Bible Study

Genesis part XV: The servant’s journey and Isaac meets Rebekah

In case you missed it:

PART 14: Abraham proves his faith and Sarah dies

PART 13: Abraham pulls the sister card again and Isaac is born

Part 12: Wicked cities are destroyed and Lot is saved

PART 11: Sarai’s name is changed and she is reproved for laughing

PART 10: The Promise of an Heir and Ishmael is Born

PART 9: God renews the promise and a kingly battle

PART 8: Language Confusion and Abram’s Blessing

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

PART 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

PART 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

Jesus can never tire of carrying our burdens! He is there for us always and waiting for us to heed His call to come to Him, O wear traveler, for, in Him, you’ll find that precious rest you’ve been desperately seeking. Seek Him while He is near today.

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Abraham’s servant faithful journey

Scripture in focus: Genesis 24

This is a long chapter and perhaps, the longest thus far (I can be wrong) at 67 verses. It deals with Abraham sending a servant to seek a bride for his son and the result of this faithful outcome.

THE OATH

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Abraham was over 100 years old and blessed with both temporal and spiritual things (24:1). The name of the eldest servant is not mentioned in 24:2, but in 15:2, the name of the eldest servant was Eliezer. However, this particular servant didn’t have to be Eliezer. Abraham does not want Isaac to be married to a Canaanite woman so he made the servant take the oath to go to his (Abraham’s) country (Mesopotamia 24:10) to his kindred (Abraham’s brother Nahor) to get Isaac a wife (24:3-4). Before the servant takes the oath, he cautiously enquires what would or would not oblige him (24:5). Abraham clears up the matter; Isaac was never to leave the Promised Land (24:6). Abraham was confident that God Himself had already chosen a wife for Isaac for God had spoken with him concerning the matter (24:7). The servant was perhaps still uneasy, so Abraham tells him that he would not hold him by the oath if things didn’t go according to plan (24:8). 

The servant then placed his hand under his master’s thigh and swore as Abraham had asked of him (24:9).

THE JOURNEY

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The servant sets out on his mission with presents for the bride. The 10 camels he took would also serve as a means of transport for the bride and her companions for the return journey (24:10). The camels are given rest by a well without the city of Nahor at evening time when women would come to the well to draw water (24:11). The servant prayed to God for a sign concerning the chosen woman for Isaac (24:12-14).

Before the servant was even done praying, God answered his prayer in the form of Rebekah (24:15). 

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I could imagine the look of surprise on the servant’s face when he realized what God had done! His prayer had been answered, but he still needed confirmation. Rebekah was beautiful, young, a virgin, and Isaac’s second cousin (24:16). The servant ran to meet her and asked to taste a little of the water. He was not looking to quench his thirst, but to test her (24:17). She gave him a drink and proposed to also draw water for the camels (24:18-19). She then drew water for all 10 camels (24:20). Let that sink in: TEN CAMELS! One camel can hold up to 25 gallons of water. Rebekah did not only talk about watering the camels, she actually did it proving that she had the heart of a servant.

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Rebekah did everything the servant prayed to God about, but, yet, he had doubts reflecting on if God made his journey prosperous or not (24:21). After the camels quenched their thirst, the servant gave the maiden a few gifts (24:22). He then poses two questions in 24:23: “Whose daughter art thou?” and “Is there room in thy father’s house for us to lodge in?” He was still in doubt and wanted to make sure that the maiden was related to Abraham and the status of her family’s wealth.

Rebekah gives him the answers he sought (24:24-25) thus convincing him entirely and he bows his head and worships God (24:26-27).

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Rebekah runs ahead to her mother’s house (tent or apartment) to relate the events that passed while she was at the well (24:28). Her brother Laban rushes to meet the man at the well (24:29) after hearing his sister’s words and seeing the jewelry upon her (24:30). Laban had probably come to the conclusion that the stranger at the well his sister met was wealthy and wanted to see for himself. Laban calls the servant blessed and invites him into the house (24:31). The servant accepts the invitation (24:32). After taking care of the camels and the washing of feet, meat was set before the servant, but he refuses to eat until he states the first order of business (24:33).

The servant tells his story and the nature of the trip (24:34-48). After relating the entire story, he now waits for an answer (24:49). “Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said” (24:50). The word “answered” is used in the singular form. However, given that Bethuel was probably old in age, he would’ve left the management of the household to his son Laban (as it was customary) who gave the answer in the name of Bethuel. The family agreed to let Rebekah go with the servant to be Isaac’s bride for it was God’s will (24:51). At their consent, the servant humbly bows down and thank God (24:52). He then presents the family with lavish gifts (24:53). These gifts were known as dowry and it was the custom back then for the father of the groom to give valuable things to the family of the bride. By this dowry, Rebekah was betrothed/engaged to Isaac. 

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Mission accomplished, they celebrate the occasion, but the servant refuses to tarry (24:54). The family wanted to spend a few more days with Rebekah, but the servant didn’t want to be detained any longer for he was anxious to go home to his master with the good news (24:55-56). The family decides to let Rebekah choose to tarry a little longer or to leave immediately (24:57). Rebekah did not hesitate, she simply answers “I will go” (24:58). She has never seen her future husband, but she’ll go with faith and willingness. This was God’s will after all. 

Rebekah and her nurse go with Abraham’s servants (24:59), but before they fully depart, her family blesses her with a beautiful prayer (24:60). “be thou the mother of thousands of millions” ties in perfectly with God’s promises of MANY descendants to Abraham through Sarah and Isaac. 1000’s of millions (Christians) are descendants through Abraham. Rebekah took some of her servant girls with her and they followed the servant (24:61). I could imagine Rebekah wanting to know all about Isaac and asking the servant about him to which the servant happily obliged during the return trip. 

THE MEETING

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Isaac was coming from the well Lahai-roi (24:62). We met this well in 16:14 when Hagar was comforted by God. Isaac lived there after the death of his father (25:11). Isaac went out to meditate when he saw the camel caravan returning (24:63). Talk about being in the right place at the right time! Rebekah was looking around, her eyes beheld Isaac coming towards them and she respectfully got off the camel for it would have been disrespectful to Isaac had she continued to sit on top of the animal (24:64). 

In her heart, Rebekah already knew who Isaac was, but she wanted confirmation from the servant. This is why she got off the camel and covered her face with a veil (24:65). It was customary for the bride to veil her face in the presence of her betrothed until the wedding day. The veil also signified submission, chastity, and modesty. 

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The servant relates the detailed story of his faithful journey to Isaac (24:66). Isaac accepts Rebekah as his wife before he even saw her face and when he did eventually saw her beauty? Well, he loved her and he was comforted by her after the death of his mother (24:67). 

Additional Notes/Recap

^ “Laban” means white. So this was a fair-skinned tribe. (bible-studys.org)

^ Rebekah’s nurse (24:59) was her faithful attendant who died in her service. We come to know her name as Deborah in 35:8.

^ Where relationships are concerned in the Bible, dating was not really something people do. Couples didn’t go out, hold hands and kiss to see if they were compatible. Parents chose what they deemed a suitable wife or husband for their children. This was called an arranged marriage.

