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First in a Four Part Series from the Life of Abraham June 3, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Abraham, Faith, Genesis, Sermons.
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EVALUATING GOD

GENESIS 11:27-21:7

What are the most important traits you want in a friend? A lot of money and a generous spirit? A listening ear? Self-sacrifice? There are a number of possible answers to that question. We want to look at the friendship between Abraham and God.

EVALUATING GOD 

We often evaluate others by their friends. What we want to do this morning is evaluate God by His friend, Abraham. We do not want to just pick out a little bit of the story. We want to look at the twenty-five year long friendship between Abraham and God and evaluate God by His friend, Abraham.

The first time we meet Abram in Genesis 11:27-12:3, he has received two things: a command from God to move thousands of miles away to a different land which God would show him and a promise from God to make of Abram a great nation in whom all the world would be blessed. In obedience, he and much of his family including his father moved to Haran. After living a while in Haran, his father died and Abram at the age of seventy-five went to Canaan where God visually appeared to Abram in 12:7 and told him, “You’re here! This is the land that I am going to give to your descendants.” There was just one hitch, Abram did not have a son.

THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

I can imagine that after some time, Abram began to wonder if he had made the right decision. At that time (Genesis 15:1ff) God appeared to Abram in a vision and assured him that the promise would be kept through His biological son. Abram still did not have a biological son. His heir was a servant of his named Eliezer. Abram was getting on up in years. His wife Sarai was getting up in years. Verse 6 tells us that Abram believed God anyway and that it was accounted to him for righteousness. God then said, “By the way, not only are you going to have a son who is going to become a nation like the sand of the sea and the stars of the heaven but I am going to give you this land.” Interestingly, Abram believed God about the son and the great nation but when God promised him the land he asked, “How do I know?” It is at that time that God with great ceremony established a covenant with Abram and told him what his earthly inheritance was to be.

In Genesis 16, we find that Abram still had a problem. Eleven years after obeying God’s command he still did not have a son. He was 86 years old and his wife did something that appears very loving but was very foolish. She gave Abram a night with her servant girl. A child was born – Ishmael. For thirteen years, it seems that Abram thought that perhaps he had solved God’s problem! He had a son. An angel had appeared to Hagar, Ishmael’s mother and had told her that this son would become a great nation.

ABRAHAM’S FIRST MIRACLE 

Thirteen years later at age 99, according to Genesis 17 God appeared again to Abram, who He renamed Abraham. God told Abraham three things concerning the promised son: first, that Ishmael was not the promised son; secondly, that Sarai, now called Sarah, would be the mother of this promised son; and thirdly, that it would happen in about a year. At that time, Abraham would be 100 years old and Sarah would be 90. Abraham fell on his face before God and laughed in his heart at the impossibility of the situation. (Genesis 17:1-21:7 covers approximately a year in the life of Abraham). Now when this story was first written down, it was written by Moses for the children of Israel. They had just escaped from Egypt as a new nation. They needed to know God’s power. God revealed His power through the ten plagues and the drowning of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea. They also needed to know how God wanted them to live and we find that in the giving of the Ten Commandments. What they also needed though, as much as the knowledge of the power of God and the law of God, was a revelation of the plan of God. That is what the story of Abraham is all about. God has a plan for Abraham, for Israel, and for the world.

GOD DROPS IN! 

Sometime shortly thereafter according to Genesis 18, God appears for the third time to Abraham. We have a picture here of the relationship of Abraham and God that has developed over a period of 25 years. Twenty-five years of promises but no fulfillment. Twenty-five years of waiting and believing God but seeing nothing to show for their faith. Twenty-five years of following God’s plan and not seeing where it is that God is taking him. Twenty-five years of occasionally getting pertinent information from God, followed by long years of silence. Before when God appeared to Abraham, it appears that he immediately recognized God but this time, God comes thinly disguised as man. Abraham, as was customary in that day, shows great hospitality to the three men who have come to visit him. It is not 100% clear when God reveals himself to Abraham but by verse 10 of this chapter it is pretty certain that God has come to visit Abraham.

