Saturday, January 29, 2011

Moses, Kobe Bryant & Timmy Hardaway

What do Moses, Kobe Bryant and former Golden State Warrior Tim Hardaway have in common?
Answer:  A Killer Crossover (at least the Egyptian army thought so)

Exodus 14:21-23 recount how Moses led 2 million Israelites across the Red Sea and how the sea closed behind them killing Pharaoh's army.

I had a conversation with a critic of the Bible about half-a-year ago who cited the common objection that Israel crossed the sea at low tide when the water was only a few inches high.  My response was "Then there must have been an even greater miracle for God to make the whole Egyptian army drown in a few inches of water."  (I always heard that response in books and sermons, never thought I'd get to use it).

Is this story just a my or something made legendary through the movies?  Is there any evidence outside of the Bible that this really occurred?  Critics since the time of Josephus have proposed alternatives - a lake at low tide, volcanic action with air waves causing the plagues and Red Sea separation or I've even heard someone propose that Pharaoh went through the wrong sea.

14:21 informs us that God called a strong wind from the East all night long that separated the waters and made the land dry (not muddy).  This wind was supernatural with a certain start and finish time.  It would require an unusual strength to pull back deep water and a specific location for the wind to split two sides of water without perilously injuring the 2 million awe-struck Israelites.  15:8 tells us that the waters "piled up" and "stood up like a heap."  The conclusion was also miraculously timed to destroy the Egyptian army in this "Killer Crossover."

Discovery Channel cites Carl Drews, a researcher for the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who "found that a steady 63-mile-per-hour (100-kilometer-per-hour) wind over a digitally reconstructed east-west running lake at the Mediterranean end of the Nile, near today's Port Said, would push the water west to the far end of the lake, as well as south, up the river."  (http://news.discovery.com/history/moses-red-sea-parting.html)




Do we know where this crossing actually took place?  No one really knows for sure.  But Ron Wyatt suggests it was at the Northern end of the Suez Canal (Northern portion of Red Sea) because he found evidence of Egyptian chariots (http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=19382). Wyatt compared these chariot spokes to ancient paintings of Egyptian chariots and this Egyptian Chariot in the Museum of Cairo.  John J. Davis writes:  "One difficulty with this viewpoint is that they would not have entered the wilderness of Shur from the Red Sea which is the information given in Exodus 15:22."  (Moses And The Gods Of Egypt, Baker, 1971, p. 168).  But the arguments and archaeological evidence has gained new legs with some interesting research:
(http://www.arkdiscovery.com/red_sea_crossing.htm).  It's hard to be dogmatic, but it is fascinating.

What we do know for sure is that God led Moses with a killer crossover that saved Israel and drowned a mighty army.  Score:  God - 11, Egypt - 0.
Chariot from:  (http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/chariots.htm)

Pause Over The Passover

When reading through Exodus 12, it's time to Pause Over the Passover (pesach).  The Jews still celebrate this Holy Day because this is significant to their history and a testament to God's faithful protection.  Christians should also rejoice in the symbolism of Passover as it points to the ultimate Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ.  May the first month and tenth day of every Hebrew calendar year be a day of remembering God's faithful protection and provision.

Loving The Lamb
The Lord instructs Israel to take a lamb without blemish for each household (12:5).  The lamb stayed with the family for 4 days before it's sacrificed (12:6).  Can you imagine the attachment the little sons and daughters would gain in bonding with a cute, little lamb?  Maybe everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go!  Then to have the lamb sacrificed would be deeply personal - a lamb they loved was sacrificed for their sin.  The Christ we love and know personally had died for our sin.  Remember that Communion was first given by Christ during Passover and Christ would be that lamb.  At our next Communion, let's remember the Lamb we love and the price He paid for our sin.

Saved By The Lamb
As the blood was applied to the doorpost (12:7), the symbolism of the cross comes into view.  The Lord would "passover" the homes where the house had the blood applied and spare the first born from God's judgment.  A cry sounded over Egypt where no defiant household was spared (12:30) - the alternative to not accepting God's mercy is to receive His judgment.

