Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 31

Genesis 31

-Jacob takes notice that Laban’s attitude toward him has changed and that he is no longer friendly toward him as before. The ill will springs from jealousy on Laban’s part. He sees that Jacob is blessed in whatever he does no matter what it seems like in his mind. There is no indication of him having a repentant heart or desire to follow the God of Jacob in sincerity. What a shame for him to be that close to a believer and not accept the One-true Living LORD.

-The LORD appears to Jacob after 20 years of serving Laban and tells him it is time to go back to the land of his fathers and relatives. God reminds him that He is with him and that Joseph has made a vow to Him (Genesis 28:20-22). Jacob obeys the LORD and gathers his wives, his children, his animals, and his possessions and heads out toward Canaan by way of crossing the Euphrates and going through Gilead without telling Laban.

-This fleeing is yet another deception by Jacob toward Laban. Laban is told three days after Jacob had left that he was gone. Immediately he gathers up his kinsmen and pursues Jacob. On the seventh day of the journey he overtook him in the hill country of Gilead (Gilead is a 60 mile or so stretch from the Sea of Galilee to the north side of the Dead Sea to the east of the Jordan River in what is today Jordan).

-That night the LORD appeared to Laban the Aramean in a dream and told him to be careful not to speak good or bad to Jacob. Therefore, when Laban caught up with Jacob he simply questioned him as to why he left without giving him a chance to say good-bye and kiss his sons and daughters. He told Jacob he had acted foolishly as one who would carry away his daughters like captives of the sword. He told Jacob he had the power to do him harm, but God had prevented him from that kind of action.

-Jacob tells Laban he was afraid because he thought Laban would take his daughters back by force. Whether or not this was paranoia or not is unclear. But Jacob uses it as an excuse for fleeing.

-Then Laban rightly accused him of stealing his household idols. Rachel had actually done this and not told anyone. Therefore, Jacob had no idea and told Laban if they found his idols (gods), that person who stole would not live. He invited him to search through all of the possessions to see if anything they found was not his. Laban searched but did not find anything. Rachel hid them in the camel’s saddle and sat on them. Then she lied about her being on her period as an excuse not to get up from her spot in her tent. *Application* This is a sad testimony of following and protecting false gods in a person’s life. How often do we hide and protect those things in our own lives that keep us from serving and completely surrendering to the true God. Money, possessions, vacations, entertainment and many others things can be erected in our own lives as idols if we are not careful. The Bible is a true history without any propaganda as we see here. Nothing is hidden from us that is important for our sanctification. This is a warning to us that we need to look for character in our relationships over outward beauty. Jacob was deceived by Rachel’s charm and beauty (Proverbs 31:30). He was unequally yoked it appears from the text.

-At the end of the confrontation Jacob is hot and questions Laban as to what his transgression or sin has been. He relates all the good and honest things he had done in the time he served his uncle even though his wages were changed ten times. He takes note that the LORD was surely with him and has seen his affliction and the toil of his hands, rendering judgment last night. *Application* Making a habit of doing more than is expected pays off. It 1) pleases God, 2) earns recognition and advancement, 3) gives you a good reputation, 4) builds others respect and confidence in you, 5) gives you understanding and knowledge and empathy, and 6) develops your spiritual maturity. God allowed Jacob to go through all these troubles to purify him for the call on his life.

-A covenant for peace and well-being is established between Laban and Jacob there in Gilead. It is called the “heep of witness” each in their own language, Laban in Aram (Jegar-shahadutha) and Jacob in Hebrew (Galeed). Laban kissed his sons and daughters and blessed them. Then he departed and returned to his place. *Application* Even in tough situations we can act in good Christian character and be blessed. Always work for reconciliation in circumstances as far as it depends on you and love people in the LORD’s strength (Romans 12:18, Hebrews 12:14-15).

Verse to memorize: Genesis 31:13

Monday, January 30, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 30

Chapter 30-

*Condensed version of what the text says-

-Rachel gets very jealous of Leah’s ability to have children and commands, it appears from the text, Jacob to give her children or she will die. Jacob’s anger burns at his favorite wife telling her that he is not in the place of God in these matters of procreation.

-Rachel has him take her maid, Bilhah, as a wife and from this comes two sons: Dan, “God has vindicated me,” and Naphtali, “with mighty wrestlings I have prevailed over my sister.”

-Leah then responds in this tit-for-tat competition with giving Jacob her maid, Zilpah. Zilpah conceives twice also and two more sons are born: Gad, “How fortunate,” and Asher, “Happy am I!”

-There is then a deal made for some mandrakes (for an interesting take on what this means in particular see http://biblestudyconnection.blogspot.com/2009/02/mandrakes.html). Mandrakes apparently was a superstitious method for fertility and Rachel desperate for children wanted to use them to increase, at least in her mind, the chances of bearing children. Leah is hot when she finds out what is up and works a deal with her sister. The payment for the mandrakes is the opportunity to sleep with Jacob. God gave heed to Leah and she conceived from this and bore a fifth son named Issachar, “God has given me my wages.” The Bible tells us that Leah bears yet a sixth son after that named Zebulun, “God has endowed me with a good gift.”  Leah also has a daughter named Dinah, who was loved by her older brothers (Genesis 34).

-Then God remembered Rachel and gave heed to her and opened her womb. It was not the mandrakes; it was God that made her fertile! She named her son Joseph, “May the LORD give me another son.”

-Jacob is now ready to venture back to his country and fulfill the LORD’s word to him (Genesis 28:15). Laban wants him to stay and recognizes, from divination (it appears he was practicing pagan rituals and was not of God), that the LORD was blessing him on account of Jacob being with him. This was an accurate insight, but Satan was using him in an attempt to divert and confused God’s will and perfect plan. Jacob and Laban agree to separate the flocks based on outward appearances of the sheep and Jacob uses agricultural skill and cunning to have healthier animals than Laban. So Jacob became exceedingly prosperous having large flocks of sheep, servants both male and female, camels, and donkeys.

*Today’s application-

-Get the family of Jacob: 12 sons (Rueben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachur, and Zebulun from the older sister Leah) (Dan and Naphtali from Rachel’s maid Bilhah) (Gad and Asher from Leah’s maid Zilpah) (Joseph and Benjamin [yet to be born at this point] from the younger sister and beloved Rachel), 1 daughter Dinah from Leah

-Sibling rivalries can get out of hand. In this case we see constant quarreling with the sisters. It must have been hard on Jacob to endure these situations. How sweet it is when we can rest in who we are rather than comparing ourselves to our brothers and/or sisters for significance or security in the eyes of God. God deeply desired to bless both. They just couldn’t ever get along enough to enjoy His richest blessings.

-Rachel went to superstition and possibly even pagan practices to purchase those mandrakes in an attempt to bear children. It was her desperation and impatience that lead her to go outside of what God wanted from her. The text shows really no indication that she even knew the LORD even though she was in the middle of God’s salvation plan.

-Laban had a hard time understanding God’s plan and wanted to have success solely for himself. His not letting Jacob depart instantly with blessing would prove costly for him in the long run. We too should yield to things that may be beyond our control and trust in God. God is our source of blessing, not another person. I believe if Laban would have recognized that sooner, he would have been given blessing from the LORD’s right along with Jacob.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 30:22

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 29

Chapter 29-

*Condensed version of what the text says-

-Jacob arrives in Haran, sees a well and finds three flocks of sheep lying beside it. He inquires of the shepherds who were there if they knew Laban and about his well being. They knew him and introduced Jacob to his daughter Rachel, who was a shepherdess. Jacob takes the large stone off of the well (presumptuously I suspect) and watered the flock of Laban, his mother’s brother. He kisses Rachel (a formal greeting in this culture, not a romantic kiss), lifts up his voice and weeps for the joy of meeting his people in this far off land.

