Friday, September 29, 2006

"Jacob's Dilemma"

Genesis 27:41 "And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob."

Esau must have been thinking outload for Rebekah got word of the threat and told Jacob to flee to Laban's house to escape Esau's fury. At this point Jacob did not leave until Rebekah told Issac that she could not stand it if Jacob married one of the Heth women. Remember Esau did marry two of them and they were grief of mind to Issac and to Rebekah. She went so far as to ask "what good shall my life do me?" v46 . So, we see Jacob with little choice but to leave and go for protection at Laban's house. Esau is planning to kill him. Rebekah does not want him to marry locally and Issac will, in the next chapter, tell him to go find a wife in "Thy mothers brother..."'s house.

We can see a lot of Jacob's character in this chapter. He is not a shining example of integrity.

*He seems to have cheated a little when he was born by grabbing hold of Esau's foot. Well, can't really blame a baby for that.
*He charged Esau his birthright for a bowl of pottage - Of course, Esau should have treasured his birthright instead of despising it (chapter 25). Jacob did through in some bread.
*Jacob pretended to be his brother and deceived his father Issac to get a blessing
*Jacob told a few outright lies
1) When asked in v18-19 who he was Jacob replied "I am Esau thy firstborn"
2) v24 Issac again asked if he was Esau after feeling the disguise prepared by Rebekah and Jacob replied "I am."
3) v20 Issac asked him how he got the venison (which was goat meat) so fast and Jacob replied (very dangerously) that "Because the Lord thy God brought it to me." In actuality, Jacob had gotten the kids and Rebekah prepared them.

Well, to this point, there is not a lot to like about Jacob. Esau described him well when he said in v36 "Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times and behold now he hath taken away my blessing..."

Jacob's life is an example, as we will learn from his life later, that God can work with a bad person and bring forth good. There is not much to like about Jacob but don't give up on him yet. The Lord has a plan for him.

Proverbs 16:9 "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Genesis 27 "Esau and Jacob" Part 1

Genesis 27:1-4 "And it came to pass that when Issac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him Behold, here am I. And he said Behold now I am old. I know not the day of my death: Now therefore take I pray thee thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field and take me some venison, And make me savory meat, such as I love and bring it to me that I may eat, that my sould may bless thee before I die."

In this chapter we learn about Issac blessing one of his sons with the blessing passed down from his father Abraham. It centers around Issac's request of his eldest son to get him some venison to eat so he might bless him.

The story is a difficult one for me. I have looked for some goodness in Jacob but he has not shown much to this point. The name Jacob means supplanter. Supplant means to take the place of usually by stratagem. Stratagem is a wile. Wile means to entice. So to be nice, we can say that Jacob was a crafty person. Esau simply means hairy.

In this story, Rebekah overhead the conversation between Esau and Issac. She went into action for as we learned before she loved Jacob and Issac loved Esau. Honestly, I cannot see how they could seperate twins like that but that is how the story goes. Rebekah sets a plan in motion to get Jacob in to see Issac before Esau can get back from hunting. She has him get two goats and dresses him up like Essau (Issac is blind). Esau is a hairy man and Jacob is smooth so Rebekah fixed him up quiet a costume. Issac idenfified Jacob as Esau by the smell of his clothes which were actually Esau's. Issac is fooled and gave Jacob the blessing.

Genesis 27 v28-29 (Issac to Jacob) "Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee: be lord over thy brethren and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be everyone that curseth thee and blessed be he that blesseth thee."

Jacob now leaves the tent and soon Esau came back with the real venison from his hunting trip. Issac is very disturbed when he finds out he has blessed the wrong son but the blessing still stands as he has spoken. Esau is very upset at this and begs for a blessing if only one. Issac does give him a blessing.

v39 "And Issac his father answered and said unto him Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth and of the dew of heaven from above v40 And by thy sword shalt thou live and shalt serve thy brother and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck."

Remember that in the last chapter Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of pottage.

Proverbs 20:24 "Man's goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?"

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Genesis 26 "Issac and Abimelech"

v32 "And it came to pass the same day that Issac's servants came and told him concerning the well which they had digged and said unto him, We have found water."

v33 "And he called it Shebah therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day."

V1 "And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Issac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar."

Issac went on the move now, I suppose to find food and water for his people and cattle. God warned him not to go to Egypt as Abraham had done. God also tells Issac that He will carry on the promise with him as with his father. v5 "Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes and my laws."

So Issac camped near Abimelech and told him that Rebekah was his sister. We've heard that trick before and it did not do well the other time. God protects Rebekah and the truth comes out. Issac made a crop there and reaped a hundred fold. Abimelech sees that Issac is becoming very strong and prosperous and so asks him to leave, most likely out of fear. So, Issac goes up to Beersheba.

During this time he is again digging the wells that Abraham hd originally dug. For some reason, the Philistines had filled them in with dirt. It seems every time they dug a well the herdsmen of Gerar would strive for it. Letting Issac's people do the work then wanting the water for themselves. Finally they dug a well and noone else claimed it. Then, he went to Beersheba where the Lord renewed the promise and there Issac built an altar and prayed.

Abimelech then comes to find Issac to make peace with him and to get a promise that Issac would do him no hurt and so they made the agreement.

There is a note at the end that Esau married two women and that they were a 'grief of mind' unto Issac and to Rebekah. Perhaps we will understand what the significance of that verse is later on in our study. Or perhaps it is a clash of culture coming into the family since the women were of the Hittites of the Cannanites. If you remember chapter 24 Abraham told his servant "...thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the canaanites, among whom I dwell." It appears Esau had broken tradition(at least) by marrying the Hittite women.

Proverbs 23:22 "Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old. v26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways."

Genesis 25 "Abraham Dies""Twins Born"

v8"Then Abraham gave up the ghost and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years and was gathered to his people."

The highlights of this chapter are: 1)Abraham remarries and has several children with his new wife but it is clear that the promise and leadership of the budding nation goes to Issac. 2) the burial 3) generations of Ishmael and Issac 4) birth of Esau and Jacob 5) Esau sells his birthright .

We have taken a long journey from the creation through the flood and on to the calling out of Abraham. Issac is born to Abraham and Sarah in their old age. Abraham has received the promise from the Lord and it has been confirmed on several occasions. Abraham has been severely tested. Through all this journey we can note that sin has been present since the sin in the garden. We have also seen the grace of God in preserving Noah and blessing Abraham. We have not found perfect people but we have found people of faith and as the book of Romans says it was counted to them for righteousness. Romans 4:4-5 "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." The whole book of Romans is a good read on the comparison of works verses faith and the law verses grace. I believe that man is incapable of righteousness by his own merits and I believe God knows this. However, by faith we can become righteous, not through our own merits but through faith in the finished work of the Lord. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. So by doing this study we are gaining more faith.

So, we have seen Abraham, who was not perfect in the sense that we think of perfect, but he was a man of faith and God honored that faith.

v24 "And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled behold there were twins in her womb." They were named Esau and Jacob. Esau was born first and was a hairy man of the fields. A hunter. Jacob was a farmer and had smooth skin. Issac seemed to like Esau best because of the meat he brought. Rebekah seemed to like Jacob better.

In verses 29-34 the boys are grown. Esau has been out in the fields and came home very hunger and faint. Jacob had some pottage on, which Esau desired. Here we see the nature of Jacob at this time. He would only give Esau food as the price of Esau's birthright. I suppose we wonder how a deed such as this could have anything but symbolic meaning. But that deal, however crafty it was, did have long lasting effects on the future of the boys.