Choose The Lamb Or Choose To Be Lame
Every person has a choice - choose to receive God's mercy through Christ or be ready to face God's judgment.  God sent a Passover Lamb on our behalf.  By coincidence, I'm writing this blog as my kids are watching "The Chronicles Of Narnia - Lion, Witch & Wardrobe" as Aslan the lion is being sacrificed for the rebellion of Edmund.  Aslan is a picture of Christ who died on our behalf and was resurrected.

1 Corinthians 5:7  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.


For a neat presentation on "Christ In The Passover" (David Brickner, Jews for Jesus), check out the video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5272606142394767394# (40 minutes)
These articles from Israel My Glory are also wonderful:
http://foi.org/pesachpassoverandthefeastofunleavenedbread
http://foi.org/pesachpart2http://foi.org/pesachpart3http://foi.org/pesachpart4

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's Plaguing You?


Our home used to be invaded by ants.  After returning home from a vacation, a bathroom was full of flying ants.  That got our attention and we've contracted with Terminix ever since.

Do you know someone who is so stubborn that God needs to shout at them before He gets his/her attention?  I recently spoke with a friend who was sharing Christ with his sister on her death bed and she was defiant towards God to the very end - God tried to get her attention but she chose to ignore Him.  My own father was hard-hearted towards God and God had to get his attention through esophageal cancer - dad was humbled by God's warning.

Tribulations and afflictions can often be used by God to get our attention.  In God's mercy, He gave Pharaoh and Egypt 10 opportunities to relent and repent.  But Pharaoh's heart kept hardening.

Not only was God trying to get Pharaoh's attention, but also the rest of a nation who was involved in a polytheistic (many gods) worship.  God would have no other gods before Him, so in His 10 plagues, He also aimed at the futility of the Egyptian pantheon.

John J. Davis writes that:  "As an idolatrous system of worship ... it was ... morally and spiritually degrading.  Almost all living creatures, whatever their habitat, and even inanimate objects became the embodiment of some deity.  The Egyptians considered sacred the lion, the ox, the ram, the wolf, the dog, the cat, the ibis, the vulture, the falcon, the hippopotamus, the crocodile, the cobra, the dolphin, different varieties of fish, trees, and small animals including the frog, scarab, lost and other insects.  In addition to these there were anthropomorphic gods; that is, men in the prime of life such as Amun, Atum, or Osiris."  (Moses And The Gods Of Egypt: Studies In Exodus, Baker, 1971, p. 87)

Plagues
Ref.
Possible Egyptian Gods & Goddesses Attacked By Plagues
Nile turned to Blood
7:14-25
Hapi – bull god, god of Nile; Isis – goddess of Nile; Khmum – ram god, guardian of Nile; others
Frogs
8:1-15
Heqet – frog head goddess of birth
Gnats
8:16-19
Set – god of desert
Flies
8:20-32
Re – sun god; Uatchit – fly god
Death of Livestock
9:1-7
Hathor – goddess with cow head; Apis – bull god of fertility
Boils
9:8-12
Sekmet – goddess with power over disease; Sunu – pestilence god; Isis – goddess of healing
Hail
9:13-35
Nut – sky goddess; Osiris – god of crops & fertility; Set – god of storms
Locusts
10:1-20
Nut – sky goddess; Osiris – god of crops & fertility
Darkness
10:21-29
Re – the sun god; Horus – a sun god; Nut – a sky goddess; Hathor – a sky goddess
Death of Firstborn
11:1 – 12:30
Min – god of reproduction; Heget – goddess who attended women at childbirth; Isis – goddess who protected children; Pharaoh’s firstborn son – a god
(John D. Hannah, “Exodus”, The Bible Knowledge Commentary – Old Testament, p. 120)

Davis on the deification of Pharaoh:  "the Egyptian Pharaoh ... was in a literal sense one of the gods.  His birth was a divine act ... begotten by Amon-Re upon the queen mother.  As regards his divine potency, he was Horus, the son of Hathor.  In the light of this observation it is not difficult to see why Pharaoh reacted as he did to the initial request of Moses and Aaron (Ex 5:2).   The king, as god, was to have sole rule over the people.  In fact, the Egyptians' well-being was directly associated with that of the king.  It was his duty to maintain justice, peace and prosperity in the land.  The plagues served to demonstrate the impotency of Pharaoh, both as a ruler and as a god."  (p. 87)

A couple of questions arise on the 10 plagues - did they really happen and how did Pharaoh's magicians replicate the stiff snake, ?


