Experience modern day relevancy proven with the Abrahamic stories. These are not ancient stories just for ancient people. Back by popular demand, the continuation of the story of Abraham with even more transformational truth for any person needing direction and encouragement in their life today.The valuable, life-changing lessons from the Abraham sermon series was a hit. Sojourn with us as we continue to excavate priceless truth as we grow with Abraham, the father of nations.
Good Ideas Aren’t Always Good
In our last sermon series we look at the life of Abraham from the point of him leaving his father’s house and the lessons that we can glean from his life.
After taking a brief survey of interest toward mining the richness of the Old Testament, it was conclusive that we should continue our journey of growth with soon to be father Abraham.
Gen. 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country,and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Gen. 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee,and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
Gen. 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
The offer that God made Abraham was that he would be the father of nations, even though from the point of the offer it had not transpired yet.
This begs the question even in our own lives. Has God made a promise to you that has not transpired yet?
Abraham had been through a lot even though Scripture condenses time. Between famine, tyranny, war that Abraham encountered, his commitment to God steadfast even in his mistakes.
The story shows us that in every case, we to could be faced with famine, tyranny, war in some capacity in our lives. How did Abraham survive these great challenges?
As I alluded earlier,Abraham had a steadfast commitment to God. A commitment to God is more than making a simple statement that you’re committed to God.
Commitment to God in Abraham’s life was a series of action steps that compounded.
In the story of Noah prior to Abraham we see similar characteristics. Both Noah and Abraham received a unique title in Scripture, that they were perfect in God’s eyes.
Both Noah and Abraham have a relationship with God, were committed to God through action steps.
Apart of these action steps,there are details that are looked over, both Abraham and Noah sufficiently had their life and families in order to be able to handle challenges to the point of catastrophe.
Noah & Abraham were prepared in their relationship with God. They were prepared in their relationships with each other. They are prepared by taking responsibility and doing their part to minimize pain and suffering within their own camps.
This training in preparedness creates an ark of safety.
Every human life will experience a challenge to the point of catastrophe. The question is can we authentically handle it.
Simply put, the story shows us how.
Noah has a physical ark. Abraham is a metaphorical ark called the covenant. Both men have the three ingredients of preparedness and commitment. Commitment to God,commitment to each other, commitments of responsibility on the earth to minimize pain and suffering within their own camp.
These are sacred ideas that are acted out with archaic people.
The fact of the matter is that these archaic people are just like you and I. We can argue about how long humans been on the earth. One thing is for sure, there has not been a firmware update since our arrival. Were all the same.
In the story of Noah the imagery is very concretized that this great ship is the point of safety when the floods come.
With Abraham the point of safety is an intangible contract. The sacred function of this contract is the same as the ark.
What we see is that if you maintain your contract of trust honesty and truth taking responsibility you will have a fighting chance of making it through the catastrophe and the chaos.
Dr. Don Richards, and elder of Awake Christian Church is always encouraged me with these words. Always go to the highest source.
I find it interesting that both Noah and Abraham understood this idea without anchoring texts or religion.
At the close of our last sermon series we left Abraham essentially re-certifying the covenant with God with a sacrifice where God physically manifests himself as a furnace and torch.
Gen. 15:17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.
This seems to be the pattern with Abraham to seek after God like building an altar and offering sacrifice after each great event in his life.
In each great event in Abraham’s life he is torn down and rebuilt as a stronger, growing, more mature individual.
As Abraham sojourns encounters things he doesn’t expect, he’s blown into pieces and then he is faced with the rebuilding process.
Many people get used to the sojourning process yet do not know what to do when they finally reached their destination.
We call this a success crisis. We ran the story to its end.
In the Abraham story we see how Abraham handles it. He connects with God by building an altar and giving sacrifice. Abraham then figures out what to do next.
Many times the process of knowing what to do next is based upon what do I need to give up. The idea of deciding, killing off the very things that can’t go with you, because these things will hinder you.
Another key to moving forward is to take your fear and move it from in front of you to behind you.
When fears in front of you you’re afraid to move forward. When fears behind you the question is what happens if I don’t move forward.
Fear can be a motivator to keep people moving forward. If you keep the fear behind you greater than the fear in front of you, transcendence and growth will be the outcome.
As people we can either take responsibility voluntarily or were forced to take it involuntarily. Those are only two options.
Let’s pick up the story in Genesis 16 verse one.
Gen. 16:1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
Gen. 16:2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
I would like to contrast the perception of having children in the ancient world in comparison to today.
The overtone of having children today is that it is optional. People want the choice to develop their career sand have children later in life.
In the ancient world, this was the complete opposite. Having a child was a symbol of health, blessing,power, wealth, prestige. Today children have been reduced to a choice.
It was a big deal if you didn’t have a child in the ancient world.
The idea of offering your handmaiden for childbearing is a complicated proposition. This was a sacrificial offering of Sarai.
Gen. 16:3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
Gen. 16:4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
Gen. 16:5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.
Conceiving had an overtone of success. Sarai had to process this fact. What should of been gratitude,because the point was for her to conceive, turned out to be resentment.
Be careful what you wish for. If you get what you wish for, you might not be the same person after.