These are two very different boys. I have not found why Jacob was chosen as the receiver of the promise. Perhaps it is not for me to know. To bring it forward to today, I do not know why God decided to love me either. I know myself pretty good, I guess, I can tell you that I am in the family of God only because of grace and not on merit.

Let's jump back to v9 "And his sons Issac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelab..." The boys buried their father. I guess we had about forgotten about Ishmael. Remember he was an archer and dwelt in the wilderness but he was around and apparently kept up with things for he was at the funeral of his father Abraham. I'm pointing this out because I can imagine the day Ishmael rode in to attend the funeral. He was no doubt a rugged looking fellow and must have traveled with his fighting men. His appearance was perhaps a good memory for the budding nation since they too would someday be fierce fighting men.

Proverbs 22:2 "The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Rebekah arrives.

"And Issac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes and saw and behold the camels were coming." Genesis 24:63

"And Rebekah lifted up her eyes and when she saw Issac, she lighted off the camel." Genesis 24:64

The whole story below.

Genesis 24 "Issac's Wife Rebekah"

Genesis 24 is about when Abraham sent his servant back to his kindred to get a wife for Issac.

In the first part of the chapter Abraham calls in his servant and tells him a couple of things. First, that he would not take a wife for Issac from the people where he was living. Second, that he would not take Issac back to Abraham's original home. Third, that he would go back to his kindred and find a wife. The servant was concerned that Issac's future wife would not come with him and so mentioned taking Issac there to get his own wife but Abraham was adament that Issac was not to go back to the homeland because God had promised the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants. I think Abraham might have been afraid Issac would get distracted back there and decide to stay or something but the Bible does not say why Abraham was so firm on Issac not going with the servant.

V1 "And Abraham was old and well stricken in age and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. v4 But thou shalt go unto my country and to my kindred and take a wife unto my son Issac.

The next section of the chapter is the servant praying for a sign so he would know which was the right woman for Issac. He told the Lord God (of Abraham) to have the woman willingly give him a drink after he asked and then to voluntarily offer to water his camels. As soon as he had finished praying, here came Rebekah and did just that. The servant gave her gifts and she went back to her family to tell the story. Big brother came out to talk with the stranger and invited him to stay and bed down. There the servant tells the narrative of why he was there. They did not have TV so I guess it was a good story to them.

v28 "And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother's house these things."

The family agreed that the matter was of the Lord and that Rebekah would go with the servant so the men had a little party. The Bible does not say what the women were doing now but it is easy to imagine that there was some whispering going on somewhere in the house and a young lady gathering up some personal things for the journey. Perhaps someone said, "I wonder if he is handsome?" Or what ever things ladies wonder about. The next morning the family got a little apprehensive about Rebekah leaving and bargained for letting her stay 10 more days but the servant wanted to leave without delay. So they decided to ask Rebekah if she would go.

v58 "And they called Rebekah and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go."

Then we have the journey back to where Issac was. I expect there was some conversation on the way but I do not know what it was. I can imagine that Rebekah may have ventured a question about Issac. "What's he like?" I can imagine the servant saying, "Oh, he is a lot like his father. His mother was very fair." At last, they arrive.

V64 "And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Issac, she lighted off the camel."

It is a beautiful story with a spiritual application as well. Issac is a type of Christ in this story with Rebekah being the church and the servant representing the Holy Spirit and, of course, Abraham, the aged one, representing the Father.

The servant had only good things to say about his master. He never demanded of Rebekah to go with him but woed her for his master's sake. He gave her gifts and told his story. Then upon her arrival and when she saw Issac, she sounds excited.

v65 partial ..."What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us?" Then the servant answers. v65 "It is my master:" As if to say, "That is who I've been telling you about."

Note of interest: The servant had been referring to Issac as his "master's son' to this point. Now, when Rebekah asked who the man is the servant replies Oh that's "my master". That was a wise servant to elevate Issac in the presents of his bride. It was prophetic too for in the next chapter Abraham gives Issac all that he has.

Now Issac was not out there exactly on purpose to meet them. He was meditating in the field and saw them coming. He kept his mouth shut about that part as I would have. I expect the whole thing was arranged by the Lord.

v63 "And Issac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes and saw and behold the camels were coming."

So Rebekah must have a really good impression of her husband. She has been sought from a far country and showered with gifts. Her future husband has apparently come out to meet her and she finds out that Issac is the master. No wonder she jumped off the camel like that. I expect Issac was having a good day too!

The Holy Spirit is woeing people to come be part of the bride of Christ, the church.

Proverbs 18:22 "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Genesis 23 "Sarah dies"

Genesis 23:1 "And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty (127) years old, these were the years of the life of Sarah."

She was very fair, a beautiful woman and the wife of Abraham. Parents of a great nation. In chapter 23 she has died and Abraham mourns and weeps for her.

Much of this chapter is about Abraham bargaining for a burial place for Sarah and his kin. He does the baraining at the gate of the city in the audience of the sons of Heth (V16) for 400 shekels of silver.

V17 "And the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the borders round about were made sure."

That sounds very much like the language of a legal contract. This was the way business was done then. They made the deal in front of many witnesses so everyone knew and noone could back out later. Twice the Bible says it was made sure. And so, Abraham buried his wife of many years. The name of the cave was Machpelah. Machpelah means double cave. It is the oldest burial site in the world. It is now covered by a Mohammedian mosque. It is also where Issac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah are buried and possibly Joseph.

Proverbs: 18:14 "The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?"

Afterthought "Zoar" City of refuge hint

Genesis 19 flashback or afterthought. I was thinking about when Lot was escaping and he asked to go to Zoar. v19-22 "Behold now thy servant hath found grace in thy sight and thou has magnified thy mercy which thou has showed unto me in saving my life and I cannot escape to the mountain lest some evil take me and I die Behold now this city is near to flee unto and it is a little one. Oh let me escape thither (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live And he said unto him See I have accepted thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city for the which thou has spoken. Haste thee escape thither, for I cannot do anything till thou be come thither. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar." Zoar means smallness.

Later on in the Bible, it will become law to have 6 cities that a person could flee to while the authorities had time to judge the matter whether he was guilty or not. Numbers 35:6 and Joshua 15:59 talk about these cities. They were part of 48 cities given to the priestly tribe of Levi. These were called cities of refuge. I think Zoar is a sort of hint as to what is to come later on.

Jesus Christ is our city of refuge in a spiritual sense. Even though we are guilty, we can flee to him for safety.

I wanted only to mention this here and give the scripture references so you can study it at your leisure. It is a wonderful thought that even when we know we are guilty, there is a place we can flee to for safety. Psalms 46:1, 142:5 Isaiah 4:6, Exodus 21:13, Deuteronomy 18:2-9, Romans 8:1, 33, 34; Philipians 3:9, Hebrews 6:18,19 . All are great scriptures on the subject and comparison between the cities of refuge in the old testament and Christ in the new.

Proverbs 19:19 "A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again."

Friday, September 22, 2006

Genesis Chapter 22 "Jehovah-jireh" Part 3

In part 3 of Genesis 22 we will look at the chapter in a different light.

As I said this is a picture, a forethought, of the coming sacrifice of Jesus. It reveals the willingness of a father to sacrifice his only son as an offering for sin. God, ultimately, did not require Abraham to sacrifice his son. God the Father did make this sacrifice with his son for the sake of the world.

Notice verse 8 again "And Abraham said My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering..." I cannot help but notice how this reads: 'provide himself' . God in the person of Jesus Christ gave 'himself' as the lamb without spot or blemish.

