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
Thursday, November 7, 2013
As we have seen, the men outside Lot’s door were pushing hard; but at a point just before it was broken through, the angels snatched Lot inside, and secured the door. Then the Angels smote all the men outside with blindness so that they groped around, unable to find the door. Indeed they wore themselves out as in vain they bumped about in the dark until they tired themselves out, but all in vain. Then the Angels spoke to Lot and warned him that the Lord had sent them to destroy the city and that he should get out, and that he should alert his daughters and their husbands that they should get out also; but Lot’s sons in law merely laughed and mocked him and took no notice. When the sun rose the next morning, the Angels advised Lot to hurry and get out; so Lot took his wife and his two daughters and left the city on the advice of the angels. Even so Lot was hesitant to leave; so the two angels took hold of him and his wife and two daughters and led them out of the city. Once, without the city, the Angels entreated them to run for their lives, and advised Lot to escape all the way to the mountain; but Lot had other ideas. Before proceeding, we note that nowhere in our story was any reference to Lot’s relationship with God. Throughout he is referred to as Abraham’s cousin. And while we saw that Abraham found favor in God’s sight, not so Lot. Why was Lot and his family showed favor then we may ask? Well we know from the words of Abram’s call that God is in the business of blessing and saving families. And as Abram’s family, he found mercy with God. Secondly, he risked his life to protect the two Angels and was prepared to sacrifice his two daughters to save them; so we hear the Angels telling Lot, “the Lord is being merciful unto you.” More
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Having conversed with Abraham, the Lord turned away from him and Abraham went home. After that the Lord sent two angels to visit Sodom, and finding Lot sitting at the gate they conversed with him. Indeed it was Lot who first approached them, greeted them and offered them loggings for the night as guests in his home. But the angels at first refused Lot’s offer of hospitality, saying that they would prefer to spend the night in the streets; but when Lot pressed them they accepted. That evening Lot prepared a feast for the two guests; but before they could lay down for the night, the men of Sodom, both young and old, surrounded Lot’s house, calling upon him to send them out so that they could bugger them. I am aware that Scripture uses the phrase “know thrm,” but that word is used extensively in the bible to describe the sexual act between a man and a woman; so in this context, it was in that connotation the word “know” was used; and that in plain terms, when used between man and man is buggery plain and simple. Lot then went out and pleaded with the men of Sodom not to persist in their evil and wicked demands. He even offered to them, in order to protect the safety and integrity of his guests, as he was tradition bound to do, his two virgin daughters; but the lust filled, lascivious and twisted minded men of the city, refused, and threatened to break down Lot’s door in order to get to the two angels. But just as the door was being pushed in, the two angels pulled Lot to safely and closed the door. More
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Well then Abraham was given an opportunity to look closely inside the heart of God; and he not only took it; but tried to make the best use of it. So God answered Abraham’s first two challenges. No he would wouldn’t destroy Sodom if fifty righteous were found; neither would he destroy it if forty five were found.. So Abraham asked a third time, “would you destroy it if forty were found there? And again God said no; so now Abraham decided to lower his asking figure by ten, that is to say to thirty; but the Lord said not for thirty. What about twenty, Abraham enquired; and again the Lord said Nay, not for twenty. And when Abraham went down to ten, the Lord said, not for ten. At this point, it must have occurred to Abraham the futility of saving Sodom on the basis of there being ten righteous dwelling there. Indeed it must have occurred to him that if in that great twin city there were not ten righteous to be found, then the odds were there were not five, not one, not any; so Abraham ceased his questioning. It would be a fair inference to say that clearly at that stage the lights of realization went on, and Abraham saw the light clearly. Since God had said he was going to destroy the city, God would have already known that there were no righteousness to be found therein, hence His already made decision to destroy it. So God turned and went away from Abraham, and Abraham, doubtless with a very heavy heart, returned unto his tent. More
Monday, November 4, 2013
When the visitors rose to depart, Abraham decided to accompany them part of the way; and as they set their face towards Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham walked with them. As they went the Lord began to turn his thoughts toward Abraham. And the Lord said, “Shall I not confide in Abraham to tell him what I am about to do to Sodom? Did I not choose him to be the father of many nations which shall become my people? “Therefore,” said the Lord, “I will confide in him.” But the Lord could not ignore the fact that the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah was great and their sin most grievous, God decided to see if there was one iota of goodness in those twin cities. The Lord already knew the state of the cities, but knowing the sentence he was about to pass he decided to re-examine the evidence before passing sentence. Accordingly once God told Abraham what he was about to do, Abraham asked God, “will you destroy the city if there is found within it fifty righteous persons?” In interpleading with God Abraham boldly pointed out that God being a just God, his justice ought not to allow him to destroy fifty righteous persons even though the thousands were wicked. No doubt impressed by Abraham’s logic and his advocacy, God promised he would not destroy the city if fifty righteous be found there. Abraham was clearly a clever debater. Where did he get his cleverness from? Having gained a concession from God he now throws up a straw man and asks God, You will not destroy it for fifty, but would you destroy it for lack of five? Abraham was rolling the dice and playing the odds with the odds maker; but God was really toying with him and parried by saying, “No Abe, I will not destroy it for the sake of forty and five.” More