What's Up The Magicians' Sleeves?

As to Jannes and Jambres' sorcery, their magic was:
1)  sleight of hand
2)  deceptive illusions (7:11 - "secret arts" or "witchcraft" lit. means "blaze or flame")
3)  snake charming (this has been done in India for several millennia) where a snake is immobilized by pressure to muscles near the nape of the neck
4)  Satanic empowerment

Yet, Jannes and Jambres would fall short by:
1)  not replicating the miracle to the scale of God's curse (Egyptians dug through Nile for drinking water and there was great death)
2)  not stopping the miracle or reversing its effects
3)  simulating an aspect of only 3, not all 10 plagues

Supernatural Or Natural Phenomena

Critics contend that the 10 plagues coincided with natural occurrences in Egypt - red microorganisms in the Nile; summer infestations of frogs, lice, flies; spring locusts and sandstorms.  

Walter Kaiser describes the critics' explanation of the 10 plagues:  The cosmic explanation posits a comet that twice made contact with the planet earth during the second millennium b.c., thus explaining the parting of the Red Sea and the theophany of Mt. Sinai. Accordingly, the plague of hail was a shower of small meteorites, and the death of the firstborn and the opening of the waters for the people to cross over were caused by earthquakes. 

The second attempt to explain these events is geological. It is thought that a violent eruption of the volcano of Santorini around 1447 b.c. caused a tidal wave that wiped out the Egyptian army in the lagoon of Sirbonis. The plagues, it is speculated, were the results of the aftereffects of these eruptions and the ensuing tides. 

The most detailed attempt to place the plagues into a seasonal sequence from a natural point of view is that of Greta Hort. Her argument is that the first nine plagues resulted from an unusually high inundation of the Nile which began in July and August. The red color of the Nile was caused by silt from the equatorial rains that filled the White Nile (coming from east-central Africa, present-day Uganda), the Blue Nile, and the Atbara River, both of which flow with tons of red soil from the basins of both of these rivers. In addition to this discoloration, a type of algae, known as flagellates—small organisms called Euglana sanguinea and their bacteria—absorbed a great deal of oxygen from the water, thereby causing the fish to die. 

The frogs, which normally inhabit the banks of the Nile, sought other refuge, now that the waters were so putrefied from the second plague that came in August. The unusual inundation of the Nile led to a heavy increase in the mosquito population in October and November as a third plague.
(A History Of Israel: From The Bronze Age Through The Jewish Wars, Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998, p. 97)

How do we they were miraculous events:

1)  The plagues grew increasingly worse demonstrating a pattern (not natural phenomena)
2)  The plagues occurred on Moses' cue and ended on Moses' call (8:10,23; 9:5,18,29; 10:4).
3)  The plagues only affected Egypt, not Goshen (8:22; 9:4,26)
4)  The plagues were aimed at particular gods from the Egyptian pantheon


Exodus Scorecard:  God - 10; Egypt - 0.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Excuse Me!?!

God only asks us to share His good news.  Don't we love to share good news?  "We're engaged!"  "We're having a baby!"  "Ding Dong the witch is dead!"  "Joy to the world, the Lord has come!"

But when it comes to evangelism, which literally means "good news" (eu = good, angelos = news, message), we can post a lot of objections.

Sympathetically, the Evangelism Coach gives “Five Reasons Why I Hate Evangelism”:
  1. It violates the golden rule - most Christians would not want to be approached by a member of another religion the way Christians approach others in evangelistic attempts
  2. It calls the authenticity of relationships into question - are you my friend because you’re really my friend, or so you can convert me?
  3. The moment of truth - we think we must identify a “no turning back” point where you pressure someone to make a decision, and if they don’t respond well, that jeopardizes the relationship.
  4. Asking someone about the Gospel feels like making a pass at them.
  5. If I like my friends, and want them to continue to be my friends, I have a major incentive NOT to try to evangelize them.
http://www.evangelismcoach.org/2007/10/evangelism-fears (expired link, but it still pops up)

