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Service Archives > 01 Genesis - 2009 > Genesis 16-17

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Genesis 16-17

Taught on | Topic: God's Faithfulness | Keywords: Abram, Abraham, Sarah, Sarai, Ishmael, covenant, Hagar, disobedience, Israel, El Shaddai, trust

It's a common problem; trusting our feelings rather than trusting the Lord. But feelings are misleading, and as we learn from Abram and Sarai, trying to help God fulfill His promises can be costly. Their spiritual detour from the will of God produced ramifications we are experiencing today. God is faithful however to fulfill His promises, His plan is perfect, and His will will be accomplished.

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2/3/2010
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Genesis 16-17
Genesis 16-17
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
It's a common problem; trusting our feelings rather than trusting the Lord. But feelings are misleading, and as we learn from Abram and Sarai, trying to help God fulfill His promises can be costly. Their spiritual detour from the will of God produced ramifications we are experiencing today. God is faithful however to fulfill His promises, His plan is perfect, and His will will be accomplished.
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01 Genesis - 2009

01 Genesis - 2009

The book of Genesis is rich with theology including creation, the fall of man, and justification by grace through faith. Genesis, the book of beginnings, provides foundational truths from which we can learn who God is and how He operates in the lives of His people.

In this study of Genesis, Pastor Skip Heitzig presents an in-depth examination and fresh perspective of familiar stories like the creation, Adam & Eve, Noah and the Flood, the call of Abraham, and Sodom and Gomorrah. This series offers solid information to equip believers with truth in today's battle against the lies of evolution, the basic goodness of man, and a "fairy tale" approach to the Bible.

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Detailed Notes

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In our text, Abram and Sarai take a detour from the will of God. Abram displays a shallower faith than what we expect and we are still experiences the ramifications of his detour.  Feelings are misleading.  Sometimes when we trust the Lord it feels unsafe.

  1. Following God is the safest way to travel through life
    1. It was a mistake for Abram to heed Sarai's voice
    2. "God helps those who help themselves" not in the Bible.  Ben Franklin said it.
    3. We think if we start a work in motion that God will carry us through .
    4. Abram and Sarai try to help God fulfill His promise.
  2. Abram and Sarai (assume good intentions)
    1. Sarai is past 75,
      1. She thinks the promise is not going to happen through her body.
      2. What exactly did God say? (through Abram, but not through her)
    2. Sarai proposes that her younger, Egyptian maid, Hagar, carry the child
    3. They had waited 11  years, it's hard to wait "Hope deferred makes the heart sick"
    4. We impose our own design in the flesh
  3. Hagar (vs 3)
    1. They must have picked her up in Egypt (the past has a way of catching up with you)
    2. Abram goes in to her and she gets pregnant
      1. Means the problem was with Sarai's body, not Abram's.
      2. In ancient culture that would mean Sarai was cursed.
      3. Hatred between Hagar and Sarai
    3. What had begun in the Spirit they tried to complete in the flesh (Galatians 3)
    4. How many times have we tried to step in and help God keep His promises? Given him advice?
      1. Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in His ways, don't try to fulfill His promises in the flesh.
      2. Better to ask for the right road ten times than to take the wrong one.
      3. Hagar was Sarai's property
      4. Sarai is very angry.
      5. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." Victor Hugo 
      6. The seed of Ishmael and Isaac are still at war with each other 4,000 years later. "Whatever man does without God, he'll fail miserably or succeed more miserably." -George MacDonald
    5. Hagar leaves and is travelling toward Egypt in the barren desert. (vs 7)
    6. The Angel of the Lord meets her there - First Mention of Angel of the Lord - Gabriel?
      1. The story of failure, yet the mercy and grace of God meet her there.
      2. She should name him Ishmael, means God hears, every time she spoke she'd be calling out God's mercy.
      3. They go back
    7. When God can't rule, because we won't let him, He overrules.  (Romans 5:20)
  4. Blessing in spite of disobedience (13 year gap between chapters 16 and 17)
    1. Sarai is 90 years old, Abram is 99, and the son of promise is not yet born.
    2. El Shaddai - Almighty God, God the most sufficient - first mention
      1. This name for God is used more in Job than anywhere else in the Bible
      2. Acadian word means mountain or breast, represents the earth flexing its muscle
      3. God is saying "I'm strong, you're weak, I can do what no other can do"
    3. Walk before me and be blameless
      1. When you are being watched you act differently, know I am watching you
      2. Reminder because of Abram's history
        1. He walked before his family and went to Haran for 15 years
        2. He walked before his servants and  went into Egypt
        3. He walked before his wife and went into Hagar
    4. A new walk with God can begin at any age.
    5. Abram humbled himself before the Lord
  5. Abraham
    1. Abram means exalted father,
      1. but he had no children, must have been embarrassing
      2. When Ishmael was born he may have felt better about his name
    2. Abraham means Father of a multitude
      1. Named that before he fulfilled the promise
      2. God declares His purpose before he makes it happen
      3. Stretches the faith of Abraham
  6. Covenant Established
    1. Land
      1. The borders of the land given equaled 300,000 square miles
      2. Israel never occupied it all
      3. At their peak they occupied 30,000 square miles under Solomon
      4. What God promised they only took a tenth
      5. God promised every place your foot walks, they didn't believe God for all of it.
      6. What about the promises God has made you? What portion of his promises do you enjoy?
      7. Israel will possess all of the land during the millennium.
    2. Posterity
      1. Nations - plural
      2. 13.3 million Jews
      3. 22 Arab nations (300+ million people)
      4. 5% of the Earth's population today traces heritage back to Abraham.
    3. Circumcision
      1. Sign of the covenant
      2. Had been practiced in the Middle East, Egypt, Rome
      3. Social practice given a spiritual meaning, God redeems it (like baptism)
      4. Outward sign of covenant
        1. Noah and the rainbow
        2. Moses and the Sabbath
        3. Church and baptism
        4. Abraham and circumcision
      5. Eighth day, perfect day because of clotting of the blood
      6. The symbol
        1. Cutting of  the flesh life which dominates
        2. Flesh of what gives life is cut
        3. I'll live in the Spirit, not in the flesh
      7. Jews turned it from a symbol to a sacrament, supposed to be inward not outward Deuteronomy 10
  7. Sarah
    1. Sarai means domineering and contentious
    2. Sarah means princess
    3. God promises the son through her
      1. Abraham believes him, excited
      2. Reality brings him back down to earth,  and he says take Ishmael, let him live before you.
        1. The covenant must be thru the son of promise not the son of flesh
        2. Do we say "bless my thing"
        3. The death of your vision is sometimes required.
  8. Two Kinds of Covenant
    1. Conditional - Bilateral
      1. God does His part, man does his part
      2. Edenic
      3. Law of Moses Deuteronomy 28-30
      4. Their occupation of the land is conditional  (captivity, Diaspora, Is 11:11)
    2. Unconditional - Unilateral
      1. Dependant on God alone
      2. This covenant with Abraham, for the land and for the people
      3. The land is theirs unconditionally