No Trust Brings Poverty
Gen.16:6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
Gen.16:7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
Gen.16:8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.
Gen.16:9 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
Gen.16:10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
Gen.16:11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son,and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
Gen.16:12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
Gen.16:13 And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?
Gen.16:14 Wherefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
This is a rough situation at home now.Abraham had a child with another woman, Hagar. The dynamic between the three is getting intense.
Hagar runs out to the desert where she is expecting to die. God shows up under the identification as “The Angel of the Lord” and says He will multiply Her “Seed”that can’t be numbered and that she is with child and God gives the baby its name, Ishmael.
The language that is used here in regards to Ishmael echoes the promise given to Abraham that in some capacity Ishmael will be a type of “father of nations.”
The question arises, is this the power of Abraham’s promise and covenant manifesting through Hagar into Ishmael even though it seems Abraham and Sarai moved ahead of God when it came to childbearing.
This takes us back to the ark idea, that even if we do things that are not optimal, our relationship with God still acts as an ark of safety and the benefits that go along with it.
At some point, all three Abraham, Sarai, and Hagar, based upon how things are going, must be thinking that their current relationship has a misstep.
As the relationships become less optimal, the realization that they took matters into their own hands and moved ahead of God would become apparent.
There is a great lesson here if we ask the right questions. After all that Abraham and Sarai had been through with God, why did they not trust God when it came to childbearing?
God had helped them along the way. As they took action there was an element of provision even when mistakes were made. Famine, Tyranny, War
As miraculous as surviving famine, tyranny, and war, having a child when you’re barren in your 80s seems impossible.
Let’s discuss trust. Societies where people trust each other prosper. People buy and sell freely and progress is accelerated. Example: eBay, banking, food, medical,
Japan has very few natural resources yet is incredibly prosperous. Russia, Venezuela have natural resources yet do not experience the same type of prosperity.
Societies who trust each other do better than those who don’t. The same is true in any organization,family, relationship.
This is true with our relationship with God. Even in difficult times things will go better if we trust God. The covenant works if there’s trust.
We have to remember that trust is a two-way street. Abraham and Sarai did not trust God with childbearing. Does anybody ever ask the question how does God feel in terms of trusting Abraham at this point?
It takes a lifetime of relationship to build trust, with only one foolish moment to tear down.
When two individuals trust each other they are asking for the best part of themselves to come together to create something better, greater, transformational. Trust is a big deal. Nothing happens without it.
Trusting is an act of courage. Trusting is an act of faith. Trusting means that you will do your part as well. Trusting opens up our world horizontally and vertically.
If the covenant is a type of ark based upon trust, it will be weakened if trust is not there.
If you’re in a relationship where you’re wondering if the other person betray you at every possible moment,you will never get anything done.
You’ll be too busy protecting yourself rather than getting things done. Example: star trek spaceship Enterprise shields
The recession of 2008 was based on corruption of trust.
Imagine a world where people were honest, trustworthy, and helpful.
There are two golden rules: be honest and do onto others as you would like them to do it to you.
Thou shall not lie is in the 10 Commandments. Love your neighbor as yourself is the second part of the great commandment offered by Christ.
It’s easier said than done.
If humanity could just live by these two standards we can wipe out disease, wipe out starvation, wipe out poverty, end war and conflicts.
How much better could things get in the world by pledging allegiance to these two encouragements?
If everyone starts locally,with themselves and their families this movement would find its way into every part of society.
Gen.16:15 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
Gen.16:16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.
By tradition, Ishmael is the forefather of several Arab nations and of Mohammed himself.
Abraham was fourscore:equals 80 years +6 for total of 86 years old when he had Ishmael.
Resistance is a Good Thing
Gen. 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
The command to walk before God and be thou perfect seems very open-ended and leaves many question marks.
Alexander McLaren lived between 1826 and 1910 gave a commentary and this is what he said.
“It is not precisely walking with God, it is rather that of an active life, spent in continual consciousness of being naked and open before the eyes of him to whom we have to give account.”
This seems to be consistent with the whole story so far. Abraham was encouraged to get out of his father’s house and go do something more than what he was doing.
Abraham was encouraged to get away from the familiar, go where you’re a stranger, go where it’s uncomfortable, go where it’s challenging and establish yourself.
This whole idea of walking before God is not walking with perfect certainty. In fact maybe there was no certainty as Noah stepped out in faith.
If there was certainty both Noah and Abraham would have chosen different places to go.
The world outside of his father’s house was a catastrophe. I’m sure that there were challenges inside his father’s house as well.
What we see in the stories that life is filled with potential mixed with challenges and uncertainty.
This is reflected in nature as well. Food is not handed over to the animal kingdom. The animal kingdom needs to hunt or gather.
There is a pushing through uncertainty, even in the plant kingdom there’s a pushing through for collection of light, water and nutrients.
All of creation seems to be rewarded for choosing to go the extra mile when others don’t. In science it is called natural selection.
Nature doesn’t play well with lazy and entitlement.
In Abraham’s case he takes the lead and goes to the unknown. He is literally walking before God.God has got his back. God has got his six. God is his wingman.
Rom.8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
One person who can be against you is you.
