and sure enough Leah gave birth to a fifth son, whom she called Issachar, signifying that God had given her, her hire; and after that she bore a sixth son whom she called Zebulun because she said, God had given her a dowry and now her husband will dwell with her; and having borne six sons God rounded it off by giving her a daughter, whom she called Diana. So now, this would be a good point at which to stop and reflect some more on the mandrakes. First of all it is ventured, it would seem, that is to say, it is very likely that Jacob himself planted stealthily or had the mandrakes growing in his field among the wheat. For if indeed the mandrakes were an aid to fertility, or some sort of fertility root, Jacob had no lack of it. We note that Reuben found the mandrakes growing among the wheat, not out in the field in the wilds somewhere. On the other hand, lucky charm, fertility weed, an aid to witchcraft, whatever it was used for, it seemed to have worked all round. Leah who had stopped bearing at four sons, after being reintroduced to her husband now bears two sons and a daughter; so it seem as if by magic Jacob was drawn back to her. So then what about Rachel? Did the mandrakes work for her? Now Scripture says that at this stage after Jacob had had 6 sons by Leah, 2 by Leah’s maid and 2 by Rachel’s maid, God remembered Rachel and opened up her womb and she began to bear, and had a son whom she called Joseph, because, the Lord had taken away her reproach. There is really no doubt that all of these things were in accordance with the will and purpose of the Lord God; but there is also no doubt that those who saw the mandrakes as having special powers, doubtless saw it all their way. More
Monday, December 23, 2013
Thank God, I have this day persevered and have reached the hundredth day, which means I am almost one third of the way along this journey. Praise be to Jah! I pray for strength to stick to this task and to draw on the strength and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to continue. That is one of the reasons I pray each day to God above to give me my daily bread as I dedicate myself to him daily. Blessed be His Holy name. Well do forgive me for this little excursion, or should I say, incursion. But now I will get on with it. As I was dealing with the contention of the two wives, who were also two sisters vying over one man, and now over some mandrakes, the question was posed which was, “What was so special about these mandrakes, apart from the fact that perhaps miraculously the root or bulbous part of this plant looked very much like the physical shape of a man?” But there is no question that these mandrakes were of great importance to these two women; and I also find it very interesting that even young Reuben for whatever reason, thought that his mother would have had an interest in them. However, we get a very clear picture of the importance of the mandrakes when we consider that Rachel was prepared to let her husband sleep with her sister in exchange for some of her mandrakes. And so it was that Leah waited out for Jacob, and as he was returning from his day’s work in the field, dragged him to one side and said, “You are mine tonight, baby, you were bought and paid for.” In the meantime, Rachel didn’t care; a bargain is a bargain; and in any event, she had her precious mandrakes. Will they work for her? We shall see as we shall also see that they worked for Leah because guess what? Jacob slept with Leah that night and she conceived and in course of time gave her a fifth son. I just can’t wait for tomorrow’s episode. But I will have to and so must you. But don’t miss it. I have an exciting insight about the mandrakes. More
The joy of living with Jesus, Transcends all earthly pleasures; It transcends all earthly pain; And the world’s greatest treasures, And all its richest gain. The joy of living with Jesus, Transcends all time and space; It makes the darkness fly away, By the brightness of His face, The night shines brightly as the day. The joy of living with Jesus, Chases loneliness away, He’s a friend that never fails you. He’s a friend that comes to stay, And will always see you through.
IF YOU LOVE ME If you love me, and by love I mean not Eros, or Adolphos, but Agape love, call me on the phone and say, Merry Christmas or whatever. You may also send me an Email, or a text message, or failing these, greet me on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever; but please don’t send me a post card, and don’t write me a letter unless there is money enclosed. If you send me a postcard or letter, I would have to go to the trouble of disposing of it after spending a good deal of time reading it, which I hate. But my main objections to Christmas cards are these. One. They are archaic. Time was when the only way to send love at Christmas was via Christmas cards, even for people living in your very town, and more so, if they lived in a different state, or country or continent. Imagine, for example, wanting to say Merry Christmas to someone living in Australia! Today, however, you have a cell phone, or land phone, email via internet and or text messaging. You can say it instantly. Two. Many of the very people who say there is no God, some of them even hate God and anything that is of God are the very ones selling or benefitting from the sale of Christmas cards; so I ask why finance their heretical beliefs and life styles? Three. A lot of people don’t even stop to realize that in fact sending a Christmas card is not the only, or the most efficient or the most personal way of saying I love you at Christmas time, or just to spread peace and love and joy. That in fact Christmas cards have long outlived their usefulness. That is why I say, if you love me, don’t send me a Christmas card! If you are reading this message, Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year; I love you all, in the name of Christ Jesus our Savior and God our Father.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Now Leah and Rachel were at each other’s throat again, this time over mandrakes that Reuben, Leah’s first born had found in the fields during the time of wheat harvest. We are told that Reuben had found the mandrakes growing among the wheat and collected them and brought them to his mother Leah. Somehow, Rebekah heard about it and demanded that Leah should give her a share, whereupon Leah retorted, “You took away my husband and now you want to take away my son’s mandrakes also?” Firstly, what were these mandrakes? Apparently they were something used for a variety of uses. According to Solomon, the mandrakes give a smell; that is a sweet odor; so it was probably the aroma of the plant that attracted Reuben. He was the first born and since 7 followed him he must have been old enough to help gather the wheat; but was he old enough to know about the various uses to which mandrakes could be put? Was there another reason known to him why he would have thought his mother would want to have them? Secondly, how did Rebekah find out about the mandrakes, and what was her interest in getting some of them? Perhaps all the children were old enough to help with the harvesting; and perhaps Rachel’s two children or some of her servants were aware that Reuben had gathered mandrakes. In any event she wanted some. Thirdly to answer the first question, mandrakes were said to have some kind of power for good or evil. It was apparently used as a stimulant, as a love potion, as a fertility drug, and even in the practice of witchcraft. And so, for whatever reason, both women wanted it. And of course one could readily see why. In so far as it could be used as a love charm to woo her husband back to her bed, Leah would have desired it. And in so far as it was a kind of a fertility drug Rebekah would have wanted it. Indeed, so desperate was Rebekah to get hold of some mandrakes that she was prepared to let Jacob, over whom she clearly had the control, spend the night with Leah in exchange for some of her son’s mandrakes. More
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Hell, it is said, hath no fury like a woman scorned; and when those two women are two sisters vying for the attention of one husband, that is hell all by itself. Leah the scorned wife, the first wife, had four sons. Rachel now has two by her proxy maid; but Leah was not satisfied. She was not about to allow her sister to catch up with or exceed her in offspring; so she decided that since she had apparently stop bearing, she would give her maid to her husband so that she could have more children. One cannot but wonder if either of these two contending sisters gave a thought to Jacob’s feeling in all this. He was no longer a husband pure and simple; he was the work horse, and he was required to keep pouring out sons like he was some sort of guinea pig. Yet perhaps he was enjoying it; for we hear no word of complaint. Perhaps he was just a man who wanted peace and harmony between his two wives and would do whatever they asked so that peace and harmony may abound. In any event, Leah now gives Zilpah to Jacob to wife and she bore a son, whose name she called Gad, because she said, “A troop comes forth.” And soon after Zilpah bore another son whose name was called Asher, for reason Leah, from henceforth all the women shall call me blessed; and this makes me happy. So now, let us do a reality check, or rather a head count of sons. Leah bore 4 and her maid Zilpah bore 2; so she had six sons altogether and so, she was contented. Rachel, on the other hand had two by her maid, so that Jacob so far had 8 sons. Perhaps, now the two sisters would be happy and pick up the gauntlet and throw in the towel; but as we shall see shortly, that was not to be; for there would be more trouble ahead. More
Friday, December 20, 2013
Now Rachel was so set on having children for her husband Jacob that she gave her handmaiden Bilhah unto Jacob and commanded him to go in unto her so that she would conceive and so her child would be hers. This may sound strange to the modern ears and eyes; but at that time and even down to Roman times, the principle of what I call fructus, was at large. By fructus I mean that a maid, like a fruit tree, or not to put too fine a point on it, a horse, or a cow, was in the power and possession of the owner. Accordingly any fruit of the tree, fructus, was also in the power and possession of the owner of the tree, the horse the cow, the maid; so that any offspring of Bilhah was by law and custom, the property of Rachel the owner of the maid. So what would God do? Would he allow Bilhah to conceive? Surely He did; for Bilhah conceived and bore a son; and Rachel said, “The Lord has judged me and has also heard my voice;” so therefore, she called his name Dan. And when after Dan, Bilhah bore another son, Rachel said, “With great wrestling have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed; therefore, she called this second son Naphtali.” There are great lessons to be learnt from this brief account. Firstly, that the Lord God Almighty is the Master of all creation. It is he and he alone who is the giver of life. Rachel thought that all Jacob had to do was to produce seed and a child would come forth, and so she was angry with her husband because she could not conceive. But finally, when she saw that God gave children to her made she finally came to the realization of where babies come from. Secondly she was spending her time, in expending useless energy wrestling with her sister instead of wrestling with God; for as will be seen later, until she learnt to wrestle with God, her life remained barren. Thirdly that God always have a plan and a purpose for everything that happens in our lives. Suppose for instance it was Rachel who was fruitful and Leah was not. One could see Rachel demanding that Jacob put her away. But since Leah was the one who was bearing Jacob’s children it was less likely even very unlikely that, as much as Jacob disliked Leah at the start, he could have been persuaded to send her away. So that it is a reasonable inference that God was looking after Leah to prevent any grave injustice befalling her. More.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
