Categories
Uncategorized

Genesis 17:1-8

1 Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him,

“I am God Almighty;
Walk before Me, and be blameless.
2 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you,
And I will multiply you exceedingly.”

3 Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,

4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you,
And you will be the father of a multitude of nations.
5 “No longer shall your name be called 1Abram,
But your name shall be 2Abraham;
For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.

6 “I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. 7 “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. 8 “I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

An encounter with God is a humbling thing. God tells Abram to walk before Him, and be blameless. Abram knew his life had not been blameless, and he had certainly forgotten God’s plan and promise several times. Yet God was still going to keep His promise, and He still wanted to bless Abram. The result, Abram falls on his face, prostrate before the one and only almighty God. When we see what God intends to do in our lives, that He still wants to use these fragile, earthen vessels, it is indeed the most humbling experience. What else can we do, but fall on our face, and worship Him?

Categories
Uncategorized

Genesis 16:7-16

7 Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. 8He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” 9 Then the angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.” 10 Moreover, the angel of the LORD said to her, “I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be too many to count.” 11 The angel of the LORD said to her further,

“Behold, you are with child,
And you will bear a son;
And you shall call his name 1Ishmael,
Because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.
12 “He will be a wild donkey of a man,
His hand will be against everyone,
And everyone’s hand will be against him;
And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”

13 Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”; for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” 14 Therefore the well was called 2Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

15 So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to him.

Shock and surprise.  God meets Hagar while she is fleeing from Abram and Sarai, and what does He tell her to do? Go back. Sometimes, God’s chosen ones make mistakes; big ones. But so long as God sees fit to continue using them, we aren’t the ones to rebel against their authority. God will discipline them, and He won’t allow His plan to be defeated.

Categories
Uncategorized

Genesis 16:1-6

1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. 2So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3 After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. 4 He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. 5 And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the LORD judge between you and me.” 6 But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.

Even after God had affirmed His promise to Abram, and had been with him through all sorts of trouble, Abram became impatient (it was taking a rather long time for them to have children). So, Sarai had an idea. Abram listened to the horrible idea, and had a child with Sarai’s maid Hagar. Now, had that been God’s plan, things would have been fine and dandy. But this was Abram and Sarai’s plan, and things would only get worse from here. Hagar berates Sarai, and Sarai (with the blessing of Abram) then kicks Hagar out of the house. As we’ll see later, this is just the beginning of bad blood between Sarai and Hagar. Lesson to learn: don’t try to make God’s plan happen. He’ll take care of it just fine. Odds are, you’ll only make matters worse when you do.

Categories
Uncategorized

Genesis 15:12-21

12 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him. 13 God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. 14 “But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. 15 “As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. 16 “Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”

17 It came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,

“To your descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:

19 the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite 20 and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim 21 and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.”

Here we see God reaffirming His promise to Abram yet again. Also, He clarifies the promise, which He often does as we journey through life. Originally, God told Abraham that all the land he could see would belong to his descendants. Now, God actually sets some boundaries and borders. When you start to feel discouraged, keep going, the picture will get clearer the closer you get.

Categories
Uncategorized

Genesis 15:1-11

1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying,

“Do not fear, Abram,
I am a shield to you;
Your reward shall be very great.”

2 Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” 4Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” 5 And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. 7 And He said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.” 8 He said, “O Lord GOD, how may I know that I will possess it?” 9 So He said to him, “Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds. 11 The birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.

You don’t have to look far in this passage to find encouragement. We serve the same God that Abram served, and He will be our shield as well. But God didn’t stop there with just promises. He had already protected Abram when he went to rescue Lot, but Abram’s fears were something deeper. He had no children, yet God had promised him a nation of descendants. And so God reaffirmed His promise to Abram that his descendants would be as the stars of the sky.

Categories
Uncategorized

Genesis 14:17-24

17 Then after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him and said,

“Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.”
He gave him a tenth of all.

21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.” 22 Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, `I have made Abram rich.’ 24 “I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share.”

It’s pretty amazing that Abram was willing to part with his just rewards, even when they were freely offered by those whom he had helped. He knew the promise of God was worth so much more, that he didn’t need anything more than what God would give him.

Categories
Uncategorized

Genesis 14:1-16

1 And it came about in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, 2 that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 3 All these came as allies to the valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). 4 Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim and the Zuzim in Ham and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their Mount Seir, as far as El-paran, which is by the wilderness. 7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and conquered all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, who lived in Hazazon-tamar. 8 And the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) came out; and they arrayed for battle against them in the valley of Siddim, 9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim and Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar–four kings against five. 10 Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell into them. But those who survived fled to the hill country. 11 Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food supply, and departed. 12 They also took Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and departed, for he was living in Sodom.

13 Then a fugitive came and told Abram the Hebrew. Now he was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner, and these were allies with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people.

This just amazes me. All these kings come together in battle, four against five. The four have been on a rampage, and the five can’t stand against them, and the tar pits claim several of them. They carry Abram’s nephew, Lot, away with them, and that’s where they made a mistake. Abram hears about it, and gathers his men, all 318 of them, and pursues the four kings. With 318 men. Now surely, the four kings’ army must have been lessened a little bit, but you’ve got to think they are still a force to be reckoned with. Certainly not something to go after with 318 men. That wasn’t a problem for Abram though, because he knew the hand of God was upon him, and his nephew was in danger. With 318 men, Abram defeated the four kings and rescued Lot. How’s that for the power of God?

Categories
Uncategorized

Genesis 13:8-18

8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. 9 “Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.” 10 Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere–this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah–like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar. 11 So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. 12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD.

14 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15 for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. 16 “I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. 17 “Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” 18 Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the LORD.

After Abram went back to the beginning, he was much more focused on what God had promised. Thus, when there was strife between himself and Lot, and it became necessary to separate, he didn’t concern himself with which land was better. He knew that God would take care of him, no matter where he dwelt in Canaan. He resolved a very sticky situation by keeping his eyes on the promise, and not getting concerned with his own ‘needs’.

Categories
Uncategorized

Genesis 13:1-7

1 So Abram went up from Egypt to the 1Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him.

2 Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. 3 He went on his journeys from the 2Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD. 5 Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together. 7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land.

Abram made a smart move here. He had played the fool in Egypt because he forgot God’s promise to him. So the logical thing to do, is to go back to the beginning. Well, not quite the very beginning, but to where he first entered the land of Canaan and set up camp. Sometimes we lose sight of the things that God has done for us and the things He has promised us. When that happens, the best thing to do, is to go back to the beginning. That’s not necessarily always the point of salvation, but it is the point at which we knew for sure that God loved us and cared about us, and would do what He promised.

Categories
Uncategorized

Genesis 12:10-20

10 Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, `This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 “Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.” 14 It came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels.

17 But the LORD struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 “Why did you say, `She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her and go.” 20 Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him away, with his wife and all that belonged to him.

I think it is just plain human-nature to have a sense of self-preservation, but Abram forgot one critical thing. He had the promise of God almighty that He was going to make Abram into a great nation. He obviously forgot that as he was traveling to Egypt. God would have taken care of him, even in a foreign land. Instead, he made himself look like a fool in front of Pharaoh.