Genesis Chapter 22

Thank You Kathy!

Let me begin by saying that God really loved Abraham.  He saved the Jews over and over, He forgave them over and over… because He’d made a promise to Abraham.  So, I’m reading this chapter through the glasses of “what was it about Abraham?”

God tested Abraham (vs. 1).  What?  Isn’t God able to look into men’s hearts?  Why was He testing him?

I have a few guesses… all of them are pieces of ideas and humanly-small.

Was it all an object lesson for those of us who would read about Abraham’s devotion thousands of years later?  I don’t think that’s the whole reason, though it is surely part of it.  I’ve heard preachers say it was to demonstrate to Abraham that ‘he had what it takes’.  But I don’t really buy that one.  As with Job, maybe God was exposing His own glory to the inhabitants of the spiritual realm through a devoted man.

But the wording of Gen. 22 doesn’t even hint at that one.  Maybe He was looking for a man through whom the Son of God would one day come, a man that would prepare the environment of a Jewish nation, a nation of God-centered people, to raise the child, Jesus, in.  Maybe the mere resolution to obey God did something in Abraham’s character that would be needed to father and then demonstrate devotion to a ‘chosen people’.  Of course we know how faithless Israel was throughout the years… but there always remained an obedient remnant.

We know God had the plan mapped out before the creation of the world to save the world.  Jesus was ready to die for us before He made us.  Everything for love of His children.  This is a comfort when we don’t understand.  Is this yet another story to be evaluated through the realization prism that ‘our ways are not like God’s ways’, that our understanding is less than microscopic next to His?  Is this a cop out?  Maybe not.  Maybe its just trusting God.

Was that the reason Abraham was pleasing to God?  (Hebrews 11)  He trusted God to leave the land of his fathers and go where?  He didn’t even know where when he left.  sure he messed up along the way and it created tremendous problems, which is just another confirmation that God does not need us to be perfect.  He needs us to love Him, seek Him, trust Him and make Him first.

God said to Abraham,

Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah.  Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains i will tell you about.  Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey…

Maybe Abraham appreciated his own weakness, because he did not wait to mull it over.  He left the next morning.  Keep in mind, Abraham had already lost Ishmael (who he loved).  He was ready to obey God with Isaac as well.  There can be no doubt, God was first in Abraham’s priority of things.

Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.  he said to his servants,

Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there.  We will worship and then we will come back to you’.

We’ve all heard the sermons… Abraham had faith that Isaac would return with him from worshiping God.  We can’t know how he expected God to pull this off, but once again he trusted God.  He trusted God to be true to His promise that through Isaac the earth would be peopled as the stars of the heavens. (Gen. 15:40)

So, they climbed the mountain together and Isaac asked “where’s the lamb?”

Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

And then Abraham tied Isaac up, put him on the sticks and was ready to do it.  The angel of the Lord stopped him.

Do not do anything to him.  Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.

Again the question is (among many more) why did it have to go that far?  could God not see his heart?  Yes, He could see Abraham’s heart.  I don’t know why it had to go that far.  We only know that God did provide a ram.  The Lamb, He provided a thousand years later.  He also provided the Lamb on this very Mount Moriah.

God is a Master Mathematician, Master Planner, Master Poet and He seems to love symbols.

So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide.  And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”  And so it was.

“The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself” (proof that this is God in Jesus form) that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.  Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed because you obeyed me.”

A truly flabbergasting story.  The most obvious application is to show in very human terms how much we are loved by a Perfectly Good, Inconceivable Powerful, Infinitely Merciful Father.  And how much we are valued by the part of the Trinity that was willing to lay out the ground work for His own inconceivably cruel slaughter… all to reunite us with Themselves.  (Remember, He is the One Who stopped Abraham, knowing all the while that He would one day become The Lamb provided.)

A story like this one is meant to inspire us.  Some (myself included) could feel unworthy by it, deflated, ‘I could never do that’.  Let me just say that what God asks us to do, He gives us the strength to do.  And of course we are not worthy, we are loved.  God spends a life time of work refining us.  We are His work of art at the end of our lives, if we allow it, if we trust Him, if we give up our will for His. A beautiful story really in an unstable, fallen world.


Genesis Chapter 21

Ok.  Well, it has been quite a while.  Sorry for the delay, I don’t want you guys to think that I gave up, I’ve just been super busy with school and work.  But now I’ve got all my big papers and homework out of the way and we are back!