So at last Jacob had the wish of his heart. He had already consummated a marriage with Leah; but now he was given Rachel also. Predictably, he loved Rachel more than he loved Leah. Indeed he hated Leah, understandably because she was not his wife of choice. It would be always something of a bitter memory to him; he was cheated and Leah was thrust upon him unknown in the dark of night. Of course, the cold hard fact is, Leah had done nothing for which she should be hated; and so the Lord, while stopping up Rachel’s womb, caused Leah to conceive, and she bore a son whose name she called Reuben because she opined, the Lord looked with favor upon her affliction, and perhaps if she gave a son to Jacob, he may love her. In the course of time Leah had a second son, and she said, "of a truth, the Lord sees how much I am hated without a cause;so He continues to bless me;" so she called the name of her second son Simeon. And when she gave birth to a third son, she felt sure that they were all blessings from the Lord; the Lord she felt was trying to show her husband she was a fruitful woman, greatly to be loved and not despised as she was; so she called this third son Levi. When she had a fourth son, she was beside herself with praise; so she said, now I will praise the Lord, and she called the name of the fourth child, Judah. Now Rachel could not understand what was going on. She could not understand why Leah was being so fruitful while she was barren; so naturally, she turned on her husband. “Why can’t you give me children? What are you doing for her that you are not doing for me? Surely I am a woman and I can make children too." Not only was Rachel very jealous of her sister Leah, she was angry with her husband also. So when she threatened to kill herself if her husband did not give her children, Jacob asked her, in a state of anger, “Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?” More
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Some men may say, if Jacob loved Rachel so much, why was he prepared to wait seven years to marry her? Of course in terms of modern times, and the impatience of our day, Jacob’s offer to wait 7 years may seem strange. But it is asserted, that at that time, men were patient in love and patient in service. On the other hand, Jacob’s willingness to serve Laban for seven years highlights and extenuates the deep love he had for his future wife and the high value he placed on acquiring her. So it is said, the seven years seemed as nothing compared to the great love he had for Rachel. Accordingly, the thought of what lay at the end of the rainbow must have been very exciting and gratifying indeed, and so he labored and waited. But alas, at the end of the seven years when it was time to receive the prize, something untoward happened. When Jacob demanded his wife, Laban threw a party as if celebrating the wedding. But when it was night, Laban took unto Jacob, not Rachel his daughter for whom Jacob toiled, but his older daughter Leah. When morning came, and Jacob was able to see his wife’s face, it was Leah, not Rachel his first love he beheld. With disappointment, he protested to Laban, who justified by saying that in his country, it would go against custom to give the second daughter in marriage before the first. Jacob’s words to Laban were interesting as he asked Laban, “Why did you beguile me?” And so it was indeed that so Jacob himself beguiled his father, the word Isaac used was “subtlety,” so now is Jacob beguiled by Laban. It is commonly said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” While that saying is pregnant with wisdom, it may be better said, “Do not do unto others, what you would not like done unto you.” More The end result was that Laban told Jacob; “If you want Rachel so much, then fulfill your week with Leah,” that is to say, complete the period of consummation; “then work another seven years for Rachel,” which Jacob did. More
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Needless to say, Jacob was delighted to meet Rachel, the daughter of his mother’s brother Laban; so departing somewhat with watering protocol, he rolled the stone away from the well’s mouth and set about watering the sheep in Rachel’s care, sheep belonging to his uncle Laban. So overwhelmed was Jacob indeed that he kissed Rachel and wept. Emotions were well in order. His journey had been a long and weary one. He had met the Lord on the way and the Lord had promised to be with him and prosper his journey, and he had offered prayers to the Lord. But now he could feel in his heart that God was indeed with him. He had found his mothers, family; so overcome with emotions he wept. Jacob told Rachel who he was and so she ran and told her father Laban. And Laban in turn could not wait to meet Jacob Rebekah’s son, so he ran to meet him. Having met, the two kissed and embraced and then returned to Laban’s house. Jacob then resided a month with Laban, in the meantime doing chores and helping with work on the farm. At this time Laban asked Jacob how he wanted to be reward for his labor; for though they were flesh and blood, Jacob could not be expected to work for nothing. As it happened Laban had two daughters. Jacob had already met Rachel at the well; but she was the younger of the two girls the other being Leah, who was older than Rachel. They were both beautiful girls; but Jacob loved Rachel who was even more beautiful; so he told Laban he would work 7 years for the privilege of marrying Rachel the younger daughter; and Laban agreed to Jacob’s offer, so that Rachel was promised to him in return for his labor. More
Monday, December 16, 2013
So here we have it that the very next morning after God had appeared unto Jacob in a dream, and had promised him everything he could ever hope for, Jacob was on his knees praying to God and promising Him that if God would provide for him, sustain him and shield him, and bring him home again, he would give unto God a tenth part of everything that he acquired So the question may be asked again, why? Did Jacob not trust God, did he not believe that God would act unilaterally to fulfill his promises without anything coming from the promisee? The answer in part is that not knowing who God is was part of Jacob’s problem. But it is suggested that Jacob’s mistrust of God was more because he Jacob did not think himself worthy to receive such goodness from God if for no other reason he had a bad conscience over the way he deceived his father and acquired Esau’s birthright and blessing. What of course Jacob did not know was that bad as his conduct so far was, God saw in him as a bad penny that could be made to sparkle again whereas, Esau was Edom, a thoroughly bad and worthless penny. So Jacob was saying in fact, “Yes God I hear you; and if you are really serious with me, I promise I will be serious with you.” So Jacob journeyed on until he came to a well in a field, and beside the well, he saw three flocks of sheep. As he looked on, he noticed that there was a large stone placed over the well’s mouth and one by one, each flock was watered; and at the last the stone was rolled back in place to cover the well. At that stage, that is to say after the flocks were watered and the stone put into place, Jacob approached them and asked them where they were from, whereupon they answered and informed him that they were from Haran. Upon hearing they were from Haran, Jacob asked them if they knew Laban, Nahor’s son, and they said yes, they knew him, and further, his daughter Rachel now comes with her father’s flock of sheep. More/
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Waking out of his sleep, and remembering his dream, Jacob became afraid and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it. O how dreadful is this place. It is none other than the house of God, the very gate of heaven.” Jacob, therefore, took the stones he had used for a pillow and formed them into a pillar and poured oil unto the top of it. And having done so, he called the place, which up to that time had been called Luz, Bethel, that is to say, House of God. Having built his altar, Jacob set about worshipping God, and he vowed unto god, that if He should provide him with food and water, and clothes on my back, and keep me safe and lead me back again to my father’s house, I will serve the Lord, and he will be my God. And this stone which I have set for a pillar shall be God’s house; and of all that thou gives me I shall give thee the tenth part. Clearly Jacob as a young man was abiding under his father Isaac’s blessings. He had not experienced God for himself. Certainly he knew of the God of his father Isaac and of his grandfather Abraham. But he up to this time had no personal experience of God for himself. In his dream just that past night, God had revealed to Jacob a vision of who He was and had made him promises which went far beyond what he was now vowing conditionally to God who had made to him unconditional promises; for God had promised him. “I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places wither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; I will not leave thee until I have done to thee that which I have spoken to thee of.” So, then in truth and in fact Jacob’s promises were redundant, since God had already given to him assurances to which God had not attached any conditions. More