In the story we see Abraham and Sarai walk too far in front of God taking matters into their own hands with the enmeshment of Hagar in the result of Ishmael.
In the story of Abraham we see that there needs to be a balance of walking before God yet not too far ahead.
God did not remove every branch from the path of Abraham as he walked. If that were the case there would be nothing for Abraham to do in the process of walking.
It’s like we’re dancing with God. God is willing to give the information of what the dance will be with some insight in how to do it, it’s up to us to take the action and step out.
A great question to ask in our lives is how much trouble would you hope there would not be in the process of stepping out.
This is an odd question. If something is too easy there’s no value, if it’s too difficult it can destroy you.
Doing or not doing, there is a risk with everything.
There must be a balance of resistance that equals growth. Resistance equals growth. Not enough can destroy you, too much can destroy you.
Resistance forces from you the best that you have. This is what God is looking for.
There was a study of psychologists that said that people without children are happier. I find that strange metric. Metric meaning were only looking for happiness.
It makes sense to a certain degree because once you have a child, you are done for the rest of your life.
You will never sleep properly again. You’re always concerned about child that does not equal happiness.
Through life your child will bring challenges, will need encouragement and discipline. Children are expensive.
If happiness is your only metric for life, you will have a shallow life. Committing to a child does something to your maturity and quality of life.
It is higher and more complex than simply being happy.
This can show us something about ourselves as well as how God views what’s important. I don’t see very many examples in the Bible where people were simply happy.
Happiness is destroyed by the first negative experience. If your life’s goal is to be happy,you will never be happy.
Joy is accompanied by growth and maturity that brings contentment, peace and serenity in relationship with God.
We haven’t been called out yet if we don’t take on some type of responsibility in life.
This is why postmodernism and nihilism are so rampant in the belief system of young people. They need to have their opportunity to step out take responsibility, make mistakes and grow.
Purpose and meaning follow when you experience an opportunity to overcome.
It’s a picture of Noah, it’s the picture of Abraham, it’s the picture of Joseph, its the picture of Jonah,its the picture of Gideon, its the picture of Jesus.
God’s design in every one of these individuals was for them to aim high and get their act together to do the greatest of things that impact many and change the world.
This is done with covenant,this is done by walking before God that earns you the title of being perfect.We then become an ark that see’s us through every challenge.
Walk Before God and Overcome
When walking before God the pattern is aim high and get your act together. As God walks with you, He will see you through the catastrophes.
The reality is, life is filled with tragedy and suffering. The question is, how do we get through this without it ruining us.
Hiding from the offerings of life is not the answer. Facing life head on and taking responsibility is the key. What does that mean?
You are not walking before God if you’re running from a challenge or uncomfortable situation.
The Abraham story shows us that we become perfect as God gives instruction and we take responsibility to follow through no matter what life throws at us.
From this comes growth and maturity that leads to purpose and meaning.
Peace with God is another byproduct of doing our part properly.
These byproducts will give joy and meaningful happiness.
Gen.17:2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
Gen.17:3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
Gen.17:4 As for me,behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
24 years later God is still reminding Abraham that you will be the father of nations.
This idea of being a father,let alone the father of nations, seems to be an anchoring value that perpetuates Abraham. I believe that God knew how the promise of fatherhood would motivate Abraham.
Now Abraham has Ishmael without a clear vision of the future. Abraham will have his own son with Sarai.
What promises has God made you? What motivating opportunities has God presented to you to help you keep moving forward?
We all want to do our part correctly when it comes to living life and interacting with God.
Maturity says, I’m more concerned about moving through life properly and having a healthy relationship with God, more then the outcome itself.
Nobody in their right mind wants things to be messed up and have to deal with the outcome.
The paradox is, the mistake could be the catalyst to growth and maturity.
Life can be pretty complicated as it is. The last thing people want to do is add to the complication by messing up something that they could of done right.
Is Abraham falling on his face before God out of sheer exhaustion at age 99? Is he falling on his face before God out of respect and reverence? Is he falling on his face before God realizing you messed up? Is he falling on his face before God because he wants the next chapter of his life to be done right?
I believe it’s all of those things and more.
Humility is a posture that always works with God. Not false humility. Not putting on some kind of show strength. Humility is honesty.
Honesty is the purest form of communication. God responds to honesty. People avoid honesty because they do not want to know the response.
Most people are afraid of an honest response because it usually means we have to change.
Confirmation bias says that we believe things are the way that they are, yet we have not asked the question, is that true.
Are we courageous and honest enough to ask the hard question to allow for a more truthful answer? This answer could easily be the first step to a great breakthrough.
Gen.17:5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
Gen.17:6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
The name of Abram can be translated into high King or high father. Abraham means father of a multitude.
Names in antiquity were a big deal. It was felt that a name set the tone and the stage for who and what the child would become. Example. Chandler & Laurel
Today names are based on trends. It’s funny, you can identify the decade an individual was born by their name.
We can say this name change was a type of graduation day for Abraham. It was God’s declaration, bringing Abraham closer to who he would become.
I wonder how quickly Sarai and everyone else in Abram’s life adopted his new name? Ex. Sting- Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner
God is showing Abraham that he will be very productive and great things will come from him.
