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Genesis 11-20

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GENESIS 11-20

Genesis 11:1-32

           


Genesis 11:1-4 Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. 3 Then they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. 4 And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."


making a name for themselves not for God, seeking to promote themselves, Rom 1 they seek to promote the creature rather than the creation.

Shi'nar. (country of two rivers). The ancient name of the great alluvial tract, through which the Tigris and Euphrates pass, before reaching the sea -- the tract known, in later times, as Chaldaea or Babylonia. It was a plain country, where brick had to be used for stone and slime for mortar. Gen_11:3. Among the cities were Babel (Babylon), Erech or Orech (Orchoe), Calneh or Calno (probably, Niffer), and Accad, the site of which is unknown. It may be suspected that Shinar was the name by which the Hebrews originally knew the lower Mesopotamian country, where they so long dwelt, and which Abraham brought with him, from "Ur of the Chaldees."[1]

“As they journeyed from the east”—notice it was from the east. Mankind was apparently moving toward the West. “They found a plain in the land of Shinar,” which is in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley.

[2]

They had one vocabulary, this is the way it will be in heaven, there is a prophecy that we will be of one language.

Zephaniah 3:9 9  "For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him with one accord. (NKJV)

BABEL (Bay' behl) Babel is a Hebrew word meaning "confusion," derived from a root which means "to mix." It was the name given to the city which the disobedient descendants of Noah built so they would not be scattered over all the earth (Gen. 11:4,9). Babel is also the Hebrew word for Babylon.

    The tower and the city which were built were intended to be a monument of human pride, for they sought to "make a name" for themselves (Gen. 11:4). It was also a monument to mankind's continued disobedience. They had been commanded to fill up the earth but were seeking to avoid being scattered abroad (Gen. 9:1; 11:4). Further, it was a monument to human engineering skills, for the techniques of its building described the use of fired clay bricks as a substitute for stone. Bitumen, found in relative abundance in the Mesopotamian Valley, was used to bind the bricks together.

    Ruins of numerous temple-towers, called ziggurats, have been found in the region of Babylon. It is possible that ruins of the great temple-tower to Marduk found in the center of ancient Babylon is the focus of this narrative. We possess descriptions of this tower, recorded by ancient historians, as it stood undamaged and unravaged by time.

    To bring the people's monumental task to an end, God confused their language. The inspired writer apparently considered this to be the basis for the origin of the different human languages. When the builders were no longer able to communicate with each other, they then fled from one another in fear. The city of Babylon became to the Old Testament writers the symbol of utter rebellion against God and remained so even into the New Testament (Rev. 17:1-5). See Babylon.

Notice that they said, “Let us build us a city … and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad.” They had a bad case of perpendicular I-itis-let us make us a name! In my opinion, the sole purpose of this tower was for a rallying place for man.

The Tower of Babel was a ziggurat. There are many ruins of ziggurats in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. I have a picture of the ruins of one in Ur of the Chaldees where Abraham lived. It was made of brick, solidly constructed, and around it was a runway which went to the top. Apparently, on top of it was an altar on which, in certain instances, human sacrifices were offered. Later on children were offered, put in a red-hot idol. All of this was connected with the ziggurat in later history.

But at the time of its construction, the Tower of Babel represented the rebellion of mankind against Almighty God. Apparently it was Nimrod who led in this movement. He was the builder of the city of Babel and evidently of the Tower of Babel also. It was to be a place for him to rear a world empire that was in opposition to God.

In order to realize his ambition and to make his dreams come true, two features and factors were essential: First, he needed a center of unity, a sort of headquarters, as it were. He needed a capital, a place to assemble, a place to look to. This was why he built the city of Babel. It fulfilled one of his requirements to carry out his dream of world empire. Secondly, he needed a rallying point, not just geographical but psychological, that which gives motive—a spark, an inspiration, a song, a battle cry, sort of like a “rally-around-the-flag-boys.” There had to be some impelling and compelling motivation. There had to be a monument. Lenin’s tomb is where Communism meets, and in Nimrod’s day it was the Tower of Babel. “Let us make us” is defiance and rebellion against God. “Let us make us a name” reveals an overweening ambition.

Now let’s see what the Tower of Babel was not. It was not built as a place of refuge in time of high water. He wasn’t building above the flood stage, as some expositors suggest. In fact, I consider that a very puerile interpretation. After all, Lenin’s tomb is not a place of refuge when the Volga River overflows! No, this tower revealed the arrogant, defiant, rebellious attitude of man against God. God had said to man that he should scatter over the earth and replenish the earth. But man in essence answered, “Nothing doing. We’re not going to scatter; we are going to get together. We are through with You.” The Tower of Babel was against God.

Also, the Tower of Babel was a religious symbol. It was a ziggurat. All through that valley, as I have indicated, there are ruins of ziggurats. They were places where people worshiped the creature rather than the Creator. Some ziggurats were round, others were square, but all of them had runways leading to the top, and on the top the people carried on the worship of the sun, moon, and stars. After all, when they could see the sun, moon, and stars, they knew they were not going to have a flood, and they felt that God had been pretty mean to have sent the Flood.

Now notice God’s reaction to the Tower of Babel—[3]


Genesis 11:5-9 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the LORD said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7 "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9 Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.


Babel the Hebrew word that means confusion.


Genesis 11:10-32 This is the genealogy of Shem: Shem was one hundred years old, and begot Arphaxad two years after the flood. 11 After he begot Arphaxad, Shem lived five hundred years, and begot sons and daughters.

            12 Arphaxad lived thirty-five years, and begot Salah. 13 After he begot Salah, Arphaxad lived four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters.

            14 Salah lived thirty years, and begot Eber. 15 After he begot Eber, Salah lived four hundred and three years, and begot sons and daughters.

            16 Eber lived thirty-four years, and begot Peleg. 17 After he begot Peleg, Eber lived four hundred and thirty years, and begot sons and daughters.

