Howdy Doody, Y’all!
Greetings and Salutations.
Wake up, Sleepy Head! I know it's Wednesday morning and all that, but it's time to get up and at ât'em for today. Besides, coffee's on. What I've got brewin' today oughtta get your juices flowing -- 'specially seein's how dark it is.
Mmmmm.....Hmmmm! French Roasted Ethiopian and French Roasted Columbian. In the French Press, of course. Even have the Expresso machine operating too.
Before we get started, let me first make a quick note regarding my comments in our previous Coffee Break on Alaska's governor (and John McCain's VP choice), Sarah Palin. I was watching Greta Van Susteren on Fox News a couple of nights ago when she was doing a documentary of Sarah's career leading to her becoming Governor when she showed a picture of Sarah working at KIMO-TV in Anchorage in 1988 as a sportscaster. It suddenly dawned on me that I had met Sarah during that stint in her life at an Alaska Broadcasters Convention. Greta had a picture (and a video clip) of one of Sarah's sportscasts.
I was Chief Engineer at the time for KTBY-TV, the local
Little did I know at the time what God had in store for her! My "discerner" was working at least to the degree that I knew she was not where God was going to put her. Anyway, on with the day.
It may seem like we're dragging out this Abraham adventure, but I assure it there is purpose to this sharing. The events that unfolded in his life, his unparalleled obedience and faith in the Lord -- particularly considering the age in which he lived -- resulted in a friendship between him and God that set the pattern for every generation to follow. As a result of his faith and trust in the Lord, the blessing which was given him was promised to his seed in perpetuity.
For those believers in Jesus Christ who walk and live by faith, the blessing of the Lord which comes upon us is referred to now as "The Blessing of Abraham." As you will see in the final two Coffee Breaks in which we wrap up the story of Abraham, it has been referred to in that manner for good reason. I'm letting you know in advance that today's Coffee Break -- and probably the next one as well -- will be considerably longer than our normal Coffee Breaks.
Abraham is now returning from the slaughter he inflicted
on the armies of Amraphel, Arioch,
Chedorlaomer and Tidal, bringing back his nephew,
Word of his astounding victory preceded him along the way,
however. No one was about to mess with him! Roughly two-thirds the
distance home, Melchizedek (history and archaeology know him as Shem, the son
of Noah -- and Abraham's tenth generation ancestor), the King of Salem
(original name for
Bread and wine were the tokens of covenant. This was a distinguishing moment in Abraham's life. Melchizedek was more than just "the King of Salem." He was the carrier of the Blessing of the Lord. He was also the Priest of the Most High, and he had a covenant message for Abraham.
"Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand."
At first glance it may appear to simply be a congratulatory message with flowery language. But Melchizedek wasn't simply congratulating Abraham. He was passing on the Blessing of the Lord to his descendant. More than that, he was now declaring Abraham to be "possessor of heaven and earth." Not since the time of Adam had such a blessing been conveyed. God was declaring Abraham to be his friend, his peer, his covenant partner!
Adam had been the recipient and carrier of that same blessing. He'd been given specific dominion over all the earth. He lived in the Garden where he had continual access back and forth between Heaven and Earth. Adam possessed all that Heaven had to offer, and he had dominion over all the earth.
For the first time in more than two millennia, God had found someone in whom He could once again entrust such power and authority. That power and authority had just been manifested and demonstrated in visible manner as Abraham -- with no more than 318 trained servants -- took on the most powerful armies on the planet and wreaked havoc on them. It would go down in history as one of the most astounding feats of military enterprise ever.
When the king of
Abraham wasn't having any of it! He knew who his source
was! He knew the basis of his power, his might and his
authority! It wasn't
"I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion."
Abraham didn't mind if his three Amorite companions partook of the spoils of war. They lived by the Babylonian system. They had no covenant with God. They didn't understand or even try to live under the system of God's Kingdom they saw in Abraham. They were just glad to be recipients of some of the Blessing of Abraham by virtue of being around him.