The promise initially came to Abraham at age 75, it was an offer he was not prepared for. It took 24 years of famines, tyrannies, wars, mistakes to condition Abram to become Abraham and to now begin to become the father of nations.
Let’s be honest. We gripe and complain over meaningless things in comparison.
It’s been said that if you whine and God he will provide the cheese.
Sean Stephenson, was born with a rare bone disease that kept him bound to a wheelchair, countless surgeries because of fractures and he only grew to 2 ft 8 inches feet tall.
Sean became one of the greatest public speakers in the world. Sean received a PhD in psychology and helped millions of people to recognize how small their problems are and that they could overcome.
Place challenges in perspective. Don’t take life too seriously. Life is to be enjoyed.
August of 2019 Sean passed away at age 40 from complications of a head injury. Sean’s legacy is an overcomer. Transcend your circumstance. Video
Martin Luther King said we will overcome. There are countless examples in the Bible of those who have overcome. Like Abraham we can overcome.
What we focus on inevitably gets bigger. Focus on the problem and the problem gets bigger. Focus on the answer and the answer gets bigger. Focus on God and God gets bigger.
Decide To Let Go
Gen.17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
Gen.17:8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
Gen.17:9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
God is saying that Abraham will master the land of strangers, there will be everlasting possession of this real estate and all who were there relationship with God.
The way to develop a relationship with a stranger, someone you don’t know, is to be hone stand truthful.
Every person outside of our family that we’ve ever developed a relationship with was a stranger at some point. The only way that relationship grew was through process of honesty and trustworthy words and actions.
We also have to remember that going into any new endeavor is like going into the land of strangers whether it be a new job, new school, new relationship.
Just as we view others as strangers, we need to remember that we are strangers to them. It would be beneficial and our personal responsibility to prove ourselves useful in every circumstance.
In the life of Abraham, we have seen where trust and worthiness paid off. Deceit complicate things.
Lying always complicates. There’s a reason why it is one of the 10 Commandments.Commandment 9: Don’t give false evidence against your neighbor.
It is impossible to go into a land of strangers, tell lies to them and expect things to go well.
The same holds true to how we treat individuals.
The Abrahamic stories are punctuated with challenges that are filled with life lessons to show us how to conduct ourselves upon the earth.
Our best posture is to walk before God. To aim at a goal in life and go for it.
This process makes us decide what’s important and what’s not. Shed the things that ultimately can’t go with us as God moves us forward. This is also related to the idea of sacrifice.
It’s an idea of circumcision. A removal for the better. Letting go.
Circumcision is introduced in Genesis 17 to the Hebrew people. With further research we find that circumcision is not just a Hebrew practice.
Other cultures prior to this were also circumcising. The idea of sacrificing a part of your body that is concrete and profoundly personal demands the attention of anyone.
Circumcision is also a stark reminder that it is necessary to make sacrifices throughout our lives.
We understand the word sacrifice as a very concentrated word that has multiple facets like a diamond.The discovery of sacrifice is as profound as the discovery of the future.
Being circumcised and or being a parent who orders circumcision both receive a physical illustration of sacrifice, deciding to let go.
Because sacrifice is beneficial, the great question is, what would be the greatest sacrifice for the greatest benefit?
If we had to sacrifice, and it is necessary, would we not want to make the greatest sacrifice for the greatest return?
If sacrifice benefits or futures, and we want the best future. What would be the highest-quality sacrifice to allow for the best future?
This is what’s called an architipal question. It is a universal question that everyone asks and demands a universal answer that spans over all humanity.
Archetypes deal with extremes. This is why the passion story of Jesus Christ so powerful.It is the worst possible circumstances for the most undeserving individual.It’s a story based on extreme limits.
It is beyond the documented facts of the story. It’s an extreme example of how bad things happen to good people.
We see this too in the story of Abraham. Abraham was a good guy yet circumstantially bad things happen to him.
As he walks before God, he doesn’t allow fear to paralyze him. He places the fear behind him as a motivator rather than in front of him as a roadblock.
Naïve and moving forward does not constitute courage. Knowing the dangers and moving forward proves courage.
2Tim.1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
The Greek word for fear here is delia which means “cowardice and timidity.”
The only way to deal with your fears to face it head on. This is encouraged in the Old Testament as well as subscribed to by contemporary psychology.
It is much better to attack your fears as a voluntary challenge rather than your fears chase you. It gives you the first strike advantage.
As we face our fears, does the fear go away or do we become more courageous? The potential for fear is always present. If we are more courageous than the fear and don’t respond, thefear becomes meaningless to us.
People handle fear differently when they approach the fear on their own terms. People go from a flight defensive mechanism (cowardice and timidity) to a fight response.
Fight responses can be calculated, planned and approached in small doses. These fight responses ultimately make you stronger and thus seem more courageous.
Gen.17:10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee;Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
Gen.17:11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
Here we have the introduction of circumcision. It is rather interesting that the idea shows up here in Scripture.
As we talked about sacrifice and deciding to let things go this is an up close and personal reminder of these concepts.
This includes pain,discomfort, and even threat.