A Strange Philosophy Maybe its just me; but I find it most strange that when asked, the current Pope said, it was not up to him to say whether homosexual Priests is right or wrong. I say strange because I believe it is the calling of every child of God to know what the Word of God says, and to rightly and properly line it up, to measure conduct, whether such conduct is consonant with God’s word, right, or contrary to it, wrong. God’s word condemns homosexual conduct in both the Old and the New Testament; so there is no question in my mind that it is wrong. On the other hand I say strange, because when asked recently, the same Pope pronounced Marxism to be wrong. Well its been over 50 years since I have read men like JEM Joad, Engels, Kant, Karl Marx and others and perhaps teachings, philosophies and concepts have changed; but as I remember, Marx fundamentally says, the most efficient means of production should be pursued by the State, capital and labor being organized and managed to that end, so that the greatest good may be achieved; that every man must contribute according to his ability; and that he should be rewarded according to his needs. The last part of Marxism then runs counter to the modern day economic practices of Capitalism which has no regard for the needs of the working man. Yet the good Pope saw fit to condemn it as wrong; but God’s prohibition? Well he just could not judge; strange, very strange I say. The real danger with Marxism we are told is that it is a form of COMMUNISM. And what is wrong with communism (the early Apostles adopted a sort of communal living), is that it is not exactly a happy bedfellow of democracy; as a matter of fact the two are mortal enemies. But which is better? Communism is projected as ostensibly oppressive; but Capitalism is subtly corrupt, manipulative and repressive. So which is better? Which system is right and which is wrong? It depends on who is tossing the coin and who is calling heads and who is calling tails. And in the final analysis, I just have to admit that maybe the Pope is more versed in the things of the world than I am.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Indeed Isaac was dying, but not yet dead. Rebekah his wife had spoken to Jacob and advised him to run away and go to her kin at Haran. Isaac also called his son Jacob and told him not to take a wife from among the Canaanites, but go to his mother’s brother Laban at Haran and there find himself a wife. These words of advice were of course heard by Esau, who out of sheer spite, because he knew that doing so would displease both his father and his mother, went and took to wife, not just one but two of the very women his father had warned Jacob against marrying. In the meantime, Jacob departed and headed towards Haran; but when night befell him, he took stones and made a pillow for his head and went to sleep. While asleep he dreamt he saw a ladder that stretched from earth to heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder. And he saw God who also spoke to him and said. “I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father and the God of Isaac; all the land upon which you lie will I give to your seed. And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shall spread across to the West and to the East and to the North and to the South; and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. I am with thee and will keep thee in all places wither you go and will bring you again into this land. For I will not leave you until I have accomplished all I have promised to you to do for you.” More.
Friday, December 13, 2013
Strangely enough, when Isaac told Esau plainly, “your brother has taken away thy blessing,” Esau responded and said to the effect, “no wonder his name is called Jacob; for he has supplanted me, (gotten ahead of me), these two times. First he took away my birthright, and now he has taken away my blessing also.” Even so Esau clung tenaciously to the hope that all was not lost; that somehow his father could still bless him even at this late hour. So in one last ditch attempt he said, “O my father, do you not have one blessing with which you can yet bless me?” Accordingly, Isaac told him plainly. “Behold I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants, and with corn and wine have I sustained him; and what shall I do now unto thee my son?” Still Esau would not give up. “Just one blessing, my father he pleaded; and with tears in his eyes and bitterness in his heart he pleaded; “bless me also my father.” If there was even one dried up carrot in a dying fathers sack, Isaac would search for it. He was a righteous man; he had served the Lord as his father Abraham did and as much as he would like to give some quantum of solace to his son, he could not, he would not deceive him; so Isaac told his son Esau, “Your dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above. And by the sword shall thou live, and shall serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shall have the dominion, that thou shall break his yoke from off thy neck.” “Very well,” vowed Esau in his pain; “I shall live by the sword; but Jacob shall also perish by my sword. I swear to it.” Even then he said to himself. “My father’s death is at hand. I will not slay my brother until this period of mourning is over; but I shall have my revenge.” As usual Rebekah was ever vigilant; her network of spies never failed her, and she was soon made aware of Esau’s threats against Jacob’s life. More
Thursday, December 12, 2013
While back in the dwelling Esau’s title was slipping away from him, he was out there in the woods, bow in hand at the ready, and wondering why he was finding it so hard to line up a deer today. Even when at long last he thought he had one full in his sights, the animal was spooked just as he was about to release and his arrow missed the mark by a long way. Esau muttered to himself in disbelief; he had never missed before; at least not in recent memory. And today of all days he said out loud; today when everything is arranged for me to receive my inheritance and my blessing. Should he tell his father about the vow he had made to his brother concerning his birthright? “Of course not!” the voice of reason said to him; so he dismissed the thought and returned his mind to his quarry. Just then he saw him, a perfect specimen; big fat and round. This time he did not miss. Looking up he saw that the sun was no longer directly overhead. It was afternoon; so he hurried back to the tent, and as quickly as he could set about making venison for his father to eat, the way he knew he liked it. Upon entering his father’s room Esau said, “rise now and eat my venison that your soul may bless me.” And Isaac asked, “Who are you?” Esau replied, “I am your son Esau your first born.” Then Isaac revealed to him the sad truth. Jacob had already brought to him fine venison and he had eaten and had blessed him already. There is no blessing left for you son” Isaac told him. Esau wept bitterly and implored his father and asked him to bless him also nonetheless. “Is there no blessing left for me?” Esau beseeched his father; but Isaac said “No son. Your brother came in with subtlety and has taken away your blessing.” More
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The final act in Jacob’s little skit of deception was played out when he kissed his father; and smelling Esau’s scent on him Isaac said; “I smell the smell of my son. It is as the smell of the field which the Lord has blessed. Therefore, God give you of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth; and plenty of corn and wine. Let people serve you; and nations bow down to you; be lord over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you; cursed be everyone that curse you, and blessed be everyone that bless you.” Isaac’s blessing is explicit. It made Jacob lord and master over all, including his brethren, (sic Esau) and even over other nations. In short Isaac bestowed upon Jacob the very blessings that God had promised to Abraham his father. There is no doubt that Jacob obtained the succession to Isaac by deception. He took advantage of his father’s incapacity, to obtain the title of heir apparent by deceiving his father; and according to Israelitish law and custom it was done and could not be undone. Title to all power and property and right of succession passed irrevocably to him, and that was that. Interestingly, Jacob’s conduct if judged by modern English criminal law standards, would have afforded the classical example of goods or property obtained by larceny by a trick, as distinct from obtaining by false pretences. In the former case, having regard to Isaac’s condition, his repeated questioning of his son Jacob to ascertain it was in fact Esau, his feeling of his arms the smell of his clothes, would have resulted in a finding that there was no intention on the part of Isaac to pass title to Jacob and the entire transaction annulled. In other words, Jacob’s possession would have been treated as theft and so when the truth was revealed, the titles would have been restored to Isaac to deal with as he pleased. More
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Obediently if somewhat reluctantly, Jacob went out and did as his mother Rebekah had commanded him to do, and returned with the young goats. Rebekah well knew her husbands taste in stew so she had no difficulty making it just the way she knew he liked it. The difficulty was passing Jacob off as Esau, because she knew exactly how Isaac would react. Having finished cooking the stew, she put Esau’s clothes upon Jacob and covered his arms and his neck with the very hairy skin from the goats and gave Jacob the savory stew and the bread to take in to his father. The mother had done her part; it was then up to Jacob to play his role out to the end. ” And Isaac replied, “Here am I: who art thou, my son?” And Jacob answered and said, “I am Esau, your firstborn; I have done what you asked me to do. Come on, eat my venison that thy soul may bless me.” Isaac not to be easily fooled, notwithstanding his sightlessness, asked, “How was it possible for you to find this venison so quickly?” And Jacob replied, ”because the Lord thy God brought it to me.” Smelling a rat or not, Isaac had an idea. “Come close my son,” he said. Come let me feel you my son so that I may know whether you are my son Esau or not.” Jacob went close to his father and he felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice; but the hands are those of Esau.” At this stage, feeling what passed for Esau’s hairy hands, he was almost convinced; yet he asked, “Art thou my very son Esau?” And Jacob said “yes, I am.” Pausing for a moment, I have often said, it is difficult to tell a lie in isolation. That one lie needs a back up or follow-up lie and in the course of one lie several lies have to be told. This account with Jacob and his father eminently proves this hypothesis. In this one episode, before the deal was done, Jacob lied to his father no less than 4 times, and deceived him many more. For indeed it is well said, “What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” More
Monday, December 9, 2013
Dare I say that the man Esau was a worthless fellow? Let us take another look at him. When his father Isaac was old and his eyes were dim, his father called him and told him to go kill venison and make a savory stew for him so that he may eat and bestow upon him the blessing that was traditionally the right of first born. Esau knew what his father meant, and the implications of blessing him as distinct from Jacob. But he had already sold his birthright to his brother. Did he say “father, as a matter of fact the right of first born no longer belongs to me; I sold it to Jacob.” But instead he said nothing and ran to catch his venison. Unfortunately for Esau, however, Rebekah heard the conversation and intervened to prevent her husband’s blessing being bestowed upon his first born. Rebekah told Jacob what his father had said and what his intention was; and she was not going to have any of it. So she told Jacob to go the flocks and pick out two young kids and fetch them to her quickly, so that while Esau was out hunting for venison, Rebekah would be cooking up both kiddie stew and a scheme to ensure that Isaac blessed Jacob instead. Jacob was skeptical about his mother’s scheme. He pointed out that Esau was hairy while he Jacob was smooth of skin. Therefore, he felt sure his father would see through the scheme and instead of pronouncing a blessing, put a curse on him; but Rebekah assured him that she had the matter well in hand; “so do as I say, she ordered.”