Soon after returning home, the Lord appears to Abraham in a vision. (As an aside to this discussion, the Hebrew word used in Genesis 15:1 is one that appears in Scripture perhaps a half-dozen times. The word ismachazeh, and this word differs from the Hebrew word more commonly used: chazon, or its root, chazeh. William Gesenius -- in his Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon -- defines machazeh as: a window [or portal] into eternity.)
What makes this event stand out is the fact that this is the first time the Lord appears to Abraham through a vision -- and in this case, a rather unusual vision in which there is an open pathway between time and eternity. And the Lord speaks to him saying, "You have no reason to be afraid or frightened of anything. I'm your protector; and I'm the fulfillment of my covenant (lit., payment of contract) with you."
Abraham now gets bold with the Lord. "How are you going to fulfill this covenant, seeing as how
I have no children? The only heir in my household is my steward (who is
as my son), Eliezer of
And God answers, "Eliezer -- nor anyone else currently in your household -- is not your heir. You're actually going to have your own children, and the one who comes out of your own loins will be your heir."
Now the Lord takes Abraham out of time and into eternity and displays the universe before him. Let's don't forget; this is the middle of the day when stars are not visible. The only way he can see the stars is for God to literally take him outside of time itself. (The Hebrew word, yatsah, describes his being brought through the portal.) "Take a look, my friend, at the heavens. Try counting the stars, if you think you can number them. THAT'show many descendants you will personally have."
Something went through him that he just couldn't describe. Standing there in the presence of God and seeing all that God had created in the universe, faith simply exploded in Abraham. Without a shred of unbelief, doubt or fear, he implicitly believed and trusted God to be faithful to that Word. He couldn't explain what was happening. It wasn't logical. He was way too old to have children. Sarah was well past the age of childbearing for women. But it didn't matter. He believed God! If God said it, there was no way it wasn't going to happen!
Not since the days of his ancestor, Noah, had God regarded any man as "righteous" or in perfect standing with Him, but Abraham's absolute trust, belief in the Word and faith changed all that. From this moment forward as far as God was concerned, Abraham was a righteous man and in perfect standing with Him.
And God wasn't going to waste the opportunity to establish
a blood covenant with Abraham that would stand for all time and eternity.
Again He speaks, revealing Himself for the first time as Yowd He Vav He(anglicized as
Jehovah): The Omnipotent, The All Powerful, The Ever-Present, The
Self-Existent, The Eternal. "I
AM the LORD that brought you out of
Once again, Abraham queries the Lord. "LORD GOD, by what means will you manifest this? How shall I see this take place?"
God now instructs him to gather some specific symbols which will be covenant symbols in perpetuity for Abraham's descendants: a heifer (female calf), a female goat, a ram (all three being of three years in age), a turtledove (a ring dove) as a symbol of love, and a young pigeon. Each of the three animals were to be divided in half with their halves facing each other, forming a blood path between the halves, and the two birds (which he did not cut in half) were placed opposite each other.
I won't take the time to go into the significance of each of these animals in this covenant other than to say that each animal represented a different lot in life, ranging from the poor and poverty-stricken to the richest and most prosperous. The covenant that God was now going to make would be a Blessing that would apply to the seed of Abraham, no matter what their lot in life. The catch was that in order to become a recipient of this Blessing, they/(we) would have to -- like Abraham -- without reservation or compromise, absolutely believe, have faith, rely on and trust God implicitly.
Once Abraham completes his preparation for this covenant procedure, he waits for the sun to go down, driving the birds of prey and vultures from the scene until dark. Now God puts Abraham into a deep sleep, showing him the not-too-distant future of his descendants. The horror and dread of what he sees overtakes him as God shows him four hundred years of servitude and slavery of his descendants in a foreign land.
