|Deeds of God Thru Abraham and Sarah:|
|Written by production|
|Friday, 06 July 2007|
Deeds of God Thru Abraham and Sarah:
Abraham (at first called Abram) was born around 350 years after the flood. That might be around 2000 BC. Genesis chapter 11 helps work out the time frame if you want to investigate more fully . God really looks with favor on Abraham. And Abraham really trusts and believes in God. And Abraham's faith is counted to him as righteousnesss by God. In the beginning of his account, Abraham lives in Ur of the Chaldeans, not far from today's Kuwait. This is the country of the 'Babylonians' in a sense, also. Chaldean and Babylonian are pretty synonymous terms, as Babylon was a Chaldean city.
Abraham has a female relative, the daughter of Abraham's deceased brother Nahor, named Sarah. She is raised in the home of Abraham's father for a time, as if she were a sister. Abraham eventually married her, as was acceptable in that time. She was the extremely beautiful Sarah (at first called Sarai), who is so deferential to her husband that she even calls him Master. She is so trusting in him and in God that she allows herself to be taken prisoner twice in her life, to protect her husband, and apparently keeping faith that God will preserve and protect her while she is captive. The scriptures unfortunately don't share her thoughts in that great of depth when she is prisoner.
What makes Abraham special is that God calls on him personally, by name, to walk in faith with him. Abraham is asked to leave most of his family and his people and to follow God's lead to a land that God will show him. In Genesis 15:5 God tells Abram that he will have descendents like the stars in the sky one day. And in Genesis 21:12 God said at a certain point in Abraham's life that He would count Abraham's descendents through the son named Isaac. And in Deuteronomy 10:22, God has Moses tell the people named the Israelites, several hundreds of years after Abraham's death, that they who entered Egypt with 70 have indeed become numerous like the stars in the sky at this time when their 40 years of wandering is over, and they are soon to enter the promised land (what would become geographical Israel). Promise kept!!
But as for Abram's walk, before that walk is over Abraham has become a father to all those who arise through Ishmael (many of today's Arabs among those) and all of Israel (by having Isaac, the father of Jacob, who's 12 sons become Israels 12 tribe's founders.)
And also Keturah becomes a wife to him, and through her he founds even more tribes. She is by far his most fruitful wife in the immediate generation, though you hear less of her. She has 6 sons for Abraham: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shua.
So Abraham becomes the physical and spiritual father to the early Arabs and so thru them many Muslims. The Keturan Midianites become a plentiful people and are often mentioned in the scriptures, and Keturah's other sons did well too. And Abraham is a spiritual and physical father to the Jews, and thru Jews a spiritual father to Christians and a physical ancestor of those Christians descended genetically from Israelite or Ishmaelite lineage, or Keturah's children. That's means he is a spiritual father of sorts to nearly 2 billion people thru the Christians and Jews and Muslims. I suspect that over 1/3 the population of the Earth could trace their physical descendency back through a path that included Abraham, since any trace of Jewish or Ishmaelite blood, lost 10 tribes blood (who those people are today is an interesting internet search!), or Keturan blood would suffice. Even the Spartan's acknowledged themselves as sons of Abraham. How many of them mixed with other Greeks?
If the lost 10 tribes of Israel did any settling in Europe (especially Great Britain) then much of Canada, Austalia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the USA's population could be prospects, as well as those in Europe. And since Sheba (remember that the Queen of the area called Sheba came to visit the Jewish King Solomon about 970 B.C.) was a son of Keturah, who in Africa or the Middle East might have some Sheban blood in them, as that was once a mighty people and nation? Whether the Brah'mins of India have any link to Abraham I am unsure, but perhaps. But one thing becomes clear - one man, walking in faith, can be very high impact. Abraham walked in faith, and it was imputed to his account as righteousness.
God tells Abraham that He will bless those that bless Abraham, and curse those who curse Abraham. God promises Abraham he will become a father of kings, that his descendents will be like counting stars in the sky or sand on the beach, they will be so numerous. Through him, many many will be blessed. That's a lot of strong promises from a God who knows how to keep his promises. But if Abraham's physical descendents now constitute 2 billion, could they even be counted in a lifetime of counting? If an 80 year old man had counted about 1 number per second for 90% of his life he could reach about 2.3 billion. Or can the naked human eye possibly see 2 billion of the stars in the universe? There are nowhere near 2 billion stars visible to the naked eye. And just to keep it simple, as for kings descending from Abraham, both King David and King Solomon were descendents of Abraham. God has kept his promises.
One of the worst problems Abraham faces is that he wanders in both Egypt and in the land of the Phillistines (one day to become part of Israel.), and his wife, Sarah is so beautiful that kings will kill to have her. So he works out the ploy of introducing himself as her brother rather than her husband. He reasons that its not fully a lie,since she was raised in his house like a sister for a time, before he married her. Still, its a lie because they have become married. So if he says he's the husband, they might kill him to get him out of the way. But if he plays himself off as her brother, they'll befriend Abraham and give him gifts, etc., in hopes of winning over his supposed sister Sarah.