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Upon receiving Abimelech’s request, Isaac decided to throw them a feast at which there were much eating and drinking; and the next morning he had reached a decision according to Abimelech’s proposal; and they both swore to set up and maintain a pact of peace between them, more particularly that Isaac would not use his wealth, his power and his security with God, to do harm to Abimelech and his people. As if God was well pleased with his pact of non-aggression, Isaac’s servants announced to him that the well they had lately dug was full of water; and Isaac named it Shebah, hence the city at that place became known as Beersheba. Sometimes we wonder why God causes or allows certain things to happen; we often puzzle over things like God’s attitude to Jacob as against Esau, for example. Why the Lord said that Jacob was to have the pre-eminence over Esau; why God allowed him to sell his birthright, and at so cheap a price. Later on we will be surprised again when we hear God talking about Esau and Jacob and wonder why. But here is something that may shed good light on our own enquiring minds. It is something else that Esau did that grieved both Isaac and Rebekah and we may be sure, God also. For when he was about forty years old, Esau married not on, but two foreign women daughters of Hittites, unions which grieved Isaac and Rebekah greatly. More.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
That same night when Isaac moved to Beersheba, the Lord appeared to him and told him; “I am the God of Abraham your father; fear not, for I am with you; I will bless you and multiply your seed for my servant Abraham’s sake.” God’s promises to Isaac do not imply that Isaac was not worthy of God’s blessings in his own right; but rather a confirmation to God’s promise to Abraham to bless his seed. That is one attribute of the God of heaven; He is consistent with himself. When God was making promises of blessing to Abraham and his seed, He already saw Isaac, and knew that he was also worthy of blessing. So the statement, “for my servant Abraham’s sake,” can well be read, in accordance with the promises I made to Abraham concerning you. After his conversation with God, Isaac built an altar there and worshipped the Lord in that place and dug a well there. Why did Isaac dig his well right after God spoke with him? The truth may well be, that he expected God to fill it. If we are in a dry place and we don’t dig a well, we can’t except God to fill it. But soon the adversary was at Isaac’s door again, in the persons of King Abimelech, all the way from Gerar, with one of his high ranking officials and also the chief of his generals. Upon seeing them, Isaac asked them, why they came to see him seeing they hated him and drove him out of Gerar. Then the King said to him, the same words he had spoken to Abraham before; We perceive that God is with you and we are here to make a pact with you, that you will not do us any harm. Yes we sent you away, but we did so in peace and for your good. We did not hurt you, and we are here seeking a promise from you that you will likewise do no hurt to us. More
Friday, December 6, 2013
God is a covenant keeper. He is God and he cannot lie, and he cannot break His promises. God promised Abraham to make his son Isaac a blessing and God kept his promise. So Isaac, once his affair with Abimelech was settled, settled down to planting and growing crops; and to this end he was very successful. In the first year of planting, his crops increased a hundredfold and thereafter, his fortunes grew and grew until he became a great man in the land. As Isaac grew in wealth, of flocks and herds and servants, the Philistines envied him. They went about filling up the wells that Abraham his father had dug. And it got to the point where Abimelech the king suggested to Isaac that he should go away from among them because he had grown too big for comfort. So Isaac departed from among them and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar and dwelt there Returning to Gerar, Abraham reopened the wells that the Philistines had stopped up after the death of Abraham, and called the wells by the same names as his father had called them. Notwithstanding that Abraham had moved away, he was still in territory claimed by the Philistines and they did their best to provoke war with Isaac. Having herds of animals to take care of, one thing Isaac needed apart from grass was water; and so to provide water for his flock he had to dig wells. But it turned out that every time Isaac dug a well, the Philistines would move in and claim it. He dug the first well, and the Philistines claimed it; Isaac moved away and dug another; they claimed it again; he moves away and dug a third, and this time they left him alone; and Isaac’s reaction was, this time the Lord has made room for us; so he called the name of the place Rehoboth. But eventually, he moved away again and settled in Beersheba. More
Thursday, December 5, 2013
How often does history repeat itself? How often do certain things run in the same family? We know that Abraham twice ran away from a famine situation. Once he went down into Egypt and the other time he went into Abimelech’s country; and both times he said Sarah was his sister; and both times disaster would have struck if God did not intervene. Did Isaac know of his father’s story, his history of running away and lying, or did he merely remember his father as the hero of faith who trusted God to the extent of being willing to offer him, Isaac, his only son, as a burnt sacrifice? Well now we see Isaac, doing the same thing, or wanting to do the same thing as his father. So either he did not know, or had forgotten, or perhaps he thought he would push his luck as his father did. But God warned Isaac not to run and made him the promises outlined above; but yet Isaac lied; but his lie was found out. So Abimelech asked Isaac, “What is this that thou hast done? One of my people might have innocently lain with your wife and thou would have brought guiltiness upon us.” Furthermore, Abimelech made a proclamation that Rebekah was off bounds to all; and further that any man who touched her would be put to death. Abimelech knew who Isaac was. He was the son of that great man of God, Abraham; and Abimelech had reason to know who Abraham was and knew enough not to want to mess with Abraham’s son or his wife. More.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
It is sometimes said, “Like father like son.” The Bible speaks of ‘he sins of the father.” Be that as it may, just as it were in the days of Abraham, and there was a famine which caused him to run, so it is now in the time of his son Isaac; there was a famine in the land, and Isaac resolved to go to Egypt also. Knowing Isaac’s intention, the Lord advised him not to go down into Egypt, but to go to the land to which he will direct him. “Remain in the land and I will be with thee; and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, will I give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swore unto Abraham thy father. And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments statutes and laws.” Accordingly, Isaac decided to remain in Gerar, Abimelech’s country; and seeing his wife the men of the place asked him about Rebekah, and he said, “she is my sister.” It is an odd thing that so many times when faced with the choice of speaking the truth or telling a lie, the lie always seems to be more instantly forthcoming. Quite often, with a little thought we would conclude that the truth was indeed a better choice; but we often do not think, or do not think correctly; so the lie projects itself and we go with it. In Isaac’s case, the Lord Had promised to be with him. With a little thought he ought to have concluded that if the Lord promised to be with him, he would be with him all the way; but Isaac did not think his situation or his reply through; so his lips spoke the lie, “She is my sister.” And so it was, after a period of time, King Abimelech looked through his window one day and saw Isaac playing with Rebekah and from the manner of the play concluded that she must have been his wife. So he called Isaac and asked him why he had said in the beginning that Rebekah was his sister. Isaac lie had found him out. What would Abimelech do to him? Find out tomorrow.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
So the day came when Rebekah would deliver her twins and true to God’s word, there were indeed two boys that came forth from the womb. The first one came out red all over like a hairy garment, and they called his name Esau; then the second twin came out and held his brother Esau by his heal, and they called his name Jacob. Here we see that Jacob had to wait 20 years before his first born; for he was 40 years old when he married Rebekah. Two boys, one hirsuites, hairy, the other smooth of skin, grew together; but pursued different lifestyles. Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a plain man dwelling in tents. The difference here is that one was a hunter and the other a farmer. Not unnaturally, Jacob had a fondness for Esau, after all he was his first born, but Rebekah’s love was more towards Jacob, he was her younger son, less ruddy and milder. One reason why Isaac loved Esau more was that Esau was a fine cook of venison and he would often cook it and feed it to his father Isaac. It happened, however, that one day when Esau returned home he was very hungry, and he saw his brother Jacob with some lentil stew. He therefore begged Jacob to let him have some of his stew because he was faint. Seeing his condition and the nature of his want, Jacob struck a bargain with his brother. “Sell me your birthright,” he said. Now Esau could have said, “Not on your life or some such other response; but low and behold he said; “I am at the point of death for hunger, so what good is my birthright to me now?” Was Esau really that hungry, or was he just a greedy man? Did he not have a high regard for his birthright, or was it just a case of providential direction and inevitability? For it was already foretold that the elder shall serve the younger. Well Jacob made his brother swear over his birthright unto him, in exchange for which he gave him some lentil soup with a piece of bread. Was it fair exchange or was it robbery? Did God command and or ordain it, or did God merely state earlier the inevitable by foreknowledge? More
Monday, December 2, 2013
