The First Hebrew

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11:31 – 12:6 (Light)

Abram and his wife Sarai come to the end of their time living in Ur of the Chaldees (near Babel). They move to Haran with Terah and Lot. At Haran, the light of God’s command-promise first dawns upon Abram:

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Genesis 12:1-3.

Abram obeys and moves with his wife and nephew, Lot, to Canaan.

12:7 (Cornea)

While in Haran, “the LORD had said,” but once Abram reaches Canaan, “the LORD appeared,” bringing the divine promise-light into better focus.

12:8 – 13:4

“And he removed…and pitched his tent, having Bethel [meaning “house of God”] on the west, and Hai [meaning “heap of ruins”] on the east” (12:8). A Light-line is a Reform-line. A Reform-line is a process in which one spiritually lives between a heap of ruins and the house of God: those who accept to walk with God through a Reform-line process experience a character gradually transitioned from a heap of ruins into a temple of God.

Abram moves to Egypt because of a famine. In Egypt he fears death. A drama involving a half-truth and concluding with plagues befalling Egypt unfolds. Leaving Egypt, Abram returns to “the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai” (13:3).

13:5-18 (Lens)

It becomes apparent that to avoid strife, Abram and Lot need to separate. Lot takes the most fertile and luxurious land (near Sodom and Gomorrah).

And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

Here God clearly brings His promise-light into greater focus for Abram.

14:1-13

War! Four kings – Amraphel, Arioch, Chedorlaomer, and Tidal (14:1) – smite the Rephaims, the Zuzims, the Emims, the Horites, the Amalekites, and the Amorites. The five kings of the vale of Siddim (where Lot lives) are also defeated and Lot is captured.

14:14-17

Abram takes a band of his armed, trained servants and, having divided them into two parts, strikes hard. He is victorious and rescues “his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people” (14:16).

14:18-24

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Abram refuses to take any payment or reward from the king of Sodom.

15 (Retina)

The Lord comes to Abram “in a vision” to more fully assure him. Abram expresses his disappointment that he is still childless. The Lord reaffirms the promise of a seed like the stars of heaven. “And he [Abram] believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (vs. 6). God gives Abram a special prophetic view of Israel’s experience in Egypt and of their return to Canaan. For the first time in Abram’s story, the Lord makes a “covenant” (vs. 18) with him.

16

Abram takes Hagar as wife. She becomes pregnant and is dealt with harshly by Sarai, her mistress. Hagar flees into the wilderness where she is met by the Angel of the Lord, Jesus Christ, who tells her to return and submit to Sarai. The Angel promises to multiply her seed exceedingly, names her unborn child Ishmael, and describes his character as a warlike wild man.

17 (Image)

The most impressive self-declaration of God’s name ever given Abraham is given in Genesis 17:1-3 –

The Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God [Fear God]; walk before me, and be thou perfect [give glory to Him]. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly [the divine judgment will be a reward]. And Abram fell on his face [worship]…

The passage clearly parallel’s Exodus 34:5-8.

The covenant between God and Abram is mentioned within Abraham’s story only in chapters 15 and 17. In chapter 15, the word “covenant” appears only once, but in chapter 17, the word is used thirteen times.

Genesis 17 is all about God’s covenant with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and the “sign of circumcision,” the covenant’s “seal” (Romans 4:11).  Note that in chapter 17, Abram and Sarai receive new names to reflect their covenant identities.

18 (Action)

Abraham offers hospitality to the Lord accompanied by two angels in human form. They eat together. The Lord reaffirms His promise that Sarah will have a son.

The two angels leave for Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord decides not to hide anything that He is about to do from Abraham. Realizing the approaching doom of the cities, Abraham pleads for Sodom and Gomorrah on account of the righteous therein.

19 (Action)

The two angels enter Sodom and accept Lot’s hospitality. They smite the wicked men of the city with blindness and warn Lot of the city’s destruction. Lot warns his sons in law. In the morning,

The men [two angels] laid hold upon his [Lot’s] hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed (vs. 16-17)

Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven.

Chapter 19 ends with the story of how Lot ended up drunk with the wine of his two daughter’s fornication.

20 (Action)

Abraham moves to Gerar. This is the territory of Abimelech, king of a “righteous nation” (vs. 4). Abram tells the half-truth that Sarah is his sister. Abimelech takes Sarah. God gives the king a warning in a dream, revealing the true nature both of Sarah’s relationship with Abraham and of Abraham’s relationship with God (“he is a prophet”). Abimelech fears God, returning to Abraham the woman which belongs to him and providing Abraham with gifts, money, and land. Abraham prays for Abimelech and God heals him and his family.

21 (Action)

Abraham’s promised heir, Isaac, is finally born. Isaac is the first of Abraham’s many descendants. Hagar and Ishmael are sent away.

Abimelech, king of the “righteous nation,” and his chief captain affirm that “God is with thee [Abraham] in all that thou doest” (vs. 22). They enter into covenant with Abraham.

22 (Deadline)

God administers the ultimate test of Abraham’s faithfulness. It appears that Isaac must be sacrificed. Abraham obeys God implicitly, accepting to offer up his only son by death. A knife is lifted over Isaac, but the Lord prevents his death.

Abraham passes the ultimate test, so the Lord gives him the ultimate version of the divine promise:

And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. Verses 15-18.

23 (Results)

Sarah dies, and Abraham pays four hundred shekels for a place to bury his dead. These shekels were representative of the 400 years of service his progeny would expend in Egypt before receiving as a possession the Promised Land.

[Abraham’s] seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years. Acts 7:6.

24 (Results)

In this chapter is found the story of Rebekah and her marriage to Isaac.

25:1-10 (Conclusion)

This passage briefly describes the concluding period of Abraham’s life. Abraham has a family with Keturah. Nevertheless, Isaac inherits Abraham’s entire estate. Abraham dies at the “good old age” of 175. He is buried with Sarah.

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