The Man Abram

The Man Abram

Scripture: Genesis 12:1-20, Genesis 13:1-18, Genesis 14:1-16
Lesson: 7
Abram lived a life of faith as an example for all of us.
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For a fresh, practical look into God's Word, join us now for "central study hour." Pastor Doug Batchelor and the pastoral team share new insights into the weekly lesson study. Receive power for practical living today. Good morning. I'm so excited to welcome you here to another "central study hour," coming to you from the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church in Sacramento, California. We're glad that you're joining us from across the country and around the world three weeks delayed on various networks, listening on the radio, or watching us live this morning on the website at saccentral.

org. Happy Sabbath and I'm glad that you are tuning in for another blessed Sabbath day. And you are our extended Sabbath school family and so we're going to sing some requests that have come in. Our first one is--you'll find on 255. So pull out your hymnals and join with us, 255.

This comes from brenda palmer from blacklick, Ohio--let's see who we have here--mrs. Dial from nashville, tennessee, and kayleen roberts from grafton, new south wales, australia. Thank you so much for writing in. Two fifty-five, we'll do the st, 2nd, and 4th verse... [Music] Thank you so much for choosing that, that is one of my favorite songs.

I love that tune and the words to this, there's a beautiful story. Our opening song this morning is a request from all over the place. You'll find that on 516, "all the way my Savior leads me." Here we go. Fernon from saudi arabia, celeste from st. Martin, netherlands antilles, angela from Kingston, jamaica, anthony from memphis, tennessee, niva Paul Christies from st.

Lucia, Virginia, alexandria from willingboro, New Jersey, lucy and Isaac from mandeville, florida, judy and taska Isaac from st. John, antigua, patrick leddon, st. Catherine, jamaica, janet from dublin, ireland-- and I think that's one of our first requests from ireland--terrence clark from Kingston, jamaica, and wilbert charles from hyderabad, andhra pradesh, india. That's interesting because Pastor Doug and I and a couple other people from central--well, we're leaving tomorrow for andhra pradesh, india. So we have people that are watching all the way over there.

So that's very exciting. Thank you so much for writing in with that. Five sixteen, "all the way my Savior leads me." And we'll do all 3 verses... [Music] Thank you so much for sending in those requests. And I encourage you, if you have--it's probably time to start asking if you have favorite Christmas songs.

So go ahead and send them in and then we will have them in time to start singing those. Go to our website at saccentral.org and click on the "music" link and you can send them in that way. And we would love to hear from you. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for blessing us throughout this past week and for bringing us here this morning to spend time with you and to fellowship with our brothers and sisters.

We thank you so much for the blessings that you shower down on us. We don't deserve them. But because you came down to this earth and you died for us, we are your children. And father, you love us with an everlasting love. I just pray that we will reciprocate that in telling other people so that so many more can be ready for when you come.

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At this time, our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you, debbie, and our musicians, sang two of my favorite songs. I really love that song, "all the way my Savior leads me." You know, it's of course written by someone blind. And you look at the times in that hymn, fanny crosby that she refers to sight. "A spring of joy I see.

" She really meant something when she would use words like that. Talk about leading. If I do my math right, you look in the hymnal, it looks like she lived 95 years. God blessed her with a long life, one of the great hymn writers of the church. Welcome to our friends who are joining us on tv to Sabbath school at central church.

We are continuing in our study, dealing with "beginnings and belongings," talking about the great themes of Genesis. And we have a free offer for you we'd like to make available. And it's called, "is obedience legalism?" "Is obedience legalism?" If you'd like to obtain this, you just call the number you see on your screen. I'll tell you for those who are listening on radio, it's 866-788-3966. We just want to put these resources in your hands.

So please call for that. And we'll send that to you, "is obedience legalism?" And that will go well with our study this morning, that where we're talking about Abraham. Before we get to that, I just want to say a couple things to our friends who are watching. You maybe heard debbie allude to the fact that we are leaving for india. We have four people from central, 80 people from around the country, approximately, that are going to be traveling to southern india.

We're going with a special, Amazing Facts evangelistic mission. And we're building about 70, -0 churches, and doing meetings, 5 different meetings, but we're working with different villages where the churches are going to be. And so this is a very big, the biggest project, overseas project we've ever been involved in. So we appreciate your prayers. Of course, by the time this program broadcasts, we'll just be getting back, 'cause well, it's about a 3-week trip, a little more than that.

And so we do appreciate your prayers. We know there are a lot of people who are watching live on the internet right now. So some of you get this live weeks in advance. And if you want to know how to do that, those of you who are watching on the regular delay, just go to the Sacramento website, which is saccentral.org. And there you'll find not only how to watch this program, but we also have our worship service that is streaming live.