-Jacob fills in Rachel as to who he is and why he was there as a relative of her father. Rachel runs to tell her father (just as Rebekah had done years earlier, Genesis 24:29). Laban rejoices at meeting Jacob and hearing the news of his sister and their well being. It was a celebration and reunion and Jacob was welcomed into Laban’s house and he stayed a month with them.

-At this point Laban tells Jacob he is family and wants to know what he would like to be compensated for working with his uncle. Laban had two daughters, Leah the older and Rachel the younger. Leah’s had weak eyes (not very good looking) but Rachel was beautiful of form and face, just like Sarah and Rebekah were (Genesis 12:11; 26:7). Therefore, Jacob wanted to marry Rachel and requested that he work seven years for her hand in marriage. Laban agrees to it and the work begins for his uncle.

-The years seemed to Jacob but a few days because of his love for Rachel, and they were finally completed. The night of the marriage Laban tricks Jacob (funny, what goes around comes around, right? Genesis 27:1-36) and gives him Leah rather than Rachel as a marriage partner. The next morning Jacob realizes the deception and questions his uncle about it. Laban makes the excuse that is not cultural for the younger to marry first; therefore, he gave him his oldest daughter. Laban tells him to complete the ceremonial week of marriage to Leah and then he will give him Rachel as a wife as well for another seven years of work. So after the week Jacob weds Rachel as well and loves her more than Leah. A maid is given to each of the daughters, Zilpah to Leah and Bilhah to Rachel. This is significant because they would bear sons of the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob).

-Jacob serves seven more years under Laban.

-Now the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb to have children. She conceives and bears four boys: Reuben “The LORD has seen my affliction,” Simeon “Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved,” Levi “Now this time my husband will become attached to me,” and Judah “This time I will praise the LORD.” Then Leah, for the time being, stopped bearing children.

*Today’s application-

-Jacob bases his love for Rachel on physical attributes, which is not always the LORD’s design. God takes the weak and unappealing things of this world to teach us His ways (1 Corinthians 1:27, 2 Corinthians 12:10). Jesus appeared as weakness with no worldly appeal, but He was strong in the end. Humility is what the LORD truly desires from us. God blessed Leah, who was unloved, by sending the Messiah through her line. Judah was the forefather of Jesus, earthly speaking. He is just and will bless us as He looks upon and knows our every affliction and pain.

-The verse in Numbers 32:23 rings out in my mind when I think of the deception of Laban toward Jacob. Jacob was a deceiver in the beginning of his life and gets a dose of his own medicine in this instance with tricky and lies. The shoe can be on the other foot in our lives too, can it not? Be careful how you treat others.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 29:18

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 28

Chapter 28-

-Isaac blesses Jacob and sends him to Haran, to Paddan-aram, to the house of Laban to find a wife from his wife Rebekah’s brother (Laban). The text assures us at this point that Isaac fully realizes the prophetic word given to his wife that Jacob is the heir of the promise to Abraham (Genesis 28:4). Jacob obeyed his parents in going to find a wife that was not Canaanite, but Esau went and married another wife, one of the daughters of Ishmael, and further dishonored his parents’ wishes out of spite and rebellion.

-So Jacob departs from Beersheba toward Haran and comes to a certain place, which he would call Bethel (House of God). This place was previously called Luz and was about 10 miles north of modern day Jerusalem, 60 miles north of where his trip started in Beersheba. It was here at this special place that the LORD appeared to His servant and gave Jacob, in a dream, eyes to see a ladder set on earth with its top reaching to heaven with angels of God ascending and descending on it (Genesis 28:12). God gives Jacob His Name as “I Am” and relates to him the fact that it was He who was the God of his father Abraham and Isaac. God also reiterates His promise of the land to the north, south, east, and west and an innumerous amount of descendants. Also, the Messianic promise is re-given to Jacob that will bless all the families of the earth. These are important reoccurring themes in the text of Scripture concerning God’s salvific plan.

-God promised to be with Jacob in relationship wherever he went, and He promised to bring him back to the land in fulfillment of all His good promises. What a comfort and awe this must have produced in Jacob’s spirit as he experienced this incredible God and began to see his destiny unfold. No wonder he exclaimed, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it (Genesis 28:16).” This expression reminds me of the moment when we trust Christ for salvation and all things become new in our life. We have an epiphany of change that realizes that things will never be the same again (2 Corinthians 5:17, John 3). A new spiritual birth has been established!

-This awe produced a natural and healthy fear of God in Jacob as he proclaimed this extraordinary place as the house of God. Bethel had been a place where Abraham had first offered sacrifice to the LORD (Genesis 12:8) upon receiving his promise anew from the LORD. It would be a holy place in future times for judges and kings in the land of Israel. Unfortunately, the place would be profaned by much idol worship and deception. This is one of the places King Josiah cleans up, among other things (2 Kings 23:15).

-Jacob rises from his incredible dream and vision and takes the stone he was using as a place to rest his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top (Genesis 28:18). This was an alter to worship the LORD of the universe. It is here that Jacob makes his vow to the LORD that he will return as the Holy One takes care of him to bring him back to this place (which He will, Genesis 31:13; 35:1-7). This is not a bargain with the LORD as I see it, but an affirmation that he trusts in his God to accomplish these things. He swears a tenth of all he receives at this point, which is indication of one of the first tithes in Scripture given as a freewill offering (Leviticus 27:30, Malachi 3:10).

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 28:12

Friday, January 27, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 27


Chapter 27-

-The saga continues as Isaac becomes old and the time comes for him to give out his blessing, which he designs for his oldest son, Esau. He sends him to the field to bring back a savory dish of game, which he loved, and then bless him.

-Rebekah overhears what is going on and perpetrates a deception with the younger twin, Jacob, whom the LORD had prophesied would inherit the promise (Genesis 25:23). She instructs Jacob to go get two choice young goats for her to prepare. Jacob realizes that he is a smooth man compared to the hairiness of his brother (they were not identical twins), and that his father would curse him rather than give blessing if he was caught in this trespass. Therefore, they decide to put goat’s hair on his hands (forearms) and neck and Esau’s clothes were worn. Isaac’s eyes were dim from age and he could not see to make out his sons.

-Isaac tries to test the boy as the feast takes place, but is tricked by the younger son and his mom into blessing Jacob. Outright lies are exchanged in the conversation from Jacob as Isaac blesses his son with the dew of heaven (rain for crops), fatness of the earth, abundance of grain and new wine, leadership over peoples, nations, and family. He gives curses to those who curse Jacob and blessings to those who bless him. Words over people are important. Our words have an effect and we need to speak blessing over people whenever possible according to the LORD’s desire. It is the last thing Jesus did before He ascended back to the Father (Luke 24:51). It is important that we speak well of God’s people, the sons of Israel (this is Jacob’s name later in his life). America will prosper only as long as it supports God’s people as evidenced from this passage and also Genesis 12:3.

-Later, Esau comes in from his hunt expecting to be blessed, but finds that his younger brother has stolen his blessing now as well as his birthright. He is intensely distraught, along with his father, and weeps, wails, and becomes very angry to the point of wanting to kill his brother upon the death of his father. He begs for a blessing, but Isaac’s words will send him away from the fertile land toward the harshness of the eastern region and by the sword he will live. Esau’s grudge against his brother necessitates Rebekah sending Jacob away to Haran for safety and to find a wife from their relatives. She sends Jacob, with Isaac’s permission, to her brother Laban in the north. This of course is where Rebekah came from when she married Isaac and where Abraham came from as well.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 27:28-29

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 26

Chapter 26-

-Isaac follows much the same path as his father Abraham as we see in this chapter. Another famine hits the Negev (South Country) of Beer-lahai-roi where he had been, and he considered going back down to Egypt. However, the LORD in His wisdom instructed Isaac to stay and sojourn in this land where he was for blessing on him and his descendants and possession of the good land. God at this point re-establishes His oath (covenant) with Isaac that He gave to Abraham for multiplication of descendants as numerous as the stars in the land and a blessing to all the nations of the earth through his line (Messianic promise).

