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Posts Tagged ‘Abram’

When Faith is Stumbling Faith

abram egyptNow there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.” So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house. He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels. But the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your wife; take her and go your way.” So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had. (Genesis 12:10-20)

Although the text doesn’t say so specifically, some Bible commentators believe that Abram should not have gone down to Egypt to escape the famine. They believe Abram should have remained in the land of promise, and that the LORD would have somehow provided for him there. They point out that later in the Bible’s history, Egypt became a picture of the world; therefore, for Abram to go to Egypt in a time of trouble was tantamount to going to the world for help instead of going to God Himself.

This is a tenable point of view. After all, God called Abram to Canaan, not to Egypt. And, Abram being in Egypt did not work out too well. On top of what happens in Genesis 12, they brought an Egyptian slave girl back to Canaan with them, and that resulted in further complications for this family (Genesis 16).

Nevertheless, Abram ended up in Egypt. Then another problem was created, stemming from the fact that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. To have her, the Egyptians could very well have killed Abram. So Abram concocted a plan which involved the telling of a half-truth. Sarai was indeed Abram’s half-sister, as they had the same father (Genesis 20:12). But the fact remained: she was primarily Abram’s wife. Thus, his half-truth was really a lie.

Pharaoh had no idea he had been lied to. God’s mercy kept him from sinning against Him and against Abram, although it required radical measures (the plagues against Pharaoh’s household) to get the king’s attention. Apparently, that was what Pharaoh needed. Later, ten plagues were required to convince another Pharaoh that he should let Israel go away from Egypt.

While being merciful to Pharaoh, the LORD was also being merciful to Abram. He too was kept from egregious sin … he was kept from sinning against the LORD, and from sinning against his wife by putting her into an immoral and potentially dangerous situation.

For Further Review

1.  Have you ever relied upon the world (1 John 2:15-16) in a situation wherein you actually should have relied on the Lord? What was the outcome? What did you learn from that situation?

2.  Why is a half-truth actually a lie? Why is it morally wrong to lie?

3.  Cite an example in your own life when the Lord kept you from committing a horrible sin. Now consider Matthew 6:13. Why is it important to pray that prayer every day? 

 

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Delayed Obedience

tumblr_lzw15b7cMP1r0j9r8o1_500And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran. (Genesis 11:31-32)

Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)

Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. One of the three, Shem, has a genealogy that proceeds all the way to Abram (later, Abraham) and eventually to Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-17).

 

Abram would become the friend of God, the progenitor of the nation of Israel, and the father of faith for Jews and Gentiles. Needless to say, Abram was a very important human being, with a colossal calling upon his life.

Because of God’s call upon his life, it was necessary for Abram to separate himself … he was commanded by God to remove himself from his immediate surroundings and culture (from Ur of the Chaldeans), and even from his own family. Nothing should get in the way of the LORD’s will for this man. Abram needed to belong wholly to the LORD. If Abram were not wholly His, he could not discover or fulfill God’s purposes. God would have to look elsewhere for a yielded vessel to use.

It is a curious thing, but important to notice, that Abram does not immediately obey the command to separate from his family and father’s house. Putting the Genesis history together with the history recorded in Acts 7:2-4, we discover that these promises and commands were given to Abram before he left the land of the Chaldeans. So when Abram waited for his father Terah to die before he left Haran, his obedience was a delayed obedience.

This delayed obedience could have cost Abram dearly, but because God is faithful, merciful, and gracious, His promises to this man remained intact. For God, delayed obedience is better than no obedience at all (see Matthew 21:28-31a).

For Further Review

1.  Have you discovered God’s call upon your life? If not, what will you need to do in order to discover it?

2.  How important is it to you that God has placed a call upon your life? What hindrances have you discovered that threaten to keep you from God’s best for your life?

3.  Is there anything that God has commanded you to do that you’ve not yet obeyed? Name it, admit it to God, and then ask Him for wisdom and strength that you might do it. For greater accountability, share these things with a mentor, relative, or friend.

The Birth and Early Life of Abraham

March 26, 2014 3 comments

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This is the genealogy of Shem … then Shem begot Arphaxad, then Arphaxad begot Salah, then Salah begot Eber, then Eber begot Peleg, then Peleg begot Reu, then Reu begot Serug, then Serug begot Nahor, then Nahor begot Terah, then Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran. (Genesis 11:10-27)

And Haran died before his father Terah in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans. Then Abram and Nahor took wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and the father of Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she had no child. And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out with them from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan; and they came to Haran and dwelt there. So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran. (Genesis 11:28-32)

It was time. It was God’s time to continue with His plan of salvation by picking out an individual who would be the father of faith for all who would be justified in God’s sight. This continuation started with Shem, the father of the Semitic peoples. His family line continued nine generations to Abram, and Abram (“high father”) would become Abraham (“father of a multitude)—the father of the Hebrew and Arab people.

Abraham is a huge Biblical figure, being the father of faith to all who believe—whether Jew or Gentile (Romans 4:16; Galatians 3:7-9). Ultimately, Abraham’s family line would continue all the way to Jesus Christ, the Hebrew Messiah and Savior of the whole world (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38; 1 John 2:2).

Looking at a graphic of the overall lifespans from Noah to Jacob’s son Joseph, one can see that Shem was alive for Abraham’s entire lifetime … due to the fact that Shem lived to be 600, while Abraham lived to be “only” 175. Another interesting chronological note: Noah also was still alive by the time Abraham was born! What this shows is that there was contact from generation to generation in those days. Therefore, God’s truth and deeds could easily be preserved and furthered.

God still works His plan through willing human beings. Shem showed fear and respect for God by covering his father Noah rather than exposing him as Ham had done, and God used him. Abraham lived a godly life and was obviously a willing vessel, bringing glory to God (Matthew 5:16).

For Further Review

1.  Consider the historical events leading up to Abraham … the creation, the fall, the beginnings of civilization, the universal spread of depravity, the flood, the earth’s repopulation, the tower of Babel, God’s judgment which brought the confusion of languages and the geographical spread of the world’s population. Spend some time meditating on the big picture of the mercy and patience of God. Praise Him for His longsuffering nature.

2.  Why was Abraham an important historical figure? What does his life mean in relationship to plan of salvation for the whole world?

3.  Have you ordered your life that you may be a willing and available vessel for God’s purposes? What can you do to ensure that God can use you?