Jesus Through the Bible – Isaac The Promised Seed

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.”  Genesis 17:19 (KJV)

Yes!  Abraham had other children.  His first was Ishmael; due to the impatience of Sarah and himself, thinking to take things concerning the promise of God into their own hands.  God had better things in mind.  Sarah was to have a son of promise.  It was and is through God’s promise of a Savior that the covenant was made with Isaac as the son of promise.

Just at the time you think it cannot happen; with God nothing shall be impossible.  Jesus is the Son of the covenant of promise and grace.  Paul the apostle has written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit…

“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”  Romans 9:6-7

It is by the promise of Jesus, and no other way that one will be forgiven all sin, cleansed, and imputed all righteousness and have fellowship with God.

From Feb. 2, 2014

Jesus in Genesis (4)

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”.

Revelation 19:10b  We have been Looking For Jesus in Genesis. This time we are going to see His appearance in two situations of two different people. The first is to Hagar. Some may ask, “You mean Hagar saw Jesus?” My answer will follow. The other one, of course, would be Abraham. That would not surprise us so much. Would it?

The appearance to Hagar takes place following the conception of Ishmael. Genesis 16. If you will remember the story Sarah became a little impatient waiting on God to fulfill His promise of a son to Abraham, so she offers her husband her servant as a wife to have a child. When Hagar conceives she really wants to “Rub it in” with Sarah. It almost seems that Sarah mistreats Hagar, maybe even to the point of beating her, and that drives her away. Hagar had basically become quite arrogant toward Sarah, and you can hardly blame Sarah for her behavior, yet you can see the weakness and danger of more than one wife.

When Hagar fled, she probably thought for her life, an

“Angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water…” (v. 7).

This is what has been termed a “Pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ”. It certainly seems to me to be Jesus before He ever became flesh and blood human. This person is certainly more than an angel of God. He speaks in verse ten saying,

“I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” (v. 10).

No angel could say that. It must of necessity be Jesus Christ the Living Word.

Hagar is believed by many to be the mother of the Arabian people, the Muslim people. If you will notice the words of Jesus to Hagar they are ones of comfort, encouragement, yet, rebuke as well. She has flaunted her pregnancy toward Sarah. She is told by the Lord to return to Sarah, “And submit thyself under her hands.” (Genesis 16:9). Hagar is given a promise for her child which would be born to her. In chapter 17 God promises Abraham that He will bless Ishmael in verse 20.

“…Twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”

Why would Jesus reveal Himself to Hagar. Because he cared for her and the nation which would come from her and Abraham’s union. Maybe in seeing this we can start to hope that maybe there is some hope for the people of Hagar. Only as they turn to the Lord Jesus with all their hearts.

The second appearance of Jesus we see comes as Abraham is at his “Tent door in the heat of the day”. He sees three men approaching. Genesis 18. He runs to meet them. I get the impression that Abraham knew who they were before He jumped up and ran to them. He bowed down before them and verse 3 says,

“…My Lord, if now I have found favor in Thy sight, pass not away, I pray Thee, from Thy servant.”

Abraham offers the “Men” refreshment and food. It is quite clear that one of these “Men” is the Lord Himself. Remember how the Lord reveals Himself in the Old Testament? When He is seen in a physical form, it must be the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ. How would Abraham recognize God in physical form. He knows Him personally. When you know the Lord you know His appearing and appearance. You know His voice.

It was at this time that the Lord renewed His promise to Abraham, and this time Sarah heard the promise made even to her. They were going to have a son in their old age (Abraham was at this time 99 years of age and Sarah was 89), and is it any wonder that Sarah laughed. Thinking, “How can this be?”, and yet, hearing the Lord speak to them with the promise. It came from the Lord Himself, in Person, and physical form.

“Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”(v.14).

This was a word directly from the Lord, not from angels, not in a dream, but from the very mouth of the Lord Jesus.

“The men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.” (v. 16).

The “men” headed toward Sodom on a mission of judgment. The Lord decides since Abraham is His friend, that He will reveal why the others are headed toward Sodom. In this passage of the chapter we see Abraham become an intercessor pleading for the cities of the plain. He asked the Lord to spare the city if there are only 10 righteous people in it. The Lord says He will. We know that there were not 10 righteous people in the cities, but God still dragged Abraham’s nephew Lot, Lot’s wife, and two daughters from the city before they were destroyed.

The compassion and faithfulness of the Lord is seen through out all of Scripture. We see the manifestation of Jesus in physical form even before He became flesh and dwelt among men. We see Him to be holy, righteous, All-knowing, All-powerful, All-present, and Unchanging. He is the God of mercy, love and grace.

Jesus Through the Bible – Isaac the Promised Seed

“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.”  Genesis 17:19 (KJV)

Yes!  Abraham had other children.  His first was Ishmael; due to the impatience of Sarah and himself, thinking to take things concerning the promise of God into their own hands.  God had better things in mind.  Sarah was to have a son of promise.  It was and is through God’s promise of a Saviour that the covenant was made with Isaac as the son of promise.

Just at the time you think it cannot happen; with God nothing shall be impossible.  Jesus is the Son of the covenant of promise and grace.  Paul the apostle has written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit…

“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”  Romans 9:6-7

It is by the promise of Jesus, and no other way that one will be forgiven all sin, cleansed, and imputed all righteousness and have fellowship with God.

-T.A.

Why Are Ye Fearful…?

Fear is an emotion we all face at times.  There are some who seem to be fearful much of their lives.  I have known some who were fearful of leaving their home, or new home for a night or so; for fear that someone might break in and steal their possessions or do harm to their home.  Now, there is a needless fear.

It would probably surprise us what many people are fearful of.  There are some parents who are constantly fearful that their child or children will fall down, get hurt, be hurt by someone else; well you get the picture.  Children need to learn, and their falling, experiencing pain is part of growing up.  Fear can be dangerous to one’s health.

We live in an era or time when people are fearful of what the economy will do; or how the stock market will perform.  In this post today I want us to look at two portions of Scripture.  First from the New Testament we hear from an event in the life of Jesus’s disciples and the words of Jesus;

“And when He was entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him.  And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but He was asleep.  And His disciples came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us: we perish.’  And He saith unto them, ‘Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?’ Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.  But the men marvelled, saying, ‘What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!’”  Matthew 8:23-27 (KJV)

Jesus and His disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee, Jesus is asleep in the boat, a storm comes up, Jesus remains asleep undaunted by the storm; and His disciples are fearful.  Had they forgotten what Jesus has told them?  Do they not know who He is?  Of course it is a normal part of life to get fearful in the midst of a storm; at least for many people it is.  However, when you have the Son of God with you, having heard His words; what is there to fear?  Some wise Christian from years ago said, “If we fear God we do not need to fear anything else”.  Jesus said to His disciples “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?”, then He “Rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”  Now, do you suppose that calm was just the ceasing of the wind and the seas?  I think not.  The calm entered the hearts of His disciples as well.

To continue of this thought lets look into the lives of Abraham and Sarah from Genesis;

“And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as He had spoken.  For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.  And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.  And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.  And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.  And Sarah said, ‘God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.’  And 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.’  And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.” Genesis 21:1-8 (KJV)

Now Abraham and Sarah had been promised a son by God.  They had gone to extraordinary means to try and accomplish God’s will in their own way.  First by the surrogacy using Hagar Sarah’s servant.  As a result of this Ishmael was born and Sarah was despised by her servant, and when God did give them the son He had promised this promised son was hated by Ishmael.  Where did this deed come from.  It seems to have been spawned by fear.  Fear that they needed to do something which God had not commanded, nor commended.

Some might think, “Well where does faith fit into the picture with Abraham and Sarah?”  Despite their actions they did believe they were aiding God in giving them a child; but it still was contrary to His will.  Yet God uses this fear and its fruit to later discipline His children.

They believed God in their lives, and God honored their faith.  In Genesis 15:6 we are told of Abram, “And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.”