-God gives the reason for why He established His covenant with this family. Abraham had obeyed Him and kept His charge (he endured and overcame through faith, he never quit or faltered), His commandments, His statues, and His laws. God is faithful to bless those who rely on Him!

-So Isaac ventured north Gerar from his location in the Negev to escape the famine. Isaac, just like his father, lies to the men of this place concerning the relationship he had with Rebekah. He claims she is his sister out of fear for his life because Rebekah, like his mother Sarah, was a beautiful woman. The king of the land, Abimelech, saw Isaac caressing his wife and called him out on his lie. Abimelech was concerned that this would bring guilt on his people had they been immoral with Isaac’s wife. Then the king charged his people saying that anyone touching Isaac’s wife would be put to death. Isaac underestimated the morality of these people he was living amongst. Sometimes we also allow fear to restrict us from doing what we know is right in certain environments. When you take a strong moral stand, you inevitably find others who share your convictions and good prevails. God comes to your aid when you stand for His ways. Isaac was slow to realize this and we are too.

-So Isaac comes across Abimelech, king of the Philistines, as his father had previously done. It is not totally clear if this is the same Abimelech that Abraham had encountered. Phicol, the commander of his army, is again mentioned, which does give some support to this being the same individual though some scholars think Abimelech is a dynastic name and this is a different individual. In any case, they live together in the land for a period of time, but once again as in the days of Abraham, water sources become an issue with their herdsmen leading to quarrels and jealousy by the Philistines (God had blessed Isaac’s crops abundantly here). This situation got to the point where Isaac moved over and over again until he and his family found space at the well called Reboboth. From there he went to live in Beersheba, which is back towards the east and a little south from where he was in the hill country.

-Here in Beersheba, God appears to Isaac in the night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendents, for the sake of My servant Abraham (Genesis 26:24).” So Isaac built an alter just as his father had done and worshiped the LORD calling on His Name. His servants also dug a well there at the spot.

-Another covenant is made between Isaac and Abimelech as they come to Isaac’s place and see the LORD’s blessing on his life. Isaac gives them a feast and they make vows to one another and afterwards depart in peace.

-The chapter ends with a brief description of Esau’s marriage at the age of 40 to a Hittite woman named Judith and another Hittite woman named Basemath. This brought great grief to Isaac and Rebekah. This again shows the rebellious nature of those not called according to the LORD’s promise and a deviation from the righteous path. The law would later command children to obey their parents in the LORD. Esau brought grief to his parents by disobedience to their wishes to marry within their people no doubt. Jacob would do this and the blessing was through his line (Genesis 28:6-7).

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 26:24

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 25

Chapter 25-

-Abraham takes another wife after the passing of Sarah and bears more children that lived in the land of the east from Isaac. Isaac was the heir of the promise and was given all that Abraham had upon his father’s death at the ripe-old age of 175. Abraham gave his other sons gifts while he was still living, which indicates his generosity and love and compassion. But, the son of promise was given his entire wealth and posterity for salvation and nation blessing.

-Abraham was buried in the cave of Machpelah facing Mamre with his wife Sarah. This is the cave he had purchased from Ephron, the son of Zohar the Hittite, from the sons of Heth.

-After the death of Abraham God blessed Isaac and he lived by Beer-lahai-roi

-The descendants of Ishmael were recorded for the prophetic fulfillment of the twelve princes according to their tribes. Ishmael passes away at the age of 137 and was gathered to his people who settled from Havilah to Shur, which is east of Egypt as one goes toward Assyria. The Bible states that Ishmael settled in defiance of all his relatives. From this statement we can see the early tension in the descendants of Abraham. This tension has pervaded this region of the world into our modern age and will continue to be a source of strife until the end of days. What a tragic legacy of not waiting on the LORD and rushing in one’s own estimation to fulfill a destiny. Fleshly desire verses the will of God becomes a central theme of the Word of God.

-Jacob and Esau’s story begins as Rebekah conceives after Isaac had prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife to have children. Isaac, we are told here in this chapter, was 40 years old when he took Rebekah to be his wife. It took them 20 years to have these twins, but the LORD was again faithful to His promise.

-Rebekah inquired of the LORD as the children struggled within her womb. This may indicate a struggling for position in the birth order within the womb, but it is not stated. It is interesting to think about the birth order in a situation like this as twins are born. This brings Rebekah near to God for a word from Him and she receives it. God tells her, “Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older will serve the younger (Genesis 25:23).” So the struggle in the womb is null and void in the LORD’s eyes. He knows who the victor will be for His blessing and the continuance of His salvation plan. It would be Jacob over Esau.

-Esau came out of the womb first, a hairy-red little fellow who would be a hunter and man of the field. Jacob came out grabbing on to the heel of his brother, and he was described as a peaceful man who lived in tents.

-The episode of the birthright is then narrated as Esau, whom Isaac loved because he had a taste for game, came in from a hunt famished to the point of death (at least he felt like he was at the point of death, funny how we can exaggerate when really hungry J ). Jacob had cooked up a stew of red stuff, from which Esau got the name Edom. This is the color of his eventual land to the east as the sun sets on the mountains of his land in what is today Syria. Esau demands some food from his brother, but Jacob wants the birthright in exchange. Esau despised his birthright and gives it up by swearing it away for some bread and lentil stew. Thus he ate and drank and rose and went on his way. It would be later that he regretted this fatal mistake, but expediency and convenience doomed him. God’s words were coming to fruition.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 25:23

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 24

Chapter 24-

-Abraham was now old, and knew that it was time to select a good wife for his son Isaac according to the promise of God to increase his descendants as the stars of the sky and the sand of the seashore.

-He did not want Isaac to marry from the girls of the Canaanites, so he sent his servant to the city of Nahor of Mesopotamia to his relatives’ house in his original country.

-He makes his servant take an oath in this matter of finding a wife from his relatives, and his servant goes to find Isaac a wife with ten camels and a variety of good things to his destination.

-As he came to Nahor, he made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well at the watering time when the women of the city would go out to draw water. He prayed to the LORD for success in finding the right girl for Isaac, which would show lovingkindness to his master Abraham. He speaks with the LORD in his heart and decides the girl who offers drink for him and also his camels is the one whom God has chosen to be Isaac’s wife.

-Before he was even finished speaking with the LORD Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor, came out with her water jar on her shoulder. She was very beautiful and was a virgin having no relations with any man. The servant approached her for a drink of the spring water; she also offered to water the camels just as God had shown. The servant gazed at her in silence knowing this was the one, but not knowing if she would accept the marriage proposal and make the trip successful for Abraham and Isaac. He adorns her with jewelry upon completion of the watering and questions her further concerning her relatives and a possible place to lodge.

-Rebekah identifies herself and was very hospitable to the servant in offering him lodging and food for the camels. The servant bowed low before the LORD at this point and blessed Him for His lovingkindness and His truth toward Abraham his master and His guidance to this place of his master’s brothers. Then Rebekah ran and told her family about these things.

-Laban, her brother, came out to greet the servant at the spring and invited him in to their house. It is then that the servant updated them as to who he was as Abraham’s servant and how the LORD had blessed Abraham with wealth and a son in his old age. He also described to them the purpose of his mission to them and what had transpired with Rebekah. Laban and Bethuel (Rebekah’s father) conclude rightly that this matter came from the LORD and release Rebekah to go with him back to Canaan and be Isaac’s wife. They are rewarded by the servant with a variety of silver and gold and garments by the servant. It was a time of blessing and thanksgiving to the LORD!

