Posted in Bible Study/Trivia

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 that (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

Posted in Devotion 💙

God is merciful and truthful.

Scripture in focus: All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37

This is a very powerful and beautiful promise. With Jesus, we have eternal security. When He came down from heaven, He came to do the Father’s will (John 6:38). The Father sent His Son to die for our wicked ways so the Father can purchase us and entrust us in the care and responsibility of His precious Son (John 6:39). We are His and no one can make a claim of ownership for He has marked us as His own after we were purchased with the blood of the Son and the Holy Spirit sealed the deal. 

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Some believers are fearful of backsliding, but fear not for:

I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.

Hosea 14:4 & Jeremiah 3:22

What if we sin?

And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous

1 John 2:1

Praise God! He is so merciful towards us that there is no point in trying to make up excuses to justify turning away from Him or not being ready to accept Him fully as Lord and Savior. His ways are not ours and we’re inclined to turn away for a little while, but even in temptation, we can call on the Lord for aid.

God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 see also 2 Thessalonians 3:3

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There is no excuse for not wanting to come to our Saviour and find the rest we’ve been craving in His loving arms. He will receive you and never cast you aside. If you backslide, He’ll heal you. If you sin, He’ll make intercession to the Father for you. If we fall into temptation, He’ll provide a way for you to escape and make you white as snow. How can one not want this beautiful relationship with the Creator of the Universe?

***GIFs via Google Search

Posted in Bible Study/Trivia

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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Image via Bible History

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