            18 Peleg lived thirty years, and begot Reu. 19 After he begot Reu, Peleg lived two hundred and nine years, and begot sons and daughters.

            20 Reu lived thirty-two years, and begot Serug. 21 After he begot Serug, Reu lived two hundred and seven years, and begot sons and daughters.

            22 Serug lived thirty years, and begot Nahor. 23 After he begot Nahor, Serug lived two hundred years, and begot sons and daughters.

            24 Nahor lived twenty-nine years, and begot Terah. 25 After he begot Terah, Nahor lived one hundred and nineteen years, and begot sons and daughters.

            26 Now Terah lived seventy years, and begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran.

            27 This is the genealogy of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran begot Lot. 28 And Haran died before his father Terah in his native land, in Ur of the Chaldeans. 29 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. 30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child.

            31 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. 32 So the days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died in Haran. (NKJV)


IV. God’s Call of Abraham (11:10–32)

 

We had the family tree of Shem in 10:21–32, but here the writer repeats the line to show how Abraham fits into the plan. He takes the line to Terah, the father of Abraham (11:26). We see here another evidence of divine election: God chose Abraham in His grace! He bypassed Ham and Japheth and chose Shem. Of Shem’s five sons (10:22), God chose Arphaxad (11:10). And of Terah’s three sons (11:26), He chose Abraham. This is the beginning of the Hebrew nation.

Genesis 12:1 indicates that the Lord had said (past tense) to Abraham, “Get out.” But 11:31–32 states that Abraham did not fully obey. Instead of leaving his father behind, he took him along (nkjv); and the pilgrimage was delayed at Haran, where Terah died. Often our half-way obedience becomes costly, both in time and treasure. Abraham lost the time he could have spent walking with God, and he lost his father too. Abraham took Lot with him on the next stage of the journey, but Lot also had to be taken away from Abraham (13:5–14).

Hebrews 11:8–19 is a summary of the faith of Abraham. Someone has said that Abraham believed God when he did not know where (Heb. 11:8), when he did not know how (11:11), and when he did not know why (11:17–19).

We must emphasize again that God did not call Abraham because of his own merits. He had none. He was a citizen of an idolatrous city, Ur of the Chaldees. Had not God revealed Himself to him, he would have died an unbeliever. From a human point of view, God’s choice of Abraham and Sarah—who had no children—was a foolish one. But ultimately it brought great glory to God and great blessing to the world.

[4]

Genesis 12:1-20

we have covered 11 chapters, covering 2,000 years creation, flood, repopulating, Babylon, of these 11 chapters 3 are taking up with Genealogies, lists. When we come to Abraham we find another 12 chapters on one mans life.

Young Abraham was an assistant to his father, a dealer in idols. After Abraham became convince that there was only one true God, he tired to convince his father’s customers of the folly of Idolatry. Once a man came to buy and Abraham asked his age. On being told that he was fifty years old the  boy exclaimed “ Woe to him who at fifty would worship a one-day idol” the customer then departed in shame. Another story pictures Abraham as smashing the idols and facing the wrath of his father, “ Who smashed the gods?” demanded Terah. “ The chief god there” dais Abraham. “ you know perfectly well that clay idols don’t move” said the father. “ Why then do you adore them?” rejoined the boy [5]


Genesis 12:1-3 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. 2  I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3  I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."


to a land I will show thee, the destination of the journey is not specified to increase the test of Abram’s  faith in the divine call, he was to follow whithersoveve the will of God would direct him.

Three promises were based on God’s call for Abram to leave his land: (a) a great nation, (b) a blessing for Abram, and (c) a great name (v. 2). These promises would enable him to “be a blessing” (the second imperative, v. 2). Based on this obedience were God’s three promises to: (a) bless those who blessed him, (b) curse anyone who would treat him lightly, and (c) bless the families of the earth through him (v. 3). To bless or curse Abram was to bless or curse Abram’s God. Unfortunately God often had to use other nations to discipline His people because, far from being a blessing to the world, they were usually disobedient. The third promise takes on its greatest fulfillment in the fact that Jesus Christ became the means of blessing to the world (Gal. 3:8, 16; cf. Rom. 9:5).[6]

TEREBINTH (Teh' reh bihnth) A large, spreading tree whose species is uncertain so that translations vary in reading the Hebrew  elah into English (compare 2 Sam. 18:9; Isa. 1:30; 6:13). The tree had religious connections as a place under which pagan gods were worshiped (Hos. 4:13; Ezek. 6:13) which were at times taken up in Israel's religion (Gen. 35:4; Josh. 24:26; Judg. 6:11; 1 Kings 13:14).


            Genesis 12:4-6 So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land.


 

 

3. A compromise (Gen. 11:27–32; 12:4)

First steps of faith are not always giant steps, which explains why Abraham did not fully obey God. Instead of leaving his family, as he was commanded, Abraham took his father and his nephew Lot with him when he left Ur; and then he stayed at Haran until his father died.

Whatever you bring with you from the old life into the new is likely to create problems. Terah, Abraham’s father, kept Abraham from fully obeying the Lord; and Lot created serious problems for Abraham until they finally had to agree to part. Abraham and Sarah brought a sinful agreement with them from Ur (20:13), and it got them into trouble twice (12:10–20; 20:1–18).[7]

 

 

 

When God called. Salvation comes because God calls in grace and sinners respond by faith (Eph. 2:8–9; 2 Thes. 2:13–14). God called Abraham out of idolatry (Josh. 24:2), when he was in Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 11:28, 31; 15:7; Neh. 9:7), a city devoted to Nannar, the moon-god. Abraham did not know the true God, and had done nothing to deserve knowing Him, but God graciously called him. “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16).