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Bible Study

Genesis part XIV: Abraham proves his faith and Sarah dies

In case you missed it:

PART 13: Abraham pulls the sister card again and Isaac is born

Part 12: Wicked cities are destroyed and Lot is saved

PART 11: Sarai’s name is changed and she is reproved for laughing

PART 10: The Promise of an Heir and Ishmael is Born

PART 9: God renews the promise and a kingly battle

PART 8: Language Confusion and Abram’s Blessing

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

PART 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

PART 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

A colleague recently told me that she was glad she asked for the name of my blog, for now, she has something to look forward to on mornings. I was most delighted when she told me that she was excited over the Bible studies series for she’s currently reading/studying the Holy Word and there were things that she did not understand. All praise and glory to the Highest for without Him, the Bible studies wouldn’t have been possible. I, too, did not know where to start when it comes to studying the Bible. Even though I read it cover to cover multiple times, there were many things I still did not understand. I started praying about it, and God revealed how I should go about studying His precious Word.

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God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son

Scripture in focus: Genesis 22

God asks us to do things. Sometimes, they can be outlandish and sometimes, we don’t like where it may lead us, but He asks us to do things. He asked Abraham to do something that could’ve made the patriarch question His action, but it took faith and trust for Abraham to complete the task. Chapter 22 is ripe with symbolism and we’re going to look at some of them as we study.

“God did tempt Abraham” (22:1). The word “tempt” here does not mean anything maleficent. Rather, the verb here means “test” or “prove”. This was a test to reveal faith for God spent years building up Abraham into a man of faith. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son in the land of Moriah (22:2). Note:

^ “only son” – God calls Isaac the only son of Abraham and yes, we know about Ishmael, but he was put away from Abraham’s family, so as far as God was concerned, Abraham only had one son which was the promised son Isaac. God repeats “only son” thrice in this chapter (2, 12, 16). And how’s this for a fun fact: This was the first time “love” was mentioned in the Bible and it was love between a father and a son which was connected by the sacrificial offering of the son. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son. Do you see what God did there? He is not a God of half done jobs but a God of detail! 

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Read 22:3. Read it again. Do you see the symbolism relating to Christ? I had to reread it more than twice to see it. bible-studys.org broke it down nicely:

God sacrificing His only son. Abraham sacrificing his son.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem on an ass. The provisions for this sacrifice were carried on an ass.

Jesus died between two men on the cross. Abraham took two men with them.

Jesus carried a wooden cross. Isaac carried wood for the sacrifice (wood means worldliness).

Jesus went to Golgotha on orders from God. Abraham and Isaac went to Moriah in Jerusalem on orders from God.

Jesus obeyed His Father and said, “nevertheless not my will, but thine.” Isaac obeyed Abraham without question.

I love discovering these beautiful treasures! 💙

Abraham journeys to the place of sacrifice from Beer-sheba to Moriah without hesitation and came unto the place on the 3rd day (22:4). Symbolism: It is implied by many that Isaac was “dead” during these 3 days and Abraham grieved for him as the disciples did for Jesus 3 days. Jesus was in the grave for 3 days. Can you imagine the heartache God went through at the sacrifice of His Son?

Abraham was convinced that he and Isaac will return from the mount so he left the two men behind (22:5). Symbolism: Abraham trusted God to the point that if Isaac were to die, God would resurrect him (Hebrews 11:17-19) hence he said: “come again to you”. This verse is parallel to the cross when Jesus left the two men on the cross just as Abraham left the two behind and Jesus promises that He will come again.

Abraham took the necessary items for the sacrifice and gave Isaac the wood to carry (22:6). Symbolism: Isaac carries the wood for his own sacrifice up the hill. He typifies Christ who carried His cross to die for our sins on it. This is also the first time we read about fire for use and also of a knife. Isaac is now aware that there is no lamb to be sacrificed (22:7), but his father said, “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” {Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)} and he still obediently follows his father (22:8). This takes me to the 5th commandment of honoring our parents.

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22:9 is a great verse of faith on both father and son’s part. Abraham builds the altar and perhaps tells Isaac what Isaac suspected all along: “Son, you are the lamb which God has provided”. Abraham was over 100 years old and Isaac could’ve overpowered him and ran off, but what does he do? He willingly submits as Jesus did to His Father’s will. We should not forget Isaac’s great faith. This experience was surely memorable to him as long as he lived. Some said he was in his 30s when this event took place. If so, I’ll like to believe that he was 33, but the Bible made no mention of his age.

Abraham readies to deliver the fatal blow (22:10), but the Son of God stops him (22:11). He passed the test in proving his faith (22:12). We can say to the LORD, “Now I know that You love me, seeing You have not withheld Your Son, Your only Son from me.” (via blueletterbible.org). God loves us tremendously. There is no other greater love than His. You can search high or low, but you won’t find another love like His. 💙

But God still required a sacrifice and He provided a ram in substitute of Isaac (22:13). “in the stead of his son” is perhaps the greatest symbolism of Christ’s sacrifice for mankind. Had God not provided a Substitute in the form of His Son, we would’ve suffered and died on that cross with no chance at salvation. Praise God always for the Sun of Righteousness. Abraham calls the place Jehovah-jireh meaning The LORD Will Provide (22:14). It’s highly significant in meaning. God provided the substitute ram and later, He provides the ultimate atoning Sacrifice for our sins.

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The Son of God has more to say to Abraham (22:15) and He swears by Himself thus making it a great oath for there are no other greater than Him (22:16). Abraham is blessed once again for obeying the voice of His Creator (22:17-18). Abraham honored God by his obedience to Him and his example should be one for all believers to follow. Abraham, Isaac and the two young men (servants) returns to Beer-sheba (22:19). 

22:20-24 lists Nahor’s family. Nahor was Abraham’s brother and although they probably hadn’t seen each other in years, the news still reached Abraham about a family update. Rebekah, Isaac’s future wife is given special mention (22:23).

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Sarah dies

Scripture in focus: Genesis 23

Remember after the Flood, God reduced the human’s lifespan to about 120 years. Sarah lived until she was 127 years old (23:1). FACT: She is the only woman in the Bible whose age at death is recorded. Abraham mourns and weeps for his wife (23:2).

23:3-16 records Abraham negotiating with the Philistines for the land to bury his wife:

^ I am a foreigner and a sojourner among you (23:4). Here, Abraham acknowledges that he did not own the Promised Land as yet, but he wanted his wife to be buried there. He can also be acknowledging that he did not belong of this world, for his home was in God’s coming kingdom and he was just a stranger passing through the earth. 

^ “That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field…” (23:9): This place became the burial ground for Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob.

23:17-20 records Abraham buying the field and burying his wife. 

Additional Notes/Recap

^ Moriah was a mountainous region as you can tell from 22:2. It was the site of numerous acts of faith. After God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac there, a thousand years later, King David bought the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite and built an altar to the Lord so that a “plague may be held back from the people” (2 Samuel 24:18, 21). After his death, King Solomon built a temple on the site; it was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar’s armies in 587/586 B.C.

Seventy years after this, the temple was rebuilt, around the first century, it became known as Herold’s Temple which was the same temple Jesus cleansed (John 2:15). The temple was once again destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Roman armies. The portion that remained came to be known as the “Wailing Wall” or “Western Wall”. Bible prophecy shows that a third temple will be built at/on the site of Solomon’s temple (Daniel 9:27).

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King Solomon’s temple via Wikipedia

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* bible-studys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Bible Study

Genesis part XIII: Abraham pulls the ‘sister’ card again and Isaac is born

In case you missed it:

Part 12: Wicked cities are destroyed and Lot is saved

PART 11: Sarai’s name is changed and she is reproved for laughing

PART 10: The Promise of an Heir and Ishmael is Born

PART 9: God renews the promise and a kingly battle

PART 8: Language Confusion and Abram’s Blessing

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

PART 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

PART 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

We’re allowed to feel down, to sometimes complain and rant when things seem complicated or farfetched, for we’re human after all and sometimes, our emotions can get the better of us. But at the end of the day, remember Who we belong to, and Who is willing to take our burdens away from us. 