I heard a story about a judge who had a son who did something wrong. The son came before the judge (his father) for his sentence. The judge told the defendant the penalty for his wrong. "The penalty must be paid." The judge said. "But I do not have any money." The son said to the judge. The judge stepped off the bench and removed his robe. He walks to the clerk and hands over the exact amount needed to pay the penalty. He then puts back on his robe and sits in the judges seat. "I see the penalty has been paid." The judge says to the defendant. "You are free to go."

Who but our heavenly Father was able to pay the awesome cost of sin. In the person of Jesus, he stepped from the throne, took off his royal robe and laid down his life as a ransom for many. He was the lamb that God provided.

Hebrews 2:9 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."

Proverbs 21:3 "To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice."

Genesis Chapter 22 "Jehovah-jireh" Part 2

"And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham and said unto him, Abraham, and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Issac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." Genesis 22:1

Jehovah-jireh means the Lord will see or provide. Most people say 'the lord will provide'. Remember we are noticing the names of the Lord as we study to see how he reveals himself through his names.

*Abraham is tempted to offer Issac v1
*He giveth proof of his faith and obedience v3
*The angel stayeth him v11
*Issac is exchanged with a ram v13
*The place is called Jehovah-jireh v14
*Abraham is blessed again v15
*The generation of Nahor unto Rebekah

A terrible test for a man of awesome faith. Abraham did not falter anyplace along the way. The way we flinch at this story may show our level of faith as compared to Abraham. Let's look at some key phrases.

v5 "And Abraham said unto his young men Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship and come again to you."

Notice the confidence that 'I and the lad will go...and come again...' Abraham knew that what ever the intervening events were, he and the lad would return because of the promise the Lord had made that Issac would carry out the promise of a strong nation.

Notice also Abraham's answer to Issac after Issac took inventory of what he carried and realized there was no sacrifice. v8 ...My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering..." Abraham was very specific here that God would provide a lamb for the offering.

What happened? An angel stayed Abraham's hand and behind him there was ...a ram caught in a thicket by his horns...v13.

So we see that Abraham passed the test and we learn a valuable lesson about the lamb being a substitute for Issac in this chapter and about the Lamb being a sacrifice for us in Luke.

I mentioned in previous lessons that we would see how God was teaching his people about a subsitute for sin. The lesson started when the innocent animals were sacrificed to make coats for Adam and Eve. It is being engrained into the people for we see that Issac knew there needed to be a sacrifice in order to have a burnt offering. It seems a given to us now looking back but then it was a new teaching, that of mankind being helplessly sinful but that a substitute to pay the penalty for sin could be offered and would be accepted in the place of mankind paying the penalty.

Proverbs 17:6 "Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers."

Genesis Chapter 22 Part 1 "Jehovah-jireh"

Proverbs 17:3 "The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts."

Genesis 22 is a much talked about chapter. It is where God told Abraham to offer Issac in a burnt offering. To understand this chapter we must do a lot of considering. We know now that it was a test of Abraham but for Abraham it must have been a long walk to Moriah.

So, I will spend some time here to try to push aside the anger some people fill toward God for doing this to Abraham.

First, this chapter is a picture or type of the sacrifice Jesus made for the sins of the world. Some important reading is Psalm 22 and Luke 22, 23 and 24. It will take some time to read these but it will give a better understanding of Genesis 22.

We must also remember the man Abraham. He is a man of faith. He has already left his homeland and kindred to sojourn in a strange land. He has received a son of a barren woman. He has stood under a tree and talked to the Lord and his angels. Abraham has complete trust in the Lord. The Lord has already called Abraham friend. So this test is as much for our benefit as it was for Abraham. I expect Issac learned a thing or two as well.

God speaks in Genesis 17 verse 19 "And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Issac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.

Luke 1:30-33 "And the angel said unto her Fear not Mary for thou hast found favor with God And behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the hosue of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."

I guess Abraham may have wondered about the details but I do not believe he doubted that the overall plan would work out for God said.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Genesis 21 "Issac" The lone heir

"And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken For sarah conceived and bare Abraham a son in his old age at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him Issac." Genesis 21:1-3

The chapter outline:
*Issac is born v3
*He is circumcised v4
*Sarah's joy v6
*Hagar and Ishmael are cast forth v9
*Hagar in distress v15
*The angel comforteth her v17
*Abimelech's covenant with Abraham at Beersheba v22

The events of this chapter have a long reaching effect on the neighborhood. As promised, Issac is born and becomes the sole heir of Abraham and the instrument for fulfillment of the promise of many nations. Issac grows up very fast in this chapter and is weaned. At the feast to celebrate his maturing Sarah sees Ishmael making fun of Issac and goes to Abraham to have them cast out. We must remember it was Sarah who set up the whole thing with Hagar and Abraham in the first place but now she has a son of her own and may be a little too jealous to share the family with Hagar and her son. It is nevertheless God's plan that Issac be the heir and so God tells Abraham to go ahead and do what Sarah says. It is an example of God fixing what we mess up. We will find God taking care of Hagar and Ishmael in the desert in verse 17 and on. As we discussed earlier Ishmael goes on to become an archer and the father of a great people who roam the deserts.

A covenant is made between Abraham and Abimelech in the last part of the chapter. There had been some disputes over wells which were undoubtedly the most important property where they lived. After all, neither the people nor the flocks could survive without water.

Abraham planted a grove at Beersheba and "called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God". v33 Notice the name of God 'the everlasting God' which refers to the eternal duration of God.

Proverbs 27:2 "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Genesis 20 "Abimelech"

"And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur and sojourned in Gerar." v1

Abimelech was the king of Gerar. Abraham again introduces Sarah as his sister out of fear. He later said that he thought there was no fear of God in Gerar. But the Lord intervened to prevent Abimelech from sinning with Sarah. Abimelech did fear God and called Abraham and asked him what he had done to make Abraham do such a thing to him. We now find out that Sarah was Abraham's half sister v12 and he had asked her to tell that part of their relationship instead of the part about them being married. Abimelech's household had become barren because of Sarah being in the house but Abraham prayed that they be restored and so were.

v14"And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen and menservants and womenservants and gave them unto Abraham and restored him Sarah his wife.

I wish we had space here to deal with the idea of being a servant. Suffice it to say that it would be better to be a servant in the house of one protected by the Lord than another house. Perhaps, it is better to be a servant than the master of the house. There would be lots less worries to deal with and still the protection and benefits of the house. We should not equate a servant in this sense with a slave in that sad part of our history. It was different.

I believe we will see Abimelech again and so this short study of chapter 20 can serve as an introduction.

Genesis 19 "Chapter of Sadness"

In the study of the Bible, what the Bible says is right and wrong, does not always line up with the laws and court decisions of the countries of earth. Governments have been wrong many times but the Bible stays the same. This is a study of what the Bible says and is not at all about the laws of the land. I appreciate the standard our country (US) sets but like nations in the past, standards slip sometimes. It is not just my belief but it is the opinion of historians that a country is often lost, not from enemies without, but from a decline from within. America needs a revival of the old respect for God and the words He spoke. Many of this generation do not remember what it was like when sin was a thing to be ashamed of and was hidden, when committed, in dark places. In our society, sin is the fodder for television shows and the marketing draw of whole cities. Shame for wrong is apparently considered a weakness and God has become like a wrecker service that is called upon only when there is some great tragedy. Men have changed the Bible into different translations to try to make it fit our deeds but the truth has not changed and that is what we will be judged by either in this life or in the end.