Hebrews 11:8-10

            8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (NKJV)

We are not saved by making promises to God; we are saved by believing God’s promises to us. It was God who graciously gave His covenant to Abraham and he responded with faith and obedience (Heb. 11:8–10). How you respond to God’s promises determines what God will do in your life.  The Bible records God’s many covenants, beginning with the promise of the Redeemer in Genesis 3:15 and climaxing with the New Covenant through the blood of Jesus Christ (Luke 22:20; Heb. 8). The Hebrew word translated “covenant” has several meanings: (1) to eat with, which suggests fellowship and agreement; (2) to bind or fetter, which means commitment; and (3) to allot, which suggests sharing. When God makes a covenant, He enters into an agreement to commit Himself to give what He promises. It is purely an act of grace.[8]


Genesis 12:7-9 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 8 And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. 9 So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.


this promise that I will give you the land is repeated over and over. The Israeli’s should give no land away .


            Genesis 12:10-13 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 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. 12 "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. 13 "Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you."


we are told that Abraham was 75 years old, and Sarah was 10 years younger according to Gen. 17:17. Making her 65.

We learn later when Abraham does this again that :

Genesis 20:12 12 "But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. (NKJV)

to kill the husband in order to possess himself of his wife seems to have been a common royal custom in those days. A papyrus tells of a pharaoh who, acting on the advice of one of his princes, sent armed men to fetch a beautiful woman and make away with her husband. Another pharaoh is promised by his priest on his tombstone that even after death he will kill Palestinian sheiks and include there wives in his harem.


Genesis 12:14-20 So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. 15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh's house. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels. 17 But the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. 18 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? 19 "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." 20 So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had.


Genesis 13:1-18

Missing notes

Genesis 14:1-24


Genesis 14:1-12 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations, 2  that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 3 All these joined together in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). 4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

            5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him came and attacked the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their mountain of Seir, as far as El Paran, which is by the wilderness. 7 Then they turned back and came to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and attacked all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who dwelt in Hazezon Tamar. 8 And the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and joined together in battle in the Valley of Siddim 9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of nations, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar -- four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of asphalt pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled; some fell there, and the remainder fled to the mountains. 11 Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. 12 They also took Lot, Abram's brother's son who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.


asphalt pits,  full of slime pits. Ie. Well of bitumen, these pits hampered the flight of the defeated army.

0875 {be-ayr'}

from 0874; TWOT - 194a; n f

AV - well 32, pit 3, slimepits 1, not translated 1; 37

1) well, pit, spring

02564 chemar {khay-mawr'}

from 02560; TWOT- 683b; n m

AV - slime 2, slimepit + 0875 1; 3

1) slime, pitch, asphalt, bitumen

The five city-states in the plain of Jordan (14:2; see 13:10) had been subject for twelve years to the kings of four eastern city-states (14:1) and finally revolted against them. This, of course, was a declaration of war; so the four kings invaded the plain of Jordan to bring the five kings into subjection. From our modern viewpoint, the invasion was a  minor skirmish; but in that day, it was considered a major international conflict.

Certainly five kings ought to be able to defeat four kings, especially when they are fighting “on their own turf.” But the army of the cities of the plain was soundly defeated by the invading kings! Apparently the five kings did not even know their own land because they were trapped in the slime pits (14:10). All their army could do was flee for the hills.[9]

14:1-12. In an effort to put down a rebellion (v. 4), four powerful Eastern kings invaded the Jordan Valley near the Salt Sea, that is, the Dead Sea (v. 3), defeating all the forces in the region (vv. 5-7), plundering the five Jordanian kings (vv. 8-11), and taking Lot captive (v. 12).[10]


            Genesis 14:13-17 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner; and they were allies with Abram. 14 Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people.

            17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley), after his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him.


Divided himself. He formed his men into several bodies, which attacked the enemies in the dark from different direction, the suddenness of the onslaught, and the assault in several places simultaneously, would enable small bans of men to throw a far lager force into panic. The same strategy was used by gideon,

pursued and defeated the invaders in a night attack. He pursued them all the way to Dan, the future northern border of the Promised Land (140 miles from Abram’s home in Hebron)[11]

Dan was then named Leshem (Josh. 19:47) or Laish (Jud. 18:29). During the night Abram pursued them on to Hobah, another 100 miles north of Dan, and brought back . . . Lot and his possessions and family and other captives. This was a striking victory for the patriarch over four leading kings who had previously conquered such an extensive portion of Transjordania and the area south of the Dead Sea.[12]


Genesis 14:18-20 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said: "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20  And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tithe of all.


a tenth of everything. The tithe customarily given to the priest. Deuteronomy 14:22

           

what do we know about this man, his name means “ king of righteousness”  we also know  that he was a priest-king in the time of Abraham, in addition, the text indicated that he worshipped the most high God and that Abraham tithed to him. Beyond that we are left to speculation.

He is found in the dead sea scrolls, to summarizes:

a high priest of the heavenly temple and identified with the archangel Michael, who fulfills the roll of the heavenly priest on rabbinical literature.

Some have identified him as Shem, Noah’s son.

Many identify with is a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus, this would help in our understanding of Heb. 7,

 I think this person raises more questions that we can answer.


Genesis 14:21-24 Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself." 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 "that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich' -- 24 "except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion."


Genesis 15:1-21


Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."


He had just pasted up the offer by the king of Sodom, God took pleasure in this act of faith.


Genesis 15:2-3   But Abram said, "Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" 3 Then Abram said, "Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!"


2. His heir (Gen. 15:2–6)

Asking (Gen. 15:2–3). God had promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the earth (13:16) and that they would bring blessing to the whole world (12:1–3). But Abraham and Sarah were still childless; and if Abraham died, the only heir he had was his “chief of staff”—Eliezer. (He may be the servant mentioned in 24:2.) Lot was no longer in the picture, and Abraham’s other relatives were 500 miles away in Mesopotamia. What had happened to the promise?[13]

Here we can see His heart, what is the value of earthly possessions to him if he is childless. To have a heir to pass on his line.


Genesis 15:4-6 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." 5 Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." 6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.