Moses would have been sympathetic.  Though he was highly educated at Cairo U., had the key to the palace in his safety deposit box and was called by God by a burning bush, Moses still gave excuses.
  • We Lack Confidence (Exodus 3:11 “Who am I?”)
  • We Don’t Know What To Say (Exodus 3:13 “What shall I say to them?”)
  • We Fear Failure & Rejection (Exodus 4:1 “But … they will not believe me or listen to my voice”)
  • We Use Our Limitations As Excuses (Exodus 4:10 “I am not eloquent … I am slow of speech and of tongue”)
  • We Would Rather Have Someone Else Do It (Exodus 4:13 “please send someone else”)
Yet our confidence is in the sovereignty of God.  He proved this to Moses through the 10 judgments, crossing the Red Sea, and providing water, manna and a sacrifice.

Our confidence today is in the sovereignty of God.  He elected some to be saved (Eph 1:4-5) - evangelism will bring about their salvation.  God will draw the lost to Him (Jn 6:44).  God brings the actual conversion (1 Cor 3:6-7).

He commands, He fulfills.  Isaiah 46:10  “I do all My good pleasure.  I fulfill all My purposes.”  All we have to do is share the good news.

Entering Exodus

As we enter the book of exits (Exodus), here are some wonderful outlines to give us an overview:

Moses’ Life In Summary
The Prince Of Egypt
(Exodus 2:1-15)
The Shepherd Of Midian
(Exodus 2:16 – 4:31)
The Shepherd Of Israel
(Exodus 5 – Deuteronomy 34)
·  Adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter
·  Studies Egyptian knowledge
·  Slays Egyptian taskmaster
·  Flees to Midian
·  Marries into Jethro’s family
·  Watches Jethro’s flocks
·  Encountered God at burning bush
·  Departs for Egypt
·  Leads Exodus from Egypt
·  Receives the Law at Sinai
·  Constructs Tabernacle
·  Leads in the Wilderness
·  Preaches and dies in Moab
Scholar
Shepherd
Savior
40 Years of Luxury
40 Years of Exile
40 Years of Leadership
Pride
Humility
Service
Egypt
Midian
Wilderness
1525 – 1485 B.C.
(Birth – 40 years)
1485 – 1445 B.C.
(40-80 years)
1445 – 1405 B.C.
(80-120 years)
(Bruce H. Wilkinson & Larry Libby, Talk Thru Bible Personalities, Walk Thru The Bible Ministries, 1983, pp. 26-27)

F.B. Meyer (A Devotional Commentary On Exodus, Kregel, 1978, p. 11):
  • Redemption (1-15)
  • Consecration (16-24)
  • Worship (25-40)

Part I
1         Flourishing under affliction in bondage
2         The birth of the deliverer and his presumption
3         The call and commission of the deliverer–I AM (WITH YOU)
Part II
4         Convincing the deliverer of the mission
5         Presentation of the message and rejection
6         Confirmation of the promise–I AM (WITH YOU)
Part II
7-11 Victory over Egypt through might works
12         The passover and the exodus
13         The redemption of the firstborn
13         Leading the people out of bondage–PILLAR AND CLOUD
Part IV
14         Crossing the sea and the destruction of Egypt
15         The song of the victory at the sea
15-17 Provision of water and food in the wilderness
17         Defense of Israel in war
18         Provision of elders for decisions
19         Meeting with God at Sinai–EPIPHANY ON THE MOUNTAIN
Part V
20         The Law: the Words
21-23 The Law: the Decisions
24         The ratification of the covenant–VISION OF GOD OF GLORY
Part VI
25-31 Instructions for making the place of worship
32         Disloyalty to God with the golden calf
33-34 New tablets and new manifestation–VISION OF THE GLORY
Part VII
35-39 The building of the place of worship
40         Completion of the work–VISION OF THE PRESENT GLORY


Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Life And Rhymes Of Moses And Exodus


The book of Exodus fast forwards us over 400 after Joseph settled his family in Egypt.  About this second book of the Bible:

·      Author – Moses
·      Time – Between 1445 – 1405 BC (during Wilderness Wandering)
·      Purpose:
o   To show God’s faithfulness by delivering His promised nation from slavery to the Promised Land
o   To prefigure Christ with the Passover Lamb
o   To show how God overcomes sin to bring people to His presence
·      Theme:  Redemption and Deliverance
o   Passover Lamb, Red Sea