Figures Referenced: Benjamin Franklin, Victor Hugo, George MacDonald
Cross References: Deuteronomy 10, 28-30,  Proverbs 3:5,6, Romans 5:20, Galatians 3
Hebrew Terms: El Shaddai (Almighty One)
Greek Terms: Diaspora (dispersion of the Jews to countries after the Babylonian captivity)

Topic: God's Faithfulness

Keywords: Abram, Abraham, Sarah, Sarai, Ishmael, covenant, Hagar, disobedience, Israel, El Shaddai, trust

Transcript

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I recall traveling with a friend from Jordan to Germany and we landed in Austria, actually it was Franklin Graham that I was with, and we touched down in Austria and we had just about an hour on the plane and then we were going to take off to Germany. And Franklin said, 'Have you ever driven from this airport to Frankfort. This beautiful stretch--you ought to get off the plane now. Rent a car; it's only two or three hours. It's one of the most scenic drives you can do.' So I thought, why not, that sounds really good. Eventually, I talked him into doing it with me. It ended up being a nine hour drive and we didn't get to our hotel in Germany until about 2:30 in the morning. It ended up, not being a shortcut, but the long way around--a detour. We wasted precious time. In chapter sixteen, Abram and his wife Sarai take a detour when it comes to the will of God.
Once again, the man of faith, the father of them that believe, displays a shallower kind of faith than we might expect. Taking the long way around, it actually cost him and to this day we're experiencing the fallout and the ramifications of that choice. Now some people prefer not to fly airplanes but they prefer to drive and it's not because of economy, it's out of fear. They actually feel safer in a car than they do in an airplane. I know a businessman that drives from coast to coast. He won't fly; he'll drive. He feels safer. But his feelings are misleading because the studies reveal that flying in jet aircrafts is seven times safer than driving in a car. So going six hundred miles an hour, careening through space through a metal tube at 35,000 feet is safer than an eight-cylinder machine that never leaves the earth. It might feel as if it's unsafe to get in that airplane, but it's actually safer. I'm sharing that because there's a parallel with the will of God. Sometimes when we just trust the Lord it feels really scary. It feels unsafe. We'd rather live by sight rather than faith. But the safest way to navigate through your life is to live a life of faith, trusting in the Lord rather than what you can only see. Well, let's find out what happens.
"Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, "See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her." And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai." That was a mistake. It's not always a mistake, sometimes it's the best thing a man can do. But in this case, it was a mistake. They were unable to have children. We're presented with that in chapter eleven, when they're first introduced to us. You remember that old saying, 'God helps those who help themselves'? Where does that come from because when I grew up, my father said, 'The Bible says God helps those who help themselves.' And I thought it was in the Bible. And I read it and I read it and I read it in different translations and I looked in the concordance to try to find that verse. 'God helps those who help themselves.' And I never found it in the Bible. Jesus didn't say it. Paul never wrote of it. The prophets never declared it. Now maybe it's in 1 Flesh-alonians but it's certainly not in any of the real books of the Bible. It's one of those phantom verses, made-up, imposed by people who don't know what the Bible says. I actually did a little research and discovered it was Ben Franklin who said that. It wasn't God at all. But we get this mistaken notion that if we set the gears in motion, we start moving, eventually God will see that we're serious and we're moving and catch up to us and then take us all the way through. Once He sees that we're serious and we're going to work hard.
Here's a case of people trying to help themselves, or should I say, help God out--help God fulfill a promise. Because God said, 'You're gonna have a child,' and we see here that his wife Sarai decides to do it this way. Before we completely trash Abram and Sarai in this, let's assume the highest. Let's imagine that they had really good intentions. So let's imagine a conversation. They're in the tent one night burning a candle, having lamb and olives and hummus and pita bread for dinner, and they're having this conversation and Sarai looks at Abram, now she's past 75, and says, 'Sweetheart. Now I know that you're really into this having a kid thing. And I know you'd really like me to have a child. But sweetheart, look at me. I'm over 75 years of age--ain't gonna happen, sweetheart. Now Abie, what exactly did God say when He made all those promises to you? Can you recall?' 'It's like yesterday, of course I can recall. God said specifically that from my own body I'm gonna have a son.' 'Ok. That helps, Abie, because God said it's going to come from your body. God said nothing about it coming through my physical body. So because it's going to come through your body and not necessarily mine, I propose we help God out a bit on this. I have Hagar, this Egyptian maid, she's much younger. She's capable of bearing children. You go into her and you have a child and we'll adopt that child and we'll say that's God's promise fulfilled.' And it says that Abram heeded his wife.
You just have to imagine what it was like those eleven years they'd been waiting for this promise. Eleven years. It's hard to wait on the Lord; it's hard to wait and wait and wait and wait. Because your flesh gets really antsy and Proverbs says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." And we have a tendency, when we've waited on the Lord and waited for the Lord, when we don't get what we think we should get, to just push it a little bit. Make it happen. And impose our own scheme and designs and produce something of the flesh rather than the Spirit. That's what they're doing. They've been waiting eleven long years since God first said, 'I'm going to make you a great nation.' I imagine that every time Sarai had a twinge of pain or walked a little bit differently that Abraham noticed and said, 'Ah-ha! You must be pregnant!' But she wasn't pregnant. And year after year after year after year, she wasn't pregnant. And so now this. 'This is crazy. Let's just get on with our life. Let's have a child. If God promised that through your body you'd have a son, He didn't say anything specifically about my body. So just take Hagar.'
