ABRAHAM PT. 4
    Abraham journeyed toward the south and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, sojourning in Gergar. He is still pretending Sarah is his sister and Abimelech, the king of Gergar sent for her. There follows an insight into the working of God who appears to Abimelech in a dream 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." Abamelech had not come near her and said to God "Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not to 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 to him "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." Abimelech got up in the morning and told his servants, who became afraid. He then calls Abraham, scolds him and asks him to explain, which he does. Abimelech then gives Abraham sheep, oxen, menservants and maidservants, and his wife back. He then tells Abraham to live anywhere in his land that pleased him. He tells Sarah he had given Abraham 1000 pieces of silver and reproves her. Abraham then prays to God, who heals Abimelech and his household whom the lord had made barren. When i read this chapter of Abraham's life, i am amazed at how Abraham can act deceitfully and Abimelech gets in trouble for it. Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and understand that satan is behind the scenes. If Abimelech had been allowed to be with Sarah, the promise of God to Abraham would have been compromised. Remember, the Lord had told him that Sarah would have Isaac the same year in which this happened. While we don't know whether she was already pregnant, the father of the child could easily have been questioned. Also, this story shows a truth not often mentioned. God talked with more people than just the patriarchs and prophets. While we don't know how many people He talked with, we do know He talked with Balaam. Personally, i believe He has probably talked with everyone who would take the time to listen and who could believe it possible. There is, and has always been a price to pay for His companionship however, because the better your relationship with God, the greater satan's hatred of you will be. It is funny that, nowadays the "experts" think its all right ,If marginally, to talk to God, but if He talks back your crazy as a loon. Seems like it would be more crazy to talk to a God who never answers!
   Finally in chapter 21 Sarah bears Abraham a son at the time God had said in the way God had said, and Abraham calls him Isaac and circumcises him on the eighth day, as God had said. Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 years old when Isaac was born. There is nothing recorded for a while until the time that the child was weaned (no less than 18 months to two years at least) at which time Abraham throws a party. Ishmael makes fun of Isaac and Sarah tells Abraham to get rid of him and his mother. Abraham is greaved with the thought, but the Lord tells him to listen to Sarah and promises to keep His promise to Abraham concerning Ishmael. The last time Abraham listened to Sarah he got Ishmael and now the Lord tells him to listen as she wants him to send them away. This should teach us to listen to our spouses, husband or wife, but to seek the wisdom of God above all. Abraham takes bread and water and sends them away the next morning. They leave and wondered in the wilderness of Beersheba until the water is gone. Hagar then takes Ishmael and puts him under a shrub to die and walks away so she doesn't have to watch, then sits down. Verse 17 "" GodAnd God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to 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 of him a great nation. then opened her eyes and she sees a well. Thus they are saved and he grows to be an archer and marries an Egyptian.
   Abimelech brings his chief captain Phichol and meets with Abraham, telling him they recognize that God is with him in all that he does and seeking to make an agreement of peace. Abraham agrees to keep peace with him and reproves him for a well that Abimelech's servants had taken away. Abraham gives Abimelech sheep and oxen and they make a covenant. Abraham then takes seven ewe lambs and gives them to Abimelech as a sign that Abraham had dug this well at Beersheba. Abraham then plants a grove and calls upon the name of the Lord, the everlasting God. Again it does not record a response from God. Verse 34; "And Abraham sojourned in the Philistine's land many days."
   I would guess that by this time Abraham thought his trials were over. Isaac the promised child had finally come, Hagar and Ishmael were gone and he had peace with his neighbors. Then God spoke to him again. The Lord told him "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." Wow, you wait for 25 years for this promised son and just when he is growing up the Lord demands a sacrifice. Can you imagine the thoughts that went through Abraham's mind that night. He must have wondered if he heard God right or if this was what God meant when He said all the families of the earth would be blessed through him, after all great , great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather Noah must have told him about the snake in the garden and how the Lord had told Eve that her seed would crush the serpent's head. Maybe this was what He meant, maybe a sacrifice was required to restore the relationship between man and God. Surely the Lord would raise Isaac again. Who, but God and Abraham, knows what his thoughts were, but whatever they were, Abraham woke up in the morning and obeyed. It's just a guess but i don't think many just people would trust God enough to wait for a promise 25 years and so readily give it back much less if that promise were his cherished son. Maybe Abraham's faith in God and his sense of responsibility to follow God's plan was greater than his love of anything in this present age. Abraham takes his son and two servants and the wood for the sacrifice and they are on there way. On the THIRD DAY Abraham sees the place far off and leaves the ass and tells the servants to wait while he and Isaac go and worship and then THEY would return to them. Here follows one of the clearest pictures of the future that God ever gave one of his prophets. Abraham takes the wood and puts it on his son to carry up the mountain. He also takes fire and a knife. Isaac asks Abraham where the lamb for the sacrifice is and Abraham replies that God would provide Himself a lamb. When they get to the appointed place, Abraham builds an alter, lays the wood in order, and binds Isaac, then lays him upon the alter. Much has been made of Abraham's obedience but tell me when the last time you saw a one hundred plus year old man catch a boy or young man old enough to carry this much wood. Isaac could have resisted if he had wished but as much as Abraham trusted God, he must have trusted Abraham. Just as Abraham is about to kill his son, an angel calls to him out of heaven and says "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me." Abraham looks up and there is a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. Abraham, no doubt after he begins to breathe again, takes the ram and offers the sacrifice instead of his son. Gen. 22;14 "And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah- jireh -Jehovah will see (to it)-: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen." Many people believe this mountain is the temple mount in Jerusalem. That may be but personally, i believe it is Calvary where approximately 2000 years later this scene would be fulfilled with God and His Son. The angel calls out to Abraham the second time and says "By myself I have sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; BECAUSE THOU HAST OBEYED MY VOICE." Abraham then returns and dwells at Beersheba.
4/23/01
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