Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

A Son for Abraham

GENESIS 15 and 16 : God promised a son for Abraham

OBSERVATIONS

Vs. 1-6 After Abraham honored God by not accepting the King of Sodom’s gifts lest he begins saying that all of Abraham’s wealth came from him, God spoke to him: “Do not be afraid, I am your shield, your very great reward.”

God is assuring Abraham that he need not be afraid because he is his protector and GREAT REWARD. Indeed, if you have God on your side, this God who created everything and yet is very personal, loving, just, holy, sovereign, you will lack for nothing, there is nothing to fear!

Abraham’s response was sort of unexpected. It seems to indicate that Abraham had fixated on God’s promise that his descendants will outnumber the sand, and YET, he does not even have an heir! So, he started looking at his relatives and wondering who among them will perpetuate his genes and start this countless descendants! He can only assume it is one of his servants!

However, God knows that what He promised is for real! He intended for Abraham to have an offspring!

He assured Abraham: ““This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir…Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”

The incredible thing is that Abraham believed his promise and God, “credited it to him as righteousness.”

His simple faith secured his total acceptance from God.

Vs. 7-11 God reminded him that He was the one who took him out of Ur to possess Canaan. Abraham wondered when and how it will happen. God asked him to bring him three year old heifer, goat and ram along with a dove and a pigeon.

Abraham obeyed and I think he understood this to mean that God wanted him to offer sacrifices. He cut the animals in two except the birds. He laid them out. Vultures or “birds of prey” came down on the carcasses but he fended the off.

Vs. 12-20 Abraham fell asleep and God again, and told him exactly what will happen to his descendants: that they will end up in a “strange country,” where they will be enslaved and mistreated. However, they will come out of it wealthy and come home to Canaan. God promised Abraham he will die at a “good old age.” It seems that the return of the Israelites from Egypt will be at a time when the Amorites are finally ready for God’s judgment as by then their sin would have, “reached its full measure.”

The following evening, God passed a blazing torch upon the carcasses indicating God sealing the deal with Abraham! God promised the kingdoms living in Canaan to Abraham.

INTERPRETATION:

1.  God’s promise or covenant with God is completely one-sided. God called Abraham, blessed him and promised him that he will be the father of many nations and that he will give him the entire land of Canaan which is at that time occupied by different kings and kingdoms! Abraham did not have to do anything for God. All he did was take God for his word, which he did. God credited it to him as righteousness. The only way to gain God’s favor is if God Himself credits righteousness to you.

2.  God’s is ALWAYS true to His promises. It doesn’t matter how and when it will happen. One can simply take Him for his word!

3.  God knows what exactly what is going to happen not just to individuals but to nations!!

4.  God is pleased and honored with sacrifices, with worship, trust and obedience! He also knows how to honor those who honor Him! Long life and wealth may be God’s means for honoring those who please Him.

APPLICATIONS:

How can I not trust and obey God completely who is already committed to my total well-being both here and the hereafter! He is sufficient because He is my Great Reward!!

God is sovereign and through all of man’s evil His will is done! He accomplishes His will not only in individuals but in nation and history. He accomplishes His will while allowing man to make his own decisions and suffer or enjoy the consequences of those decisions.

PRAYER:

God, please help me make right decisions esp. that I may live according to your will and that I may trust you to accomplish your plan for my life.

Please help me believe that you are accomplishing your plans for our son, our family and the ministry. 

GENESIS 16: Abraham and Sarah ‘s plan backfires

OBSERVATIONS

Vs. 1-10 So Abram and Sarai had been living in Canaan for 10 years, but still no heir! Sarai whose biological clock was ticking into a full stop was getting desperate. So she took the bull by the horns so to speak and offered her maid, Hagar, to her husband to impregnate. Abram did not protest, not so much as a squeak. Hagar, who proved to be fertile conceived right away! Shem began to feel a little cocky and began to “despise her mistress.”

What did Sarai do? Exactly what many of us do, blame her husband! He told him, “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.” Ridiculous! I can picture Abram scratching his head thinking and saying, “Wait…what? How is it my fault now? I thought it was your….never mind! By the way, she is your maid. You can do whatever you want to with her!” What did Sarai do? ‘She mistreated Hagar. Did she double her duties? Forbade her to talk to the neighbors maids? Revoked her lunch break? Hell has no fury like a woman scorned. We may speculate how Sarai mistreated Hagar and our speculations would probably be not far from the truth. What was Hagar to do? She decided it wise to pack up and leave.

Vs. 11-16. Hagar ended up in a middle of nowhere, tired, thirsty/hungry and desolate. An angel of the Lord showed up and told her to go back to her master’s home. Not only that, she was encouraged to “submit to her.” Tis Angel of the Lord, who appears to be the incarnate Christ promised that He will increase her descendants so that they will be too numerous to count. He even told her the name of the child, Ishmael, and what he will become. The Lord prophesied that he will be in constant enmity with all his brothers, meaning the direct descendants of Abram through Sarai.

Hagar, submitted to God and praised Him for being the God who sees! El Roi, the Living one who sees me. So he went back apparently and Abraham named his son, Ishmael. Abram was 86 then.

INTERPRETATIONS

1.  Sarai and Abraham got impatient and together decided to fulfill God’s promise that they will be the Father (and Mother) of a Great Nation (Israel) on their own. Their solution backfired, as it created a situation that their children’s would bore until the Lord’s second trip to earth. God’s timing is perfect. Sometimes it takes time and could send those who are anticipating His promise into an impatient tailspin. Abram and Sarai had been waiting 10 years and they both knew that biologically they cannot possible wait forever! I am sure that they both rationalized their involvement of Hagar as perfectly sensible.

2.  Like most people, Sarai was quick to cast blame of her husband rather than taking responsibility for her part in the un-godly plan.

3.  When Abram and Sarai decided to do something that was outside of God’s plan, there were collateral damages: they essentially messed up the lives of Hagar and her descendants esp. that of Ishmael’s.

4.  Hagar, who suffered as a consequence of her sin and the sin of her master and mistress found redemption in submitting to the will of God. I am sure she was repelled at the thought of going back to Sarai to endure her scorn and maltreatment, but she also learned (thanks to the Angel of the Lord) that she can only be responsible for her attitude and actions. Her responsibility is to submit to her mistress, regardless of the way she is treated. Sarai will have to be responsible to her own attitude of hatred and mistreatment of Hagar and probably her son. Ultimately God will treat and reward them according to their own attitudes and actions.

5.  God is the God of the oppressed. He is indeed merciful and caring. Although Hagar’s situation came as a result of Abram and Sarai’s selfish decisions and actions, He stepped in to intervene on Hagar’s behalf and promised to take care of her and her offspring.

APPLICATIONS

1, I must learn to wait patiently on God. His WORD is true. I can rely on Him to fulfill His promise/s. For instance, He promised to supply my basic needs as long as I focus on His Kingdom and His righteousness. I can trust God to make sure that I will never go hungry and not have shelter or things to wear! The bills might be paid a little later but it will get paid!

2. I must be careful with how I sometimes usurp God’s place and take it upon myself to plan and plot how to make things He said will happen to happen! Selfish acts often  create collateral damages in those who live near me.

3.  I must be quick to take responsibility for my wrong decisions and actions.

4.  I must learn to submit to God’s will even if it means pain and discomfort and trust that He is control and that those responsible will someday answer to Him.

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