-The servant was ready to head on back the next day, but of course the family wanted a few more days with Rebekah, probably to say their good-byes and prepare her for her journey and new life. It is now at the point of asking her if she will go with the servant back to Canaan for the purpose of marriage to Isaac, and she agrees to go. This then is a free will decision on the part of Rebekah. She, much like her relative Abraham, is willing to leave her old life behind and venture out into God’s preferred future for her life. Following God’s way also produces blessing!

-After their good-byes and blessing from the family, they venture off with her maids toward Canaan. As they arrived, Isaac had come from going to Beer-lahai-roi; for he was living in the south country of the Negev. He went out to meditate in the field toward evening (was he praying for his future and God’s direction for his life and family at this point? The text doesn’t say). As he lifted up his eyes he saw the camels coming with Rebekah. Rebekah lifted up her eyes and saw Isaac and dismounted from the camel and inquired of the servant who the man was that was walking toward them. When she knew it was his master Isaac, she covered herself with her veil.

-Upon their meeting, the servant told Isaac all the things that had happened. Then Isaac brought Rebekah into his mother Sarah’s tent taking her as his wife and he loved her! This comforted Isaac’s grief after his mother’s death.

-This is a beautiful love story that again shows the magnificence of an Almighty and Sovereign God in directing His chosen people’s paths even within their own free will choices. The servant had a choice to go and fulfill his duty or not. No doubt he had been given much for the trip, and a dishonest man would have run away and vacated on such a long and arduous venture of this nature for his own freedom and pleasure. This servant is to be commended for his loyalty, devotions, and faithfulness. The family also had the choice of giving up their daughter and sister. This must have been a difficult decision because of the love they had for her, but in the end they knew that God was in this and that He would ultimately take care of her. Rebekah had to make the tough choice of leaving her family, but she was willing to do the LORD’s will and she received the blessing. Even in the case of Isaac we see a willing spirit to his father’s wishes in regard to a marriage partner. Isaac could have been rebellious and gone after Canaanite women, but he chose the better way of obedience. In the end he was blessed with this great affection and love for his beautiful and treasured wife.

-Today we should evaluate our choices and see if they concur with what the LORD truly desires for our lives. His blessings and assurances follow our trust and obedience to Him.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 24:67

Monday, January 23, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 23

Chapter 23-

-Sarah passes away at the age of 127 in Hebron (Kiriath-arba), and Abraham goes in to mourn and weep for her.

-Abraham speaks with the sons of Heth about a burial spot he has chosen, which they encourage him to do in the choicest of their graves because they see him as a prince that is mighty among them. Abraham approaches Ephron, son of Zohar, about the cave of Machpelah, which is at the end of his field. Abraham is more than willing to pay full price for the property to bury his wife there in that spot. Ephron desires to give him the field and the cave, but Abraham insists on paying the market value for it. Four hundred shekels of silver is agreed upon for the entire property and the deed was handed over.

-Abraham buried Sarah, his wife, in the cave of the field at Machpelah facing Mamre (that is Hebron) in the land of Canaan. The land was deeded over by the sons of Heth.

-Mourning over our lost loved ones is difficult in life. It is a kindness shown by these people to Abraham in this instance, and we should appreciate all that people do for us in our times of grieving and loss. While Abraham was saddened, he did business valiantly and never lost his composure to do the right thing in paying market value for the gravesite of his wife. This is testimony to this patriarch’s greatness and perseverance in troubled times.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 23:2

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 22


Chapter 22-

-The binding of Isaac is narrated in Genesis 22. Abraham is called of God in a test to see if he would obey in giving up his only son to the LORD. Abraham was told to go to the land of Moriah (present day Jerusalem near the temple mount) and offer his son as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which God will tell him.

-Abraham obeyed the LORD and arose and went just as God had commanded with his son and two servants. They saddled a donkey with split wood, but stopped near within eye sight of the place he was to kill his son asking the servants to stay with the donkey there.

-Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son, Isaac, and he took the fire in his hand (either a torch like fire or perhaps coals of fire in a container) along with the knife he was to use. On the way Isaac questioned his father as to where they would get a lamb for the sacrifice. Abraham’s response was to the point and prophetic, “God will provide for Himself the Lamb for the burnt offering, my son (Genesis 22:8).” So they walked on together until they reached the place. It had been a three day journey to arrive there.

-At the place Abraham built the alter, arranged the wood, bound his son and laid him on the alter on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand grabbing the knife to slay his son, but the angel of the LORD called to him at the last possible moment stopping him from the murder of his beloved son. The LORD told Abraham at this vital point to do nothing to him. It was then that the LORD knew that Abraham feared God more than anything else and would give up everything to please Him. The denotes the free choice of Abraham to obey His Master and it establishes the ultimate blessing that the LORD intended through his family line of greatly multiplied seed as the stars of the sky and sand of the seashore, which will bless all the nations of the earth (coming of the Messiah, Jesus).

-After the LORD’s word Abraham raised his eyes and found there was a ram caught in the thicket by his horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering to the LORD in the place of his son. Abraham called this place “The LORD will provide,” as it is said to even modern times, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided (Genesis 22:14).” Abraham had once again trusted the LORD with everything he had.

-Before any of this took place he had told his servants that he and the lad would return to them (Genesis 22:5). This statement demonstrated his total dependence on God to take care of the situation no matter how bleak it may have looked. Perhaps he was trusting God for a resurrection or maybe he knew that God would somehow prevent him from killing his son. On any account, he simply trusted the word of the LORD that Isaac would be the heir of the promise (Genesis 17:19; 21:12, Romans 4:13). Here is the biblical equation given here for us to apply: Fear of God + Trusting in Him + Obedience to Him = Blessings of the LORD.

-It is at this point that the angel returns a second time from heaven and blesses him with multiple blessings and promises because he had done this thing and did not withhold his only son.

-Abraham then returned with his boy and the young servant men to Beersheba and lived there. Here the narrative gives family information concerning his brother Nahor (Genesis 11:26) for the purpose of setting up Isaac’s marriage story with Rebekah.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 22:12

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 21

Chapter 21-

-God takes note of Sarah to give her a son just as He had promised (Genesis 18:14). Abraham names his son Isaac according to the LORD’s command (Genesis 17:19) because of the laughter and joy he has created in his parents’ old age along with all who hear. As he is weaned Abraham made a great feast! It was a time of celebration and fulfillment of God’s promise to him.

-Hagar’s son Ishmael becomes jealous at the sight of Sarah and her son Isaac and is found mocking, which enraged Sarah to the point of asking Abraham to drive them out so as not to be an heir with her son Isaac. Abraham is saddened by this development, but God told him not to be distressed. God was going to make a nation of Ishmael’s people, but Abraham’s people’s name would come through the line of Isaac.

-Here is an illustration using the hermeneutical (interpretation) device that is called typology. Abraham here is battling between what he wants in the flesh and what God has ordained through His omnipotent promise. We as believers will still have times when we think that a certain thing or direction is sentimental or allowed by God, but it is really our own desires being in control rather than the LORD’s Spirit. We are called to a Spirit-filled life of promise and should make no provision for the flesh and its lusts (Romans 13:14) after receiving Him. Looking back and trying to do things in our own strength will only lead to failure and chaos. We must die to our old way of life and live in God’s preferred future as a sanctified saint (Luke 9:23, 2 Corinthians 5:17).

-Hagar and her son are sent out to the wilderness with some bread and a skin of water by Abraham. They wonder around in the area of Beersheba and come to the put of starvation and despair. It is at this point that God hears Ishmael crying and attends to Hagar giving her hope and a promise that her son will be the father of a great nation. She looks up and finds a well of water and sustenance to keep them alive. As Ishmael grew, he became an archer living in the wilderness of Paran and his mother took for him a wife from the land of Egypt.