We see the concept of circumcision as a thought of sin removal and or the rejection of worldly ideas.
The idea of circumcision seems to provide health benefits removing the possibility of infection.
In our modern world there is quite a big controversy over the idea of circumcision.
The idea of circumcision as sacrifice goes from something that you own to some thing that you are.
It’s a subtle distinction,yet the personal impact of circumcision is a much different commitment than giving an object of ownership away.
The act of sacrifice with circumcision goes from completely external to a type of internal, at least part of the body.
The other interesting thing about circumcision is that it is a permanent marker on the body that you will encounter multiple times a day.
Tattooing comes close. Piercings as well. These are human universals that you see in every culture. There are many in the Christian faith who participate. There are other fundamental believers who say it’s a sin.
Along with universal human expression is clothing. Clothing, scarring, tattooing, are evident in all cultures. It is a form of identity and tribalism. There is a longing for people not to be a generic person, but be a person of individuality designed by their own hand.
It is a marker of identity development. Tattooing and piercings have an added element of pain.
People who get tattoos have documented that the pain is necessary to solidify the process and connect with the alteration of their skin. You remember because it hurts. You also remember because it is etched on your skin.
Theoretically, like a circumcision, you just can’t get rid of it. It is designed for permanence. It’snow a part of you.
The criteria of the covenant is increased. The token of the covenant is circumcision.Painful, body altering, eternally etched in the memory of the participant.
This is another indicator of how serious the covenant is. All along we’ve said that Abraham was serious about his relationship with God. Here we have a life and body altering commitment to prove how serious we are.
A serious vow, covenant,decision not accompanied with some type of sacrifice (act of letting go)doesn’t seem to have the same impact.
Whether sacrifice of an animal where you take innocence and spill its life or be circumcised, it is all serious.
This also reflects the idea that we as humans will not make a positive change in our life unless the pain is great enough.
What do we do today to show God were serious about our relationship with him.
Take time to connect with God each day the week.
Keep your word to yourself and to God.
Walk before God, do not shrink behind him.
God knows what your fears are. God is waiting for each of us to face our fears so that we can be strengthened for his purposes and our own well-being.
The benefits outweigh any of the discomforts. Remember the four C’s commit, courage, capabilities,confidence.
Less Is More
Gen. 17:12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
Here is a commentary from Charles John Ellicott who lived from 1819 to 1905 and was the Bishop of Gloucester.
The fitness of circumcision to be a sign of entering into a covenant, and especially into one to which children were to be admitted, consists in its being a representation of a new birth by the putting off of the old man, and the dedication of the new man unto holiness.
The flesh was cast away that the spirit might grow strong, and the change of name in Abraham and Sarai was typical of this change of condition.
They had been born again,and so must again be named.
And though woman could not indeed be admitted directly into the covenant, yet they shared in its privileges by virtue of their consanguinity to the man, who were as sponsors for them and thus has the right to change her name equally with her husband.
Another resource Cambridge Bible of school and colleges 1882 there are approximately 58 volumes if you care to read them all.
Recent investigation has not tended to support the theory that circumcision has any connection with primitive child sacrifice, nor, again, that it took its origin from hygienic motives.
Apparently, it represents the dedication of the manhood of the people to God.
In the history of Israel, it has survived as a symbol of the people belonging to Jehovah through his special election.
This corporeal sacrament remains to the Israelites, when every other tie of religion or race had been severed.
Gen.17:13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
Gen.17:14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
Like the classic catch a monkey story, the monkey can’t let go of a part to save the whole. Example
You could say that circumcision is the same concept to sacrifice the part to save the whole.
Christ visits the same concept in Matthew 18 verse 9 when he says if you’re eye offends you, cut it out. If your hand offends you, cut it off. It’s better to live without these body parts then to be tossed into hellfire.
Jesus is pointing out sinful behavior yet if there are things that are holding you back from being all that you can be in your life for calling, you need to let them go.
Gen.17:15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai,but Sarah shall her name be.
Gen.17:16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
Gen.17:17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
Gen.17:18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
Gen.17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant,and with his seed after him.
Gen.17:20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
Gen.17:21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
Gen.17:22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
Gen.17:23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.
Gen.17:24 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
Gen.17:25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
Gen.17:26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.
Gen.17:27 And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger,were circumcised with him.
Sarai means my princess. Sarah means mother nations.
This covenant seems to take on an all inclusive expectation not just for Abraham, but for every one within his household. The covenant is branching out. The ark is branching out.
We still experience this concept of letting go. The more of the dead wood you let go of the further you can travel.God will take us through seasons of burning off the dead would.
In a forest, deadwood collects. And over time the forest floor has an abundance of fuel for fire. I ft here is a lot of deadwood on the forest floor and it catches fire it can burn the topsoil right off the ground because of the intense heat.
If this happens, nothing grows after the fire. This is why forestry they perform controlled burns, pruning and removal of dead trees.
A controlled burn will enhance the fertility of the ground. A natural burn with too much buildup on the forest floor can be devastating.
You will go from a forest to a desert. Many trees can withstand a forest fire. Some trees won’t even drop their seeds unless there is a fire. It is a type of regenerative pruning when experienced in the proper doses.
