Archive for November, 2010


Genesis 17:1-5,10-11 Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. “I will establish My covenant between Me and you,And I will multiply you exceedingly.” Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations. “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations… “This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. “And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.

We live in strange times when nothing in certain. Yesterday I was reading an economic update and was surprised to see how the current political crisis between North and South Korea has had an impact on the global economy and here in Canada our Dollar is yo-yoing on this uncertainty.

These are times when greed seems to have taken the reins of the world. Regardless of what we do for a living, we contribute to greed because we fuel it by our demand for more. To have more, we have to exploit and if you trace the roots of our exploits, it will be the lives of others for our enjoyment!

In such uncertain times, it would be wonderful to know that there is someone who is in control and can give us hope. Abram or Abraham as he has now been renamed certainly seemed to have that someone leading him and his family, the creator God. What an assurance that must be!

However, when we read this chapter, we notice that God has made a demand of Abraham and all the men in his household to be circumcised. This seems rather crude and painful and is that really needed? (more…)


Genesis 16:2,4-9,13-15 So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai… He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the LORD judge between you and me.” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence. Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from and where are you going?” And she said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” Then the angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority”… Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”; for she said, “Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?” Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered. So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.

We continue with Abram, who was found righteous in the sight of God, and note a new trial in his life. Sarai was barren and frustrated about not being able to provide Abram a child even though God had promised Abram that he would be the father of the nations.

Sounds like a problem we often encounter when we are waiting on the Lord for an answer to prayer and our reaction when there seems to be no answer.

Abram is obedient to his wife rather than his God but in washing his hands off from taking responsibility for his actions, he confuses us and Sarai’s actions make us all the more concerned as to God’s justice for the underprivileged.

Do we serve a just God and is his response fair? (more…)


Genesis 15:1-7 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.” Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Since You have 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 will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. And He said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.”

After Abrahm’s resounding victory, eating the bread and wine from the priest Mechizedek, offering a tithe and refusing the gifts of Sodom, God spoke to him in a vision instructing him not to be afraid because God would be his shield and also adding that Abram’s reward would be great.

Obviously Abram was afraid because he was worried about retribution from the kings he defeated and he knew he had no children of his own to protect him and his household and continue the lineage in this new land God had promised him.

Also, Abram’s support in battle was his neighbors and friends and they might not always stand with him as they were not of him and therefore outside of God’s protection, Abram could see no hope. That is the reason he responds to God saying that he is forced to make his servant his heir.

It is obvious God blessed Abram because we know it from history but the question that played on my mind was why did God delay in providing Abram a son? This vision was about a quarter century before Sarai bore Abram a son when he was 100 years old! (more…)


Genesis14:14-16,18-24 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people… And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him a tenth of all. The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.” Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ “I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share.”

I’m wondering what took me so many years to study the Bible a little more intently as I am doing now and I regret the time I lost and the many opportunities lost with it to share God’s riches with those I am blessed to fellowship with. However, when I do consider Abram and the age at which God was using him so powerfully, I do believe that it is never too late and God continues to be in control of our lives and His will for us 🙂

Here is the tale of a bitter-sweet victory for Abram and the people of Soddom as they first lost many and were restored few along with their possessions. Abram achieves victory over the 5 kings with only his 300+ men whereas the 4 kings and their troops from Sodom and Gomorrah were no match to these same 5 kings.

Obviously God’s hand is visible in Abram’s victory and what a fitting response that this victory was marked by honoring God through the feast that followed.

The question that hung in my mind was why Melchizedek brought out bread and wine to celebrate and why did Abram refuse the gifts offered? (more…)


Genesis 13:5-12 Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land. So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. “Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.” Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere—this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar. So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom.

At this point, I wonder if Abram and Lot can be described as Sheikhs or rulers for the amount of wealth the two of them had accumulated. In those times, wealth was determined by the size of flock and precious stone/metal one had and both Abram and Lot were extremely wealthy in that respect.

The land was unable to sustain both their families and flocks, which caused friction between their herdsmen who were responsible for grazing the flock and this prompted Abram and Lot to meet and discuss the brewing storm.

It is obvious from Abram’s offer to Lot that he was being a true gentleman in permitting Lot to chose his Lot, so to speak, and Lot’s willingness to take up the offer showed the strain in their relationship and how important this was for both sides.

Seems Abram had clearly learnt from his last bitter mistake of making his own decisions without consulting God and Lot on the other hand was making the error that we often do, he chose based on what looks greener to his eyes.

Why would God permit Lot to make this decision and what are we being taught today? (more…)


Genesis 12:10-20 Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. “Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.” It came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels. But the LORD struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? “Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her and go.” Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him away, with his wife and all that belonged to him.

We now start journeying with Abram and his family and it is an interesting journey indeed. God choses Abram to be the father of the nation and tells him to go to the land God has chosen for him to establish his family in.

Abram certainly was an obedient man and God clearly was being faithful in showing Abram the land that He would bless him with. As Abram journeyed to Negev, a famine hit the land and so Abram went west towards Egypt to take a break until the famine was over.

Sounds like a rational plan until we realize that Egypt was a land ruled by a people whose morals and ethics were far from those of Abram’s and therefore what Abram was venturing to do was a serious risk to life and limb.

This is when he makes the most bizarre request of his wife, Sarai, asking her to claim she is his sister. Technically speaking, this is not wrong because she is his father’s daughter from another mother, but the reality is that she is his wife and she belongs to him and no other man.

The question that comes to mind is not why did Abram did that but rather why God permitted him or rather why God did not stop him? (more…)


Genesis 11:1-9 Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.

The wonderful aspect of the word of God is that there is consistency in what it speaks. Regardless of how hard it is for us ‘intelligent beings’ to comprehend God’s ability to create the heavens and the earth and not be physically present (In our 20/20 vision), I have to thank God that until now, we have seen consistency and relevancy in all that has taken place.

