48 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 4 - Book 4 - Sodom and Gomorrah

48: Lesson 3 Part 4 Book 4 – Sodom and Gomorrah: Genesis 16-20

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 4

SODOM AND GOMORRAH

Genesis 16-20

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Now then, if you’ll pick up with me in Genesis, Chapter 20. The children of those two daughters who had children by their father Lot, also joined the ranks of the Arab nations who became the enemies of Israel. In our next lesson I’ll try to chart the family tree, showing everyone who came out of Terah, the Father of Abraham. This will help you see, as they intermarried with these forefathers up in Syria (who were really the family of Terah), how the whole Middle East and all of these enmities are within the family.

Mark Twain said statistics could lie like the dickens. But if you are aware of statistics at all, something like 75% or 80% of all murders take place within the family. You have it here; the intense hatred of all the kinfolk associated with Abraham. Remember, this is Abraham’s 99th year. Just before we got to Chapter 19 we saw that Ishmael was 13 years old. As I reckon time, Chapter 20 has to be the time when Sarah is about to have Isaac. Ever since the Garden of Eden, Satan is going to continually try to thwart God’s plan of redemption by prohibiting the appearance of The Messiah. That means he is going to do everything he can to destroy the Jewish people. If you wonder why the Jewish people have gone through such terrible times in their history, it is the satanic effort to keep the Messiah from coming. The one you remember the best, is when Herod made the decree to kill all the boy babies. What was the purpose? To kill the Messiah. In the Book of Esther, Haman, that Jew hater, had convinced the king (Esther’s husband) to annihilate the Jewish people. Without realizing what he was doing, the King put out the decree. So you see there has been this constant effort, satanically inspired, to thwart God’s plan of redemption. In Genesis Chapter 20, although Abraham was a man of faith, I think the power of Satan so beset him that we almost see Sarah lose out.

Genesis 20:1

“AND Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.”

Gerar was a boarder town between Canaan and Egypt. Abraham had learned his lesson once that he was not to go into Egypt. He doesn’t go into Egypt, but he gets as close as he can by sitting on the border. I call this “fence dwelling.” This is a picture of some Christians. They want one foot in the world but they want one foot in The Lord’s business, so they are `on the fence.’ It won’t work. But Abraham goes down and dwells in the border town of Gerar.

Genesis 20:2a

“And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, `She is my sister:…'”

There are lots of interesting tidbits here. Sarah is ninety, and is still so attractive that old Abraham knew the minute these pagans saw her (and in perfect accord with the Laws of Hammurabi) they could take Sarah into the king’s harem. At ninety! So again, Abraham is going to use the same ploy, “Well now, Sarah, if they come for you, don’t tell them you’re my wife; tell them you’re my sister.” He avoided a total lie as she was a half sister. The Scripture doesn’t say it but according to the time element, she must be pregnant with Isaac. This is why I think Satan is going to use every opportunity to prevent his birth.

Genesis 20:2b

“…and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.”

Well, Abraham wasn’t worried for nothing. But God will intervene now, as He is intensely interested in this promised child, Isaac.

Genesis 20:3,4

“But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a mans wife.” Remember, he gets this by way of a dream. “But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, `Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?'” In other words, Abimelech is pleading, “I’m not guilty; are You going to put me to death anyway?”

Genesis 20:5,6

“Said he not unto me, `She is my sister?’ and she, even she herself said, `He is my brother (she went along to protect Abraham):’ in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream, `Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.'”

We’ll not finish the Chapter. You can do that in your leisure. But, Abraham and Sarah now take off back to where they belong, which is in the main area of Canaan. Beersheba, in the southernmost part of Canaan, is where Abraham takes up his major dwelling place. Now to Chapter 21. This is one of my favorite lessons in all of Scripture. I have a lot of them, but this one is the epitome of how all of Scripture fits together in order to teach a New Testament truth. Previously, we read that Hagar fled from Sarah, and God told her to go back and dwell with Abraham and Sarah. I told you that God had a reason for it, and here it comes.

Genesis 21:1,2

“AND the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.”

With God there are no if’s, and’s, or but’s. Everything is concise. So Sarah’s about to have her promised child, precisely when God said.

Genesis 21:3

“And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.”

Scripture is very careful to show us that even though this birth is miraculous, this is the way it happened. Now in verse 4, according to the Covenant that God had instructed in previous chapters:

Genesis 21:4-7

“And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was an hundred years old (divisible by 5, remember) , when his son Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said, `God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.’ And she said, `Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.'” Who would imagine at the age of ninety that she would not only have a child, but nurse it!

Genesis 21:8

“And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.”

I don’t like to imply things that are not, but especially back then, and I think even into the present time, many of the tribes in the Middle East wean their children at three, four and sometimes even five years old. So, when these lads were weaned, they were of a pretty good stature and had a pretty good understanding.

Genesis 21:9

“And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian (Ishmael, who was fourteen years old), which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.”

This got at the heart of the true mother. She couldn’t stand to see this teenage lad torment her own child. So Sarah gets all upset.

Genesis 21:10

“Wherefore she said unto Abraham (underline the next two words), `Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.'”

She is speaking from a mother’s heart, but also speaking the truth of God. For didn’t God say, “Oh, this son that will be born, the promised son, is the one in whom the Covenant will continue.” There is more here than meets the eye. Ishmael and Hagar were sent back and have now spent some twelve or thirteen years under the roof of Abraham’s tent. But now Isaac arrives, becomes a little lad, and now the instruction is to cast Hagar out. Continue on so you’ll see that this is not just a human dilemma. From Abraham’s point of view it was grievous as he had come to love Ishmael.