The word for today.  No matter what the devil and life may throw at you; do not fear for God is the Master of your life.  You do not need to use schemes, or the wiles of the world to accomplish the works of God.  He works His plan and accomplishes His will for our good and His glory.  When we do our own plan, our own way, “The chickens will come home to roost”.

“Why are ye fearful…?”

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Will to Discern

God had promised Abraham and Sarah a child; not through a surrogate; not be adoption, but one of their flesh and bone.  One day as Abraham was possibly contemplating this promise of God he and Sarah have some visitors show up:

“And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.  And the LORD said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?  For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.’  And the LORD said, ‘Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto Me; and if not, I will know.’  And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.”  Genesis 18:16-22 (KJV)

There are three of what the book of Genesis calls men, but Abraham recognizes one as being the LORD Himself.  So these other two men must have been angelic escorts.  For the LORD of the universe to appear as a man is almost unheard of unless you know of Jesus, of course.

You will notice in the text before the text above there were further promises of a son for the two; the Patriarch of our faith, and his wife Sarah.  Then the two “Men” departed and went toward Sodom; and Abraham went with the three for a little distance, then the LORD considers telling, and does tell Abraham what He is about to do in Sodom and Gomorrah.  Abraham pleads for the cities, and probably due to Lot’s being present in the city of Sodom, so Abraham prays for mercy for the cities in the behalf of any that are righteous in the cities getting all the way down to only 10 people (18:32).

With the passage above we see two of the “Men” angels go on without the LORD.  One thing we can see by this is that the LORD knew Abraham, and Abraham knew the LORD.  That is important for us to know.  One can know the LORD; know all one can know about Him, and still not be known by the LORD.  Now is the time to have the will to discern.  Abraham had the discernment that this was truly the LORD.  He heard the LORD’s word, believed it and pleaded his case before Him.

Note that it was the LORD who came to Abraham and entrusted to him that which He was about to do in the matter of the judgment of  a people.  Is Abraham angry that God would consider such a thing?  It sure does not seem that way to me.  He discerns that God is worthy and has cause to pass judgment upon the people.  Sometimes I do not see that some Christians have the right heart for God in His judgments today.  We hear far too often, “Now, God wouldn’t do that.  He does not judge in that fashion.”  O, really.  Where do you read that in Scripture?  That kind of judgment is based on sinful human emotion, comparing God with their own feelings rather than the truths of Scripture.

We have lost the Will to Discern.  Consider the following verses from Matthew’s gospel:

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”  Matthew 7:15-20 (KJV)

Jesus teaching us to beware of false prophets.  False prophets, false teachers, “In sheep’s clothing” teaching things about God that are not true.  The word of God is true, and any teacher, preacher, or spiritual leader who teaches that God does not or will not judge is false; and should not be heard.

God is holy, righteous and just; and because He is love; He also must judge the righteous judgment.  He will not allow His children to sin successfully.  “By their fruits you shall know them.”  Do not throw the words of Jesus (“Judge not…”) at those who know the word of God, because we are also told to make judgments; such as “By their fruits you shall know them”.  You will be putting yourself on a mighty thin thread when  and if you do.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Day 2 – Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and Esau

One of the things that crossed my mind as I was reading this morning was how these men all had something in common.  What is that commonality?  They are all sinners, deceivers, liars and tricksters.  Yes!  Even Abraham the patriarch of Judaism and Christianity.

Abraham had the promises of God for the land of Canaan.  Verse 18 of chapter 15 of Genesis states,

“In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:'” Genesis 15:18 (KJV)

Yet Abraham is fearful for his own life, lies to Abimelech about Sarah only being his sister, causes a curse on the people of Abimelech (chapter 20, Genesis).  He is a man of faith.  God had given him great and precious promises.  Promises of protection, power, wealth, and generations.

Abraham and Sarah laugh at God’s promise of a child, with both of them as parents of the child.  Abraham laughs in 17:17, and Sarah in 18:12.

Ishmael is the offspring of an unholy act of unbelief in the behalf of Sarah and Abraham.  Despite this God gives Hagar many promises concerning Ishmael, and they are fulfilled just as God has promised.

Isaac, the son of promise ends up in a lying mood as well (chapter 26:6-13).

The name Jacob means “supplanter” equaling trickster, deceiver, you can get the message from that.  That name really fits Jacob.  He first trades his elder brother Esau out  of his birthright; which he eagerly sells for a bowl of soup.  Which does not say much about Esau’s character.  Jacob thought more of it than Esau did; or he would not have sought it.

The reason I point this all out is, that, the Bible pulls no punches when it comes to mankind’s need.  Our greatest need is grace.  There is none who is righteous.  We are all condemned in sin.

It is God in His grace who came down to sinful, lying, fearful, Abraham and makes him faithful Abraham, “friend of God”.  It is God in His grace who chose the lying Isaac to be the second patriarch of the faith.  It is God in His grace who chose Jacob, and changed his name from “Supplanter” to later “Israel”.

It is God in His grace who reaches down to liars, cheats, harlots, adulterers, adultresses, murderers, drunks, thieves, and the worst among us; and says to all who will hear,

 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:13 (KJV)

-Tim A. Blankenship

Land In Possession

In His journeys through the land of Canaan Abraham never owned a portion of the land.  For twenty five years Abraham had the promise of a son before that son was ever born to he and Sarah.  The promise is fulfilled.

In the time when Isaac is around twenty thirty seven years of age Sarah has died, and they own no land in which to bury her.  Abraham is trying to purchase the land, but it almost seems as though they do not want to sell it but give it to him.

One thing we must remember; it is God who owns the land.  He has placed it in our hands – many land owners in the world today.  However, the land owners are really only stewards of the land, and are  to be caretakers of what God has placed in our hands.

In the economy of land, though, land ownership is recognized by deeds and titles.  In the search for a place to bury his dear, and precious bride following her death; and yet owning nothing, but the promise of God for the whole land; Abraham, by faith offers to purchase a cave with some surrounding land from Ephron of the children of Heth.

They have finally reached an agreement.  Abraham now is a land owner in Canaan, and the rest is purely owned by faith.  This was indeed a transaction, a sale of land.  It was agreed to in public, before witnesses, there was an exchange of “money”, and there was a survey conducted to make sure the borders of the land (Genesis 23:17).  Most likely there was some sort of deed given in the transaction to seal the deal.

This was all done based on God’s call and promise that the land would be the descendants of Abraham’s of the seed of Isaac.

“And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a buryingplace by the sons of Heth.” Genesis 23:20 (KJV)

When God makes and gives us a promise we can be sure that He will carry that promise all the way to its completion.  Even our salvation. (Philippians 1:6).

-Tim A. Blankenship

In A Foreign Land

Abraham, Sarah and Lot along with some servants had departed Ur of the Chaldees many years before, with a promise from God of a land; a Promise Land and promise of becoming a nation.  Becoming a nation meant having a son.  For years they had waited.  Since departing Ur many things had happened.  Lot and his family had gone their own way, along with his livestock and goods.

Now Sarah had died, and Abraham needed a place to bury her.  Only thing was he was in a land that was not his own.  He was a foreigner and  had to purchase some land or receive it from the owners as a gift.  The following is the narrative of what took place following the event of Sarah’s death:

“And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,  I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.  And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him,  Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us: in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou mayest bury thy dead.  And Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth.  And he communed with them, saying, If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and intreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar,  That he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for as much money as it is worth he shall give it me for a possession of a buryingplace amongst you…”  Genesis 23:3-9 (KJV)

The possessors of the lands knew Abraham, and knew he had been a good and decent neighbor.  They knew him to have been a honorable man, just and fair in dealing with the people of the lands around them.  So we have Heth making suggestion that he bury Sarah in one of their burial places.  This however does not sit well with Abraham.

Abraham desires to have a piece of land, for which he is willing to pay a price; a fair price; and that will have his ownership of it.  Through the purchase of this piece of land, the price paid for it would be security for future generations who would follow.  It would also be a fulfillment of the promise of the land, though at this time a small portion of it.