In the meantime, Ishmael was being very prolific, fathering twelve sons, which became twelve tribes, each settling in a separate camp. As the angel had predicted they were a fierce and hostile people constantly at war with themselves as well as everyone else. Finally, when he was 137 years old, Ishmael died; but not before he sired twelve tribes of descendants which were to keep the world on edge for ever thereafter. Isaac, on the other hand was not so prolific; in fact he was not prolific at all. Just as his own mother Sarah was barren unto old age, and required God’s special intervention long after she had past the natural time for childbearing, so Isaac’s wife was barren and required Isaac to petition the Lord to intervene on her behalf. As a result of Isaac’s prayer, the Lord opened up Rebekah’s womb and she became pregnant; but lo, she carried twins who even in the womb were at war with each other. “Why is this happening to me Rebekah enquired of the Lord?” “Because you are carrying two nations within you; and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger.” Do we not see here a principle, that sin carries a price, that no evil deed goes unpunished? Going back to Abraham and Sarah, we know that God had promised to make their seed great; but they became impatient and tried to second guess God, and find a way round Him. It was their sin that created the tension between Hagar and Sarah and between Ishmael and Isaac. So the tension continues between the descendants of Isaac and of Ishmael. Then again the Lord had withheld children from Sarah until that time of life when he supernaturally intervened. It was His will that opened up Sarah’s womb; so just so that all would know for all eternity that God is the creator of all flesh, we see now again that it was by God’s hand, within His will and purpose that Rebekah would bring forth; but the tension created by the will of man continues. But just as the first born Ishmael was relegated to the inferior place, so the twins vying within Rebekah’s womb, would follow the same pattern; and the older shall be inferior to the younger. More
Sunday, December 1, 2013
So Isaac found himself a wife and settled down; but father Abraham was not about to pass away quietly into the cloud of oblivion. God had promised him productivity and it would seem he was about to find it. He was 117 years old when his wife Sarah died; but he was not about to hang up his spurs; for Abraham found himself a wife named Keturah with whom he had six sons, and it would seem he had time on his hands to engage the services of other women, concubines as well. In the course of the next 60 years, Abraham would live to see many more children and grandchildren; but he was just an old man spreading his wings not his fortune. So in course of time he gave them all gift and sent them away; because his inheritance was intended for and given to his son Isaac. But indeed, all good things must come to an end. Abraham’s life spanned almost four decades; so at the age of 175 he finally gave up the ghost and died. It would seem that wherever Ishmael was, he learnt or knew of his father’s death; for it is recorded that Abraham was buried by his sons Isaac and Ishmael in the cave of Machpelah in the self same field he had earlier purchased of the sons of Heth, the very place where Sarah his wife was buried. So father Abraham was buried there, having died at a ripe old age. More
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Rebekah, too, would have been anxious. She too, would have had questions of her own with regard to the husband she was going to meet. She would have known enough about Abraham, his faith in God, his prosperity and his relationship with God from listening to Abraham’s servant, to be able to assure herself that Isaac must have been also a good man and hence a good prospect for a husband. “But would he like me?” She was about to find out. The next moment she looked up and saw Isaac and in great excitement she jumped off the camel she was riding and ran to him. As it turned out, she had as she approached, seen a person walking afar off and had asked who it was, and was told it is Master Isaac. So, on meeting up with him she ran to him. Abraham’s servant then made a full report to Isaac, filling in details of his journey, how the Lord had led him to the well, his meeting Rebekah there, the meeting with Laban and Milcah, and the rest of the relevant details of his successful journey. And Isaac took Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent and consummated the marriage and loved her very much. And all of this was very timely since Rebekah was there to comfort Isaac after his mother’s death. More.
Friday, November 29, 2013
The saga is not over. The manservant took the bride to be and his men and his camels and made tracks for home. What a story of faith, trust and loyalty, and dedication. Abraham’s faith that Jehovah would provide, trust, Abraham’s absolute trust that his manservant would be diligent and do the right thing, loyalty, on the part of the servant to do his very best to satisfy his master’s wishes, and dedication, his refusal to dally, but to depart for home as soon as possible. The bargain was struck. Rebekah’s guardian was willing; Rebekah said yes; why dally, why take the chance of some novus actus intervening and cause something to go wrong? So the manservant said, “no, do not detain me.” I must be about my masters business; so off they went, heading for home, Rebekah no doubt anxious to meet with her bridegroom. It` must have been a fairly long and tiring journey; but it was a journey well worthwhile. Besides Abraham’s servant had another reason to be anxious to get home. His master Abraham was not in good health. His age had at last caught up with him. So his servant understood that time was of the essence. And so he hurried home. In the meantime poor Isaac must have had many an anxious moment; wondering, wishing, longing. Wondering whether a bride would be found for him, wishing that the news would be good news, and longing to see the dust of the camels heading home. So Isaac rode out along the way one evening and sat down to meditate. What would she look like; would she like me, would I like her, how should I greet her and what do I say to her? “Lord I hope that our servant would return soon so I can get over this waiting.” And just then looking into the distance, heart racing, he saw the dust of the camels; and he knew that his long wait would soon be over. More
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Having heard from their guest, Abraham’s manservant, Laban and his wife Milcah responded and said that it was not up to them to speak for or against what was clearly destined to be, since it appeared to them that it was all the work of the Lord. Accordingly they told him to take Rebekah and go, and let her be Ishmael’s wife; and so Abraham’s servant once again gave thanks to God, and graciously accepted the proposal that Rebekah should return with him. Then the matter being happily concluded Abraham’s servant gave more gifts of gold and silver to Rebekah and Laban and Milcah; and after that the company set about eating and drinking and partying all night and having a jolly good time. Early the following morning, Abraham’s servant rose early and urged his hosts to let him be on his way; but they entreated him that he should delay his departure for at least ten days before going. But he said, “hinder me not that I should go to my master, seeing that the Lord has blessed my journey so far.” Upon hearing his reply, they decided that they would leave the decision of when to leave to Rebekah; who when they put the proposition to her agreed, depart immediately. So they prepared her to send her away accompanied by her nurse, and Abraham’s servant and his men. Before they took their leave,they prayed to the Lord for a safe journey for Rebekah and her maid and the rest of the company. And as a parting farewell they blessed Rebekah and told her, “Thou art our sister; be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.” mORE
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Given permission to speak and to relate his mission, Abraham’s servant told of his Master Abraham’s many blessings; that he had become very great because the lord gave him flocks and herds, and silver and gold and many male servants and female servants, and camels and assess. He told how Abraham’s wife Sarah had a son when she was old, and unto this son, Abraham gave all that he had. He related how his master made him swear that his son should not take a wife of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land he dwelt, but that he should proceed to his own country and chose a wife for his son from among his kindred. He even related how he told his master, “Perhaps the woman will not follow me;” but that his master said, “The Lord before whom I walk will send his angel with thee. And he shall prosper thy way. And thou shall take a wife for my son of my kindred and of my father’s house. But he also promised me that if I was unable to get a wife for my son from my father’s house then would I be clear from my obligation. Continuing, Abraham’s servant related how when he came to the well he prayed to the Lord and told him that if he would prosper his journey when he stood by the well of water, and if he should ask the first maiden for water and she gave it to him, and if further she would say she would also draw water for his camels, then let her be the one for his master’s son. He then told them the whole sequence of events of everything that happened from the first conversation with Rebekah up to the moment he was sitting at Laban’s dining table. And having thus laid out his case and his mission he forthrightly said, “Now let me know if you will deal kindly and truly with my master. Tell me one way or another, yea or nay, that I do not waste my time. More
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
It is a true saying, “A man is known by his house.” Abraham was known to be a man of prayer, and so it would have been expected that a man of his house and not only any man, but a man highly favored and trusted by him, would also be a man of prayer. So now, Abraham’s servant having found favor with God to the extent that the one whom he sought was right before his eyes, he gave thanks to God and said; “ blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who has not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth, I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren.” Upon hearing the prayer, one of the young girls present ran to the house and told of her encounter with this man, the servant of Abraham their kin. And when Rebekah’s brother whose name was Laban heard the news, he ran to the well to meet Abraham’s manservant. Arriving there he saw the jewelry upon his sister who also explained to him what had happened. Then turning to the stranger, Laban addressed him and said, come in, you blessed of the Lord, come in. We have room and board prepared for you. Abraham’s servant followed Laban into the premises and was shown room for himself and bedding for his camel and his men. Afterward he was invited to meat and he sat down. But before he ate, he told his hosts that he thought it fitting that he should first relate his mission; and so Laban told him to speak.
