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Friday Digest: BSF’s Study of Genesis Lesson 16

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN GENESIS CHAPTER 25-26:

  • God’s ways are not our ways
  • We must accept what we don’t understand
  • We must believe that God knows what He’s doing
  • God grows our trust with trials
  • We avoid conflict as much as possible
  • We trust God in all His ways
  • Nothing can take away your salvation
  • Wait and wait and wait on God

Take Away: We are Christians with a promised eternity by God’s grace alone.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 5: Genesis 26

Summary of Genesis 26:

A famine came into the land, and Isaac went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines in Gerar (different guy than Abraham’s Abimelech.  Remember, Abimelech is the name they give to rulers).  The Lord appeared to Isaac and told him to not go to Egypt but to stay here. He will bless him and give all this land to his descendants. He repeats the oath He gave to Abraham. He will bless all nations because Abraham was faithful and his descendants will be as numerous as the stars.

Isaac, however, lied who Rebekah was, saying she was his sister just like Abraham had done in Egypt out of fear of being killed.  But Isaac got caught in his lie and was chastised by Abimelech who orders no one to touch or molest Isaac or Rebekah.

Isaac planted crops in the land of the Philistines, and the Lord blessed him. He became rich and had so many flocks that the Philistines became jealous so they filled all his wells with dirt. Finally, Abimelech told Isaac to move away because he had become too powerful.

So Isaac moved to the Valley of Gerar and re-opened the wells. Isaac’s servants dug two new wells, but the locals quarreled over them.  He dug another well that was undisputed, which showed Isaac the Lord would provide.

At Beersheba, the Lord appeared to Isaac and told him He would bless him and increase his descendants. Isaac built an altar there and called on the Lord.  He also dug a well there.

Abimelech saw how Isaac continued to prosper because the Lord was with him and became afraid.  So he along with his  adviser and commander approached Isaac to make a treaty not to harm them. This was done. Another well was dug.

Esau married Judith and Basemath, both of whom were Hittites, and they were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 5: Genesis 26

12) The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” God was protecting Isaac and his family, as well as strengthening their faith.

13) Almost exactly the same. There was a famine in the land, and instead of praying for God’s guidance, they go to local kings for help instead of the One, True King. He told the men his wife was his sister like Abraham did. Yet God blesses Isaac as well with wealth despite his lie. He got into a water dispute with the locals after Abimelech kicked him out of Philistine. He built an altar for God there. Abimelech makes a treaty with Abraham, afraid of God’s power.

14) Personal Questions. My answer: Tell them to seek God instead. That’s all you can do. Some people have to learn by experience.

15) He made a treaty with them, and he left when he was told to leave. He tried not to quarrel over wells and left them until he dug one that had no quarrel over it. Always try to compromise and avoid conflict with your neighbors.

16) To teach them lessons, to grow their faith in Him, to appreciate the good times, to grow them as humans.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 5: Genesis 26

I had not seen the close parallels of this story before. So eerily similar. It just goes to show that no matter how good of a parent you are or try to be, your kids wil do what they want to do.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 5: Genesis 26

We see here Isaac facing almost the exact same challenges that Abraham faced, and we see that Isaac responds in almost the exact same way. We’ve saw Gerar in Genesis 20:1-18). where Abraham met a different Abimelech. Isaac begins to travel to Egypt to escape the famine, but this time God stops him before he gets there. God does not want Isaac to leave the Promised Land. He promised Isaac the same things he promised Abraham:

  • The Promised Land
  • A nation to come forth
  • Blessings

Isaac stops in Gerar but tells the same lie his father did, saying Rebekah was his sister. Isaac is caught in this lie, and chastized, just like his father was for his behavior (Genesis 12:18-19) (Genesis 20:10)

map of gerar and beersheba www.atozmomm.com

God protects Isaac and Rebekah anyways.

Isaac prospered, worrying his neighbors who then stopped up all the wells and told Isaac to leave.