And maybe we'll even be sending some updates and pictures from the mission trip in india, if you keep track of that. Our study today is talking about the man abram. Now we've been going through the great pillars of Genesis and now we are talking about one of the great transitions in the history of the Bible. Let me put it to you this way: the plan of salvation is divided up in three major categories on a timeline. For roughly the first ,000 years of the world's history, God committed the oracles of truth to a group among the patriarchs.

There were faithful men among the patriarchs. And when I say patriarchs, I mean adam, Enoch, methuselah, Noah, and then shem. These were--they're not jews, they did not practice circumcision. They were just those who had embraced the true teaching of God. Then about the time of Abraham, who was born about 2004 b.

c., He chose Abraham to be The Father of the Hebrew nation. People say he's "The Father of the jews." Abraham technically was not a jew. The other ten tribes were from Israel. They were Hebrews. A jew is really from the tribe of judah, but the word is often used in a broader sense to include levi and Benjamin.

But the other ten tribes were really Hebrews, technically. So, I know sometimes the people in Canada-- how do I say this? They feel excluded. We always talk about North America like it's just the United States. They say, "hey, we're part of North America too." And so, you have sometimes that layover between Israel and the jews, they're really--the jews are Israelites, but not all Israelites are jews. Did that make sense? Okay.

That's--there's a little history that bears that out. So then for the next 2,000 years God preaches the Gospel and he "commits the oracles of truth" as Paul says, to the Jewish nation, the Hebrews. Abraham is the, he is the milestone where that changes. Then Christ comes. And now it's the last ,000 years through spiritual Israel or the church.

Now, did you get that? Got about 2,000 years the age of the patriarchs. Abraham Marks a new stage in the plan of salvation. He gives it to a special people, ,000 years through the jews. Then Christ comes and you've got then about 2,000 years through the church. The last--and then 1,000 years will be in heaven, living and reigning with the Lord, so for a total of 6,000.

Now I'm not setting dates. I'm just saying this is an approximate guideline that you can use. Have you thought about this before? With the call of Abraham--matter of fact, turn in your Bibles to Genesis chapter 11. And we're going to be looking at some verses together. Did I even do the memory verse? No, I haven't.

You've been waiting for me. The memory verse is Genesis 15:6, Genesis 15:6, why don't you say that with me. "And he believed in the Lord, and he accounted it to him for righteousness." Abraham believed in the Lord and he accounted it unto him for righteousness. By the way, I meet people and hear people say all the time, religious leaders from other persuasions, "in the old testament, they were under the old dispensation, they were saved by works. Now we're saved by grace.

" That is totally bogus. That is untrue. Abraham was not saved by works. The jews were not saved by works. And they almost make it sound like, "well God said, 'here's the Ten Commandments, keep it and you'll be saved.

But now, God says we're 'saved by grace.' Back then, they were saved by law." Nobody was saved by the law back then. Neither is anyone saved by the law now. We are saved by grace. The law was never intended to be a medium to save. The only way the law is involved in salvation in that it shows us our sin and drives us to Jesus for the grace and the mercy.

So Abraham believed and it was counted to him for righteousness. Okay, now go with me to Genesis 11:10. Matter of fact, let me just see, where are the microphones? Got one here. Got one here. Who will read Genesis--got my two most faithful here.

Bring, go ahead and bring a microphone to jason here and we'll start with you, jason. Why don't you read Genesis chapter 11:10. "These are the generations of shem: shem was 100 years old, and begot arphaxad 2 years after the flood." All right. Now, it says that he was years old and he had his first son 2 years after the flood. That answers any questions about "did they have any babies on the boat?" No.

The other thing you're noticing is how old is he when he's having his first son? That was really amazing for Abraham a few generations later because something began to happen to man's lifespan. Of course, shem lived a lot longer than Abraham. And his father, Noah, lived longer than him. The fact that Abraham could talk to shem, have you ever thought what that would mean? When I was born, there were still people alive who had talked to Abraham lincoln. You ever think about that? And when Abraham lincoln was alive, he actually had someone that fought in the civil war he wanted to-- patrick gass, who was on the lewis and clark expedition, he lived in '95, who talked to thomas jefferson.

I don't know if you realize that, that's a big spread. Think about Abraham being able to talk to shem, who lived in the world before the flood. And shem was able to talk to someone who talked to adam. So, the knowledge is not that far removed in those generations. Abraham had a lot of knowledge that was passed on.

And up to this time, did they have extensive scrolls that communicated truth and the record of the fall, and--? Or did they have just virtually photographic memories? I think, you know, when men were living hundreds of years, their minds were a lot clearer. They didn't have all of the-- probably the chemical pollutants and things that mess up our health now. And their minds were extremely sharp and retentive. And they had almost a photographic memory of things that were said. And they could recall the oracles of history that were passed on verbally, the sacred verbal record.