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Abraham pulls the sister card yet again

Scripture in focus: Genesis 20

Abraham is on the move once again after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah choosing to stay in Gerar (20:1). Sarah was still attractive and beautiful at the age of 90, and Abraham said that she was his sister instead of his wife and King Abimelech of Gerar took her into his harem (20:2). This is the second time that Abraham lied to a ruler about the relationship he had with Sarah. As we’ll recall in 12:10-13, he flat out lied to the Pharoah during their journey to Egypt saying that Sarah is his sister. God had to intervene in this matter during a dream to reveal Abraham’s deception to Abimelech (20:3). God kept the King from committing adultery which is a terrible sin. It must be terrible to hear God tell you in a dream “thou art but a dead man” for I know I would’ve been shaking all over! But Abimelech had not admitted Sarah in his company and ask God if He’ll destroy a righteous nation (20:4). Perhaps he heard what God had done to the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah?

20:5 clearly shows that Abimelech was deceived by both Abraham and Sarah. He inquired of Abraham first about his relationship with the beautiful woman at his side and he said that the woman is his sister. He then inquired of Sarah trusting her to speak the truth, but she went along with her husband’s plan and said that Abraham was her brother. Abimelech pleads innocent before the Lord. God knew Abimelech’s heart was right in this regard and thus, He withholds him from sinning for He knew it was not  Abimelech’s fault (20:6). God gives Abimelech a chance to do the right thing and to also let Abraham pray for him (20:7). The very next morning, Abimelech calls his servants (courtiers) and shared with them all that God told him via the dream and they were rightly afraid (20:8). 

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And once again, Abraham is rebuked by a pagan king (20:9-10).

Abraham proceeds to offer up 3 reasons for his lie:

20:11 Abraham said that the fear of God was not in Gerar when in fact it was not in him for yet again, he chose not to trust God to see him through this period.

20:12 Abraham was trying to say that technically, he did not lie for Sarah was indeed his half-sister. Yet, his intention was to clearly deceive Abimelech as he did the Pharoah.

20:13 Abraham indirectly blames God for the problem (“when God caused me to wander from my father’s house”). The term ‘wander’ used here means going astray and not in a good way. This recalls when Adam blamed God for Eve causing him to eat of the forbidden tree (“The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”) Sometimes when things go bad in our lives, we tend to blame God when in fact, we’re the cause of them. God does give us warning signs, but we tend to ignore them in favor of doing things our way.

Abimelech did everything in his power to make all right again by gifting Abraham livestock and servants and restoring Sarah to him (20:14). Instead of telling him to get out of his country like Pharoah did, Abimelech encourages Abraham to “dwell where it pleaseth” (20:15). Oh, the irony in Abimelech’s voice when he refers to Abraham as Sarah’s brother! (20:16). However, Sarah was reproved (justified). Silver (coins did not exist at this time & everything was weighed) means redemption.

Abraham prayed for Abimelech and God healed everyone (20:17-18). 

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Isaac is born

Scripture in focus: Genesis 21

It took 25 years for the promise to be fulfilled, but it was fulfilled because God was faithful to His promise. God’s word is true. No matter how long a promise may take to come to pass, He never fails to do what He has promised. 

The Lord visited Sarah (21:1) and she conceived (21:2). And Abraham called his name Isaac (21:3) and circumcised him when he was eight days old (21:4). Seven is the number of completion, but eight means ‘new beginnings’. Abraham was 100 years old when his son was born (21:5). It was a joyous occasion for Sarah and friends! No longer her laughter one of doubt, but one of happiness! (21:6). She is still in awe that she has borne Abraham a son in his old age (21:7). When Isaac was weaned, Abraham held a feast on the same day (21:8). A child couldn’t get far away from his/her mother until they were weaned. However, Isaac’s passage to childhood was met with ridicule by Ishmael (21:9) and it didn’t sit too well with Sarah (21:10). But Abraham loved Ishmael and Sarah’s dismissal of the only son he had for years grieved his heart (21:11).

Abraham sought God in the matter and God tells him to listen to Sarah for it was the right thing to do (21:12). God also reminds Abraham of the promise He made earlier in 17:20 regarding Ishmael; He will take care of Ishmael (21:13). Although it was hard for Abraham to do, he sent Hagar and Ishmael away knowing that God will indeed provide for them. Hagar wanders in the wilderness of Beer-sheba (an extensive desert located on the southern border of Palestine) (21:14). 

As harsh as it may sound, sometimes, we have to put our family away for the glory of God. 

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The water was all drank up and gone; weary and perhaps faint, Hagar lays her son under a shrub thinking that the end had probably come for Ishmael and she couldn’t bear to watch (21:15-16). God hears Ishmael’s anguish and sends help (21:17). Hagar and Ishmael being in distress in the wilderness serve a promise: 

No matter how far we may wander – whether it’s in a desert or to the ends of the world – God would hear our cries for help.

God promises to take care of Ishmael (21:18) and He most certainly did for the descendants of Ishmael became the Arabic people. When God says He got you, there is no need to worry, for He got you. God opens Hagar’s eyes and she is directed to a well to replenish water (21:19). God protects Ishmael in the wilderness as he went from teenager to man and became skilled in the bow and arrow (archery); in short, he was a hunter (21:20). He dwelled in the wilderness of Paran (a city in Arabia Petraea) and his mother took him a wife from her native and worldly Egypt (21:21).

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“God is with thee”. Indeed, others saw God’s hand of blessing in Abraham’s life (21:22) and wanted to make a treaty with Abraham (21:23). Abraham takes the oath (21:24). Abraham informs Abimelech that his servants had deprived him of a usage of a well (21:25) although it was Abraham who dug it (26:15). However, Abimelech claims innocence in the matter and even blames Abraham for not informing him sooner (21:26). Satisfied with Abimelech’s answer, Abraham makes the covenant with the king (21:27) and presents him with gifts including 7 lambs which he set by themselves (21:28).

Abimelech asked the meaning of the 7 lambs (21:29) and Abraham tells him that the gift of the animals was to prove that the well belonged to him (21:30). And the place was called Beer-sheba (21:31). Why? “Beer” signifies a well and “sheba” means seven. Therefore, “Beer-sheba” means “well of the oath”. Satisfied with the treaty, Abimelech and his chief captain, Phichol, returns home (21:32). Abraham plants a grove (a tamarisk tree) in a reminder of the treaty and calls upon the name of the true everlasting God (21:33).

And Abraham lived in the land of the Philistines many years (21:34).

Additional Notes/Recap

^ “for he is a prophet” (20:7). This is the first time the Hebrew term for “prophet” is used in Scripture. This also identifies that Abraham was recognized by God to speak on behalf of Abimelech. 

^ In the Old Testament, we met a lot of people who were typologies for Christ including Abel and Isaac. Let’s compare Isaac and Christ:

* They were promised sons.

* Both were given names before they were born. 

* Both births were miraculous

* Both births occurred at God’s appointed time (via blueletterbible.org)

Also, this symbolism: Isaac’s obedience also anticipates Christ as the only begotten Son willing to be bound on the altar of sacrifice by His Father. (via bible-studys.org)

^ The difference between Ishmael and Isaac’s blessings? Ishmael’s blessing was a worldly and fleshy one whereas Isaac’s blessing was a spiritual one. 

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* biblestudys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Bible Study

Genesis part XII: wicked cities are destroyed and Lot is saved.