-The narrative shifts back to a covenant made between Abimelech along with his commander, Phicol, and Abraham. Abimelech knows that God is with Abraham and deals favorably with him. It is always wise to side with God’s people. This is a reminder of the promise in Genesis 12:3. Abraham swears kindness and truth upon Abimelech and their offspring in their dealings. Abraham did have an issue with a well which he had dug, but Abimelech’s servants had seized, but it is rectified and a covenant is made between them with pomp and circumstance of the day. Seven ewe lambs, which represented Abimelech’s recognition that the well was Abraham’s, were taken by Abimelech. So they take an oath at Beersheba. It is here at the southern most point of truly inhabitable land of promise that Abraham plants a tamarisk tree and called upon the Name of the LORD, the Everlasting God. Thus, he stayed in the land of the Philistines for many days. For an interesting excerpt on the tamarisk tree’s significance see http://www.dodsonlumber.com/acts242/?p=176.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 21:1

Friday, January 20, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 20


Chapter 20-

-Abraham journeyed southward to the Negev and settled between Kadesh [Hebrew meaning: holy. Miriam, the sister of Moses, died there (Nu. 20:1), and Moses disobediently struck the rock that brought forth water at this location (Nu. 20:11).] and Shur [which is far south in the Negev region almost as far as Goshen of Egypt where the Hebrews settled in the time of Joseph.]

-From this adventure, verse 1 tells us that Abraham sojourned in Gerar and this chapter tells of Abraham’s retreat back into lies and deception involving another king and his beautiful wife, Sarah, who was his half sister by his father Terah. The king was Abimelech and Abraham was again fearful for his life and gave his wife up for potentially going into the king of Gerar.

-But, before this happened, God appeared to Abimelech, king of Gerar, in the night through a dream in order to warn him about a grievous sin that he was about to commit and that he would be a dead man. Abimelech appeals to the LORD on account of his and his kingdom’s blamelessness. God assures him that He knows the integrity of his heart and it was in His mercy that He communicated with him to prevent disaster and sin.

-God recognizes Abraham as a prophet, and that his prayers are effective for blessing and restoration and life. God also warns Abimelech that if he does not obey, he will surely die along with all who are his.

-Abimelech confronts Abraham with the facts concerning the deception. Abraham again cites his fear and claimed that he thought surely that there was no fear of God in this country, which was his reasoning for the lying. He also tries to justify himself by stating that actually there is some truth to his relationship with Sarah being his sister.

-The weakness we see here in Abraham is his propensity to lie in order to work things to his advantage. It is a trait that flows through his family line as Isaac has the same issues with his wife Rebecca (Genesis 26:7) and Jacob in their trickery and deception (Genesis 25:28-34; 27). Then it is Jacob’s ten sons who lie to their father and deceive him about the death of Joseph causing heartache and pain (Genesis 37:12-35). It is interesting that God ends up working through all these human faults and glitches in His sovereignty to override all the sin and corruption to fulfill His good purpose. However, the concept of generational sin is evident in Abraham’s family line, which we also need to be aware of in our own families and how it affects us and the choices we make. God will always bless obedience to His commands, and sometimes He will work His will in spite of our shortfalls and mistakes. Repenting from the evil we have done and what our ancestors may have done is the essential factor and having a submissive spirit toward the LORD for restoration. Recognize the tricks of the enemy and break generational strongholds (Exodus 20:5; 34:6-7). God forgives and will bless your generations to come!

-Abimelech ends up giving Abraham sheep and oxen and male and female servants and a thousand pieces of silver for the purpose of vindication and restoration and clearing up the misunderstanding.

-The chapter ends with Abraham praying for Abimelech and his wife and his maids for healing of the womb. God had closed their wombs on account of Sarah, but He heals them upon Abraham’s prayer so that they would bear children again.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 20:6

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 19


Chapter 19-

-The doom of Sodom and Gomorrah is narrated in this chapter with the principle character being Lot, whom Abraham prayed for to be saved. Lot, again, was Abraham’s nephew that parted company for the fertile Jordan Valley when he and Abraham’s flocks and possessions became too great to sustain in the hill country. The green pastures and prosperity of the Jordan region is what Lot chose, but the cities of this area were exceedingly wicked. God’s judgment was about to fall on the sinful cities in a big way. However, before He destroyed the cities, He gave ample warning and went all the way down to  the point of sparing the city if ten righteous could be found in His conversation with Abraham (Genesis 18:23-32).

-Two angels (Hebrew word for angel means messenger) came to Sodom in the evening and found Lot sitting at the gate of the city. When he met them he bowed down with his face to the ground in honor and respect. How did Lot know the magnitude of these angels? They were the two angels that were with the LORD that appeared to Abraham in Mamre (Genesis 18:1-2), but there is no indication Lot knew of this encounter. Whatever the case, Lot no doubt held a prominent position in the city (the reason he could sit at the city gate), which is probably the reason for his hesitation to leave in the end.

-Lot welcomes his guests by insisting that they stay at his house for the night. As the evening progressed, the men of the city came near his house and wanted to have sexual relations with these foreigners. Lot so wanted to protect them that he offered to give them his virgin daughters for their depraved sexual pleasures, but they insisted on having the two angels. The men of the city tell Lot that one of the angels is acting like a judge of them (probably some Noah type warnings had been issued, and the people did not like the rebuke in their extreme sinful state), and they were going to treat Lot worse than the angels when they got hold of them. It got to the point that they were going to break into his quarters, but the angels pulled Lot back into the house and blinded the pursuers to the point they got weary of trying to find the doorway. Lot’s estate must have been large and encompassing a vast area for this to have happened. Certainly he had up to this point been a man of means and prosperity and power in the region. But, his influence had been null and void in the spiritual condition of his culture as evidenced by this episode.

-The outcry of this place had now become so great before the LORD that the angels had been sent to destroy it. Lot tries to warn his future sons-in-law, but they thought he was jesting and did not take him seriously. This was a tragic mistake for these young men and an example to us to fear the LORD, His word, and His warnings.

-At dawn the next day Lot reluctantly leaves the city as the angels literally seize his hand and his wife’s hand and the hands of his two daughters, “for the compassion of the LORD was upon him (Genesis 19:16).” This was no doubt an answer to the prayers of Abraham for his nephew’s safety as well (Genesis 18:23).

-Lot and his family were warned not to look back as they escaped the fierce anger of the LORD on Sodom and Gomarrah. They told them to go to the mountains, but Lot persuaded them to let him stay in Zoar (a small valley town), which their stay did not last long there even though the LORD did have compassion and spared this area from the destruction for Lot’s sake.

-“Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven, and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground (Genesis 19:24-25).” This area to this day is a barren wasteland on the south side of the Salt Sea. Archaeological evidence points to an advanced civilization in this area during the time of Abraham with some type of sudden and devastating destruction. This area is currently under the southern end of the Salt (or Dead) Sea.

-Lot’s wife turned back to look and turned into a pillar of salt. Abraham sees the smoke of the land ascending from the hill country, but the LORD remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the destruction.

-Lot ends up in the caves of the mountains in the end with his two daughters, who get him drunk and have intercourse with him to procreate and keep the family going. The firstborn was a son called Moab, and he is the father of the Moabites. The younger bore a son named Ben-ammi, who was the father of the sons of Ammon. Both of these tribes were enemies of the children of Israel in latter times.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 19:24

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 18


Chapter 18-

-The LORD appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre. Three men appeared before Abraham and he welcomed them with homage and choice food prepared by his wife Sarah and his servant.

-These men brought the news of Sarah having a son by the same time next year. Sarah was listening at the tent door and laughed to herself because of her advanced age. The LORD’s response, “Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son (Genesis 18:14).” A thought that crossed my mind as I meditated on this particular verse, and it has really nothing to do with the context, but is true none the less. Absolutely nothing is too hard for the LORD to handle, and His will is going to be accomplished here on the earth. My thoughts drifted to His second coming. At the appointed time He will return to this earth and it won’t be difficult (2 Peter 3:3-13). We should never doubt His promises, but rather look in expectation for His glory revealed.

