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Bible Order: Genesis 20–22
Chronological Order: Job 9–12
New Testament Only: Matthew 5:38–6:15

 

Your Family Depends On You

Genesis 16:1–18:21

Father walking with childrenWow!  Again we have a great deal of material we could discuss today.  One thing I never really thought about before was the description of God meeting with Abram to tell him about his coming child.  In today’s passage God is referred to as three persons.

Genesis 18:1-3 ESV

“[1] And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. [2] He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth [3] and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.”

As you continue to read through the subsequent verses you will see that Abram speaks to three individuals as if they are one person.  He is speaking to God.  Could this be the Holy Trinity standing before Abram?  Possibly.  Many commentators believe that we have here a physical manifestation of Jesus Christ, and a couple of companion angels.  It is alleged that these two angels go on to Sodom to rescue Lot and execute God’s judgment.  I had been firmly entrenched in this second view but I am very intrigued by the first.  The important thing to take from the story, however, is that God did physically appear to Abram.

Scripture refers to Abraham in three different instances as “God’s Friend” and this meeting here in Mamre is usually offered as evidence of this claim.  In fact, God Himself calls Abraham his friend in Isaiah 41:8.

Isaiah 41:8 ESV

“But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend”

Because of this kind of thing we tend to think of Abraham as a rather righteous dude, but his righteousness was imparted to him by God because he believed God.  Abraham didn’t earn righteousness.  Certainly Abraham was more righteous than most people, but compared to God Abraham was not a righteous man.  In fact, today’s passage shows us that Abram acted, at times, a lot like Adam.

God had promised Abram and Sarai that He would provide them with a child.  That was back when Abraham was 75.  Ten years later Sarai is tired of waiting for God to get around to delivering the promised blessing so she comes up with her own plan.  She told Abram to have sex with her slave so she could claim the child as her own.  Now Abram, this righteous dude does what?  Does he set his wife down and tell her that she needs to be patient and wait upon the Lord.  Does he help her understand that God’s plan is perfect and that He can be trusted to accomplish what He promises?  No, he does not.  He says, “You want me to have sex with another woman?  Okay!”  Yep righteous dude alright.

Abram didn’t do his duty and he and the rest of history has paid a terrible price.  Ishmael, the child born of the less than righteous joining of Abram and Sarai’s slave Hagar, is the father of the Arab people.  Sarai and Hagar had a bitter relationship going forward.  As we’ll see, the tribes that descended from Ishmael fought bitterly with the Israelites who descended from Isaac.  The blood feud that has been going on ever since is likely to be going on right up until the moment Christ comes again.

Now I mentioned that Abram, in this instance, was just like Adam.  How so?  Eve came to Adam with a similarly sinful proposition and instead of standing up and leading and protecting his wife, he acquiesced to her sinful suggestion.  Adam and Abram both were passive when their role and the moment called for them to be proactive and righteous for the sake of their families.

Brothers, this problem continues for us men to this day.  We take the easy way out.  When we hit resistance we surrender.  Worse still, when we are offered a path of least resistance we take it.  Hey if we can blame our spouse for our bad behavior we’ll do it!  That is not the man God created you to be.  You are responsible.  No matter who suggests a path contrary to God’s will, you must stand up and firmly say no.  You are to lead, not follow.  You are a child of the God of all Creation.  You have the indwelling Holy Spirit to strengthen you.  You have no excuse.  You must do the right thing.  Your family is depending on you.

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

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