Genesis 21:11,12

“And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham (I want you to realize that God is instructing now), `Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee (what did she say? Cast them out), hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.'”

Remember a couple of chapters ago we showed you that the Greek word `seed’ used here is singular, and refers to Galatians 3:16; where it says, that seed “is Christ.” So it will be through this Covenant line of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon and all the way until finally we come to Mary, and The Christ is born.

Genesis 21:13

“And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation (God making the promise He made before), because he is thy seed.” Even today the Arab people still adamantly claim that Abraham is their father.

Please go to Galatians, Chapter 4. This is the beauty of studying, especially Genesis, how Genesis fits so wonderfully with all the New Testament; in particular, I think, with the writings of Paul. As you read the Book of Galatians, remember the reason it was written. Paul wrote it under extreme circumstances. He had an eye disease problem, and normally had a scribe take dictation. Now, however, word was coming back to the apostle that the churches he had established in Asia Minor (which is present day Turkey), were being besieged with Judaizers saying they couldn’t be saved unless they kept the Jewish Law; circumcision and the rest. They fell for it. After all, you know that works always appeal to the human intellect. When Paul got news that these Galatian believers were turning back under legalism, he didn’t wait for his scribe to come. Apparently because of the urgency of the hour, belabored as he was and with poor eyesight, he wrote this letter himself.

Galatians 4:19-22,23

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice (I think He is saying, “I’m going to have to shout at you to get your attention.”); for I stand in doubt of you. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law (you who want to go back under legalism), do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid (Ishmael by Hagar), the other by a freewoman (Isaac by Sarah).” Isn’t it amazing that we come here to those events which took place 2000 years earlier, and Paul now says … “But he who was of the bondwoman (Ishmael) was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman (Isaac) was by promise.”

Remember I pointed out to you in Genesis 17 that God had nothing to do with the birth of Ishmael; that it was all man’s idea. Now here it comes. Ishmael was born of the flesh but he, Isaac, of the freewoman was by promise. For twenty-five years God had promised Abraham, “You’re going to have a nation come from you; you’re going to have a son.” You see, this was the son of promise.

Galatians 4:24

“Which things are an allegory (a living illustration of something): for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage (which is Hagar), which is Agar.”

Let’s use the following illustration and maybe it will help.

Ex. 19 & 20 -God -Law -Moses -Law to Israel

Gal. 1:17 & 4:25 -God -Grace -Paul -Grace to Gentiles & Jews

Way back here at Mount Sinai, after Israel had come out of Egypt, they had crossed the Dead Sea and encamped around the mountain. God called to Moses and told him to come up into the mountain. There, God gave Moses the Law – the Ten Commandments. Now Moses comes down off the mountain and who does he give the Law to? Israel. See? Now, answer my question. Who did God use to give the Law to the Nation of Israel? A man!

He gave it to Moses up there on the mountaintop. Moses came down off the mountain and gave God’s Law to the Nation of Israel. This is a comparison, then, with Ishmael because Israel, as I have been pointing out since we came up through Genesis, is God’s earthly people with earthly promises. Everything concerning them is earthly. So Ishmael, also, was of the flesh by way of the slave girl. Consequently, the allegory is that the Law given to Israel through Moses was fleshly; it was carnal. Don’t get me wrong. The Law was spiritual. It was God’s perfect Law, but in its setting, its usage and its practice, it was fleshly. It depended upon the activities of the people who were under that Law.

Galatians 4:25,26

“For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.” At the time Paul is writing Galatians, about 58 A.D., the Temple is still operating in Jerusalem. Israel is still under the Law. They are still practicing it. Sacrifices are being offered by the thousands. “But Jerusalem which is above (heavenly)is free, which is the mother of us all.”

He is now referring to Sarah, who was the freewoman who had the child by promise, and who stands in contrast to the Law as it was given to Moses at Sinai.

Galatians 4:29

“But as then he that was born after the flesh (Ishmael) persecuted him that was born after the Spirit (Isaac), even so it is now.”

Throughout human history, religionists have been the biggest persecutors of the true believers. Religionists – in the name of religion they persecute the true believer. Paul indicated here in verse 29 that, “so it has always been and always will be.”

Galatians 4:30,31

“Nevertheless what saith the scripture (not what some denomination says; not what Judaism says; not what anyone else says, but what the The Word of God say?)? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”

Study the diagram on page 92 again. Standing over against Sinai and the giving of the Law we have the same God who now speaks from Heaven to the Apostle of the Gentiles. He gives to Paul those doctrines of grace. Paul comes from that three-year, Mount Sinai experience, and now comes to the Gentiles with this message of grace; not to the Nation of Israel, but to the Gentiles. It is all heavenly connected, whereas Israel was earthly. Turn to Romans Chapter 6 and maybe we can put the frosting on the cake. Beloved, the whole world of Christendom is constantly trying to subjugate us to legalism. Even good men are writing books trying to convince the Christian of legalism. Legalism is simply anything we can do in the energy of the flesh as against the finished work of the Cross, which is by faith, and by faith alone. I think the following Scripture says it all. Plain English! There is no getting around it. Paul states:

Romans 6:14

“For sin (`old Adam’ – or old sin nature) shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under (what?) grace.”

Do you see the big difference? I have been amazed that so many people come into my classes and say they have never heard there was a difference between Law and Grace. There is all the difference in the world. It’s like daylight and dark to come out of the darkness of legalism, and to step into the light of God’s grace. Remember that grace is unmerited favor. Nothing that I can do will count with God. It is all based on what He has done on my behalf!

