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Don’t Fear … Don’t Doubt … Don’t Quit — Genesis 15

Posted by on Sep 17, 2017 in Christian | 0 comments

Don’t Fear … Don’t Doubt … Don’t Quit — Genesis 15

Remember that it was said of the Lord Jesus as He became incarnate and emptied Himself of the manifestation of His glory and limited Himself to walking around on earth in a human body: “He was tempted in all respects like all of us and yet He never sinned.”  If that was true of our Lord, think of how it was true of Abraham. 

  • He was tempted to fear his many enemies; he could have given in to any number of insecurities – think of the odds he had just faced in rescuing Lot and his family from Ched’s Cohorts – the alliance of 4 powerful kings. Abraham didn’t make any friends there.  Think of how fearful he was down in Egypt where he had fled to escape the famine in the land – that was a failure of faith that exposed Sarah to the indignity of being snatched into Pharaoh’s harem.
  • He was tempted to doubt God’s promise – where was this seed that would bring so much blessing? Much less innumerable descendants?  He must have had confidence issues.  Think of the discussions that must have gone on between him and his barren wife.  He was driven to seek fleshly alternatives to try to help God with this seemingly impossible expectation.
  • He was tempted to give up since the possession of the promises was in the unforeseeable future. Yet Hebrews 11:8-12 tells us that …

Were God’s Promises to him real and tangible and solid or mere Pipedreams??

Abraham is known as a man of faith because that is the defining characteristic that is the antidote to all of these temptations – to fear, to doubt, to quitting.

These are the same temptations that each of us faces today.

  • What are your insecurities regarding the future? Centered around finances, around health, around how your kids will do in the future …
  • What are your doubts …
  • Where are you tempted to throw in the towel and give up?

How are we doing in Believing God?

3 CORE PROMISES COMPRISING THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT THAT DEMAND FAITH AS THE ANTIDOTE TO FEAR, DOUBT AND QUITTING

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Divine Deliverance Via a Courageous Man of Faith – Gen. 14

Posted by on Sep 11, 2017 in Christian | 0 comments

Divine Deliverance Via a Courageous Man of Faith – Gen. 14

Last week in chap. 13 we looked at the Contrasting Choices made by Abram and Lot – the contrast between big-hearted generosity on the part of Abram and selfish worldliness on the part of his nephew Lot.  Our choices have consequences . . . and this week in chap. 14 we see some of the consequences of those choices.  Abram chose to walk by faith and God blessed him greatly.   Lot was absorbed into the worldly culture of Sodom and Gomorrah and was almost wiped out – needing to be rescued by his courageous uncle.

Jack Arnold: This chapter was one of the beachheads where the higher critic made his attack upon the integrity of the Book of Genesis. The kings mentioned here could not be found in secular history for a long while. Archeology has changed all this and the kings can be identified and this particular battle has become a fascinating subject for historians.

Deffinbaugh: title for chap. 13 – ‘‘Abram had a Lot to Lose.” Chapter 14 could then be, “Abram had a Lot to Gain.” Perhaps chapter 15 would be, “Abram had a Lot to Learn.”

Some of our biggest challenges come right after God gives us a dramatic victory – a victory against all odds; a victory that demonstrates God’s awesome grace and power; a victory that we could not have accomplished in the flesh.  How will we respond?  The temptation is to allow others to praise us and become dependent on us.  But we must strive to always give God the glory He deserves.

WHEN GOD GIVES THE VICTORY, WE MUST GIVE GOD THE GLORY

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Walk by Faith Not by Sight — Genesis 13:5-18

Posted by on Aug 27, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on Walk by Faith Not by Sight — Genesis 13:5-18

Walk by Faith Not by Sight — Genesis 13:5-18

Review: Remember the journey that Abram has traveled as we get to this point in the book of Genesis.  He has made some remarkable sacrifices and displayed exemplary commitment in obeying the call of God that came to him first in Ur and then in Haran.  He has arrived in the promised land only to be discouraged by the hardship of famine.  Instead of seeking counsel from God, he walked by sight and fled to Egypt where his decisions of expediency exposed himself and his wife to great peril.  However, God graciously rescued him and has restored him to fellowship and worship so that we can see that his faith has matured.  Now he is going to be faced with some more key decisions.  How will he respond?  Will he walk by sight or will he choose to walk by faith?