Mom did me the HUGE favor of starting it off for me, So she did 98% of this one and I peppered in a couple ideas here and there.  Thank you mom!  Let’s get back on track with Genesis Chapter 21!

This is one of those chapters that makes me want to pull in the new testament scriptures. So much is said about Abraham and his importance to finished work of Jesus. I am still trying to learn what it all means.  This talk of faith in comparison to the LAW.  The Apostle Paul said the law is a tutor to bring us to Christ.  How else would we know what sin is unless the law instructs us, not that the law is bad.

Rom 7:12,14 Wherefore the law is holy and just and good.  For we know the the law is spiritual…For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, (our flesh right?)  God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned  sin in the flesh:  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.

The whole of Chapter 4 in Romans is about “our father Abraham. About law and circumcision vs and faith and  righteousness.  Then Galatians 4:21 is all about Isaac and Ishmael…

21:  Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says?  22: For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman.

23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.  24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.

25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written:

“Be glad, barren woman, you who never bore a child; shout for joy and cry aloud,    you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.”

28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.

30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”  31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

1And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.

Visit means to oversee, care for, bestow, remember, judgment, avenge.

2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.
4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.

Genesis 17:12, God specifically directed Abraham to circumcise newborn males on the eighth day. Why the eighth day?

In 1935, professor H. Dam proposed the name “vitamin K” for the factor in foods that helped prevent hemorrhaging in baby chicks. We now know vitamin K is responsible for the production (by the liver) of the element known as prothrombin. If vitamin K is deficient, there will be a prothrombin deficiency and hemorrhaging may occur.

Oddly, it is only on the fifth through the seventh days of the newborn male’s life that vitamin K (produced by bacteria in the intestinal tract) is present in adequate quantities. Vitamin K, coupled with prothrombin, causes blood coagulation, which is important in any surgical procedure.

Holt and McIntosh, in their classic work, Holt Pediatrics, observed that a newborn infant has “peculiar susceptibility to bleeding between the second and fifth days of life….

Hemorrhages at this time, though often inconsequential, are sometimes extensive; they may produce serious damage to internal organs, especially to the brain, and cause death from shock and exsanguination (bleeding out)

Obviously, then, if vitamin K is not produced in sufficient quantities until days five through seven, it would be wise to postpone any surgery until some time after that. But why did God specify day eight?  On the eighth day, the amount of prothrombin present actually is elevated above one-hundred percent of normal—and is the only day in the male’s life in which this will be the case under normal conditions. If surgery is to be performed, day eight is the perfect day to do it. Vitamin K and prothrombin levels are at their peak. The chart below, patterned after one published by S.I. McMillen, M.D., in his book, None of These Diseases, portrays this in graphic form.

Dr. McMillen observed:

We should commend the many hundreds of workers who labored at great expense over a number of years to discover that the safest day to perform circumcision is the eighth. Yet, as we congratulate medical science for this recent finding, we can almost hear the leaves of the Bible rustling. They would like to remind us that four thousand years ago, when God initiated circumcision with Abraham.  Abraham did not pick the eighth day after many centuries of trial-and-error experiments.  Neither he nor any of his company from the ancient city of Ur in the Chaldees ever had been circumcised. It was a day picked by the Creator of vitamin K.

Moses’ information, as recorded in Genesis 17:12, not only was scientifically accurate, but was centuries ahead of its time. How did Moses have access to such information? The answer, of course, is provided by the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16—“Every scripture is inspired of God.”

Speaking of circumcision, ours is done without hands And remember the women couldn’t be circumcised. We get in on it under the new covenant. 🙂

Col 2:11…In who also you are circumcise with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. Buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised him form the dead.

5And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

Rom 4:19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.

I’m not really sure what can be said about this, it’s just amazing.  That’s about it.

6And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. Here is a good example of the importance of names.

God must like humor. Issac meaning laughter.

7And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.  8And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.  9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

10Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
11And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.  12And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

13And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.  14And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

Is this all the inheritance he receives? Abraham was very grieved:(

15And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.

Ishmael wasn’t a very little child, wasn’t he 12 by now? I just wonder the rejection Ishmael must have carried with him and passed down to his children.

16And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bow shot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.
17And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What ails thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.

The Lord heard Hagar, HE is compassionate but HIS plan won’t be stopped in-spite of our interference.

18Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

This would be an interesting study. Robert where are you?

19And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
20And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.
21And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt. (Paran means cavernous I can see them living in caves)

22And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that you do.

(Adam) I haven’t read the next chapter yet, but this is a strange change in direction.  It’s completely out of left field.  We go from Isaac and Ishmael to an encounter with Abimelech and the captain of his army.

23Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.

You guys will have to explain this to me.  I wonder if he’s talking about the war of kings where Abraham went in and took Lot back?  This is just an example of Abraham’s power though, that a King and a General would meet with him.

24And Abraham said, I will swear. 25And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away.

Interesting, “which his servants had violently taken away.”  That and he was just speaking with the commander of Abimelech’s army?  Sounds like a battle to me.  Very interesting!

Trading Sheep for peace.

26And Abimelech said, I don’t know who has done this thing; neither did you tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.
27And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant.
28And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves.
29And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?
30And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.
31Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.

Beersheba means well of my oath.

32Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.
33And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.
34And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines’ land many days.

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Genesis Chapter 20

Well, Abraham is on the move again, and he’s up to his old tricks…

Ge:20:1: And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.
Ge:20:2: And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.

Really Abraham?  Although looking back it doesn’t seem like God ever rebuked him in the first place for pulling those shenanigans.  But here he is, “offering” his 90 some odd year wife up to another King!  It’s unbelievable.

Ge:20:3: But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife.

Wow!  That sounds like something straight out of a gangster movie!  I wonder what God meant?  I wonder if he is threatening Abimelech, or if he’s saying “look, if you do this Abraham is going to kill you.”  I wonder if this is the same way the Pharaoh found out in Egypt?

Ge:20:4: But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?

This is interesting.  Abimelech considers his nation righteous?  But the real question is why does Abraham keep doing this!

Ge:20:5: Said he not unto me, She is my sister?  and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.
Ge:20:6: And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.

I can just see Abimelech stumbling over his words, trying to convince God that he is blameless, I’m sure all he wants to do is wash his hands of the mess Abraham put him in.  And God seems to take a little pity on him.  It seems like God only wanted to put a little fear in Abimelech.

Ge:20:7: Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

But he does make on promise to the king, restore her and live, but if you don’t, I’m going to pull a Job on you, and everyone is going to die.  I think this is really interesting, what happens if Abimelech doesn’t return her, or kills her for lying!  Sarah still hasn’t had her child yet?  Does this ruin the future and the plans God had for Abraham?  Abraham’s entire ordeal would have just been a blip on histories radar, and God would have had to made the promise to someone else, all because of another of Abraham’s lies.

Ge:20:8: Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid.

Ge:20:9: Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us?  and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin?  thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.
Ge:20:10: And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?

Abimelech sound’s confused, wondering what he ever did to Abraham to deserve this.  If he finds out without God telling him I wonder is this confusion and hurt would have been replaced by rage and murder?  If a king finds out that some roaming shepherd lied to him I would think he’d just kill him, take his herds and his wife.  So maybe this is why God interceded?  I wonder how tired God is of cleaning up Abraham’s messes?

Ge:20:11: And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake.
Ge:20:12: And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.

Ah, so there is the truth in the lie, and maybe the way that Abraham has gotten out of all this.  In Egypt it seemed like he offered her to the Pharaoh but here, “Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.”  Maybe she was just taken.  Interesting that an old woman has been desired by 2 kings.  But since Sarah is Abraham’s half sister, I guess he hasn’t been completely lying.  Just not telling the whole truth.

I wonder how frightened Abraham and Sara are through all of this?  They have to know that they screwed up really bad.

Ge:20:13: And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

He’s pretty much saying, if you really love me, then lie about you being my wife.  This must have been a barbaric time, that he had to fear for his life just because he had a wife.

Ge:20:14: And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.
Ge:20:15: And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee.

So Abraham strolls into town again, get’s God angry at the local king, then strolls out richer than before.  Abraham keeps making out like a bandit in these situations.  It’s almost like he’s a gangster offering protection.  But the protection is from him, but he get’s herds and servants and the king gets to live.

I still don’t know what to make of Abraham, is he just a coward?  Hard to believe a man that took a tiny force of men and defeated his enemies and saved lot in an earlier chapter is so afraid.