-Sarah denied laughing, a lie, but God knew. Human nature is shown here in Sarah. When we are busted, our first instinct is to deny any wrong doing. But God always knows (Numbers 32:23). It is best to confess.

-The plot switches to the issue of Sodom and Gomorrah and what the LORD is about to do to these exceedingly wicked cities. The LORD concludes that Abraham is worthy of knowing what is going to happen since he will become a great and mighty nation, which will be a blessing to all the nations of the earth, a chosen person for the purpose of commanding “his children and household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice (Genesis 18:18-19).”

-God is going to check things out there in these wicked cities; although He in His omniscience already has perfect understanding of their standing before Him. Abraham speaks and bargains with the LORD on behalf of these cities, no doubt with his nephew Lot in mind. Abraham appeals to the LORD’s justice as Judge of the universe in this matter to preserve the righteous. He talks the LORD down to the point that only ten righteous need to be found in order to save Sodom from destruction. At this juncture the LORD departed and Abraham returned to his place.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 18:14

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 17


Chapter 17-

-When Abram was 99 years old the LORD appeared to him again and declared, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me and be blameless. I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly (Genesis 17:1-2).” The LORD changed his name from Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of a multitude). God promises a lineage of kings in this everlasting covenant along with the land He’d already promised earlier.

-The sign of this covenant between the LORD God Almighty and Abraham was circumcision of every male in his family and among him (servants, slaves) on the eighth day (Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day, Luke 1:59; 2:21) of life. The uncircumcised “in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant (Genesis 17:14).” This issue becomes a big deal in the New Testament as Gentile believers are coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, but are uncircumcised. The council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 decides the matter and the church expands without this requirement on Gentile believers. There was a segment in early Christianity that promoted the strict following of these Jewish customs. They became known as the Judaizers and were denounced by apostles such as Paul (See the NT book of Galatians).

-Sarai also gets a new name by the LORD. She shall now be called Sarah (princess). She will receive blessing and be a mother of nations. Kings of peoples will come from her. This news made Abraham laugh since he was nearly 100 years old and his wife was 90, well beyond child bearing years. But the LORD was serious and says that it will be through a child born to Sarah that the everlasting covenant will be established. The name of Isaac (he laughs) will be given to this child of the promise. Abraham had thought Ishmael would receive it, and the LORD does agree to bless him and make him fruitful making him the father of 12 princes and a great nation. Interestingly, this is where the Islamic faith traces its roots in the Quran. Ishmael is their promised one rather than Isaac. It is here that we see the beginning of a great split in world history, which would be the source of great conflict throughout the middle and modern ages.

-In addition, Paul uses allegory to represent the difference in these women as to the law and freedom in Christ in Galatians 4:22-5:1 from the New Testament.

-So Abraham again follows the LORD’s commands and circumcises himself and his household, including the 13 year old Ishmael on the very same day.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 17:10

Monday, January 16, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 16


Chapter 16-

-After ten years in the land of Canaan, Abraham takes the advice of Sarai, his wife, to go into Hagar, her Egyptian servant, for the purpose of having a child for his inheritance. This was a lack of faith on their part and a deviation from the promise, will, and plan of God. Impatience with the LORD is never a good thing. This situation goes badly indeed as Hagar becomes despised in the sight of Sarai and is treated harshly under Abram’s authority.

-Hagar fled from Sarai’s presence into the wilderness and the angel of the LORD appeared to her to encourage and help her with advice for the twisted situation. The angel promises that her descendants will be as countless as the stars and that she will bear a son named Ishmael (God hears) because the LORD has given heed to her affliction. The boy will be a “wild donkey” of a man whose hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand will be against him, and he will live east of his brothers. Hagar is advised by the angel to return to Abraham and Sarai, to face her problems rather than running from them, and to submit to the authority of Sarai.

-Hagar praises the LORD upon reflecting that she remained alive after seeing Him called Him, “God who sees.”

-So Hagar bore Abram a son when he was 86 years old; and Abram named him Ishmeal.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 16:2

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 15


Chapter 15-

-The word of the LORD came to Abram once again in a vision commanding him not to fear because God was his shield and protection. The LORD also promises Abram that his reward would be great, but Abram questions this because he is childless, without heir to his possessions. The LORD promises him a descendent from his own body and that his descendents will be as numberless as the stars in the heavens. Then Abram believed in the LORD and God deemed it to him as righteousness. Here is Old Testament faith verbalized by the great “I AM,” the living God who brought his family out of Ur of the Chaldeans and false religion to the land of promise. God’s plan of salvation was well under way. Abram sees the Messiah from far away into the future (Hebrews 11:13). Abram was righteous by his faith and nothing else.

-Abram asked for confirmation that he may know that his possessions would be realized in the land. God has him sacrifice a heifer, a female goat, and a ram, all three years old. A turtledove and a young pigeon were also commanded to be brought, but they were not cut. Instead, they descended down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.

-God further confirms Abram’s promise by giving him a vision of the captivity and oppression in a foreign land (Egypt) for 400 years (4 generations). This vision created terror and great darkness on Abram as he slept deeply. But God promises to judge this nation whom they will serve, and in the end they will come back to the land with many possessions. However, Abram is promised that he will go down to his fathers in peace.

-Abram is given a further confirmation of the covenant as it became very dark and there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between the slain animal pieces. God promises him the land from the river of Egypt as far as the Euphrates River along with all its people groups.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 15:6

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 14


Chapter 14-

-In chapter 14, Abram is depicted as the courageous warrior hero who pursues a valiant alliance of kings in order to save his nephew Lot, his family and his possessions. The alliance of kings that he defeats is lead by Chedorlaomer king of Elam. This alliance had defeated the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah along with three other kings that aligned themselves together in rebellion of a twelve year reign in which they had served Chedorlaomer.

-Chedorlaomer and his allies had defeated the rebellion with the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah falling into tar pits, which at that time proliferated the Salt Sea (Dead Sea) area. The survivors fled to the hill country (which would be in the vicinity of present day Jerusalem). This is the connection supposedly with Melchizedek king of Salem (possibly ancient Jerusalem), who came out to Abram upon his victorious return with bread and wine and blessing.

-Abram, with the men of his household and some allies, had pursued and gained military victory over what would seem to be a superior force. He pursued them up through Dan (this is far north where important source rivers to the Sea of Galilee run through) and all the way to Damascus. This pursuit would have been well over 200 miles through fairly rugged terrain. All this was to rescue his nephew Lot and his family from their oppressors.

-Abram is finally victorious bringing everything back and is met by Melchizedek in the valley of Shaveh, or the King’s Valley. This valley is unknown, but could actually be the Kidron Valley that is just to the east of modern day Jerusalem, which sits on Mount Zion and Mount Moriah. On the other side of this valley is the Mount of Olives.

-Melchizedek is described as a priest of God Most High. He is a mysterious figure in Scripture who is mentioned again in Psalm 110:4 and Hebrews 5-7. Here in Genesis he blesses Abram and says, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hands (vss. 19-20).” Abram gives him a tenth of all he had gained. The question of who this Melchizedek is becomes intriguing. Four possible solutions: 1) He was a respected king of that region. 2) Melchizedek was a standing title for all the kings of Salem. 3) He was a “type” of Christ figure (Hebrews 7:3) that was closely related to what Christ did and illustrates a lesson about Christ from the Old Testament. This is a hermeneutical (interpretation) device. 4) He was the actual appearance of Christ in preincarnation form as a temporary body on the earth. This view primarily comes from the later revelation in Hebrews of this unique individual who is the first mentioned priest in Scripture. Another interesting thought on Melchizedek is that he was not of the family of Abram. Here is a picture of God using people of faith in Him being the only qualification for holiness. This should bring some clarity into the debate on Gentile believers being accepted fully in the LORD’s plan.