Romans 6:15

“What then? shall we sin (shall we let old Adam control our lives?), because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”

See the difference? Paul is constantly reminding us of this very thing; that our Salvation is based on the grace of God, and not on anything that we can merit. Legalism – God hates it! That’s why He told Abraham to cast out Hagar and Ishmael. I always point out when teaching this to notice that He didn’t tell Abraham to give Ishmael a separate tent so he wouldn’t have to go too far. That isn’t what He said. He said to cast them out. Sarah said it all when she said, “He shall not dwell under the same roof with my son.” Now, put that into the context. Law and Grace cannot mix.

47 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 3 - Book 4 - Sodom and Gomorrah

47: Lesson 3 Part 3 Book 4 – Sodom and Gomorrah: Genesis 16-20

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 4

SODOM AND GOMORRAH

Genesis 16-20

Take your Bible and trace the references with us. I want you to be able to study and understand how exciting it really is. My desire is to teach the Bible in such a way you can take it into a Sunday school class, or enlighten some people regarding Spiritual things. Now to Genesis Chapter 19. In our last chapter we saw Lot, who had left his uncle Abraham up in the mountains, and he pitched his tent toward Sodom. Here, Lot is a perfect illustration of a backslidden, carnal believer. The Bible calls him a believer, which is hard to imagine, but we’ll look at the Scripture that prove he was.

Lot has not only pitched his tent toward Sodom, but he is in Sodom. He has been so much a part of the city that he has become one of the city leaders. He is sitting at the gate, which indicates his important position. Back in Chapter 18, two angels had accompanied The Lord. Although they appeared as three men, it was The Lord and two angels. The two angels have now approached Lot at the gate. It is almost sundown. Lot, realizing what the people of Sodom will attempt to do to two strange men, quickly invites the men into his own home. I mentioned before this gesture indicated the hospitality that Abraham also showed back in Chapter 18. More than that, however, Lot realizes what may happen. So he invites them in, but they refuse. My closing remark in the last chapter was, “How would you like to be in Lot’s shoes?” knowing what would befall these men if they spent the night in the street. Lot now says:

Genesis 19:2,3

“And he said, `Behold now, my lords (`lords’ here being merely a term of address), turn in, I pray you, into your servants house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways.’ And they said, `Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.’ And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.”

The unleavened bread must have some significance. The only thing I can surmise is that Lot associates this unleavened bread with his spiritual state of believing. I can’t be sure. But unleavened bread, especially in the Law, indicates something special – the absence of sin is always represented by leaven.

Genesis 19:4

“But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:”

We can’t imagine a city that had the moral climate of Sodom. We may have areas that are getting close, but at least does not envelope an entire city. However, Sodom is not nearly the size of San Francisco or New York. But Sodom had come to the place where the whole population was wrapped up in this immoral lifestyle.

Genesis 19:5,6

“And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, `Where are the men which came in to thee this night (see how fast the news spread)? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.'”“Know them'” is the Scriptural term for intimate relations. They actually wanted these two men for their lustful purposes. “And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,”

Lot stepped out on the front stoop and began to plead with this crowd of Sodomites. This shows us how far down the ladder Lot had slipped. I have a hard time comprehending how he deals with these ungodly citizens of Sodom, saying:

Genesis 19:7,8a

“And said, `I pray you (or beg you), brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man;…'”

Lot’s girls were probably late teenagers – young, virgin women. Imagine a father willing to throw his daughters “to the wolves.” He said, “You can have them, but leave these two men alone.”

Genesis 19:8b,9

“…let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, `Stand back.’ And they said again, `This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge (meaning Lot. They know he’s an outsider who came in long after Sodom had been established. They are castigating him for taking a place of authority when he never was really one of them): now will we deal worse with thee, than with them.’ And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.”

I think Lot’s life was in danger. In spite of offering his own daughters, his own life was in danger. So the angels use their power.

Genesis 19:10,11

“But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.”

For years I would almost try to circumvent Chapter 19. I didn’t even like to bring it up, especially in a mixed class. Now it is in every page of our newspapers and magazines. We are being confronted with the `so-called’ alternative lifestyle of the homosexual. Beloved, the Scripture never gives it that much credibility. It is not an alternative lifestyle: it is wickedness, an abomination, and sinful to the ‘nth degree. For that reason God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. There may be those who say, “Wait a minute – this is Old Testament!” Well, let’s see what the New Testament says. Turn to Romans Chapter 1, which doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Paul is writing to the Gentiles, but he could very well be writing to us now.

Romans 1:18

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;”

We are living in the time Paul refers to as the Age of Grace. Paul makes it clearly evident that where sin abounds, grace is always greater. I want to say to any homosexual that homosexuality is still a sin that the grace of God can overcome. Things have not changed in that God hates the sin, but loves the sinner. Never lose sight of that. Look at what Paul says here, “The wrath of God is revealed against ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” The truth here refers to the Word of God. I don’t care how sophisticated men may claim to be. (When I use the word men, I’m indicating the whole human race.)

Several years ago I was reading a magazine that had a lady editor. The magazine had an article written by a lady. I use the term loosely. In describing activities in New York City, she made a derogatory statement regarding those of us in rural America; saying that we couldn’t comprehend that kind of lifestyle because we’re not as sophisticated as they. I’m a farmer, and I make no apologies for it. I’ve been acquainted with barnyard morality since I was old enough to walk. Yet, our country has reached the place where the people who live a barnyard morality are the ones who think they are sophisticated. They’re not sophisticated. They’re right down in the mud. We have to look at what the Bible says, not what sociologists say. I don’t care what the psychologists say. The only thing that counts is the truth of The Word of God, and the truth of the Word of God is that God hates sin. People try to explain away homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle, but the Bible says it is sin. Continue with verse 21. Read the surrounding verses at your leisure.

