January 28, 2019
DAY 30: JOURNEY THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR
Focus Verses For Today: Genesis 18:13-14; Genesis 19:16-17
Before we begin our journey today pray for God’s understanding of Genesis 16-19. Read Genesis 16-19. The NIV is a good translation of the Bible to use because it is translated into contemporary language making it easier to understand. Pray and reflect about what is happening.
In chapter 16 we see Sarai trying to comfort her husband by offering her slave, Hagar, to bear the child to Abram, which Sarai could not have. Sarai rightly believed that the Lord would not allow her to bear children. At the age of 76, Sarai was beyond child bearing years and was unable to trust the Lord to keep the covenant that He made with Abram, her husband. Abram had a son by Hagar, Ishmael (God Hears), the father of all the Arab nations.
In chapter 17, God reaffirms His covenant with Abram and seals it with the requirement of circumcision. Circumcision was practiced by pagan religions at the time and was administered to young men when they entered puberty. It was a fertility celebration. For the children of Israel, the descendants of the unborn, Issac, it was the sign of God’s promise of a great nation. Unlike the pagan custom of circumcision, and after the initial circumcision, the Hebrew circumcision took place when the boy child was eight days old. Ishmael was 13 years old when he was circumcised. Abram was 99 years old; Sarai was 89 years old: there was yet, no son, Issac.
Chapter 17, shares that God changed the name of Abram to Abraham. Abram means “exalted father”. Abram was considered a pagan name. Abraham means “father of many.” Sarai’s name was changed to Sarah. Both names mean princess. Sarah is 89 years old. She is beyond child bearing years. She does not believe she will bear a son for her husband Abraham.
The first of two focus verses for today is Genesis 18:13-14:
13Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” (NIV)
A little background on what has transpired prior to Sarah laughing at the Lord. The Lord and two angels come strolling into Abraham’s land to tell Abraham that Sarah will have a child this time next year. Sarah is thinking she is 89 years old. She is thinking she is beyond child bearing years. She is thinking who does this visitor think he is? He was, is, and always has been Jesus the Christ - the Messiah. Sarah apparently did not know that. The Lord’s response is, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?…” (Genesis 18:14a, NIV). This little discourse brings us to our first rest stop on today’s journey. If you are journaling: it is time to get it out, if not, time for very serious contemplation and reflection on you. How do you view the Lord? Do you place limits on His relationship with you. Don’t go name and claim it on me! This is about your relationship with the Creator. (Goose bumps rolled over me writing this: trying to comprehend His authority over all - undoubted beyond human comprehension.) Sarah did not know that the Lord could hear her laugh. You may be thinking what is wrong with Sarah lying to the Lord - He knows all! In verse 15, after Sarah denies laughing, the Lord takes her to task, telling her that He heard her laugh. What is happening in this verse? Sarah’s doubt of the Lord is sin? There is no escape from sin and the Lord called her out on it. Pray, reflect, write or contemplate whichever suits you best. What are the characteristics of the God you worship? Look at your daily life? Does it reflect the Lord or have you taken a vacation from living your life for Him through Him.
As the Lord is getting ready to leave Abraham’s place, the two angels with Him have already started for Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord shares His intention to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin with Abraham. You may want to do a re-read of chapters 18 and 19. It is clear what is going on there.
The second focus verse for today if Genesis 19:16-17:
16When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. 17As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” (NIV)
The two angels who had visited Abraham with the Lord, are in Sodom and Gomorrah with Lot and his family. The angels were sent to destroy the city for being totally consumed by sin. The angels had to deal with a mob of men who came to Lot’s house to rape them. The two angels told Lot to gather his family to leave Sodom and Gomorrah because the Lord was about to destroy it.
This is a sad, very sad, story. The story that is often overlooked when it is taught, is the struggle Lot had with sin. Lot chose to live in a land of foreigners. He chose to get close to sin. What was Lot thinking? Did he believe he could handle Satan? The angels had to grab Lot and wife by the hand and lead them away from Sodom and Gomorrah. Their hearts were still there; yet the Lord showed mercy? Was it the intercession of Abraham that saved them? Is there someone you should be lifting up to the Lord in prayer? Lot’s wife, was turned to salt, when she disobeyed the angels’ instructions to not look back to Sodom and Gomorrah.
Even as the angels were leading Lot and his family away Lot was negotiating with them. He didn’t want to go to the mountains as instructed. He wanted to go to the town of Zoar, meaning small, and the angels granted his request. That didn’t work out for him, and he ended up moving to the mountains and living in a cave with his daughters.
Second Timothy 2:22 teaches us to, “Flee the foolish desires of the heart…” (NIV) Choosing to cozy up to sin cost Lot everything that was truly precious. His wife was turned to a pillar of salt because her love of sin was more important than her love for the Lord and her family. What happened to Lot’s daughters? Lot lost all his personal possessions. Lot lost it all. Possibly the saddest of all that occurred through this dalliance with sin: two nights of drunken incest with his two daughters resulted in the birth of two sons, the older daughters son was named Moab, father of the Moabites. The younger daughter’s son was named Ben-Ammi, the father of the Ammonites The Moabites and Ammonites are historic enemies of Israel.
There is so much to learn on today’s journey. Pray for God to share his true meaning of today’s journey with you. Are you contemplating or journaling? Ask this simple question: Have you made a place for a sin to inhabit your life? You know! The one that God really doesn’t mind. Later we will encounter these words from the Lord, you know one of the three guys dining with Abraham, chastening Sarah, His words: “So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:16, NIV) Are you all in?
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