It wasn't until Moses that was encartified because man began to live three score and ten and begin to forget. So Abraham is called. You see something about his family tree here. And if we go down to--and it's telling you, verse 17-- well, no, I'm not going to read that one. "Serug lived," verse 22, "3o years, and begot nahor.

After he begot nahor, serug lived 200 years, and begot sons and daughters. Nahor lived 29 years, and begot terah. And after he begot terah, nahor lived 119 years, and begot sons and daughters. Now terah lived 70 years, and begot abram," that's kind of old to start your family. But you can still see, they were very virile for a long time in their life back then.

So when we hear about abram being 100 years old and having a son, that was not a miracle for Abraham. It was a miracle for Sarah, because even after Sarah died, Abraham got married again and had a whole oggle of other children, that he later probably regretted because some of them became enemies of God's people. Then it goes on to say, "this is the genealogy of terah:" verse 27, "terah begot abram, nahor, and haran." Now, you want to remember those names. They come up a lot. "Haran begot lot.

Haran died before his father terah in his native land of ur in the chaldees," mesopotamia. "Then abram and nahor took wives: the name of abram's wife was sarai, and the name of nahor's wife, milcah," you'll hear more about milcah all through Genesis, "the daughter of haran." You notice abram's marrying--nahor is marrying haran's daughter. It was not uncommon to marry cousins back then or even half-sisters. They married within the clan, so to speak. Cain married his sister.

Abram married his sister. Isaac married his cousin. Jacob married his cousin. It wasn't until the time of Moses, laws were made against marrying sisters, but you could still marry cousins at that point. And because of the genetic problems that could arise, they began to make laws against that.

And then it goes on to say, "but sarai was barren; and she had no child. And terah took his son abram and his grandson lot, and The Son of haran, and his daughter-in-law sarai, his son abram's wife, and they went out with them from ur of the chaldeans to go to the land of canaan; and they came to haran and dwelt there." Now--and then it goes on to say, let me finish this off, "so the days of terah were 205 years, and terah died in haran." Whose idea was it to leave mesopotamia? Was it terah or was it abram? Before you answer that, turn with me to acts chapter 7. And if you read in acts chapter 7--matter of fact, mike do you wanna, I don't know if you're ready. Acts 7:2; can you get that real quick? Go ahead. Read that for me.

"And he said, 'brethren and fathers, listen: the God of glory appeared to our father abram when he was in mesopotamia, before he dwelt in haran, and said to him, 'get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.'" All right, notice what's happening here. Abram's call was a call in at least two steps. First, he is called from--and his father's still with him. You notice it makes it sound like terah's the one who told them to go. He was the patriarch; he approved the journey, but who did God appear to? Acts tells us: abram.

You got that? First they go partway. Evidently, partway there the brother dies before The Father. They name the place haran after their brother that died there, abram's brother. That's why he adopts lot, his nephew. They stayed there for a while.

They began to get comfortable. God had to give them another call the second time to come all the way out and to come into the land of canaan. Okay? I hope that made sense to everybody. So the call comes in a couple of stages there. And if it wasn't for what stephen said in acts, we might be wondering if the call came to terah, based on Genesis, or if it came to abram.

Now Genesis chapter 12, this is the call you find--the second call. Verse 1 and 2, matter of fact, , 2, 3. You want to read that for me? Genesis 12 verses 1, 2 and 3. "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 show thee. 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.

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.'" This is one of the most important verses in the old testament. This is the first covenant that God makes with Abraham. It is a messianic covenant in nature. Look at all of the blessings and protection provisions that are in there. Now let's review this very quickly.

This comes, first of all, about 422 years after the last recorded communication with Noah. This is the first time God speaks audibly like this and gives a blessing, years after Noah. He says, "I will make you a great nation." "I'm going to bless you so that you become a multitude." Up until this time, what is his name? Abram. Abram means "ab," "abba," means father. Abram means just father.

Abraham means, "father of a multitude." He's not yet Abraham at this point when he first gets the call. He has wife, but no child. And she's been barren already before she's left. And he says, "I'm gonna make a great nation of you." So there's a promise there and they have no evidence of how he's gonna fulfill it. He says, "I'll bless you and make your name great.

" This also is understood that he's gonna bless him with wealth, which the Lord did. Point 3: "I will bless those who bless you." By the way, you need to find out who are the people that are blessed and hang around with them. It is a fool who walks with fools. Potiphar did better when he had Joseph in his house. The jailer did better when he had Joseph in his house, in his jail, right? You need to find out who are those people that are blessed by God, stick close to them.