Romans 1:21,22

“Because that, when they (the human race, who have always had a witness) knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened (by a judicial act of God, believe it or not). Professing themselves to be wise (educated with degrees behind their names; but as far as God is concerned…), they became fools,”

When so-called highly intellectual people spout these ridiculous statements, don’t be shocked. Is exactly what God says will happen. In verse 23 we have the downward progression. I think it is safe to say that in Romans Chapter 1 we have not only the track record of the human race in general, but empire after empire in particular; then to nations in particular, and finally the individual.

Romans 1:23

“And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”

This began at the Tower of Babel when idolatry and worship of images arose. It has been downhill ever since. Empires have started with something better than that, and they, too, end up on this downward track. Verse 24 tells us that when mankind began to turn his back on the One True God and began to worship idols, and things made with men’s hands (watch the language), then…

Romans 1:24

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:”

God gave them up. That is an `act.’ He didn’t give them up to something higher; He gave them up to something lower. So He gave them up to uncleanness. When I teach Romans verse by verse, I indicate that in verse 25 we still have immorality heterosexually (between the sexes). In verse 26 we see yet another step downward.

Romans 1:25,26

“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:”

This is just plain English! God gave them up again, not to what might be considered `common immorality’ between the sexes, but this time to a lower level – to `vile affections.’

Romans 1:27

“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly (unnatural), and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

You can’t explain this away. Yet, we have denominations having problems whether or not they want this kind of people in the pulpit! We have to call sin, sin! The Bible does! I’m still being loving. I want you to remember that God hates the sin, but He loves the sinner. God is ready in a moment to offer Salvation to them. In verse 28, this becomes the whole preoccupation in their thinking.

Romans 1:28

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (natural or normal);”

Verse 29 gives a vivid description of their community. This is what Sodom was, and this is what any community will become when homosexuality takes over and becomes the norm.

Romans 1:29 & 32

“Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication (immorality), wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,” Those are sober words. Now verse 32.

“Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

One commentary says they applaud (have pleasure in them). The Greek seems to imply that not only do they agree with that kind of lifestyle, they actually promote it and applaud those who practice it. Enough said. In II Peter, Chapter 2 we get still another picture of the environment of Sodom with regard to Lot. Some of you may ask how in the world I can make a statement to the effect that Lot is a believer. Well, I don’t make it, The Bible does. I can’t understand it but I don’t argue with The Book. This chapter deals with false teachers who have turned their backs on the truth of the Word of God. They are increasing, and no doubt we are living in the days of apostasy. Peter, in verse 1, is addressing these false teachers. Let’s go to verse 5:

II Peter 2:5

“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly (we had much the same thing in Genesis Chapter 6);”

I’ve learned to be very, very careful. If I put a word in verse 5 and it’s not there, I’ll get calls telling me that I’m adding to the Scripture. I’m not adding to, I’m clarifying because God is used in verse 4, and the same God is referred to in verse 5.

II Peter 2:6

“And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow (for what purpose?), making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;”

People better wake up. God is still the God of Heaven. God has not changed, and what He has previously done as an example, He is ready to do again.

II Peter 2:7

(In the process of destroying Sodom and Gomorrah…) “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:”

(1) `Just’ doesn’t mean only as we would use the term, it means `that justified,” `that righteous’ man as it says in verse 8.

(2) Lot was `vexed.’ You bet it bothered him, but he continued to overlook it. He was vexed with the filthy conversation, the manner of living, the behavior (all words out of the Greek).

II Peter 2:8

“(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”

How can Lot be righteous? He was a believer. He believed what Jehovah said as Abraham had believed, so the Scripture declares him a righteous man in spite of all he’s agreed to. I don’t know if Lot practiced Sodom’s lifestyle, but he was interwoven with it for monetary gain and his sumptuous lifestyle. But he was vexed in his righteous soul from day to day with the Sodomites’ unlawful deeds. I don’t know how you can make that mean anything different.

A verse comes to mind. Turn to Revelation 9. I’ve mentioned that I’m not a date setter. I don’t know what year The Lord is going to return, but I know that in the light of all that is taking place around the globe it is getting close. We’ll see wickedness and unbelief continue to mushroom. We can be a tiny voice in the wilderness, so to speak. Even in my small effort we are reaching people. I have been privileged to see hundreds of people get interested in The Word, and a fair number come to know The Lord. But for the most part, we will see the world wax worse and worse. Revelation 9 comes right out of the Tribulation period, when the judgments of God are being poured out on the human race. I point this out to show that what was described in Romans is a perfect picture of end-time humanity. Although some of the judgments have already been poured out on them and a goodly percentage of the earth’s population is already gone, the next Scripture says:

Revelation 9:21

“Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication (immorality), nor of their thefts.”

The word `sorceries’ in the Greek is `pharmakeia.’ Unfortunately they translate that word as `sorceries.’ What word do we get from `pharmakeia’? Pharmacy. And what is pharmacy? Drug. So it is going to be a world literally saturated with a drug culture. Just recall any account you have read in Readers Digest, or any magazine, about particular events which took place as a result of drugs, and what have you got? Exactly what you have here! People on drugs have to steal to support their habit. In the process of stealing they’ll murder whoever they have to murder. Along with that they come into gross immorality of all sorts. This will continue to mushroom until the whole world is living under that kind of environment. Aren’t you glad the Scripture gives us hope that there is an end to it? I am. If The Lord didn’t return, it would get worse than it was at the time of the Flood. Back in Genesis Chapter 6, murder was so prevalent that no one knew how they would live until their life was snuffed out. We’re getting closer to those sorts of things.