Genesis 19:1 "And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;"

In the previous chapter we find 'three' eating with Abraham but only two actually went into the city. Their mission was to rescue Lot from the city. v15 "...Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters which are here, lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city."

As we read the previous chapter we saw a statement made to Abraham by the Lord to explain the mission he was on. He had heard the cry concerning the two cities and now v20 of chapter 18 "And the Lord said Beause the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great and because their sin is very grievous; v21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

So the angels arrive at the gate and I expect the Lord is somewhere outside the city watching. Lot apparently had some status in the city, perhaps because of his money, so he was at the gate greeting people who entered. He invited the angels into his house for the night but a mob of all the men from the city gathered around his house demanding that the two men be given to them. Lot tried to reason with the mob but he had lost his influence with them so that even his two virgin daughters were not a sufficient exchange for the two men. The story goes on with the angels encouraging Lot to hurry and leave the city but he lingered so that they had to take those in the household by the hand and remove them from the city. Even then Lot argues for one of the cities instead of immediately running to the mountains as instructed. Lot was saved for Abraham's sake but I think he thought he still had some influence of his own. The angels spared the city of Zoar but Lot left even this city and dwelt in a cave. v24 "Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven v25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.

The story continues with Lot getting drunk and lying with his daughters. The result were the people of Moab and Ammon.

It is truly a sad chapter. Perhaps some will see a cruel act from heaven. I see a people who had totally disregarded the precepts of God. I see a people that would take even the angels of God to do wrong with. Indeed, they were rescued by Abraham because Lot was with them in the previous chapter and Lot had to be rescued before judgment came for their deeds but judgment did come and will come when the time is right. Has the cry of our nation become so great that the Lord is come down to see for himself?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

How I Study "Genesis 18" Abraham talks to the Lord'

We are in Chapter 18 of Genesis in this study, so already, I know the background for the chapter. Now, I would read the entire chapter to see what it has to say while noticing the various sections if it covers more than one subject. Then, out of curiousity I'd probably read part or all of the next chapter.

In this chapter we know it is about a meeting between Abraham and the Lord by reading verse 1. And the Lord appeared unto him... then we see in the next verses how Abraham is showing hospitality to his very important guest. Then in verse 9 a conversation about Sarah and Abraham having a child comes up and the promise of Issac is made. But we read on and find out that the Lord has stopped by Abrahams tent on the way to someplace else. The Lord decides to tell Abraham of the mission. He is on his way to see for himself the conditions in Sodom and Gomorrah. The balance of the chapter is about Abraham bargainng with the Lord for the cities. As we know, Lot is there. Then the conversation ends and the Lord went his way ...and Abraham returned unto his place.

It is a delightful story in itself without us knowing all the surroundings. So we can make an outline now:
*Abraham sees the Lord coming
*Abraham prepares a meal for the Lord
*They talk about Issac
*They talk about Sodom and Gomorrah
*The Lord continues his mission and Abraham returns to his tent

Next I look for special passages or phrases:
I would noticed that the Lord appeared
that three men stood by him
that Abraham ran
that the Lord said 'I will certainly return unto thee'
the time appointed
verse 17 "And the Lord said Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; v19 For I know him..."
v21 I will go down
"Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" Of course, he will.

These are things I would notice. I'd remember the mount of transfiguration where the disciples saw men with the Lord. I have to look it up in Luke 9:28-36 to find out it was two men then Moses and Elias (Elijah) who talked with him then. In Genesis here, we see three men, at least two of which are angels as we will find out in the next chapter. To find out about the two men I had to use my concordance to find the passage because I have forgotten exactly where it was located.

That would take me through the chapter and I'd have a pretty good idea of what was around it as well. I'd think, it is great that there is still at least one man that was righteous enough to carry on a conversation with the Lord. I would also notice that it appears to be a physical conversation as well. It does say 'they did eat' v8. It brings to mind other subjects but I would try to concentrate on this one. For example, that men have entertained angels unaware. You can find that verse to practice with your concordance.

I may add a verse from proverbs everyday if I can remember so here's one:

Proverbs 27:1 "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."

Monday, September 18, 2006


Genesis 17 "Ninety and Nine"

Abram is 99 years old in this chapter and some important changes take place.

Abram's name is changed to Abraham.
Circumcision begans.

v3-4 "And Abram fell on his face; and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations."
v5 "Neither shall thy name anymore be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee."
v11 "And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you."

Abram: father of height
Abraham: father of a multitude

We have witnessed three beginnings so far in Genesis:

1) Adam and Eve
2) Noah after the flood
3)Abraham the father of the nation Israel

I want to zero in on the verse where Abraham asked God a question and think on the phrase "How soon we forget."

v17 "Then Abraham fell upon his face and laughed and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old bear?"

It has not been too long (by chapter measure) that Lamech had a son at the age of 182. Chapter 5 verse 28. And Adam at the age of 132 in Chapter 5 verse 3.

Many times we forget what God has done and therefore we forget what God can do. Abraham is feeling old and it seems normal to think so since we seldom live to a hundred. But in the next chapter v5 we will seeAbraham run to fetch something for his visitors to eat. He ran. So maybe he is not in as bad a shape as he thinks or maybe, even though he is favored, he has forgotten what God can do. Again we jump ahead to verse 14 of the next chapter.
v14 "Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee according to the time of life and Sarah shall have a son."

In the balance of Chapter 17, Abraham obeys the Lord and circumcised himself and all the men and boys of his household including Ishmael who was 13 years old.

This was a physical manifestation of the covenant between God and Abraham. Later, in the New Testament, we can see the spiritual circumcision of the heart. Colossians 2:11 "In who also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without ands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: V13 And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh hath he quickened together with him having forgiven you all trespasses;" It would be good to read the first two chapters of Colossians for the spiritual application.

I just want to note here the change in man's attitude toward God. The Lord appears to Abram and introduces himself as Almighty God and tells Abram to "walk before me". One writer states that another way to translate the Lord's name given here would be "All-sufficient"* which would relate to the "is anything to hard for God" above. He relates the original to a term used as when a mother cradles a child and nourishes it. We have nevertheless come a long way from the garden where the Lord walked in the cool of the day and now Abram "fell on his face". It is appropriate that we should do so for He is an awesome God. I simply believe that He intended that we walk beside him as a friend as did Enoch. The disciples got to do that for a short time, someday we will be restored and be able to do so again in new bodies. We can walk as a friend spiritually now but one day we will do so in our whole person.

As God changed Abram to Abraham, so He reveals more of his character by the different names he gives us.

*CI Scofield reference Bible footnotes.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Post 24 "Ishmael"

Chapter 16 the Summary
*Sarai being barren giveth Hagar to Abram v1
*Hagar being affilicted for despising her mistress runneth away v4
*An angel sendeth her back to submit herself v7
*And telleth her of her child v11
*Ishmael is born v15

Hagar was Sarai's handmaid. She was an Egyptian by birth. I expect she came into the family when Abram went to Egypt during the famine in surrounding countries. It seems here that Sarai was trying to help out God a little but it was not God's plan for Hagar's son to be in the line of the nation Israel. He did, however, become the father of 12 princes and a great people, chapter 25: 12-16 . We see that after Hagar began to despise Sarai because she conceived and Sarai didn't, that Sarai wanted Abram to handle the outcome but Abram told her to deal with her handmaid. Perhaps, this is the first quarrel, written about in the Bible, between husband and wife.