He had previously “planted a grove in Beersheba” land of the Philistines, and in doing so was placing a claim on that land.  Now he is purchasing a piece of land, and “planting” the body of his wife.  Would that not also be a claim on the land.  Many prayers of Abraham and Sarah had been offered in the almost sixty years of living in the land.  Many tears had been shed, and much blood had been shed as well defending themselves against thieves, kidnappers-slave traders, and cutthroats who just wanted to kill.

Now there would be an actual possession of the land.  The Promise of God was going to be fulfilled, and Abraham’s purchase was evidence of that faith in the promise.

A few years ago one church which I was pastor had an open lot.  Things were not going real well for the church financially, and it was brought up to sell the lot.  Well that was not how I believed the LORD  was leading us.  Financially it made sense to do so, but faith wise I believed we would not be trusting the Lord and His promises to us.  I had read where the prophet Jeremiah was called by God to purchase land as evidence of faith that the people of Judah would return to Israel following their captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 32).  I believed, and to this day I still believe that it was God’s guidance to keep that piece of land as promise that God was going to bless that church.  I don’t know if the church still has that piece of land or not; but for the time I believed it to be right, and the people decided it would be best not to sell it.

As Christians we are pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land, similar to Abraham.  When we purchase, possess, or own a piece of land; it is God’s land.  God owns all land on this earth.  It is His.  The Psalmist has written, quoting God “Every beast of the forest is Mine, and  the cattle upon a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10), just a picturesque way of telling us that God owns it all.  We are to be good stewards of God’s land while we are here, but this world, this land on which we live is not what has been promised us.  There is a land greater and more grandeur than any land we can imagine here on this earth.

We have been promised the land which is called glory, heaven, with golden streets, gates of pearl, and a city with a foundation made of precious gems.  Even better than that, it is  the place where Jesus is.  Take away the golden streets, gates of pearl, and only Jesus; and that would be sufficient for me.

Do you know Jesus?  He is the one who came to this earth to die, and give His life as a payment for our sins.  The price of His blood was paid to God our Father as the full price of our sin, and made a way of reconciliation between lost, condemned, dead people and the Living God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.

Take care of the land and goods God has blessed you with here.  Use them to honor and glorify His name.  One day when He comes again He will take you to Himself; that where He is there we may be also.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Death Of Sarah

Abraham and Sarah had came to the land of Canaan about sixty two years previous.  For twenty five of those years they  had waited for the promised son, Isaac.  They had been through much together.

Almost from the first day they arrived in the land a severe drought had struck the land, famine had set in, and they went to Egypt leaving the place of promise which had been given them by God [YHWH].  In Egypt they would have probably “picked up” Hagar, and Egyptian slave girl.  The sovereign hand of God is seen in every element of the decisions which they made together.  The LORD of all has a way of teaching us dependency upon Him.

For sixty plus years they had walked together, suffered doubts and fears together, believed together, grew together, and now with Sarah being one hundred and twenty seven years of age, her aged body dies.

We must remember; death is not a friend; it is the fruit of sin, or its wages as Paul says in Romans 6:23.  Death is the enemy of mankind.  God [YHWH] created us for eternity.  He created us with an eternal soul that yearns for Him.  It is a longing that far too many fight and struggle against by denying the existence of God.  Denying the existence of God is almost like denying yourself.  You exist, and since you exist means that you had a designer, builder, Creator, and His name is Jehovah [YHWH].

“And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.  And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.”  Genesis 23:1-2 (KJV)

One of the things which Genesis is clear about is our life and death.  It begins with creation and a garden, and ends with a “coffin in Egypt.”  From creation to the grave.  It is a sad commentary on the beginning and end plight of mankind.  It reminds us that we have an eternal destiny, and that GOD is the one who is in charge, sovereignly guiding, the affairs of all people, and nations.  We see that more clearly through all of Scripture.

Death is not a real pleasant thing to talk about.  With some people you don’t even want to use the word “D-E-A-T-H”.  Let’s be true and faithful about death.  As I have already mentioned it is the enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26), and it is the “last enemy” to be destroyed; and that destruction will be by the appearing of Jesus Christ in His glory.

It doesn’t appear that Abraham or Sarah had a fear of death.  The reason for that being their faith in GOD.  It has been through the life, faith, and testimony of Abraham and Sarah that Jesus Christ has come into the world to save condemned, dying sinners from our plight.  We are born spiritually dead – that means no relationship with God and thus no fellowship with God, because of sin.  Because of the work of Jesus Christ, ie., His death on the cross, burial, and resurrection we can be “born again” into relationship, enabling our fellowship with Him; and receiving eternal life,  living for Him now, and eternally with Him.

The follower of Jesus Christ need have no fear of death because of the cross of Jesus Christ, and His resurrection.  The resurrection of Jesus proves without doubt that the enemy of death has been defeated.  All who are in the faith of Jesus Christ will be raised to life.

Even Sarah, Abraham, all the patriarchs; and those who were before them; and all who came after them unto the cross of Christ will be raised to life again.  All those who have believed following the death of Christ on the cross will also be raised to life.  WOW!!! What a glorious day that will be.

It is a wonderful and glorious thing to know that though Genesis ends with that “coffin in Egypt”, the Scriptures end back in a garden, and in the presence of the LORD in glory – Heaven.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost…” Titus 3:5 (KJV)

The faith of Abraham and Sarah was looking to the One who would come, die for the sins of mankind, be buried, and rise again from the grave.  Believe Jesus and be delivered from death, and its fear.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Family And Geography

In our world today it is not uncommon for family to become separated by geography, and live hundreds, or even thousands of miles apart.  With our technology we are able to call, write, text, email, and even view one another on our computer screens and never feel that far away.

With Abraham and Sarah and isaac that was not so easy, yet they seemed to have maintained some kind of contact with one another.

“And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham, saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor;  Huz his firstborn, and Buz his brother, and Kemuel the father of Aram,  And Chesed, and Hazo, and Pildash, and Jidlaph, and Bethuel.  And Bethuel begat Rebekah: these eight Milcah did bear to Nahor, Abraham’s brother.  And his concubine, whose name was Reumah, she bare also Tebah, and Gaham, and Thahash, and Maachah.”  Genesis 22:20-24 (KJV)

This passage of Scripture from Genesis may  not seem that important, however, it does let us know that Abraham maintained contact with his family back in Mesopotamia, and news had came to Abraham and family of the family they had left behind 60 years before.

We will get to the matter of Isaac’s marriage later, however, as we look as this passage today we can see that God is telling us that He has made preparations for a bride for Isaac.  The people of the land of Canaan were ungodly, and knew nothing of Jehovah [YHWH] except what they had seen in Abraham.  They probably admired his faith, but had no use for his God.  He was too confining; too restrictive;  limiting one to worship only one god?  What kind of worship could that be?

The worship of one God, and the true God of gods, is less confusing; much more fulfilling; and accurate, because God has said, “There is no other”.  There is no worship of YHWH, except through the Son of God Jesus Christ.

You will notice in this short genealogy that a young lady by the name of Rebekah is mentioned.  She will later become Isaac’s wife.  God is God, and directs the affairs of mankind; and He will be glorified in us all.

Is family important to our God?  Most definitely.  Through family God’s Word and God’s will is done, and He is glorified.

It is not certain how families maintained contact and kept up with one another in that day.  It could have been by travelling caravans, traders, coming through.  It is unlikely that they made a 600 mile plus trip to keep up on family news.  In this case it was important for the linage of Jesus Christ, for He came through Abraham and Isaac.

Remember Paul’s words, breathed by God;

“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:  Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”  Romans 9:6-8 (KJV).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Test Of A Lifetime

The very thing which Abraham and Sarah had hoped and prayed for all their lives; their promised son; was about to become an object of sacrifice. God does not require human sacrifice for redemption, justification, sanctification, or glorification. Humanity has been corrupted by sin, therefore would not meet the strict qualifications of purity required for the sacrifice. Death was the result of original sin come down through Adam, and all are guilty.

