BSF Genesis Lesson 17

Genesis 20-21 Sarah is my sister, really, she is…
1.  I was unable to attend the lecture.

2.  Interesting that I didn’t think of Abraham’s conversation with the man (the pre-incarnate Messiah) as prayer. I didn’t think of it as prayer, because the man was standing right there.

Duh! He really is “right there” when we pray – and when I pray – via the Holy Spirit.  I knew that.  Why do I keep needing the same reminders over and over? Will I eventually “get it” deep down inside?  Those pesky birds of the air…I need more fertilizer.

Also interesting that the notes said “the man’s” visit was specifically to see Sarah. I haven’t had time to dwell on that thought, but hmmm….

3.  Similarities between Genesis 20 and Genesis 12:10-20

  • Out of fear, Abraham said Sarah was his sister.
  • Pharaoh and Abimelech sent for Sarah and added her to their harems.
  • God brought judgment on the king’s household because of Sarah.
  • Both king/pharaoh gave Abraham gifts of livestock and servants.

Differences:

  •  In Genesis 20, there is no mention of Sarah’s beauty.
  •  In Genesis 20, the king also gave Abraham about 25 pounds of silver.
  •  In Genesis 20, we know the king learned about Sarah because God told him in a dream.
  • Abimelech did not touch Sarah. God said he prevented him from doing so. We don’t know if Pharaoh did.
  • Abimelech seems truly repentant for his inadvertent sin and even apologizes to Sarah, vindicating her.
  •  In Genesis 20, Abimelech told Abraham “live wherever you like” in my land. Pharaoh sent Abraham away.

Abraham presumed to know Abimelech’s heart.

4. a. When Abraham first left his father’s house, he instructed Sarah, “This kindness you can show me: at every place we stop, say of me, He is my brother.” Abraham’s plan was his way of protecting his life (in his own strength) and a way of securing preferential treatment. He was fearful and did not trust God to protect him. (I wonder, was Sarah taken into a harem in other places also?) (Classmate called this a familiar sin.)

b.  People lie to stay out of trouble. Husbands ask their wives and children to say they aren’t home if they don’t want to take a phone call. People lie on their taxes to prevent the government from taking their money.

5.  a. 

  • He was away from his wife, knowing what could and (likely) would happen to her. Did he already know she could not conceive? What if she did conceive while she was in the harem? Would she come back to him nine months later and leave the child behind? Did he have a plan to get her back when he was ready to leave that area? If he did steal her away, wouldn’t his life be in even greater danger?
  • Abraham’s relationship with God suffered when he did not seek and rely on Him for protection.
  • I wonder, was Sarah’s long-term barrenness a result of Abraham’s behavior and Sarah’s willingness to participate?

b.  Living in fear is a contagious disease we pass along to those with whom we come in contact. We either spread fear of the world or trust in God.

Lies produce unintended consequences –

  • the necessity of additional lies and cover ups
  • the embarrassment and humiliation that follows discovery
  • feelings of guilt
  • hindrance to our relationship with God

6.  a. 

  • Pharaoh and Abimelech’s households suffered affliction rather than Abraham and Sarah – even though this was at least the second time they did this.
  • Abraham received gifts from both kings.
  • Abraham got his wife back.
  • The Lord does not treat us as our sins deserve.
  • He is compassionate and gracious – slow to anger, abounding in love.

b.  

  • Abimelech welcomed Abraham to stay in his land rather than drive them out.
  • Abimelech said, “God is with you in everything you do.”
  • Abimelech agreed to protect Abraham’s well, and Abraham agreed to show Abimelech and his descendents the same kindness he had been shown. They made a treaty.

c.  (How has God been merciful to you this week?) I would love it if my enemy who has persecuted me for years gave me some land and livestock and agreed not to persecute me or my family ever again. I hope to update this answer accordingly. Stay tuned… ;-)

I’m just reminded that after 23 years, my abusive husband, in God’s mercy, left. That was almost 17 years ago. He is still doing whatever he can to drive a wedge between me and my sons. He refuses to speak to them for months if he thinks they are spending too much time with me. Recently, he sent me a message, thanking me for showing such kindness to our sons and their families who were sick over the holidays. He was also civil to all of them during Christmas. That was a miracle.

THIRD DAY:  
7.  a.  “…and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised.”

b.  Abraham was “…fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Abraham did not waver in his belief.

c.  (Personal) What new spiritual awakening have you experienced this week as you responded in faith to God’s Word?) I’ve been looking for ways to simplify my life. The best way is to avoid the ways of the world and temptations. They will always complicate my life.