New Living Translation:

Ge:20:16: And he said to Sarah, “Look, I am giving your ‘brother’ 1,000 pieces of silver in the presence of all these witnesses. This is to compensate you for any wrong I may have done to you. This will settle any claim against me, and your reputation is cleared.”

He’s washing his hands of the whole ordeal.  He’s almost saying, “Look this is your fault, both of you, but I’m paying you off, just let me be.”  But then again if he did take her from Abraham, then he does owe some recompense.  And that’s probably what happened, he probably did steal her.

Ge:20:17: So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.
Ge:20:18: For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife.

Wow!  look what was going on behind the scenes!  God had already struck Abimelech’s household, no wonder he was freaking out and trying to get them out of there as quick as possible.  He obviously wasn’t as hard headed a King as a future Pharaoh, it only took him one show of God’s power to release Sarah.  It says that he healed Abimelech too?  I wonder what was wrong with him, he had no womb to close?  Maybe he’d made him infertile too?  What if he had forced himself on Sarah and gotten her pregnant!  Crazy stuff in this chapter.

Just another interesting story on Abraham’s road to the father of all nations.



Genesis Chapter 19

New Author this week!  Jimmy, thank you for taking the reins and doing Chapter 19 for us!

Someone said something about Gen 18 that made me change my mind about Lot.  I always think of him as an unrighteous man, but it seems that Abraham counted him righteous and was trying to save him.  The first verse at least shows that he honored the Lord.  It also seems that Lot was an important man of the city.  Am I remembering correctly that the city elders sat in the gate?

1 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.

He, like Abraham, recognized the Angels as more than men and tried to shield them from the evil townfolk.

2 And he said, “Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant’s house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” They said however, “No, but we shall spend the night in the square.” 3 Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

It seems that the other people of the city didn’t recognize them for what they were for surely they wouldn’t have attempted what they did had they know the men were angels.

4 Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; 5 and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.”

The following section has always baffled me.  Lot was a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7), but how could he even think to offer his daughters to such a horrible mob.  Were not his daughters also under the “shelter of his roof”.  This is incomprehensible to me.

6 But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, 7 and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. 8 Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.”

The men were depraved beyond reason and determined to carry out their wicked intent.  Even after the angels (if angels they were) reached out and saved Lot for the first time that day.  It is amazing to me that the men of the city continued to try and carry out their intent, even after they were blinded.  Once evil passion has taken complete hold of a man, it will not let go until that man has no more strength.  Reason and even physical restraint seem no match … oh how we need a Savior.

9 But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door. 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.
Interesting that they were considered sons-in-law though only engaged.  I’ve noticed this before.  It seems that engagement was only a very small step below marriage.  It seems they took it much more seriously then we do.

12 Then the two men said to Lot, “Whom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place; 13 for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” 14 Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, “Up, get out of this place, for the LORD will destroy the city.” But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

This is a wonderful and beautiful passage for me.  Lot seemed not quite ready to leave behind all of his past life.  He was a righteous man yet living in the midst of evil.  Did the wickedness of the city have some kind of hold on him?  Anyway he wasn’t quite ready to leave it, yet the “compassion of the LORD was upon him”.  Isn’t that beautiful!!  I need the compassion of the LORD to yank me out of the places I don’t want to leave.  The men/angels literally grabbed he and his family by the hand and and pulled them out (I wanted to say dragged them out but that might be too much poetic license).  Hmm, they put him outside the city and basically said RUN!  He could have gone back.

15 When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the LORD was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city.

Seems like Lot was still not quite ready to leave behind all that he had grown to love.  He still wanted to live in a city.  Couldn’t he have trusted God to spare him long enough for him to reach the mountains.  If the Men told him to run to the mountains, he should have known that God would protect him until he got there.  Easy for me to say sitting here …  It just underlines for me how hard it is to leave that which we have allowed to take root in our lives – oh how we need a savior.

17 When they had brought them outside, one said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away.” 18 But Lot said to them, “Oh no, my lords! 19 Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness, which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, for the disaster will overtake me and I will die; 20 now behold, this town is near enough to flee to, and it is small. Please, let me escape there (is it not small?) that my life may be saved.” 21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this request also, not to overthrow the town of which you have spoken. 22 Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the town was called Zoar.

Poor Lot’s wife.  She will forever be that bad example that parents put before their children; “you don’t want to end up like Lot’s wife do you?”.  Was it only a literal looking back over her shoulder?  Or was there more to it?  Clearly Lot wasn’t quite ready to let go either.  This has always been a hard punishment for me to comprehend.