Isaac digs new wells, confident God will bless him. Water is life in the desert, as Jesus is our living waters

Remember names in the Bible have meaning. Esek means dispute. Sitnah means opposition. Rehoboth means room. Now Isaac has room to not have disputes.

Isaac returns to Beersheba, right where God wants him.

Fun fact: This is the first time God appears to Isaac in the Bible.

We see another past play when Isaac’s neighbors approach him for peace out of the fear of God, who is with Isaac, just like we saw with Abraham. Isaac forgives Abimelech for being kicked out of his lands and makes a treaty.

Shibah means oath of seven and Beersheba means well of the oath or well of seven.

Here, Esau is briefly mentioned as he marries two women who are Canaanites which is against God’s wishes and commands. (Genesis 24:3-4).

esau and jacob www.atozmomm.com bsf genesis study

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 4: Genesis 25:27-34

Summary of Genesis 25:27-34:

Esau grew into a skilled hunter, while Jacob grew into a quiet man, prefering to stay around the tents. Isaac loved Esau; Rebekah loved Jacob. One day, Esau returned and wanted some stew that Jacob was serving. He called it red stew, which is why he was also called Edom, which means red. Jacob told him he would have to sell him his birthright for stew. Esau didn’t care and agreed. He ate and left, despising his birthright.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 4: Genesis 25:27-34

9) Esau grew into a skilled hunter, while Jacob grew into a quiet man, prefering to stay around the tents. They are both Isaac and Rebekah’s sons.

10a) Genesis 27:29 is Jacob receiving Isaac’s blessing, which in this case for birthright, is nations and people serving him and lord over your brothers. It also has those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed. Deuteronomy 21:15-17 explains that the right of the firstborn no matter the preference of feelings receives a double share of all he has, as the son is a sign of the father’s strength.  Great explanation of birthright HERE

We have inherited “birthright” status through Jesus Christ as the firstborn Son of God (Romans 8:29Colossians 1:15Revelation 1:5)

b) He sold the birthright because he was hungry and on impulse. He didn’t care; he only wanted food. He let temporary wants override eternal needs and desires. We can’t let things interfer that are temporary here on earth with eternity in heaven.

11) We see here God’s will be done as Jacob receives Isaac’s blessing despite being the second born. We see Esau make a dumb decision that affects the rest of his life. We must always be vigilant, prayerful, and seeking of God’s will before we make decisions.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 4: Genesis 25:27-34

Like Moses being banned from the Promised Land over one decision, so, too, we see Esau sell his birthright. It seems harsh to us, but we ourselves should know that every decision we make has consequences, most, thankfully are not as severe if we choose poorly. Pray always first, and trust God for the rest.

End Note BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 4: Genesis 25:27-34

We should note that Esau acted impulsively, Jacob, too, was being a scoundrel, taking advantage of his brother and asking for the birthright when it was not his. Interestingly, Martin Luther himself pointed out that the birthright was already Jacob’s because of what God told Rebekah. Jacob had to have know this, as too did Esau. Essentially, this deal was invalid then.

Here, there was much more at stake because the birthright also came with God’s covenant to make that person into a great nation with land and bring forth the Messiah.

We see Jacob’s character as he attempted to take what God had already given him. We see his heart here. This is funny to me because God already said who was chosen. It would have been better if both brothers had just accepted that.

Neither men here were acting Godly at all.