About 30,000 stars are listed in the General Catalog used by astronomers, but it is estimated that there are 100 billion more! God did not say that Abraham would have that many descendants but that, like the stars, there would be too many to count. Whether Abraham looked down at the dust (Gen. 13:14) or up at the stars (15:5), he would recall God’s promise and have confidence. This promise was repeated to Abraham (22:17) and reaffirmed to Isaac (26:4).[14]

Abraham believed God, which is literally, “Abraham said, ‘Amen, God!’  ” The Hebrew word translated “believed” means “to lean your whole weight upon.” Abraham leaned wholly on the promise of God and the God of the promise. We are not saved by making promises to God but by believing the promises of God. In the Gospel of John, which was written to tell people how to be saved (John 20:31), the word “believe” is used nearly 100 times. Salvation is the gracious gift of God, and it is received by faith (Eph. 2:8–9).[15]


            Genesis 15:7-11 Then He said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it." 8 And he said, "Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?" 9 So He said to him, "Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." 10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. 11 And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.


THE COVENANT:

a covenant was a formal legal agreement between two of more people. Sometimes they were simple business deals, sometimes, the covenant was a marriage contract. On a much larger scale. There covenants were actually treaties between nations.

There were different types of Covenants, here  a animal was slaughtered as a sacrifice. In such cases as evidenced in the Famous Mari documents, reflection life in the 18th century Assyria and Syrian, a curse is recited for the one who does not keep the covenant. The man who recited it ( the cures) thus declaring  his expectation of the fate that would befall him if he broke his treaty obligation. The cursing formal when something  like this “ just as the beast is cut up, so may whomever be but up.” A common Hebrew phrase used to describe making a covenant is “ to cut a covenant”

This is a unconditional Covenant. We see the Lord himself in Abraham’s vision passing alone through an animal which God told Abram to slaughter and cut up. By this action, Abraham understood from his cultural training that God was obligating Himself to keep His promise no matter what happened. Since it was impossible for the Lord to be cut op like the animals  were, we are therefore, given an absolute guarantee that he fully intends to carry our His promise to Abraham.

What is described in 15:9–17 was known in that day as  “cutting a covenant.” This solemn ritual involved the death of animals and the binding of people to a promise. The persons making the covenant would sacrifice several animals and divide the bodies, placing the halves opposite each other on the ground. Then the parties would walk between the pieces of the sacrifices in declaration that, if they failed to keep their word, they deserved the same fate as the animals. (See Jer. 34:18–19.)

But Abraham’s experience was different. He killed the animals, laid them on the ground, and spent the rest of the day fighting off the birds of prey that were attracted to the flesh and blood. When the sun went down, Abraham fell into a deep sleep; and then God appeared to him and spoke to him. But God alone passed between the parts of the sacrifices! (Gen. 15:17) It was God who made promises to Abraham, not Abraham who made promises to God. There were no conditions attached; the covenant of grace came from the generous heart of God.[16]


            Genesis 15:12-15 Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 "And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 "Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.


Abraham (Gen. 15:15). Abraham’s “good old age” was 175 years (Gen. 25:7), which means he walked with God for a century (12:4). In spite of Abraham’s occasional failures, he accomplished the will of God and brought blessing to the whole world. This promise from God must have given Abraham and Sarah great encouragement during times of difficulty, just as promises like Philippians 1:6 and Ephesians 2:10 encourage God’s people today.[17]


Genesis 15:16 "But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete."


God would give the Canaanited full time to repent, Hence he sent Abraham, who ‘proclaimed the Lord’ and with his disciple and descendants, taught by precept and example , ‘the way of the Lord to do justice and mercy’


Genesis 15:17-21 And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. 18 On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates -- 19 "the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, 20 "the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 "the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites." (NKJV)


God even specified the geographical boundaries of Israel’s land—from the river of Egypt (Wadi el-Arish, not the Nile River) to the great river, the Euphrates. Israel has never possessed this land in its entirety, but she will when Christ returns to reign as Messiah. The Canaanite tribes listed (Gen. 15:19-21) were dispossessed later in the Conquest.[18]

Genesis 16:1-16

           

The lesson was clear for Sarai, Abram, Hagar, Israel, and for Christians: God’s servants are to trust His Word and to wait for its fulfillment, enduring patiently till the end. It becomes increasingly clear in Genesis that any person or any nation that owes its existence to divine election should live by faith. Human efforts will not help. But the good news for God’s people is that the living God sees and hears.[19]

Abraham was now eighty-five years old. He had been walking with the Lord for ten years and had learned some valuable lessons about faith. God had promised Abraham and Sarah a child but had not told them when the child would be born. It was a period of waiting, and most people don’t like to wait. But it is through “faith and patience [that we] inherit the promises” (Heb. 6:12).[20]

God has a perfect timetable for all that He wants to do. After all, this event was not the birth of just another baby: It was part of God’s great plan of salvation for the whole world. However, as Sarah waited for something to happen, she became impatient.

Why did God wait so long? He wanted Abraham and Sarah to be physically “as good as dead” (Heb. 11:12) so that God alone would get the glory. At age eighty-five, Abraham was still virile enough to father a child by Hagar; so the time for the miracle baby had not yet arrived. Whatever is truly done by faith is done for the glory of God (Rom. 4:20) and not for the praise of man.

A willingness to wait on the Lord is another evidence that you are walking by faith. “He that believeth shall not make haste” (Isa. 28:16). Paul quoted this verse in Romans 10:11 and amplified its meaning: “Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.” (The same Holy Spirit inspired both Isaiah and Paul, and He has the right to make these changes.) Whenever we stop trusting God, we start to “make haste” in the wrong direction and we end up being ashamed.[21]


Genesis 16:1-2 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, "See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her." And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.


In the legal custom of that day a barren woman could give her maid to her husband as a wife, and the child born of that union was regarded as the first wife’s child. If the husband said to the slave-wife’s son, “You are my son,” then he was the adopted son and heir. So Sarai’s suggestion was unobjectionable according to the customs of that time. But God often repudiates social customs.