Here's an overview of Exodus in rhyme:
1a  There was a new Pharaoh who didn’t know Joe, he made the Jews slaves in a hard way to go
1b  Pharaoh wanted to bring baby boy population to zero, the midwives said no and each was a hero
2a  The Jews were oppressed and needed a Deliverer, God sent Moses as a baby to be found in the River, er
Moses speaks to a Bush
2b  Moses was raised in the palace of Pharaoh, but defended a Hebrew and then had to go
2c  Moses went to Midian to escape the strife, it was there where Zipporah would become his wife
3    God called Moses through a bush that burned, to bring a message to Pharaoh that would be spurned


4    God affirmed Moses through his struggle with doubt, he brought along Aaron to bring Israel out 
5    Pharoah’s punishment he made thick and wouldn’t let Jews use straw for their brick
6    The message was strong with miracles in stow, Pharaoh must let God’s people go
7a  If you thought Pharaoh would be convinced with one take, he would scoff when they replicated the snake
7b  But God would prove that He is not a dud, He turned the river into blood
8    Stubborn Pharaoh wouldn’t bat his eyes, so God hit him with frogs, lice & flies
9    The resolve of Pharaoh still would fail, so God hit cows, boiled skin and sent hail
10  Pharoah’s gear still was set in “Park” so God sent locusts and made the sky dark
11  To let the Pharaoh know God had won, God took the Pharaoh’s first born son
12  God proved He is the great I am and preserved His People with a Passover Lamb 
13  Israel would remember through Passover & bread, then by pillars of cloud and fire God led
14  God brought 2 million Hebrews through the Red Sea, then closed the path on Egypt’s army
15  Moses sang a song of how through God they beat, the when they were thirsty God made bitter water sweet
16  Israel griped missing their meat and banana, so God supplied from heaven their manna 
17  Israel griped of dehydration, God would give water through a rock to a nation
18  Moses burned out with a heavy mandate, his father-in-law told him to delegate
19-24 The nation needed order as they started to flaw, up at Mt. Sinai Moses received God’s law 
25-31 Remembering God’s faithfulness is recorded in story, the Tabernacle was built to give God the glory
32  Moses was up on the mountain too long, Israel went pagan and worship went wrong
33  To have judged Israel right then would have been fair, but in His mercy He promised He would be there
34  Moses refashioned the tablets anew, Israel promised that they would be true
35-40  So construction would not become a debacle, God gave instructions for the Tabernacle


Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Life And Rhymes Of Joseph

Joseph is a life of contrast:  from favorite son to hated brother, from dreamer to dream interpreter, from slave to manager, from prisoner to prince, from Average Joe to Trader Joe.

Joseph is also a picture of Christ - offended by those he loves, forgiver of those who offended him.


The Life And Rhymes Of Joseph

·      37 Joseph was his father’s fave, So his brothers sold him as a slave
·      38 Judah, Joe’s brother, with many a flaw, would get played by his daughter-in-law
·      39 Joseph maintained a righteous life by running away from another man’s wife
·      40 Pharaoh had a dream while Joseph was in jail, Joe told him to prepare because food would fail
·      41 Joseph was now the Pharoah’s dude, Put in charge of Egypt’s food
·      42 The famine brought Joe’s Bros to starvation, so they went South to the other nation
·      43-50 The brothers in desperation were famished
               The went to their brother who they made vanish
               They didn’t know that it was him
               But Joseph did graciously forgive them

Joseph is also the ideal employee. 

Genesis 39:3-4  "And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority."

His work ethic is a model for all of us given the stewardship of work.

1. Divine Presence: The Lord Works Through Us As We Work For Him (Gen 39:2) 
2. Transformational Evidence: God’s Presence In Us Should Be Noticed By The World (Gen 39:3)
3. Honoring Service: We Aim To Please; We Aim To Serve (Gen 39:4)
4. Material Trust: “Financial Security” Is Your Middle Name (Gen 39:5-6a)
5. Sexual Fidelity: Avoid The Temptation Of Flirtation – Bust The Lust (Gen 39:6b-10)
  • When Pursued, Don’t Play Along With Sexual Banter Or Propositions (6b-8b) 
  • When Tested, Remember Who Has Your Trust (8b) 
  • When Tempted, Clarify Appropriate Boundaries Before Co-workers And Spouses (9a) 
  • When Lured, Assert The Sinfulness Of Sin And The Holiness Of God (9b) 
  • When Surrounded, Refuse To Listen Or Participate (10) 
  • When Touched, Repel From The Inappropriate Touch (11-12) 
This Joseph is a model of faith, fidelity and forgiveness - not your average Joe.