I think you can see why I would just as soon skip over Genesis 19. I don’t like to teach it, but it’s in the Book and we must. Remember that human nature hasn’t changed one iota. God hasn’t changed. The things that God hated back in the Old Testament, God still hates today. Just because we’re living under Grace and not under the Old Testament economy, that doesn’t change it that much. No matter how vile the sinner, God’s is still desirous to bring him to a knowledge of Himself.

46 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 2 - Book 4 - Sodom and Gomorrah

46: Lesson 3 Part 2 Book 4 – Sodom and Gomorrah: Genesis 16-20

 

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 4

SODOM AND GOMORRAH

Genesis 16-20

Let’s begin in Genesis, Chapter 18. We’re going to skip a few of those last verses dealing with the rite of circumcision. I like to remember Chapter 18 as one of the most vivid chapters of God appearing in human form to the Old Testament patriarchs.

Genesis 18:1-4

“AND the Lord (Jehovah, God The Son) appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day (it was summertime evidently); And he (Abram) lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, `My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:'”

What Abraham is doing here is typical of ancient Middle Eastern hospitality (there were no McDonald’s or motels every few miles). The desert was harsh and custom demanded that if you were a native and had ample provisions, then wayfaring strangers would be fed and their water supply replenished before you sent them on their way. So really that is all Abraham is content to do at this point in time. I know in verse 3 the “L” in the word Lord is capitalized in the King James. But I believe in some of the other translations (possibly in the Revised) a small `l’ appears. I would tend to agree with the latter, because I don’t feel that as these three men approached Abraham’s tent he knew one of them was Jehovah. If he did it should be capitalized as it is. However, I find nothing in the next few verses which would give us a hint that, although The Lord was one of the three men, Abraham understood that He was.

Genesis 18:5a

“And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on:…”

If Abraham knew this was Jehovah, would he be so ready for Him to just pick and go? I don’t think so. He thought these were three wayfaring strangers who merely needed a rest and some sustenance before they could go on their way. If you want to maintain that Abraham knew Who that was, I have no argument with that either.

Genesis 18:5b

“…for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, `So do, as thou hast said.'” In other words, go ahead and prepare the food. We’re ready to partake.

Genesis 18:6-8

“And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, `Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.’ And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it (This is a Middle East banquet). And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did (what?) eat.”

Remember these are spiritual beings; this is The Lord and two angels. Nevertheless, Abraham sees just three men. This would be a good time for us to go back for a moment, and look at the life of The Lord Jesus after His Resurrection. Turn to Luke, Chapter 24. Some of these things are good to comprehend as there is a lot of ignorance even on the part of believers as to our spiritual state when we get to eternity. Remember we aren’t going to spend eternity in some ethereal, invisible soul state. We are going to be bodily involved. I think as such we are also going to enjoy a lot of the good things which God is going to provide; among them – eating.

In Luke 24 we have The Lord Jesus in the forty-day period after His Resurrection. He has now approached the eleven; He has also talked with a group on their way back to Emmaus. They invited Him in, and He sat at a table with them. It isn’t clear if He actually partook of food, but in Genesis 18 it says it as plain as day.

Luke 24:36-43

“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, `Peace be unto you.’ But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, `Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me (touch me), and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.’ And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy (even though their hearts were filled with joy), and wondered, he said unto them, `Have ye here any meat?’ And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.”

This is in His resurrected body. A lot of people don’t realize this. Some commentators maintain that the Four Gospel writers don’t always write about the same events. Consequently, if they aren’t exactly the same, they are not a contradiction but are all different events. I think Luke 24:36-43 might be a corresponding event. Do you remember when He approached the eleven, and they’d been fishing all night? Sure you do. That’s in John’s Gospel. Turn to it.

John 21:3a

“Simon Peter saith unto them, `I go a fishing….'”

What caused him to say something like that? Peter as yet didn’t comprehend that things weren’t all down the drain. There was still much to be done, but he was ready to go back to his old profession of fishing on Galilee. So the rest of them said they’d go with him.

John 21:3b-6a

“…They say unto him, `We also go with thee.’ They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.”

“But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, `Children, have ye any meat (any fish?…anything to eat?)?’ They answered him, `No.’ And he said unto them, `Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find….'” They got so many the net almost broke. Now to verse 10:

John 21:10-13

“Jesus saith unto them, `Bring of the fish which ye have now caught (get the correct time frame – this is after His Resurrection).’ Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, `Come and dine.’ And none of the disciples durst ask him, `Who art thou?’ knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.”

It doesn’t say here that He partook with them, but I think He did. I think they had a glorious breakfast on the shores of Galilee. I don’t think The Lord had to wait for the fish out of Peter’s net. I think The Lord already had fish cooking on the fire when they arrived. All of this is just to indicate that it is not some horrible thought that we are going to be able to eat and partake of food when we get to the new resurrected body, because the lesson is here, clearly and plainly. Jesus ate! Come back with me to Genesis 18 to these three spirit characters, who are all spirit beings but in human form. It is The Lord, and two angels, as we’ll see in the next Chapter. But, they sat down and feasted! There is nothing unusual about that.

Genesis 18:9

“And they said unto him, `Where is Sarah thy wife (I imagine the Lord is speaking)?’ And he said, `Behold, in the tent.'”