It's an awkward and ugly deception, and we can't help wondering how Sarah feels about it. She plays along for her husband's sake though. And sure enough, the Pharoah of Egypt hears about her, and when he sees her, he has to have her for his wife. So, giving Abraham presents, he takes her into his house to begin her months of purification so she can finally become his lover, and that's when a funny thing happens. God has already promised the use of Sarah's womb to Abraham's descendents. So Sarah keeps faith, counting on God to free her from the clutches of the ruler of one of the world's greatest empires. Abraham agonizes, and why shouldn't he? But it's what God does that matters. God begins to hit Pharoah's house and kingdom with one blistering curse after another.
Pharoah is puzzled - it just won't stop. What has he done? How has he displeased the gods? His whole kingdom is soon in danger. Finally, he consults his wise men and diviners, and the answer is given to them for Pharoah's sake. It is the woman. When Pharoah learns the truth he is furious at Abraham. But he is also relieved, because God was destroying his kingdom for reasons he couldn't understand and there was nothing his 'gods' could do to stop it. Now at least he knows.
Despite the feelings he must bear towards Abraham he's a lot more scared of Abraham's God. He concerns himself with apologizing, and returning Sarah, unharmed and luckily still unviolated, with a great number of valuable tresspass gifts to ensure that she has lost no honor and that there is no hint of shame or reproach upon the woman. Pharoah has seen God angry, and now he just wants forgiveness for his land. He humbles himself, and God relents towards him.
Off go Sarah and Abraham, presumably happy and certainly richer, leaving behind Pharoah, relieved and somewhat wiser. God has shown a hint of His power, and no one that ever sees that wants to mess with it. Mighty is our God!! One of the world's greatest political and military powers found itself being destroyed even for being tricked into wronging someone who is protected by the mighty God. This tells us that if God's chosen are in the wrong, that gives no license to harm them or take advantage of them. God will discipline the Jews. He already has several times. Others will not be successful at punishing them unless God sends them as His instrument.
That happens sometimes. There are examples like Sennacharib in the 720 B.C. time frame and Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldean king in the 590's and 580's B.C. Those kings were allowed to punish Israel for their disobedience towards God. In fact they were sent by God to do just that, as he clearly foretold in each case by the prophets who warned of their coming and explained why they came.
Abraham might have initially seemed to Pharoah like little more than an unimportant desert shepherd we might suppose, yet afterwards, at least in that particular Pharoah's lifetime and kingdom, Abraham was one never to be touched, harmed, or impeded. He was the feared chosen man of the God of the Hebrews.
Was Abraham a reformed man? No. Later, wandering in the Canaanite land of Gerar, governed by a king named Abimelech, someone again spotted Sarah, and the same thing happened once more.
This time the wombs of the women in Abimelech's land became infertile. And then, in a dream, God told Abimelech that he was a dead man for having taken Sarah. Abimelech protested his innocence, saying that not only had he not known she was married, but he'd been lied to, and he hadn't touched her yet anyway. So God revealed that He had restrained Abimelech from touching Sarah that he might have a hope, and that now if Abimelech would ask Abraham to pray for him, and if he would return Sarah with gifts, God would hear his prayer.
This time Sarah got 1000 pieces of silver and a public apology by the king of the land, and Abraham received animals for his herds. And the king told Abraham to dwell in whichever part of his land he wished. Again Abraham explained it away as his strategy against the fear of being killed by someone that wanted posession of Sarah for her beauty. I understand Abraham's fear in a way, but it is hard to read that he did it twice. Maybe God led him to, in order to create respect and fear in the peoples among whom Abraham would later wander. I can imagine people pointing Abraham out when he entered their area with his herds. They might say "See that man? The herd owner? That is Abraham...that is the one we have all heard the stories about. Two kings have come to him in humiliation asking forgiveness because they offended his God. Never give offense to that one, my friend. His God is the most powerful of them all." He must have become a legend. I'll bet that riders galloped to warn their kings whenever he entered the lands around Egypt or Canaan. And I'll bet he was afforded the most courteous hospitality by many rulers who wished to gain the favor of Abraham's mighty God. And perhaps many asked to be taught about God because of these stories.
And how about Sarah? This Sarah that was so beautiful was also 89 or 90 years old when this occurred. My how times have changed! And who can blame Abraham - now 99 or 100 - for not wanting to fight?
People even today should take very careful note of what happens to 'super powers' that mess with God's protected chosen. God can effortlesly reduce any land, through drought and plague alone, to a point of abject humility. America for instance could be destroyed with two years of drought, two months of plague, or a single day of earthquake, or a giant volcanic episode, or a pestilence, or a plague, or an invasion. We are 100% vulnerable to God's stern discipline at all times. And those are only a few of the ways He might decide to punish our land if He so wished - basically a few of the tools in a bottomless tool bag. It's basic: we should treat what God loves well for God's sake. But if we are not smart enough to do that, then we should treat what God loves well for our sake.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 July 2012 )|
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