Friday, January 14, 2011

The Life And Rhymes Of Jacob

Jacob is the younger twin born to Isaac and Rebekah.  His older twin is Esau (name means "hairy"), who is also called Edom (meaning "red").  Jacob's name means "heel tripper," or "supplanter" and he was always tripping up his older brother.

As a teenager, my pastor's wife nicknamed me "Jacob" for all the wrong reasons - faithless, manipulative, and plotting.  There was a sense of accomplishment when she stopped calling me "Jacob" in my college years and said that now I can be called "Israel."  Though the old Jacob creeps back every now and then.

Many of you, like me, can identify with Jacob.

John J. Davis writes of Jacob:  "We see Jacob on one hand as a man of faith and prayer, and on the other as a man of slick maneuvers and cunning ways.  He was by nature strong-willed, ambitious, self-reliant, shrewd, and at times unethical.  While Jacob was a man of domestic capability and fidelity, Esau was a brave, generous, heroic, and rugged hunter who broke away from the quiet pastoral life of is father to enjoy a reckless, self-indulgent career of pleasure.  The most important way in which Jacob differed from Esau, however, was that Jacob was heir to God's promise and a man of faith, although his faith was at times rather weak and imperfect."  (Paradise To Prison: Studies In Genesis, Baker, 1976, p. 241)

Jacob schemed for prominence in extorting the birthright of Esau for a pot of stew (Gen 25:27-34).  Jacob schemed for approval in pretending to be Esau and stealing his blessing (Gen 27).  God taught Jacob lessons of faith with the Ladder (Gen 28:10-22) demonstrating God is His authority (vv. 12-14) and yet God is accessible (vv. 15-16).  The Lord also wrestled the schemer to bring him to his knees (Gen 32).

The Life And Rhymes Of Jacob
·      27 Jacob lied to his father pretending to be his brother to steal a blessing intended for another
·      28 Esau was mad so Jacob he ran and fled to a place that was called Haran
·      29 Jacob with Rachel he wanted to wed, but Laban would give him the sister instead
·      30 Sibling rivalry will intensify when they are married to the same guy
·      31 Laban tricked Jacob into a bad deal, but Jacob would leave under appeal
·      32-33 Jacob feared Esau but didn’t fight, but didn’t fear God whom he wrestled with might
·      34 Shechem violated Dinah then asked for marriage; Simeon & Levi saw justice miscarriage
·      35-36 The death of Rachel made Jacob sad, it didn’t get easier when he buried his dad
Image from:  http://www.bricktestament.com/genesis/


God had a plan for Jacob, he just needed to trust Him.  Sounds like a Jacob I once knew.


Romans 9:10-13  10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Life And Rhymes Of Isaac

What should we think of Isaac?  Though he lived longer than the other 3 patriarchs in Genesis (Abraham, Jacob & Joseph), there is less written about him than the other 3.  The jury is hung on his significance.

Negatively, W. Graham Scroggie analyzes:  “Isaac is unheroic, and far nearer than Abraham to the level of ordinary humanity.  He shrinks from death, and does not scruple much about the means he uses to escape from it.  He is devoid of any stern sense of the duty of veracity.  He likes ‘creature comforts,’ and unduly favours the son who provides them for him.”  (The Unfolding Drama of Redemption, Zondervan, 1953, p. 117)

Positively, Eugene H. Merrill observes:  "The reason for the brevity of the narrative concerning him may not be so much his lack of importance as his conformity to the will of God. His was not a life of bizarre escapades that warranted much discussion. In silent, obedient faith, he pursued the will of God, carefully ordering his life as God’s servant." (An Historical Survey of the Old Testament, Baker Academic, 1991, p. 85)

W.H. Griffith Thomas states:  "His was a quiet, peaceful, normal life.  He was the ordinary son of a great father, and the father of a great son.  We are accustomed to speak of such lives as commonplace and ordinary, and yet the ordinary life is the 'ordered' life, and in the truest sense the 'ordained life' life.  Like the rest of us, Isaac's experiences were marked by light and shade, by sin and discipline, by grace and mercy."  (Genesis: A Devotional Commentary, Eerdmans, 1946, pp.237-238)

But I'm impressed by his faith in following his father to Mt. Moriah in Genesis 22 when he would be offered to God by Abraham.  Talk about awkward!