In case you missed it:

PART 11: Sarai’s name is changed and she is reproved for laughing

PART 10: The Promise of an Heir and Ishmael is Born

PART 9: God renews the promise and a kingly battle

PART 8: Language Confusion and Abram’s Blessing

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

PART 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

PART 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let us approach His Grace’s throne and seek forgiveness. Let us be thankful that we still have breath and let us pray for our fellowmen. Let us also enjoy the things that our Creator has given us freely such as the sweet singing of the birds. 

Welcome back to Bible studies. I trust that you walked with God this week and that you gave Him thanks for bringing you through it. Today, we’re going to cover chapter 19.

Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed

Scripture in focus: Genesis 19

In the 18th chapter, we left off with Abraham interceding on behalf of the inhabitants of Sodom. The Lord then depart and went His way, but His two companions went down to Sodom. We now come to the controversial chapter of Genesis which many people skip over for the enjoyment of their own burning lust and condemn God for not letting sexual pervasion win. Let’s see how it plays out.

Lot was sitting in the gate when the two angels came to Sodom (19:1). Lot sitting in the gate indicates that he was a leader of some sort (possibly a judge) and helped conducted the city’s affairs. His urgent hospitality to his guests seemed like an effort to protect them from the wicked men of the city, but the messengers wanted to stay out on the street to probably witness the evil first hand (19:2). The angels relent and Lot made a feast and baked unleavened bread and they ate (19:3). I noted that despite having a feast, one important item from the feast stood out: unleavened bread. Was Lot telling us that he was indeed a righteous man living among perverted sinners? And if so, why didn’t he abandon his position and move away?

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Before the household can call it a night and go to sleep, the men of the city surround the house (19:4) and ask Lot to let the men out so they can “know them” (19:5). Base on Lot’s response in 6-8, we know that these men did not come to be hospitable. They wanted to “know them” carnally speaking in ways a man shouldn’t know another man. They wanted to have homosexual relations with the men and if possible, rape them even. It also clearly shows that the evil city participated in group sex. Lot goes outside and shuts the door after him to prevent the men from barging into his house (19:6) and tries to reason with the Sodomites (19:7). Lot then offers the men his two daughters as an alternative (19:8). The first time I read this, I thought it was a horrible thing for Lot to offer up his daughters to be gang-raped. I also understand that it was a top priority to protect guests at all cost over family, but it also shows two things: how low a woman’s place was in the ancient world and Lot did not have enough faith to leave Sodom. He was also trying to show the men that sex was designed to have between a man and a woman.

The men mock Lot and threaten him to move aside; blinded by lust they proceed to push pass Lot to fulfill their desire (19:9). The angels rescued Lot by pulling him into the house (19:10) and striking the men with blindness (19:11). The ‘blindness’ can mean two things: the men were actually struck blind or a darkness covered the area that they couldn’t find Lot’s door. The angels then warn Lot about the coming divine destruction of the city (19:12-13). Lot then warns his family of the pending danger but he was mocked by his sons in law (19:14). The next morning, even before the sun rose in the sky, the angels hasten Lot to take his wife and two daughters and to get out of the city (19:15). The phrase “which are here” may mean nothing, but it could possibly suggest that Lot had other daughters who were possibly married to Sodomites. Used in this context, however, suggests that Lot take his family that is present. 

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Lot lingered, showing that despite knowing how wicked the city was, Sodom was a part of his heart hence the reason why he never considered getting out; he was settled and comfortable and preferred to look the other way. He lingered causing the angels to personally escort him, his wife, and daughters out of the city (19:16). They were given specific instruction to escape to the mountain and not look back (19:17). But Lot’s faith wavered and he did not want to go the place which the Lord suggested (19:18-19). He begs to dwell in a small town (19:20). The Lord accepts Lot’s request and would not overthrow the city for Lot’s sake (19:21); that city was called Zoar (19:22). 

The sun had risen when Lot entered Zoar (19:23) at about the same time brimstone and fire was being rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah destroying them completely (19:24-25). But Lot’s wife disobeyed, looked back and became a pillar of salt (19:26). Abraham got up early the next morning just in time to see the smoke ascend to heaven after the cities were burned and destroyed (19:27-28). Abraham’s prayer was answered when God remembered him and delivered a righteous Lot from the cities before He overthrew them (19:29). 

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Lot eventually feared to dwell in the city he begged to escape to and he went to the mountains to dwell in a cave away from the world (19:30). From the beginning, the angels told him to dwell in the mountain. Now, Lot’s daughters begin to think that there are no men left on earth to lie with them (19:31) which is inexcusable for they spent some time in Zoar to know that there were indeed other people including men on earth. They decide to take matters into their own hands except to trust God because it was now their mission to repopulate the earth. They come to the conclusion that they’ll trick Lot into drinking wine in order to lie with him and preserve his seed (19:32). This desperate action and sin from the girls would suggest that living in Sodom clearly affected them (even more so than Lot) after witnessing so many pervasions which seemed like the norm. They didn’t even think about God once during their plan. 

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They made their father drink wine and the eldest lay with her father and Lot was so drunk that he didn’t hear her come to bed or when she left (19:33). The next night, Lot gets drunk again, and the younger daughter lay with him (19:34-35) and they were both with children by their father (19:36). A person who is drunk is not in control of his actions or thoughts, but Lot had to be willing to drink the wine, and God does not gloss over drunkenness as an excuse to sin. The eldest bore a son and called him Moab (19:37). Moab (meaning ‘from father’) was the father of the Moabites, a people that lived on the borders of Canaan proving to be troublesome for the Israelites. They worshipped the god Chemosh and sacrificed their children to this god. 

Finally, the younger gave birth to a son named Ben-ammi (meaning ‘the son of my people’) and he became the father of the children of Ammon (19:38). These people lived near the Moabites and like their brethren, fell into idolatry. They worshipped Molech and made their children walk through fire. None of their cities exist today for God destroyed these people. I’ll try to explore this false god soon.

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One might wonder why God allowed Lot’s daughters’ sinful acts to be recorded. It’s simple: God wants us to learn from these examples so we know what to do and not what to do. It’s a reason why the Bible is basic instruction before leaving earth. God not only wants us to see the Bible characters at their best; He wants us to know/learn the entire truth about them for it’s an example to/for us (1 Corinthians 10:11). We should take heed of their experience and make good choices. The daughters had no sexual design on their father, their true intent was to repopulate the world, although their actions were wrong. These records are for our caution.

After this, no more is recorded of Lot although he was mentioned in 2 Peter 2:7.

Additional Notes/Recap

^ God condemns homosexual behavior calling it an abomination (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). ‘Gay’ used to mean ‘happy’ and ‘carefree’ but it was stolen to normalize the homosexual lifestyle. Also stolen was the rainbow which is now used to identify (and even glamorize) the homosexual life that if one were to unknowingly use the rainbow as a logo they’ll be commended for showing their ‘pride’ or stealing it from the homosexual community. The rainbow is a covenant that God made with Noah as a sign to not destroy the world again from wickedness (9:17) otherwise it certainly would’ve been destroyed yet again.

^ God made both men and women in the image of Himself (1:26-28; 2:18-24). The woman was made to complement man and God commanded them to be fruitful and to multiply the earth. Homosexuality is rebellious and is the exact opposite of God’s design for family.

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^ Sodom was more than just sexual pervasion (Reference Ezekiel 16:48-50). They did many detestable things including the practice of cult prostitution and pagan rituals. 

