Now Who Is Laughing – Genesis 21:9-21

So the story continues... When we last left off with Abraham's crew, he was praying for people like Lot in the valley. And we had talked about Genesis 21:1-8 when the angels had predicted Sarah's conception. Now, we find out what is happening with Ishmael, Abraham's other son. MOcking? Remember that Isaac means laughter, and we had several candidates for who was laughing. Now, we have another candidate, Ishmael. The range of "mesaheq" could be simple laughter or mockery. Most translations will either say "scoffed" or "mocked" or note this possibility in a footnote. The Good News Translation carries another meaning, that is "to play." This is also within the range of meaning, yet they have to add that Ishmael was playing with Isaac. Traditionally, even in rabbinic circles, Ishmael…
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Lot’s Downfall, Part 3 Genesis 19:30-38

You thought cable TV had some unsavory and mind-blowing story lines. Lot's story ends in the worst way possible and all we can do is cringe as we read each verse. Again, it did not have to end this way. How We Got Here The first verse in this passage gives us something of a clue as to how Lot got here. Because of fear, Lot left Zoar. Now, the angels had promised Lot he would be safe there. It was no issue for Lot and his daughters to remain in Zoar for the rest of their lives. The girls could have found husbands in that village. Yet for fear, Lot went into seclusion. What was he afraid of? Well, it would be more important to ask, why was Lot…
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Lot’s Downfall Part 2 – Genesis 19:15-29

To escape or not to escape, how far should we flee from evil? These are questions that we need not struggle with, often in Scripture we are told to free from evil. It's like when the sergeant says jump, you don't need to ask how high. Lot continues fateful decisions that will destroy him. But it's really Ok Lot did not take the angels seriously. They came to him at night, and yet he remained in Sodom come morning. The angels "urged Lot" to leave, yet "he lingered." This reminds me of friends and others I know of who place themselves in situations of temptation. Those who previously had substance abuse issues having received Christ felt they could handle their temptation while trying to reach others. Certainly it is possible,…
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Lot’s Downfall, Part 1 Genesis 19:1-14

Sin's pervasive nature even traps Lot and his family. How deeply impacted has Lot been by the evil of his neighbors? Sodom's Sin? What was the sin of this region, most specifically of Sodom? Historically, the proposed attack upon the angelic visitors to Lot points to the issue. The men of Sodom planned to rape the visitors, and thus homosexual actions are listed as the sin of Sodom. There is a different interpretation, that has nearly as ancient roots to it. Ezekiel 16:49-50 talks about pride, excess, laziness in the face of need, haughtiness (self-righteousness), and "did an abomination before me." These build up to the last one, which refers back to Genesis 19. Ezekiel points towards a lack of compassion and hospitality, prior to the incident with the angels…
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Abraham Prays – Genesis 18 Part 2

"So, God already knows what's going to happen and has decided what He wants to do. Why should we pray?" I'm glad you asked, because that's a really good reason to know the next part of Abraham's story. God's Invitation When we start in verse 16, the visitors that just foretold of Isaac's birth are heading off toward their destination. Abraham follows, as a good host would, to see off his guests. However, we have this interesting conversation within God from verses 17-19, it's not a debate. God is not arguing with Himself about whether or not to tell Abraham about what is going to happen, this is for our benefit in knowing the place that Abraham has, and the family of faith from him. In other words, God has…
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Isaac Means Laughter – Genesis 17 Part 3

If you've been in Church for a number of years you've probably heard, Isaac's name means laughter. Do you know the full story? Let's take a look... Who Laughed First? You can find the story we're looking at today in Genesis 17:15-18:15, concluding in 21:1-7. Many of us remember the story like this: God visits Abraham in the form of three messengers. They tell Abraham that Sarah will be pregnant. Sarah overhears and laughs at such news. When she is confronted with her laughter, Sarah denies that she laughed. Sarah then gives birth to Isaac a little while later. They name him Isaac, which almost every Bible footnotes "means he laughs." I hope you read the whole passage, because you'll already know the answer to the question. Abraham laughed first!…
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Circumcision – Genesis 17 Part II

The importance of the covenant of circumcision is often over looked because of the Jewish versus Gentile controversy in the early Church period of the New Testament. Paul settled the issue, circumcision is not necessary for Christians, however the importance of what circumcision means still does. It only applies in a different way in the Christian-era. Important Background The first thing to do in understanding the meaning of circumcision is to read the actual covenant that required it. Look in Genesis 17:9-14, listen with fresh ears as God gives the covenant sign to Abraham. Circumcision was a common priestly practice in the Ancient Near East. The Egyptians used it for their priesthood, as well as other cultures around Abraham. It is a very private sign, obviously for where it is…
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Name Changes – Genesis 17 Part I

So up until this point we were following Abram and Sarai around. Now we hear about Abraham and Sarah, why did their names change? Well, changing their names connects with the promise from God. Names Have Meaning All names have meaning. Any Biblical name in the Old Testament that ends in "-el" means "God is my" or something connected with God. Most of the names that start with Jo- or Je- in the Old Testament say much the same. We know that New Testament Greek names also had meaning, like Peter means rock. By coincidence we named our triplets: Landon, Layton, and Liam; all have names that are connected to lands, fields, or meadows in Celtic, Welsh, and Anglo-Saxon origins. Try searching Google and you will likely find the meaning…
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The Drama Begins – Genesis 16

How long can you wait for something? Like when a promise is made to you, and you have absolutely no doubt about the person that made it following through. How long can you wait? Days, months, years, decades? We wait a lifetime for the ultimate fulfillment of God's promises to us in Christ. What happens if we go our own way? Ancient Infertility (1-4) Do you recall in the previous few chapters that the number of people traveling with Abram are in the hundreds? Abram and Sarai likely had several household servants. The "arrangement" between Abram, Sarai, and Hagar is not a forced one as if Hagar is the only servant Sarai has. In the ancient world, childlessness could only be solved the "natural" way. So, in hopes of having…
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What Just Happened? – Genesis 15

As the story of Abram continues, we finally hear him voice his doubts over receiving the promises because he has no heir. God continues to guide Abram. He uses a method Abram would immediately recognize. Heir Apparent-Less? (1-6) This is a very deep concern. No matter what God gives to Abram, unless he has a son to perpetuate his name, Abram could be forgotten. Certainly, Eliezer could be grateful to his master, yet for posterity's sake you are not likely to tell the story that you were once a servant and when the master died you got everything. You might hide that bit of personal history and in so doing the name of your master would be forgotten. It happens, and Abram knows this. Yet God is not callous to…
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