With Isaac as a significant character in Abraham and Jacob's story, there's only a few rhymes for him.
·      25:12-34 Jacob & Esau - Even if mama liked your twin better than you, would you still sell your birthright for a pot of stew? 
·      26Not Well, Oh Well - Isaac dug two holes – one lying like father about his wife, the other a well causing real estate strife.


Monday, January 10, 2011

The Life And Rhymes Of Abraham

If your family tree is like mine, your family tree has knots.  Sometimes our family history has a history of horrible sins - abuse, alcoholism, crime, conflicts.  Genesis is a PG documentary of the first family of many nations who trace their origins to Abraham.  Moses did not airbrush the portraits of Abraham and his progeny in biography that would make Kitty Kelly blush.

Imagine, the family tree of the Messiah was full of faithful and flaky folks - often times one and the same.  Even Abraham, the great hero of faith, was as flaky as a Head & Shoulders test patient.  Here is a rhyming survey of Abraham in Genesis:

12:1-9 The Abrahamic Covenant - Abe was called to leave his station, God would make him a special nation. 

12:10-20 Sarai Taken To Pharaoh - A man of faith, the plot a twister, while in Egypt, his wife was his sister.
13 Abraham & Lot Split - The stock must split, the herd had grown. Lot took the best from Abe as his own.
14 Lot Gets Captured - Lot gets captured in the heat of battle, Abe gets him back with all his cattle.
 15 Covenant With Abraham - God’s faithfulness is shown prominent when He gave Abe a covenant.
 16 Hagar & Ishmael - Worried about timing, God’s promise seemed vaguer, Sarai suggested that Abe mate with Hagar.
 17 Sign of the Covenant - Every covenant has a sign, this one would make every man whine
18:1-5 Sarah’s Belly Blessed, Sarah Belly Laughts - Three OB/GYNs delivered the news about a boy for Sarah who was amused
18:16-33  Bargaining For Sodom - God would bring judgment, so Abe sought Him, Asking for less was more to save Sodom
19 Destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah -S & G’s sin aroused God’s ire, So God took them down with brimstone & fire
20  Abe Lies About Sarah To Abimelech - Sarah carried well, she was so fine, Abe told Abimilech “She ain’t mine”
21  Isaac & Ishmael - Isaac is born, Ishmael forlorn, Sarah would scorn, Hagar would mourn
 22  Abraham & Isaac - Abe offered his son in God’s exam, by His grace God provided a lamb
23  Sarah Dies - At 120 Sarah would yield, Abraham would bury her in a field
24  Isaac & Rebekah - In order for Abe’s nation to grow wide, Isaac would have to get a bride
25:1-11  Abraham & Keturah - Abraham had one last hurrah, Marriage and family with Keturah

Abraham was a man of faith with moments of failure - just like us.  God uses people like Abraham, Isaac & Jacob not because they were perfect, but because God Himself is faithful.   We can get through our awkward family situations because God is faithful.

You may think your family’s the most embarrassing in the human race
But in the Messiah’s line, it was commonplace
So instead of hiding your red face
Know that there’s hope with God’s grace!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rhymes That Are Nifty For Genesis Twelve To Fifty

Trying to capture Genesis fun and witty
Here's the Patriarchs in a highlight ditty:
·      Abraham (Gen 11-25)
    With Abraham’s Faithfulness He Left His Station
    With God’s Faithfulness Abe Became A Nation 
·      Isaac (Gen 25-35)
    When He Was Very Poor In Sight
    He Couldn't Bless His Children Right
·      Jacob (Gen 28-36)
    Before His Father He Deceived
    Same From His Family He Received
·      Joseph (Gen 37-50)
    By His Brothers Sold As Slave
    Those Same Brothers He Would Save

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The God of Covenants

Mary Poppins once corrected her adoring children who promised to stay with her forever to not make "pie crust promises" which are "easily made, easily broken."  God makes covenants with man and are as enduring as God is Himself.  Paul Benware defines a covenant as “An agreement between two parties that bound them together with common interests and responsibilities.”  (Understanding End Times Prophecy, p. 322).  Covenants, in the Old Testament, were contracts that governed how two parties relate to each other.