You know, in our world, they say, "don't go into business with someone unlucky." I don't believe in luck. I believe that some people are blessed. Some people made bad choices. But if you see somebody that is blessed, that has the blessing of God on them, be friends with them. And it has a tendency to have overflow and you can soak some of that up.

I'm talking especially about spiritual blessings. You were thinking of it differently though, weren't you? "I'll bless those who bless you and I will curse him who curses you." You know that is also true not only of Abraham, that's true of God's people. The church is the object on earth upon which God bestows his supreme regard. The church is the apple of his eye. In the old testament times, it was especially the Jewish nation.

Now it's expanded also to include spiritual Israel, the apple of God's eye. Those who curse you--does is say that God's people will never suffer persecution, whether their jew or Christian? No. They do. But what happens to those who persecute them? Did God allow the Romans to destroy Jerusalem in 70 a.d.? Do you know what happened to the legion that destroyed them? The legion of Titus was vacationing in pompeii years later when it exploded and were killed. "I'll curse those who curse you.

" The Babylonians who destroyed Israel, Babylon fell. the Kingdom was no more and would never be rebuilt. I can just go through a lot of examples in the Bible. God doesn't say you won't suffer. But those who do persecute God's people, they suffer the most.

All right, let's keep on going here. And he says, "you'll be a blessing. Your life will be a blessing and the places where you sojourn," by worshipping the true God, he would bring that blessing. "In you shall all the families of the earth be blessed." "I'm going to bless you as a nation, but your nation is going to be the vehicle through which every other nation is blessed." The Messiah would come through the Hebrews. Now, as time goes by, that target narrows.

And we understand it's not only the Hebrews. It was not ishmael, but it was Isaac. Not only Isaac, but it would not be esau, it would be Jacob. Not only Jacob, it would not be the other 11 sons, but it would be judah. Not only judah, but the focus continues to narrow on The Sons of jesse.

And it would be descendent of David. And then that's finally when you reach the bull's-eye. We just learned that the Messiah's coming from The Son-- be a son of David. And so here is this promise that they would be the people that would be the nation of priests. And so he calls him out of ur.

I was looking at a slide. I wish I had put it on the screen. You can find it online if you type in "ur" and go to "images." They actually have a, still a great pyramid that's been excavated there that dates back to the time of Abraham. And theoretically Abraham and Sarah could have looked at this great zoogiarch, is that what you call them? That pyramid, the persian pyramid that they could have beheld. When Abraham is called, were the people now that had scattered from the tower of babel, are they worshipping the true God? Or what had happened to worship? It had digressed into worshipping many Gods.

And even if they worshipped one God, it was with idols. And so God called him away from idolatry. So let's move on here with our study on Abraham. We learned about the call. Then it talks about the faith of Abraham.

Go to Hebrews chapter 11. Oh, this is a long passage. I want someone to read Hebrews 11:17-19, Hebrews 11:17-19, go ahead. Bring the mic to birdie. Now, before you read that, birdie, I'm going to read the first part.

Hebrews 11:8 is where I'm going to start. When Paul, in Hebrews, talks about faith, he spends more time talking about the faith of abram or Abraham than anybody. He's really The Father of the faithful. And we'll look at why here. "By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out of the place where he would receive an inheritance.

And he went out, not knowing where he was going." Now, that takes a lot of faith when you're perfectly comfortable. When the children of Israel were called to come out of Babylon back into the promised land, they already had a pretty good idea of what it was like from their ancestors. But when Abraham is called to go to the land of canaan, could he get online and find out? I'm getting ready for this trip to india tomorrow night. I'm wondering what the temperature is, how to pack, so I just get on-line, I find out what the temperature was yesterday. There's even places you can go and you can have a live camera to see what's happening on the streets of ishka putnam or something.

I mean, you can go anywhere in the world on the internet now. Or you can call your friends and say, "what's happening there?" You can look at the news. What kind of technology did Abraham have to find out about this promised land? Could he look at postcards that had been sent by the canaanites? God said, "go west." And he just went by faith. "By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city that had foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Wow. That is such an important verse.

Why did Abraham not build a house like David or Solomon in the promised land? Didn't God give him the land? Wasn't he a mighty prince? Didn't the others there fear him? Why didn't he settle down and build a house? Because God told Abraham, this is the land that you will inherit. I'm gonna give it to your descendents, but you will really not inherit it until the resurrection when the new Jerusalem comes down. He looked for a city that had foundations. Now, abram sojourned. Are you a pilgrim? Or have you driven your foundation stones down in this world? Is this world your home? I like that song we used to sing when I went to a pentecostal church.

