"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Friday, May 10, 2019

GENESIS – An Expositional Overview of the Beginning of God’s Revelation: Chapter TWELVE

Contributing commentaries by Sonny Islas and James Fire

Chapter Twelve – by Sonny Islas

GENESIS 12:1-3
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed

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"

  • It seems as though God called Abram when he was in Haran but ACTS 7:2 says,
    The God of glory appeared [God paid Abram a glorious personal visit] to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia [a region that covered both Babylon and Ur]before he dwelt in Haran,”
Why is this important? Because, Abram was clearly commanded to leave behind his country, family and parents, - this includes his father Terah and his nephew Lot. At the same time, it’s a possibility that Abram adopted Lot due to his brother Haran passing away - GENESIS 11:28.

But GENESIS 11:31 says that Terah, Abram’s dad, not only came along but lead the way. It only makes sense that Abram mentioned his moving away and his father Terah saying something like, “Perfect, let’s pack our bags then, we’re leaving together as a family!”

At this point Abram was supposed to make a stand for God and leave alone. But seeing that he was young in the faith, he didn’t fully obey God because he brought his family along. Abram left his country, but he didn’t leave ALL his family, and father’s house.

Abram didn’t start off as a hero of the faith, he slowly grew in faith and obedience  much like us, amen?
Because of Abram’s disobedience in bringing along his father and nephew, the promise land blessing was delayed (ironically: In Hebrew, Terah means “delay or to loiter”). Terah (disobedience by delaying) lead Abram to stop in Haran (GENESIS 11:32) but God wanted to lead Abram straight to Canaan (The Promise Land). By the way Haran means “parched (dry place)”.

Here is an important principle: When God’s Word gives a clear command and we don’t obey it right away, our blessing (what God has for us) will be delayed and we’ll end up in a parched (dry and rough) place. The sooner we obey God, the sooner we can enjoy His blessings He has in store and waiting for us.

In Abram’s mind, this was a costly command to “Get out and leave everything you know, love and hold dear behind for God and His will!”  This was a tough test of faith and obedience. Keep in mind that nothing says “I believe” like obedience.
Abram also left behind false religion (idol worship). 

And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods.

“…served other gods” Abram didn’t start out as a righteous man (no one does), he was a pagan (heathen).

The LORD says in LUKE 5:32  
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners [
idol worshippers and heathens], to repentance.” Only those who see, admit and are willing to turn from their sinfulness can be saved.

In Mesopotamia (Abram’s homeland) there was a Ziggurat (a huge pyramid type structure like that of The Tower of Babel – most likely a copy) built to a god called Nanna (aka Sin) the moon god. Abram was a moon worshipper before he came to know the One True God – Yahweh! The Creator of the moon and everything else, both visible and invisible.

Ironically or intentionally the flag of Islam has a crescent moon, and also on the top of every mosque – a possible connection there? And Ur is modern day southern Iraq where Islam is prevalent. Some believe that Allah is the moon god Nanna (Sin). Same old false god – repackaged.

This same call to “get out” in a sense, was given to us too in Christ. Only we’ve not been called out of the land of physical Babylon (though one day we will), we’re called out of the spiritual Babylon (this fallen world, it’s wicked ways and false religions, beliefs and ideas).

Regarding spiritual Babylon, REVELATION 18:4 says,
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”

Jesus (Yahweh the Son) said in MATTHEW 10:37-38
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” 
(Doesn’t this sound much like Abram’s call to leave all behind to follow God? To put God first in everything?).

I will make you a great nation

In these 3 verses, God says, “I will” five times! In other words, “I will personally make my plan and promises come to pass no matter what. No one and nothing will stop Me – My Son is coming and He’s coming through you, Abram. I’m in total control. I’m in charge. Believe it!”

Keep in mind that Sarai is barren (she couldn’t have children) and they are childless, yet God promises to make Abram a great nation (great in number and in power). And He has and He will, both physically and soon, spiritually – in Israel – just as He has created another spiritual nation in power – the church:

This is a great spiritual nation that came from Abraham, the sons and daughters of faith in Jesus - GALATIANS 3:7 says,
Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.”

Today there is great physical nation that came from Abraham, the nation of Israel (about as small as New Jersey) and yet they are a Middle East super-power. And all in just the last 70 years! The reason – God alone!

It is said that today Israel is also a world leader in science, technology and innovation.
God says, “I will bless you” (and as a result) “you shall be a blessing.” 

Principle:  Unless God Himself blesses us, we can’t be a blessing to others.

I will make your name great” This too came to fruition. Abraham is one of the most famous and most respected historic individuals. He is highly honored by Christians, Jews and Muslims. Abram was the first to be called “a friend of God” three times in scripture: 2 CHRON 20:7; ISAIAH 41:8; JAMES 2:23.

Nimrod wanted to make a name for himself, but Abram used his name (influence and possessions) for the glorious Name of Yahweh!

I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you
and throughout history God has done both.

God blesses nations with His personal care and protection. He blesses with wealth, tranquility, victory in war and longevity.

As we know America has been super blessed due to being one of Israel’s closest allies. In fact, our 33rd President (Harry S. Truman) along with the U.N. officially recognized Israel as the Jewish nation and government on May 14th, 1948. And our current president is one of the most pro-Israel presidents we’ve ever had. He recently recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital and moved our U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as an act of full support. 

But let’s not forget, that it’s not Israel that needs America; America needs IsraelBecause, Israel is God’s chosen land where Jesus will soon reign as King of kings during in the Millennial Reign.

And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” This came to pass and is coming to pass through FAITH in Jesus the ultimate blessing as He came and comes to save souls from all people groups (families) of the world.