Genesis 26:28  But they said, “We have certainly seen that the Lord is with you. So we said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, between you and us; and let us make a covenant with you’”


Features of an OT Covenant:
  • Agreement negotiated between 2 parties (Gen 15:1-7)
  • Agreement ratified (Gen 15:8-17)
  • Pledge given (item - 1 Sam 18:4, Ezek 17:18; oath - Gen 21,26)
  • Sign given as reminder (rainbow - Gen 9:14-17; circumcision - Gen 17:9-14)
  • Witness may be used for verification (1 Sam 23:18; Gen 31:50)
  • Penalties may be employed if broker (Dt 29:21; Jer 34:18-20)
Here are the significant Covenants in the OT:

Covenant
Definition
Promise
Fulfillment
Sign
Noahic
Unconditional promise not flood the earth
Gen 9:12-17
No more sea (Rev 21:1)
Rainbow (Gen 9:12-17)
Abrahamic
Promise to provide Israel a land, rule and spiritual blessing
Gen 12:1-3; 15:13-18
Continues at present (Gal  3:17), but Israel still has a future in the new covenant (see Rom 11:25-27)
Circumcision (Gen 17:11)
Mosaic
Conditional stipulations for blessing on Israel
Ex 19 – 31; Dt 28
Death of Christ (Rom 7:4-6)
Sabbath (Ex 31:13)
Palestinian
Promise of physical land from the Wadi of Egypt to the Euphrates River
Dt 30:1-10
Land blessed (Amos 9:13-15)

No sign (that I know of)

Davidic
Promise of eternal political rule of a descendant of David
2 Sam 7:12-17
Rule renewed (Amos 9:11-12)
Christ seated at the Father’s right hand (Act 2:34-36)
New
Promise of spiritual indwelling of the Spirit (law written on hearts), forgiveness, and total evangelization of Israel
Jer 31:31-34
Paul and the apostles (2 Cor 3-4)

All Israel saved (Romans 11:26-27)
Cup of the Lord’s Supper (Lk 21:20; 1 Cor 11:25)
(from H. Wayne House & Randall Price’s Charts of Bible Prophecy, p. 27)

The Abrahamic Covenant is significant because God promised to Abraham unconditionally:
  • a land (Gen 12:1,7; 13:14-17; 15:17-21; 17:8)
  • personal blessings with family, wealth and a great name (Gen 12:2, 17:4-6; 22:15-17)
  • a nation (Gen 17:4-8; 22:17)
  • blessing the world through Abraham (Gen 12:3; 22:18)
God reminded Abraham of this covenant 8x (Gen 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-21; 22:15-18; 26:2-5,24; 28:13-17; 35:10-12).  It was fulfilled partially with Abraham when he received land (Gen 13:14,15,17), servants (Gen 15:7), cattle and wealth (Gen 13:2; 24:34-35).  He was spiritually blessed, had a great name and fathered several nations.  His blessing passed through Isaac, born of his wife Sarah (Gen 21:2).

The significance of this covenant today is that it will be ultimately fulfilled in the future with prophetic ramifications for Israel.  When God says "forever," He means it.

Genesis 13:15  for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever

Genesis 17:7-8  7And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”


Abrahamic Covenant:


·      Mosaic Covenant – Nation Formed
·      Davidic Covenant – Line of Kings over Nation
·      New Covenant – Enablement for Blessing
          (Albert Baylis – On The Way To Jesus, Multnomah Press, 1986, p. 92)

If God is a God of His word, the Covenant God will fulfill this covenant with Abraham's nation through Isaac:  Israel.  God doesn't make pie-crust promises.
(Holman Bible Atlas, p. 5)



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