Steven Cole: There is a point along the Continental Divide high in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado at which the waters of a small stream separate. It would not seem to matter much whether a drop of water goes to the left or to the right. But the outcome of those drops of water is totally different. One drop goes to the west and eventually flows into the Colorado River and empties into the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean. Another drop goes east until it flows into the Mississippi River and dumps into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Two drops of water, two entirely different destinations, but one small turning point that determines the outcome.

Many choices in life are like that. At the time, they don’t seem significant. But those choices set in motion a series of events which shape your life and the lives of your children and grandchildren after you.

  • On what basis are you going to make your decisions?
  • What value system is going to govern your choices.
  • Are you ultimately kingdom-oriented (Seek first the kingdom of God) or materialistic-oriented (looking out for #1)?
  • Are you able to treat others with big-hearted generosity or do you cling to selfish worldliness?

Are you going to live your life walking by faith in the promises of God or walking by sight – falling prey to the temptations of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life?

WALKING BY FAITH FREES YOU UP TO RELINQUISH YOUR RIGHTS BECAUSE OF YOUR CONFIDENCE IN GOD’S PROMISES

Your decisions have consequences.  Let’s look at the decisions made by Abram and Lot in the story before us this morning.

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Divine Sovereignty Always Trumps Human Expediency — Gen. 12:10 – 13:4

Posted by on Aug 21, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on Divine Sovereignty Always Trumps Human Expediency — Gen. 12:10 – 13:4

Divine Sovereignty Always Trumps Human Expediency — Gen. 12:10 – 13:4

Prov. 14:12  “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.

Definition of Expediency – driven by what seems convenient and practical and will accomplish the end you desire rather than being driven by principle and conviction and a sense of what is right irregardless of how things might turn out in the end; the end justifies the means

I can think of many examples from my business experience where the owners chose to operate out of a mindset of expediency.  Usually there is no clear distinction between that choice and one that is morally correct; but sometimes there is a clear distinction.

[Illustration from past work history]

Today’s story is a different type of example – a godly man compromises his faith and chooses the path of expediency … but still God’s sovereignty saves the day

DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY ALWAYS TRUMPS HUMAN EXPEDIENCY

GOD’S SOVEREIGN PURPOSES CANNOT BE DERAILED BY MAN’S SINFUL BLUNDERS

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Divine Call . . . Dependent Journey — Genesis 12:1-9

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on Divine Call . . . Dependent Journey — Genesis 12:1-9

Divine Call . . . Dependent Journey — Genesis 12:1-9

Key transition as we move from chap. 11 to chap. 12.  God has been dealing with all the nations – cf. the Table of Nations in chap. 10; but now God will focus on one person = Abram whom he will rename Abraham – from whom will come the nation of Israel and the Messiah.  Israel is God’s focus until you get to the emergence of the church on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.  We are currently living in the Church Age, but from Romans 9-11 and other prophetic scriptures, we don’t believe that God is finished with His program for the nation of Israel.  The Gentiles have been grafted in Paul writes but that does not mean the end for Israel:  (11:24-27)

              If [you Gentiles] were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree [= physical   nation of Israel], how much more will these who are the natural branches [= physical nation of Israel] be grafted into their own olive tree?

            For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery – so that you will not be wise in your own estimation – that a partial hardening has happened to Israel [some Jews are saved during the Church Age] until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in [dealing here with distinctions between Gentiles and Jews]; and so all Israel [physical nation at some point in prophetic future] will be saved; just as it is written,

            “The Deliverer will come from Zion; He will remove ungodliness from Jacob [has not happened yet].  This is My covenant with them [speaking of the New Covenant of Jer.  31]  when I take away their sins.”