^ In 19:8, Lot suggests that his daughters are virgins, yet, in 19:14, we see that he has sons-in-law. I admit that this threw me off the first couple of times I read it, but looking it up, I’ve come to realize that the sons-in-law were Sodomites who were probably caught up in the sexual sins themselves that they never slept with their wives or they were by binding betrothal, but not by marriage yet.

^ The city which Lot escaped to in 19:22 was called Bela before in 14:2. Today, many people think that Sodom and Gomorrah are buried under the Dead Sea. 

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As always, I encourage you to share what you may have learned during your study of God’s Word or what touched your heart this week in the comment section below.

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* biblestudys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Bible Study

Genesis part XI: Sarai’s name is changed and she is reproved for laughing

In case you missed it:

PART 10: The Promise of an Heir and Ishmael is Born

PART 9: God renews the promise and a kingly battle

PART 8: Language Confusion and Abram’s Blessing

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

PART 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

PART 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

Discussing the Bible with you is what I look forward to the most! As always, I encourage you to share what you may have learned or what touched your heart this week in the comment section below. Today, we’re going to cover chapters 17 & 18.

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Sarai’s name is changed and she is blessed

Scripture in focus: Genesis 17

Abram is 99 years old when the Almighty appears to him and tells him what is expected of him (17:1). God also reminds Abram that He did not forget the covenant He made with him (17:2). Abram then falls on his face in reverence of His Majesty (17:3). Oh, to be in such glorious presence! Soon, my Lord! Soon, I shall be in such a glorious and majestic presence! 💙God reminds Abram that His covenant is with him and that he’ll be a father of many nations (17:4) so no longer was his name to be called Abram (father of many) for God changed it to Abraham (father of many nations) to reflect the meaning (17:5). God assures Abraham that he’ll have MANY descendants (17:6). God would establish an everlasting covenant with Abraham and it would extend to all of his ancestors (17:7-8). God commands Abraham to keep His covenant (17:9) and proceeds to gave Abraham something to do for the first time in regards to the covenant which is circumcision. He is also very specific about the details (17:10-14).

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God also changes Sarai’s (“my” princess) name to Sarah (princess) for His promises would come through her (17:15-16). How did Abraham response? He laughs in doubt for he did not think that a man his age would be fathering a child with a wife past her childbearing age (17:17). Which is sort of funny, for his own father had him when he was 130 years old. Ishmael was now a teenager and Abraham wanted to adopt him as his heir (17:18). It shows that Abraham still wasn’t looking at the big picture. All he could see was his old age and Sarah’s barrenness before him so it was hard to grasp what he couldn’t conceive. 

Despite Abraham’s doubt, God tells him matter-of-factly that he was going to have a son and he was to name him Isaac (17:19). Ishmael shall also be blessed for God heard Abraham’s prayer (17:20). In 16:10, God had already promised Ishmael’s mother (Hagar) that He’ll multiply her descendants through her son. God repeats that the covenant is to be established with Isaac and not Ishmael (17:21) and then He ascended before Abraham’s eyes (17:22) just as Jesus did in the presence of His disciples (Luke 24:51). 

Without delay, after God left his presence, Abraham carries out God’s command of circumcision (17:23-27).

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Sarah is reproved for laughing

Scripture in focus: Genesis 18

The Lord appears to Abraham once again in human form (18:1). Abraham holds up and sees three men (the pre-incarnate Christ & 2 angels) and he humbles himself before them (18:2). Abraham says to his Lord that if He judges him and finds him okay to not leave (18:3). Verses 4-5 is a picture of hospitality and shows Abraham’s willingness to serve. Sarah and Abraham prepare a meal for their visitors (18:6-8). After eating their meal, the men get down to business and enquires after Sarah (18:9). She was said to be in the tent, but she was within hearing of the conversation in which God reaffirms His promise of a son (18:10). 

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Sarah and her husband are old and “it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women” meaning that she had stopped menstruating (and had probably gone through menopause) so she couldn’t see herself carrying an unborn (18:11) so she did what her husband did earlier when the Lord paid him a visit: laughed (18:12). She was in doubt about conceiving a child the natural way, but nothing’s impossible for God. Even when we’re faithless, God remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).

The Lord hears Sarah’s laughter and asks Abraham why did his wife laugh although He already knew why (18:13). He then poses a rhetorical question “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (18:14). Of course not!

NOTHING IS EVER TOO HARD FOR OUR WONDERFUL CREATOR! NOTHING! 

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When Sarah realizes that she was in the presence of God she denies laughing, but God insists that she did in fact laugh (18:15). The men then rose up and look toward Sodom (18:16). God decides to reveal to Abraham the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah (18:17-19). The cities had become polluted with sins so great that God was going to go down and judge them (18:20-21). The two angels went down to Sodom (these are actually the two men who visited Sodom in Genesis 19), but the Lord stayed with Abraham (18:22) who proceeds to intercede on behalf of the two wicked cities (18:23-26) and then bargains with God for the people (18:27-32).

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During these verses, we see the character of a very prayerful and spiritual man. He prayed that Sodom might be spared if a few righteous people should be found in it. His nephew Lot was a resident of Sodom and he could’ve only asked God to save Lot, but he prayed for the righteous. His heart was full of compassion for the people of Sodom. This is the compassion that we should feel for sinners and how we should pray for them. All the while Abraham was conversing with the Lord, the Lord was ever so patient. 

The Lord then went His way and Abraham returned to his place (18:33). Unfortunately, not even 10 righteous people were found, just 4 and God had to destroy the cities as we’ll see in the next lesson.

Additional Notes/Recap

^ Relating to the appearances of the Lord to humans, it is believed that this Person was God, in the Person of Jesus Christ before His incarnation and birth at Bethlehem for NO ONE has seen God at any time but Jesus declared Him (John 1:18) and NO MAN has ever seen God in the Person of the Father (1 Timothy 6:16).

^ You may ask why God had to keep reminding Abraham of the promise He made to him. Simple. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17) so we need to hear God’s promises over and over again. From Genesis to Revelation, God keeps reminding us of His beautiful promise of salvation if only we come to accept Him as Lord and Savior. 

^ Isaac means “he laughs” a reference to Abraham’s response in 17:17 and Sarah’s action in 18:12. 

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REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* biblestudys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Bible Study

Genesis part X: The promise of an heir and Ishmael is born

In case you missed it:

PART 9: God renews the promise and a kingly battle

PART 8: Language Confusion and Abram’s Blessing

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

PART 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

PART 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

Happy Sabbath and welcome back to Bible Study. I trust that your week was well spent and blessed. Did you learn anything new during your study of God’s Word? If it’s something that you’ll like to share, feel free to do so in the comment section below. Open up your Bibles to Genesis 15 and let’s get down to some study of our own.

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Abram yearns for an heir

Scripture in focus: Genesis 15

And after these things (Gen 14), the word (Christ) of the LORD visits Abram via a vision (15:1) to encourage him and to ease his fears after defeating a HUGE army. He might have feared an attack of retribution, but God promised that not only He is Abram’s shield, but also his reward. In response to God’s encouragement, Abram honestly opens up about being childless and thought of adopting his steward (his right-hand man) Eliezer of Damascus as his male heir (15:2). Although God has promised that he’ll be a father of many, Abram still had doubts for he was without an heir (15:3). God reminds Abram of the promise of the heir that would be his own flesh and blood and illustrates it by referencing the stars in the sky (15:4-5). 

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And Abram put his trust in God (15:6). This is a fine example showing that we’re justified by faith and not works. Also cross reference Romans 4:19-24 and Galatians 3:5-7.

Abram’s faith did not lean on believing in God but believing God. 

Yes, there’s a big difference!

