The Second Covenant

Ancient people used covenants to formalize agreements between parties, whether for political or economic or even social purposes. Usually such covenants were one of two main types: bilateral and unilateral. Bilateral covenants were ancient agreements negotiated between equals or at least each of the parties had input into the agreement, which defined their responsibilities to produce the desired result. The unilateral covenant was different in that it was not negotiated but dictated by the party of higher rank, such as a king or military general. The covenants God made with Abraham were unilateral covenants. Each time the text reveals that it was God who both initiated the covenant and dictated the conditions whereby Abraham would enjoy the promises God made to him. (Genesis 15:1-18; 17:1-14). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Abraham, Walking with God


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Abram and Sarai Renamed!

I often wondered what the big deal was in changing Abram’s name to Abraham, but if any of what I’m about to say is true, it is a big deal indeed. Genesis 17 begins with telling us that Abram was ninety years old when God visited him again. This means there was about 13 years of silence, or at least the text doesn’t mention other visits by God. Therefore, if 13 years is accurate, the silence was probably for the purpose of maturing Abram’s faith. Then suddenly God speaks: “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be perfect.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 1, 2014 in Abraham, Walking with God


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The Blessing of Ishmael

In Genesis 16:7-11 we have recorded Hagar’s encounter with the Angel of the Lord. I believe this encounter, coupled with God’s blessing of Hagar’s child, Ishmael in Genesis 17:20, tell us something we may have overlooked in Church history. The idea is not specific but the strange blessing of Ishmael by God seems to parallel some of the most notable things in Church history, even up to our own modern era. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 20, 2014 in Abraham, Walking with God


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Faulting Abram Without Cause

About a decade has passed since God had called Abram and promised to make him a great nation (cp. Genesis 12:1-4; 16:3, 16). Although he had been reassured that his seed would be as innumerable as the stars (Genesis 15:5), Abram had yet to father his first son. Sarah’s infertility and advanced age (now about 75 years) convinced her and Abram that she would never bear the child of promise. Desperately wanting to see the Lord’s promise of a son come true, yet convinced that life’s circumstances stood in the way, they acted to take their circumstances out of God’s hands and help them along. What followed is a classic example of problems created when God’s children second guess Him and substitute their own agenda for His, although none of us would put it that way. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Abraham, Walking with God


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How Shall I know?

Something seems awry. The text tells us that Abram believed God, and his belief was accounted to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Then in Genesis 15:8 we are told that Abram asks God, yes, but “how shall I know that I’ll inherit?” Doesn’t this contradict what is said of Abram in verse-6? In a word: “No!” it does not. How can I say this? Well, if we try to honestly explain Abram’s question and at the same time agree that he believed God, then we must conclude that Abram desired an explanation. He believed, but he didn’t understand. The same Hebrew word translated “shall I know” in the KJV is translated teach five times and showed another five times in Scripture. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in Abraham, Walking with God


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Questions and God’s Promise

God told Abram that he need not be afraid, which means that Abram was, indeed, afraid of something. Abram had just won this huge battle against all odds. He had seen firsthand the favor and power of God. What could he possibly have been afraid of? It is possible that Abram feared future military reprisals from Chedorlaomer and his allies. When the kings got home and started licking their wounds, perhaps they may have asked, “How did Abram’s little army beat up on us?” Abram may have won the battle, but had he won the war? This very question may have been running through his mind at this time. God may have promised Abram the land in Genesis 12:7 and 13:14-17, but there are still lots of bad guys living there. Therefore, the word of God to Abram, “I am a shield to you,” (Genesis 15:1) could be aimed at relieving his fear of future military conflict. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 1, 2014 in Abraham, Walking with God


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Abram in Victory

Abram was able to foil the ambitious plans of Chedorlaomer and the great men of the east. In the course of human events international political and economic struggles occur, but Abram didn’t concern himself in such matters. Rather, he concerned himself with the plan of God, and although God does use human events for the benefit of his people, God is not necessarily behind those events. Lot became caught up in the power struggle that developed over who would profit through the trade tariffs levied on goods traveling between Egypt and Mesopotamia. Lot had grown deeply involved in Sodom’s culture and was no longer viewed by outsiders as someone apart from that society. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Abraham, Walking with God


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