-As the chapter ends, the king of Sodom wants Abram to take all the goods, not the people, which he had gained. However, Abram had sworn to the LORD God Most High that he would not do that for fear that the king of Sodom would say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ He, in humility and wisdom, takes nothing except the food that his men ate, and he does give his allies from Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre their share of the spoils.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 14:18

Friday, January 13, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 13


Chapter 13-

-Abram leaves Egypt and goes back to the South country of the Negev desert along with his wife and Lot.

-Abram was rich in livestock, silver, and gold. God’s blessings were apparent in his life because he obeyed the LORD.

-From the Negev Abram went back to the mountain between Bethel and Ai and re-pitched his tent and called upon the Name of the LORD at the same alter as before. From here he and Lot decided to separate for the land could not sustain the both of them and their herdsmen were having conflict. Abram graciously gave Lot the choice of where to go, right or left. Lot saw the green pastures of the Jordan Valley and chose that area; thus they departed. Lot toward Sodom, where there were wicked sinners against the LORD, and Abram settled in the land of Canaan. Lot’s choice shows expediency and rational thinking, but lacks the spiritual component that is so essential in making wise decisions. His choice will cause great grief in the future because he willing chose to go toward a culture of sinfulness (Genesis 18:16-19:38).

-It is after Lot separates from him, that the LORD has Abram look all around to the north, south, east, and west with a promise that all the land would be his and his descendants forever. God also promises Abram innumerable offspring as the dust of the earth. God has his servant Abram walk the length and breadth of His promised land.

-Abram then comes to dwell in his tent by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron (this is just south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem). There he built another alter to the LORD.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 13:15

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 12


Chapter 12- 

-The Lord appears to Abram in Haran with His word to “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house (Terah had passed away by now), to the land which I will show you (Genesis 12:1).” Here Abram is, with much wealth accumulated and servants, and God calls him out of his comfort zone to finish the original vision of going to Canaan. He and his family had taken the northern route to Haran because it is along the Euphrates river and provided the needed water for them; going straight to Canaan would have taken them through much barren desert and survival would have been difficult. Often God takes us on round about routes on His path in our life as He calls us out to do a work. Don’t get frustrated in the transition periods and waiting points along God’s journey for you. They are necessary to build you for your purpose and test you for the greater destination. Abram, in this case, is ready and does exactly as the LORD commanded, taking Lot with him, his wife Sarai, and all their possessions.

-The LORD gives the Abrahamic covenant here in this chapter, which is conditional. Abram must go, that is the condition. If he does, God’s promise to him is manifold. God will make him a great nation (Israel), bless him (Abram was truly blessed with wealth and good things), make his name great (Abraham has a great name to this day and it will continue), and that he will be a blessing. God also says He will bless those who bless Abram and his descendents, but the ones who curse him will be cursed. And in Abram, all the families of the earth will be blessed. This certainly has Messianic implications, a thread which will run throughout the Old Testament in view of the coming of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the whole world (John 3:16).

-Abram and his family come into the land where the Canaanites lived (see notes on Chapter 10). He passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. This is a bountiful land with plush vegetation in the northern part of modern day Israel. On the mountains were huge identifying trees made of oak. The prophets would later bemoan the fact that under these trees idolatry was taking place in God’s promised land (Deuteronomy 12:2, 2 Kings 16:4; 17:10, Jeremiah 3:6-13, Ezekiel 6:13). It is here at Moreh that the LORD appeared to Abram and gave him the land of Canaan. Therefore, he built an alter there and worshipped the LORD.

-Abram proceeded south from there to Bethel (House of God) and pitched his tent on a nearby mountain with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. It was here that Abram built another alter to the LORD and worshipped Him calling upon His Name (Acts 2:21). Abram not only builds these alters to praise His Living God, but he is reminding all around him of the promises of the LORD to bless. He is renewing his love and loyalty to God and making Him the center of his life. Regular worship is essential in our lives as well!

-Abram journeyed on southward toward the Negev, or South country. It is here that a severe famine, which is typical of this region of the world, hits and forces a drastic decision on Abram’s part to venture down to Egypt for water and sustenance for he and his family. This is the first of other times that Egypt will play a pivotal role in the salvation of God’s chosen people (Genesis 37-45, Joseph’s story, Matthew 2:13-19, Jesus’ escape as young child)

-It is here in Egypt however that Abram’s faith is tested once more, but this time he fails the test. He half-way lies that Sarai is his sister because he feared the Egyptians. Sarai really was his half-sister (Genesis 20:12), but he was not totally truthful in the situation. This caused problems on the house of Pharaoh, and eventually Abram was allowed to leave with all his belongings including his wife, Sarai, who was beautiful.

Verses to Memorize: Genesis 12:1-3

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 11


Chapter 11-

-Now at this time the whole earth spoke the same language and used the same words. The population moved toward the east and settled in a plain in the land of Shinar, between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers toward the south approximately 200 miles from the Persian Gulf.

-They began to make bricks of stone by burning them thoroughly as building products. They also used tar for mortar and decided to build, for themselves (not for God), a city and a tower whose top would reach into heaven. This would make a name for themselves. This ultimately meant they were rejecting their Creator and wanted to do things their own way. God saw that what they were doing was rebellious as they created this tower (probably a ziggurat type building to worship themselves, and in later reconstructions false deities). Again using the plural form of the pronoun, He stated, “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech (Genesis 11:7).” This scattered the people abroad into their own language groups and the work halted on the tower, which became known as Babel (in other words: Confuse).

-The genealogy of Shem is visited going down to Terah; eight generations are listed. Terah becomes the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran is the father of Lot, who then is Abram’s nephew and plays a large role in the biblical history of coming into the land of Canaan with Abram. Haran dies in their homeland of Ur of the Chaldeans. Abram takes Sarai as his wife in Ur.

-Terah takes his family out of Ur in order to enter the land of Canaan and got as far as Haran, which in up north and west from Ur and also north and east of Canaan. It is here that Terah passes into eternity at the age of 205 years. Reasons for Terah deciding to uproot his family may have included the realization that the LORD was not worshipped in the place he lived. Historically, Ur is a pagan area with worship of many false deities and religious practices. In any case, the calling out to Canaan had begun and Abram would get the word from God soon in Haran that would change the course of history in every way.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 11:7

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 10


Chapter 10-

-Now these are the records of the generations that proceeded from Noah after the flood from his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

-Interesting people of biblical and historical note from Japheth: Gomer (Ezekiel 38:6), Magog (Ezekiel 38:2-5; 39:6, Revelation 20:8-9), Tubal (Ezekiel 38:2-5; 39:1). These descendants settled for the most part in Europe and Asia Minor giving rise to the Greek, the Thracian, and Scythian cultures.

-Interesting people of biblical and historical note from Ham: Cush, the father of Nimrod the mighty hunter who began the kingdoms of Babylon and Assyria, built Nineveh and Resen, which was a great city. Mizraim, the father of Casluhim, from which came the Philistines (Goliath and inhabitants of the Holy Land promised to Abraham, sworn enemies of Israel). Canaan, the father of the Canaanites (Genesis 24:3, Exodus 23:23-28, Judges 1:1-4) who were the cursed ones by Noah (Genesis 9:25) and proliferated the promised land as idol worshippers and pagans; God commanded them to be destroyed (Deuteronomy 20:17), but they were not (disobedience) and their descendants are still prevalent in the land of Israel as antagonists to the chosen people of the LORD. Canaan became the father of Sidon who fathered Heth and the Jebusite (rulers of Jerusalem until the time of David, Joshua 15:8), the Amorite, the Girgashite, the Hivite, (Exodus 3:8). These Canaanite families were spread abroad. They have a history of defying the LORD and wrecking evil on His people. Their territory extended from Sidon to Gaza and as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah, as far as Lasha. These descendants then settled in Canaan, Egypt, and the rest of Africa.

