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Parashah Lekh Lekha לך לך

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Parashah Lekh Lekha לך לך

To what lengths will God go to rescue a rebellious world?
Have you ever had a friend that refused to give up on you? Do you have a family member, mom or dad, grandma or grandad, that always stood in your corner? Bailed you out when times were tough, loved you when you were dead wrong. Patient with you while you discovered life’s purpose? Have you ever had someone or have someone in your life that wants you to meet good fortune on every bend. As Glen Hansard said the kind of friend that would say to you, “May your winning streak. May it never end’” The kind of friend or person that would look you in the eye and say, “All my money is on you. All my eggs are in your basket.” And not only do they say it to you but they actually say it to other people and say to them, “My money is on him, you ought to put your money down to. My eggs are in his basket. You ougt to put your eggs in to.” Here is the thing, they don’t just say to you because things are going good for you, they say even when times are tough.
If you have ever had a friend or family member like that, her is what you realize: they are putting more work into the relationship then you ever will but they do it for your sake and not their own. In our portion this week, we are going to look at one such relationship that should inform us about our relationship with God.
Ha-Foke-Bah
If you are joining us for the first time this week or if you have been away and coming back to CBM we are in series through the book of Genesis. We are taking a Jewish approach to this series by studying each Parashah - a parashah is the weekly reading of the Torah that Jews all around the world adhere to. And as we study each Parashah, I want to honor my Chief Rabbi who though not trained in an official seminary, and though born in a poor city to a poor family, and though not widely accepted by the majority of his contemporary rabbis was considered by many Jewish men to be what the Torah and Prophets was all about (John 1:45)
John 1:45 TLV
Philip finds Nathanael and tells him, “We’ve found the One that Moses in the Torah, and also the prophets, wrote about—Yeshua of Natzeret, the son of Joseph!”
My Chief Rabbi did not flench or hesitate when he said Luke 24:44
Luke 24:44 TLV
Then He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you—everything written concerning Me in the Torah of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.
This series is one where we study our ancient foundations and see how they spoke back them and spoke about Him and speak to us today. We have said that all of Bereshit, the whole book of Genesis is about this one verse Genesis 50:20
Genesis 50:20 TLV
Yes, you yourselves planned evil against me. God planned it for good, in order to bring about what it is this day—to preserve the lives of many people.
At the end of the book, Joseph who is a seed of Abraham says that God is in the business of fixing our messes. He is in the business of rescuing a people who create their own problems. That God takes what we meant for evil (ra’ah) and turns it to good (tov). Or to say it another way, Genesis is God’s rescue plan through the family of Abraham for a rebellious people.
Insert Image of all the sin of Genesis 1-11
From what we have seen in the first two parashot the world is deeply rebellious. From Adam we learned that the greatest problem the world faces is that the image of God has been corrupted by sin and changed in to the image of sinful Adam. And, that only the serpent crusher will every bring this problem to its final conclusion. Last week, in parashah Noach, we asked the question, “What is God’s highest priority for a rebellious world?” Is highest priority is that we would walk with Him in a meaningful and purposeful relationship. And, we saw that Noach responded to grace with obedience and after the flood God ceased His war against humankind by making a covenant with Noah and the world and confirmed it with a sign: his bow hung in the sky. Yet, after the flood instead of starting an amazing new God-centered society he decided to get drunk and naked in his tent and the world fell into rebellion with Nimrod and the Tower of Babel.
The Babel story is different. In all the other narratives, after God judges the sin of the people he immediately provides a rescue. Adam and Eve receive a sacrifice. Cain a mark. Noach a boat and a covenant. After Babel, we just get the Genealogy of Shem. And what is more, this genealogy shows us that God is no longer giving people extra-ordinary long lives. Shem lives to be 600 years old. That is pretty long but Terah the last person mentioned only lives to be 205 years of age. Human life expectancy is shrinking.
That leads us to the most important question this Parashah, Lech Lecha, answers, “How far will God go to rescue a rebellious people?”
I don’t know about you but on more than one occasion I have wondered: God, why aren’t you done with me? I usually ask this question after a rebellious episode of sin in my life or some moment where I realize that what I thought was God’s will really turned out to just be my one flesh, my own will. And now, I was dealing with the mess I had created rather than the harvest of fruit I was hoping for. In these moments, I realize that God has not left me and he has not quit me. I think to myself, “God, why aren’t you done with me?”
