- Lecture impact: Reminded me to always be ready to immediately do the right thing and resist the urge to say, “That’s what you get for making a selfish/greedy – just flat out bad choice.” Recently, I have been better at this outwardly. Still trying to ignore/quash the temptation for judgmental thoughts. Tough one, that.
2. Notes impact:
- The map showing the likely locations of the events in Genesis 14 were helpful since I’m a visual learner.
- The in-depth study of Melchizedek left me with a better understanding of his significance as a picture of Christ.
- The size of Abram’s army, his leadership skills in having them trained and ready, his willingness to take immediate action, his military cunning, his resolve to avoid greed, and his response when he met Melchizedek – all at his advanced age – are quite inspiring.
- a. “Shield: any protection used to intercept blows, missiles, etc., such as a tough piece of armor carried on the arm. or any similar protective device” (dictionary.com)
Faucets Bible Dictionary: Being of wood covered with leather, it might be burned (Ezekiel 39:9). In Nahum 2:3, “the shield … is made red,” the reference is to bull’s hide shields dyed red to strike terror into the foe, or rather to the red reflection of the sun’s rays from shields of bronze or copper, such as are found among the Assyrian remains. The surface was kept bright with oil, which preserved both the leather and the metal, Isaiah 21:5, “anoint the shield”: Isaiah warns the Babylonian revelers to prepare for instant self defense; offensive arms are not mentioned, as Cyrus would take them by surprise in the midst of a feast (2 Samuel 1:21).
The shield was covered when not in use; Isaiah 22:6, “Kir uncovered the shield,” i.e. took off for battle the leather cover which protected the embossed figures from dust or injury. In Psalm 47:9, “the shields of the earth belong unto God,” the shields are the princes as protectors of their people (Hosea 4:18). Faith is our shield “above all” (Ephesians 6:16), i.e. to cover all that was put on before; but Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts read “IN all things.” Faith will certainly intercept (not only “ye may,” but “ye shall be able”) and so “quench all the fire-tipped darts of the evil one” (1 Peter 5:9; 1 John 5:4; 1 John 5:18). Fire darts were canes with tow and combustibles ignited on the head. to set fire to wood and tents.
b. Negativity, doubt, fear
c. Jehovah Megan, Lord my Shield (Ps. 5:12) The word translated as shield is sometimes used to mean a piece of armor and sometimes as a prince or ruler who protects his people. God is our king. And the Holy Spirit is physically with us. Therefore, I should never be afraid. What can man do to me? Those who know their destiny, as Abram did, had no reason to fear man.
- a. The only reward that meant anything to Abram was a son. He already had great wealth.
b. I really had to give this some thought. Earthly wealth was never a big draw for me. Perhaps because I saw my parents give up everything to serve God in ministry.
Perhaps because my mom was so sick during my teenage years. Both taught me about priorities.
In choosing a mate, I asked God to show me the right person and keep me from the wrong person. I didn’t aspire to marry someone wealthy, the way the world measures wealth.
Considering the way some of my choices in life played out, I don’t know if I was truly hearing from God or not.
Like when the person I married soon turned his zeal for God to a zeal for money; And then persecuted me for maintaining a zeal for God. In those years, I turned down peace.
Like some occasions when I was generous with someone in need; It didn’t ultimately appear the gift made a difference in their lives. Nor did it later appear the person was deserving. In those cases, I gave up money, or other items for what I believed was God’s will.
The most important choice I can make every moment of every day –
- Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Everything else I need will be available when I need it.
- Endeavor to learn His ways well enough to know right and wrong choices when they come along.
- Become a sheep who knows His voice.
c. (How was that last question NOT personal? Have you noticed this year, questions that should be marked personal, often aren’t, and some that should be marked “challenge” aren’t?)
- If God said, “I am your very great reward,” why would I ask for anything?
- If I trust Him, He knows what I need.
- We don’t, in reality, know what will make us happy. We just THINK we know. I know God puts desires in our hearts, but determining WHICH desires are from Him, isn’t always easy.
That said, I would ask (and do ask) to see my sons seeking first the kingdom of God and fulfill their God-given destinies in Him, and to see my bedridden daughter-in-law completely healed.