God has come to do two things. He wants to confront Sarah (18:9-15). She is doubting. You would also if you were ninety years old and your husband came to you and said, “I believe God wants us to start a family.” Even if you believed in the power of God to pull such a thing off, you might doubt the wisdom of God in such a matter. Sarah is not, however, doubting God’s wisdom. She is doubting His power, she is doubting His ability and so she laughs in disbelief. Her response was not any different than that of Abraham but God felt the need to confront Sarah about her disbelief.

“In Genesis 21:1–7 we find Sarah’s laughter of joy at her son’s birth replacing her laughter of disbelief (18:12 ). God, of course, got the last laugh when Abraham followed God’s command (17:19) and named the boy ‘Isaac,’ which means ‘laughter.’ The delightful pun highlights God’s faithfulness to accomplish promises even when He seems to be slow in doing it.” (Steve Mathewson)

GOD AND ABRAHAM TALK PRIVATELY.

God then sends the other two fellows off and has a private conference with Abraham. He says, I want to let Abraham know what I am going to do to Sodom and Gomorrah. He has family there. He has a nephew, Lot, that also believes in me and Abraham is not only an important part of my plan but his character is such that I can surely entrust him with some vital information about my plans for Sodom and Gomorrah. God was not disappointed. Abraham began to worship or serve God in prayer. Abraham showed hospitality when he fixed a great feast for his guests. Now he is showing humility before God in pleading for the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is interesting that he is not pleading just for Lot or for Lot’s family. He is interceding for cities whose names are synonymous with wickedness. Abraham knew His God. He knew the compassion and the mercy of God. What he did not know was how vexed with wickedness Lot’s family had become.

This is the story of the friendship between Abraham and God. For twenty-five years God has been visiting Abraham off and on. Abraham was a friend of God.

EVALUATION #1 – JEHOSHAPHAT 

Hundreds of years later we find an evaluation of God through His friendship with Abraham in 2 Chronicles 20. Jehoshaphat is king of Judah and the armies of three nations have come out against him and his people. The Bible says…

5 Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,

6 and said: “O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?

7 Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?

8 “And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying,

9 ‘If disaster comes upon us––sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine––we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’

10 “And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir––whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them––

11 “here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.

12 “O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

13 Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the LORD.

Jehoshaphat had learned two things about God from His friendship with Abraham. He does not break His promises and he has the power to fulfill every promise that he makes. The next day they went down against the three nations with an army. In the front lines of the army were not the generals or the best soldiers but the sweetest singers, singing “Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever.” When they got down to the battlefield, they found the battle was over. The Ammonites and the Moabites had turned on the army of Mount Seir and after they had slaughtered that army, they destroyed each other. The kingdome of Juday saw that God has the power to fulfill His promises.

NO FEAR WHEN CONFIDENT IN GOD

What are you facing that can only be handled through the power of God? What promise is there in Scripture that you refuse to grab hold of because you have no confidence in the power of God? He is able. There is one other passage in the Old Testament that speaks of Abraham as the friend of God. It is found in Isaiah 41:8-10 “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, The descendants of Abraham My friend. You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions, And said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

What are you afraid of? If you have trusted Christ as Savior, there is no reason to fear. If you have a relationship with Him, He will uphold you by His power, He will fulfill every promise He makes to you.

DID GOD FULFILL HIS PROMISE? 

God made a promise to Abraham. He promised that all the nations would be blessed through his seed. Galatians 3 explains how that became a reality, through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Ga 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” {#Ge 12:3 18:18 22:18 26:4 28:14}16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” {#Ge 12:7 13:15 24:7} who is Christ.

You can partake today in the promise to Abraham through faith in Christ. Would you become an heir of the promise today?

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Comments»