[22]


Genesis 16:3-6 Then Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. 4 So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, "My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The LORD judge between you and me." 6 So Abram said to Sarai, "Indeed your maid is in your hand; do to her as you please." And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence.


2. Scheming (Gen. 16:1b-4a)

Sarah knew that she was incapable of bearing a child but that her husband was still capable of begetting a child. God had specifically named Abraham as the father of the promised heir, but He had not yet identified the mother. Logically, it would be Abraham’s wife; but perhaps God had other plans. Sarah was “second-guessing” God, and this is a dangerous thing to do. Remember, true faith is based on the Word of God (Rom. 10:17) and not on the wisdom of man (Prov. 3:5–6), because “faith is living without scheming.” Sarah said, “It may be”; she did not say, “Thus saith the Lord!” God had told Abraham, “Know of a surety” (Gen. 15:13); but Sarah had no such assurance on which to base her actions.[23]

Abraham’s taking Hagar as a second wife was perfectly legal according to the marriage code of that day. In later years, Jacob would marry his wives’ maids, Bilhah and Zilpah; and each would give him two sons. Moreover, the plan seemed to be successful, for Hagar conceived a child. Perhaps Sarah was right after all.[24]

Sarai Treated her harshly, Since in her position Hagar could no longer be sold or expelled, Sarah abused her main, thereby causing her to leaven of her own accord.

Deuteronomy 21:14 14 "And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall set her free, but you certainly shall not sell her for money; you shall not treat her brutally, because you have humbled her. (NKJV)


            Genesis 16:7-9 Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. 8 And He said, "Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai." 9 The Angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand."


Hagar’s solution was to run away from the problem, a tactic we all learned from Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:8). However, you soon discover that you cannot solve problems by running  away. Abraham learned that when he fled to Egypt (12:10ff). There was peace in the home for a short time, but it was not the “peace of God.” It was only a brittle, temporary truce that soon would fail.[25]

This Angel is identified with Yahweh in 16:13, as well as in 22:11-12; 31:11, 13; 48:16; Judges 6:11, 16, 22; 13:22-23; Zechariah 3:1-2. And yet the Angel is distinct from Yahweh (Gen. 24:7; 2 Sam. 24:16; Zech. 1:12). Thus “the Angel of the Lord” may refer to a theophany of the preincarnate Christ (cf. Gen. 18:1-2; 19:1; Num. 22:22; Jud. 2:1-4; 5:23; Zech. 12:8).[26]


Genesis 16:10-12 Then the Angel of the LORD said to her, "I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude." 11 And the Angel of the LORD said to her: "Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction. 12  He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, And every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren."


Ishmael would be a “wild donkey of a man” (16:12, NIV), which is not a very flattering description. It identified him with the wilderness where he lived by his skill as an archer (Gen. 21:20–21; Job 24:5). It also revealed his independent and pugnacious nature.

He would be a hated man, living “in hostility toward all his brothers” (Gen. 16:12, NIV). While we must not apply these traits to every descendant of Ishmael, the centuries-long hostility between the Jews and the Arabs is too well known to be ignored. The Arab nations are independent peoples, dwelling in the desert lands and resisting the encroachments of other nations, especially Israel and her allies.

Hagar’s wilderness experience brought her face-to-face with God and taught her some important truths about Him. She learned that He is the living God who sees us and hears our cries when we hurt. The name of the well means “The well of One who lives and sees me.” He is a personal God, concerned about abused people and unborn babies. He knows the future and cares for those who will trust Him.[27]


Genesis 16:13-16 Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, "Have I also here seen Him who sees me?" 14 Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

            15 So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram. (NKJV)


Genesis 17:1-27

           

Shakespeare notwithstanding, if you had asked a biblical character the question, “What’s in a name?” that person would have replied: “Everything! Our names are very important!” Names might record something significant about one’s birth (Gen. 29:31–30:24) or about some life-changing experience. Jacob was renamed Israel after a night of wrestling with God (32:24–32), and Simon received the name Peter (rock) when he met Jesus Christ (John 1:40–42). The names assigned to unborn babies even carried messages (Gen. 16:11; Matt. 1:18–25).

In this chapter, you will discover four new names and a name that will always be old because it cannot be changed.[28]


Genesis 17:1-8 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 "And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." 3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 "No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8 "Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."


1. God Almighty (Gen. 17:1–2)

Revelation. The Hebrew name is “El Shaddai” (shuh-DYE), and this is the first time it occurs in Scripture. “Shaddai” is translated as “Almighty” forty-eight times in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the Greek equivalent is used in 2 Corinthians 6:18 and Revelation 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7 and 14; 19:6 and 15; and 21:22. It is translated “Almighty” except in Revelation 19:6 (“omnipotent”).

“El” is the name of God that speaks of power; but what does “Shaddai” mean? Scholars do not agree. Some say it comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to be strong”; others prefer a word meaning “mountain” or “breast.” Metaphorically, a mountain is a “breast” that rises up from the plain; and certainly a mountain is a symbol of strength. If we combine these several ideas, we might say that “El Shaddai” is the name of “the all-powerful and all-sufficient God who can do anything and meet any need.”[29]

BLAMELESS like Noah, for whom the same phrase was used, Gen. 6:9

The patriarch’s name change was crucial. The name Abram (17:5), meaning “exalted father,” harked back to Terah (11:27) and implied that Abram came from royal lineage. But in Hebrew the name Abraham (Õab_raµhaÆm) sounds similar to “father of a multitude” (Õab_ haámoÆn) of nations (17:4-5). His new name implied a look ahead to his descendants.[30]


Genesis 17:9-11 And God said to Abraham: "As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 "This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; 11 "and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.