We have all been there at some point. I would dare to say that anyone who has been in a relationship with the Lord for more than a week has wondered if they have already out ran the grace of God. We have all been there where we have wondered if God’s grace would really cover my disobedience. Would he really and truly not hold this sin against me. Just how far will God go to rescue me a sometime rebellious sinner and sometimes ignorant sinner and sometimes not sure if I hit His will quit right kind of guy? Just how far will God go to rescue me and how many times?
I will not ask you to raise your hands but I know if I did probably everyone in this room would say they have been here before. Our portion tell us something amazing:
God assumes full responsibility for Abraham, and his family, even when he disobeys Him.
The Suzerain Calls Abram (Gen 12)
Suzerain Needs definition.
Genesis 12:1–9 TLV
Then Adonai said to Abram, “Get going out from your land, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. My heart’s desire is to make you into a great nation, to bless you, to make your name great so that you may be a blessing. My desire is to bless those who bless you, but whoever curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed. So Abram went, just as Adonai had spoken to him. Also Lot went with him. (Now Abram was 75 years old when he departed from Haran.) Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions that they had acquired, and the people that they acquired in Haran, and they left to go to the land of Canaan, and they entered the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land as far as the place of Shechem, as far as Moreh’s big tree. (The Canaanites were in the land then.) Then Adonai appeared to Abram, and said, “I will give this land to your seed.” So there he built an altar to Adonai, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the mountain to the east of Beth-El and erected his tent (with Beth-El to the west and Ai to the east). There he built an altar to Adonai and called on the Name of Adonai. So Abram kept on journeying southward.
The Suzerain Calls Abram
Abram Obeys God.
Abram Worships God.
Abram Obeys God.
Abram Worships God.
The Suzerain Protects Abraham’s Wife (Gen 12)
Genesis 12:11–13 TLV
Just as he was about to enter Egypt he said to Sarai his wife, “Look, please, I know that you are an attractive woman. So when the Egyptians see you they’ll say, ‘This is his wife.’ And they’ll kill me; but you, they’ll let live. Please say that you are my sister, so that I’ll be treated well for your sake, and my life will be spared because of you.”
Famine Strikes Abram.
Pharaoh Wants Sarai.
Abram Marries-Off Sarai.
God Rescues Abram.
Genesis 13:1–3 TLV
So Abram went up from Egypt—he and his wife and everything that belonged to him, and Lot with him—to the Negev. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, silver and gold. He proceeded by stages from the Negev as far as Beth-El—to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beth-El and Ai,
Abram Worships God.
The Suzerain Protects Abraham’s Land (Gen 13)
Genesis 13:7–9 TLV
So there was a quarrel between the shepherds of Abram’s livestock and the shepherds of Lot’s livestock. (Now the Canaanites and the Perizzites were living in the land then.) So Abram said to Lot, “Please, let there be no strife between me and you, or between my shepherds and yours, since we are relatives. Isn’t the whole land before you? Please separate yourself from me. If to the left, then I’ll go to the right, and if to the right, then I’ll go to the left.”
Land Limitations Create Strife.
Lot Sues Abram.
Abram Offers Land.
God Rescues Abram
Abram Worships God.
The Suzerain Protects Abraham’s Life (Gen 14).
Genesis 14:13–16 TLV
Then a survivor came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was dwelling by the large trees belonging to Mamre the Amorite, the brother of Eschol and the brother of Aner—they were Abram’s allies. When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he rallied his trained men, those born in his household, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. Then he divided his servants against them at night, and he defeated them and pursued them as far as Hovah, which is north of Damascus. He brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot and his possessions, as well as the women and the other people.
Genesis 14:19–20 TLV
He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by El Elyon, Creator of heaven and earth, and blessed be El Elyon, Who gave over your enemies Into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
Eastern Kings Attack Canaan.
Lot Taken Captive
Abram Attacks Eastern Kings
God Rescues Abram.
Abram Worships God.
The Suzerain Protects Abraham’s Future (Gen 16-17)
Genesis 16:1–2 TLV
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not borne him children. But she had an Egyptian slave-girl—her name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Look now, Adonai has prevented me from having children. Go, please, to my slave-girl. Perhaps I’ll get a son by her.” Abram listened to Sarai’s voice.
Barreness Disturbs Sarai.
Sarai Offers Hagar.
Hagar Births Ishmael.
God Rescues Abram.
Abraham Worships God.