God makes a statement reminding puny Abram who He was (15:7). Abram wants to know how he shall inherit the land (15:8). A ceremony soon follows to mark the covenant (15:9-21). God tells Abram what animals to gather (15:9) and most of those animals became a sin sacrifice in later ceremonies. Abram heeds and he knows exactly what to do with the animals (15:10). While Abram waits for God to walk through the animal carcasses to sign the covenant, vultures paid a visit and he quickly chases them off (15:11). The sun was about to set when God put Abram to sleep (15:12) and came to him via a dream giving Abram the rundown of the hardships that would befall his descendants (15:13). This prophecy took place some 300 years later when Israel sojourned in Egypt and served the Pharaoh for 400 years. But God would judge Egypt and bring His people out with great wealth (15:14).

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Abram will be buried after living a full life (15:15; 25:7).

God would give the Amorites a chance to repent before Abram’s descendants make their entrance to the land (15:16). Sadly, the Amorites did not repent. The presence of God represented by a smoking furnace and a burning lamp (God is a consuming fire!) pass through the animal pieces; God passed through by Himself (15:17) thus sealing the covenant He made with Abram (Note that Abram did not walk through the animal pieces for God signed the blood covenant for both of them. Abram cannot break a contract he did not sign and he could’ve held God accountable had He not kept His end of the bargain. He didn’t have to, though, for God can never lie).

God then quotes the specific lands Abram’s descendants will inherit (15:18-21).

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Abram and Sarai tries to help God with the promise of an heir

Scripture in focus: Genesis 16

Sarai is barren and childless and instead of waiting for God to fulfill His promise, she proposes that Abram her husband of many years have a child through her Egyptian maid Hagar and Abram heeds the voice of his wife (16:1-2). This is a surrogate arrangement so the child would not be considered to be Hager’s but Sarai who lost faith and decided to help God out. Abram could’ve manned up and said no to his wife and poor Hagar gets caught in the middle of their heir scheme. How he’d think Adam messed up in the first place? He didn’t say no to Eve. Let’s go to court:

Defense: It’s been more than ten years since God made the promise regarding Abram’s descendants (16:3). The long wait discouraged them and they grew impatient. 

Verdict: Despite the lapse in time, God’s ways are not our ways and He fulfills promises in His timing, not ours. God cannot lie and if He promises you something, you don’t try to help Him no matter how gloomy things start looking. Take comfort in the promise and look ahead to the time when God would eventually bring it to pass. He always keeps His word. 

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Sarai gives Abram permission to marry Hagar (16:3) and when she conceives, she feels superior to Sarai (16:4). I blame Abram for this for he should’ve reminded his wife of God’s promise. Two women cannot share one man. Marriage was intended for two to become one (2:24). When Sarai saw that she was despised by her maid, she blames Abram and demands justice to right the wrong (16:5). What does Abram do? He gently tells Sarai to deal with Hagar as she sees fit (16:6) for despite both women being his wives, Hagar was still considered lower than Sarai for she was still the help. Besides, Abram didn’t seem like he was too happy with the arrangement he made with Hagar. However, as the man, instead of taking charge of the situation, he cowardly backs away and leaves the decision making to Sarai. She must have dealt harshly with Hagar for she caused the Egyptian to flee.

An Angel appears to Hagar as she attempts to make her way back home to Egypt reaching as far as Shur (16:7). The Angel here is said to be God, in the Person of Jesus given that He spoke in the first person (16:10-12) and Hagar recognized that in seeing this Being, she had seen God and called upon His Name (16:13). This is also the first time that the Angel of the Lord appears in the Old Testament. I’ve included a little note on Angels via bible-studys.org in the recap section below.

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The Angel calls Hagar by name and questions her although He already knew her predicament (16:8) and tells her to return to her mistress (16:9). God promises to multiply her descendants through her son (16:10) which He did for Ismael went on to become the father of all Arabic peoples. This also meant that Abram became the father of two groups of descendants: both Arabs and Jews are descended from Abram by two half-brothers: Ishmael and Issac. Had Abram and Sarai not tried to help God things would’ve turned out differently. 

Hagar is told to call her son Ishmael meaning “God hears” (16:11). Ishmael’s life wouldn’t be easy while dwelling in the presence of his brethren (16:12). Hagar realized that this Being was indeed God talking to her and calls Him “You Are the God Who Sees” (16:13). Hagar dedicates the well to God calling it Beer-lahai-roi (well of the living One). She goes back and bares Abram a son called Ishmael (16:15) and Abram was 80 (16:16). 

Additional Notes/Recap

^ I love that David was a man after God’s heart, but I’ll rather be Abram for a day so God can call me His friend as He did Abram. His friendship with God was beautiful, but it’s hardly talked about.

^ Some of us may look at Abram’s openness as complaining (15:3-4), but it’s better to be open with God, bearing all that is in our soul.

^ Concerning 15:9-21: In those days, contracts were made by the sacrificial cutting of animals, with the split carcasses of the animals lying on the ground. Then both parties to the covenant would walk through the animal parts together, repeating the terms of the covenant. (blueletterbible.org).

^ Even after all that Abram and Sarai did in trying to help God, it would still be more than 13 years when the promise was eventually fulfilled.

^ Fun Fact: Ishmael is the first man in the Bible to receive his name before he was born.

^ANGEL OF THE LORD (via bible-studys.org): The Angel of the Lord, who does not appear after the birth of Christ, is often identified as the pre-incarnate Christ (see note on Exodus 3:2). In the Old Testament, an angel identified as the “angel of the Lord”, the “angel of God” (21:17), the “angel of his presence” (Isa. 63:9), and the “messenger of the covenant” (Mal. 3:1), appeared to individuals. 

A closer look at the context of His appearances reveals that He is more than another angel, He is God. The expression usually signifies a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ and is sometimes called a “Christophany,” meaning the visible and bodily manifestation of God the Son before His incarnation.

That He is not merely another angel is evident in those appearances where He is called God. This was recognized by Hagar (16:13), Abraham (22:14), Moses (Exodus 3:14), Gideon (Judges 6:22), and Manoah (Judges 13:18, 22). The expression is also used of men, but on such occasions, is translated “the Lord’s messenger” (Hag. 1:13). 

The Angel of the Lord no longer appears to men today, since God has commissioned Christians to be His messengers to the world.

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REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* biblestudys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Bible Study

Genesis part IX: God renews the promise and a kingly battle

In case you missed it:

PART 8: Language Confusion and Abram’s Blessing

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

PART 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

PART 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

I wonder if I’m moving at a snail’s pace with Genesis for I’m only on the 13th chapter, but timing is everything and rushing won’t make sense for then I won’t enjoy studying His Word. I trust that everyone had a great week and welcome back to Bible study. 

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God renews the promise to Abram

Scripture in focus: Genesis 13

Abram, Sarai, and Lot come out of Egypt and heads “into the south” which is the land of promise (13:1). Abram was also very rich in temporal things (13:2). This great example shows that having wealth is not a sin, but the love of wealth is. Also, thanks to the Pharoah, Abram’s riches was increased. However, Abram heads right back where he started (13:3-4). I took note of two significant things here: (i) There was no need for Abram to go down into Egypt for God would’ve provided his needs during the drought if only he had relied on God and (ii) Abram realized that he had sinned and had to go back to find God, seek forgiveness and begin again. 13:5-7 saw conflict creeping in among Abram and Lot’s herdsmen. In 12:1, God commanded Abram to leave his family behind when he came to Canaan, but Abram bought his nephew along. Lot was a grown man now and he had acquired much wealth as his uncle that the land which they shared couldn’t contain it. It is also important to note that the conflict started when Abram got right with God. Whenever we get right with God, that’s when the devil deals deceitfully with us.