Introduced here to the Covenant God made with Abraham; more details in chap. 15 and 17.

But Abraham also significant as a personal model for each of us in our spiritual journey – that we would live a dependent journey – a life of faith.

Abraham a model for us as a Man of Faith:

Hebrews 11:1, 6  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not       seen. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must             believe (1): that He is and (2): that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Hebrews 11:8  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going

Romans 4:9b  For we say, “Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.”

            Because Abraham believed God he was declared righteous.

Romans 4:11b  That he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that             righteousness might be reckoned to them.

Romans 4:16  For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order    that the promise may be certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the      Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.

Galatians 3:9  So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

Matthew 8:10-11 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled, and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. (Jesus was referring to a Gentile who believed God.) And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven;”

Borgman: Faith does not calculate on the basis of what it can see but on the basis of the character of God; Are you walking by faith or by sight?

THE DIVINE CALL BLESSES A DEPENDENT JOURNEY

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God Brings Grace Out of Disgrace — Genesis 11:10-32

Posted by on Aug 7, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on God Brings Grace Out of Disgrace — Genesis 11:10-32

God Brings Grace Out of Disgrace — Genesis 11:10-32

Finishing up the first main section of Genesis = chaps. 1-11Primitive (Primeval) History;

Second main section = Chaps. 12-50  Patriarchal History

Structural marker = toledot – repeated 10 times

We have covered a lot of ground so far in our study of Genesis

In spite of man’s pervasive sin, we see God’s triumphant grace throughout

This genealogy section forms a parallel with the line of Seth in chapter 5 – which detailed 10 generations from Adam’s son Seth to Noah.  Here we also see 10 generations from Noah’s son Shem to Abram.  In both cases the world had degenerated largely into pagan idolatry.  Despite impressive human accomplishments in a variety of spheres – economic, civil construction, technology, the arts, etc. – the evidence of man’s depravity was inescapable.  Again, in both cases God remained faithful to His promise to preserve a line through which He could send the seed of the woman, the Messiah, to accomplish redemption.  In both cases God chose to work through one key figure – first Noah and now Abram – a man of faith and righteousness.

Hughes: the most notable difference is the absence of the refrain “and he died,” which occurs eight times in chapter 5.  Genesis 5 stressed that death prevailed in the race, whereas Genesis 11 “stresses a movement away from death toward the promise, and it stresses life and expansion” (Ross).  The other obvious difference between the genealogies is the shrinking life span of the patriarchs after the flood . . .

Also you have to compare this genealogy in Chap. 11 with the earlier bookend version in the Table of Nations in Chap. 10.  There is an interesting diversion by way of emphasis when you get to the mid-point involving Peleg (whose name means division – “for in his days the earth was divided” 10:25).  Chapter 10 goes on to detail the line that derives from Joktan the brother of Peleg.  While Chapter 11 does not mention Joktan at all; instead Peleg’s descendants are referenced all the way up to Terah and Abram.

Hughes: Why?  The answer is that Joktan’s line leads up to the fiasco at Babel, while Peleg’s line results in the great man Abram, the hope of God’s people (cf. 11:17-26).  As Kenneth Mathews says, “This highlights the difference in the two inner branches of the Shemite family – one leading to disgrace and the other to grace.” . . .

Lastly, the genealogy ends with Terah fathering three sons – Abram, Nahor, and Haran – so that the genealogy ends just like the ten generations from Adam to Noah ended when Noah fathered three sons – Shem, Ham, and Japheth (cf. 5:32).  Though Abram, like Shem, was named first in the list over his brothers, he, like Shem, was not the firstborn.  He was named first because of his prominence. . .