When you look at this structure of these stories you can tell that Moses, the author, has created a pattern. Whenever you see a pattern it did not just happen by accident. Moses, the author, put the pattern there so we would chase down the question. Initially it is tempting to ask the question, “Was Abram doing the will of God?” You notice that just before Abram makes a major decision he does not do a whole lot of talking with God. He does not talk to God about going to Egypt nor about the whole deal with offering Lot any piece of the land he wants nor does he talk to God about going out and waging a war against four victorious kings for the sake of one man, his nephew, and his family.
That is not the right question. This portion of the Scriptures is not trying to investigate knowing the will of God. No, it is trying to help us see what kind of a Suzerain is Adonai. What kind of a Suzerain is he when he makes covenant with Abraham. How much loyalty must Abraham give? What is the basis for this loyalty? What is God’s standard for loyalty anyway?
Up to this point in the narrative, it would seem like Abram is anything but loyal. Yet, that is exactly why Moses writes the story the way he does. He creates a pattern within the story that virtually repeats itself over and over again across five chapters. A pattern that shows how deeply committed God is to rescuing a rebellious person.
We know from the narrative the kind of Lord/Suzerain God is, He is loyal to a fault. He seems to almost be overprotective, maybe even spoiling this child a little bit. Maybe the best way to think about these Abrahamic stories is that for better; and, indeed for worse, what God promised to Abraham (Land, Seed, and Blessing) He guarantees for Abraham.
Or, like we said earlier, God assumes full responsibility for Abraham, and his family, even when he disobeys Him.
What was it that was God’s bare minimum on loyalty? What was it that God saw in Abraham that keeps causing God to act on his behalf?
Genesis 15:1–6 TLV
After these things the word of Adonai came to Abram in a vision saying, “Do not fear, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “My Lord Adonai, what will You give me, since I am living without children, and the heir of my household is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look! You have given me no seed, so a house-born servant is my heir.” Then behold, the word of Adonai came to him saying, “This one will not be your heir, but in fact, one who will come from your own body will be your heir. He took him outside and said, “Look up now, at the sky, and count the stars—if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “So shall your seed be.” Then he believed in Adonai and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Insert picture of Abraham with stars.
Genesis 15:7–8 TLV
Then He said to him, “I am Adonai who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans, in order to give you this land to inherit it.” So he said, “My Lord Adonai, how will I know that I will inherit it?”
Genesis 15:9–11 TLV
Then He said to him, “Bring Me a three year old young cow, a three year old she-goat, a three year old ram, a turtle-dove and a young bird.” So he brought all these to Him and cut them in half, and put each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds. Then birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
Dead animals image.
Genesis 15:12–17 TLV
When the sun was about to set and a deep sleep fell on Abram, behold, terror of great darkness was falling upon him! Then He said to Abram, “Know for certain that your seed will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they will be enslaved and oppressed 400 years. But I am going to judge the nation that they will serve. Afterward they will go out with many possessions. But you, you will come to your fathers in peace. You will be buried at a good old age. Then in the fourth generation they will return here—for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” When the sun set and it became dark, behold, there was a smoking oven and a fiery torch that passed between these pieces.
Abraham and stars image.
Genesis 15:18–21 TLV
On that day Adonai cut a covenant with Abram, saying, “I give this land to your seed, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River: the Kenite, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Raphaites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”
insert the hands shaking image.
Hebrews 8:6 TLV
But now Yeshua has obtained a more excellent ministry, insofar as He is the mediator of a better covenant which has been enacted on better promises.
Image of Yeshua
Matthew 5:17 TLV
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.
Image of Covenant all pointing to Yeshua
Matthew 26:28 TLV
for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the removal of sins.
Image of Lamb
Romans 4:20–5:2 TLV
Yet he did not waver in unbelief concerning the promise of God. Rather, he was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. He was fully convinced that what God has promised, He also is able to do. That is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now not only for his sake was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake as well. It is credited to us as those who trust in Him who raised Yeshua our Lord from the dead. He was handed over for our transgressions and raised up for the sake of setting us right. Therefore, having been made righteous by trusting, we have shalom with God through our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. Through Him we also have gained access by faith into this grace in which we stand and boast in the hope of God’s glory.
Image of Yeshua and World shaking hands.
Insert Yeshua’s Covenant with the World PPT show.
God assumes full responsibility for Abraham, and any who have faith like, even when they disobey Him.
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