This is a great insight to the metaphorical idea of sacrifice.
It’s also a lot easier to let go of something when you have decided to let go of it rather than it be taken from you.
If something is forcibly taken away from you, there’s a good chance you’ll fight it even if it’s something that ultimately needs to go.
The idea of being reborn, being born again, raising from the ashes, even raising from the dead. These are all biblical ideals for what we can be.
Benefits of Welcoming a Stranger
Last week we spoke and taught on the tender subject of circumcision. Today we begin to experience Abraham in Sodom and Gomorrah.
It would be an understatement to say that this is a controversial story. There are many interpretations. We will do our best to sort out what is most likely being conveyed in this account.
For many, the first thought that comes to mind of Sodom and Gomorrah is judgment upon homosexuality. Event hough this subject is in the story, it is not necessarily the focal point or the main theme.
There are two higher ordered themes:
1.How we should treat the stranger and or the stranger as we encounter them. What do we do when we encounter that which is not like us?
2. Unbridled self serving independence. (Do whatever feels good at the present moment.)
Let’s begin here. The idea of encountering and embracing the stranger parallels the idea in the Abrahamic stories of God’s command to go to a place you don’t know.
This has been Abraham’s journey for the last 25 years and it has served him well. When we go to a place we don’t know, eventually it will be a place we do know. When we encounter a person we don’t know, eventually they will be a person that we do know.
Our worlds open, opportunity arises when we embrace this command of God.
When Abraham was living with his father, there was nothing new. There were no new opportunities. No strangers. There wasn’t much room for growth. As we conquer the unknown we grow.
We pick up the story in Scripture with Abraham at home in his tent and he is visited by three individuals. The Scripture is rather ambiguous about who these individuals are.
Is it three men? Is the three angels? Is it two angels and Jesus? Is it two angels and God? The Scriptures combined these ideas together.
This ambiguousness might have been intentional as it plays into the theme that when you encounter a stranger,you do not know who they are at first. This allows the reader to experience the sense of uncertainty.
Gen.18:1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
Gen.18:2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
This is very mysterious. As humans we would deal with people differently than transcendent beings. Yet there is an overlap understanding that all people have value based on transcendent origins. The word “Lord” is master or supervisor in Hebrew “Adon.”
Our legal system is based upon this. Innocent until proven guilty. We still treat criminals as humans. There is this understanding that we have all come from the same place and we all carry the same worth. We all have intrinsic natural rights.
Everyone has a logo’s type nature to speak being forth whether used for beneficial purposes or negative purposes. The Bible supports, we all came from God no matter how we behave on the earth.
This is how Abraham seems to treat everyone. Even the stranger. Even these three mysterious individuals.
Abraham is not a naïve guy.He has mastered his ability to connect with the unknown after 25 years. Abraham instantly shows respect to the three individuals. Abraham welcomes the three individuals.
Welcoming strangers is an action to invoke the best out of people in initial meeting. It is also an act of courage. All the information is not present when it comes to the intentions of these individuals.
Think of it this way, we initiate the love of God with someone in hopes that they share the love of God back. This could be the first step in trust to be able to communicate freely and not be hidden.
The outcome is relationship that is faster and deeper. It’s been said that if you want to bean interesting person, be interested in the people around you.
The minute you show interest in someone else, they will disclose the most amazing stories. The key is get people talking. The key is real conversation. Texting and emailing don’t count.
People then begin to tell you things that you don’t know. At that point you begin to grow.
Making friends with what you don’t understand leads to growth.
Entertaining Angels Proves Character
Abraham welcomes these three individuals and treats them very well.
He doesn’t run away out off ear and insecurity because he doesn’t know who they are.
In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the sexual impropriety is a problem yet, not the focal point. What we see is an example of how to treat a stranger and moreover how we should take care of each other, especially those in need of charity.
Matt.25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
In Scripture Jesus is recorded saying when you do this for the least of these you do this to me.According to scripture, God is interested in how we treat each other, take care of each other, and help those who are in need.
This seems to be the opposite of what most fundamental believers think the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is about.
Antisocial behavior doesn’t work that well in church since church is designed for human connection.
If the child develops antisocial behavior by the age of four, it will be very difficult to turn that ship. They will be like growling dogs rather than happy puppies.Growling dogs usually get disciplined.
If this behavior continues on, people will not accept them. Most of the time these antisocial individuals don’t know what they’re doing wrong to receive the social rejection.
If you receive a type of rejection in your life, you can test it against the rule of three’s. If you say certain things or behave in a certain way and get rejected once from people, it’s no big deal. If it happens twice from different people, it could still not be an issue. If it happens three times from more people, the problem rests with you.
Gen.18:3 And said,My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee,from thy servant:
Gen.18:4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:
There can be such strong symbolism in the idea of washing the feet. Essentially Abraham is insisting that they remove the dirt or their journey and the world from their feet.
Gen.18:5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall passon: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.
Gen.18:6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.
Gen.18:7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetch a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.
Gen.18:8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.
This is a serious example of hospitality. According to Scripture this is a spiritual gift. This is a gift that Abraham has cultivated with great precision.
