Happy Anniversary. Chris & Catherine Overby – September 1 Don & Lillie McWhinney – Sept 2 (54) Randy & Louise Beard – Sept 2 (54) Leon & Barbara Ward – Sept 3 (55) Jerry & Sharon Evans – Sept 6 (27) Jim & Jo Robards – Sept 8 (31) Pat & Mary ell Carlisle – Sept 9 (59).
Abraham’s Faith is Developed Through Testing
Genesis 1 – Space, Mass, Time Continuum is Created
Genesis 2 – The Creation of Man/Woman is Detailed
Genesis 3 – The Fall of Mankind from Glorious Innocence
Genesis 4 – The Fall Results in Murder; Cain kills Abel
Genesis 5 – The Genealogy of Adam down to Noah
Genesis 6 - The Degradation of Mankind, World is Corrupted
Genesis 7 – The Flood of Noah (150 days)
Genesis 8 – The Flood Subsides, Noah Worships Jehovah
Genesis 9 – The Covenant of the Rainbow (alleviate fear)
Genesis 10 – The Descendants of Noah (3 sons; 3 ‘races’?)
Genesis 11 – The Confusion of Languages at Babel (Shem)
Genesis 12 – Abram / Sarai Travel to Palestine; then Egypt
Genesis 13 - Abram / Lot Separate
Genesis 14 – Abram Defeats Foreign Kings, Rescues Lot
Review of Genesis 15
Abram demonstrates his faith in Jehovah
Genesis 15 – Abram is Promised a Son, but he is old, and Sarah is old as well
Faith is not merely assent, but an unconditional trust in the LORD, and His word, even where the natural course of events furnishes no ground for hope or expectation.
This faith Abram manifested, as the apostle has shown in Rom. 4 [where this passage is quoted]; and this faith God reckoned to Abram as righteousness by the actual conclusion of a covenant with him. (K & D, Vol. 1, p. 213)
Note: Genesis 16-20show Abram failing miserably, trying to work out his own salvation in the flesh, without trusting fully in Almighty Jehovah God.
“Righteousness, as a human characteristic, is correspondence to the will of God both in character and conduct, or a state answering to the divine purpose of a man’s being. This was the state in which man was first created in the image of God; but it was lost by sin, through which he placed himself in opposition to the will of God and to his own divinely appointed destiny, and could only be restored by God.
When the human race had universally corrupted its way, Noah alone was found righteous before God (Gen. 7:1) because he was blameless and walked with God (Gen. 6:9)
This righteousness Abram acquired through his unconditional trust in the Lord, his undoubting faith in His promise, and his ready obedience to His word.
This state of mind…was reckoned to him as righteousness, so that God treated him as a righteous man, and formed such a relationship with him, that he was placed in living fellowship with God. The foundation of this relationship was laid in the manner described in 15: 7-11 (sacrifice)” (K & D. p. 213)
“it was counted unto him for righteousness”
The Divine Law acquits the one otherwise deserving condemnation by placing that penalty on the other one
Abram, possessing no righteousness of his own, was justified or declared righteous before God
Romans 3:21-31 “But now apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets. Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation [gift/grace/acceptance] in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness , because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed
(26) For the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of Law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith, and the uncircumcised through faith is one.
(31) Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law”
Q: How do we apply our study of the Book of Genesis?
Keep God, and His relationship to people, in mind as you read through the book.
Consider His character qualities.
Marvel at God’s power over creation.
Marvel at His anger over sin---and be warned!
Marvel over the way He fulfills His promises.
Worship the Lord who is strong, faithful, and just. His desire to bless His creation will one day be fully realized.
Q: What does it mean when it says that “the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision…”
A vision brought to Abram by God was not a mere fancy, or a subjective play of the thoughts, but a spiritual fact, which was not only in all respects as real as things discernible by the senses, but which surpassed in its lasting significance the acts and events that strike the eye… It was designed to establish the purely spiritual relation of a living fellowship between God and Abram, of the deep inward meaning…a spiritual intuition and experience [which] could give to Abram an effective and permanent hold… (K & D, Vol. 1, p. 210)
Some things we cannot feel to be true until we believe them to be true, and act as if they are true
“This cycle of narratives presents the struggle Abram the patriarch underwent while he was waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled. At times he stumbled, but eventually his faith was proved.
As Abram’s faith was developed and tested, delay was seen in the fulfilling of God’s promise. In moments of weakness there are suggestions of alternative plans---plans not characterized by faith. Human efforts to assist in the fulfilling of divine promises complicated the matter. Later Israel too would learn that when she tried to do things without God, those things would get complicated” (Walvoord, BKC, p. 56)
Genesis 16:1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
3So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Saraihis wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.
5Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
At age 75, Abram and Sarai left Haran in Lebanon:
Gen. 12:1 “Now the LORD said to Abram, Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”
At age 90 (and Sarai is 80), they are still childless
Gen 15:1 “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.” And Abram said, “O Lord [plural of Adonai, Lord] God, what wilt thou give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Since Thou hast given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man shall not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.”
As the promise of a lineal heir (15:4) did not seem likely to be fulfilled, even after the covenant had been made (15:17-18), ten years after leaving Haran, and living in Canaan, Sarai resolved to find a way to produce an heir.
She gave her Egyptian maid Hagar to her husband, that if possible, Sarai and Abram might be ‘built up by her’ (KJV), or obtain children who might found a house or family
In Gen. 30:3 Jacob/Rachael will do the same with Bilhah her maid, because Rachael is barren; and then Leah and her maid Zilpah
The resolution of barrenness seemed to be a judicious one, according to the customs of the East, where there would be nothing morally ‘wrong’ in carrying it out (at least in the eyes of the Canaanites living in the land).
Malachi 2:14-15 says it was wrong in Jehovah’s site – “Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do [Abram] while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then, to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth”
Abram and Sarai were both soon to learn that their thoughts were not God’s thoughts, and that their wishes and actions were not in accordance with the divine promise.
Sarai originated the plan, and was the first to experience its evil consequences. The maid despised her when Hagar knew she was pregnant – “her mistress became little in her eyes.”
When Sarai complained to Abram of the contempt she received from her maid, she blamed Abram, and called upon Jehovah to judge between her and her husband (!)
Abram gave her full power to act as mistress towards her maid, without raising the slave who was made a concubine above her position as slave.
Having secured the fulfillment of her wishes, Sarai and Abram reaped nothing but grief and vexation, and apparently had lost the servant role of the maid through their self-concerted scheme.
But Jehovah God, the faithful covenant God, turned the whole mess into a blessing. (K & D, p. 219)
Q: Was the name Hagar – meaning ‘to flee’ or ‘flight’ – given to this maiden after she flees from Sarai?
A: Yes, it is possible that this wasn’t her name when she was in Egypt, or when first serving Sarai.
Q: Where did they get Hagar as a maid?
A: Probably when Sarai is in the harem of Pharaoh (Gen. 12:16).
Q: Is it possible that Hagar was fleeing from someone else when Abram/Sarai picked her up as a servant? Maybe
Q: When God told Abram he would have ancestors as numerous as the sands/stars, did God make it clear that Sarai would be the mother of a child?
A: “Calvin notes that Sarai’s desire of offspring was not prompted by natural impulse [to have a baby] but by the zeal of faith which made her wish to secure the promised benediction. As yet it had not been clearly intimated that Sarai was to be the mother of Abram’s child; and hence her recourse to what was a prevalent practice of the times, while unjustifiable in itself, was a signal proof of her humility, of her devotion to her husband, and perhaps also of her faith in God” (Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 225)