The idea is based on the well-known fact that circumcision did not originate with Gen. 17, many of Israel’s neighboring people had practiced circumcision: Egypt, Edom, Ammon, and Moab, In fact, the philistines were the only people groups that lived in the promised Land which did not do it, as evidenced by the biblical designation of them as ‘uncircumcised one’ . Archaeology has uncovered evidence establishing that the Canaanites practiced it at least during the 13th and 14th centuries BC  and that it was an established custom in Syria as early as 2800 BC[31]

 

Elsewhere Scripture refers to circumcision as a symbol of separation, purity, and loyalty to the covenant. Moses said that God would circumcise the hearts of His people so that they might be devoted to Him (Deut. 30:6). And Paul wrote that “circumcision of the heart” (i.e., being inwardly set apart “by the Spirit”) evidences salvation and fellowship with God (Rom. 2:28-29; cf. Rom. 4:11). One must turn in confidence to God and His promises, laying aside natural strength. Unbelief is described as having an uncircumcised heart (Jer. 9:26; Ezek. 44:7-9).[32]

Since God’s covenant involved Abraham’s “seed,” it was fitting that the mark of the covenant be on the male organ of generation. Since all people are conceived in sin (Ps. 51:5), this special mark would remind them that they were accepted by God because of His gracious covenant. It was God who chose the Jews, not the Jews who chose God (Deut. 7:1–11); and He chose them to be a holy people. Immorality was rampant among the Canaanite peoples, and was even a part of their religion; but the people of Israel were “marked” to be separate from the evil around them.[33]


Genesis 17:12-16  "He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. 13 "He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 "And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant."

            15 Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 "And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her."


17:15-18. God announced that Sarai was to be called Sarah. This new name, though involving only a slight change and meaning “princess,” was fitting for one whose seed would produce kings (v. 16; cf. v. 6).[34]

The third new name was “Sarah,” which means “princess.” (We are not certain what “Sarai” means. Some say “to mock” or “to be contentious.” It could also be another form of the word “princess.”) Since she would become the mother of kings, it was only right that she be called a princess![35]


Genesis 17:17-26 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?"

18 And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" 19 Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. 20 "And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 "But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year." 22 Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.

            23 So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael; 27 and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.


Genesis 18:1-33


            Genesis 18:1-2 Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground,


words are used like ran to meet them , he ran to the tent. He ran - he was eager to do hospitality, even to strangers./ this is a quality that is for a person in leadership but for all of us as well

18:1-8. Three men visited Abraham near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron (cf. 13:18; 14:13) to confirm the time of the fulfillment of the promise. These three were the Lord (18:1, 10, 13; cf. comments on “the Angel of the Lord,” 16:7) and two angels. Though one is justified in seeing lessons here about hospitality, the angels certainly did not visit Abraham for the purpose of teaching him this. Why did the Angel of the Lord approach Abraham in this manner? Why did He not use an oracle, a vision, or a voice? Possibly He meant it as a test for both Abraham and the Sodomites. The moral states of Abraham and Sodom may have been indicated by their different treatments of strangers. Abraham’s peaceful, quiet visit contrasted greatly with Sodom’s outbursts of brutality and inhumanity (cf. chaps. 18-19).[36]

Abraham was taking his daily rest during the heat of the day when he saw three strangers approaching. Few people ever traveled when the sun was so hot, so Abraham was immediately both curious and courteous. Hospitality is the first law of the East, and Abraham faithfully obeyed it.[37]

The three strangers were the Lord Jesus Christ and two of His angels (Gen. 18:1, 22; 19:1). There was nothing about their appearance that told Abraham who they were; but as he fellowshipped with them, he learned that he was entertaining royal visitors. His ministry to the Lord was so acceptable that we ought to follow his example today.

To begin with, he served the Lord personally. Remember, Abraham was ninety-nine years old and a wealthy sheikh, and he could have entrusted this task to his chief steward or one of his more than 300 servants (14:14). Instead, he decided to minister to his Lord personally.

He also ministered immediately. Abraham could have ignored them by pretending to be asleep, or he could have asked them to sit down and wait until he had finished his siesta. But Abraham was a man of faith, and faith does not delay when it comes to serving the Lord.[38]


Genesis 18:3-15  and said, "My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. 4 "Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 "And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant." They said, "Do as you have said." 6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, "Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes." 7 And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it. 8 So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.

            9 Then they said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" So he said, "Here, in the tent." 10 And He said, "I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son." (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" 13 And the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?' 14 "Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son." 15 But Sarah denied it, saying, "I did not laugh," for she was afraid. And He said, "No, but you did laugh!"


the word Laugh generally indicates an ironic or mocking laugh, brought about by something ridiculous, something inconceivable. it is not possible to combine both meanings, he was laughing partially because  the whole idea of his ninety Year old wife having a child was too far fetched. Yet at the same time , deep down inside him, he knew that God was serious and this deep seated assurance simply caused him to rejoice.

It seems that the lord is having some fun there, this seems especially evident since the text does not show any sense of rebuke coming from the Lord. In fact God plays right along with this moment of divine humor and tells Abraham in so many word “ you laughed?” OK Sarah will have a son and you shall name him “ He laughed”

this is of Abraham , but for Sarah there is a rebuke, a mild one but a rebuke.

It seems that in verses 12, there may be a indication that they could not even have sex.

Hebrews 11:12 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude -- innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. (NKJV)

Romans 4:19 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. (NKJV)

this would be  a miracle, for sure,


            Genesis 18:16-33  Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to send them on the way. 17 And the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 "since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 "For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him." 20 And the LORD said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, 21 "I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know."

            22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD. 23 And Abraham came near and said, "Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 "Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? 25 "Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" 26 So the LORD said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes." 27 Then Abraham answered and said, "Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: 28 "Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?" So He said, "If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it." 29 And he spoke to Him yet again and said, "Suppose there should be forty found there?" So He said, "I will not do it for the sake of forty." 30 Then he said, "Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?" So He said, "I will not do it if I find thirty there." 31 And he said, "Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?" So He said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty." 32 Then he said, "Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?" And He said, "I will not destroy it for the sake of ten." 33 So the LORD went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.


