ABRAHAM PT.3
    When Abram was 99 years old the Lord appeared to him and said, "I am the Almighty God walk before me and be thou perfect 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 (past tense). And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish  my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee IN THEIR GENERATIONS for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee." (Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph would all meet God in one way or another. We don't know about those between Joseph and Moses but Joshua, Gideon, Samson, Samuel and many more would have a personal encounter with the God of Abraham,  who is God Almighty. Could it be the term in their generations implies that God's desire is to have a personal relationship with individuals in every generation and that no generation is established until this is accomplished?) "And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." (wow, what a heritage to leave your children.) verse 9 And God said unto Abraham, "Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep between me and YOU and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and YOU. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in thy flesh for an everlasting covenant." (If a thousand years is as a day with the Lord, and we are entering the seventh day, maybe the beginning of the eighth, a thousand years from now give or take, will be some type of circumcision.) And the uncircumcised man child whose FLESH of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from HIS people; he hath broken my covenant." 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." Now the Lord unfolds more of His plan and for the first time, makes it clear that Sarah will be the mother of the promised child, and Abraham's reaction is. Verses 17,18 he falls on his face and laughs, then questions God in his heart. Abraham then asks God to consider Ishmael. Just a thought but maybe the Lord doesn't reveal ALL of His plans for our lives at the beginning because we need to grow into it, because it's impossible for us to do. Maybe God wants to do the impossible with us so anyone who is looking for truth can observe and come to Him. Just a thought, think about it. God's reaction to Abraham's request, "Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed, and thou shalt call his name Isaac (laughter): 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." And He left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.  Abraham obeyed God that same day and every male under his authority was circumcised. Abraham was 99, Ishmael was 13.
   Later that same year the Lord appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre, which is Hebron. As he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day, Gen. 18;2 "And he lift up his eyes and looked and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the ground." Abraham instructs his wife and servants to prepare a meal and has water brought to wash their feet. This is an amazing account of an encounter with the Lord and His companions. First of all they were obviously in a human or at least human like form because they ate a meal.  Sarah and Abraham's servants also must have seen them or they would have thought Abraham had been out in the sun too long. They also were there long enough for a calf to be caught, dressed, and cooked and then to have a meal. Probably they were there 1/2 a day give or take because they came to Abraham in the heat of the day and reached Sodom at evening. Not many people before Jesus had a face to face talk with the Lord, or even with Angels who manifested in the flesh. An interesting observation here about the Lord and His manifestations. In this instance, in Joshua 5;13-15, and when Jesus appeared in His resurrected body, people show respect and even reverence to these flesh and bone manifestations. How different when the Lord takes, through vision, Isaiah, Daniel, and John to see His glorified form, these all fell at His feet and required assistance before they could continue.
     After they ate they asked Abraham where Sarah was. Abraham tells them in the tent and he responds "I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and lo , Sarah thy wife shall have a son. Sarah, standing in the tent door hears and 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 ANYTHING 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." Sarah denied her laughter and the Lord told her yes you did, as any good father would. The men then rose up and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to bring them on their way. Gen. 18;17 "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." The men then went toward Sodom, but Abraham stood before the Lord and became an intercessor. Abraham asks the Lord "Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked," and begins to negotiate with the Lord about how many righteous it would take to save the cities, arriving at ten righteous. Abraham also says "That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee; shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" There are a lot of nuggets of truth in verses 17-22 and not all of them fit current popular understanding of God so rather than speculate or rationalize away a portion of God's record of Himself and His interaction with His creation, i will simply let the word speak  for itself. I will point out that Abraham displays a trait that several of the Lord's choice servants have. Abraham stands before the Lord and pleads for the life of others, sinners even, putting his most precious possession on the line, namely his relationship with the living God. Moses, in Exodus 32;32, tells God when Israel made the golden calf "Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin-; and if not, BLOT ME, I PRAY THEE, OUT OF THY BOOK WHICH THOU HAST WRITTEN." After Israel asks for a king and realize they have rejected God's rule of them in doing so (1st. Samuel 12) Samuel says "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.". Also read Eze. 22;30, and we don't know but perhaps this was the ministry of Simeon and Anna, who, when Jesus was 8 days old knew more about Him and His purpose than most believers do today. God has a special place in His heart for those who love others and show it by putting their wants and needs, or even safety aside to help them.