So we see that hope abounds with the conclusion of this genealogy.  Moses has shown that God’s promise to Eve of a seed who will crush the head of the snake (cf. 3:15) could not be thwarted by the confusion and scattering of the nations.  Even though the seed was scattered from Babel, God had preserved ten great men from Noah to Abram.  And furthermore, the line of Peleg brought grace in place of Joktan’s line of disgrace.  How gracious God was going to be to the nations!

IN FAITHFULNESS TO HIS PROMISES, GOD SETS THE STAGE FOR HIS GRACIOUS DEALINGS WITH ABRAM AND HIS DESCENDANTS

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Man’s Agenda vs. God’s Agenda — Genesis 11:1-9

Posted by on Aug 3, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on Man’s Agenda vs. God’s Agenda — Genesis 11:1-9

Man’s Agenda vs. God’s Agenda — Genesis 11:1-9

One must first understand that God’s Great Commission for the post-Noahic flood world had been clearly communicated.

Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”  (Gen. 9:1; cf. 4:12)

Surely the world which had already been destroyed once by water should have understood that God was serious about obedience to His revealed will.

Account of Table of Nations in chap. 10 really follows sequentially the account of the Tower of Babel in chap. 11 that explains the dispersion of peoples throughout the world

What is Christ’s Great Commission to His Church for today’s program:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name

of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that

I commanded you

Takes a lot of study to understand the details of all that Christ taught; Our Master and the Head of the Church is not reducing all of His teaching to some minimalistic set of confessional truths – Instead He takes the opposite approach – communicate to the next generation of disciples the necessity of obeying all that I communicated to you

How does He want the church to organize to carry out that Great Commission?  Has He left us clueless?  Or has He revealed by precept and practice what our methodology should be?  Is God’s methodology ecumenical where Truth should be reduced to its lowest common denominator so that all believers can work together in organizational unity to accomplish common objectives?

Look at calls for unity issued by the church community in our day and time:

  • Everything should be evaluated according to the Lord’s prayer in John 17 that all believers be One even as the Father and Son are one
  • It is evident that leading neo-evangelicals believe that our main goal is to eliminate doctrinal distinctives and to emphasize unity among those claiming to be believers.
  • One of the basic ideas of today’s philosophy of ecumenical evangelism is that love is more important than doctrine. Ecumenical evangelists say that doctrine divides, whereas love unifies.

GOD WILL FRUSTRATE MAN’S PRIDEFUL AND SELFISH ATTEMPTS TO SUBSTITUTE A HUMAN AGENDA (EVEN IMPRESSIVE ATTEMPTS AT UNITY) FOR GOD’S AGENDA

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Table of Nations — Genesis 10

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on Table of Nations — Genesis 10

Table of Nations — Genesis 10

You might have come this morning anticipating that the most exciting thing about Genesis chapter 10 will be how I will butcher some of the difficult-to-pronounce names as we study this genealogy chapter.  [Just like an umpire, you have to sell the call – pronounce them with confidence even when you don’t have a clue.]

Actually, this account proves to be significant on a number of levels.

  • Certainly from the standpoint of history it provides the only accurate account of the origin of so many of the ancient nations. There is no parallel to this document in the archives of any other ancient people.  This is a unique list.  Genesis is the Book of Beginnings.
  • This chapter serves as important preparation for the account of the Tower of Babel; chaps. 10-11 must be studied as a unit. Chiastic structure with Tower of Babel between 2 accounts of the Sons of Shem; look at the keywords in chap. 10 that anticipate the events of the Tower of Babel: territory, earth, divided, spread, languages; scattered
  • Maybe of primary importance, this chapter speaks to the global perspective of God’s program for mankind – He is not just the God of Israel; He has always been interested in a salvation program that would encompass all people, everywhere – in fact the mission of Israel was to bring blessing to the Gentiles throughout the world

                        Ps. 2:8  “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance and the                                     very ends of the earth as Your possession.”