We have to get the Middle Eastern setting back in those days. The old patriarch had his own tent. His wives, if he had more than one, had tents out in the back. When Iris and I were privileged to go to Israel many years ago, they let us stop out in the desert at the camp of an Arab Sheik, and that’s how it was set up. He had his tent and out behind were the tents of his four wives and twenty-four kids. I can picture that so vividly here; them asking Abraham where his wife was, and Abraham replying that she was out back in her tent.

Genesis 18:10

“And he said, `I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.’ And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.”

Now, what are these two people finally realizing? – Who is speaking? You see, for years God has been telling them they are going to be the beginning of a nation of people; kings are going to come out of them.They must have known that only one person had ever said something like that – and, that was God Himself, The Lord. Now I am sure that Abraham, perhaps nor Sarah completely yet, knows who is talking. Sarah heard it and what did she do?

Genesis 18:11,12

“Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women (Abraham is now 99 and Sarah is 89). Therefore (in spite of all that has been promised) Sarah laughed within herself, saying, `After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?'”

There the small `l’ is correct. She is using the word `lord’ with reference to her husband. In so many words she is saying, “Shall I have pleasure, my husband also being this old?”

Genesis 18:13,14a

“And the Lord (Jehovah) said unto Abraham, `Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the Lord? …'”

When I read something like that, I try to get my class people to put themselves into a New Testament situation. Do you remember when The Lord said it was almost impossible for a rich man to be saved? He said it would be almost as hard to put a camel through the eye of a needle. The disciples responded by saying, “Then it’s impossible for a rich man to be saved?” What did Jesus say? “Why of course not, because with God nothing is impossible.” Nothing!

In light of our present-day science, I am amazed that scientists have such a hard time believing. They can scoff at so much of what the Bible claims to be the supernatural, such as this – a camel passing through the eye of a needle. Yet, scientists tell us that there are black holes out there in space. They claim that these black holes are stars, larger than our sun, which have literally collapsed in on themselves, and have become so dense that they are not any bigger than the head of a pin. They believe that! Yet you can come to a verse of Scripture that simply states something that is no more impossible, and that they can’t believe. Always remember that with our God, nothing, nothing is impossible. You can’t dream of something that is impossible in the eyes of our God. Referring back to Genesis 18:14, if God can do the things that He has already done, is it too hard for him to cause a woman of 90 and her husband of 100 to have a child? Why, it’s nothing!

Genesis 18:14b

“…At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

Remember he is already 99, so this is going to take place within the next year as Abraham is going to be 100 when Isaac is born. We’re getting close, now, to the time of the conception.

Genesis 18:15

“Then Sarah denied, saying, `I laughed not (she has to backpeddle, saying she hadn’t laughed, for now she knows Who she is dealing with); for she was afraid.’ And he said, `Nay; but thou didst laugh.'”

This is all within God’s sovereign will. What does the name Isaac mean? – Laughter. That’s what the word `Isaac’ actually means translated out of the Hebrew. He would be a child of laughter.

Genesis 18:16

“And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.”

Let’s put a little bit of geography on the map again. Remember that this isn’t according to scale, but should help a little bit. See the map on page 59 again. The Mediterranean Sea coast; the Sea of Galilee, and the Jordan River; the Dead Sea, and notice that the Jordan Valley at the lower end of the Dead Sea, it was well watered. Just a tremendous place for cattle and livestock, whereas up here in the center part of Israel were the mountains. It is up in the mountainous area that Abraham agreed to stay with his flocks, whereas Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom because it appealed to him. It was beautiful and had all of the possibilities for increasing his herds and flocks. So from that vantage point then, from the highlands, The Lord says as He looks toward Sodom:

Genesis 18:17,18

“And the Lord said, `Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do (referring to destroying Sodom);'” He wants to bring Abraham in on this because he’s been such a man of faith.

“Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?”

Isn’t that something? All the nations in the world, Gentile as well as the Hebrew, can trace their great men back to this man Abraham. From the Old Testament we know that the kings of Israel – Saul, David, Solomon and all the kings, (be they good or bad) were all from the loins of Abraham. But the children of Abraham branched out and encompassed more than just the Nation of Israel. We have already seen that Ishmael is going to be the beginning of the Arab nations. These are all children of Abraham.

In modern history, even our own democracy of the last 200 years, many of our great government men have been Jewish? I can remember from when I was in high school, that there was one Jew who went through president after president. His name was Bernard Baruch. A Jew through and through. Every administration kept Bernard Baruch as an Advisor, I think, from World War I. The same thing happened in the European governments. Some of their great men were direct descendants of this man Abraham. So the Word of God is not stretching the point one bit when it says that all of the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him; but, of course, God was looking beyond the politics and the economics. He was looking to the Salvation He would bring about through The Lord Jesus Who, of course, was born a Jew. All of these are foretelling what God is going to do down through the ages of time.

Genesis 18:19-22

“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. And the Lord said, `Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now, and see(or prove) whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.’ And the men (that is, the two) turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord.”

Now, take your three men who appeared in verse 1. Two are going to start heading toward Sodom, but the third one (or the first one – The Lord) is going to stay with Abraham and finish out the Chapter. These other two men, however, are making their way to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. We are not going to read verse by verse on the next series of verses. You can do that on your own, however, you have all heard sermon, after sermon, after sermon on them. Here Abraham pleads with the LORD concerning the inhabitants of Sodom. Why is he so concerned? Lot, his beloved nephew, and his offspring are now living in Sodom. So Abraham begins to `bargain’ with God, (I guess is a safe word), saying, “Now Lord if there are fifty righteous in Sodom will you spare it?” Yes. “Forty?” Yes. “Thirty?” Yes. He came all the way down to ten, and The Lord even agreed to spare Sodom if there would be as few as ten believers in that city. But there weren’t!