"This world is not my home, I'm just'a passing through. If heaven's not my home, oh Lord, what would I do? The angels beckon me through heaven's open door. I can't feel at home in this world anymore." Any of you remember that? I know that they don't only sing that in charismatic churches, but I used to like that song. We had a song--it may still be in our hymnal, "I'm a pilgrim and a stranger." Nobody sang it when it was in the old hymnal, 'cause it was 6-6-6. I mean, you know, when you say, "I'd like to sing 6-6-6.

" So I think it's a different one. So you're going to look that up and tell me if it's in there? Yeah, look it up. "I'm a pilgrim." I think it's in the new one too. Should be. "I'm a pilgrim, I'm a stranger.

I can tarry, I can tarry. But a night--" we don't sing much about that now. We get too comfortable in this world. But Abraham, who had a lot of money--talk about the nice house he could buy in Granite Bay. But he just lived in a tent.

It's still in there. What is it now? It's 4-4-4 now? "I'm a pilgrim and a stranger," -4-4, not 6-6-6. That's an improvement. We're getting closer. But he had this mentality of "this is not my home.

" He was investing in heaven. We're going to get to that later when we talk about melchizedek. Now let me finish this and then I'm gonna have birdie read her section, okay? "He looked for a city whose builder and maker is God. By faith Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past age," that means had gone through menopause, "because she judged him faithful who had promised." Not only the faith of abram, but you notice here the faith of who? Faith of abram and the faith of Sarah. "Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars in the sky in multitude, innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.

" There's a lot more about Abraham, but I'm going to jump down to verse 17. Birdie, you want to read that now? "By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice, he who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God has said to him, 'it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.' Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking he did receive Isaac back from death." Very good. What translation you reading? New king James. That's, yeah, that's good one. I appreciate that.

Abraham--what do you think was the supreme evidence of Abraham being an icon of faithfulness? What act in his life? There's a lot of things we could talk about. You could talk about the faith of leaving his home not knowing where he was going. That takes faith. It takes faith to believe that God is gonna make him The Father of a multitude when he doesn't have a single child and his wife is barren. It takes faith to go into battle against five Kings when you are a nomad with household servants.

Remember when he went into battle; he rescued lot? That takes faith. It takes faith to say, "I believe God is going to bless me and make me wealthy." And you get all the booty from that victory. He--there may have been millions of dollars by our standard. And he gave it away to the local priest, trusting that "if God's gonna make me wealthy, I'm not keeping the money from sodom and gomorrah. I'm not taking the easy route.

I'm gonna let God bless me and I'm not gonna have anyone say I took my money from sodom." Interesting. That takes faith. But what takes the most faith? God says, "take your son and offer him as a sacrifice." What did we just read here in Hebrews? Something you don't find in Genesis. Paul by inspiration knew that Abraham believed that even if--was Abraham prepared to bring the knife down and cut the throat of his son? Even if he did, Abraham believed God'll raise him up. I mean, it was such a miracle that Sarah had him, and since God said, "it is through Isaac a great nation will arise.

" And if God says, "kill him," Abraham said, "all right. I believe God must be willing to raise him up." And just before he brought the knife down, he had resigned himself, Isaac had resigned themselves, figuratively, they were dead. They said we're going to go through with it. That's why it says here in figure he did receive him back from the dead, when he untied him and put the ram in his place. That's one of the great monuments in the Bible of faith.

When you take that which is the most precious to you and put it on the altar. Do you have the faith of Abraham? Figure out what is the most precious thing in this world to you. It may be, hopefully it's not some thing, hopefully it's more some one. We're supposed to use things and love people, right? Some people love things and use people. Would you put it on the altar, and say, "Lord, I'm willing to lose this for you.

" I know one lady that she accepted the truth, was coming to church, and then her attendance began to be sporadic. And I said, "sister what's the problem?" And she said, "oh, my husband, he's not a believer and he wants me to, you know, go do things with him on Sabbath. And you know, I've got to spend time with my husband." I said, "you need to put God first. I believe you should respect and honor your husband, but not ahead of God." Her husband got in a construction accident, was in critical condition when I went to visit him in icu. And the sister said, "the Lord is showing me that I need to put him first.

I was putting my husband first and he almost took him away." And the best thing you can do for whoever you love is to put God first. The best thing that Abraham could do for Isaac was to offer Isaac. Did Isaac ever forget the priority that his father put on God? No. And he kept the same priority. So he put him on the altar.

That was the great monument of faith. And of course, don't miss the symbolism there. I never like to go by this story without reminding our listeners the whole Gospel is there, in that Abraham makes a journey for days to the mountain. Then he walks up the hill with his son, making it 1/2 a day. And offers him there, /2 days, from Christ's baptism to his sacrifice is 3 1/2 days-- /2 years rather.