    The two angels who were with the Lord arrive at Sodom at even and Lot was sitting at the gate of the city. When Lot chose to go to the plains of Sodom, He had so many cattle and animals that he and Abraham could not live near each other. While i'm not sure how they ran ranches back then, nowadays ranchers live in the country, not the city. It would not be inconsistent with the nature of sin to assume that Lot, in being so close to Sodom had his goods stolen, or swindled from him. It would not be beyond the realm of possibility to believe that he may have traded his goods for temporary pleasure, but whatever happened you don't raise stock in the city.         Being in the proximity of such sin had reduced Lot's wealth enough that he now lived in the very city of sin itself, and by the next sunset would reduce it to what he could carry. That is the nature of sin, it always reduces, always subtracts, always seeks to imprison and eventually destroy. While i would be the last person on earth to say that anybody should come to and obey God so they can get rich, in fact Jesus said woe to you who are rich for you have received your compensation, never the less a person who obeys the principals God has given us and lives in a place where his labor is not stolen from him cannot help but prosper. Thank God a day is coming when His children will sow and reap and nobody will spend all day trying to devise a way to get it from him. Anyway, whatever degree Lot did or did not participate with sin in Sodom, he still had enough righteousness left in him to be concerned with the welfare of these two strangers even if it was risky business in Sodom, And it was. I wonder if Lot had not compelled the angels to stay at his house after they declined, would they have later compelled him and his family to leave the city? Another point of interest here is this. Several years before (at least 12) Abraham had rescued Lot and the citizens of Sodom, and the Melchizedek blessed him in the name of the Lord. We know that they were already gross sinners (Gen. 13;13) so why would the Lord, through Melchizedek, bless Abraham then, and destroy these cities now? Perhaps sin had progressed to the point in them that they could no longer tolerate anyone that was pure to be around them without forcing corruption on them. I wonder if this is what the Lord has in mind when he says a peoples iniquity is not yet full. If this is true, i fear for my country, because these people are too close to that  point. I don't mean to imply that America is a nation of sodomites, though there are plenty in America, but Sodomy is not the only sin that a person can be imprisoned by. Any sin that has enough control over you to make you avoid or hate the person who stands for the word of God, that sin has you. If you are reading this and can identify with that, ask yourself this question. Is this sin so much fun that your willing to trade eternity for a few more years of it? If not, repent (change your mind and turn around) and believe that God can set you free in Jesus name, and if you are serious, and ask Him, He will set you free. If you just want to play games with God, don't bother, you'll just waste your time.
   Back to the story, Lot invites the angels to spend the night in his home and after refusing at first, relent when Lot greatly compels them. Lot then makes them a feast including, interestingly enough, unleavened bread. Before they lay down for the night the people of Sodom surround Lot's house and demand to have their way with the angels (though they think they are men). Lot goes out to them and says "I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye unto them as is good in your eyes; only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof."  Their response, "This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now we will deal worse with thee, than with them." Lot pleads with them to do the right thing and it seems, even way back then, the only verse they can quote is judge not. Kind of scary isn't it! Anyway they press in on Lot and intend to break down the door but the angels reach out and pull Lot in, then strike the Sodomites blind. The angels then tell Lot their mission to destroy the city and that he should take his relatives and goods and leave the area. Lot went to tell his sons in law and they thought it was a joke. When morning came the angels hurried Lot and said " Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; LEST THOU BE CONSUMED IN THE INIQUITY OF THE CITY." When they delayed still, the angels laid hold of them and brought them outside the city, "THE LORD BEING MERCIFUL UNTO THEM" And tell them "escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain , lest thou be consumed." Lot then negotiates a compromise to flee to a little city named Zoar. The angels relent and say "Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither." When they get there, the Lord rains fire and brimstone (sulfur) out of heaven and destroys Sodom, Gomorrah, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the CITIES, and that which grew upon the ground, and Lots wife looked back and became a pillar of salt.
   Abraham got up early that morning and looked toward the plain "and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace." (Gen. 15;17?)  So "God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt." Gen. 19;29. It would seem, by reading the rest of chapter 19 that it was easier to get Lot and family out of the city of sin than it was to get the sin of the city out of Lot and his remaining family. Just a quick observation here, both of this time and now days. Children who grow up in a permissive atmosphere will, given the right circumstances, imitate what they have seen. You can tell them no all you want but if what they see and what they hear are two different things, confusion is the best they can achieve unless the Lord intervenes. Even then they are probably in for a struggle just to break even. If you are one of those struggling to break even, let this thought encourage you. Do what is right, what God said is right in His word and give a better start to your children. Start your own Abraham story and leave the future to him, who knows (besides God) what sort of legacy you'll leave. By the way, neither Abraham, you, me, or anybody else for that matter looked very good when we started.
4/9/01
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