God down and see, God wanted to give the cities time to repent. This, like the story of Babel, teaches that a judge must scrupulously examine a case before pronouncing judgment, and further, that just as God went down to se, so much man not judge his fellow man until he has come to see things from the others point of view.


Jude 7 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (NKJV)

The Midrash also has its own version of the sins of Sodom, there is a story of the daughter of Lot who “ was a poor man on the street of the city and her soul was grieved on the account. So she secretly fed him, it was done in secret because the leaders of Sodom, issued a proclamation in Sodom saying , anyone who strengthens the hand of the poor and the needy with a loaf of bread shall be burned by fire. Subsequently she was caught and sentenced, in her hour of despair, she cries out to God of mercy and her cry ascended before the throne of glory,  then God came down in Judgment upon Sodom.

 There are two interesting features about this Midrash, the first is that Gen. 18:20-21 when it says “ Cry” literally means the cry of her. Thus the Midrash infers that a cry of a women is that which is being referred to, rather than the cities themselves,

the second interesting Feature if this Midrash is that it explains the sin of Sodom, not in terms of Sexual immorality, but in terms of social sins. Interestingly enough, this is specifically what the biblical prophet Ezekiel identifies as Sodom’s sin.

Ezekiel 16:49

49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. [39]

Surprisingly , the prophet attributes the final judgment of  Sodom, not to the sexual sins implied in Gen. Account but to something which the Lord considers even more serious - social injustice,

Genesis 19:1-38

           

This chapter records the sad consequences of Lot’s spiritual decline; then Lot passes off the scene while Abraham’s story  continues (see 1 John 2:17). Abraham was the friend of God, but Lot was the friend of the world (see James 4:4); and the contrasts between these two men are easy to see.[40]

They arrived in Sodom in the evening. The distance from Hebron and Mamre to Sodom could not be covered in an afternoon’s journey. However since the messengers are thought of as supernatural beings, this presents no problem to narrator of listeners.


Genesis 19:1-3 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. 2 And he said, "Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant's house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way." And they said, "No, but we will spend the night in the open square." 3 But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.


Visitors (Gen. 19:1). Only the two angels visited Lot, for the Lord could not fellowship with Lot and his family as He did with Abraham and Sarah. Even though Lot was a believer, his life was such that the Lord did not feel “at home” with him. It is the separated believer who enjoys the close walk  (2 Cor. 6:14–18) and communion (John 14:21–24) with the Lord. Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest translated Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:17 “that the Christ might finally settle down and feel completely at home in your hearts through your faith” (WUEST). Unlike Abraham, Lot had no tent or altar; and the Lord could not fellowship with him.[41]

Unleavened bread can be quickly baked.


Genesis 19:4-5Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally."

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the word Sodom comes to be known as a unnatural act.

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Genesis 19:6-29 So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, 7 and said, "Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! 8 "See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.

 9 And they said, "Stand back!" Then they said, "This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them." So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. 10 But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door.

            12 Then the men said to Lot, "Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city -- take them out of this place! 13 "For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it." 14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, "Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!" But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.

            15 When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city." 16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed."

18 Then Lot said to them, "Please, no, my lords! 19 "Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. 20 "See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live." 21 And he said to him, "See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. 22 "Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there." Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

            23 The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. 24 Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

            27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD. 28 Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace.

            29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.


But even after he was delivered, Lot wrung a concession out of the angels. He wanted to go to the small town of Zoar, which means “a little one” (vv. 18-22). (Before that it was known as Bela, 14:2.) But this scene would always remind Israel of Lot, lingering and halting, being dragged to safety. Why do some of God’s people fall in with the corrupt world rather than willingly flee a society destined for destruction?[42]


Genesis 19:30-38 Then Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains, and his two daughters were with him; for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar. And he and his two daughters dwelt in a cave. 31 Now the firstborn said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth. 32 "Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father." 33 So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 34 It happened on the next day that the firstborn said to the younger, "Indeed I lay with my father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father." 35 Then they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

            36 Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. 37 The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. 38 And the younger, she also bore a son and called his name Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the people of Ammon to this day.


Moab - a word play meaning literally , From My Father,

Ben- Ammi - son of my kindred,

Genesis 20:1-18

           

If you did not know who Abraham was, and you read this chapter for the first time, which of the two men would you say was the believer? Surely not Abraham, the liar! It was not Abraham who showed integrity, and it was not Abraham whom God kept from sinning. What Abraham did was selfish, but Abimelech responded with generosity. If anybody reveals excellent character, it is Abimelech and not Abraham, “the friend of God.”

But before you draw some unwarranted conclusions, take time to consider the facts revealed in this event. Abraham’s failures were tragic, but from them we learn some valuable lessons to help us in our walk of faith.

Believers do sin. This chapter would be an embarrassment to us except for one thing: The Bible tells the truth about all people, and that includes God’s people. It does not hide the fact that Noah got drunk and exposed himself (Gen. 9:20–23), or that Moses lost his temper (Num. 20:1–13), or that David committed adultery and plotted the death of a valiant soldier (2 Sam. 11). Peter denied the Lord three times (Matt. 26:69–75), and Barnabas lapsed into false doctrine (Gal. 2:13).

These things are recorded, not to encourage us to sin, but to warn us to beware of sin. After all, if these great men of faith disobeyed the Lord, then we “ordinary saints” had better be very careful! “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12, NKJV).

Why did Abraham sin?

For one thing, though Abraham had a sinful nature, he had been justified by faith (Gen. 15:6). God gave him a new name (from “Abram” to “Abraham”), but that did not change his  old nature. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16ff) and the work of Christ on the cross (Rom. 6), believers can have victory over the old nature; but this is not automatic. We must walk in the Spirit if we hope to overcome temptation.