Christians have a birthright to heaven and God via Jesus. Yet, look at how many thumb their nose at this. Ephesians 1:3-14

  • We are blessed to be in God’s family
  • We are forgiven for our sins.
  • We receive God’s grace and mercy.
  • We receive eternity in heaven with God.
  • We receive the Holy Spirit
  • We have life

The writer of Hebrews tells us more of Esau Hebrews 12:16 which shows God’s wisdom in choosing Jacob.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 3: Genesis 25:19-26

Summary of Genesis 25:19-26:

Isaac was forty when he married Rebekah.  Isaac prayed when he discovered Rebekah was barren and God granted her twins. The Lord told her she carried two nations, one will be stronger and the older will serve the younger. Esau was the first born (his name may mean hairy. He was also called Edom which means red for he was red-headed). The second born was Jacob who came out clasping Esau’s heel (his name means he grasps the heel or he deceives). Isaac was 60 years old at their birth.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 3: Genesis 25:19-26

6) Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife. The Lord answered. Rebekah inquired of the Lord as well about why her pregnancy was so difficult. The Lord answered her. Both went to God for answers and did not make assumptions. Both continually seek God.

7) Personal Question. My answer: I believe I’m right where God puts me every time. I am waiting on Him to move, and I follow. This has been the story of my life since I was little. He doesn’t necessarily speak, but I take one day at a time to what He brings me.

8 ) “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 3: Genesis 25:19-26

It seems that Isaac and Rebekah have a very strong marriage (at least at this point) that points toward God. Great example of going to God with all of your questions. I love how Isaac prays for his wife. Great, indeed!

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 3: Genesis 25:19-26

Note that nothing comes easy, even to the chosen ones. Isaac and Rebekah had to wait as well for children. This should be encouragement for all couples waiting on a baby. Note too they did not use a suroagate as Abraham did

Esau and Jacob will be Isaac and Rebekah’s only children. Two nations will come from them. Edom from Esau and Israel from Jacob.

Note how God can do anything He wants, including go against tradition and choose the second-born, Jacob, as His chosen one. Paul notes God’s sovereignty as well. Romans 9:10-13,

Note that God’s choices are not haphazard or random; everything God does is with purpose and has a plan. We just can’t see it. It is our job to trust, God’s to orchestrate.

The detail of Jacob being born holding on to Esau’s heel should not be lost on us. It actually was not a compliment back in ancient times and actually had a connotation of trickster, which as most of us know, Jacob is when he receives the blessing over Esau as we’ll see coming up. We must remember that no word in the Bible is wasted.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 2: Genesis 25:1-18

Summary of Genesis 25:1-18:

Abraham took another wife named Keturah and had more kids. He left everything he owned to Isaac but gave gifts to his other sons and sent them away to the land of the east. Abraham lived 175 years and was buried with Sarah in the cave he bought from the Hittites by Isaac and Ishmael. God blessed Isaac who settled near Beer Lahai Roi.

Ishmael had 12 sons who became 12 tribal rulers. He lived to be 137 years old. His descendants settled near Egypt from Havilah to Shur as you go towards Asshur. They lived in hostility towards their brothers.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 2: Genesis 25:1-18

3) Abraham sent all of his other sons away from Isaac, making it clear who would inherit his lands. He gave gifts to the rest of his sons.

4) God blessed his son Isaac. God told Abraham in Genesis 15:15 that he would go to his fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. Genesis 21:11-13 says God will make Isaac into a nation. Genesis 24:7 says that a wife will be got for Isaac so that he can have sons and his descendents will inherit the land.

5) Personal Question. My answer: I learn that God keeps His promises no matter how much we sin or mess up. That God is faithful and repeats His promises to us. That God is good. And that despite our failures, His plans never alter.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 2: Genesis 25:1-18

I was surprised to see Abraham marry again. I don’t remember this the last time I read Genesis. It seems like his other kids are told to go away, which is why I’m wondering why even marry again, knowing Isaac is the promised one beside for companionship. It just seems terrible to be Abraham’s other sons, second always to God’s promised one.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 16, Day 2: Genesis 25:1-18

In total, Abraham had 8 sons, and it’s very easy to forget this since the six by his second wife, Keturah, are hardly mentioned. However, these sons would from tribes of their own, perhaps the most famous in the Bible being the Midianites from Midian.

Some scholars use this passage to say it was Sarah that was the one with fertility problems. I disagree. God can open and close wombs as He chooses. His plan was to test Abraham and Sarah’s faith so He closed Sarah’s womb, not anything else.