23 The sun had risen over the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven, 25 and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

At this point, Abraham didn’t know yet if Lot was safe.  How his heart must have sunk within him.

27 Now Abraham arose early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood before the LORD; 28 and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the valley, and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace.

Another beautiful passage – “God remembered Abraham”.

29 Thus it came about, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived.

This chapter is full of difficult events and consequences for me to understand.  Why did his daughters do such a deplorable thing?  Did they think all the world was laid waste?  Surely not for it says they left Zoar and went into the mountains.  I wonder if Lot had gone straight to the mountains, or gone to Abraham, would this have happened?  Was he too ashamed to go to Abraham?

Reminds me how I am ashamed when I have sinned and I don’t want to go to God. Exactly the wrong thing.  It doesn’t matter that the mountains seem to give one anonymity, only in Him is there refuge.  We will hear of the Moabites and Ammonites again.  In spite of their questionable beginning they did enjoy special favor because they were descended from Lot.  Am I remembering correctly, weren’t they the ones spared when the Israelites returned from captivity in Egypt.

30 Lot went up from Zoar, and stayed in the mountains, and his two daughters with him; for he was afraid to stay in Zoar; and he stayed in a cave, he and his two daughters. 31 Then the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of the earth. 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him that we may preserve our family through our father.”

33 So they made their father drink wine that night, and the firstborn went in and lay with her father; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 34 On the following day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Behold, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve our family through our father.” 35 So they made their father drink wine that night also, and the younger arose and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

36 Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. 37 The firstborn bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. 38 As for the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.

Good job Jimmy!  Just 19 Chapters into a ponderously long book, still more trudging to be done!  We’ll get back on track next week!

Genesis Chapter 18

1 Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day.

I like this detailed description. Even telling us what kind of tree he was sitting under.  I can almost picture Abraham. I imagine more than a tent but several dwellings with rugs and furnishings, something fairly elaborate.  Abraham resting in the shade with his servants and wife busy about their chores.  The next bit of the story is so descriptive.  He runs to the men, bows, and calling one of them Lord ,desires to be their servant.
2 So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, 3 and said, “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. 4 Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.” They said, “Do as you have said.”
6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.” 7 And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it. 8 So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.
He personally prepares the best for them. I wonder how long this took, all day I bet.  They ate! These angels (Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. ) and the Lord. While Abraham stood by to serve.  I have heard this is an example of a “Christophany”
A Christophany is an appearance of Jesus in human form before the incarnation. I read that some theologians think the three men could have been the Trinity, because they discuss among themselves whether or not they should disclose their plans to Abraham.  I think it’s Jesus and angels because of the passage that says:
John 1:18  “No man hath seen God (Father God?) at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. “
9 Then they said to him, “Where isSarah your wife?”  So he said, “Here, in the tent.”
I’ve always wondered why God asks when he already knows the answer.
10 And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.”  (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.)
“Time of life” does that mean the 9 months in the womb?
11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.[b]12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
13 And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”
“At the appointed time”  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1  Something for me to remember. It’s in the Lords timing.

But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid.  And He said, “No, but you did laugh!”  16 Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way.
17 And the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Found this on another website, loved it. Click the picture to go to the original website.

Aha! All the nations, that includes us common gentiles 🙂
19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice…
God trusts him to instill righteousness and justice in his  children.  Abraham is called the friend of God,
…that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” 20 And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.
Here is another place where a omnipresent God goes to see. Curious.  This is interesting!  It sounds like a prologue to the later chapter with Sodom and Gomorrah.  He is physically going to go down and investigating the cities.  And then he’s going to judge them!  Wow.
22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. 23 And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
24 Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Wow….trying to change the Lord’s mind. And Abraham knew more about God’s awesomeness than any 20th century man does.
26 So the LORD said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.”27 Then Abraham answered and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord:
28 Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?” So He said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.
29 And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose there should be forty found there?” So He said, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.”
30 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?”  So He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”  31 And he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?”
So He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.”
Abraham may be hoping Lot, Lot’s wife, two Daughters, and Son-in-laws could get close to ten? Could he have had more than two children? And what about servants? I know this is next chapter stuff, but I just wanted to point out here that Lot seems to be the only righteous one in all of Sodom.  God literally has to take them by the hands and pull them out.  Reminds me of the disciples being fishers of men. As literal fishermen they cast a net and drag the fish into the boat. Sometimes I pray that way, God please drag them out of this evil generation and into your kingdom.
32 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?”  And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” 33 So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.
Lot really should have stayed out of Sodom after Abraham rescued him the first time!  I really love this chapter. There is so much detail. I wonder why, when in other places the Lord can cover a whole battle in such little detail and few verses.
Good job Mom!  Thank you so much for helping.  Well next week Jimmy has volunteered to do Chapter 19.  I don’t want to steal your thunder or anything Jimmy, but here’s a spoiler…