- a. In 12:7 God promised the land to Abram’s posterity. In 15:2-3, Abram expresses his disappointment in his continued lack of posterity. Abram already possesses great wealth, so he assumes that God’s promise of abundant compensation (reward) refers to something else. He does not appear Abram can think of any other reward. A son is the desire of his heart. At Abram’s now advanced age, he assumes that ship has sailed, as the saying goes.
b. In chapter 15:4-7 God shows Abram the magnitude of his posterity – as numerous as the stars in the heavens.
- According to John 8:56, Abraham was extremely happy at the hope of seeing the Messiah in the flesh. And did see Him. Abraham’s faith was such that it was as if he actually had seen it. “Now faith is the conviction concerning those things that are in hope, as if it were these things in action, and the revelation of those things that are unseen;” Hebrews 11:1 The Aramaic Bible in Plain English
a. Abram was a believer.
b. Faith is a steadfast confidence and belief – so much so that even if it cannot be seen with my physical eyes, I still see it. It is as good as done. The foundation of every Christian must be a confident belief in things we do not see with our physical eyes. His invisible nature and attributes are clearly discernible when we see all that He has created (paraphrased from Romans 1:20). Without faith, we have no foundation.
The foundation of righteousness – right standing with God – is faith. It is based on our belief and confidence in Jesus, the Messiah, son of God Most High. We can have a relationship with God only by the covering of that clean garment of righteousness.
c. Abram obediently brought and presented to God the heifer, goat, dove, and pigeon as God directed.
- Good works are the inevitable fruit born out of faith is, I believe, the short answer. The referenced passage – James 2:17-24 – does emphasize the importance of “works”. Verse 24 says, “You see that a man is justified (pronounced righteous before God) through what he does and not alone through faith [through works of obedience as well as by what he believes]. James 2:24 AMP
James’ book is addressed to the Jews (see James 1:1). The law was given to the Jews and likely unfamiliar to Gentiles. James speaks about teachers (3:1) and warns about straying from the truth (5:19). He admonishes them not to judge others and to avoid discord, feuds, and conflicts.(James 4:1-2)
There must have been some inevitable confusion about observing the law, since it had been so ingrained in them. 1 Corinthians 8 goes into detail about the question of eating food previously offered to idols, a practice banned in Ezekiel 22:9.
James is not saying anyone should adhere to the tedious details of the law as interpreted by the rabbis, but rather “External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.” James 1:27 AMP
In Romans 2:15 AMP, Paul writes “They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there, with which their consciences (sense of right and wrong) also bear witness; and their [moral] decisions (their arguments of reason, their condemning or approving thoughts) will accuse or perhaps defend and excuse [them]”
So when our faith, confidence and belief, are in God, He writes His ways on our hearts. We “know” His ways by way of the Holy Spirit in operation within us. It is inevitable that we would bear different fruit than we did before.
(I got long-winded on this one. I’m struggling to get out from under the law/condemnation “the church” still teaches. Oddly, they don’t emphasize that the Holy Spirit writes the law on our hearts. He changes us as we seek Him.)
- a. He still raises the dead. Not just at Jesus’ return. “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12 NIV
We can do what Jesus did and even greater works because “…if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11
In fact, He sent out the twelve, and later seventy others (Luke 10:1) saying, “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give.” Matthew 10:8 AMP
b. After being told she had inoperable cancer and would live only perhaps one month, she recovered and lived another seven years.
A friend of our family who was on his death-bed with complications from cancer – gangrene in his left leg, and other systems shutting down – spoke to his wife (out of a coma) and said, “Devil, get out of my back yard. I’m not giving you an inch.” He then rolled over and went to sleep – not back into a coma. His wife, who believed we can heal the sick and raise the dead as Jesus said, had been speaking that over him.
I met another woman who was raised from the dead by her father. He is now a minister.
When my youngest daughter was 7 years old, she fell from a second story window onto a concrete patio. When I reached her, she was dead. I picked her up and walked around the patio saying, “In the Name of Jesus, you will live and not die.” This continued for over five minutes. I walked into our dining room and placed her on the floor, propping her up against a wall. She was still dead, with no heartbeat, and no breath.My wife ran into the room in a panic. The Gift of Faith was in operation as I turned to her and said, “If you can’t believe, get out.” She calmed down. I knelt down in front of my daughter and continued saying, “In the Name of Jesus, you will live and not die.” After another 20 or 30 times of repeating this statement, my daughter suddenly expelled a strong breath, spewing blood all over my shirt. The first words she spoke to me were “Daddy, I’m hungry.”