Then verse three: "Then Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her maid, the Egyptian, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes." Where did Hagar come from? Egypt. So they must have picked her up on that little foray down into Egypt when they didn't trust God during those famine years. You remember? It seems that's when she arrived into their household. You know the past has a way of catching up with you, doesn't it? She becomes pregnant. So now it's pretty obvious that the real problem isn't with Abram, it's with Sarai. Now maybe up to that point, they didn't really know. Because they were unable as a couple to have children, so was it a problem with her womb or was he not virile, was he unable to have children? Now the proof. He has no problem bearing a child with a fertile woman and so it would mean in ancient cultures that Sarai must somehow be cursed. And anger rises up in her heart. Moreover, Hagar despises Sarai her mistress. "And when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress became despised in her eyes."
We know this problem too well, I believe. In Galatians 3, Paul asks, "Having begun in the Spirit are you now trying to be made perfect in the flesh?" God has started something. Are you now trying to bring it to completion by your flesh? How many times in your own situation, in my own situation, have we stepped in to help God fulfill His promise? And sometimes even counseled the Lord--give God advice. As if He needs it. Maybe you haven't done it verbally, but I bet you've thought things like, 'God, I know you're busy running the universe. Step into my office. There could be a couple of things you just have overlooked. Let me educate you. I've gone to college. I can help here.' And we might step in with an agenda and with a plan that is simply trying to fulfill God's promise by a work of our own flesh. What does it say to us in Proverbs 3? "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths." They're not doing that here. There's a great old Jewish proverb that says, "It's better to ask which is the right road ten times, than to take the wrong road once." They take the wrong road. As I mentioned, the repercussions are still felt today.
"Then Sarai said to Abram,"--now watch this, here's Sarai--"My wrong be upon you!" Whoa! "I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The Lord judge between you and me." Now whose idea was it to begin with? It was her idea! It was Victor Hugo who said, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." So here's Abram, 'Ok, sweetheart. Whatever you say, dear,' and then he does it and this happens and she blames him. "So Abram said to Sarai, "Indeed your maid is in your hand,"--according to ancient custom she was the property of Sarai, that's what he meant by that--"do to her as you please." And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence." Wow. The Scottish poet and author George MacDonald said, "In whatever man does without God, he will fail miserably or succeed more miserably." Here's Abram and Sarai with a plot; with a plan. And they succeed so miserably. Helping God out. What do I mean by that? What I mean, it's been 4,000 years since this and we are still experiencing the Arab-Israeli conflict, the seed of Ishmael and the seed of Isaac at war with one another. With suicide bombings, with problems in the Gaza, with the 9/11 bombings and America's policies concerning Israel. And it seems that year after year the focus gets back on that and this is where it all began.
Verse seven: "Now the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur." So she's trying to go back to Egypt where she's from, which is nothing but barren desert on this road. She would've died in the wilderness--she wouldn't have made it. So she's by a spring of water in the wilderness. "And He said, "Hagar, Sarai's maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai." The Angel of the Lord said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand." This is, by the way, the first mention, and I'm trying to give you all of the rules of first mention when we come up to them in Genesis. Here is the first mention in the entire Bible of the term the Angel of the Lord. You're going to read about it a lot in the Old Testament. There's conjecture as to who this person is. Some people believe here that it's Gabriel, the one who announced to Mary and to Joseph and to Zacharias all of the events surrounding our Lord's birth. But this is the first mention of the Angel of the Lord coming. Here's what I love. This is a story of failure, fumbling, bumbling, failure. And yet in the midst of that we see the mercy and grace of God. The overriding, overruling, intervening hand of God in being merciful and just not letting them go through all of this without some movement of His own hand.
Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, "I will multiply your descendents exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude." And the Angel of the Lord said to her: "Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your affliction." Ishmael means 'God hears,' so every time she would call out her son's name, she would be calling out the remembrance of God's mercy in her life. God hears; the Lord intervened down there by that well. "Because the Lord has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." So rather than just letting her leave the home, maybe die in the wilderness, the Angel brings them back to Sarai and Abram and Ishmael will grow up in the household of Sarai and Abram.
God overruling. I don't know who said it, but somebody said, "When God can't rule because we won't let Him, He always overrules." I love that beautiful verse of Scripture in Romans 5 that says, "Where sin has abounded, grace did much more abound." It overflowed and here's an example of God's grace to this woman and her son. "Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, "Have I also here seen Him who sees me?" Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi." The well of the Living God who sees. "Observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered." So if you were ever wondering where that well was, now you know. "So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram."
Now we have a gap between these two chapters of thirteen years. Thirteen years. By now, Ishmael is a young teenager. Abram is 99 years old raising a thirteen-year-old teenager--have pity on him. Sarai is about 90 years old and they're raising this child. But it's not over yet--it's just the beginning. Because that son of promise hasn't yet been born into their household. And that's coming--that's Isaac. So Abram isn't going to retire, he's not going to go lawn bowling for the rest of his life; he's going to have more children. "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless." Somebody once said that one of the great things about being 99 is you don't have much peer pressure. Of course, it would be obvious why, right? You wouldn't have many peers. He's 99 years old and the Lord speaks to him. Now we have the very first mention of this title of God: God Almighty. El Shaddai. El Shaddai is mentioned in the Bible about 36 times. It means Almighty God or God the Mighty One or better yet God the Most Sufficient One. Interestingly enough, the term El Shaddai is found more in the book of Job than any other book in the Bible. It's around this time frame; same era, patriarchal era. Now El Shaddai, it is thought, is an old Acadian word from that whole Semitic Syrio-Babylonian region. An old Acadian word that means 'mountain' or 'breast'. And the idea is that some of the ancients would, when they would see hills in the distance, it was as if the earth was flexing its muscle. It represented a buff muscle coming up out of the earth. So here's God saying, 'I am God the eternally sufficient One. The divinely buff One. The One can do anything that you can't do. I'm strong, you're weak. I'm God, you're not.' That's how He introduces Himself.