(I'll insert this because I'm sure everyone is wondering. Abram and Sarai seemed to have no problem with Abram and Hagar making a baby together. I found no mention of any rebuke to them from God about the incident. We know that in the New Testament it teaches that a man should be the husband of one wife. Although, Abram did not marry Hagar, they were playing like it which is also condemned in the New Testament. There are many traditions I do not understand about early Bible days. I expect in the very early dawn of mankind there were men with several wives to expand civilization. It would certainly help explain the rapid growth in numbers. As with Sarai and Hagar, it obviously causes problems a home can do without. My only explanation is that we now have a New Testament which refines the best way to live.)

Sarai dealt harshly with Hagar and Hagar ran away. An angel found her and told her to return to Abram's family which is where she remained until Hagar was older.

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

Ishmael later married an Egyptian. Ishmael's descendants are the Ishmaelites, wild Bedouin tribes who still roam the same region. Ishmael went into the wilderness of Beersheba after he left Abram's family. The Bible says he became an archer. Chapter 21 verse 20. Abram was 86 when Ishmael was born.


I hope you are not angry as you study the Bible. I've been looking around on blogs some this past week. Believe it or not non-believers talk about the Bible and God a great deal. I find that many are very angry. I also find that they are more passionate about their unbelief than many of us Bible believers are about what we do believe. I wish that that passion could be directed toward an honest, open-minded study of the Bible.

Why do people get so angry? I've heard a lot of reasons. I read them because I would like to help unravel the misconceptions about the Bible and what it says. Some are very angry because God does not just fix everything with the snap of a finger. Now, if we were robots that might be fair. He could just bring us all into the factory, shut us down and replace the faulty part. The thing is, we are not robots. We are people with free will. Remember when one of us 'disobeyed' his maker and brought sin into the blood of mankind? God did provide a cure (a fix if you like) to all the problems that disobedience caused. It was when He died on the cross. Acceptance of the cure is an individual choice. Just like in the garden.

Another reason I see is: Why does God let so many bad things happen? There are two forces in the world: Good and Evil. There are two persons at work in the world: The Lord and Satan. God is working on His timetable to accomplish the judgment of Satan and to accomplish the fullfillment of his will on earth. We get anxious because we are controlled by time. God has a timetable of His own but He is not hampered by time as we know it.

We as the created cannot just wish God out of existence. He will not make someone believe who does not wish to. Those who know Him, know that he is very polite and will ask before coming into someone's life. The world as a whole is another matter. He has a plan, which has already been written down and he will complete His plan.

I wish I could say it better. I certainly do not want to create more anger. I hope the following statement will help. There is a physical world and there is a spiritual world. When man sinned he lost his connection to the spiritual world of God. Sin seperates. When one becomes a Christian, that connection is renewed and a person begins to understand spiritual things. The Bible becomes more than a story. God becomes more than 'someone up there calling the shots'. God becomes a friend through Jesus Christ. We, as Christians, know what sin is and understand that it must be forgiven or judged. It can be forgiven instead of judged because Jesus was judged and paid the price for our personal sin and the sin of the world. We need only accept Him as that subsitute.

We are studying the Bible from Genesis and hopefully all the way through someday. We will go through and learn how God taught people the need for a blood sacrifice for sin. We will learn that the animal sacrifices were only a token of the blood of Jesus who was the final sacrifice. Come study with me and we can learn together.

Friday, September 15, 2006

"Substance" "Lamp" "Shield"

Can you find the passages these symbols represent in the lesson below?

Post 23 "I am thy shield"

Genesis 15 verse 1 "After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward."

Let's remember for a moment. We have moved through 14 chapters. We have come from Adam in the Garden and the Lord walking in the cool of the day looking for Adam. Adam said "I was afraid." Now the Lord comes to Abram and starts with 'Fear not'. Sin has caused a seperation. It is no longer the walks in the garden together. Man knows he is sinful before an awesome and perfect God.

This chapter is about immediately after Lot left for the well watered plains of Jordan. Abram is wondering about his heir. Perhaps by tradition, Abram thinks his steward will be his heir. The Lord told Abram that he was mistaken and that his heir would be his own child. Then comes the instructions to take a heifer of three years old, a she goat of three and a ram of three plus a turtledove and a young pigeon with instructions on how to lay them out. Abram must have waited for a while because he had to keep the fowls (maybe buzzards) away until sunset. v12.

A deep sleep comes over Abram v12, then a "horror of great darkness fell upon him." Here is where the Lord tells Abram of the 400 years of slavery of his people in Egypt. The Lrod also tells of them coming out of Egypt with "great substance". v14. Then the people would return to Canaan.

Verse 17 gives a stark contrast to the Lord walking in the cool of the day with Adam before sin entered. Here it is "a smoking furnace and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces."

The promise to Abram concerning the possessions of his descendants extended from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates and the lands of the people in the verses of the rest of the chapter.

There are a couple of things that point to why Abram was not allowed to take possession then. One was that the "iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full" perhaps referring to a judgment on them. Another was that Egypt would be judged. v14. It is also my belief that Abram's people were not yet great enough to possess the entire land. We will find that while under slavery they grew to great numbers with the Egyptians fearing they would outnumber even them. Then there is the great substance of verse 14. It would be tough to finance a nation without great substance. So, the nation had to grow and mature and gain some wealth before they became the actual possessors of Canaan.

The Lord has revealed more about himself. He is possessor of heaven and earth in verse 19 of the last chapter. In this chapter He is thy shield and thy exceeding great reward.
For additional reading concerning the Lord as our shield you may read: Psalm 3:3, Proverbs 30:5 and Deuteronomy 33:29. Just a little homework.

I was 'raised on' the New Testament in church although we studied the stories of the Old Testament. Actually, the Old Testament scared me some. I do not pretend to understand all the things there. After learning of the kindness that Jesus taught and the lessons on turning the other cheek, the happenings of the Old Testament seemed odd to me. I was trying to understand the ways of God and he quite frankly does not tell us everything. He moves in mysterious ways. We must remember that Satan is the enemy of God. While the saga is going on with Abram, Satan is corrupting nations which worship other gods and diggings have shown that they sacrificed children to idols. (It would make sense to me that Satan knew of the plan to make Israel a great nation and that the promise of redemption would come through that nation. I can almost picture him sitting out in the bushes somewhere listening to conversations about that promise. And so he sets out to build nations to come against Israel to stop the promise.) These nations were judged, for when they followed the leadership of Satan they also became the enemies of God. Sometimes we get to thinking that the whole thing is about us (or me) but it is not. There is a spiritual war going on around us. Satan cannot win, but he wants to inflict harm, then as now. It was about more than Abram's travels then and it is about more than our lives now. God knows the big picture while we see only a small portion. It would behoove us to accept God's wisdom and have faith that things will come out for the better because He is in control.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


We should keep what we have learned in mind as we continue our study:

1) Man has sinned and now retains a sin nature because it is passed down through the tainted blood line. Therefore, there will be actions not sanctioned by God, even in the budding nation of Israel through whom the promise is coming. Remember it was Abram's faith that counted him righteous.

2)The nation Israel will come to fulfillment in spite of Satan's attempts, along the way, to defeat, corrupt and enslave the people.

3)Part of the promise to Abraham was that in him 'all families of the earth' would be blessed. That steps outside the nation Israel to Gentiles. That includes all of us.

4)We are witnessing the birth of the nation Israel which is to be the mechanism for salvation to come to all the earth.

5)Watch for the pictures and symbolism of things happening in Genesis. In the New Testament, we will see there are many spiritual applications to events that happened physically in Genesis.