Heb. 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Here’s a commentary from Matthew Henry. Cheerful and obliging manners in showing kindness, are great ornaments to piety.
Though our condescending Lord vouchsafe’s not personal visits to us, yet still by his spirit he stand sat the door and knocks, when we are inclined to open, he deigns to enter, and by his gracious constellations he provides a rich feast, of which we partake.
Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Jesus is talking to the Laodicaene church here. The example of those luke warm in their commitments and focused on themselves.
So here we are encouraged with the idea that we need to ask for things, take initiative and open the door and then they are given. This begs the question that maybe in our life we need to be more specific about needs, wants, even those things we dream about or envision.
What does it mean to want something? It means we sacrifice whatever necessary to get it. This goes back to the idea of sacrifice we have been talking about throughout the whole Abraham story. Otherwise you really don’t want it. If we are not specific we will be scattered and we ultimately won’t get.
There is a practical encouragement for letting go to move forward with your calling. Consider three things you can let go of that would make your life better and help fulfill your calling.
Let’s open the door to new habits, new people and Christ mind in us. Deposit the higher self and move forward.
Gen.18:9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.
Gen.18:10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo,Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.
Gen.18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.
Gen.18:12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
Gen.18:13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?
Gen.18:14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee,according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
Gen.18:15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.
Gen.18:16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
Sarah shares Abraham’s cynicism when it comes to childbirth at age 90.
This idea that nothing is too hard for the Lord is reflected forward in Scripture with the angel that visits Mary in regards to her pregnancy with Jesus.
Thinking that something is impossible falls under a nihilistic thought.Nothing good or productive comes out of it.
Thomas Edison was considered one of the greatest inventors of all time. He meticulously documented every experiment and its failure understanding that even in the failure there could be potential for a different invention than the invention he was working on.
As Thomas Edison was experimenting with a light bulb, a friend was with him for one of his trial runs. He was on the 10,000th experiment.Thomas Edison flipped the switch and experienced a jolting explosion in his lab. In the aftermath, Thomas’s friend asked why you do this, this was a complete failure to your goal?
Thomas Edison replied, I have just learned 10,000 ways not to create alight bold. I did learn how to create a small explosion.
Eventually Thomas Edison perfected his experiment that changed the world.
It’s been said. If you say something is possible, you’re right. If you say something is impossible, your right.
Let’s go from impossible to I’m possible.
Negotiating With God
Gen.18:17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
Gen.18:18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
Gen.18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Gen.18:20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;
Gen.18:21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it,which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.
We don’t know what’s happened in Sodom and Gomorrah. We do know that God has got wind of it and that’s not good.
We know that sin means to miss the mark. From this we know that the natural ethical order of things has been seriously violated in Sodom and Gomorrah.
One thing we know and understand in Scripture is that if the proper order of being is violated pain and suffering is a consequence. It’s equated with God’s judgment in Scripture for not taking care of each other.
There are more ways to do things wrong then there are ways of doing things right.
This is a universal truth for most societies that last. If we are not taking care of each other, that society will eventually fall. It won’t be able to sustain itself.
The pattern when documenting malevolent behavior of societies in history, we find that the conditions were worse than what was actually document.
This is true for Maoist China, Stalinist Russia, Nazi Germany, slave trades of America, every war we ever fought. The same would be true for Sodom and Gomorrah.
You could miss the mark as an individual or even a small group, but missing the mark as an entire city or country is a recipe for destruction.
The same is true if everyone is doing the right thing in their hospitality. The choice is there. Take care of each other. Understand that our missteps can affect everyone.
If you can’t see that hurting other people is not good or being able to connect the dots that behaviors and choices are hurting people, we’ve got a problem.
The idea of Christ is that we identify with the pain and suffering of others. We then do our best to help transcend that circumstance.
We don’t judge people in their circumstance, we take on the responsibility to help. Whether people want help or not is a different story.
The Sodom and Gomorrah story is in the Scriptures to help us remember so that we don’t fall into the same trap again. What you forget you’ll repeat.What you remember keeps you from falling in the hole.
At this stage in my life I feel one of the greatest sins is not learning from the sin to begin with.
We are all capable as human beings of atrocities. Even Jesus could’ve committed atrocities. Yet he chose not to. The story Sodom and Gomorrah shows us what happens when we choose atrocities.
If we don’t understand that we are capable of atrocities, we will be the ones to perform them.
The malevolent insanity of Sodom and Gomorrah gets so bad that now it even gets God’s attention to intervene according to Scripture.
This is a mythological motif you’ll find in ancient writings that when things get so bad on earth with human beings, the gods need to get involved.You’ll find this in the Mesopotamian creation story.
Whatever is going on in Sodom and Gomorrah must’ve been serious enough to put other, not so wicked civilizations, at risk.
Gen.18:22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.
Gen.18:23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
Now the negotiation for people begins between Abraham and this individual narrated as Lord.
In an act of mercy, Abraham takes it upon himself to pose the question concerning the innocent. Abraham’s inference that the Lord needs to be more judicious is front and center in the conversation.
Gen.18:24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
Gen.18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked:and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
Gen.18:26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
Gen.18:27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:
Gen.18:28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.
Gen.18:29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.