The Word from God to Abraham;

“And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Genesis 22:2 (KJV)

The son of promise. The son for which Abraham and Sarah had prayed and waited for a long time. For twenty five years they had waited for the promise, and for many years, possibly 30 – 37 years they had enjoyed the presence of Isaac; their son of laughter. Now God’s message, His Word, His command is “…Offer him for a burnt offering…” What a wonderful, glorious God. Doesn’t God know when you are dead, you’re dead? He knows no such thing. He is God of life, not death. When you give to God what He commands you lose nothing; you gain the life of obedience and faith.

The only son whom Abraham loved was Isaac, of course. Now, Abraham had another son by Hagar (chapter 16) a servant from Egypt. This union was without God’s blessing, thus a sinful relationship, and God yet promised to bless Ishmael, and make him a nation of people. He, however, was not the promised son. Isaac, “Laughter” is the promised son. The promised son is the son of Abraham and of Sarah, as God had promised. In being the “only son” is meant that he is the “only son” of God’s promise. Abraham loved Isaac, and God knew this, but did Abraham know that he actually had a greater love for God than he did for Isaac? Did Abraham realize the measure of faith he himself had for God, His word, and His will?

It was most likely very early in the morning when Abraham heard the Word of God. The place, to Abraham is not revealed, but God tells him “…upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” It was in the land of Moriah, which some believe to be in the area of Jerusalem, and the mount upon which Calvary was to be later. The thing is God knows the place and the time that is involved, and we will see that a little later. The thing is we hear a Word from God that is challenging, may even cause some doubt; and when it comes to faith, if there is no doubt what is the need for faith? Faith works through the doubts and fears of life, as Abraham worked through it as he obeyed.

This could seem as a dark event in the life of Abraham, but it is not. It is rather an event of challenging faith. Faith that will prove the heart of a man. Faith that will prove the promise, the power and grace of the Everlasting God. We must remember that in all things God is soveriegn, and will work out all things for our good and His glory. Faith is not “A leap into the dark”, but a walk in the Light.

You may be going through what you deem as THE TEST OF A LIFETIME, just keep walking in the light of the promises and grace of God. Give up all to God, and you gain, and never lose. Jesus said, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:39 (KJV). Also read Mark 8:35; Luke 9:25; and John 12:25. That TEST OF A LIFETIME may just be the power of the glory of God.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Here I Am

Abraham had made an agreement/covenant with Abimelech of the Philistines, the inhabitants of the land, and the greatest thing I see in the previous chapter is and he “…called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.” The land to which God had called Abraham was the land of the Philistines, it was not yet the land of Israel, but it was the promised land.

God calls out to Abraham again,

“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.” Genesis 22:1 (KJV)

The great response of Abraham should be the response of everyone who knows the “Everlasting God”. The promises of God are good and grand. The promises of God are as good as God is good; they are as grand as God is grand. The promises of God are eternal. The promises are as eternal as God is eternal. “Behold, here I am”. This response was not to let God know where he was but to give God himself.

When he left Ur he left believing God was leading him to a land; in that land he would become the father of a mighty nation; to become a father of a mighty nation means that there would be a son born. The promise was true; the years passed; and eventually in God’s timing the son was born.

Abraham had grown over the years in his faith. He had grown to believe that the land which God had promised was going to belong to his children through a son that was to be born to him. He had grown to accept the fact that the conception, and birth of the promised son would be in God’s own timing; and not in his own. Abraham probably didn’t understand why it was taking “so long” in his estimation, but he had waited and continued believing; even after he and Sarah’s sin with Hagar. Now God was going to call on Abraham to do something that would stretch faith to the limits.

God, the “Everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33) only had to call his name, “Abraham”, and he responded in faith. Not knowing what lay in store again, he answers, “Behold, here I am.” This “Here I am” was not to let God know where he stood, lay or walked; but to give himself to God and His will. “Here I am; ready to go where YOU go.” “Here I am; ready to do what YOU want me to do.” Or, “Here I am; do what YOU will with me. I am in YOUR hands.” It was notification of submission, not information of his location.

The first test of faith is our response to God’s call. Do we respond, “Oh no! Not again!” or do we respond as did Abraham, “I am here LORD. I am willing, and ready to fulfill YOUR bidding.”?

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Accuser Sent Away

“And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore 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. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. And 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. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. And 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. And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: 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. And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. And 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. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.” Genesis 21:9-21 (KJV)

Hear the words of the apostle Paul concerning this event:

“For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” Galations 4:22-30 (KJV).

Abraham and Sarah had gathered the whole family to celebrate the weaning of Isaac. It was at this celebration that the heart and attitude of Ishmael is seen for what it is. He had the belief that he would be the promised son, the heir of all that was Abraham’s; that is what is implied by this story. The child named laughter relating to at least three different forms of laughter; 1) Sarah’s laugh of unbelief or frustration; 2) Abraham’s laugh of “I can’t wait”; and 3) Ishmael’s laughter of mockery, and a fourth would be and is certainly the meaning “laughter of joy” which was the expression of both Abraham and Sarah at the fulfillment of the promise.

The mother’s heart of Sarah could not endure the mockery; which was most likely inspired by Hagar, and done by Ishmael; and realized they both would need to leave – Hagar and son Ishmael. Ishmael would have been at least sixteen years of age at this point in his life, and here he is as a sixteen year old mocking at least a two year old boy. The age of Ishmael can be determined by seeing the age of Abraham at the time of the boy’s birth [Ishmael’s] which was 86 (Genesis 16:16) then Abraham’s age at the time of Isaac’s birth (21:5) 100, then if Isaac was two years of age at the time of his weaning that would make Ishmael 16. Once before Sarah had became angry with Hagar, mostly from jealousy, because Hagar was expecting by Sarah’s husband (Genesis 16:5-16), Sarah had probably flogged her, or beat her, threatening her, and Hagar fled; and at that time the LORD appeared to her, told her to return, and submit to Sarah as her head; and God promised to make from the son [Ishmael] a nation. At no time had Hagar been given the promise of receiving the inheritance of Abraham, nor would her son. She had received a promise from the LORD, which is seen in verses 10 – 12 of chapter 16.

There is no doubt that Ishmael is an adversary. He is, however, an evidence that we reap what we sow. Because of a lack of patience, of failing to wait on the LORD’s time and place, Sarah convinced Abraham to go against the promise, by supposedly hurrying it along. One thing we all can learn is that God’s promise is not averted, or aborted because of our sinful, impatient behavior. Thus, Hagar becomes a symbol of the condemnation, and bondage of the law. Hagar as a bond woman gives birth contrary to the promise, and according to the understood law the first born was to be heir to the inheritance of the father. The son of promise [Isaac] was God’s heir to the promises of God. We are not being wise when we try to help God fulfill His promises through weak, fleshly, human efforts and means. Only the flesh can be glorified in such case; and not the LORD.

Is Paul the apostle telling us that the Law [Ten Commandments] is of the flesh? God gave them to Moses. Does that answer the question? If any man or woman, boy or girl could keep the law, fulfilling the will of the LORD for their lives, then they would have much to boast of; however, the law condemns us in the flesh, because none can keep it to the letter; only Jesus could, and did.

Isaac is a portrait of the Christ; who is Jesus; and that is seen as he is a son of promise. Jesus is the anti-type, because He is the fulfillment of the portrait. A picture, or portrait is not the real thing, but only an image of the real thing. If you have a picture of your child, or grandchild and the live child standing beside you which would you choose, if you had to make a choice between the two? You would choose the real, living child standing beside you. The picture is good for when they are away to remind us of their being, and person, their love and warmth.

Hagar is part of the “allegory” which gives bondage, because she was a bond woman put in the place of promise; but that was not to be. Sarah is part of the “allegory” which represents Jerusalem and the promise; “Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband” Isaiah 54:1 as quoted in Galations by Paul.

Abraham is instructed to listen to his wife; “Listen to her voice”. This casting out is a God thing though may not be understood, by Hagar, Ishmael, or their descendants; and many others. Remember this: God is just in doing whatever He chooses concerning His people and His creation; to accomplish and bring about His purposes and will.