We see God’s work be passed on from generation to generation as we read about Abraham’s death.

Fun Fact: Abraham is mentioned 70 times by the writers of the New Testament, the most out of any other OT person except Moses.

Fun Fact: We see here for the first time “breathed his last” to refer to death and “gathered to his people” to mean joining loved ones in heaven

We see that Ishmael continued to receive God’s blessing as well. The Old Testament usually lists the non-messianic line first and then the messianic line last, which we see here in Ishmael’s listing.

Beer Lahai Roi in the Bible: Click HERE

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BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 16, Day 5: Genesis 19:15-38

Summary of passage:  The angels are urging Lot to hurry to leave Sodom with his family before it’s too late.  Lot hesitated so the angels had to pull Lot and his family out of the city since the Lord was merciful.  The angels warned them to flee to the mountains and not to look back or they would be swept away.

Lot pleads to flee to the small town of Zoar at least instead of the mountains and this request is granted.  The Lord rained down sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot’s wife disobeyed God and looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.  The next morning Abraham saw smoke but God remembered Abraham and saved Lot because of him.

Lot and his daughters left Zoar out of fear and settled in the mountains after all.  They lived in a cave.  The older daughter convinced her sister to get Lot drunk and sleep with him so that they could conceive since there was no other man around.  They did so unbeknownst to Lot and both became pregnant.

They boar two sons named Moab and Ben-Ammi, who became the father of the Moabites and the Ammonites respectively.  These cities fought with Israel for centuries.

Questions:

13)  Everything.  The wife died.  They didn’t take any of their wealth or livestock with them–only the clothes on their backs it seems.  They lost their moral compass with the incest.  Tragic.

14a)  He rescued Lot. He had the angels pull Lot out of the city and then God agreed to let them move to Zoar.

b)  What Lot built up did not survive the fire test.  Nothing he built survived.  He suffered loss and Lot will be saved but only as one escaping through the flames.  In other words, Lot has no works to show for his faith.  Lot has done nothing worthy with his life. (Please read from 1 Corinthians 3:10 to understand the passage.  We also discussed this passage last year.  Click HERE to review especially question 8b).

15)  Moab and Ammon.  While the Israelites are wandering the desert, God instruct Moses to not harass the Moabites because He has given them Ar and to not harass the Ammonites for God has given them land.  However, the Moabites and the Ammonites did not help the Israelites when they were passing through their land out of Egypt and instead pronounced a curse upon the Israelites.  As a result, God banned them from entering the assembly of the Lord and forbade the Israelites to be friends or allies with them.  God also turned the curse into a blessing.

Jesus was descended from Ruth who was a Moabite.

Conclusions:  Interesting to me how sin leads to curses and blessings.  How the Moabites and the Ammonites were sworn enemies to the Israelites for most of history; yet, God chose Ruth to be in the line of Jesus.  God can turn the hearts of individuals despite the sin of their ancestors.  Man can overcome his inherit sin and his circumstances and culture and environment to do God’s will.  Encouragement for us all that indeed good can come out of evil.

Interesting how God blessed the Moabites and the Ammonites with land even though they are sinful and ungrateful and treat their relatives, the Israelites, horrible.  God blesses them but then He punishes them when they don’t turn from their ways (Zephaniah 2:8-11).  God will turn their land into a wasteland and take back His blessings (the land) and give it to the Israelites.

Interesting Thought:  Some scholars believe Sodom and Gomorrah lie at the bottom of the Red Sea.  However, the Red Sea has receded in modern times and archaeologists are not convinced of this.  Some even claim to have found Lot’s cave, Zoar, Sodom, and Gomorrah on dry ground.  Google if interested to find this research.