Structural Elements:

  • Note 2 bookends of vs. 1 and vs. 3
  • Note common refrain in 5, 20, 31 – a growing diversity of ethnic, linguistic, geographical and political groupings

Parunak: Note summaries at vv. 5, 20, 32, and in particular the terms “families, tongues, lands, nations.” This expression is echoed later in scripture:

  • Pagan kings use it to claim their worldwide dominion: Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 4:1; Darius in Dan 6:25. They are the heirs of the spirit of Nimrod – Mighty warriors on the face of the earth who rebel against God and seek dominion for themselves

  • But the Lord shows Daniel that this dominion rightly belongs only to the Son of Man, who must receive it; Dan 7:13-14, the only one who can exercise his “might” “before the Lord.”

  • This is fulfilled in Rev. 5:9, 7:9; 11:9.

  • Numerical symmetry

Hughes: Actually, however, this Table of Nations has carefully structured symmetries.  For example, when we add up the nations that came from Noah’s sons, we discover that they total seventy – another example of the multiples of sevens, tens, and seventies that we have seen so often in Genesis.  Here it suggests totality – all the nations of the earth.

Look at Gen. 46:27 – 70 sons of Jacob end up going down into Egypt – quite the parallel

Waltke calls it a parallel microcosm to the macrocosm of the table of the nations;

God never intended to be portrayed as only the God of Israel; He is the God of all the nations

Difference between totality and completeness:

Griffith Thomas: [Selective record] — there is no attempt at completeness in the list.  Several of the more modern nations which came later into close contact with Israel, as Moab, Ammon, Edom, Amalek, find no mention here, while on the other hand not all the most ancient of the nations are included.

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Pet Peeve #39: Replacement Pen Ink Cartridges Not Standardized

Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 in Pet Peeves | Comments Off on Pet Peeve #39: Replacement Pen Ink Cartridges Not Standardized

Pet Peeve #39: Replacement Pen Ink Cartridges Not Standardized

I have always been a pen lover.  I fixate on one particular pen that has the weight and appearance and ink flow that I prefer and I carry it with me every day.  In fact I feel naked if I leave the house without my one special pen.  I don’t like anyone else in the family to use it because I don’t want to lose it.  I come home from work, place it next to my wallet and keys, and expect it to be right there the next morning.  So when the ink cartridge runs dry it can be a traumatic experience.  Now I am thrust into crisis mode — trying to figure out where to source the appropriate replacement.  The exercise is compounded by the lack of standardization in the industry.  It seems like every pen takes a unique cartridge.  You would think I would anticipate this struggle and purchase a replacement along with the pen.  But usually my pen comes by way of a gift from a family member who sees that my old faithful is scratched up and on its last legs.  There should be one super store like a huge Greetings and Readings or Office Depot box store that would serve as the gold standard for replacing ink cartridges.  I should be able to bring them my pen and expect them to source the appropriate style replacement.  But I have not found that to be the case.  I should not be forced to switch my loyalty to a different pen because of a lack of ink.  I am afraid this will remain a major Pet Peeve for me.

Human Failure but Divine Faithfulness — Gen. 9

Posted by on Jul 23, 2017 in Christian | Comments Off on Human Failure but Divine Faithfulness — Gen. 9

Human Failure but Divine Faithfulness — Gen. 9

Our text this morning will teach us precious truths about both human failure and divine faithfulness.

Illustration: Computer infected with malware; needs to be cleansed; you need a complete reboot so you can function productively

Illustration: Canby Motors – “Your car can be new again”

Theme of Renewal

Piper: God is prepared to start over with a new “Adam.” But this time the beginning is not in paradise. So the new “Adam” must reckon with three real threats against him and his mission to fill the earth: a threat from animals, a threat from man, and threat from God. So God makes three special provisions to protect the life of man in the new world where sin and corruption will again soon abound.

  • God Gives New Rights over Animals
  • God Makes Provision to Restrain Murder
  • God Makes a Covenant with Noah

THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD LIFTS US ABOVE THE HARSH REALITY OF HUMAN FAILURE

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