  • GALATIANS 3:14 says,
    that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Referring to the Day of Pentecost. “the Spirit on all flesh”/people groups.
  • GALATIANS 4:26 says,
    For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Therefore know that only those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham.”

Through Abraham and his descendance mainly Jacob (Israel and His sons) we’ve been blessed. It’s through Abraham that we have the prophets, the Ten Commandments, the entire Bible (OT & NT), the Apostles, and above all Jesus our LORD and Savior! We got God made flesh through the Jews!

GENESIS 12:4-6
So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land

4 So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

“Haran” was the name of a place and of Abram’s brother who passed away – so let’s not get these two mixed up. In those times they would name their children after cities. Don’t get any ideas, Tucson is not a good name for a child (especially a girl)! Incidentally, the town of Sedona, AZ was named after the founder’s wife.

Then… Abram departed to the land of Canaan.” 

After his father Terah died that’s when Abram continued to obey God by making his way to Canaan. It’s possible that Abram felt that he wasn’t able to lead until his father (the family leader) passed away.
It could very well be that Abram was intimidated by His father because it is said that according to rabbinical tradition Terah was a wicked, idolatrous priest who made idols for a living. Abram, in opposition to his father’s idol shop, smashed his father’s idols (but kept one idol) with his brother’s Haran’s support. In anger, Terah brought Abram and Haran before Nimrod, who then had Haran thrown into a fiery furnace “Haran died before his father TerahGEN 11:28).” It is also said that Terah eventually repented and changed for the better – maybe even gave his life to Yahweh.

to the land of Canaan” Remember that Canaan was a descendant of Ham, Noah’s second son who made a mockery of His dad. And because of that, Noah placed a curse divinely directed by God on Ham’s descendants (Canaan):

Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants He shall be to his brethren
 mainly Shem the son that Abraham comes from and in the book of Joshua we see “Canaan” being conquered by the Israelites.

GENESIS 12:6-9
And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south

The place of Shechem” 
Shechem is located in north-central Israel. Abraham’s grandson Jacob (aka Israel) would later live here (GEN 33) and eventually Abraham’s great grandson Joseph would be buried here (JOSH 24).

The terebinth tree of Moreh” Moreh means ‘teacher’. This points to God and His Word being our Instructor (Torah) and teacher.

Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said ‘To your defendants will give this land’.”

Shechem is a very special place because Shechem is where God appeared to Abram a second time and this verse is the actual title deed of Canaan (Israel) given to the Jews.
This all involves what’s called the Abrahamic Covenant in which God describes the boundaries of the territory of Israel as the LORD intends. 

Many say that Israel doesn’t belong to the Jews but here we read how the Owner of Heaven and Earth gave it to them (it’s written!). In reality, the Jews need no other proof than this verse here.
Shechem is also the first place where Abram built an alter to the LORD and worshipped – Holy Land.

he moved… east of Bethel” Bethel means “House of God” and near here he stops to build another alter and worship the LORD.

He also “called on the Name of the LORD”; again, Abraham was learning to seek God and make His Name - Yahweh known. He did this publicly. “Call on the Name of the LORD” also points to preaching and proclaiming God’s Name and ways to others.

GENESIS 12:10-20
And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: 12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. 13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. 14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15 The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.

16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. 17 And 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 that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. 20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

Now there was a famine imagine how Abram felt? “God you bring me to this promise land and now there’s no rain and food? What are you up to?” 

Principle: Sometimes God calls us to do something and the unexpected happens. God allows this to make us stronger and for us to put our trust in Him even more.

Abram comes up with a scheme, he tells his wife, “Sarai you’re a hottie” (my version) So, please lie “say that you’re my sister” “that I may live!” – this is a half lie by the way because GENESIS 20:12 says that she is his half-sister. But a half lie is a whole lie.
Instead of trusting in the God who promised to keep him alive and give him and Sarai children, he chooses to lie that is to doubt God which happened because he let fear get the best of him. Fear fogs God’s Word in our minds – like it did here for Abram which then leads to sin.

The Egyptians saw the woman that she was very beautiful” Sarai was drop dead gorgeous. She was queen material. This is why Pharaoh took her to add her to his Hiram (his collection of beautiful women).
Jewish tradition says that Sarai was the most beautiful bride ever.

Sarai was beautiful at 65 (every woman’s dream) because she died at 127 (GEN 23:1-2). She was Still young. In today’s lifespan, it would be as though she were in her early twenties. Again, she was Super model status.
He (the Pharaoh) treated Abram well for her sake” I’m sure Abram thought, Wow it worked! I’m getting all this good stuff! 

But little did he know that one of the female Egyptian servants 
(Hagar) that was given to him would eventually be a huge problem between him and Sarah.

Principle: When we sin willfully, at times, it may seem like all is well but soon the results of that sin will peak out its ugly head and cause us pain and regret – like Hagar.

Pharaoh asks Abram, Why have you lied to me?Then Abram was kicked out of Egypt for being a liar! This was a very shameful exit. Here is the man who knows God and a man who was to be a man of integrity and he messes up big time! He was called to lead by example and now he leaves Egypt with his head down as his large group feels a sense of disappointment in their leader.

Dead flies putrefy [spoil] the perfumer’s ointment and cause it to give off a foul odorSo, does a little folly to one [Abram/us] respected for wisdom and honor
In other words, One little mistake can make us stink!

Another principle: We can’t get away with sin; God will bring it to the light in a dramatic and embarrassing way like He did here if we don’t confess and forsake it as soon as possible. At the same time, this gives us hope. God works with imperfect people and is very patient with our weaknesses.

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