The strife had to be resolved for Abram wanted peace (13:8) and the only logical reasoning was Lot moving and establishing his own dwelling. Abram generously made an offer to Lot (13:9) in which Lot will choose which part of the land he wanted and Abram will be content with to take what Lot did not want. A fine example of selfless love. Abram looked out for the interest of others and not only his own (Philippians 2:4). Also, Abram learned from his past mistake and knew that he could trust God to provide for him. However, Lot’s eyes were set on the material abundance and beautiful lushness of the plain of Jordan (13:10-11) that he did not care how the atmosphere would spiritually affect his family. Instead of asking Abram for help or praying about it, he was led by the sight of his eyes. Later on, we come to see how his decision ruins his family.

Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom (13:12) and he later dwells there becoming a leader of a sinful city (19:1). The inhabitants of Sodom were exceedingly sinful before the Lord (13:13). With Lot gone, God renews the promise to Abram and his descendants concerning the land (13:14-15). He also reminds Abram of the promise to give Abram many descendants (13:16). Abram walks through the land God gave to him (13:17) and eventually came to dwell in Mamre (a large grove of trees owned by Mamre the Amorite as we’ll see in 14:13) and built an altar as he was committed to worshipping the Lord (13:18). 

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The battle of 4 kings against 5

Scripture in focus: Genesis 14

14:1-10 sees the four kings of the cities in the region of Sodom and Gomorrah rebel against the Confederation of five kings of nations ruling over them (blueletterbible.org). Five cities of the plain revolted and Chedorlaomer (king of Elam) with three allies were against them (14:1). The five kings ruled over a single town and its neighborhood (14:2). Note that the name of the king of Bela which is Zoar was not given. Maybe it was due to the fact that Zoar (little) was insignificant. The royal heads came together in the vale of Siddim (14:3). The five kings served Chedorlaomer for 12 years and they were probably enslaved by him so they made the decision to rebel in the 13th year (14:4). In the 14th year, Chedorlaomer and his allies came to quell the revolt (14:5-6). They passed the country of the Amalekites (En-mishpat, which is Kadesh), but being victorious in their original pursuits, they came back to En-mishpat and slew the Amalekites (14:7). 

We now come to the climax of the battle from 14:3: the five kings led by the king of Sodom joined battle with the 4 in Siddim (14:8-9). The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, fell and perished into the slimepits while the other kings fled to the mountain (14:10). The invaders raided Sodom and Gomorrah taking all they could put their grabby hands on (14:11), but it becomes personal for Abram when they took his nephew Lot (14:12). Lot was taken captive for he was also dwelling among the wicked people. However, a survivor escaped and located Abram to tell him the bad that had befallen Lot (14:13). Here, we see the term ‘Hebrew’ being used for the first time. Immediately taking action, Abram puts his on his warrior mode, assembled 318 servants capable of fighting and pursued the kidnappers unto the city of Dan (14:14). Abram leads his army to victory over the 5 kings using his military wisdom (14:15). He brings Lot back and all of his possessions (14:16). Unfortunately, Lot didn’t heed the warning and went back to dwell in Sodom.

The king of Sodom was delighted with Abram defeating his enemies and came to greet him (14:17). Abram meets Melchizedek the priest of the God Most High (14:18). Melchizedek blesses Abram (14:19) and Abram paid tithes (14:20) which would’ve been one-tenth of the spoils (Hebrews 7:4). Abram refuses to take the spoils from the battle so as not to be obligated to the king of Sodom (14:21-24). After all, it was God who won the battle for him.

Additional Notes/Recap

^ I love the meaning of Mamre (vision) and Hebron (communion). Abram is walking in God’s vision and being in communion with Him. 

^ Amalek was the first nation (Numbers 24:20).

^ Slimepits were said to be asphalt later on.

^ Melchizedek was a king and a priest of God. He was the king of Salem (the original Jerusalem) and his name means “king of righteousness”. He was a king-priest who typifies the true King-Priest (Jesus Christ) later to come into the world to save sinners. The bread and wine he bought Abram also typify the bread and wine at the Passover. 

^ The significance of the number 2000: Melchizedek made his appearance about 2000 years after Adam was created. Approximately 2000 years after Melchizedek appeared, baby Jesus was born. And Jesus will return 2000 years after his manifestation as our Savior (bible-studys.org).

^ The vale of Siddim and Salt Sea are the same as the Dead Sea. 

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REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* biblestudys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search

Bible Study

Genesis part VIII: Language confusion and Abram’s blessing

In case you missed it:

PART 7: Noah’s Generation, a geographic history lesson

Part 6: Noah leaves the ark and God blesses him

Part 5: The wickedness of the world and the Great Flood

PART 4: The first murder and genealogy of the Patriarchs

PART 3: The Original Sin

PART 2: The making of mankind and the Sabbath

PART 1: Genesis: in the beginning

Studying the Bible has never been more fun! I do not claim to be a Bible scholar hence why I do in-depth research into every event I come across for simply reading does not satisfy me. I do not know everything and will never claim to. Whatever God has revealed to me through the Holy Spirit, I share. One must never be afraid to discuss His Word and even if we’re wrong, well, we can always learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ who are well acquainted with the Word. Amen?

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The tower of Babel

Scripture in focus: Genesis 11

Many, many years passed after the Great Flood and there were many people populating the earth thanks to Noah’s sons (Genesis 10). In 11:1, we read that ‘the whole earth was of ONE language and one speech’. We do not know what point of history this is for the Bible does not say, although some scholars and preachers estimated it to be 700 years after the Great Flood. 

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God’s plan was for the human race to populate the earth (9:7), but someone named Nimrod had other plans as we’ll see shortly. Shinar (11:2) was in the region of Babylon. In 11:3 we read about the settled people of Shinar making bricks. Do note that they did not have stone or mortar. They baked the bricks thoroughly to build a neverending tower (11:4). See, Nimrod wanted to keep the people together in one place instead of obeying God and the people apparently feared Nimrod more than God for he was a mighty hunter of animals and man. Nimrod probably didn’t even have to show himself; just the mere mention of his name had knees buckling in fear. 

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Human pride comes into the display when the people start relying on themselves rather than God when they say “let us” (11:4). “Let us build us a city and a tower”: here it shows the true intentions of their hearts. The bricks they baked in 11:3 is waterproof (Much later, we’ll see that Moses’ mother used the same materials in waterproofing his basket in Exodus 2:3) so they were actually building a waterproof tower to protect themselves from a future flood showing that they did not trust God and His promise to never flood the earth again. Their statement of self (“let us”) couldn’t have been any clearer. They turned their backs against God when they expressed that statement. 

Focusing a bit on the tower “whose top may reach unto heaven”, I don’t think that they literally wanted to build a tower to reach into heaven for that would’ve been impossible. Imagine how many years and generations that would’ve taken! 

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Occult and astrological practices originated in Babel. I read that Shinar was sea level so it wouldn’t have made sense to build that kind of tower in the plain of Shinar. The Greek historian Herodotus (b. 485 BC) confirmed its existence in his time, but I’ll save the tower for a later exploration topic. Back to 11:4, the people wanted to make a name for themselves. They defied God’s command in hopes of making a name for themselves; they wanted fame and honor for themselves. God called them “the children of men” for they were not followers of the spirit, but the flesh. He came down to get a closer look at the tower. Speaking the same language made it easier for the people to work together in one accord as a team. Their hearts were set on doing evil and they were already worshipping false gods. 