Map Work:

Good maps of Sodom, Gomorrah, and Zoar were hard to find.  This is the clearest I could find:

http://www.wyattnewsletters.com/sodom/PICS/sodom.gif

Another one:  http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/sodom-and-gomorrah.html#Map%20of%20Possible%20Locations

This one shows where the Moabites and Ammonites were eventually located in addition to Sodom, Gomorrah, and Zoar.  This site also goes over the passage.  You have to scroll a bit to see this one:

http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/sodom-and-gomorrah.html

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 16, Day 4: Genesis 19:1-14

Summary of passage:  The angels of the Lord who had been with Abraham now arrived at Sodom and Lot was sitting at the gateway at the time (an indication he was now one of the leaders of Sodom).  Lot recognized them as angels and bowed to them.  He acted as Abraham did, inviting them to his house to wash their feet and spend the night.

At first, the angels refused but Lot insisted so they obliged.  Lot fed them.  At nighttime, all the men of Sodom came to Lot’s house and demanded that he hand over his guests so they could have sex with them.  Lot went out and offered his daughters instead, refusing to hand over the angels who were his guests.

They pushed him aside and told him he would be treated worse than the angels.  The men tried to break in but the angels pulled Lot inside and blinded the men so they could not find the door.

Then the angels tell Lot to get his family for they are going to destroy Sodom because the outcry against the city is so strong.  Lot ran to his son-in-laws and told them what was happening but they didn’t believe him.  They laughed in his face.

Questions:

11a)  Lot tried to reason with the men to not take the angels to sodomize them (verses 6-8) but the men pushed him aside, called him an alien, and threatened Lot as well (verse 9).  In verse 14 Lot’s son-in-laws laugh at Lot when he tells them the city is about to be destroyed and refuse to come.

These verses don’t show Lot’s influence on his wife but verse 26 describes how Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt because she didn’t want to leave Sodom.

b)  I would have thought when Lot got kidnapped by the four kings and he lost all his possessions and Abraham had to rescue him would have been a big clue to leave Sodom (Genesis 14:12-16).  But I think because Lot regained all that was taken due to God’s goodness Lot didn’t take the warning seriously.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God often warns us and tries to re-direct our path when we are not following His will but our own.  He does this in many ways that often aren’t as dramatic as a kidnapping such as losing a job, a car accident, a death or illness in the family, or any other hiccup in your path that you know deep down inside is God.

The lesson is to heed these warnings and not to ignore them before it is too late and something irrevocable happens.

12)  He could have moved his family at any time away from the filth of Sodom to a more Godly environment.  Lot was rich enough he could have taken his flocks elsewhere and not suffered financially.  Instead, he was blinded by Sodom’s temptations and chose to stay.  He ignored God’s warnings and in the end paid the ultimate price:  degradation and loss of his family.

Conclusions:  God will keep trying to get our attention to move us to His path instead of ours.  If He has to take out our family in order to do it (like He did with Lot’s wife), He will.  Luckily, I think this is on the extreme side of God’s will for us.  But it happens.  We must remember God is in control and when we try to take control back from Him, we are in danger of being grasped by the devil and pulled under.

The key to understanding Lot is this:  he compromised his beliefs.  Yes, he was a believer. And he is in heaven today.  But he wanted to live in the world and enjoy life’s pleasures. So he allowed his family to be around evil-doers who unduly influenced them.  As Paul says, we must be careful our actions do not become a stumbling block for others who are weaker in the faith (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).  Children are undoubtedly weaker.

Lot was in such a bad situation that he felt he had to offer up his daughters to be raped to protect his guests (unjustifiable in any case but we see just how bad Sodom is).  He definitely wasn’t acting in his kids’ best interest when he moved to Sodom.

Lot was selfish.  He wanted pleasure now.  He wanted treasure on earth rather than in heaven.  As a result, he hurt (and eventually lost) those around him.

The same is for us.  We must heed God’s word and not compromise God’s truths.  For the sake of others around us if not for ourselves.  Otherwise, our life could mirror Lot’s.  Not exactly a role model I admire or want to emulate to say the least.