We took her to the hospital where doctor’s confirmed that she had been dead for at least 45 minutes. Today, that daughter, Becky, is a born-again, Spirit-filled, missionary-minded young lady.”
My own son, at age 2, experienced kidney failure. He was in intensive care at a children’s hospital. I didn’t realize until later the doctor was trying to tell me they did not expect my son to live.
I continued to pray for his complete recovery.
A day or two later, a young intern came running out of ICU saying, “He’s peeing, He’s peeing!” My son is now 38, completely healed with a son of his own.
- Look at the promise.
- Look at the nature of God. (He gives life to the dead and speaks things into existence)
- Hope in faith – avoid human reason.
- Don’t dwell on the current circumstances.
- Don’t waiver or doubt – stand firm.
- Grow stronger and be empowered by giving praise and glory to God.
- Remember with confident assurance that God is willing, able and mighty enough to perform what He promised. God keeps His word.
- Write down and regularly review God’s promises.
- Review them when I’m discouraged.
- Remind myself not to focus on how things look.
- Remind myself that God is able.
- Live a life of praise and thanksgiving to God.
- Live in childlike faith that God loves me and has my best interest at heart.
- Enjoy life without worrying about what I don’t see – yet. God is faithful and worthy of our trust.
- Abram’s descendents will be slaves in Egypt for 400 years (430 years – Fulfilled – Exodus 12:40)
- Abram’s descendents will leave Egypt with great possessions (Exodus 12:35-36 the Egyptians gave the Israelites the jewels of silver and gold and clothing that they asked for and they stripped the Egyptians of those things) when God judges Egypt (Exodus 12:29 At midnight, the Lord slew every firstborn in the land of Egypt).
- Abram will live a long life and die in peace. (Genesis 25:7-8 AMP Abram lived 175 years, an old man, satisfied and satiated)
Burning bush – “The Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” Exodus 3:2 AMP
Elijah – fire of the Lord consumed the sacrifice
Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You, the Lord, are God, and have turned their hearts back [to You].Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice and the wood and the stones and the dust, and also licked up the water that was in the trench. 1Kings 18:37-38 AMP
Pentecost – tongues of fire “And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them.” Acts 2:2-4 AMP
Paul (Saul) Blinding light on the road to Damascus – Acts 9:3
…”He (Jesus) said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life.” John 8:12
…”the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil.” John 3:19
Jesus said, ““You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:13 NIV
b. Symbolism – Fire and light remind me of who God is and His power to perform whatever He has promised to do. This must have been a powerful visual to Abram as a remembrance of the covenant God was making with him. The times I’ve “seen” something symbolic are seared into my memory in such a way that I can revisit them in vivid detail at will.
- God waits to judge people due to His great kindness and patience which is intended to lead them (us) to repentance. There are also references to a passage of time and a level of depravity. Once that is crossed, God intervenes.
a. I have heard that Israel does not currently possess all the land that was promised, but since geography is not my strong suit, I went to this blog for help:
In regards to the land that God has promised Israel, Genesis 15:18 declares, “To your descendants [Abraham’s] I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.” God later confirms this promise to Abraham’s son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob (whose name was later changed to Israel). When the Israelites were about to invade the Promised Land, God reiterated the land promise, as recorded in Joshua 1:4, “Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates — all the Hittite country — to the Great Sea on the west.”
With Genesis 15:18 and Joshua 1:4 in mind, the land God gave to Israel included everything from the Nile river in Egypt to Lebanon (North to South) and everything from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River (West to East). So, what land has God stated belongs to Israel? All of the land modern Israel currently possesses, plus all of the land of the Palestinians (the West Bank and Gaza), plus some of Egypt and Syria, plus all of Jordan, plus some of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Israel currently possesses only a fraction of the land God has promised.
b. David conquered and Solomon inherited was my answer. The notes differed by saying during Solomon’s reign (1Kings 8:65) and in the reign of Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:25)
15. I can’t think of anything new I learned about God, but I was reminded of things I DO know:
- God is faithful.
- God is trustworthy.
- God keeps his word.
- God has a plan.
I was also reminded of things I should do:
- Remember those things (listed above) no matter how the circumstances may indicate otherwise.
- Praise Him.
- Worship Him.
- Do whatever He shows me to do.
- Do NOT take matters into my own hands if He does NOT show me something to do.
This post will be updated until all the questions are answered.
Disclaimer: I’m a BSF student, and these are my answers. They aren’t necessarily correct. Constructive comments are encouraged.