-Interesting people of biblical and historical note from Shem: Arpachshad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg (in whose time the earth was divided, continental drift perhaps?). This is the line that goes eventually to Abram (Genesis 11). These descendants were eventually called Semites (from which we get anti-sematic). Not only is Abraham from this important line, but David, and Jesus. This is also the line that produces the Chaldean, Persian, and Syrian cultures of that region of the world. All are very important to biblical and historical development.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 10:1

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 9


Chapter 9-

-As Noah and his family begin their post flood life God blesses them and commands them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. From Noah and his sons the whole earth was repopulated.

-There was fear of man and terror placed on every beast of the earth, the bird of the sky, everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea are given into man’s hand and can be eaten as food (in other words God declares all foods essentially clean at this point as He will do again in the New Testament, Mark 7:19, Acts 10:11-15) just as God had given every green plant. Only God said not to eat the flesh with its life, that is, its blood (same restrictions put on Gentiles at the Jerusalem Council, Acts 15:28-29).

-God requires life for life in the case of murder for both man and beast because man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

-God establishes His covenant with Noah and his descendants and every living creature. It is unconditional; all flesh will never again be “cut off by the waters of the flood, neither shall there be again a flood to destroy the earth.” God gives His rainbow in the sky as a sign of His covenant with man, which is perpetual as God sees His bow in the sky.

-Noah’s sons are listed: Shem (from which we get Semites), Ham, and Japheth. Ham sees his father’s nakedness as Noah gets drunk from the wine of his vineyard and unclothes himself. This results in the cursing of Canaan, Ham’s son and blessing on Shem and Japheth who walked in backwards and covered their father’s nakedness and shame. This shows how evil and sin still existed in man’s heart, even those who walked with the Lord and were saved from the flood. Noah acts as a poor example to his sons in this instance.

-Noah lived 350 years post flood and passed into eternity at the age of 950 years.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 9:11

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 8


Chapter 8-

-“But the LORD remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle.” I’m so glad the LORD remembers us after His times of testing and trial and persecution and discipline. The LORD caused a wind to pass over the earth making the waters subside. The rains stopped and the floodgates of the earth were closed and restrained, and the water receded steadily from the earth at the 150 day mark.

-In the seventh month, the seventeenth day, the ark rested on Ararat’s mountains. The flood had begun in the second month on the seventeenth day in this same year, Noah’s 600th year (Genesis 7:11).

-In the tenth month, on the first day, the mountains became visible and forty days later Noah opened the window he had made and sent out a raven. Seven days later he sent out a dove to see if the water had dried up enough yet, but the dove returned finding no resting place. Noah put out his hand and took her back into the ark himself. Seven days later, he sent the dove back out and she returned with a fresh olive leave (the sign of peace). So now Noah knew the water had abated enough from the earth for things to grow and survive again. In another seven days Noah sent out the dove again, and the dove did not return.

-In the first month and the first day of the next year, Noah’s 601st year, the water was dried up from the earth and Noah removed the covering of the ark and saw that the surface was dried up.

-In the second month on the twenty-seventh day, the earth was dry, and God told Noah to go out of the ark with his family and all the animals that they may breed abundantly and repopulate the earth. Noah and his family lived in the ark for just over a year during the flood. God had preserved them whole and complete.

-Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and sacrificed of every clean animal and bird a burnt offering to his God. When the LORD smelled this soothing aroma He said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:21-22).” God is faithful and we still enjoy the produce from that promise.

Verses to Memorize: Genesis 8:21

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 7


Chapter 7-

-The time comes that the LORD said to Noah to get into the ark with his entire household because he was the only righteous person before God at this time. Noah was commanded to bring sevens of every clean animal and two, male and female, of every unclean animal. This opens up the question of God’s communication pre-Moses on clean and unclean animals. Apparently God had instructed in some way which animals were clean to eat and which were not. We have no Scripture indicating this other than this passage.

-God gives Noah and his family a seven day warning before He sends the deluge of rain and water to cover the earth for forty days and nights blotting out all living thing. Noah was six hundred years old when the flood came upon the earth.

-Noah did everything that the LORD had commanded him. This is reiterated for emphasis in the text. Noah was shown to be completely obedient to the will of the Heavenly Father and carried out his will in totality.

-In the flood, the fountains of the deep burst open and the floodgates of the sky were opened. Rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights. Noah’s family entered the ark with all their animals and it was closed by the LORD the very same day that the flood began. “And the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth.” This was the LORD’s protection over death to preserve the human race and the animals after their kind. His mercy endures even in His great wrath, and He provides salvation and deliverance for His chosen that walk with Him in righteousness. Notice that the Scriptures never say that Noah was perfect or without sin, but that he was simply blameless. In other words, his heart was right before his Maker and he followed the ways of the LORD God. This required faith on the part of Noah, and we can see his acts of faith throughout this saga. Hebrews 11:7 verifies this.

-Soon water covered the face of the whole earth; even the highest mountains were covered. But the ark was water tight and floated above the surface of the waters. All flesh that moved on the earth and had the breath of life perished in the deluge and the water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.

Verse to Memorize: Genesis 7:5

Friday, January 6, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 6

Chapter 6-

-Man is beginning to multiply greatly upon the face of the earth taking the beautiful daughters of men for themselves, whoever they chose. This seems to indicate to me some of the first sexual misconduct of mankind as they seem to have no regard for God’s institution of one man and one woman in holy union that He designed in the garden with Adam and Eve. It is important I think that the Bible goes directly from this statement on their sexual habits into God’s Spirit not striving forever with man and his flesh, when He limits man’s days to one hundred twenty years.

-The Nephilim are mentioned, which were mighty-legendary men of renown who were born of the sons of God and the daughters of men. This is a perplexing statement as to the meaning and why exactly it was included in the text of Scripture.

-Whatever the case, the LORD “saw that the wickedness of man was great (in other words, much or abundant) on the earth, and that every intent of the thought of his heart was only evil continually.” The sin nature was in full effect without the Law of God and His righteousness. God became grieved in His heart (Ephesians 4:30) and was sorry, or regretted, that He had even made man. However, God was not caught unaware; He had a plan for salvation in view, not only for this situation, but an eternal plan through the salvation eventually coming from Jesus Christ, His son, God in the flesh.

-God decided to blot out man, animals, creeping things, and birds because of His anguish and sorrow. But, His servant Noah somehow found favor in the eyes of the Lord. He was righteous and blameless, walking with God (same phrase used for Enoch, Genesis 5:24). Noah and his sons and their families were called to build the ark of gopher wood to escape the coming wrath of God upon the earth in the form of a flood, or deluge of water, which would destroy all flesh under heaven with breath of life. God looked at the earth with all its corruption and violence and had enough. His patience had ended, but He spared Noah and his line. He makes and establishes His covenant with Noah in order to save them.

-Description of the ark and how it was to be built is described. The animals are instructed to be brought into the ark to keep alive animals after their kind. Two of every kind, male and female, came to Noah on their own volition for their preservation. This opens up thought of God’s communication with animals and their obedience to their Creator. I have heard stories in natural disasters where no animal life was found dead on the scene. Somehow they had the instincts to leave a situation before it occurred. Certainly it is an interesting concept to contemplate.

-God also instructs Noah to take along edible food on the ark, which is obvious it would seem, but yet shows the compassion of the LORD and His concern for every detail for our survival.

-It is an important fact element in the last verse of the chapter that Noah did according to all that God had commanded him. He was not partial in his obedience; he completed it one hundred percent.

Verses to Memorize: Genesis 6:5, 8