1. ahmedinajad - June 4, 2007

READ THE FOLLOWING PASSAGES FROM THE BIBLE AS IT HAS IMPLICATIONS ON THE WAR AGAINST TERROR/ISLAM and the claim of Israel that god gave them the land. If the child is an infant than the Judeo-Christian version becomes null and void and we are wasting our time and resources i.e. we could save trillions of dollars and create a more peaceful world rather than fighting against Islam the religion of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).
The COVENANT with Abraham and his DESCENDANTS is central to JUDAISM/CHRISTIANITY/ISLAM.
Please note this is not a competition between faiths but an attempt to decipher fact from fiction.
Genesis 21:14 Contemporary English version se below link
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=GENESIS%2021;&version=46;
Early the next morning Abraham gave Hagar an animal skin full of water and some bread. Then he put the boy on her shoulder and sent them away.
GENESIS 16:16
And Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ish’mael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ish’mael to Abram.
GENESIS 21:5
Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
At Genesis 22 Abraham had only 2 sons others came later. The Quran mentions that it was Ishmael that was sacrificed hence the reference in genesis 22:2 your only son can only mean someone has substituted Ishmael names for Isaac!!
BY DOING SOME KINDERGARTEN ARITHMATIC USING ARABIC NUMBERS (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10)
NOT ROMAN NUMERALS (I, II, III,IV,V,VI,VII,VIII,IX,X) NB no concept of zero in roman numerals.
100 years old – 86 years old = 14 ADD 3 YEARS FOR ISSAC’S WEANING
THAT WOULD MAKE ISHMAEL 17 YEARS OLD IN GENESIS 21:14-21
BUT IT IS A DESCRIPTION OF AN INFANT.
Carefully read several times the above passage and then tell me the mental picture you get between the mother child interactions what is the age of the child. If the mental picture is that of a 17 year old child being carried on the shoulder of his mother, being physically placed in the bush, crying like a baby, mother having to give him water to drink, than the Islamic viewpoint is null and void. Why is there no verbal communications between mother and (17 YEAR OLD) child?
GENESIS: 21:14 – 21
So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the (17 YEAR OLD) child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-Sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the (17 YEAR OLD) child under one of the bushes. Then she went, and sat down over against him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Let me not look upon the death of the (17 YEAR OLD) child.” And as she sat over against him, the (17 YEAR OLD) child lifted up his voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the (17 YEAR OLD) lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the (17 YEAR OLD) lad where he is. Arise, lift up the (17 YEAR OLD) lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the (17 YEAR OLD) lad a drink. And God was with the (17 YEAR OLD) lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
The age of Ishmael at this stage is crucial to the Abrahamic faiths. If he is 17 than the JUDEO/CHRISTIAN point of view about the Abrahamic covenant is correct. This has devastating theological consequences of unimaginable proportions.
This makes the conflict between Ishmael and Isaac and there descendants a work of fiction. I would strongly suggest it is clear cut case of racial discrimination and nothing to do with god almighty. The scribes have deliberately tried to make Isaac the only son and legitimate heir to the throne of Abraham??
Please can you rationally explain this anomaly?
I have asked many persons including my nephews and nieces – unbiased minds with no religious backgrounds but with reasonable command of the English language about this passage and they all agree that the child in the passage is an infant.
AS THE DESCRIPTION OF ISHMAEL IN GENESIS 21:14-21 IS THAT OF AN INFANT IT CAN BE ASSUMED SOMEONE HAS MOVED THIS PASSAGE FROM AN EARLIER PART OF SCRIPTURE!!! AND HAVE GOT THERE KNICKERS IN A TWIST.
For background info on the future religion of mankind see the following websites:
http://www.islamicity.com/Mosque/Muhammad_Bible.HTM
(MUHAMMAD IN THE BIBLE)
http://bible.islamicweb.com/
http://www.islamicity.com/
http://www.islamonline.net/english/index.shtml
http://www.islamalways.com/
http://ifamericansknew.com/
http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/MB_BQS/default.htm
(BIBLE, QURAN and SCIENCE)
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/
ANTI-WAR
http://www.harunyahya.com/
(EVOLUTION DECEIPT)
http://www.barnabas.net/
http:/www.answering-christianity.com/ac.htm
HOLY QURAN CHAPTER 37 verses 101 – 122
101. So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.
102. Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!” (The son) said: “O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!”
103. So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah., and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice),
104. We called out to him “O Abraham!
105. “Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!” – thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
106. For this was obviously a trial-
107. And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice:
108. And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times:
109. “Peace and salutation to Abraham!”
110. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
111. For he was one of our believing Servants.
112. And We gave him the good news of Isaac – a prophet,- one of the Righteous.
113. We blessed him and Isaac: but of their progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously do wrong, to their own souls.
114. Again (of old) We bestowed Our favour on Moses and Aaron,
115. And We delivered them and their people from (their) Great Calamity;
116. And We helped them, so they overcame (their troubles);
117. And We gave them the Book which helps to make things clear;
118. And We guided them to the Straight Way.
119. And We left (this blessing) for them among generations (to come) in later times:
120. “Peace and salutation to Moses and Aaron!”
121. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
122. For they were two of our believing Servants.
ISHMAEL IS THE FIRST BORN AND GOOD NEWS OF ISSAC DOES NOT APPEAR UNTIL AFTER THE SACRIFICE?????
Therefore the claim that god gave the land to Israel is destroyed without the need of any WMD’s.
HADITH
Volume 4, Book 55, Number 583:
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
The first lady to use a girdle was the mother of Ishmael. She used a girdle so that she might hide her tracks from Sarah. Abraham brought her and her son Ishmael while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka’ba under a tree on the spot of Zam-zam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Mecca, nor was there any water So he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ishmael’s mother followed him saying, “O Abraham! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her Then she asked him, “Has Allah ordered you to do so?” He said, “Yes.” She said, “Then He will not neglect us,” and returned while Abraham proceeded onwards, and on reaching the Thaniya where they could not see him, he faced the Ka’ba, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayers:
‘O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Kaba at Mecca) in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.’ (14.37) Ishmael’s mother went on suckling Ishmael and drinking from the water (she had).
When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ishmael) tossing in agony; She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached the Marwa mountain where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between Safa and Marwa) seven times.”
The Prophet said, “This is the source of the tradition of the walking of people between them (i.e. Safa and Marwa). When she reached the Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, ‘O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?” And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam-zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it.”
The Prophet added, “May Allah bestow Mercy on Ishmael’s mother! Had she let the Zam-zam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.” The Prophet further added, “Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people.’ The House (i.e. Kaba) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left. She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child, as they (i.e. the Jurhum people) were coming through the way of Kada’. They landed in the lower part of Mecca where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said, ‘This bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.’ They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water, and returned to inform them of the water. So, they all came (towards the water).” The Prophet added, “Ishmael’s mother was sitting near the water. They asked her, ‘Do you allow us to stay with you?” She replied, ‘Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.’ They agreed to that.” The Prophet further said, “Ishmael’s mother was pleased with the whole situation as she used to love to enjoy the company of the people. So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there. The child (i.e. Ishmael) grew up and learnt Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up, and when he reached the age of puberty they made him marry a woman from amongst them.