That leads to a second consideration: Abraham moved into “enemy territory.” After living at Hebron (“fellowship”) for perhaps twenty years, he then decided to go to the land of the Philistines. Gerar is just within Philistine country, but it was still a dangerous place to be. Perhaps it was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah that caused Abraham to want to move; but whatever his motive was, the decision was not a wise one. True, Abraham did not go down to Egypt as he had done before (Gen. 12). He was still within the boundaries of the land God promised to give him, but his move put him in a dangerous position. “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Matt. 26:41, NKJV).

After arriving in Gerar, Abraham began to walk by sight and not by faith; for he began to be afraid (Gen. 20:11). Fear of man and faith in God cannot dwell together in the same heart. “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” (Prov. 29:25, NKJV). Abraham forgot that his God was “the Almighty God” (Gen. 17:1) who could do anything (18:14) and who had covenanted to bless Abraham and Sarah.

But the basic cause of Abraham’s failure was the sad fact that he and Sarah had failed to judge this sin when they had dealt with it in Egypt. (See 12:10–20.) They had admitted their sin to Pharaoh and confessed it to God, but the fact that it surfaced again indicates that they did not judge the sin and forsake it (Prov. 28:13). In fact, the sin had grown worse; for now Sarah shared in telling the lie (Gen. 20:5). A home kept together by a lie is in bad shape indeed. 

A lighthearted admission of sin is not the same as a brokenhearted confession of sin (Ps. 51:17). If our attitude is right, we will hate our sins, loathe ourselves for having sinned (Ezek. 6:9; 36:31), and despise the very memory of our sins. People who remember their sins with pleasure and “enjoy them again” in their minds have never judged their sins or seen how sinful their sins really are. The father of American psychology, William James, wrote, “For him who confesses, shams are over and realities have begun.”

Abraham and Sarah had convinced themselves that they were not telling a lie at all. It was only a “half-truth” (Gen. 20:12), and half-truths are not supposed to be as wicked as  outright lies. They are worse! “A lie consists in the motive quite as much as in the actual words,” wrote F.B. Meyer. A half-truth has just enough fact in it to make it plausible and just enough deception to make it dangerous.

So, believers do sin; but that does not disannul their faith or destroy their salvation, though it may discredit their testimony. Abraham was still a child of God even though his witness for the Lord had been greatly weakened. However, Abimelech was in a more dangerous position than Abraham; for Abimelech was under a sentence of death (20:3, 7).

Abimelech was a man of integrity; and when God spoke to him, he obeyed. He had many fine qualities; but he was not a believer, and therefore he was a dead man (Eph. 2:1–3). This is not to minimize the enormity of Abraham’s sin, for a believer should not do what Abraham did. But Abraham and Abimelech had two different standings before God: One was saved, and the other was lost.[43]

When believers sin, they suffer. Charles Spurgeon said, “God does not allow His children to sin successfully.” When we deliberately disobey God, we suffer both from the consequences of our sins and from the chastening hand of God, unless we repent and submit (Heb. 12:5–11). God in His grace will forgive our sins (1 John 1:5–10), but God in His sovereignty must allow sin to produce a sad harvest (Gal. 6:7). Read Psalms 32 and 51 to see what happened to David physically and spiritually because he would not repent and confess his sins to the Lord.[44]

This seems to see Abraham as concerned about himself more than about his wife.


Genesis 20:1-18  And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. 2 Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, "Indeed you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man's wife." 4 But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, "Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also? 5 "Did he not say to me, 'She is my sister'? And she, even she herself said, 'He is my brother.' In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this." 6 And God said to him in a dream, "Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her. 7 "Now therefore, restore the man's wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours."

            8 So Abimelech rose early in the morning, called all his servants, and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were very much afraid. 9 And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, "What have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done." 10 Then Abimelech said to Abraham, "What did you have in view, that you have done this thing?" 11 And Abraham said, "Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife. 12 "But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 "And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, 'This is your kindness that you should do for me: in every place, wherever we go, say of me, "He is my brother." ' "

            14 Then Abimelech took sheep, oxen, and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham; and he restored Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelech said, "See, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you." 16 Then to Sarah he said, "Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; indeed this vindicates you before all who are with you and before everybody." Thus she was rebuked.

            17 So Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, his wife, and his female servants. Then they bore children; 18 for the LORD had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.


20:8-18. Though God did not rebuke Abimelech, Abimelech did rebuke Abraham. The king spoke of the great guilt Abraham’s action brought on him (v. 9) and he spoke to Sarah of his (Abimelech’s) offense against her (v. 16). He sensed that his plan to take her into his harem was wrong. So he made amends by giving the patriarch livestock (sheep and cattle; cf. 21:27) and slaves (20:14), allowing him to live in his land (v. 15), and giving Abraham (whom he called Sarah’s brother!) a thousand shekels of silver (v. 16).[45]

Sometimes it is more encouraging for us to see that such a man of faith did not always exercise it, We too, do not always walk in the spirit, it is helpful to se how the Lrod allows other saints to Grow, especially such a one as Abraham, thus, the scripture is true when it reminds us:

Hebrews 12:1

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, [46]


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[1] Source:  Smith’s Bible Dictionary

[2]McGee, J. V. (1997, c1981). Thru the Bible commentary. Based on the Thru the Bible radio program. (electronic ed.) (Vol. 1, Page 9-52). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3]McGee, J. V. (1997, c1981). Thru the Bible commentary. Based on the Thru the Bible radio program. (electronic ed.) (Vol. 1, Page 9-52). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4]Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament, (Moody Press: The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, New Testament) Chicago.

[5] Midrash

[6]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[7]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[8]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[9]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[10]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[11]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[12]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[13]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[14]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[15]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[16]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[17]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[18]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[19]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[20]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[21]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[22]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[23]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[24]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[25]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[26]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[27]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[28]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[29]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[30]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[31] First Fruits of  Zion torah club notes

[32]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[33]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[34]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[35]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[36]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[37]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[38]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[39]The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.

[40]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[41]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[42]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[43]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[44]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Obedient, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1994.

[45]Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

[46]The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.

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