Life is not about us.  It’s about Him.  We would do well to remember that.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 16, Day 3: Genesis 18:16-33

Summary of passage:  After visiting Abraham at his tent and partaking of food and water, the men get up to leave.  Abraham walked with them aways.  The Lord wonders if He should hide from Abraham what He is about to do–namely destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.  For Abraham will become a great and powerful nation and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.  For He has chosen Abraham to keep the way of the Lord.

The Lord said the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that He himself will verify it.

So the men (other two presumably angels) went towards Sodom while the Lord remained next to Abraham.

Abraham challenges God repeatedly not to wipe away the righteous with the unrighteous, reminding God that He should only judge the wicked and not lump the righteous in with the same judgment as the wicked.  [Abraham’s got some guts here.]

The Lord says He will spare the city if He can find 50 righteous people.  But the Lord cannot find any.

Abraham does say he is nothing but dust and ashes and repeats how he is unworthy to request such a thing.  But Abraham does anyways.

The Lord leaves and Abraham returns home.

Questions:

7)  Because Abraham was God’s chosen one (Isaiah and Genesis say).  We (humans and Abraham) are God’s friends (Isaiah and John) and are no longer servants.  And friends tell each other everything; they have no secrets.  God chose man.  James tells us “he (Abraham) was called God’s friend.”

Think about this:  you are so close to God that you are walking next to Him as Abraham is doing.  You are God’s friend and confidant.  It would be natural for God to tell you His plans.  It’s why God created man in the first place.  It’s how God treated Adam in the Garden.

God told Abraham about Sodom because it is what friends would do–share and bond.

8 )  Mark says to consider carefully what you hear.  John says the Holy Spirit within will guide us.  John 8:47:  “He who belongs to God hears what God says.  The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”  John 10:27  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

Consensus seems to be that to hear God we must be God’s.  We must have the Holy Spirit within.  If you are not a believer, you will not hear God.

9)  God punishes the wicked and not the righteous.  He provides a way out for the righteous.  God listens to the outcries against the accused and then verifies before He judges.  God listens to our prayers for the wicked and offers up repentance.  God is just; punishment will come to those who do evil.

10a)  Lot and his family are spared.

b)  To show Abraham that He listens to prayers, that He is fair, and that He answers prayers.

c)  No.

d)  “The Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” when we do not know what to pray for.  For God knows our hearts and our minds and the Spirit intercedes or guides us in accordance with God’s will.

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If we do not ask, we do not receive.  Abraham asked and asked and asked.  He did not give up.  For in his heart Abraham loved those people. Same for us.  We must ask and ask and ask.  For God will answer. (Matthew 7:7-8).

John 15:16:  “I chose you..and the Father will give you whatever you ask in my (Jesus’s) name.”

Abraham reminded God of who He was.  This is powerful in prayer.  And Abraham was specific.  We must be as well.  General prayers won’t get the job done.  Abraham was persistent; he did not give up.  He kept negotiating with God.  This revealed Abraham’s heart and how he loved those people (and their evil-hearts) so much he begged for their lives.

This is what God wants–to see our heart when we pray.  And if our hearts and motives are in sync, then we shall receive.

Conclusions:  I love thinking about me as God’s friend.  We think of God as a Father and a judge.  But He is also our best friend, the one we can confide anything to, the one who only wants the best for us and will do anything to help us.

God chose us to be His friends and to make known to us things–if we obey God and do what He commands (John 15:14).

So I will ask for more and pray more and talk to God more–as a friend and not just as “God–the Almighty and Ruler of the World.”  For that is what He desires.

I liked the discussion on hearing God.  Many people think they should hear God and when they don’t they get frustrated and turn from Him.  It’s not that He’s not speaking; it’s that we are not listening (if we are believers).  God won’t speak to you if you don’t know Him.

Asking is key.  To receive we must ask.  Same with hearing God.  Not hearing Him?  Ask Him to hear Him.  What do you have to lose?

