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 hisĀ onlyĀ 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 theĀ 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!Ā 

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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! šŸ’™

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)} andĀ 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).Ā 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. šŸ’™

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 ProvideĀ (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).Ā 

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:

^Ā 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.Ā 

^Ā “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,Ā Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob.

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

Additional Notes/Recap

^Ā 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 DavidĀ bought the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite and built an altar to the Lord so that a ā€œplague may be held back from the peopleā€ (2 Samuel 24:18, 21). After his death, King Solomon built a temple on the site; it was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzarā€™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 BibleĀ 

* 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.Ā 

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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 revealĀ Abrahamā€™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 thatĀ 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.Ā Abimelech pleads innocent before the Lord. God knewĀ Abimelech’s heart was right in this regard and thus, He withholds him from sinning for He knew it was notĀ  Abimelech’s fault (20:6). God givesĀ Abimelech a chance to do the right thing and to also let Abraham pray for him (20:7). The very next morning,Ā Abimelech calls his servants (courtiers) and shared with them all that God told him via the dream and they were rightly afraid (20:8).Ā 

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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,Ā Abimelech encourages Abraham to “dwell where it pleaseth” (20:15). Oh, the irony inĀ 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 forĀ Abimelech and God healed everyone (20:17-18).Ā 

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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.Ā 

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).Ā 

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

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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:Ā 

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 andĀ his chief captain, Phichol, returns home (21:32). Abraham plants a grove (aĀ 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). ThisĀ is the first time the Hebrew term for ā€œprophetā€ is used in Scripture. This also identifies that Abraham was recognized by God to speak on behalf ofĀ Abimelech.Ā 

^ 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.Ā 

* Both births were miraculous

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

Also, this symbolism: Isaacā€™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.Ā 

REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy BibleĀ 

* 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.Ā 

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.Ā Today, weā€™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:Ā 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.Ā 

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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).Ā 

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).Ā 

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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.Ā 

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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 godĀ Chemosh and sacrificed their children to this god.Ā 

Finally, the younger gave birth to a son namedĀ Ben-ammi (meaning ‘the son of my people’) and he became the father of the children of Ammon (19:38). These people lived nearĀ 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 inĀ 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;Ā 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 (ReferenceĀ Ezekiel 16:48-50). They did many detestable things including the practice of cult prostitution and pagan rituals.Ā 

^ 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 wereĀ 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 thatĀ Sodom and Gomorrah are buried under the Dead Sea.Ā 

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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 BibleĀ 

* 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 faceĀ 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! šŸ’™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.Ā 

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’llĀ 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).Ā 

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).Ā 

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Sarah and her husband are old andĀ “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!Ā 

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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.Ā 

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 wasĀ God, in the Person of Jesus Christ before HisĀ incarnation and birth at Bethlehem for NO ONE has seen God at any time but Jesus declared Him (John 1:18) and NO MANĀ 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.Ā 

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

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REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy BibleĀ 

* 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 anĀ 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).Ā 

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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 onĀ believing in God but believing God.Ā 

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 theĀ Amorites a chance to repent before Abram’s descendants make their entrance to the land (15:16). Sadly,Ā theĀ 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’sĀ 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.Ā 

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.Ā 

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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 herĀ 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 ofĀ 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.Ā 

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 itĀ Beer-lahai-roiĀ (well of the living One). She goes back and bares Abram a son called Ishmael (16:15) and Abram was 80 (16:16).Ā 

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:Ā 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).Ā In the Old Testament, an angel identified as the ā€œangel of the Lordā€, the ā€œangel of Godā€ (21:17), the ā€œangel of his presenceā€ (Isa. 63:9), and the ā€œmessenger of the covenantā€ (Mal. 3:1), appeared to individuals.Ā 

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 ā€œChristophany,ā€ 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 ā€œthe Lordā€™s messengerā€ (Hag. 1:13).Ā 

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 BibleĀ 

* 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.Ā 

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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 byĀ Mamre the Amorite as we’ll see in 14:13) and built an altar as he was committed to worshipping the Lord (13:18).Ā 

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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 servedĀ 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 theĀ Amalekites (En-mishpat, which is Kadesh), but being victorious in their original pursuits, they came back toĀ En-mishpat and slew the Amalekites (14:7).Ā 

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 andĀ Gomorrah fled, fell and perished into the slimepits while the other kings fled to the mountain (14:10). The invaders raidedĀ Sodom andĀ 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.Ā 

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

^ Slimepits were said to be asphalt later on.

^Ā 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.Ā 

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

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

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REFERENCES/AIDS

* The Holy BibleĀ 

* biblestudys.org

* blueletterbible.org

*** Images and GIFs via Google Search