Monday, November 25, 2013
And so it turned out that the words were hardly out of the mouth of Abraham’s manservant than appeared on the scene as on cue, a beautiful damsel whose name was Rebekah the granddaughter of Nahor Abraham’s brother. She came to the well and filled her pitcher with water, and Abraham’s man seeing she was very fair, went up to her and asked her for a drink of water from her pitcher; whereupon she said, “Drink my Lord,” and she lowered the pitcher and gave him to drink. Then after the man servant had drunk, she said, I will draw water for thy camel also until they have done drinking. And after that she using her pitcher drew water and gave to all the camels until they had drunk their fill. While all this was going on, Abraham’s servant watched on in silence, and wondering to himself, “is all this really happening; has my mission been successful or what?” Of course the man had no doubt that Abraham’s God had answered his prayer; so he took an earring of half a shekel weight of gold, and two bracelets for her hands each weighing five shekels and gave them to Rebekah. And giving her the ornaments, Abraham’s servant asked her whether there was room in her father’s house for him to spend the night. And she said, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Micah which she bare unto Nahor. Moreover we have straw and provisions enough and room enough for you to lodge in.”
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Now just a word about Abraham’s instructions and the possible reasons for the particularity with which he expressed them. We know that God gave Abraham specific instructions to leave his country and his kindred. Clearly Abraham saw, consistent with those instructions, God’s wish that he did not return and if he were not to return, then neither should his son. So many times when God delivers us or take us out of a situation, a place, or a difficulty we keep looking back even pining sometimes for what used to be. Abraham clearly, then accepted that God meant for him to go, and discover, and dwell in a new country, leaving the old, and the old ways, behind. On the other hand Abraham as a servant of God without being told specifically knew in his heart what God would not have him do. And not only he, but his seed; so he gave command not to take his son Isaac hither. At the same time he did not want his son marrying a Canaanite. The Canaanites were not the people God had chosen for the purpose of nation building. So Abraham felt that a wife from among his own kindred was a better choice for his son. We must never forget too, that in choosing Abraham’s line, God was creating a royal line through whom Messiah would come. Accordingly, Abraham’s servant took camels and supplies and departed for the city of Na`-hor in the land of Mesopotamia. Upon reaching a well at the entrance to the city, Abraham’s servant stopped to water his camels at that time of day when it was customary for women to go there to draw water. And kneeling down he prayed to God and said, “O Lord, God of my master Abraham, I pray Thee, send me good speed this day and show kindness unto my master Abraham. See now I stand here by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water. Let it come to pass that the damsel to whom I shall say let down thy pitcher I pray thee that I may drink, and she shall say, Drink and I will give thy camel to drink also, let the same be she that thou hast appointed for Thy servant Isaac, and thereby shall I know that Thou has shown kindness unto my master.” More
Saturday, November 23, 2013
When Abraham was very old and stricken in years, his mind turned to ensuring that the countless blessings with which God had blessed him would be passed on to his son Isaac. One way of ensuring this, he thought was to ensure that he married well; so he called his most trusted servant and gave him specific directions with regard to the choosing of a wife for Isaac. Accordingly, Abraham gave instructions and made his servant swear an oath that he did not want his son to marry a Canaanite woman. Therefore, he ordered his servant to journey back to his own home country, and find among his own kindred a wife for Isaac. To make sure he understood his master’s wishes completely, the servant asked Abraham if it would have been in order to take Isaac back to the home country, just in case the woman he found declined to travel away from her country; but Abraham was emphatic that the woman must willingly come to Isaac, and not having Isaac go back. Abraham’s reply makes it clear that at that time of his life his faith was fully fructified. “Do not, he said, under any circumstances, take my son back among my kindred. For I am confident that the same Lord God of heaven who took me out of my fathers house, and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke unto me, and swore unto me, and told me, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee and thou shall take a wife for my son from there. But if peradventure the woman will not come with you, well then that would be the end of the matter, and you would be freed from your oath.” More
Friday, November 22, 2013
So Abraham made his sacrifice on Mount Moriah and discovered that God Almighty was also God the provident One, Jehovah Jireh. Isaac was spared, and Abraham was able to fulfill his promise to his servants to whom he had promised to return both he and his son Isaac, and thence to his home at Beersheba. The incident involving Abraham and his son Isaac is to be seen both historically and prefiguratively. The fact that God did order Isaac to sacrifice his only son is a historically accurate account; but its greater significance is that the story prefigured a time when God would himself not just offer, but actually sacrifice His only son upon the altar of sacrifice; for God commended His love towards us, in that when the fullness of time had come, Christ died for us. Back home, Abraham received news that his long separated brother had himself been busy and was producing children; but soon after Sarah, being 107 years old, she died. Abraham moaned her death, and once his immediate grief was over, he set about securing a fit burial place for his beloved wife. Interestingly, the chief of the land wherein Abraham and Sarah dwelt offered Abraham the free use of his own burying place to bury Sarah; but Abraham declined and insisted that he wanted to secure and pay for a perpetual burial place for himself; and after much back and forth, offer and counter offer, Abraham insisted on paying for the place and eventually the parties settled on a parcel called Machpelah near Mamre in the land of Canaan for four hundred shekels of silver, refusing the Chief’s offer to let him have it for nothing; and Abraham buried Sarah in a cave there having secured it as his own burying place in perpetuity. More.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
God told Abraham, “Now I know.” The truth is God already knew what Abraham would do. God had led and trained him; tested him and hardened him, so that after a quarter of a century, Abraham had come to know that nothing is impossible with God; that he could trust him come what may. The words, “now I know, would be better rendered now I can show; now those who come across your story will know how well I trained and prepared you; so now I can use you, I will use you as an example of faith. As a teacher, I write exams for my students. As I am preparing the tests, I know for sure those students who will pass without fail. Only I am not God. I feel sure because I know the students. I would put money on them to pass. God of course knows in a different way, not only because he knows us, but also because He knows the beginning from the end. Abraham’s show of faith was intended to be an example for us. So God says, “Now I know.” We remember Abraham’s affirmation of faith, “My son God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering. Well, Abraham’s words were both prophetic and pragmatic. Prophetic, because just as he foretold, God did provide himself a lamb; and pragmatic because, Abraham knew God and was certain that God would come through for him. So God having stopped him from hurting the lad, Abraham hears a movement in a thicket and looking round, saw a ram caught by the horn in the bush; and taking hold of it, he offered up the ram for a burnt offering, in place of his son Isaac. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah Jireh, signifying up to this present time, For in the mount of the Lord, it shall be seen. Isaac was spared; Abraham was tested and proven, and God was well pleased with His man servant; so God told Abraham how much he appreciated his faithfulness and obedience and promised to bless him and his descendants, and multiply them and make them as plentiful as the stars of heaven. More
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Abraham and Isaac journeyed to the place which God had directed, and Abraham proceeded to build an altar, and having done so, he laid the wood on it, and having bound Isaac, he laid him on the wood. Then with Isaac lying on the wood on the altar, Abraham, knife in hand, raised his hand to kill his son, and would have doubtless plunged the knife into his son’s heart if God had not intervened. Reading the biblical account we note that in the telling of it, there were no breaks or pauses; no prayers; no petitions uttered; no doubts expressed, nor words of comfort to a victim son; no apology; no last minute plea to God if perhaps he would change his mind. Abraham was following God’s orders and he did not seek to question God. Up to this point, all indications are that if everything that took place from the moment God spoke to him sending him on his mission of sacrifice to the point he raised the knife to slay his son was his final test of faith and obedience, even the most cynical skeptic would have to concede that Abraham passed with flying colors and award him an A+ And indeed God was testing Abraham; for at the point of the last act to complete the play, God called upon Abraham and stopped him. “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any harm unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God; seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thy only son from me.” More