We must note that Abraham did not just send Hagar and Ishmael out without food and water leaving them at the mercy of the elements. He gave her freedom, and she could go where she pleased; her life was at the mercy of the LORD. That is far better than being at the mercy men.

Hagar finds herself without water and fearful for her son. She thinks Ishmael is going to die of thirst. This is a trial of faith for Hagar. Doesn’t she remember the promise of before, when Sarah has ran her away, because of her impudence, and disobedience? The LORD appears to her again, and reminds her; “fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.” (vv. 17-18). The LORD had not forsaken her, but was going to fulfill His promise to her. God never breaks His Word. Even when we sin He still keeps His promises.

We know; and all too well how this promise has been fulfilled. The descendants of Ishmael still hate and persecute the children of the promise. Ishmael the accuser, the one who hates the promised child of Abraham. Paul’s words of this matter,

“For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” Romans 9:3-8 (KJV)

They are the children of Abraham, but according to flesh. Isaac is the child of promise, and all who will believe by faith, in the Living Promise of Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Laughter Comes

“And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. And 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. And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.” Genesis 21:1-8 (KJV)

It seems that the original promise had only been given to Abraham, yet it is reasonable, profitable, and Biblical to believe that Sarah was the woman through whom a “great nation” was to come (Genesis 12:1-3ff.). Abraham is assured of this promise many times, and I am sure he gives assurances to Sarah concerning this promise, that God has promised them a son, or children. Sarah knew of the promise when she presented the Hagar idea (Genesis 16:1-3ff), and Abraham followed her insistent pleading. In the seventeenth chapter God renews the promise to Abraham, and for the first time mentions the name of Sarai; changing the names from Abram to Abraham, and Sarai to Sarah. Yet, only Abraham hears the voice of the LORD.

It is not until the eighteenth chapter that we have the LORD, in person, speaking directly to Abraham. and Sarah nearby hearing the promise “I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.” (Genesis 18:10a). It is at this point that she laughs. Is it a laugh of unbelief, or a laugh of frustration with the thought, “Yeah, right, like a ninty year old woman could have a baby”? It could be a little bit of both, yet knowing well God’s promise has not yet been fulfilled.

The first verse of our text tells us “And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said…” Remember what the LORD has said, “Sarah thy wife shall have a son“. Oh, how precious to have a visit from the LORD. Mary, the mother of Jesus, could tell us much about that. The birth of Isaac and the birth of Jesus are both precious miracle births. The first due to the age of the woman, and the second due to the fact that she was a virgin. Some would allow and argue that all human births are miracles, but I would beg to differ. These were also miracle conceptions, because God alone determined the person who would be born. I could agree with all conceptions being a miracle of God. There are a couple more miracle births mentioned in Scripture; the birth of Samson, though we are not told of her age we are told that she was barren (Judges 13:2-3), this birth is a miracle because God said it, brought it to pass and named the boy; another is the birth of John the Baptist to elderly parents who had been barren, similar to Abraham and Sarah (Luke 1:5-25). You could add one more and that being the birth of Samuel in 1 Samuel 1:1-2:11. Samuel came as a result of believing prayer on the part of his mother.

The conception of Jesus in the womb of His mother was different from them all. His mother was a virgin at the time of conception, and remained a virgin until after Jesus was born; “Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.” Matthew 1:24-25 (KJV). The Father of Jesus is the God of Creation. That is not true of Isaac, Samson, Samuel, or John the Baptist. No one can say they have God as their Father, except Jesus Christ alone.

In the conception of Isaac God came to Sarah and opened her womb, caused the seed of Abraham to fertilize the egg of Sarah, and designed the male baby, that would grow to become a man of faith. There is a promise here to all people who believe God; that promise being that He will fulfill His Word, and His promises. There should be no doubts about that.

Laughter was the name of the son who was born to them. The happy, joyous couple must have danced with joy upon knowing she was pregnant, and then, they were filled with joy, excitement waiting for that son to be born. Laughter and joy fills mothers and fathers of every era of time and parents of different ages too. As I write this I am in the fifty fourth Summer of my life, and I could not begin to imagine having children at that age. Our children are all in homes of their own, with children, with the exception of our youngest and his wife. The grand children are a joy. I would not want to think of having to diaper, feed and clothe, and care for everyday, a newborn baby of our own. There are couples who are waiting till they are older to have children, then, are having more difficulty conceiving. When they do conceive, they are really joyous about it, and may God bless them.

How Sarah’s heart must have yearned those nine months to hold, and suckle that baby boy, as she was waiting for his birth. The anticipation, the waiting, the excitement, and the exuberance that must have flooded her soul, and that of Abraham’s too. The Church has been given the promise of the return of our Lord and Savior; but where, oh where, is the anticipation, the waiting, the excitement and the exuberance in the Church for His return? It is hardly even mentioned in the pulpits of today. It is given rather to being spiritual, not real, but having to do with a person’s salvation, or their death. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:28 (KJV). If you will notice, the promise of Hebrews 9:28 is for them that “Look for Him”, and that means far more than just looking toward the sky. Abraham and Sarah were looking for Isaac – their laughter, their joy, their anticipation, excitement, and exuberance; and even before that final nine months when the promise was nearing fulfillment. The hearts of many professing believers are growing cold toward the aspects of the return of Christ.

It seems that if Abraham could speak to us today, he would say, “Hold on, keep believing, keep trusting; God’s Word will come to pass. He will not fail.” Abraham carried through with the covenant of circumcision as God had spoken concerning his household (Genesis 17:2). The weaning age of children in the day of Abraham has been stated to be from age two all the way to ages of eleven and twelve; which eleven and twelve seems to be rediculous; and as late as the age of seven, though possible seems a bit stretchy as well. Abraham called for celebration when the boy reached the age of weaning and was weaned, ie., from his mother’s breast milk, and onto solid foods. This causes me to think of Peter’s statement, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” 1 Peter 2:1-3 (KJV).

Laughter comes when the promise is fulfilled, and we are standing in the presence of the Lord of all creation, who is the Lord of our salvation.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Abraham – The Backslider

There are times it seems we never learn from previous mistakes, or previous sins. We must remember that earlier in Abraham’s journey of faith, and after arriving in the Land of Promise there was a famine which came into the land, and Abraham doubted and went down into Egypt. We read in the twelfth chapter of Genesis that it was in Egypt he conspired with Sarah to deceive the king of Egypt into believing that Sarah was a half sister, which was a half truth.

Why the deception? Because of fear of his life. Why was there fear in his heart? He was out of the place of God’s blessing, though still in the borders of the Promised Land.

“And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. 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. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? 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. 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. 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.” Genesis 20:1-7 (KJV)

There seems to be no apparent reason for Abrahams journeying to the “south country”, and Gerar. The man of faith has had a great experience with the LORD. He and Sarah have received a renewed promise of a soon to be born son. He has prayed and his nephew Lot has been delivered from destruction, though by coercion. In their first moving away event it was due to a trial of drought and no food, but what is it now? Could it be that the patriarch has grown comfortable, and at ease and just desires to get away. We have nothing of him building an altar, or anything concerning his worship of God, but of the deceiving of a ruler.

Whatever Abraham’s reason for the move he was putting himself into a dangerous position. He had not moved from the land of promise; he was still within its borders, but near the edge. He was placing himself in Philistine territory. We need to remember Abraham was born a sinner just as we all were, and though he had been justified by faith [15:6], he, as do we, still struggled with the old flesh. When Abraham arrived in Gerar he began walking by sight, and fear set in. Warren W. Wiersbe wrote, “Fear of man and faith in God cannot dwell together in the same heart. ‘The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trust in the LORD shall be safe.’ (Proverbs 29:25 NKJV). Abraham forgot that his God was ‘the Almighty God’ (Gen. 17:1) who could do anything (18:14) and who had covenanted to bless Abraham and Sarah” From BE OBEDIENT by Warren W. Wiersbe, p. 87.

