Lucia's Blog: 2013-12-01
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

ABRAHAM THE PATRIARCH - PART II



After 10 years of God's promise to Abram about a son, Sarai's desperation reached a peak.  She offered her Egyptian maid Hagar to Abram hoping that she would bear him a child in her place.  This was a common practice in those days.  It is found in the Sumerian law code from around 1800 B.C. and an Old Assyrian Marriage contract from around the same time.  According to their customs, the child born this way would belong to Abram and Sarai and not the servant.  Hagar became pregnant. She began to look with contempt, Genesis 16:4.   It was then that Abram gave Sarai permission to do with Hagar as she wished, "But Abram said to Sarai, behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.  So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence."  Genesis 16:6.  Sarai dealt harshly with Hagar, and she fled from her.  An angel of the LORD appeared to Hagar as she was resting beside a spring in the desert.  Did you know this is the first appearance of an angel in Scripture?  Here, we see a loving God who cares for the weak and helpless.  The angel told Hagar to return to Sarai and SUBMIT to her, but at the same time comforted her with the promise that she would bear a son named Ishmael and his descendants would be too numerous to count.  Hagar gave birth to Abram's first son.  His name was Ishmael, chosen by the Lord, meaning "God hears."  Abram was  86 years old when he was born.

Thirteen years passed and Sarai was still childless.   Abram was 99 yrs. old when an angel of the LORD appeared to him a sixth time.  He commanded Abram to "walk before me and be blameless"  Genesis 17:1 and reaffirmed his covenant with Abram.  He also changes Abram's name to Abraham, which means "father of a multitude of nations."  Sarai's name was changed to Sarah, meaning "princess".  She also received God's blessing.  As a sign of the covenant God commanded Abraham and all the males of his household to be circumcised. Abraham as always obeyed God.  And from that time forward Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac and all Jewish males bore the mark of "circumcision."

In a seventh encounter with God, Abraham and Sarah were visited by three men, Genesis 18. These men were angels who told Abraham that Sarah would have a child.  When Sarah heard this, she laughed, perhaps in both joy and disbelief.  Abraham was 100 years old when Sarah had a son whom they named Isaac, meaning "laughter." Genesis 21:1-7.

Ishmael was 13 years old when Sarah bore Isaac, the true son of God's promise. Although Sarah had born a son to Abraham, he always retained a special place for his first born son, Ishmael. Here jealousy begins to resurface.  Sarah demanded that Abraham send Hagar away so that Ishmael could never share Isaac's inheritance.  Although, Abraham was upset, since he cared for his son Ishmael, God promised that He would take care of Ishmael.  So, he sent both Hagar and Ishmael away with a small supply of food.  When the food supply ran out, Hagar laid Ishmael beside a bush to die. Ishmael cried out, and God heard his cry.  An angel of the LORD spoke words of comfort to Hagar, repeating the promise that a great nation would rise from Ishmael.  What an amazing God we have! God cared for Hagar and Ishmael.  Ishmael grew into manhood becoming an expert archer .

What an awesome God we have!  God's ability to fulfill His promise to Abraham is a great testimony of His power over human life.  He proved that He can do the impossible.

Luci

ABRAHAM THE PATRIARCH - PART I



The following is a summary of what my children and I learned on Ancient History about Abraham:

Abraham's father Terah was from the line of Noah's son Shem.  The name "Terah" was associated with the moon, "yareah" and thus the moon god.  Terah did not have any children until he was 70 years old.  He had 3 sons,  Abram, Nahor and Haran.  Terah's son Haran died early leaving behind his own son, Lot, who was Abram's cousin.  Sarai was the daughter of one of Terah's many wives.  Abram later married Sarai who was his half-sister.  Intermarriage between family members was very common in those days.  Extended families were closer-knit than they are today; husbands often had many wives which meant that half-brothers and half-sisters often grew together;  language barrier was common with people outside the family group.  There were cultural and religious differences outside the circle of family members.  Abram's father, Terah was an idol worshiper and an idol merchant.  We read of this in Joshua 24:2, "And Joshua said to all the people, thus says the LORD , the God of Israel, from ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods."  Abram did not learn about the One True God from his father.  The Sumerian of Ur believed that their purpose on earth was to serve their gods.  They considered their kings to be gods. They made human sacrifices when a king died.  This was their final worship service to their god-king.  This system made the death of a king a terribly sad occasion.

Abram received a call from God about leaving his hometown Ur and set out to Haran, "Now the LORD said to Abram,  go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so shall you be a blessing; and and I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you I will curse.  And in you ALL the families of the earth shall be blessed."  Genesis 12:1-4; Acts 7:2-4.  It must have been difficult for Abram to leave behind everything that he owned and knew to build a new home in an unknown and unsettled country.  When God called Abram to leave his country, his people and his father, He didn't tell Abram where he was going.  The following are 7 elements of God's call to Abram:

1.  "I will make you into a great nation."  From Abram's seed would come a great nation.
2.  "and I will bless you."  Abram was going to enjoy material prosperity.
3.  "I will make your name great."  Abraham's name would be renowned beyond his lifetime.
4.  "and you will be a blessing."  God was going to bless Abraham and his seed.
5.  "I will bless those who bless you."  God was going to bless those who blessed Abraham and his seed.
6.  "and whoever curses you I will curse."  God was going to punish those who cursed Abraham and his seed.
7.  "and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."  It was through Abraham's seed that God was going to provide a future blessing to all, the Messiah.

Abram's amazing faith is a great example to us.  He obeyed God by taking his family and his brother's son Lot and set off to an unknown land.  It was at Shechem that God suddenly appeared to him promising him all of the land around him.  There he built an altar for the Lord as worship.  It took a lot of faith for Abram to do what God told him to do.  He did so believing God's promises, "Then he believed in the LORD, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness." Genesis 15:6; Hebrews 11:8-12.


Luci