Nevertheless, God puts him at peace by saying, "You'll be long gone by the time all of this unfolds, having reached very old age and dying in peace. I'm going to judge and execute justice upon that nation that enslaves your descendants. Your seed will leave that land with great wealth and riches and they will return to this land that I am giving you. I would do this sooner, but the sin and perverseness of the Amorites has not yet reached its fullness (and I intend to execute my wrath upon them when that happens)."
As darkness overtakes the day, God shows up in person and walks up and down in the blood that has flowed between the halves of the animals, showing Himself as both a pillar of smoke and a pillar of fire. As He does so He declares, "Unto your progeny, your posterity, your generations have I given all the lands from the River of Egypt -- the Nile -- to the great river, the River Euphrates: all the lands between now occupied by the Kenites, the Kenizzites, Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaims (giants), the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites."
It's a funny thing about righteousness in the eyes of the Lord -- and being regarded by Him as righteous. How God judges, and how He regards them sure operates on a level that most folks don't seem to get today. When someone really screws up -- especially someone in a place of public prominence or ministry -- a huge number of Christians are ready to condemn and discard them as being unfit. Take the recent example of Todd Bentley, for example. It's pretty hard to find anyone who will speak well of him, the ministry he has engaged in and the results of his ministry -- all because he really blew it.
I'm not going to even try to address the Todd Bentley matter in this post other than to say that there are a whole lot of Christians afflicted with religious spirits who don't have a clue as to this man's heart, or how God is dealing with him. Nor have they seen the end of the matter. They're simply popping off in their self-righteous judgment, not realizing that God regards their unforgiving spirits with the same degree of judgment as they are pronouncing upon Todd and others like him.
Abraham is a classic example of a man who really blew it -- and here's a man whom God so regarded as righteous that His Blessing is named after Abraham, in spite of the way in which he screwed up!
The Lord has just enacted a covenant with Abraham the likes of which the world has never seen. The experiences he's had in God surpass everything anyone in history has had since the Garden of Eden -- with the possible exception of Enoch. And now he tries to help God out in having a child? Wow! How dumb can you get?
And this is going to cost Abraham down the road! More than that, his descendants are going to be the ones who really suffer! Sarah, in her great wisdom and knowledge (?), convinces Abraham that since she is past the age of child-bearing, (He's no spring chicken himself, nearing the age of 86!) God can accomplish His Word to them via the Egyptian slave, Hagar. And Sarah gives Hagar to Abraham to become his second wife. Stupid, stupid, stupid!
They get an Ishmael in the process. This is a classic example of just idiotic the clichÃ© is which says, God helps those that help themselves. My take on it is, God help them that get caught helping themselves! Hohohohoho...
Even though you'd think this nonsense would disqualify Abraham in God's eyes, it didn't. Don't get me wrong. Abraham sowed some bad seed. The harvest from that seed was going to be a plague on his descendants in the centuries and millennia to come, but his actions didn't come out of a place of rejecting God's Word.
Those actions came out of the same silliness that plagues a lot of Christians today. They mean well, but they simply don't consider things in the realm of the Spirit; they try to be logical using human logic and thought processes. What they fail to see is that they've traded the Tree of Life for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and when the consequences of their trade come to fruition they cry out to the Lord.
Abraham somehow missed that. But God didn't drop the hammer on him. He knew the integrity of Abraham's heart. David really had the picture when he wrote, "Give thanks unto the Lord, because His mercy endureth forever." (Psalm 118:1)
Yup. It does! I'm speaking from personal experience, having been among those Christians who have really blown it in times past. Thank God for His mercy! I'm living proof of it!
Thirteen more years will pass following the birth of Ishmael before the Lord appears in person again. Despite the Ishmael event, God is now going to solidify His covenant and Blessing with Abraham.
That's where we go next.
If you want to prosper in the physical, material world, you must first prosper in the spiritual world.
The Blessing of the Lord: it makes rich and He adds no painful toil and sorrow! (Proverbs 10:22) Be blessed!
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