Note: It should be noted that the plan worked, even with man having freewill, because of faith in the hearts of some and because the Lord promised it would be so.

Post 22 "War" "Lot" "Tithes"

Genesis chapter 14. The entry would be too long to go verse by verse in this chapter. I will give a summary, then point out a few things.

There was a group of kings and their followers who served a king called Chedorlaomer. There came a time when they no longer wanted to and so rebelled. The next year that king brought his king friends and fought with the rebels. The rebels lost even though the king of Sodom came to fight, it seems, near the end of the conflict. Many of the king of Sodom's troops fell into slimepits that were in the area. King Chedorlaomer and his company took the people of Sodom and scooped up Lot and his people and stuff in the process. Up to this point Abram had not been involved. Now, he goes to rescue Lot.

Verse 14 "And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen and pursued them unto Dan." Verse 16 "And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot and his goods and the women also and the people."

Up to this point Abram was accumulating wealth and people. Abram was 75 years old in a couple of chapters back. By todays age that would be pretty old to be going off leading a rescue party. I find it interesting that King Chedorlaomer defeated the whole neighborhood of kings but was defeated by only 318 of Abram's troop. You just can't beat a good nighttime surprise attack.

Now we introduce Melchizedek king of Salem. He "brought forth bread and wine..." and blessed "Abram of the most high God..." Here is where Abram gave to God via Melchizedek his tithes. Let me quote a portion of Hebrews chapter 7 (I'll use small print to conserve space: For this Melchizedek, king of salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness and after that also King of salem which is King of peace: Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

It goes on to tell how the Levi's were not yet born when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek and how Levi paid tithes to Abraham at some point. Hebrews goes to great length to compare the Melchizedek priesthood to that of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe they were one and the same. It is another study which will not fit here. Remember Melchizedek was before the law was given. We will find later that Jesus fulfilled the law and so enters grace for everyone. Before the law was given Abram " And he believed in the Lord and he counted it to him for righteousness." Verse 6 Genesis 15. Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"

"time line"

"before the law" "the law" "grace"
The king of Sodom offered Abram a reward for the recovery of the goods but Abram refused anything except what the young men had eaten. He in essence told the king that he did not want to take any favors to give the king room to claim credit for Abraham's prosperity. One sad note we will find in following passages is that Lot went back to Sodom.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Post 21 "Back to Bethel"

Genesis chapter 13. Even though Abraham, perhaps, should not have gone to Egypt; he came away with great riches. He journeyed back to Bethel, the house of God, to the altar and prayed. Isn't this a great picture for us? We pray and then troubles come (famine), we journey but our journey should bring us back to Bethel, to God. v1 "And Abram went up out of Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south." I wondered at this verse, the part where it says he went UP but also INTO THE SOUTH. Around where I come from up is always north to me. But you can also go down a mountain side and still be going north. A look at a map of the area where Abram traveled will, I think, show that the land flowed downward toward the north at this point. It appears to me that the river flows north into a lake. Any geography majors out there?

Lot has also gained riches of his own. Riches in those days were measured to a great degree in cattle. In our day, I suppose owning land would be similiar. So, you can see that as the huge flocks and herds moved over the land it would leave a wide swath of eaten grass. The travels gave the grass time to grow back. Now, the herds are too large for the land to support so the herdsmen began to bicker over the grass for their cattle. It was the herdsmen's job to feed the cattle so I can understand the strife when there was not enough. Abram saw the problem and talked to Lot about splitting up. v8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Then Abram gives Lot the choice of lands. Lot looked toward the well watered plains of Jordan and choose them. Abram dwelt in Canaan.

It is an example to us that what looks to be the best is not always the best for us. In the next chapter we will see that Lot lost everything but his two daughters.

Abram was told by the Lord to "walk through the land..." v17 "for I will give it unto thee." Then Abram goes to Hebron and builds a second altar unto the Lord.

One thing for sure Abram was a praying man.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Weigh in if you like

What lessons have we learned from our study, thusfar, that can be applied to our day and our personal lives?

Do you think the Bible is just a nice story, a historical record or a guide for personal living?

Why do you think there are so many English translations of the Bible when Shakesphere is found to be so beautiful in its present form?

Answers are moderated for commercials but not censored for opinion.

Post 20 "Abram Goes to Egypt"

Genesis 12 v1-2 "Now the Lord had said unto Abram. Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred and from thy father's house unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation and I will bless thee and make thy name great and thou shalt be a blessing.

Here we have the command from the Lord for Abram to leave his country (at least a reiteration of the command) and then the promise of being blessed and being a blessing. The Lord also said he would shew (show) Abram a land. It was not a promise that Abram would posses the land at this time. Perhaps, it was meant to allow Abram the opportunity to fall in love with a place he had not yet seen. The next verse includes all of us and the balance of the Bible blossoms from this verse:

v3 And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

You can jump ahead just for a moment and read Genesis 18 verse 10. Remember Sarah was barren but in this verse a child is promised. It reminds me of another birth that was impossible with man but not to hard for God.

Abram now journeys to the land of Canaan. Here the Lord appears to him and makes the promise that this land would be given to Abram's seed (his descendants). It was then that Abram went to a place called Bethel which means 'house of God' and there he called unto the Lord.

Next we see the beginning of a pattern, that of going down to Egypt. It is a literal journey here but is a picture of a spiritual journey we sometimes take. Sometimes things happen in our life and we wonder off into a far country spiritually. It is often circumstance that causes this journey. We could look at it like one of the valleys of life. In this case, there was a famine and Abram went down to Egypt. Although he was a man of faith and had just left Bethel, he contrived to protect himself. It seems his faith has faltered a bit as he gets Sarah (Sarai)to pose as his sister instead of his wife.** She must have been very beautiful to attract the Pharaoh's immediate attention. Issac also tries this bit of trickery later in Genesis. It seems quite human of Abram to be afraid and possibily tell a lie* here. After the Lord promised that his descendants would inherit Canaan and there was not yet a son and Abram seemed to have no problem believing all that, yet he was afraid he would be killed in Egypt which would have been impossible since God had made the promise concerning Canaan and that of Abram a great nation would come forth. Yet Abram, although favored by God, was yet a man and as such was subject to man's weakness. His problem began when he left the land of promise because things got bad. He should have known, as we should, that things change but God's promise does not. He will take care of us.

The rest of the chapter tells the story of Abram in Egypt and how plagues came to Pharaoh's house because he had taken Sarai. He returned Sarai to Abram and sent him out of the country. Abram left with great riches, v16.

Special note: In the story of Noah and the ark, we have an example of God's preserving grace. Again, in Abram and the developing nation of Israel we have the preservation of the promise which goes all the way back to Genesis 3:15 and forward to the Gospels. The world and the people are still with the sin nature but as if in a bubble in the midst of evil a nation is born to carry on and protect the promise not so different than a woman with child, yet unseen but protected against all evil. This woman, this nation will carry the promise to maturity until that star appears over a little town called Bethlehem.
*I seem to remember that Sarah was Abraham's half sister but cannot remember where I saw it.
** I found the answer while reading ahead. Sarah was Abraham's half sister. See this verse
Genesis 20:12 "And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife." The Bible is indeed the best commentary on the Bible.