On the way up the hill, The Son has the wood on his back. And he says, "where is the lamb?" They've got what it takes to make the fire. And he says, "God will provide himself a lamb." That's one of the great statements of the Bible. Then when John the baptist points to Jesus and says, "this is the lamb of God," that was the fulfillment of when Abraham said to Isaac, "God would provide himself a lamb." Jesus, God The Son, provided himself a lamb. When they get to the top of the mountain, the substitute for Isaac, and by the way, you've got The Father and The Son going to the place of sacrifice together.

Is it just Jesus who died or did The Father feel a death in his heart? Now, what takes more love? The Bible says, "for God so loved the world, he gave his son." That's the greatest thing was the love of God. You notice the Bible makes it a lot more about the faith of Abraham than the faith of Isaac. It took faith on Isaac's part; faith in his father to go through in reverence for his father, but the great faith was faith in Abraham in God that he could raise him from the dead. And then when they're at the top of the mountain, and the angel says, "hold your hand," they show him a ram in a thicket. And the word thicket there in Hebrew is a thorn bush, caught by the horns.

So you've got a ram with a crown of thorns, another type of Christ. So the symbolism in the story is just astounding. It's one of the great, as I like to say, storicals of salvation that you find in the Bible. So here is where Abraham is shining in a special way. Then when we move on in the story of Abraham, we've got a little strife here.

Someone read for me Genesis 13:7-8. Someone maybe hasn't read for us yet like to do that. Genesis 13:7-8. Got a volunteer? I see a hand here. "And there was a strife between the herdsmen of abram's cattle and the herdsmen of lot's cattle.

And the canaanites and the perizzites dwelt in the land. And abram said unto lot, 'let there be no strife I pray thee between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we be brethren.'" Amen. Now, here they are the same family. God had blessed them so much that because of their great blessings--and by the way, it says, "the Lord blessed Abraham," and in Hebrew it says, "he was heavy with wealth." And by the way, wealth can weigh you down. That's why the Bible says, "it's hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom.

" It's interesting that one of the popular deviant theologies that's being preached today is what they call, "prosperity preaching," that if you really have enough faith then God is going to bless you and Christians are supposed to be wealthy, healthy and wise. And if you're not wealthy enough, you just don't have enough faith. How many of you heard this? And you never hear them refer to that statement where Jesus said; "it's harder for a rich man to get into the Kingdom than a camel to go through the eye of a needle." Yes, there are exceptions in the Bible. And God does want to bless his people. But what the real blessing he wants to bless them with? Physical wealth, that will weigh them down or spiritual wealth? Sometimes in order to save God's people, he needs to divest them of their weight.

Sometimes our blessings come from God, and I'll submit to you that sometimes the devil will cast prosperity into a person's path to destroy them. Abram was blessed. But his blessings sometimes became a problem. I mean, here it's a problem. Solomon was blessed, had so much money, he had too many wives.

And the wives turned his heart away from God. Isn't that right? And we could go down the line. You could see a number of places when Saul was small in his own eyes he did fine. When he became king, he became proud. With wealth is power; power corrupts.

And you've heard it said, "absolute power corrupts absolutely." But power has a corrupting influence, and money. Money's not evil. "The love of money is the root of all evil." And you need to just make sure that it's not weighing you down. So here it caused strife. Abraham said, "look, let there be no strife.

You go to the right. I'll go to the left. You go to the left, I'll go to the right. Lot should have said, "Abraham, uncle abe, you rescued me, you adopted me, you choose. I'm the minor.

You choose." But lot was a little grasping and he chose. And he chose poorly. Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you try to choose the best for yourself it backfires? Every now and then I am ashamed to tell you that I am selfish. Well, I'm selfish more than I'm gonna tell you. But I'm ashamed to tell you sometimes I'm at the Market and I'm in a hurry.

I'm always in a hurry. I'm impatient. God's working on me. And I think, I'll look at the lines and everybody and I'll be walking towards a line, and I usually shop in small things. I've got two or three things.

I never go fill a cart. I got two or three things and as I'm walking towards the checkout, I see somebody pushing a basket. And they got 20 things. And I'm calculating who's gonna get there first. And so I try to look like I'm not in a hurry, but I start walking really fast.

And you know what invariably happens when I'm selfish like that? I get there, I might jump in before this person that got a cart full, the cash register breaks, or somebody gets in line and they're counting out 500 coupons, or they keep trying all their credit cards in their wallet with 400 credit cards and none of them are working. I just, something goes wrong, matter of fact, it's such a joke between me and the Lord that whenever I get into line and someone gets into line behind me, I said, "you picked the wrong line," I said, "because I always pick the slowest line there is." It usually backfires when you think selfishly to get ahead. You try to pick the biggest pie piece and you manage to get the piece of the apple pie that has the worm in it. It just, it works that way. When you're selfish always as a Christian you should let others have preference before you.