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 16, Day 2: Genesis 18:1-15

Summary of passage:  The Lord appeared to Abraham among three visitors one day while Abraham was resting in the heat of the day.  When Abraham saw these men, he hurried to greet them and bowed low, knowing one was God for he says, “my lord” while addressing them.

Abraham entreats them to stay and he washes their feet and brings food and drink for their comfort.

They agree to stay.

So Abraham bustles about, hurrying the preparations.  The men ask Abraham where is Sarah.  God Himself tells Abraham (again) that Sarah will have a child this time next year.

Sarah who was eavesdropping laughs (stupid move), believing she is worn out.  God asks Abraham directly, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  Then God says He will return this time next year and Sarah will have a son.

Then Sarah denies she laughed when confronted (again, stupid).  For God knows our hearts.

Questions:

3)  Verses 10 & 14; Genesis 17:21

4a)  In 19:1, 2 angels appeared to destroy Sodom.  So here I’d say two men were angels and one was the Lord himself.  Verse 18:1 says “appeared” as if out of thin air.  It specifically says “The Lord appeared” so God was one of them.  But it was God in the form of Jesus Christ because John 1:18 & 1 Timothy 6:16 says that no one has ever seen God Himself.

b)  He bowed low to the ground, offered them water and food, and washed their feet.

5a)  She was afraid and Sarah only thought she was too old.  She never spoke the words out loud.  Only God knows our thoughts.

b)  Hebrews says, Yes, Sarah did believe and seems to say she wouldn’t have conceived if she hadn’t.  Perhaps this is why it took so long for her to conceive.  She doubted and she doubted and until finally her heart turned.  God was testing her.

c)  She had to believe that what the Lord said He would do, He would do.  Believe in your heart.

6)  You have to believe nothing is impossible with God.  That He will allow a virgin to conceive (Luke 1:37-8).  That He will make us new as if we were born again once we believe (John 3:4-5).  Jesus explains to his disciples that all things are possible with God, even a camel passing through the eye of a needle and all can have salvation with faith (Mark 10:24-27).  God will allow a 90 year-old woman, Sarah, to conceive for nothing is too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14).

Conclusions:  Great lesson for me!  If you have any doubt in your heart, God will not come through.  It seems to me Sarah doubted and doubted and God repeated and repeated until finally she believed. And she was scared to believe.  But she did.  And I bet that very day she conceived.

God holds up His end of the deal.  He says, “Look, it’s this simple:  believe.”  And man says, “Give me a second to think this through.”

God says ok, for He has all the time in the world.  We, on the other hand, only have limited time to accomplish His purposes.

It’s hard for us but not God.  Yet we think it’s God holding us back when it’s really us–due to our unbelief.

Powerful lesson!

End Notes:  God again, less than 3 months later, comes IN PERSON and REPEATS His promise to Abraham.  Why?

1)  God repeats His promises over and over again because dumb man NEEDS to hear it–to strengthen his faith.  Romans 10:17:  “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”.  Or God Himself in the personage of Christ if you are so lucky to receive such a message.

2)  Some scholars think Abraham and Sarah were not having sex for whatever reason so God needed to reinforce His will personally.  In other words, they did not believe God (they were doubting His word) and were doing nothing to fulfill God’s will for their lives.

Also to note:  God read Sarah’s heart.  Even though she didn’t laugh out loud, God heard her.  God knows our heart as well and we should live as if He hears our every thought.

Even though Sarah and Abraham both laughed at God and His promises, God did not respond in anger nor did He punish their unbelief.  He remained (and remains) faithful to them and to us.  He never abandons us like we do Him.

God never changes despite the whims of man.  He loves us always and forever.

Note in verse 13:  “The Lord said to Abraham”.  God correctly addresses Abraham about his wife’s unbelief and about her reaction for Abraham is the head of the family and is therefore responsible for his wife’s belief (and in this case, unbelief).