The reason sins are usually committed over again, and sometimes again and again is probably due to the fact of not forsaking that sin. Abraham and Sarah had confessed their sin, maybe even asked forgiveness from Pharoah of Egypt, and from God; but they were still clinging to it; they had not rid their lives of it. For nearly twenty five years they had clung to this deception, and now they use it again.

At this deception Abraham is certainly not a good example of faith. For Abimelech or for believers of all ages his faith stinks at this stage. A man who has for twenty five years awaited the promised son, and has just recently received renewed promise that the birth is going to take place. He jeopardizes the purity of a son. He jeopardizes the life of his wife and her purity too. This king of Gerar has more integrity at this point in Abraham’s life. This king is more honest, and certainly is more forthright, and generous than Abraham. Who appears to be the best neighbor? Who would be the better witness for the power and glory of God at this point? It certainly was not Abraham.

Why does God not come to Abraham and convict him of his wrongdoing? That is something which puzzles me. Could it be because Abraham had convinced himself, and Sarah had convinced herself that they had not lied; that what they had told was the truth; thus, they had not deceived anyone? When we get into that state of mind even the Spirit of God cannot bring us to the truth. At such times God will use the unusual to get our attention. God can use the ungodly to rebuke us, and correct us just as he did with Abraham, here in Gerar.

God appears to Abimelech in a dream by night, and condemns him for taking Sarah from Abraham. Abimelech pleads with the Lord, and reminds the Lord that Abraham has deceived him and the people by claiming Sarah as his sister. For some time Sarah had been in his “harem”, but he had never touched her, and that was God’s doing we see from the words, “I also withheld thee from sinning against Me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her”. When the sins of God’s people forsake His holiness and purity, He does not, nor will He.

Abimelech is to restore Sarah to Abraham, and in doing so God will spare the king and the people he rules. Over and over again through the Bible we see that our sins are never just personal; but they will affect every life we touch.

“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. 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. And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing? 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. 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. 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. And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.” Genesis 20:8-14 (KJV)

There is a confrontation which takes place. Can you imagine, to Abraham’s horror, as the king summons Abraham to come to him, and then he finds out that God has revealed to this man the secret he and Sarah have been concealing? God has revealed to Abraham secrets; such as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as a prophet; but now the prophet has his secret revealed to the king by God. God is a revealer of secrets. Every secret of men will be shouted from the roof tops. Read Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17. Oh, how embarrassing it can be for the child of God to be found out, and chastised rightly by the ungodly.

When Abraham expresses his fear (v. 11) to the king what does that say of his faith? It says to the king that his faith still needs to grow, or this God of his can’t be much. Anytime we allow the appearances of men, and their power or perceived power, prestige or influence to cause us to fear we are poor witnesses of the power of Almighty God.

Abimelech shows great generosity, and gives back Sarah to Abraham, and also gives him sheep, oxen, and male and female servants. Blessings come from God. Even when Abraham has schemed and deceived, and would have ruined the purity of his own lineage, and the purity of his wife God preserves them, delivers them, and does so with blessing.

“And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee. And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved. So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children. For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife.” Genesis 20:15-18 (KJV)

As Abraham journeyed around the borders of the Promised Land he would encounter various “kings” and rulers of the various nations within. Some were friendly, as was Abimelec and he was extended the welcome of dwelling where he would choose. When such and invitation or welcome is extended there are some who might take great advantage of that and move right in to one’s own abode. Abraham was a courteous man, and excepted the invitation in the manner in which it was meant, I am sure. As Christians in our neighborhoods, and places we live, we too are to be good neighbors, and not to take advantage of our neighbors, or our friends, and if there is to be anyone having advantage taken of them, then, let it be us.

The rebuke which Abimelech gives to Sarah shows that he knew she had part in the deceptive lie she and Abraham had both concocted many years ago. There has been “a thousand pieces of silver” given to Abraham somehow connected to Sarah’s release to him. It seems to be connected to this rebuke of her by the king. One commentator said that it could be the means of purchasing material for the making of veils to cover the faces of Sarah and her servant girls. John Gill commenting on the following verse writes,

but it seems best to refer this to the gift of the thousand pieces of silver, and read the words, “behold, this is to thee a covering of the eyes”; so the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem; for the words are a continued biting sarcasm on Sarah; as Abimelech twits her with calling Abraham her brother in the preceding clause, so in this he tells her that he had given him so much money to buy her a veil with, and to supply her with veils from time to time to cover her eyes, that nobody might be tempted to lust after her, and that it might be known she was a married woman; for in these countries…” From e-Sword.

It does seem that Abraham and Sarah have gone all these years with the lie in tact and able to use it on a whim. O, how foolish we human beings can be when it comes to covering our fears; especially when we have God defending us, and caring for our every need.

Even at Sarah’s age she is evidently still a “Knock out” in appearance. She is around 89 years of age at this point of her life. What 89 year old woman would be expecting to have a child, but Sarah had God’s promise of it. By the word of Abimelech Abraham “thy brother” [using their lie], is the covering of the eyes. Could it be that because of Abraham being her half brother this could mean that Abraham would protect her and her maids as though a brother. Men would think twice before looking upon Sarah with evil intent.

Finally we have Abraham praying for Abimelech. It would appear that because of Abimelech’s taking of Sarah that God has caused all the women of the kings household to have no children. Abraham’s relationship with God is seen in that the women began to bear children shortly thereafter. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). By the answering of Abraham’s prayer we see that there was a wonderful testimony of faith left, and that God cares, gives mercy and grace to all.

Even though we sin, and at times offend others with our sin, we can still seek their forgiveness, receive their rebuke, and pray for them. God can bless despite our sin; when we have sought His forgiveness and grace.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Is Anything Too Hard for the LORD???

Is Any Thing Too Hard For The LORD???

 

“And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.” Genesis 18:9-15 (KJV).

The three guests had been served, had received the meal, and had eaten. We are not told this by the text itself, but it seems to be quite clear that the reason these had come, was to bring this important, encouraging message to Abraham and Sarah. Abraham was 75 years of age when they departed Haran, and Sarah would have been 65, yet they had believed the promise of a son. It seems though, that that promise had been given solely to Abraham, and Sarah went along believing Abraham, and this was the first time she had heard it from the mouth of the LORD. If it is true that this is the first time she has heard the promise from the LORD Himself, then, we can better see why she suggested Abraham take Hagar as wife, and they had Ishmael. It might give us better understanding of why she laughed when she heard the words, “Sarah thy wife shall have a son”.

At the time of this visit Abraham was 99 years of age and Sarah was 89. Now, if the preceding scenario is correct, and Sarah had not heard the promise from the LORD Himself, then she has now. The laughter can be understood from this perspective, though it may not have been appreciated by our LORD. Her laughter may have been done in stark surprise at what she had just heard coming from the mouth of this special Stranger.

Then, she heard the words, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?”, and she believed that the previous words were the word of the LORD. Sarah is not the only one who laughs at the immediate promises of God. We have heard the promises for years from the mouth and lips of others. We have heard them from the mouths of our pastors, our Sunday School and Bible Study teachers; and we have heard them as we read the Scriptures for ourselves, but they just seem distant at times, and not really applicable to us. Then, at a time of our need; at a time when we are discouraged, thinking that God doesn’t care, feeling like God has just forsaken us, and left us to fend for ourselves; one or two of those promises just leap off the page at us; then we kind of laugh, not really meaning to, but we do until it sinks in, then we know God has spoken; we are no longer laughing, but praising. There is a different form of laughter. A laugh of joy, of praise, and of worship.

Why Sarah denied that she laughed is not clear. It may be that she was not that well acquainted with the LORD, and was afraid that He might judge her harshly. The LORD understands our humanity better than we do. He despises unbelief, but what Sarah had was not unbelief, but a lapsed judgment, maybe even a shortage of knowledge, concerning the way of the LORD. Abraham would have probably taught her and led her in their worship of the LORD. She had heard of the promise over and over from Abraham, but now she hears it from the mouth and lips of this Stranger, whom we know to be the LORD in person.