That's the attitude of Christ, isn't it? "Let not every man look upon the things of himself, but each others." We're naturally selfish; so Abraham had the right attitude. He picked poorly. He went down to sodom and he lost everything, didn't he? Lot went to sodom thinking there would be some financial advantage. He lost everything because of his bad choice. Romans 12:10, someone read that for me.

You didn't know I was going there. So I'll give you a chance to look that up. Jesus said in John 13:35, "by this will all men know that you are my disciples, by your love for one another." Christians should love one another. We should give preference to one another. How do you think it looks to the world when Christians are suing each other? Isn't that terrible when that happens? And you know I know there's a time you have to do it.

Unfortunately, even in the church marriages fall apart and there's divorce. It's really sad when two people who are supposedly Christians get lawyers involved and there are these vicious battles, not only over custody, you can understand wanting to share children, vicious battles over the materialism and the possessions. That's so sad. I mean, if Christians, it's bad enough that they're to get a divorce, but if they're going to do it, if there is such a thing, do it like Christians. Can you do that? Can you divorce like Christians? Doesn't sound right, does it? Other Christians in business together, some dispute over something, they get attorneys, and trying to sue each other's shirts off.

I would like to tell you that if Christians have to resolve a difference like this, if they can't do it peacefully, try the church first. Did you know that's what the Bible says? Go to the church and say, "we'd like to ask someone in the church to mediate. My partner and I in this business, we're going to have to separate the business and we need Christian mediation. We don't want to get lawyers involved." By the way, in case you didn't know it, lawyers do not make money unless you litigate. As soon as you call a lawyer and say, "we want you to help resolve this," they want you to entrench, they want you to fight for as much as you can get, because they get paid based on how much you get.

And so you're basically asking for it to get ugly. I'm just talking to you, is it okay for me to talk to you straight like this? I've got enough experience where I know what I'm talking about, unfortunately. And what is it they say? You've heard it said, "where there's a will, there's a lot of relatives." You thought I was going to say, "where there's a will, there's a way." But as a pastor, it's so sad how many times you get calls from people in the same church and some family member died and there's a will and all the sudden they want the church to intervene. And they're all fighting over the family couch or something. It's pathetic.

Christians. "We are brethren, let there be no strife." The world laughs. All men are supposed to know we're Christians by our love for one another. Did someone find Romans 12:10? Got a hand back there. Hold your hand up.

Okay. Who's got the microphone? Okay. You got that? Romans chapter-- what did I say--? :10. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." It talks about here, "be kindly affection to one another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another." That's the same spirit. We should have this love for each other.

Corinthians 6, "but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!" It is a tragedy. I heard one time about a farmer who was watching, he heard this screech up in the sky. And he looked up and he saw two eagles, two bald eagles were battling over a fish that one of them had caught. And they were just in this embroiled combination of feathers and fight, squawking as they tumbled towards the ground. And pretty soon he noticed that the fish fell away, but they would not let go of each other.

They had grabbed each other in their fight and something about an eagles talons, it's hard for them sometimes to let go of something when the talon locks. When they press in, it's almost got this locking mechanism. And they had locked their talons on each other and they were tumbling towards the ground until they crashed, and they both died over a fish. Christians have done same thing. Destroyed their experience, killed their witness because they're fighting over possessions with someone else.

Now we go into the other section here. And we'll probably only have time to finish this up. Melchizedek and abram. And you find about this in Genesis 14:1-16. Let me give you the quick overview of this.

And I don't even know if I'm gonna have time to do much more than this. I'll pace myself. Lot and abram separate. Lot goes to the valley of sodom. He casts his tent towards sodom.

You notice when he first starts, he's just got his flocks there, 'cause there's a lot of green grass. By 19 of Genesis you find he's in sodom. And we'll talk about that in future studies. He is carried away captive when these Kings up by damascus-- there's a confederacy of five Kings led by chedor-laomer-- they come down. They attack sodom and gomorrah.

And the four cities of the plain, zorah and I can't remember the forth one. And carry them and all their possessions back up to the north. Well, when one of the people who survived the attack comes to Abraham who is--keep in mind Abraham is very wealthy. He's got a lot of flocks and herds, a lot of servants. And his camp fills the country of hebron or shechem.

And when this messenger comes he says, "they've conquered sodom and gomorrah and they've taken away lot and his household and his family and all the possessions of all the people." Think about how wealthy just lot was that they had to separate. Well, this is all the wealth of sodom and gomorrah and those four kingdoms. Lot, Abraham wants to rescue his nephew. And so he talks to one of his friends, mamre, another rich nomad who lives in the land. They get together.