I think you and I as Bible believers can take comfort in the future of our own beloved land. As long as we still have a relatively strong Christian community which continues to send the Gospel to the ends of the earth, and as long as our nation is still a friend of God’s Covenant people, I think we stand a pretty good chance of surviving. However, any time any of those three things go down the tubes, America has had it. America is ripe for judgment as surely as Sodom and Gomorrah were. We know she is. But you see, if we can take a lesson from this, I think God will spare judgment because of His own people. I know that we who are ardent believers in the Gospel are getting fewer and fewer percentage-wise by the week. Nevertheless, we still have a strong Christian influence in America. As I have already said, we are the lighthouse for sending the Gospel to the ends of the world. Europe doesn’t, Great Britain certainly doesn’t, and we can’t expect the Orient to because they’re saturated, of course, with the eastern religions. So America is the only possible hope of continuing to send the Gospel to the regions beyond. Thirdly, as I have said, as long as we take an official stance of being a friend of Israel, and we do nothing to stab them in the back, I hope and trust that God will continue to grant us our freedoms for a little longer. My prayer is that The Lord will grant me and my wife health and strength, and keep America free until the trumpet sounds. One day soon I think The Lord is going to leave Heaven with a shout and the sound of a trumpet, and we’;re going to be caught up to meet Him in the air. What happens after that is not so much my concern.

In this chapter, I’d like to at least start Chapter 19. These two men, who have now left off with Abraham and The Lord, now make their appearance to Sodom where they are identified. What are they? – angels! The two angels who were part of the three in Chapter 18 now come to Sodom just at evening time. The sun is probably setting, and it is approaching darkness. Lot, Abraham’s nephew, is sitting in the gate. For those of you who do not understand, in the Orient or in the time this setting is taking place, to `sit in the gate’ meant they were the city leaders. So Lot, if he is not the city manager, is at least on the council. We can put it that way. He has become a great man in Sodom. He is sitting in the gate. We can pick this up in secular history as well as in other Bible references. Now he has become an important man in Sodom.

Genesis 19:1,2a

“AND there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them (not realizing they were angels); and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, `Behold now, my lords (small `l’ again, meaning a reference to `master’ or `sir’), turn in, I pray you, into your servants house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways….'”

Do you see that hospitality coming through? Lot knew the Sodomite people had even more at stake than Abraham as he entertained the three. But this was still in accordance with the custom. So he said, “Come in, spend the night in my home, be refreshed, and in the morning you can be on your way.” But poor Lot has a curve thrown at him. What’s the answer? “No, we’re not going to sleep under a roof. We’ll spend the night in the street.”

Genesis 19:2b

“…And they said, `Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.'” How would you like to be in Lot’s shoes?

45 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 1 - Book 4 - Sodom and Gomorrah

45: Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 4 – Sodom and Gomorrah: Genesis 16-20

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 4

SODOM AND GOMORRAH

Genesis 16-20

Let’s turn to Genesis, Chapter 16 and back up to verse 1 just for review. Pick up your Bible and a pen. I trust you will learn with us.

For years, God has been promising Abraham and Sarah they would be the progenitors of a nation of people. The wheels of God grind slowly but surely, and Abram, as he is still called here, and Sarai are now getting impatient (We must keep the names of Abram and Sarai as such until we see a change, which I will explain). We’ve learned previously, that without any instruction from God, Sarai reverts to the custom of their day. The custom goes back to the laws of Hammurabi, who was one of the ancient Babylonian writers of their so-called moral law. Within the laws of Hammurabi it was perfectly legitimate for a woman who could not bear, to have what we call a surrogate mother by way of a servant. Sarai, I imagine, is getting as impatient as Abram with regard to having a son. Verse 2:

Genesis 16:2

“And Sarai said unto Abram, `Behold now, the Lord (Jehovah) hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her.’ And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.”

Hagar becomes pregnant in verse 4 and realizes that she has done something Sarai can’t do. She becomes arrogant, puffed up, and impossible to live with, so Sarai begs Abram to send her away.

Genesis 16:5-7

“And Sarai said unto Abram, `My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee.’ But Abram said unto Sarai, `Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee.’ And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.” Hagar leaves. Now verse 7 again.

“And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.”

Now to Genesis 48:16. I will qualify my statement wherein I said the angel of the LORD was another manifestation of God the Son, or Jehovah. Or as we know, The Christ of the New Testament as He was revealed in the Old Testament. Jacob is speaking in verse 16, and refers to “the Angel who redeemed me.” I think it is a basic statement that there is only One Redeemer in Scripture – God the Son; not some angel; not anyone but God the Son. When you see that term in Old Testament, it is referring to Christ. I previously mentioned that Balaam, the false prophet, was confronted by an angel of the LORD. Again, it was Christ in that Old Testament appearance. Come back to Genesis 16. The Angel of the LORD, or Jehovah, in another manifestation, says to Hagar:

Genesis 16:8

“And he said, `Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go?’ And she said, `I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.'”

God doesn’t have to ask questions to get information. He asks merely to get the person to respond. In Christ’s earthly ministry He always comes back and answers with a question. I think we can learn from that. When you are talking with people, instead of just hitting them with something, put them on the soapbox by asking them a question. Then you start getting feedback. It is amazing what you’ll find out. The Lord does that over and over. He did it with Adam. He didn’t have to ask Adam what he’d done. What did He do, though? He asked Adam, “Have you eaten?” He did the same thing here in verse 8, asking, Where did you come from?

Genesis 16:9

“And the angel of the Lord said unto her (now this is God speaking, `Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.'”