Why does He call Himself El Shaddai? Because Abram's 99 years old, that's why. He's almost 100 years old. If anybody's feeling weak, it would be Abram. And so God says, 'Let me just tell you who I am. I'm El Shaddai. I have unlimited muscle. I can do what no man or no country or no ruler could ever do.' It's interesting that the Lord says, "I am Almighty God, walk before Me and be blameless." What does it mean to walk before God and be blameless? The idea is this: walk, or literally live your life, knowing that you're living your life in plain view of Me. You know how it's like when you're a child and you know you're parents are watching? You act differently, don't you? If you're alone in your room, you act one way. But when your dad is watching you, you act a different way. 'Abram? You're 99 years old. It's time for you to grow up. Time for you to learn how to walk. Finally. Walk before me, live your life, knowing that I'm watching everything you're doing. And be upright; be blameless; be pure. Be a man of integrity.'
I think God tells him this because of Abram's history. When Abram went to Haran for fifteen years and waited before he went into the land God told him to, he wasn't walking before the Lord. He was walking before his father and his family. When he went down to Egypt because of the famine, he wasn't walking before the Lord; he was walking before his 318 servants who needed food and water. When he pulled the Hagar stunt in chapter sixteen with Sarai, he was walking before his wife, not before the Lord. But here's what's cool to me. He's 99 and God still comes to him and says, 'You can still walk with Me.' You know, a new walk with God can begin for you at any age. It doesn't matter who you are, what you've done, how old you are, what you've been through--this could be the night of a brand new relationship with Him. A relationship of obedience; a relationship of love. A walk with God can begin at any age.
Verse two: "And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly." Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him--I love that thought, just humbly before the Lord, down on his face wanting to hear from God--"As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations--now watch this--"No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations." I've also supposed that the name Abram was embarrassing to him. Abram means 'exalted father'. How many children did he have while he was called that? Zip, zero, zilch, nada, none. So imagine what it would be like as the caravans would come through and he'd get out of his tent and they'd go, 'Hello! What's your name?' And he'd say, 'I'm exalted father.' 'Oh wonderful, how many kids do you have?' 'None.' 'Oh. Sorry about that.' It was embarrassing to say the name; that was his name and he tried to have children with his wife back in Haran, unsuccessfully.
Then, through Hagar, one day Ishmael was born. And he probably thought, 'Alright! Now when somebody says what's your name and I say exalted father, I'll feel good about it.' And now he's got one son and God says, 'I'm changing your name. I'm not going to have you be called exalted father anymore. Now your name will be father of a multitude.' And you can just see Abram going, 'No, please, Lord! Not that!' Because that would denote that he would have many children. Again, it could be embarrassing. Why is God naming him this before the son of promise comes? Why wouldn't God name him that after Isaac is born and he has other children and grandchildren? Because God will often declare His purpose before He does it. And He will do it to stretch the person into using their muscles of faith. 'Abram, you believe Me. Remember that, a couple chapters ago, you believe Me? When I said that I was going to make your descendants like the stars of heaven, you believed Me and I counted it to you for righteousness. You believed that. Do you believe it enough for me to change your name, even at 99, to being father of a multitude?' So God, before the event, calls him this name to stretch him.
Verse six: "I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations [plural] of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." Last week when we were in back in chapter fifteen and I skimmed through the last part of that, the borders of the land were given. Do you remember that? From the river of Egypt all the way to the Euphrates River and the borders were outlined in that chapter. 300,000 square miles God promised them. Now they have never, ever occupied all that God gave to them. They have only, at the peak of the kingdom under Solomon, occupied 30,000 square miles. They wouldn't have much luck going to all these neighboring countries now, like Egypt and Jordan and Syria and Saudi Arabia and Iraq and Iran, and saying, 'This is our land. God promised it to us. Kindly move out of here.' But I want you to see is this, what God said they would have, they only took one fraction, one tenth, of all that God said He would give to them. And what God told them is this, 'Every place that your foot walks is yours.' They obviously, evidently, didn't believe God for all of it. So even at the peak of their kingdom, under King Solomon, when he expanded the borders, one-tenth of all that God promised they enjoyed.
Does that at all sound familiar to you? Think of all the promises that God has made you. How many of them are you enjoying? All of them? Half of them? A small fraction of them? What kind of victory are you living in? What kind of cache of God's promises are you enjoying? I tend to believe we're just living on a small fraction of all that God has for us. Now God, one day, will allow them to enjoy all of that border that He promised them. And that will be in the earthly kingdom outlined so often the Old Testament called the millennium in the New Testament. A thousand year reign of Christ upon the earth. It will be then that their borders will be expanded to all that God gave to them. That's just the land; that's part of the covenant God says the land He promised to Abraham. But not just that, not just property, notice the promise includes posterity. Notice the plural 'nations'. We often think Abraham is the father of the Jewish nation. He is, but he's the father of many more. There are 13.3 million Jewish people on the earth; there are 22 Arab nations with 300+ million people. All of them trace their lineage back to Abraham. That means that today, 5% of the earth's population can trace their genealogy directly to Abraham. Now you know why God says, 'I'm changing your name to father of a multitude'. God has made good on His promise.