8.  How is Isaac’s birth like our spiritual birth?

  • John 3:3-6 – Only Isaac, born “by the Spirit” and as a result of the promise and the miracle that allowed his conception and birth, was the beginning of the covenant nation promised to Abraham. Likewise, when we are born of the Spirit, we see and become acquainted with the kingdom of God – the new covenant nation.
  • Romans 4:17-25 – Like Abraham before Isaac’s miraculous birth, we must come to God in faith. Like Abraham, our faith is credited to us as right standing with God.
  • James 1:18 – Abraham’s offspring were to become a people set apart as chosen by God. Likewise, through the new birth we are sons consecrated to Himself.
  • 1 Peter 1:23-25 – Isaac’s birth was miraculous just as our spiritual birth. Abraham’s seed/offspring was an everlasting inheritance. We are born (again) not of mortal seed, which is subject to death, “but from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God.” (AMP)

FOURTH DAY:
9.  a.  Ishmael mocked Isaac. Hagar began to despise Sarah after she slept with Abraham.

b.  (Challenge)

  • Ishmael was the result of an ordinary birth.
  • He was not the child of the promise.
  • Ishmael despised and persecuted Isaac who was the result of a miraculous birth and the child of the promise.
  • Ishmael, the son of a slave, was not to share in the inheritance along with Isaac.
  • Hagar and her son represent Mt. Sinai – the law and slavery; Sarah and Isaac represent the New Jerusalem – the Messianic Kingdom of God and freedom!

c.  God heard Ishmael crying and an angel of God spoke to Hagar from heaven telling her not to be afraid. He opened her eyes and she saw a water well. (The opposite of a mirage(?)

Ishmael became the father of twelve tribal leaders.

d.  Even though Ishmael was not God’s plan or promise, because of His relationship with Abraham, He preserved him and made him a great nation also. I am thankful to be regenerated “from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God.” Since I am not like Ishmael, the assurance I derive from God’s treatment of him is knowing that God will be merciful to my offspring as well because I am born again, even if they choose not to follow God.

10.  a.  The desires of our flesh are in opposition to the desires of the (Holy) Spirit. This antagonism is “[continually withstanding and in conflict with one another]”(Gal 5:17 AMP) just as Ishmael’s descendants “lived in hostility toward all their brothers.” (Gen 25:18 NIV) This struggle keeps us from doing what we should do and want to do.

b.  Just as Ishmael caused conflict by mocking Isaac, our former sinful nature is in opposition to our new nature.  Therefore, “those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah)” must completely break our relationship with “the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.” (Gal 5:24 AMP)

11.  a.  Selfishness and pride – desire to be right and say so; desire to assert my will; desire to completely cut off a relationship with someone who does not treat me “correctly”; desire to devote my time to my own plans rather than share it with others who want my attention. 

b.  (Personal) (11a seemed rather personal, too.) Since my actions and my tongue gratify the desires of the flesh at times, my conduct is not 100% controlled by the Spirit.  I so want to get there! 

FIFTH DAY:
12.  
a. 

  • Genesis 20:3 “God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.””
  • Genesis 20:17 “…Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls so they could have children again…”
  • Because of Abraham’s testimony that “God had me wander from my father’s household”.
  • Because of Abraham’s great wealth

b.  Others should be able to recognize that God’s presence is with me.

13.  a.   

  • Abraham swore to show Abimelech and his descendents the same kindness he had been shown and agree not to deal falsely with them.
  • Abraham gave Abimelech sheep and cattle.
  • Abraham and Abimelech made a treaty.
  • Abraham stayed in that region for a long time.


b.  
Ways I can show others I am trustworthy:

  • By showing by my actions that I consider my client’s best interest above my own.
  • By exceeding my client’s expectations.
  • By doing what I say I will do to the best of my ability.
  • By not betraying a confidence or talking about someone, thereby making the hearer wonder what I might later say about them.
  • By asking permission before taking any liberties in someone’s home i.e. “may I use your restroom?”


SIXTH DAY:

14.  So many good reminders in the story of Abraham, Sarah, Lot, Hagar, Ishmael, and Isaac.

  • Be quick to follow any and all direction from God.
  • Trust Him. Be patient – God will do what He promises.
  • God doesn’t need our help.
  • The ways of the world probably aren’t a part of God’s solution. Always ask Him first.
  • Judge myself daily – Am I living by the spirit or the flesh?
  • God is never late, even though it may seem that way to me.
  • Remember – God is merciful, patient, loving, well-able, wants to give me the desires of my heart, and has plans to prosper me.
  • Remember – When tempted to think otherwise, I am in the flesh.
  • Remember that the world’s ways will complicate my life. God ways are always the best.

I am a BSF student – a work in progress – not a theologian. Comments are welcome and encouraged. 

What did you learn from this lesson? What did you like or dislike about it?