Man fell yet prospered, is evil yet not totally condemned and rejected by God and we have come to the point where this sinful man has now started to use the knowledge gained from the fall of man to become God.

I refer here to the building of the tower of Babel, the effort of the combined intelligence of the men in Shinar who decided to make a monument that would reflect the glory of their knowledge, ability and skill. Does it not remind us of the great monuments from history of man’s achievements?

The question that comes to mind here is not why these men made this structure or how come they spoke the same language but why God did not destroy them but rather made them speak different languages and sent them away? (more…)


Genesis 10:2-4,6-7,21-22,32 The sons of Japheth were Gomer and Magog and Madai and Javan and Tubal and Meshech and Tiras. The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz and Riphath and Togarmah. The sons of Javan were Elishah and Tarshish, Kittim and Dodanim… The sons of Ham were Cush and Mizraim and Put and Canaan. The sons of Cush were Seba and Havilah and Sabtah and Raamah and Sabteca; and the sons of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan… Also to Shem, the father of all the children of Eber, and the older brother of Japheth, children were born. The sons of Shem were Elam and Asshur and Arpachshad and Lud and Aram… These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations; and out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood.

Genealogies are generally boring and we often wish we could skip them and probably do. However, knowing that this is God’s word compels us to consider what God has had penned and why. To help me understand, I referred to Barnes’ notes on the Bible and here are a couple comments I found interesting.

In this chapter there are 70 names, exclusive of Nimrod, of heads of families, tribes, or nations descended from the 3 sons of Noah – 14 from Japheth, 30 from Ham, and 26 from Shem. Among the heads of tribes descended from Japheth are 7 grandsons. Among those from Ham are 23 grandsons and 3-great-grandsons. Among those of Shem are 5 grandsons, one great-grandson, 2 of the fourth generation, and 13 of the fifth. Whence, it appears that the subdivisions are traced further in Ham and much further in Shem than in Japheth, and that they are pursued only in those lines which are of importance for the coming events in the history of Shem.

During this period the race was rapidly increasing under the covenant made with Noah. From Shem to Abraham were ten generations inclusive; and, therefore, if we suppose the same rate of increase after as we have supposed before, there would be about fifteen million inhabitants when Abraham was thirty years of age. If, however, we take eight as the average of a family, and suppose eleven generations after Shem at the one hundredth year of Abraham’s life, we have about thirty million people on the earth. The average of the three sons of Noah is higher than this; for they had sixteen sons, and we may suppose as many daughters, making in all thirty-two, and, therefore, giving ten children to each household.

Considering the above, I do believe this genealogy now becomes significant to us because we are witnessing how God brought His covenant with Adam and Noah to pass. Suddenly the one family that we previously thought improbable has grown at an explosive rate and we are now considering 30 million people on earth located in different regions, of different races and new cultures.

One question that has been on my mind is why there is only a mention of men, does this mean women have no significance to God and what are we to understand from it?

First we must remember that God created both men and women in His own image and therefore God loves us all (Gen. 1:31). When the fall of man occurred, God certainly punished women to be subjected to their husbands and this has caused women to at times suffer greatly under their husbands. Here’s a few comments I took from GhanaWeb:

However, God hates exploitation and abuse of all kinds (Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 27:19; Isaiah 10:1, 2). The Mosaic Law condemned rape and prostitution. (Leviticus 19:29; Deuteronomy 22:23-29) Adultery was prohibited, and the penalty was death for both parties. (Leviticus 20:10) Rather than discriminate against women, the Law elevated and protected them from the rampant exploitation common in the surrounding nations. A capable Jewish wife was a highly respected and esteemed individual. (Proverbs 31:10, 28-30) The Israelites’ failure to follow God’s laws on showing respect for women was their fault, not God’s will. (Deuteronomy 32:5) Ultimately, God judged and punished the nation as a whole for their flagrant disobedience.

The fact that men Scripturally have been assigned to take the lead in the congregation and the family does not mean that women are being discriminated against. To prosper, both the family and the congregation need women and men to play their respective roles with love and respect.—Ephesians 5:21-25, 28, 29, 33.

Jesus consistently treated women with respect. He refused to follow the discriminatory traditions and regulations taught by the Pharisees. He talked to non-Jewish women. (Matthew 15:22-28; John 4:7-9) He taught women. (Luke 10:38-42) He protected women from being abandoned. (Mark 10:11, 12) Perhaps the most revolutionary step for his time was that Jesus accepted women into his inner circle of friends. (Luke 8:1-3) As the perfect embodiment of all of God’s qualities, Jesus showed that individuals of both sexes have equal value in God’s eyes. In fact, among the early Christians, both men and women received the gift of the holy spirit. (Acts 2:1-4, 17, 18) For those anointed, who have the prospect of serving as kings and priests with Christ, there will be no distinction of gender at all once resurrected to heavenly life. (Galatians 3:28) The Author of the Bible, Jehovah, does not discriminate against women.

I pray today that you and I have learnt that all of God’s word is good and when read with God’s leading, we can begin to appreciate and understand God in a right and fitting manner and therefore continue to submit ourselves to His yoke rather than the impossible yoke of Satan.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


Genesis 9:8-16 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, “Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. “I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. “It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. “When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”

We finally arrive with Noah and his family back on land after the great flood that killed all mankind and every animal. When we do the math of how long it was, we realize an entire year has elapsed and therefore this flooding was certainly one that totally extinguished all life.

Archeologists have worked hard at proving or disproving this fact and with each passing day and the advance of technology, more people seem less likely to believe this incident as much as any other in the Bible.

The question that keeps coming to mind is if this was really true and what God is trying to achieve by telling us these things? (more…)