Verse nine: "And God said to Abraham: "As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you." Circumcision was not something invented here. Understand that circumcision had been, for generations, practiced by nations all around that part of the world in the Middle East. The ancient sixth dynasty of Egypt practiced circumcision. Even into the Roman Empire, the priests of Rome and their offspring were circumcised. The Ammonites and the Moabites. So here you have God taking a social practice and turning it into something with spiritual meaning. I love that. It's a social practice; it's something that had meaning to other cultures. But God is sort of redeeming that and letting it apply to a sign of the covenant. He will do that with baptism. Baptism didn't begin with Christians. Jews had practiced ritual baptism for generations. Being purified before they would go up to worship. And then John the Baptist did that in a river, down in the Jordan, and then later on, they took that symbol of being cleansed for worship, that ritual purification, and we know it now as Christian baptism: the immersion in water. But it's symbolic. It's an outward sign of a covenant.
We discover that whenever God makes a covenant, He then provides some kind of a sign, an outward indicator. So when you see the indicator, you're reminded of the agreement that God made with people. And so what was the sign of the covenant God made with Noah? A rainbow. Beautiful, colorful. You look at it and it brings a smile to your face. It's a sign of a deal that God made with Noah. And God made a covenant with Moses and the children of Israel through the Law of Moses. What was the sign He gave them? It was the Sabbath. On that day, you rest. It's restful, it's peaceful, it's wonderful. To the church, it was the symbol of baptism, the outward sign of an inward reality. Now God makes a sign with Abraham. I'm sure that Abraham was not having this in mind when he's thinking God is going to ask him to provide some kind of an outward sign. Remember, he's 99 years old. So just let the impact of this fall on your ears. 99 year old man and God says, 'It's time to get circumcised.' Abraham's going, 'What is this walk of faith all about?! I didn't sign up for that!' "This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you."
Verse twelve: "He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant." Wow. Why the eighth day? Interesting that science tells us that on the eighth day of a child's life, all of the vitamins, nutrients, and antibodies are present in the bloodstream that causes the clotting of the blood. If you were to circumcise a child say at three days old, there would be hemorrhaging. The clotting elements aren't there until the eighth day; that's the perfect day.
Verse fifteen is the change in his wife's name. By the way, something just about circumcision. The whole idea behind circumcision is that the life of the flesh that once dominated you is not to dominate you any longer. The symbol of the cutting of the flesh is the repudiation of the fleshly life. Because the foreskin of the male, this was the organ that generated life, is cut, showing that, like the Bible says in Psalm 51, "in sin my mother did conceive me; I was born in iniquity." But I'm making a covenant with God that the life of the flesh will be pushed back, repudiated, and it will be something that I live now by faith in the Spirit. I'll live in the Spirit, not in the flesh. That's the whole idea behind it. It was a symbol. What happened unfortunately among the Jewish people, and it has likewise happened among Christian people with baptism, is they turned it from a symbol into a sacrament. If you perform this sacrament, it will confer some grace, some merit, to you and you will have a right relationship with God. So all you have to be circumcised, or all you have to do is be baptized, or all you have to do is keep this ritual. They made a symbol into a sacrament. All along the Lord said, 'No--it's inward, not outward'. Deuteronomy 10, God says, "Circumcise therefore the foreskins of your heart and be stiff-necked no longer." That's what it meant. It was inward, not outward. It was simply symbolic; they turned it into a sacrament.
"Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name." This is a wonderful change. Sarai means domineering and contentious. Imagine when Abram came home one day and said, "Hello, Princess." That's what Sarah means--princess. And I'm sure her heart just skipped a beat when her husband said, "Hello, Princess." And that was the name that God gave her and that was the name her husband and everybody else would call her from then on: princess. By the way, husbands, there's a great name for your wife. Call her your princess. Just try this. Speak kindly unto her. Somebody once said, "If you treat your wife like a thoroughbred, she won't ever turn into a nag." Speak kindly to her; she's your princess. "And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be from her. Then Abraham fell on his face". Now he's doing that a lot. And as an old guy you wonder, I hope he's not getting too bashed up. "And laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" Now this is not unbelief. This is faith. We've already established that last week when God said, 'You will bear children as numerous as the stars.' Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. He believed that promise. This is laughter of sheer joy. How do I know that? Because God doesn't rebuke him. And in chapter eighteen, Sarah laughs when she hears this and it was the laughter of unbelief, because the Lord said, 'You don't believe what I'm saying, do you?' But here's an old guy just going, 'I can't believe it! I'm an old dude and she's an old chick and we're gonna have a kid!' It was something along those lines.
The very next verse there seems to be sort of a coming back down to earth, like, 'Wait a minute. I'm old and I live in reality.' "And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant and with his descendants after him." He's an old guy. His son is thirteen and the promise is exciting but then it's like, 'You know what? I think maybe I'm done now. Can't You just take Ishmael and do what You said through him? Let him be the one that You fulfill Your promise. Let him live before You.' God says no. God is going to bless Ishmael, many nations will come from him, God's hand will be upon him. But the covenant that God wants is through a son of promise, not a son of the flesh. It's going to be through Isaac. How many times have you said that? You've had your dream, your agenda, and you just say, 'God, here. This is what I really want. This is what I produced. Would you just bless my thing? No, just bless this. I don't want to do anything else.' And sometimes God may require the death of your vision. And maybe your prayer should be, 'Oh, that Ishmael might die within me!' That my little episode, my little agenda of the flesh, would die and I would be open to whatever He wants from me. No, God said. "Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name [Laughter]; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him."