We learn from this that each individual Christian needs to know and worship God on their own, and with others. What we learn in our private times, our “Quiet Times” with the LORD we can share when we are in public with other believers. The wife cannot depend on the faith of her husband to save her. The husband cannot depend on the faith of his wife to save him. The child born into the home with Christian parents cannot be saved by the faith of their parents, then grow up and say, “I am a Christian, because my Mom and Dad were Christians”. If you were born in a garage, does that mean you are a car? Maybe an even more pertinent question would be, If you were born in a hospital does that make you a doctor or nurse? The answer to those questions, of course, is NO!

Did Sarah have faith and believe the LORD? Most definitely. We find in the book of Hebrews these inspiring words, “Through faith Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.” 11:11 (KJV). In her fear, and denial of her laughter, there seems to be faith that God would do just what He said. The LORD leaves her saying, “Nay; but thou didst laugh”, letting her know that He knew her heart, and her thoughts. He does know our heart and our thoughts, and He knows the heart and thoughts of unbelivers as well. “IS ANY THING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD?”

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Being a Servant

Being a Servant

“Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.” Genesis 18:4-8 (KJV)

Abraham’s desire for the LORD to stay gives him opportunity to be a servant, and he got his whole house involved in the service. He took care of getting it all together himself. There are some things in the service of the Lord we must do ourselves. He fetched the calf himself, yet had a young man dress it for him. He went to Sarah and asked her to prepare the grain for the bread. There is an important application needed here and that is that no one can serve the Lord for us. We must serve Him ourselves.

Another thing we learn from this episode of Scripture is that husbands must lead their wives in serving the Lord. It is important that the whole household worship the Lord God. The home is friendlier, and much more blessed by such a family atmosphere. There is praise and appreciation of each member, and especially that of the presence of the Lord Himself.

There is a quote from the Matthew Henry Commentary which says, “Hearty friendship will stoop to any thing but sin. Christ Himself has taught us to wash one another’s feet, in humble love.”

These angels and the LORD accepted the servanthood and fellowship of Abraham. There is a scene presented here which one day all believers gathered around the throne of God will be able to sit at the Lord’s feet, wash His feet, kiss His feet, and worship Him to our heart’s content. The Lord was well pleased with Abraham’s worship and service. They received the meat and the bread and they did eat. God accepts the humble service of those who look for His presence.

Reading of this event should remind us of Hebrews 13:2, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Have you ever saw an individual in your church, your business, or at work who just seemed to always move toward helping others. It didn’t matter if they were strangers or the person with what some would call the “Least important,” or “Less noticed position” there was; they would move to help that person. That is because in most cases the one who does that has the gift of serving. These people serve without requiring anything or expecting anything in return. In most cases they would just as soon not even be recognized for doing it. In a lot of cases they will do good things when no one is watching, so as not to be noticed and recognized. That was the heart of our Savior, and that was the heart of Abraham.

Let’s look at every stranger, and those we know as being the presence of God. When we do that we will begin to treat one another differently. Am I faithful to practice servanthood all times? NO!!! But I do know that God is still working on me. I know that all of us do not have the gift of service, so we need to work at it a little bit harder. I am learning. Not having the gift is no excuse for not serving others. Some have entertained/served angels without being aware of it.

-Tim A. Blankenship

It Will Not Tarry…

THE SECOND PROMISE

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:3 (KJV).

 

Habakkuk is seeing a vision of God. He has had many a question. God wants to reassure the prophet that what He has told him will come to pass just as He has said. He must wait for it. It will come, and it will not tarry.

How many times do we grow impatient for the way of the Lord? We know He has promised something and we wonder, “When?” We even lose hope for a while, and we try to intervene, and then, that may end up delaying the promise because of our unbelief, or at least when it seems longer in coming we feel we are the cause of delay. We must learn and know God has an appointed time for every event. One day it will occur just as He has promised.

 

Think of God’s promise to Abraham for a son. For many long years he and Sarah waited, yet no son. Until, one day Sarah had this “brilliant” idea. “Why don’t you sleep with my servant girl, have a baby by her and fulfill God’s will for us”. Believe it or not Abraham conceded and they had a son. This was not in accord with the promise of God. Any time we try and jump ahead of God we bring trouble on ourselves.

God’s vision is for an appointed time. God will fulfill His promises. The following is a quote from my study of the first four verses of chapter two:

“Verse three tells the prophet that the vision God has given has an appointed time. It may seem as though it is being delayed, but it has a time of its own – by God. When its time comes it will not delay. It will not ‘tarry’. When God’s time for carrying out His promises come; they will be fulfilled, and to the letter. There are many who because, the rapture of the Church, or the glorious appearing of our Savior has not yet occurred think it is not literal, or that it has already happened. It will happen – in God’s time (His appointed time), and it has not happened yet. It will, and will not tarry. This is just as a means of illustrating, but it does make the point – God’s Word will be fulfilled completely.”

 

The Lord is merciful and gracious. That is something for which all people should be grateful. When God does judge sin He judges it completely. He will not leave any of it. When He judged the earth the first time by flood every soul of man was destroyed, except for eight. Except for those on the ark every flying fowl died, and every walking fowl. Every beast of the field. It was tragic to say the least, but God will not tolerate sin.

That same thing is true in His people. The word He has spoken will come to pass. He judged the Nation of Israel and Judah. They had turned their back on Him, worshipped other gods, lived in iniquity, and offered children in the fire. His promise is, “Write the vision… For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”. Note the emphasis put within this promise of the fulfillment of this Word from God. It is an appointed time – God’s time not ours. At its appointed time it shall speak, and then, no one will call it a “Lie”. This is an assurance of the truth of God’s Word. Though it may seem long in coming, “Wait for it” – in other words with enduring patience keep on living your faith (“But the just shall live by his faith”). Just because the promise seems long in coming does not give us license to live in rebellion against God and His Word. It should be motivation to live by faith. Again the assurance is given “It will surely come”. The fulfillment of God’s promise; both for cleansing judgment and for renewing. And, once again, the assurance that it does not “Tarry”. It will be at God’s “appointed time” – no sooner, no later.

 

Many of God’s promises that have not yet been fulfilled for Israel will yet be fulfilled. Yet, there are many who want to continue to tell us that God is finished with Israel as a Nation, and that these promises are for the “New Israel” meaning the Church. These promises to Israel the Nation will be fulfilled. They are not just spiritual promise, but literal physical promises of returning to the land of promise. Of a literal King who will forever sit on the throne in Jerusalem. Those promises will come, and they will not tarry. It will come in God’s appointed time. In the meantime keep living by the faith God has given you.

The greatest promise of all is the return of Jesus Christ.  Before He died on the cross for the sins of the world Jesus said, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself…” (John 14:3).  On the cross He took the sins of the world, the sins of mankind upon Himself, became sin for us, was judged by His Father, enduring the wrath of sin that belonged to you and me, dying, forsaken by His Father, victorious over the enemy, was buried carrying our sins as far away as east is from west, and casting them into the deepest parts of the sea.  He then, after three days, rose bodily from the grave, then forty days later was seen ascending into the clouds, and those who witnessed were told, “…This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11).  When He comes He will not tarry.  Even so, Come Lord Jesus. 

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Medicine of Laughter

The Medicine of Laughter

“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? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 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. 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. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.” Genesis 17:17-21 (KJV).

Laughter is a good medicine for faith. There is a place for laughter – this is not one of them – although Abraham does it on his face before God. One thing we see here is the humanity of Abraham. God had promised him a son about 24 years before at the age of 75 years, now he is 99 and Sarah is 89 – wouldn’t you laugh at such a promise? This was actually the first time the promise had included Sarah as the one through whom the Messiah would come. Don’t we laugh at the promises of God sometimes? What about with our health? When God says trust Me through this and we rely more on our feelings and medicine, and the doctor, than we do on God. What about our money when God has given us a good place to start giving (tithing) and as God increases our income we say, “Well it is more now. I shouldn’t have to tithe”. God bless you. He could require you to go back to your previous financial lifestyle.