2. roberttalley - June 5, 2007

“The age of Ishmael at this stage is crucial to the Abrahamic faiths. If he is 17 than the JUDEO/CHRISTIAN point of view about the Abrahamic covenant is correct. This has devastating theological consequences of unimaginable proportions.
This makes the conflict between Ishmael and Isaac and there descendants a work of fiction. I would strongly suggest it is clear cut case of racial discrimination and nothing to do with god almighty. The scribes have deliberately tried to make Isaac the only son and legitimate heir to the throne of Abraham??
Please can you rationally explain this anomaly?
I have asked many persons including my nephews and nieces – unbiased minds with no religious backgrounds but with reasonable command of the English language about this passage and they all agree that the child in the passage is an infant.
AS THE DESCRIPTION OF ISHMAEL IN GENESIS 21:14-21 IS THAT OF AN INFANT IT CAN BE ASSUMED SOMEONE HAS MOVED THIS PASSAGE FROM AN EARLIER PART OF SCRIPTURE!!!”
Ahmedinijab,
I would agree with what you have written about the importance of the accuracy of the Hebrew Scriptures. If Ishmael is a teenager as the passage says, then Islam cannot be true because Isaac was the only covenant child of Abraham.
If on the other hand, as you claim, the Hebrew Scriptures have been rewritten to fit Jewish claims, why would they mention Ishmael at all? Isn’t it easier just to drop him out of history than to leave a rival nation for the land of the Abrahamic covenant?
In fact, how can you be sure there is an Abraham based on the Hebrew Scriptures? If they are inaccurate, then you can only depend on Mohammed’s word. What if Mohammed was wrong? Can you be sure that what he says is true? How can you be sure?
Let me know. I would love to hear from you again although next time I might not give you so much space. Depends on what you say.
Robert


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