"And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year." We have something that I neglected to get into last week. I just posed a problem and I left it hanging. If you remember at the end of chapter fifteen; if not, I'll refresh your memory. In the Bible, we have two different kinds of covenants. One is called an unconditional covenant; the other is called a conditional covenant. Or if you will, a bilateral and a unilateral covenant. In the bilateral covenant, or the conditional covenant, God has His part and man must keep his part. If man doesn't keep his part, it negates the deal. Then there's the unconditional covenant--it's unilateral. God says, 'I'm going to do this, this, and that--period--for you.' It's solely His condition that He must keep. So one covenant, called the Edenic covenant, the covenant in the Garden of Eden. What kind of covenant was that, conditional or unconditional? Conditional because they got kicked out. They didn't keep their condition. The covenant of the Law of Moses. What kind of covenant was that? Conditional. If you do this, I'll do that. If you fail at that, then you'll have this happen to you. The covenant that God promises to Abraham for the land that is today the land of Israel, and for the people, what kind of a covenant is it? Unconditional. 'I will bless you, I will make your name great, I will do this, I will do that'. Five times God says, 'I will' and He repeats that same kind of terminology. It's unilateral. It's unconditional.
Now we have a problem because God promises them the land through this covenant with Abraham, but later on, in the covenant of Moses, which is a conditional covenant, there are conditions for them in the land. Do you follow me? In Deuteronomy 28-30, God says, 'If you obey Me and you keep My laws, I will bless you in this land. You'll get a lot of rain and crops in this land. You'll subdue all your enemies. If you disobey Me, your enemies will subdue you. In fact, you won't have good crops, you won't have good rain, your enemies will come and take you from this land and you'll be in captivity.' That's chapters 28 and 29 of Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy 30, the Lord says, 'When you are in captivity, in another land, and there you pray to Me because you realize you've been disobedient and you sort of come to and wake up, and when you're in captivity and you pray to Me and repent and turn back in your heart, then I will take you out of the land to which you were taken captive and bring you back into this good land that I promised to you and to Abraham.' So here's how it works, here's the solution to the problem. The land given to Abraham unconditionally would be theirs unconditionally, perpetually, forever. But their tenure in the land, their occupation of the land, was conditional. How does that work? Doesn't one negate the other? No. God says, 'Here you are. I'll put you in the land. You will disobey me. I will take you out of the land.' That's called the Babylonian captivity. 'You will get spiritually spanked in that land. You will cry out and ask forgiveness in that land. I will bring you back into this land. Now you'll be good girls and boys in that land.' But that wasn't the only time they got expelled. The Romans came in, subjugated them, and when the Romans came in and destroyed the temple and destroyed Jerusalem, there were 2,000 years of the Diaspora. Ever heard of the term Diaspora? The dispersion of the Jews around the world in hundreds of different countries.
So they were dispersed and did not have a homeland and people were looking at that and saying, 'You know what? There's not going to be a literal regathering of a literal people in a literal land. All of that is spiritual and figurative and it doesn't matter anymore.' Until May 14 of 1948 when Palestine was now called Israel and Jews from all over the world were allowed to go back to their homeland, fulfilling many promises, including Isaiah 11:11, where God says, "I will bring you back the second time into the land." And God says, "Then I will establish that covenant with you perpetually." And so the land and the people. God promised that as an unconditional and perpetual covenant. Verse twenty-one: "But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year." Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham. So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him. Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. That very same day Abraham was circumcised, and his son Ishmael; and all the men of his house, born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him."
We're going to see the fulfillment. Now God narrows it down. Not just, 'I'm going to make a great nation from you.' Now He says it will not only be from his own body but from Sarah's own body. 'You two are going to have a baby.' And they will have a baby. It's what they always wanted. But God's going to not just give them what they wanted--but more than they wanted. Not just a kid but kids and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and nations and kings. Remember the old saying, 'Be careful what you wish for because you might get more than you bargained for?' He's going to get more than he bargained for or ever hoped for. I heard about a couple, they were sixty years old; they were married when they were twenty, so it was their fortieth wedding anniversary. They were so happy; forty years of married bliss. A fairy appeared to them and said, 'You've had such a wonderful forty year marriage. I grant each of you any one wish in the world.' The wife blushed and smiled and said, 'I know what I want. I've always wanted this. I want to travel the world!' Instantly--poof--with the wand. And there were tickets to travel the world, cash in hand, passport, everything ready to go. The fairy said to the man, 'Now it's your turn. You can have anything you want.' He sort of shyly looked around and looked up and said, 'Well, I'd like to have a wife thirty years younger.' The fairy said, 'No problem.' Poof with the wand and he was ninety years old instantly. Be careful what you wish for! You might get more than you bargained for.
But what God will give to Abraham, more than he wished for, more than he bargained for, will be nothing but blessing. He's learned his lessons. He has more to learn, but the blessing of God will rich in his life.