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
So then, the very next morning, Abraham rose early and saddled his ass, and taking his son Isaac and two of his servants, lade his donkey with wood and started towards the destination that God directed him to. And on the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place to which he was directing his steps afar off. Seeing his destination, Abraham told his servants to wait there, while he and his son go yonder to worship; but said Abraham, after we would have done with our worship, we will return again unto you. It is not clear how Abraham knew that he would return again with Isaac. Surely according to God’s instructions, Isaac was to have been offered as burnt offering on mount Moriah; but somehow, Abraham seemed to have anticipated what God would do, or perhaps not do. That even after he had slain his son God Almighty would have returned him alive again somehow. Whatever the insight, motivation or confidence in God, Abraham said, “We will be back!” So then Abraham took the wood and laid them upon Isaac’s back, while he himself took the fire and a knife, the instruments for the burnt offering, and they started off together. But after a while Isaac’s curiosity got the better of him. Doubtless, he had been wondering and not quite sure what the worship ritual taking place was all about. But as they neared the place, son, fire and wood, Isaac was sure that a sacrifice was being offered; but something was missing. So he said to his father, “I see the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Surely, Isaac was old enough to know the elements of a sacrifice. We know he was strong enough to carry the pile of wood; so he was certainly old enough to understand in part at least what was going on. Abraham’s reply was, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” And having answered thus, they went on together. More.
Monday, November 18, 2013
We come now to a very crucial part of Abraham’s story, during his walk with God, a journey which we have since called a journey of faith. But if we were to look at the story fairly and impartially, and with a critical eye, we would be well justified to view Abraham’s walk so far as the walk of the faithless. Abraham was made wonderful promises by God. Promises which we aver no man in his right mind would have refused. God promised Abraham everything that any man could possibly want in his lifetime and much more. Yes, and God gave him everything as promised. Well almost everything. Abraham did not have a son, and this of course troubled him. Perhaps troubled him even more than the famines he faces; than the ten Kings he chased and had to face in battle. And then at last, when he was a hundred years old, after waiting for 25 long years, God did for him the impossible. God gave him a son, not Ishmael which he tried to preempt God and had with Hagar, his wife’s maid, but a son, the heir of promise with his very own wife Sarah. Certainly disbelief was countered by reality! Sarah’s derisive laughter turned to joyous smiles; so she could erupt in self deprecating laughter and say, “think what you like, here I am, nursing my very own baby at age 90.” And then, when things seemed to be going all Abraham’s way, again God did the unthinkable. For God did test Abraham and said, “Abraham, take now thy son, thy only son Isaac, whom thou love, 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.” Take the one thing that you longed, and hoped, and yearned and would die for, and burn him to ashes as a burnt offering? God, are you kidding me? What was Abraham’s response? God willing tomorrow we shall see. More
Sunday, November 17, 2013
The two brothers, Ishmael and Isaac were for all practical purposes, in truth and in fact now worlds apart. Abraham remained in Abimelech’s country, in Gerar which was fairly close to Egypt while Ishmael and her mother remained in the wilderness area, a locality which is roughly equivalent to present day Saudi Arabia, which means they were some thousand or so miles apart. It was while Abraham lodged in Gerar, which literally means, “lodging place, that King Abimelech and his top General confronted Abraham and said, “Now it is clear that your God is with you in all that you do. Now therefore, I want you to swear unto me in the name of your God, that you will not betray me; or my son, or any of my descendants; but as I have treated you well and have shown you kindness, you will do unto me and unto them likewise.” Abraham swore unto Abimelech and said, “I will; but what about the well of water that your servants have violently taken away from me?” Abimelech explained that he had no knowledge before hand of the affair as Abraham had not brought it to his attention, and stated further that he was hearing about it for the first time. To conclude the matter Abraham gave unto Abimelech a peace offering of sheep and oxen and both men made a pact that day in fulfillment of their mutual covenants. Having agreed as above stated, Abraham set apart from the rest of his flock, seven female lambs; and when Abimelech asked him why, he explained to him that the seven sheep were to be a token that by taking his hand, Abimelech was in agreement that the well was dug by and therefore belonged to Abraham. There then followed a ceremony attended to and witnessed by both sides, of naming the well which was called Beersheba, meaning they were both agreed. After the covenant at Beersheba, Abimelech and his General left the place and returned into the land of the Philistines. And Abraham planted a grove there and called upon the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God of heaven and earth. More
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Thus assured of Ishmael’s future, Abraham rose early the next morning and took bread and water and gave it to Hagar; and so Hagar departed from the house of her mistress Sarah and her master Abraham and, taking her Son Ishmael, left and went inter the wilderness of Beersheba. Being in a dry place, the water eventually ran out and Hagar, put the boy to sit under some shrubs, and sat within hailing distance thinking that at least the boy would die without the additional agony of sunstroke. But as she sat there crying, the lad was also crying; and the Lord heard their cry. Then the angel of the Lord called to Hagar and asked her why she was crying, and what was ailing her. Of course the angel already knew and was sent to bring relief; for he told Hagar “God has heard the cry of your son. Go ahead, the angel told her; lift up your son, and hold him close to you; for God will not let him die of thirst. God has a plan for him to make a great nation out of him.” And straightway her eyes were opened and she saw that there was water nearby from which she went and filled her bottle with water and gave her son to drink. Hagar’s problem was, her eyes were on water; and though water was nearby, she couldn’t see it; but once her attention and thus her eyes were drawn to God and her thoughts directwed towards God, she was able to see that which hitherto her eyes could not see. Thereafter, Ishmael continued to live in the wilderness. As he grew, God gave him the wisdom and skill to survive by hunting for and obtaining food. In course of time when he became of age, his mother procured him an Egyptian wife; so Ishmael began his God ordained heritage of nation building, there in the land of Paran. More
Thursday, November 14, 2013
The child Isaac grew and was weaned. Even from today’s experience we know that there is no set age for weaning a child. Some mothers cut off suck in a matter of months, some in a matter of years, while some give no suck at all. It usually depends entirely on the mother and the child. Going back to the days of Abraham and Sarah, there is no definitive information that would indicate categorically the weaning age. But it would seem any time between 3 and 9 would be an intelligent guess. For instance we know that before Hannah had the child Samuel, she had promised him to the Lord. And we know that later she took the child Samuel and handed over into the custody of Eli the priest as soon as he was weaned. Accordingly we think that at some midway point between 3 and 9, the child was weaned. Five or even six may be suggested as the age at which Hannah would have felt safe to part with her only child and give him to the Lord forever. In any event, Abraham, the same day Isaac was weaned held a great feast. It was no doubt as the bible tells us a great and wonderful occasion; the kind of feast, for example that Solomon held when he broke ground in the building of his magnificent temple. At that time all of Israel was invited. It was a feast that lasted fourteen days, and as one can well imagine, a great deal of eating and drinking took place, and a jolly good time was had by all, before Solomon sent them away. At Abraham’s feast, one may be sure there was also a great deal of eating and drinking; and to be sure wine will invariably affect some men’s behavior. Whether from too much wine, or too much jealousy, Ishmael took offence to Isaac, and or the occasion of his celebration, and that lead to trouble in the family, as we shall see shortly. More
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