I Wonder Why

I was wondering why there is no participation in the Bible study. There must be many who read but would prefer to not leave comments which is really great. I was hoping for some comments from teachers and scholars who have studied Bible history, who would give us their insight. Probably, busy is the word. Folks come to the internet to 'get things done' and quickly. I'm not fussing at you. I just wish there was some evidence that there are people online who are interested in learning more about the Bible or just going back over the wonderful story. So, if you would like to leave a short or long comment, please do so. If you just want to drop by and read the last lesson, that is great to. At least, we are adding to the presence of the scripture on this vast network.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Post 19 "Scattered" Genesis 11

Genesis chapter 11 is a tarnsition from the flood and Noah to Abraham. Abraham was known as Abram at first. V1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech." The people migrated east to Shinar. My Bible helps says this was 'probably the plain of Mesopotamina on the Euphrates and Tigiris Riers.' Gen 10:10, 11:2. I guess we all know that is Iraq.

The people had one language and they decided to build a tower that would reach heaven. V4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven..." The tower was called Babel which is Babylon in the Greek form. Jewis tradition holds that the tower was destroyed but the kingdom of Babylon persisted. Then came a day "when the Lord came down to see the city..." v3. The Lord must have been impressed for he said " nothing will be restrained from them..." v6. Here we see why the people scattered. This chapter compliments the previous chapter and follows the generations up to Abraham. "Go to, let us go down and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." v7

We have the whole population outlined in previous chapters but now we zero in on Abraham and his dealings with those who scattered from Babel. The saga begans with Terah leaving Ur with his family which included Abram (Abraham) and Lot. Lot was the son of Haran who was Abram's brother. Now Terah departed from Ur for Canaan but stopped in Haran. A city no doubt named for his son. Terah died in Haran which is in Mesopotamia. It is from here that Abram was commanded by the Lord to "Get thee out of thy country...". This starts the next chapter in Genesis 12:1. My map shows Haran north of modern Israel or Canaan. Or, looking at the map, it is left and up from Babylon near the mouth of the Euphrates River. I need a better map but it appears to be in modern Syria and near Antioch which was where "...the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." Acts 11:26.

Special notes: A great deal of time has passed since Noah, as we get ready for the next chapter. The people are scattered all about and their kingdoms are well established.

Abram has taken a wife named Sarai or Sarah who was barren or as yet unable to have children.

Lot has become Abram's sidekick and departs Haran with him.

The Lord told Abram to depart his country but Abram seems to be ready to complete his earthly fathers mission of going into Canaan right away. Although they do reach Canaan the time was not right for them to stay, as we will see.

In review, we have seen the creation of mankind and the world as Adam and Eve knew it. We have seen sin enter and a judgment of water where a small number survive. Now, mankind has again multiplied and spread over great distance. Then, we are introduced to Abram who is to become Abraham. The focus narrows from all the peoples of the earth to one man and the nation he fathers. It is a great adventure we are now beginning.

Friday, September 08, 2006

"58 Second Sermon" A Most Powerful Video

If you know someone who is not a Christian, this would be important for them to see.

Post 18 "Rainbow and 3 Sons"

Note: I woke up at 4am wondering how to break down Chapters 9 and 10 of Genesis to make it as simple as possible. It would be easy to get information overload here. I hope what I have done helps for from here the peoples of all the earth can be traced.

Noah becomes a husbandman after leaving the ark, makes some wine and gets drunk. His shame is seen by his son Ham. It seems to be an affirmation of verse 21 of the previous chapter, part of which reads "'s heart is evil from his youth..."

The chapters set the world stage as far as the status of the various descendants of the sons of Noah. Such as the descendant of Ham - Nimrod who is noted as the conqueror and founder of Babylon. It challenges the Bible student as you try to trace the peoples of earth down through history. Chapter 10 gives more details. We should note that Shem's descendants carried the line of Christ from an earthly point-of-view and for prophecy sake that Magog is modern Russia and descends from Japeth.

Chapter 9 verse 13 tells of the rainbow which is the symbol representing the promise of God not to destroy the people of the earth with water again. The summary of the chapter is as follows:
First verse 13 "I do set my bow in the cloud and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth."
v1 - Be fruitful and multiply
v2- man to dominate the other creatures
v3- Food - what to eat
v4-5 - A caution
v6- Murder forbidden and penalty
v8-17 Rainbow covenant
v20 - Shame of Noah
v24-27 Prophecy for Noah's son's descendants

These notes are taken from a couple of resources and condensed here:

Ham - an inferior and servile posterity. He is the one who say Noah naked. Descendants: 1)Cush, Cushites of Chaldea, Nimrod (founded Babylon), Arabia, Ethopia 2)Mizraim - Hebrew for Egypt. 3)Phut - African people 4) Canaan - those who inhabited Canaan when the Isralites arrived.

Shem - all divine revelations come through the Semitic men. Christ descends (after the flesh) from Shem. Descendants: Jews, Arameans, Persians, Arabian, Assyrians

Japeth- the enlarged race, government, science, art. Magog (modern Russia) predominately descended from him. Reference Genesis 10: 2-7. By these the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands.
(research CI Scofield and Schaff comprehensive Bible Helps)

As you can see from this brief summary, the population is divided into three basic destinies, occupations, characters or whatever label one wishes to use. It is a very broad prophecy which helps us in studies to follow. For example, when the Bible later talks of the battles at the end of time we can see the descendants of the brothers involved. When Israel comes to the promised land of Canaan the prophecy is further filled. It helps to understand later events if one trys to remember the basic character the various peoples will have. Soon in our studies the languages will be confounded and the people disburse to the far reaches of the land.

In trying to understand the Bible, it is important to have a foundation built of the events of Genesis. We must remember the promises God makes for He does and will fulfill them. The stage is being set for the nation Israel to come on the scene. Part of that setting is that people are scattered, even into the promise land. The wondering nation will later come into contact with many of these peoples.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Post 17 "Happenings After the Flood"

I'd like to do a summary with verse references for Chapter 8 to get us going here:
*God remembered Noah v1
*The ark rested v3
*Waters decreased v5
*Mountain tops appear v5
*Raven sent forth - flies to and fro v7
*Dove sent v8
*Dove returns empty v9
*Dove sent again v10
*Dove returns with olive leaf v11
*Dove sent again - does not return v12
*Waters dried v13
*God tells Noah to leave the ark v16
*Noah leaves ark v18
*Noah builds altar and makes burnt-offerings of the clean beasts and fowls v20
*God resolves to not curse the ground for man's sake v21
*God said seasons would remain as long as the earth remains v22

In summary, Chapter 7 begins with God telling Noah to Come thou and all thy house into the ark. Chapter 8 begins with And God remembered Noah and every living thing... Chapter 9 (in the next chapter) begins And God blessed Noah...

In the last part of Chapter 8 we see God's understanding of the state of man and shows His compassion for man. for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth: neither will I again smite any more every thing living as I have done.

Special note: We will find as we go through the old testament that God reveals his attributes in a gradual way. He taught mankind and Israel in particular about himself and his ways. He did this right up to the day Jesus came. Then Jesus in a most gentle way presented the ways of God in his person and teachings. When a person accepts Jesus as Savior, their body still has a tendency to desire worldly things. Gently a new Christian is taught the things of God. The Spirit of God, which lives in the heart of every believer, helps in this process. Scripture has a new and brighter light shining on it and passages are now understood which were not clear before. It is important to not get discouraged as a new Christian. As a newborn must grow and learn, and sometimes fall, so must a new Christian learn and allow their faith to grow as they study God's word. By faith, we accept those things we do not yet understand clearly.

Prayer Request

Hi. In a couple of weeks I will have a cancer removed from near my left eye. I ask that you pray for me. This is my second round with the disease although the doctor assures me this one is not as serious and a different kind of cancer. I expect it to go well. Thought I'd take this occasion to get some freebie prayers coming my way :) .