Additional Messages in this Series

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9/23/2009
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Genesis 1
Genesis 1
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The book of Genesis is foundational to the rest of the Scriptures. What a person believes about creation influences their view of the entire Bible. In this verse by verse examination of Genesis chapter 1 we'll uncover the origins of the universe and gain a greater appreciation of God's power, wisdom and care. Although many questions about the specifics of creation remain unanswered, we can rest assured that "In the beginning God."
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9/30/2009
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Genesis 1:24-2:25
Genesis 1:24-2:25
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Mankind is confused about the origin of man. Sadly, many of the world's most intelligent minds embrace the lie of evolution. But man did not accidentally evolve from primordial soup. We are God's crowning creation, a result of His intricate design.
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10/7/2009
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Genesis 3
Genesis 3
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The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life are the oldest tricks in the book. Just as Satan deceived Eve into believing God was holding out on her, we too can be tempted to believe that what God has forbidden is the key to our fulfillment. Can God be trusted? In this message we learn that while the consequences of disobedience are disastrous, the Lord has a plan for our redemption.
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10/14/2009
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Genesis 4-5
Genesis 4-5
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Though death was not God's original plan for His creation, through the sin of Adam, death entered the entire human race and has reigned ever since. As we explore the 1500 years of history covered in Chapters 5 and 6 of Genesis, the fruit of sin is evident. We'll discover that from the murder of Abel through the descendants of Cain, love of self ruled in the hearts of men, but those in Christ must rule over sin and let the love of God be our motivation.
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10/21/2009
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Genesis 6
Genesis 6
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When Jesus told His disciples about His second coming, He said, "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." In this message we'll examine the world conditions at the time of the flood and see how the world has fallen back to similar depravity. We'll also uncover exciting parallels between God's plan of salvation of Noah through the flood and His plan to deliver His children from the coming tribulation.
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10/28/2009
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Genesis 7-8
Genesis 7-8
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After 120 years of diligent, obedient preparation for the coming deluge, Noah received God's invitation to board the ark. It must have been a difficult, yet exciting time for Noah and his family; the animals entered the enormous ship, the door was closed behind them, and the rain began to fall. Soon, floodwaters covered the entire planet, and eight souls and the animals on the ark were all that remained. Why is it important to understand the worldwide nature of the flood? How should this ancient cataclysm affect our lives and our view of the coming judgment?
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11/11/2009
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Genesis 9
Genesis 9
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Man is the crown of creation made in the image of God, but from the time of creation through the flood mankind was growing more and more corrupt. When Noah and his family stepped off the ark, God established human government and delivered four directives so that as society grew, it could function smoothly.
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11/18/2009
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Genesis 10-11
Genesis 10-11
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The listing of genealogies recorded in scripture is, at times, difficult. What is the significance of such a detailed account? How are we to apply this information to our lives? Through this meticulous record of the descendants of Noah, God demonstrates His interest in people, His faithfulness to His promise, and His isolation of the people group through whom Messiah would come.
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1/6/2010
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Genesis 12
Genesis 12
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The Bible presents Abraham is our example of justification by faith. Although his life was not easy and his walk was not perfect, Scripture refers to him as a friend of God. Let's take a look at the testimony and testing of Abram and learn important lessons about God's faithfulness in the lives of His people.
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1/13/2010
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Genesis 13-14
Genesis 13-14
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All of us make mistakes; we falter and fail in our relationships with the Lord and with others. Abram was no different, but by God's mercy he is the Father of them that believe. As we examine his life and the lives of those around him, we'll see that they encountered trials and temptations not so different from our own. Let's take a look at the differences between godly Abram and worldly Lot, and avoid the hazards of flirting with temptation.
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1/27/2010
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Genesis 15
Genesis 15
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The nation of Israel is the avenue though which the Lord has blessed the world with the Messiah. God's promise to Abram guarantees their ownership of the land, and provides a picture of His divine accomplishment, based on God's work alone. Join us as we uncover the doctrine of justification by faith from our text in Genesis 15.
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2/10/2010
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Genesis 18
Genesis 18
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Abraham experienced trials and failures and yet the Bible refers to him as the friend of God. As we examine Genesis 18 we'll witness Abraham's encounter with three heavenly visitors and gain further insight into his relationship with the Lord. Let's explore the privileges and expectations of those who desire a friendship with God as we study the life of Abraham.
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2/17/2010
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Genesis 19
Genesis 19
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The topic of God's judgment makes some people squirm. Believing that God is loving, gracious, merciful and kind often comes easier than viewing Him as Judge. As we investigate the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah we'll come to terms with the necessity of His judgment. We'll also be reminded that God is in the business of redemption, and that He dealt with the sin of those who believe at the cross of Calvary.
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2/24/2010
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Genesis 20:1-21:8
Genesis 20:1-21:8
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As believers we are new creations in Christ, however, we still carry around our old nature; the battle between the spirit and the flesh is a struggle for all of us. As we consider the life of Abraham, we see him fall once again into a familiar sin. The consequences of his choices are damaging, hurting others and ruining his testimony before unbelievers. But as we'll see in our text, God is faithful, and causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.
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3/3/2010
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Genesis 21:9-22:14
Genesis 21:9-22:14
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It can be challenging for us to line up our behavior with the teachings of Scripture. Biblical principles are often contrary to our human nature, and obedience can be uncomfortable. As we examine the profound testing of Abraham's faith, we must ask ourselves, "Am I willing to do what is difficult?" As we walk in obedience to the Lord, our faith is developed and our relationship with Him is strengthened.
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3/10/2010
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Genesis 22:15-23:20
Genesis 22:15-23:20
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Death is a fact of life; the statistics show that every one of us will die; the ratio is 1:1. Let's consider the suffering and sorrow Abraham endured through the near sacrifice of his son Isaac and the death of his wife Sarah. We'll discover that the path of sorrow can also be the road to deeper fellowship with the Lord.
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3/17/2010
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Genesis 24
Genesis 24
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In most parts of the world, the methods of dating and marriage have changed dramatically over the past 4000 years. Arranged marriages, family involvement and dowries are foreign to our culture where online dating is becoming the norm. As we consider the way Isaac and Rebekah were brought together, we will discover timeless principles to apply to the modern dating game. We'll also uncover a deeper spiritual message as we examine the foundations of their relationship.
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3/24/2010
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Genesis 25
Genesis 25
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It's been said, "He who dies with the most toys still dies;" a clever saying with profound insight.  Abraham died full, not merely in quantity of years and physical blessings, but in satisfaction and relationship with the Lord. As we take a look at his final years and the legacy he left behind, we'll be reminded of what's really important in life, and be challenged to consider our own priorities and our spiritual birthright.