God answered Abraham’s prayers for Abimelech, as indeed he must, for it was God himself who told Abimelech that if he returned Sarah to him, Abraham would pray for him. So Abraham prayed, God answered, Abimelech was healed, and his wife and maidservants, whose wombs God had stopped up, were allowed to conceive. This is one more piece of convincing evidence that God is in control; that he knows the beginning from the end. The fact that Abimelech’s household were all barren was entirely within the will of God. So now the Lord visited Sarah, and did unto her as He had promised. God’s promise to an old woman that she would conceive and bare a son was no longer a laughing matter; for Sarah did conceive, and Sarah did bare a son whose name was called Isaac. And Abraham when Isaac was eight days old circumcised him as God had commanded him to do. Now Abraham was a hundred years old at the time of Isaac’s birth, which means Sarah was then ninety years old. Sarah herself could not help mocking herself at the timing of the birth of her son Isaac. “God has made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. Who would have believes it? Who would have believed that an old woman such as I would be suckling a child”, Sarah emoted. Sarah was clearly a woman of great wisdom and possessed of a great sense of humor. One could well imagine the spectacle of a ninety year old woman giving suck to a baby. So Sarah did not sit back and allow the younger woman to laugh at her. She laughed at herself; therefore, there was nothing left to laugh at. Today they would call Sarah’s strategy, reverse psychology; but in any age, it was likely to work. More
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
So now Abraham and Sarah were restored, because of what the Lord said unto Abimelech in a dream. Indeed Abimelech had done nothing wrong in taking in Sarah with the intention of marrying her. But innocent or not, the law of God forbade lying with another man’s wife; and so Abimelech was in danger of committing a grave sin, and would likely have done so if God had not intervened. Here is what God said to Abimelech, “Yes I know that you did what you did innocently, based on what you were told about Sarah’s status; but it was I who withheld you from sinning against me; therefore, I did not allow you to touch her. Now, therefore, restore to the man his wife; he is a prophet, and he shall pray for you, and you shall live; but if you do not restore her, know of a certainty that you shall surely die; not only you, but everyone connected to you.” God, then, left Abimelech in no doubt how he felt about the whole matter, what he should do by way of reparation, and what would happen to him if he failed to make amends. Is it not worth noting before moving on how God views adultery? Taking another man’s wife? God said you have sinned not against Abraham, but against me! No wonder Abimelech was so meticulous in dealing with Sarah and Abraham thereafter. He duly restored Sarah and paid compensation to Abraham. We may also note in passing the basis for Abraham’s and Sarah’s pretence. Firstly Abraham thought to himself that he was among Godless people, that is to say, they did not have the fear of the Lord in them. Therefore, he thought, “they would surely kill me and take my wife.” In so thinking, he was probably correct; as indeed they did take Sarah away from him. Secondly, Abraham reasoned, Sarah was in a sense his sister since she was the daughter of his father but not his mother. Therefore they decided, saying they were sister and brother was not absolutely a lie. So they used the trick against Abimelech. So now that Abimelech had made full reparation, Abraham prayed to God for Abimelech and he and his household were healed. More
Monday, November 11, 2013
Abraham is featured in the Bible as one of the leading heroes of faith; but in truth and in fact he was no hero; at least not at first, while he was going through his journeys with God. On the contrary, Abraham showed himself as being quite the opposite. If there was a hero, surely it was God. The first time Abraham faced hunger he ran away without thinking it through first. Then when he was on his way he suddenly realized that there was a flaw in his plans and tried to cover them with a lie. But what happened in Egypt? God saved him, and saved Sarah. Then there was the question of Hagar. Although God had promised him over and over again he would have seed, he lost faith and accepted Sarah’s offer of her personal maid as an alternative to God’s plan. And now here again we find him running into Abimelech’s country where he repeated the same failed lie he had used before. Abraham, therefore, may be liked unto a good student who is prepared to learn. Even though it may take him repeated trials and failures, he was under the pupilage of a good teacher, and would eventually pass the final test. With every failure God only saw the end result. Like every good teacher who knows by experience that a certain student will eventually make it. God knew Abraham, and as has been said above, had not regard to his failures, but his successes. The key point to note here is that God was with Abraham; and if God is for you, who can be against you? When Abimelech found out that Abraham had deceived him concerning Sarah, Abimelech not only retuned Sarah to him unharmed, but in addition gave him goods, such as sheep and oxen and servants, and silver and land whereon to live as long as he was pleased to do so. More.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
It is clear that after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham and Lot became permanently separated, hence Lot’s daughter’s statement that there were no others around and hence their bold if sinful decision. And while Lot dwelt in his cave his two pregnant daughters with him, Abraham was journeying southwards, dwelling firstly between Kadesh and Shur, finally settling in Ge’rar in the territory of King Abimelech. It would seem that the lie has a way of repeating itself. Once it is rolled off the tongue, it leaves a taste behind which the mouth likes to savor from time to time or as need arises. When Abram went down into Egypt into the Pharaoh’s country, he pulled the stunt which could have had very serious consequences for both himself and his wife Sarai, had not God intervenes; yet on this occasion, now in Abimelech’s, county he tried the same failed stratagem by saying Sarah was his sister. It would seem that after all the intervening years, Sarah in her 90’s nearing a hundred was still both beautiful and attractive to men; so once again Abraham pulled the she is my sister trick. And once again, sure enough, King Abimlech took Sarah into his palace. But once again, God intervened before the King could touch her by warning him in a dream, “You touch that woman, and you are a dead man; for she is another man’s wife.” So once again, God used His omniscient, omnipresent power, to do his will; and as always, exactly at the right time, to save his elect from their own folly. More
Saturday, November 9, 2013
So the place that Lot ran to, to find greener pastures was burnt to the ground never to resurrect again and from which he was able to escape, he and his two daughters by the mercy of God, generated by God’s favor towards Lot’s cousin Abraham. At the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham got up early in the morning, and looked towards Sodom and Gomorrah and saw what used to be those two great cities, now turned to ash. But Lot was a scared and restless man and so he went out from Zoar and took up dwelling in a cave in the side of the mountain, he and his two daughter, apparently oblivious of Abraham’s continued existence. And it came to pass that when Lot was grown old, his daughters feared for the continuation of the race, apparently because they were not in touch with any other human beings. And so the elder daughter told the younger that since there was no other man on the earth by which they may produce, that they should lie with their father, and so they were both agreed In execution of the plan, they made their father drunk with wine; and while so inebriated, the firstborn went in and laid with her father in his drunken stupor and she conceived. The following night they again made their father drunk and the younger laid with him also and conceived; so both girls were pregnant at the same time for their father. In course of time the firstborn bore a son, whom she called Moab who is the progenitor of that nation we came to know in history as the Moabites; and the younger when she gave birth, called her son Ben’ammi, whose descendants are the people known as the Ammonites. More.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Having rescued Lot and his family, the Angels told Lot that they should not look back; but that they should escape onto the mountain; but it would seem that lot was afraid of heights and had had his fill of large cities; so he pleaded with the Angels that he may be allowed to go instead to a little city which in addition was not very far away. And so the angels acceded to Lot’s request and allowed him to settle in the little city, since the angels could not carry out their task of destruction until Lot and his family had settled in; so the name of the city was called Zoar. By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun was high in the sky; and thereafter the Lord rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from heaven. And the Lord overthrew those twin cities and all the plain, and all the inhabitants and every living thing that grew or was on the ground. Whatever the reason, Lot’s wife notwithstanding the angel’s instructions not to look back, could not resist doing so, and was turned into a pillar of salt. We will remember that it was those plains surrounding Sodom that first caught Lot’s eye when his men and those of Abram fell out; and we will remember also that Abram had given Lot first choice, and lot had chosen the plains. Now these were destroyed and he was forced to move. It must have been a very rich and prosperous possession for Lot and his family; and Lot must have increased in riches much; no wonder then that his wife could not resist one last look at what she was leaving behind; but alas, it was her very last look and, she was to become a statue in that place for ever. More