Post 16 "God Remembered Noah"

We could call this a prelude to Chapter 8 of Genesis. It is after the judgment of the earth and Noah has been upon the waters for about 5 months. I can imagine that a little fresh air about now would be very welcome.

Before we go into the chapter I wanted to note the first line "And God remembered Noah..." Isn't it a nice thing when people remember you? I'm thinking of birthdays and anniversaries and such, or a card at Christmas time. God holds the world in His hand and people sometimes have trouble remembering Him in their thoughts. Some even deny that He exist or want to take shots at the Bible to discourage those who believe or would believe if it were not for all the doubt that is strain around. There are, no doubt, those who believe, as the devil does, and want to do as much harm to God as possible before their day comes. I have to be honest, I do not understand some of those attitudes. For example, if someone does not believe the Bible, why do they spend a lot of their life trying to discredit something they do not believe? Is it that they are concerned about humanity? Is it that they are mad at the very God they deny exist? How can you be mad at someone who does not exist? I am not trying to be mean. Obviously, I believe the Bible is true and that Jesus is the way to heaven. It is easy for me to believe that God made it all and that He loves me. Sometimes, I am afraid, people equate the bad things that happen in the world with God letting down humanity. Satan is very much alive and, for now, has certain freedom to cause havoc in the world. Sin thrives in the world. A majority of the people turn their back on God or do not have time for him. In this situation, there is still grace for those who choose to accept it. Remember we talked about freewill earlier. God's plan for salvation works in this world like the ark worked during the flood. He gave seven more days for people to choose to get onboard. During this time, the world was still evil but there was grace offerred. Today the world is an evil place but God's plan is at work to give people the opportunity to be saved from the judgment that is to come. Sin must and will be judged but still there is grace. It will be too late when the time of grace is over and the door is shut. Then comes the judgment. Noah's ark is an example to us.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Post 15 Flood Details

Some details from Chapter 7 of Genesis about the Flood.
Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth and the wives of all four were saved in the ark. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights. The waters prevailed upon the earth 150 days. Verse 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. It is key to note that the word 'nostrils' is used and that every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground v23. I can find nothing about the fish of the sea since they breath differently and are not upon the face of ground. My feeling is that the fish survived the flood.

Noah was 600 years old when the flood was on the earth. V11 which I have not checked against my rough chart in a previous post.

I know people have questions about fitting all those creatures in the ark and feeding them. I really do not understand the logistics of putting all that in the space available. I use to load trucks and I now a lot will fit where it seems impossible. I was also on the USS New Orleans for several months with several thousand people. Even on that ship, which was much smaller than the USS Enterprise, the below deck hangar was huge. So huge in fact that the captain's airplane sat in a corner and looked like a toy from the other side. Even though I was on it for several months, I never got around to exploring the entire ship. I can also tell you that seeing nothing but water for weeks on end would bring cheers from the men when even a small island of land would appear. A hundred and fifty days is a long time to see nothing but water. But it seems that Noah could not look out at even the water until the window was opened. Next chapter 8.


To give us some perspective on the capabilities to build such a ship as the ark and a comparison of the size, I've inserted a navy photo of the USS Enterprise and given the different measurements.

A Navy picture of the USS Enterprise. It is 1123 ft long 257 ft wide and 250 ft high. Hold 5000 people including crew and air wing, plus planes and equipment.

The ark was 450 ft long, 75 ft wide and 45 ft high.
300 cubits, 50 cubits, 30 cubits.
My info says a cubit was 18 inches.
I think a football field is 100 yards or 300 feet.

Just thought some of this might help get our mind around the size of the ark a little better.

A hundred years or so after the command to take two of each species, God told Noah to take in seven of clean beasts acceptable for sacrifice. Exodus gives ten such beasts or seventy in all.
(Gleaned from CI Scofields notes)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Post 14 Genesis 7 "The Flood"

"And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark: for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation." v1

"For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth." v4

It had not yet rained on the earth, yet Noah believed the Lord and v5 testifies to this: "And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him."

V11 "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened."

I read of an archeologist digging where present day Iraq is located. I forget his name now. He dug a long time and came to many levels of civilization but finally he came to soil that showed no sign of civilization. He decided to dig a little deeper. After digging through much dirt with no sign of previous life, he found signs of another civilization. "How could this be?" he asked his wife. "Why, it's the flood!" She said to him.

Of course, we who believe the Bible need no such proof but it is very interesting. We should note here the grace of God. As I read this I see that God told Noah to "come thou and all thy house into the ark..." So it seems obvious to me that God was in the ark. Then there is the seven days that God still waited before the rain began. Seven days of grace for the world to enter the ark. Then in verse 16 "and the Lord shut him in". I believe God shut the door because Noah may have wanted to open it when people came in desperation to the ark after the floods started to rise. Isaiah 22:22 tells why they later had to remove the top to get out: "And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open and none shall shut and he shall shut and none shall open." A prophecy concerning Jesus. I personally believe it was He who was in the ark and said to enter and He who shut the door. He extends grace now as then, but as then grace will end someday and judgment will come.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Post 13 Genesis 6 "It's Going to Rain" A Lot!

Genesis chapter six is a discussion of the conditions before the flood that destroyed almost all of mankind. Verses 1-4 gives the general state of affairs and a warning from God. Verses 5-7 gives the reasons for judgment on the earth. Verses 8-22 is the introduction of the ark as a type of grace and instructions for preparations for Noah's survival of the flood.

The conditions of the time have often been compared to our time. Verse 5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And verse 11 The earth was corrupt before God and the earth was filled with violence.

There were giants in those days. Verse 4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men and they bare cildren to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. Some believe this is a reference to angels taking wives of the earth women. I do not know. It might account for the legends of the godmen such as Zeus, Apollo and others. I have forgotten most of what I learned in that course. These men of wide acclaim however did not make it on the ark. It was another type of man that God considered worthy of saving. The last verse in the chapter tells the story. Verse 22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. No matter the greatness or the number of people who know someone's name or all the great deeds they have done. It comes down to God's grace and our obedience. It was disobedience that resulted in the sin in the garden. It was grace that caused God to make the covering from an innocent animal. Noah's obedience came after he had already found grace in the eyes of the Lord. In verse 8 after the wickedness of the world is described the Bible says But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

The ark is descriibed to Noah in great detail. It was obviously the right way to build it for humanity survived in the person of Noah and his family. Noah was also a preacher II Peter 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a precher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

It must have been a hard message to get across, that it was going to rain since until then a mist watered the land and not only rain but enough to destroy every living thing. Much like today, when people find it difficult to accept that Jesus really is coming back and that the earth will be judged with fire this time. We have seen it all in the movies and the movie ended and we went about our business as usual. Not so, though, with the real thing.

The ark carried Noah safely through the judgment of God. It was a safety zone from the wrath of God brought on by the wickedness of man. The conditions grieved him at his heart v6. Yet one man walked with Him and he would not forget him. I picture the grace of salvation much as the ark. We are invited into salvation and once inside we are protected from the surrounding evil and the judgment to come. As the sun appeared after many days of cloud and rain, so shall the Son appear in due time. Noah found grace before he built the ark, he built the ark out of obedience and because that was the right thing to do.

There is much in this chapter. It gives us a hint of where some old legends may have come from. A picture of just how far man will go with evil. So far that it grieves God at his heart. But it gives us a picture of grace, God's unmerited favor toward man.