Gen.18:30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.
Gen.18:31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.
Gen.18:32 And he said,Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.
Gen.18:33 And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
There are three ways you look at the story and glean some valuable information.
Number one, you can bargain with God. Even if you’re annoyingly persistent.
Number two, if there is any good in a bad place it wouldn’t be slated for destruction.
Number three, a minority of good could keep destruction off of your doorstep.
Good is more powerful than evil. Being naïve is not more powerful than evil.
A minority of good can over throw a larger group that is corrupt.
The Patriots of the American Revolution.
The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was the document that destroyed the USSR exposing Stalinistic Russia and the atrocities performed on humans.
Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement.
Question what’s wrong, pay attention, do what’s right. It all starts with how we view each other and treat each other.
Focus on What’s Right When Things are Going Wrong
Gen.19:1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
Gen.19:2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.
Gen.19:3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.
Gen.19:4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:
Gen.19:5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.
Lot, Abraham’s nephew,growing up around Abraham has the same social cues of hospitality.
Here’s one of the passages that is used as a diatribe against homosexuality by narrow interpretation and why God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah.
This phrase, to know, is a PG version for having sexual intercourse with someone.
What was happening was disturbing. All of the men from every quarter surrounded the house with one intention in mind. Their intention was to violate, have their way, essentially rap these two individuals.
Let’s leave, if you can, the homosexual subject matter out of the story for a moment.
For something like this to happen, it takes years of behavioral conditioning to have a mob style gang rap become commonplace in the community. Whether heterosexual or homosexual mob style gang rape being commonplace is wrong.
This event isn’t going to happen in a brothel. It’s not going to happen at somebody’s house. It’s not going to happen in a back alley. The crowd was too large.
What does this mean? This mob style gang rape is going to happen out in the open for everyone to see and participate in.
Obviously there is no legal code saying that mob style gang rape is against the law.
The way Lot responds, it seems he has seen this before, and in his ignorance is trying to gain a different outcome. Lot begins to make offers that are expedient over ethics and moral standards of today.
Because of what lot has seen in the past, he knows that if he doesn’t cooperate things are going to get ugly.
The people of Sodom and Gomorrah are violating human laws and rights of each other and of the stranger.
The point is, when it comes to a stranger, you do not know who you’re messing with. If the people of Sodom and Gomorrah new who the strangers were, and what they were tasked to do, maybe they would’ve treated them differently?
The moral compass of these people is so far off, it most likely would not matter. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah would have behaved the same way.
The sexual overtones shows the absolute decay of what should be civilized. Instant gratification no matter who you hurt or no matter the final outcome.
Zero empathic behavior in an entire crowd of people. The behavior has degraded beyond any civilized structure whatsoever.
If the exterior behavior of these people has gotten this bad simply because to strangers coming to town,imagine all of the other dealings of life. Family, business, commerce,education, government, all of these critical entities are contaminated to a point of malevolence.
The social structure of the entire society has collapsed. There’s nothing left for the inhabitants to do,except to engage in the most brutal behavior to your fellow man.
The dichotomy of Abraham’s behavior, and even Lot’s behavior is a complete opposite in contrast to the common behaviors of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Immediate gratification a tall costs leads to destruction. No society can survive like this for any length of time.
Gen.19:6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,
Gen.19:7 And said,I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.
Gen.19:8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.
This is a very difficult passage of Scripture. Why would Lot do this? This is very reminiscent of how Abraham handled his dealings with Pharaoh and his own wife yet morally worse compared to todays standards.
Abraham did what was expedient, not what was meaningful or right.
Was it not uncommon for strangers to come into town just for sexual intercourse?
In my research, without making claims of what is right or wrong, it seems that sex from a historical standpoint was viewed differently by the people of antiquity than how we view it today.
Right or wrong, all human sexuality was viewed differently in antiquity.
As backwards as it seems today, in antiquity, females were considered property. There are other passages in Scripture that seem to be influenced by this mindset.
Did Lot take the idea of hospitality one step too far?
Like a shared, this is an awkward passage that can be looked at in multiple ways that only seems to draw more questions.
A huge mistake Christian believers today make is that they look at the Old Testament through the lens of their experience on earth and their contemporary viewpoint.
We are talking about people who lived thousands of years before us. They simply looked at things differently than we do.
Gen. 19:9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came into sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee,than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.
Gen.19:10 But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door.
Gen.19:11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.
Maybe lot felt that his life, the stranger’s lives, and the lives of his family are being threatened to a point of catastrophe?
There is a theme in Scripture where if you focus on the wrong thing you are smote with blindness. The apostle Paul as Saul was focused on persecuting killing Christians when he was smote with blindness on the trail to Damascus.
These guys were ready to initiate mob style gang rape. Blindness will stop you in your tracks while it also get’s your attention.
The blindness detoured the crowds intentions.
No matter what it is in life, if we focus on the wrong things, we become blind.
Let’s focus on what is right. Take this opportunity this Thanksgiving for gratitude and focus on the breakthroughs and solutions. Waste no energy on worry, depression or contention. Cherish the ones you love. Give more grace and less judgement.Appreciate all that we have and has been done for us to even be here today.