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3/31/2010
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Genesis 26
Genesis 26
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As Isaac takes center stage in our study through the book of Genesis, we'll see that it's not always best to follow in our earthly father's footsteps. Partial obedience and compromising truth rear their heads in a plot reminiscent of Abraham's struggles. Join us as we peek into the life of Isaac and get another glimpse of our God who is rich in mercy and faithful to his promises.
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4/14/2010
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Genesis 27
Genesis 27
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Isaac's family was plagued by distrust and scheming, but a dysfunctional family is no match for the sovereign hand of God. In spite of the continuing battle between Jacob and Esau, and the deceptive habits that have been passed down for generations, the Lord's plan will not be thwarted. His ways are not our ways, and He causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.
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4/21/2010
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Genesis 28-29
Genesis 28-29
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Grace cannot be earned; as AW Tozer said, "As mercy is God's goodness confronting human misery and guilt, so grace is His goodness directed toward human debt and demerit." Though Jacob is not deserving of blessing, the grace of God was poured into his life. Though we may reap what we sow, God's grace is sufficient for us.
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5/19/2010
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Genesis 30
Genesis 30
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God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Out of a dysfunctional family, and an oppressive workplace the Lord will ultimately accomplish His will. Let's take a look at Jacob's superstitious relatives and recognize God's powerful work in the midst of human failure.
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5/26/2010
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Genesis 31
Genesis 31
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How can we know God's will for our lives? Genesis 31 offers beautiful lessons for the child of God. We'll see God confirm His will to Jacob through circumstances and His Word as he packs up his family and leaves Padan Adam to head home.
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6/2/2010
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Genesis 32-33
Genesis 32-33
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During the difficult days following 9-11, our country experienced a deeper sense of community and spiritual renewal. The tragedy served as a wakeup call; in spite of our prosperity, we are not immune to pain. Often, the Lord gets a hold of us in the midst of suffering; we may endure steady adversity so that we always depend on Him. Let's look again at the life of Jacob as he comes to another turning point on his spiritual journey where he learns that when he is weak, he is made strong.
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7/7/2010
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Genesis 34
Genesis 34
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We take another look at the life of Jacob in Genesis 34 where the effects of his flaws become glaringly apparent. Jacob's passive parenting and dysfunctional family result in an ungodly reaction to the rape of his daughter, Dinah. Let's examine profound spiritual truths, learn important principles to apply to our own families, and renew our hope in the grace of God.
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7/14/2010
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Genesis 35-36
Genesis 35-36
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It's been said, "It's always darkest before the dawn." On the heels of a dark period in Jacob's life, the Lord works in his heart to bring about revival. As we dive into our text, we'll see that while Jacob lingered far away from God for a time, he renews his commitment to the God of second chances.
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7/21/2010
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Joseph Looks A Lot Like Jesus
Genesis 37
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We've all been told that we look like someone else. Often members of the same family carry a strong resemblance to one another. Joseph reminds us of someone else: Jesus. As we explore their similarities, we'll be challenged with two crucial questions. How much do we resemble Jesus Christ? Do we look like our Heavenly Father?
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8/4/2010
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Genesis 37:1-38:10
Genesis 37:1-38:10
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Joseph takes center stage in our study through the book of Genesis. His father's preferential treatment backfires and this favorite son ends up in the bottom of a cistern, and then sold into slavery. Let's take a closer look at God's providential hand and tuck away some important events that we'll pull out later as evidence of His faithfulness.
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8/11/2010
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Genesis 38:9-39:23
Genesis 38:9-39:23
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The contrast between Joseph and his brothers is great. Nothing bad is recorded about Joseph, but his brothers' lives are a mess. Joseph was faithful; his brothers were failures. Joseph had rock solid integrity; his brothers practiced wretched morality. Yet in the midst of it all, the Holy Spirit worked behind the scenes, using the most unlikely people to bring the Messiah into the world.
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9/1/2010
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Genesis 40-41
Genesis 40-41
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The account of Joseph's life has been a riches-to-rags tale thus far. While Joseph remains faithful in the midst of trials, the sovereign hand of God is fulfilling His purpose in Joseph's heart and in the world. Let's take a look at the dreamer of dreams as he takes his eyes off his circumstances and places them squarely on the Lord.
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9/8/2010
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Genesis 42
Genesis 42
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What things does God work together for good in the lives of those who love Him? Sold into slavery, falsely accused, forgotten in prison– these are troubling events in the life of Joseph. As we approach this text, we'll see the sovereign hand of God at work, fulfilling His promise and truly working all things together for good in the life of Joseph.
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9/15/2010
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Genesis 43-44:17
Genesis 43:1-44:17
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Love isn't always easy. The natural response to difficult people may be retaliation. After cruel treatment by his brothers, Joseph is placed in a powerful position--their fate is in his hands; however, rather than payback, Joseph chooses pardon. He sets a wonderful example for us of supernatural love for unlovely people.
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9/22/2010
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Genesis 44:18-45:28
Genesis 44:18-45:28
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How do you respond in the face of adversity? Do you see life's difficulties through the filter of God's sovereignty? Joseph had been sold into slavery, forgotten in prison, and falsely accused. When faced with the brothers who got him into this mess, rather than revenge, Joseph chose the high road of forgiveness. Let's uncover how his vertical relationship with the Lord equipped him to restore his horizontal relationships with his brothers.
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9/29/2010
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Genesis 46-47
Genesis 46-47
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Perspective can be everything. Do you view life's challenges and success through the lens of God's sovereignty? Joseph spent twenty-two years in Egypt trusting in God's faithfulness. As we witness the reunion of Joseph and Jacob, we should remember that the God who sees all things also has a perfect plan for you and me.
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10/6/2010
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Genesis 48:1-49:12
Genesis 48:1-49:12
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It's a deathbed scene; the end of Jacob's life is drawing near and there are things he wants to set in order. While the law of the firstborn requires the oldest son to receive a double portion, Jacob chooses to honor the younger grandson, Ephraim. We'll learn why, and how that is relevant to our own lives in this study from Genesis.
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10/20/2010
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Genesis 49-50
Genesis 49-50
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As the book of beginnings comes to a close we'll witness Jacob's final declaration of blessing and admonition toward his sons, his death, and his burial in Canaan. Let's glimpse into his faith, consider his testimony, and learn from his example.
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11/10/2010
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Genesis Q & A
Skip Heitzig
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Why did God place the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Garden of Eden? Did dinosaurs and man co-exist? Was the flood local or global? These are some of the questions Pastor Skip addresses in our recap of the book of Genesis. Let's explore the answers to these common concerns and gain a deeper understanding of God's plan for mankind.
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There are 37 additional messages in this series.