God made the people stop building the tower by suddenly making them speak in different languages/tongues (11:7). This pales in contrast with the day of Pentecost when everyone heard the message of God in their own language.

They couldn’t understand each other anymore and the confusion caused them to scatter (11:8). One of the important lesson learned is that God’s purposes will always be implemented despite man’s best well-laid plans. Whether we like it or not, man will eventually do God’s will. And this is how many nations, peoples, and languages came about (11:9). The city is named ‘Babel’ which comes from a Hebrew word meaning to confound/confuse.

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There is a break as we take up Shem’s ancestry from 11: 10-25 from Shem to Terah, the father of Abram. This is the line from which the true Messiah sprung. Shem is 100 years when he becomes a father to Arphaxad two years after the flood (11: 10-11). I’ve noticed that children were born to men in their ‘old age’ in the early period, but Arphaxad was the first on record showing that he had a son (Salah) born to him early at only 35 years (11:13). I’ve also taken note of man’s lifespan decreasing a little in the days of Peleg (11:19). Nahor (11:23) means “snoring”. He was the son of Serug, the father of Terah and grand-father of Abram. Abram also had a brother named Nahor (11:26). 

11:26-28 records the family of Terah in Ur of the Chaldeans (Babylon). Abram means “Exalted father”. This shows that he was the progenitor of God’s chosen people. Later on, his name changes to Abraham (17:5) meaning “Father of a great multitude”. His father, Terah was an idol worshipper and Abram might have been one too (Joshua 24:2). Most people relocated to Ur in Sumer, southern Mesopotamia after the Flood. It was a stunning city and the richest in Sumer and it was here that Abram’s family lived at the time (11:28) including his nephew Lot.

11:29-30 records the family of Abram and his brother Nahor. The brothers took them wives: Abram married Sarai and Nahor married Milcah (11:29). Milcah was the grandmother of Rekebah who later married Issac. It’s kind of ironic that Abram’s name means ‘Exalted Father’ while his wife Sarai was barren (11:30). Terah took his little family and went from Ur to dwell in Haran (11:31). Haran was a Sumerian city and we’ll see it pop up several times during our study of Genesis. With Terah’s death (11:32), Abram will be responsible for the family. 

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The promise of Christ

Scripture in focus: Genesis 12

We now turn our focus to Abram. Where chapter 11 was about man’s plans, the 12th chapter focuses on God’s plans.

12:1-3 talks of God’s previous covenant with Abram. This promise was made to Abram before he left Ur of the Chaldeans (Acts 7:2-4). He was supposed to leave his family and go where God directed him, instead, he took his father Terah as far as Haran although he was supposed to go alone. I love how the meaning of names in the Bible is synonymous with events. Terah means “delay” and Haran means “barren”. We shouldn’t delay in obeying God for it can lead us to experience barrenness such as never before. 

But Abraham grew in faith and obedience after his father’s death as we’ll soon see.

The Lord does not tell Abram where to go. Instead, He tells him to go ‘unto a land that I will shew thee’ (12:1). This requires faith. God makes 3 promises to him in 12:2: He will make Abram a great nation (Israel), He will bless him and He will make Abram’s name great. How can one say no to such beautiful promises and blessings?

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And Abram certainly was a blessing (Galatians 3:29) for this blessing was also for the families of the earth who were faithful as Abram (12:3). Abram did as he was told and departed from Haran at the age of 75 years (12:4). He took his wife and nephew and they came into the land of Canaan (12:5). Abram arrives in Canaan (12:6). Once Abram was in the land, the Lord appeared unto him (12:7) and he built an altar unto the Lord. Whenever the Lord appears unto someone they’ll build an altar. Noah built the first altar (8:20) to make a sacrifice unto the Lord, but the altar Abram built was significant for it was a place not only to sacrifice for sin, but to also meet with God, and it was the first true place of worship ever erected in the Promised Land (bible-studys.org). 

Abram was a tent-dweller (12:8). He lived as if his dwelling place was not here on earth, but in heaven, and we can also take pattern from him for our home is not of this world (Hebrews 13:14). He didn’t stay long in Beth-el (house of God) as he continued his journey toward the south (12:9). He was then tested by a famine (12:10) and he went down to Egypt where food was always in abundance. He made Sarai lie about being his wife for she was a “fair woman” (12:11). Yes, she was still attractive to behold in the eyes of men especially the godhead of Egypt, the Pharoah. Legend said that she was more beautiful than Eve. 12:12-13 shows that Abram took it upon himself to take care of his future instead of relying on God. That’s why he came away from Egypt with excess baggage in the name of Hagar the Egyptian handmaiden who made Sarai envious of her fertility. Had they trusted in God to take care of them, they probably wouldn’t have ended up in the pagan land of Egypt.

Fearing for his death (12:12), he tells Sarai to say that she is his sister (12:13). Which is actually half-truth for she was actually his half-sister (20:12). He chose to deceive the Egyptians – he was fearful of death which is understandable – instead of trusting in God. Not once, but twice Abram attempted to pass Sarai off as his sister as we’ll see later on in our study. The Egyptians are quickly taken with Sarai’s beauty (12:14) and she is taken to Pharoah’s harem (12:15). I bet the Pharoah was smug about having such a beautiful woman in his harem!

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Meanwhile, Abram was being rewarded handsomely as her brother by receiving extravagant gifts (12:16). Every time I read this verse, I wonder how long Abraham thought he was going to get away with this little cunning trick. How could he even stand the Pharoah looking at his wife as if she was the best thing in existence while he looked on from a distance? 

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And when the famine was over and he was going to leave, would he have approached the Pharoah’s throne and be like, “Oh, Pharoah, thanks for the extravagant gifts, but I’ll be on my way now and that woman you’re intending to make your wife belongs to me. Yeah, that’s right, she’s my wife.” The Pharoah is god incarnate whose word was law. How was he going to walk out of Egypt with Sarai by his side had it not been for God who was very displeased with his deceit (12:17) although He continued to protect, bless and be by his side? He did not even call back His promise for He is not a God of lies. By acting in such, Abram unwittingly exposed the Egyptians and his wife to sin.

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The plagues started when Sarai moved in (12:17) and the Pharoah was quick to realize the reason why. He rebuked Abram and sends him out of his country (12:18-20). The Bible did not elaborate on what kind of plague it was but showed that it was serious. A pagan king had to rebuke Abram showing him that if he told the truth from the beginning all would’ve been okay. Pharoah made sure that Abram was protected while leaving the country and he did not take any gifts back from him (12:20). I guess he would’ve called it tainted stuff and he didn’t want to incur the wrath of God. I like how these men who think they’re god knows that a Higher Force exists and only acknowledge Him in times of desperation. 

Despite the fears we may face, always depend on God to take us through. 

Additional Notes/Recap

^ Please note that the Bible was not written in chronological order so pray earnestly before you read and study the written Word. 

^ ‘Babel’ is the same word for the kingdom of Babylon.

^ Despite spending a third of its text on Abraham, Genesis covers more than 2000 years and more than 20 generations. The first 11 chapters deal with the history of the human race and the last 39 chapters with the family of Abram. 

^ Khufu (2589-2566 BC) aka Cheops to the Greeks is said to be the Pharoah when Abraham visited Egypt based on a revised chronology. Khufu was the 4th Dynasty (2613-2498) and is credited as the Pharoah who commissioned the Great Pyramid of Giza. He was married to Queen Meritites and Queen Henutsen and he had nine sons and fifteen daughters.

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REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy Bible 

* biblestudys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search