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Now it turned out that while Abraham was speaking to the heavenly Host, Sarah was listening from the doorway, and heard when Abraham was told that she shall have a son. Upon hearing what was said, she laughed to herself; not the gay laughter of satisfaction brought on by happy news, but the laughter of derision because she and Abraham were as far they were concerned, well past the age of child bearing. According to the text, “it ceased with her after the manner of women.” So Sarah mused, “now I am waxed old, shall I have pleasure, my husband being old also?” The Lord hearing what Sarah said in her heart asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and questioned my statement that she shall bear a child? Is anything to hard for the Lord? At the point appointed I will return unto thee according to the time of life; and Sarah shall have a son.” Upon hearing the affirmative promise of the Lord, Sarah became concerned and afraid and denied laughing; but the Lord said “Yes Sarah, you did laugh!” Clearly we see here, that the Lord God of heaven has the power and the unfettered authority to do his own will. In the 1950’s the English Courts had to decide if there is a cut off time for a woman to have a child. (Diwell v Farnes), 1959), in order to decide a case involving the Rule Against Perpetuities.. After consulting the best medical authorities, they decided that 80 years was that cut off time. But legal precedent or not a woman is expected to know when her time clock stops ticking. And so Sarah knew. As to the question of her laughing, one could understand why she would say she did not laugh. How was she to know that God is a searcher of hearts and a reader of the thoughts of the heart. Surely she must have told herself, I did not laugh out loud. What I did was to myself, and no one, not even God was suppose to hear that. But the fact is God did hear. More
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Can you imagine a 99 year old man running back and forth at anytime, but especially after speaking to strangers? What might make anyone, young or old run about like an excited little boy? Well clearly Abraham was excited. Was he excited that he had 3 guests for dinner, or because the guests were a theophany of the Almighty? Maybe; but I would like to think that what really excited him, and made him run at his age was the realization that something exciting, something incredible, was happening, or about to happen, to him. Anyway, Abraham ran to his wife Sarah, and instructed her to get baking; then he hurried to his herd and hand picked a young calf and gave it to one of his servants with instructions to dress it hurriedly. And when all was ready, baked and killed and dressed and roasted, he himself took milk and butter, and brought them to his guests. It should be noted that Abraham had hundreds of servants male and female in his household to whom he could have given instructions to have all of this done while he sat and chatted with his guests; but Abraham personally did all of those things. To be sure he highly esteemed his guests. They were royalty and he treated them as such; but Abraham more than anything else wanted personally to wait upon his Lord, because he was grateful and excited over what the Lord had done for him. After the guests had eaten they asked after Sarah, Abraham’s wife and he told them she was in the house. But what they said concerning Sarah is too important to be added here and deserves a day all its own. More
Friday, November 1, 2013
Truly God gave Abraham quite a big earful, and having told him all he was able to take in at that one time, God departed. And straight away Abraham circumcised his son Ishmael and all the males that were within his household, he circumcised them and Abraham himself being 99 years old was circumcised also. Shortly thereafter, God appeared unto Abraham as he sat at the door of his tent. Looking up Abraham saw three men whom he in fact recognized either intuitively or by the moving of the Spirit of God to be the very presence of God; for Abraham addressed them as my Lord. “My Lord,” Abraham said, “If now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee from thy servant. Let a little water, I pray you be fetched, and wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree. And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts, after that you shall pass on; for therefore are ye come to thy servant.” God had appeared to Abraham many times before, and each time renewed the promise of an heir.; but Abraham had now been waiting for 22 years without obtaining the anticipated result, although just a short time before, God had given him even clearer and more specific promises, even to the naming of Isaac as heir; but here was God again now at his very doorstep. “Is there something more God wants of me?” Abraham must have question himself. So Abraham came up with something new. Perhaps, he thought, I have lacked good manners in the past. Perhaps I should have showed hospitality to my heavenly visitors. Perhaps, Abraham thought to himself, I am always looking to God for some blessing. But what have I given to God? Perhaps God is trying to give me a hint by this threefold theophany!” To his delight, his offer of hospitality was accepted.