Genesis Chapter 17

Ge:17:1: And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
Ge:17:2: And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.

…How many times are we going to have this same conversation?  What is this?  The third…maybe fourth time?  “Walk before me, and be thou perfect.”  I guess we had to wait for Abram to screw up in Egypt and to disobey and father a slave’s son.  I wonder if this was Abram’s last chance?  I wonder if there were people who came before him that maybe got similar promises and similar ultimatums, “walk before me, and be thou perfect”.  Can you imagine being given this promise and then having it taken away because you can’t “walk perfect”?

“Walk before me, and be thou perfect.”  That’s a lot to ask.  I would have had the promise taken away from me, who wouldn’t!  I think we have grown too comfortable having Jesus as our “safety net”.  Whenever we do something sinful we can just say some words and it’s washed away…Too easy, and a kindness we don’t really deserve.

Ge:17:3: And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him

So far Abram has built altars, argued with, and made a sacrifice for covenant with God.  But this is the first time that it has specifically said that he fell on his face before him.  Which seems like not only an act of submission, but something someone who was ashamed to see God would do.

So maybe this was his last chance, and an eye opener for Abram.

Ge:17:4: As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
Ge:17:5: Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

Abram TRANSFORM! Now he's Abraham...Not that Abraham, but this is the only Abraham transformer I could find...

So Abram become Abraham.  Very cool, I’m sure that one of you guys could break down the meaning of Abraham, and why God changed it.  This is quite a burden to put on a man who nears his first century of life.  I’d never really thought about it before, but that’s a lot of preassure!

Ge:17:6: And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
Ge:17:7: And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

Have you ever wondered why God did this?  Why pick out a group of people to be your chosen people?  Maybe a promise is what it took to get at least on nation to remember God.  Even though that wasn’t always the case.  It’s just strange that he’d single out one man and his blood line.

Ge:17:8: And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

Ge:17:9: And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

Still find it very interesting that God chose a people.  What better way to make sure that man does not forget you, by making a covenant with a nation, like making a nation of priests.  Every battle they win, and every land they go to they will be known for being the followers of their ONE God.

Ge:17:10: This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
Ge:17:11: And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
Ge:17:12: And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.

Whew.  The worst part of being God’s people…But this is a very interesting covenant!  Even kind of weird, but circumcision has health benefits.  I wonder if any other nations were doing it?  I think that the most interesting thing about 17:12 is that slaves also have to submit to circumcision.  What’s more interesting than that is how slaves are casually mentioned, or maybe it’s even paid “servants” and workers.

I guess the Egyptians were…

Egyptian Hieroglyphic featuring...circumcision...

 Ge:17:13: He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

Still slaves….interesting.  It’s an cool concept that we are “sacrificing” a part of our body to honor the covenant.

Ge:17:14: And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

It is such a simple task to keep the covenant.  He didn’t require too much, just a small sacrifice after the first week of your life.

Ge:17:15: And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
Ge:17:16: And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.

Ge:17:17: Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old?  and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

Abraham is a man of doubt.  I think it’s so strange that God chose him, a doubting old man, to father God’s nation.  He even goes so far as to beg God to let Ishmael be his heir!

Ge:17:18: And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!

But God is kind and far more patient with Abraham then he probably deserves.  He has to keep explaining it to Abraham like he’s a child instead of a 99 year old man.

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

Ge:17:20: And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.

Even after all of Abraham’s mistakes and sins, God is still kind to him.  Allowing him to know that he will still bless Ishmael, it sounds like he’s trying to squash every concern that Abraham has.

Everything will be ok little Abraham.

Ge:17:21: But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.