Laughter is a good medicine. Proverbs 17:22 – “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” When should we laugh in the presence of God? When we see His promises being fulfilled. When our hearts are overwhelmed with joy because of the Lord’s blessings in our lives. The time for Abraham’s and Sarah’s laughter would have been when Isaac was born and it seems that they did because they named him “Laughter” [Isaac]. Isaac, afterall, was the fulfillment of the promise.

“Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.” Romans 9:7-9 (KJV)

-by Tim A. Blankenship

A New Name

New Names

“And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 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.” Genesis 17:2-5 (KJV)

“And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 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.” Genesis 17:15-16 (KJV)

These verses belong together due to the name changes and the life changes of both Abraham and Sarah. We have been told that one day all who are in Christ will receive a new name (Revelation 2:17; 3:12).

Worship was not something that was unfamiliar with Abraham. Most of the places he settled in for any length of time had the altars he had built. The first one we have record of was when he first entered the land of Canaan. It was a place God came to him with promise (12:6-7). He built another altar between Bethel on the West and Hai (Ai of Joshua 7) on the East. Bethel is the “house of God”, and Ai is the flesh. The Spirit verses the flesh. We are, as Christians, constantly at battle against the flesh. We find ourselves in this world fighting, struggling, and sometimes feeling defeated, yet we are victors through our Lord Jesus Christ. When one comes to faith in God through His Son a new name is given. The worship of God for the believer is not unfamiliar. It is, in fact, an everyday occurance.

This is God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah that they are going to be the proud parents of a bustling baby boy. He will indeed be one to make them laugh. He is the son of promise. “In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Genesis 21:12; Romans 9:7). Thus, God has renewed the covenant He made with Abraham from the beginning. God has made all things new through His Son Jesus Christ.

When an individual comes to Jesus Christ, trusting Him and Him alone as their personal Lord and Savior, they are given a new name.  It is written down in heaven, and no one knows it at the present but the Lord.  It will be given to those who believe when we see Him face to face.  A New name that gives the glory to the Lord Almighty.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Results of Scheming

Results of Scheming

“And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. 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. 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.” Genesis 16:4-6 (KJV)

With the scheming of Sarai, and Abram’s submission to his wife’s direction Abram had now become part of pagan practice concerning marriage. This is the second Bible example of a polygamous marriage. With Lamech (descendent of Cain – chapter 4:19) being the first. It was, however, practiced by the people of the nations. The first mention of polygamy in the Bible is that of the son of Cain, Lamech (Genesis 4:19). It was ordained by God for a man to have one wife, and men have violated that principle, even faithful men.

When Abram had taken Hagar to wife, and she conceived there was disdain in her heart for her mistress. She was now the one who was bearing the child of the patriarch of nations. She was now the one who was seen as the mother of the “promised child”, but it just was not true. The promised child would indeed be the child of Abram and Sarai, not one of the flesh.

There was resentment, and surely bitterness in Sarai’s heart toward Hagar; and it even seems that there was some toward Abram, even though the idea was her own.

It is for good reason that God has ordained that a man be the “husband of one wife”; and not just “One at a time” as some try and say. Even if we did not have the Scriptures giving us the good principles of marriage, common sense tells us that two women with one husband is going to cause problems. Sarai puts the blame of the ordeal on Abram, and Abram tells her to do what she will with Hagar. Whether Sarai lashed her, spoke very harshly to her, or both is not known. All we have is that “Sarai dealt hardly with her”. Hagar, then realizing that she did not have the “upper hand” in this family situation, then, leaves, and probably in a rush.

In most family situations where there is disharmony it is because of human frailty caused by sin and the flesh. Each of us desire to have our way, and not trust the Lord in the situations we face. When there is a godly family where there is disharmony; it is always due to the involvement of breaking godly guidance, advice, and counsel – just stepping outside the will of God. Going beyond the promise; getting ahead of God; trying to rush God into our thinking and timing. These will always end in fighting, because of the fleshly extensions.

What is the answer for stopping frustrating, fighting, situations in families? Follow God’s plan which is for each individual to hear God’s Word, be obedient to His Word; and should you find yourself outside His will; get back in it by confession of your sins and repentance. There may be need for giving forgiveness, and receiving forgiveness from others.

LOOKING FOR JESUS – GENESIS (4)

“…For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”.

Revelation 19:10bWe have been Looking For Jesus in Genesis. This time we are going to see His appearance in two situations of two different people. The first is to Hagar. Some may ask, “You mean Hagar saw Jesus?” My answer will follow. The other one, of course, would be Abraham. That would not surprise us so much. Would it?

The appearance to Hagar takes place following the conception of Ishmael. Genesis 16. If you will remember the story Sarah became a little impatient waiting on God to fulfill His promise of a son to Abraham, so she offers her husband her servant as a wife to have a child. When Hagar conceives she really wants to “Rub it in” with Sarah. It almost seems that Sarah mistreats Hagar, maybe even to the point of beating her, and that drives her away. Hagar had basically become quite arrogant toward Sarah, and you can hardly blame Sarah for her behavior, yet you can see the weakness and danger of more than one wife.

When Hagar fled, she probably thought for her life, an “Angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water…” (v. 7). This is what has been termed a “Pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ”. It certainly seems to me to be Jesus before He ever became flesh and blood human. This person is certainly more than an angel of God. He speaks in verse ten saying, “I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.” (v. 10). No angel could say that. It must of necessity be Jesus Christ the Living Word.

Hagar is believed by many to be the mother of the Arabian people, the muslim people. If you will notice the words of Jesus to Hagar they are ones of comfort, encouragement, yet, rebuke as well. She has flaunted her pregnancy toward Sarah. She is told by the Lord to return to Sarah, “And submit thyself under her hands.” (Genesis 16:9). Hagar is given a promise for her child which would be born to her. In chapter 17 God promises Abraham that He will bless Ishmael in verse 20. “…Twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”

Why would Jesus reveal Himself to Hagar. Because he cared for her and the nation which would come from her and Abraham’s union. Maybe in seeing this we can stop to hope that maybe there is some hope for the people of Hagar. Only as they turn to the Lord Jesus with all their hearts.

The second appearance of Jesus we see comes as Abraham is at his “Tent door in the heat of the day”. He sees three men approaching. Genesis 18. He runs to meet them. I get the impression that Abraham knew who they were before He jumped up and ran to them. He bowed down before them and verse 3 says, “…My Lord, if now I have found favor in Thy sight, pass not away, I pray Thee, from Thy servant.” Abraham offers the “Men” refreshment and food. It is quite clear that one of these “Men” is the Lord Himself. Remember how the Lord reveals Himself in the Old Testament? When He is seen in a physical form, it must be the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus Christ. How would Abraham recognize God in physical form. He knows Him personally. When you know the Lord you know His appearing and appearance. You know His voice.

It was at this time that the Lord renewed His promise to Abraham, and this time Sarah heard the promise made even to her. They were going to have a son in their old age (Abraham was at this time 99 years of age and Sarah was 89), and is it any wonder that Sarah laughed. Thinking, “How can this be?”, and yet, hearing the Lord speak to them with the promise. It came from the Lord Himself, in Person, and physical form. “Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”(v.14). This was a word directly from the Lord, not from angels, not in a dream, but from the very mouth of the Lord Jesus.

“The men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.” (v. 16). The “men” headed toward Sodom on a mission of judgment. The Lord decides since Abraham is His friend, that He will reveal why the others are headed toward Sodom. In this passage of the chapter we see Abraham become an intercessor pleading for the cities of the plain. He ask the Lord to spare the city if there are only 10 righteous people in it. The Lord says He will. We know that there were not 10 righteous people in the cities, but God still dragged Abraham’s nephew Lot, Lot’s wife, and two daughters from the city before they were destroyed.

The compassion and faithfulness of the Lord is seen through out all of Scripture. We see the manifestation of Jesus in physical form even before He became flesh and dwelt among men. We see Him to be holy, righteous, All-knowing, All-powerful, All-present, and unchanging. He is the God of mercy, love and grace.