They combined Abraham's servants, plus the servants of mamre, and they go and they join an attack against these five kingdoms. They catch them at night. They're all drunk. They're celebrating their great victory. They catch them completely unaware.

And they just totally decimate these Kings. And they liberate everybody who had been captured. It is a total victory. Keep that in mind, before sodom and gomorrah are destroyed, they are saved. Some say, "once you're saved, you can't be lost.

" They had been saved, but they didn't repent. That was a judgment that God allowed to get their attention. They were probably up there praying that God would rescue them and they were rescued. And they went back to their wicked ways. So on their way back, this great parade, this victorious procession, he's redeemed them.

Abraham has redeemed them, like Christ, he saved them. He's a Savior. They go through the mountains of around mount moriah, where later he's going to be offering Isaac, and there is a priest there, this enigmatic character. What's his name? Melchizedek. His name means king of righteousness.

He is the King of a little village called salem, which is later known--and that word means, it's shalom, that's what's it is. That's how you say peace. It's the greeting. It's hello. It's good-bye.

Shalom for the jews is like aloha for the Hawaiians. It's a little of everything. It's a greeting of peace. It's a farewell. It's love.

It's the whole thing. And so here melchizedek, this king of righteousness, who is also a priest of the most high God--so he is a king-priest of righteousness, who lives in salem, later known as jeru shalom, city of peace. This person is obviously a type of Christ, that's melchizedek. When Abraham gets there, now, everyone wonders, "who was this?" Some have speculated, you can't prove it, but some have speculated that melchizedek actually was shem, who was still alive at this point, that he had left or come to join after terah left, because they had given themselves over to idolatry so much, he had come to this place. And he is this great patriarch, this son of Noah.

We don't know that, but when you look at the genealogy, he could have still been alive. And I think he was just one of the people who was worshipper of the true God. Some say this was Jesus or this was the Holy Spirit. No, he was a real person. And the reason they say that is 'cause they read in Hebrews where it talks about melchizedek, Hebrews 7:1, "for this melchizedek, king of salem, priest of the most high God, who met abram returning from the slaughter of the Kings and blessed him, to whom Abraham gave a tenth part of all, being first by interpretation 'king of righteousness,'" that's what his name means, "and after that king of salem, which is 'king of peace, without father or mother," they say "ah-ha, this was not a human.

He had no father or mother. That's not what Paul means. What Paul means is when he says, "without father or mother," is there's no record of his genealogy. So often in the Bible you can find people in the various genealogies. He suddenly appears.

There's no record of his genealogy. So it says without father and mother, we don't know, you know, who's family he came from or what tribe he came from. He's a type of Christ in that he has no beginning or end. That's all he's saying. He was a real person.

"Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but he's made like unto The Son of God," he would have said he's The Son of God right here, but he didn't say that, did he? He said he's a type of, "like unto The Son of God." Melchizedek was a type of Christ. But he was a real person, a real king, a real priest there. He took these tithes. You know, when we make our offerings to God, in the Christian religion we do not do the offerings the way they do in the buddhist religion or some of the hindu religions, where you put fruit before an idol and the idol can't eat it? The idea that Abraham would have given all of this wealth to a spirit is unbiblical. See what I'm saying? That Jesus somehow was gonna try to put this in u-hauls and drive it to heaven? No.

Nowhere in the Bible does God ever ask for offerings to be given to angels or spirits that can't use it. Melchizedek was a real person. Say "amen." So, just that's clear, 'cause I meet people, even in my church, who says, "you know, this was Jesus or this was the Holy Spirit or an angel or something, and-- no, and they take that verse there in Hebrews. And so here he gives a tithe of all. And this is one of the first examples we find in the Bible of a tenth being given.

He let the rest of all the bounty of the war go back to the people. And he gave a tithe of it all. He said, "other than what has been eaten in route." You know, he said, "my soldiers ate some of it." And he said, "otherwise, I'm not going to take a shoelace from sodom." Boy, that takes a pretty big man to say, "I am not going to take what I have every--" whoever rescues you, they get all the proceeds of war. It's sort of like international salvage. If you salvage a ship that is abandoned out in the international waters, you got a right to whatever's on the ship.

If you conquer a country, you got a right to all the bounty of war. He refused that right, because he thought it might be tainted by evil, or misunderstood, or people were going to say he was rich with the wealth of sodom. He said, "if God's gonna bless me, I want it to come supernaturally through my trusting in God." Sometimes we try to rush ahead of the Lord. Abram did that when he took hagar, didn't he? He said, "I'm trying to help God out." And that's not the way, that's not the way God works and wants to bless us. So melchizedek is a type of Christ, king of righteousness, king of salem.

He's a priest and a king as our Jesus, our high priest. Amen?

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