Just one last reminder before God leaves Abraham…It WILL NOT be Ishmael, only Isaac.  And then the rest of the chapter is the gruesome of circumcision.  Abraham at 99, Ishmael at 13, and all the other men, servants, and slaves of Abraham’s house.

Genesis Chapter 16

…Abram, Abram Abram.  God promises you a future and land, you run to Egypt and practically pimp your wife to the Pharaoh, then God promises you that you and your WIFE will make your heir.  But instead you mess it up all over again!  With a woman that probably was a result of your sins in Egypt!

Ge:16:1: Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
Ge:16:2: And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her.  And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

Eve and Sarai, both convinced their husbands to disobey the Lord.  Although I doubt that Abram argued much.  I think it’s interesting that she was an Egyptian, which means she was probably brought out of Egypt after the Pharaoh had kicked them out.  She may have even been one of Pharaohs “gifts” to Abram.  I wonder if Sarai meant to “adopt” Ishmael as her own child, using Hagar as a surrogate, “I may obtain children by her”.  Which makes it sound a bit less sinful…maybe?

Ge:16:3: And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

I wonder how long they waited after the covenant that the Word made with Abram?  I can understand that ten years would seem like a life time to an already ancient man.

Ge:16:4: And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
Ge:16:5: And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.

I think it’s interesting that Sarai would send Hagar to do this for her, but then hate her.  I wonder if she sent her to Abram thinking that maybe it was Abram that was barren.  But now that he conceived with her it’s proven that all along it has been Sarai’s “fault” that they have not been able to have a child.  Or maybe it’s just a jealousy that crept up and took hold.

What does she mean by “My wrong be upon thee”?  Is she now blaming Abram, or is she saying that it’s her fault and she’s sorry she “forced” Abram to hook up with her maid?  I like this translation…

Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The LORD will show who’s wrong–you or me!”  —New living Translation.

So she does blame Abram!  I think it’s interesting that Sarai is saying that Hagar is now treating her contemptuously.  Maybe she thinks she’s now better than Sarai, or even thinks that she’s Abram’s wife?  In a time when they usually took multiple wives.

Brigham Young and his 55 wives...What a nightmare!

I like that Sarai believes that she is right, The LORD will show who’s wrong–you or me!  Just like a woman.  Maybe I shouldn’t say it since everyone that’s reading this is a woman…not me.  But she’s so angry that’s she’s pulled out the “We’ll see who’s wrong!” card.  But Abram is having none of his wife’s shenanigans!  He’s washing his hands of the whole ordeal.

Abram is being a wimp again.  First he’s afraid he’ll be killed if anyone in Egypt knows that Sarai is his wife, now he’s cowing before his wife and letting her do whatever she wants.  This is the brave warrior who led a tiny army against a king?  Scared of an old woman…

Ge:16:6: But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee.  And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

Sarai must have been furious, and Hagar must have been frightened.  I wonder what Sarai had threatened?  I wonder if she was going to take the child, kill the child, or kill Hagar and the child?  Why else would Hagar flee?

Ge:16:7: And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
Ge:16:8: And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou?  and whither wilt thou go?  And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.

I wonder if Hagar knew who she was speaking with?  I don’t know why I thought of this, but Moses found his wife by a well…right?

Ge:16:9: And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
Ge:16:10: And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.

Hagar is given a promise too, although it isn’t as awesome as Abram’s promise.

Ge:16:11: And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
Ge:16:12: And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

Her promise sounds more like a curse.  Ishmael is going to be an outcast and a rebel.  Ishmael means “God has hearkened”…Poor guy, never had a chance.  Ishmael also has the distinction of being the first recorded bastard.  A very inauspicious beginning.  Rotten fruit born from disobedience.  Maybe I could get someone to do a post on the history of Ishmael.  It would be interesting to read some of the traditions about what happened to him and his descendants.

13 She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen[c] the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi[d]; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered. —NIV translation.

Beer Lahai Roi, when broken down in it’s separate words, has several diferrent meanings…

The Declaration That Makes Life Visible; The Explanation That Shows The Image Of Life; The Well Of Life Vision, or Of The Life That Sees; or Sees Me.

I think it’s interesting that Moses still knew where the well was located.  It must have been a tradition passed down generation to generation.  I wonder what changes Sarai’s heart and causes her to be merciful after Hagar returned?  Or maybe Abram grew a backbone?

Ge:16:15: And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
Ge:16:16: And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.