The question we should be asking ourselves at this point is, why does God demand that Hagar go back to the dwelling place of Abram and Sarai when we know full well what is going to happen in fourteen years? She’s going to be sent out again, only this time for good. I hope this question is answered before the next three or four chapters. There was a particular sovereign, omnipotent reason for God to have Hagar go back to the home of Abram and Sarai. We’ll pick it up later. God is demanding and commanding that she go back and submit herself to Sarai for something that is going to take place fourteen years later. When we get to that I’ll show you another instance in Scripture where God does the same thing. For now, let’s leave her there – going back to Abram and Sarai. Now The Lord makes some statements. Remember it is the Sovereign God Himself who is speaking.

Genesis 16:10,11

“And the angel of the Lord said unto her, `I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.’ And the angel of the Lord said unto her, `Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.'” Here is one of those instances when God calls the shots before the child is even born.

Verse 12. This is the Bible speaking – not me. God already foretold the very personality makeup of the Arab people before the first one was ever born. Remember, now, it is out of Ishmael that most of our Arab people have come. I didn’t say all, I said most as we have other branches which feed into the Arabian peoples. Here, however, He gives such a vivid description of their makeup.

Genesis 16:12

“And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every mans hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

Do you see now why the prospect for peace in the Middle East is pretty dim? These people are hard to deal with, and they always have been. I’ve talked to businessmen within the last few years who have had dealings with the Middle Eastern people who said this is a problem. They’re just hard to deal with. It was a very intrinsic prophecy of God Himself that this would be their personality.

Genesis 16:13-16

“And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, `Thou God seest me:’ for she said, `Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?’ Wherefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi (remember she stopped here to get water); behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered (down in the Sinai area – southern Canaan).” Then time elapses between verses 14 and 15, and Ishmael is born.

“And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his sons name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.” Abram, in complete obedience with God’s instructions to Hagar, called the lad Ishmael.

“And Abram was fourscore and six (eighty-six) years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.”

Abraham will be one hundred when Isaac is born, which means that Ishmael is going to be fourteen. Now go to Chapter 17:

Genesis 17:1

“AND when Abram was ninety years old and nine (the year before Isaac was to be born), the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, `I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.'”

Here is another name of Deity – a good example of how this particular name will carry all the way through Scripture. It always refers to God as being the All Sufficient, but also the One Who Enhances Fruitfulness. Whenever you see the term `Almighty God,’ it is going to be associated with fruitfulness. Look how it is used here. He appeared to Abram and said, Walk before me, etc. The word `perfect’ in Scripture, whether Old or New Testament, never means a sinless perfection. It means a spiritual maturity. I don’t care whether Paul uses the word or we see it back here. He is telling Abraham to just become spiritually mature.

Genesis 17:2

“And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.”

We purposely spent a lot of time on the Abrahamic Covenant in Chapter 12. I’ll continue to refer to it because the Bible does. Throughout Scripture there is constant reference to the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12. We have another reference in verse 2. God states He will multiply him exceedingly. In other words, he would be physically fruitful based on the term `The Almighty God,’ which in the Hebrew is `El Shaddai.’ This word translated is `The Almighty God,’ or `The God of Fruitfulness.’

Genesis 17:3a

“And Abram fell on his face:…”

I imagine that at 100 years of age he was awe stricken that God was still talking about him having children. I can understand how he felt. He has been waiting a long time. As I said in the opening remarks, God’s wheels grind slowly but surely.

Genesis 17:3b-5

“…and God talked with him, saying, `As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee (Abram), and thou shalt be a father of many nations.'” I think Abram was still human enough that he still had to keep asking, “But Lord, how? When?” Verse 5:

“Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”

We now have the introduction into his name, primarily of the letter `h,’ going from Abram to Abraham. In verse 15 you’ll see God does the same thing with Sarai’s name. I’ve been cautious in pronouncing the names Abram and Sarai anticipating of these two verses.

Genesis 17:15

“And God said unto Abraham, `As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.'” What letter has been added to her name? The letter `H.’

Though I don’t dwell much on numbers in Scripture, it is an interesting subject. The number five is the number of grace. The number five will continue to come up in Scripture, designating God’s grace. The letter `H’ is the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. All of the main events of Abraham’s life are in years which can be divided by the number five. He left Ur at the age of 75. At the age of 100 he had Isaac. He lived to the age of 175. Over and over throughout Abraham’s history you’ll see numbers divisible by five.

As we get to the Book of Exodus you will see the same holds true in all of the instructions of building the tabernacle in the wilderness, which is going to depict the grace of God toward His people. Watch for it. All the dimensions are divisible by five; 45 cubits long, 15 cubits wide, etc. The boards were to be made so many cubits, and all numbers are divisible by five. I constantly point these things out to enhance the fact that the Bible is a supernatural Book. Men could never have thought of this; only the mind of God could have. So Abraham becomes the letter `H’ and Sarah becomes the letter `H’ referring to the tremendous grace of God which will be part and parcel of their lives. Verses 6 and 7 (repetition for emphasis.

Genesis 17:6,7

“And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.”

Here is an interesting tidbit. It used to bother me how you could determine when the word seed was referring to the children in generations, or when it was referring to the seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15, which we know is Christ. It has been hard to determine. The word seed in the Hebrew is the word “zera.” It is like our word sheep. Now our word sheep, whether it is singular or plural, is still sheep. It is the same with this Hebrew word “zera.” The only way you can determine if it is singular or plural is by how it sets in the text. It is the same with our word sheep. If you were reading a sentence which talked about a flock of sheep covering the mountainside, you would immediately know the word is not singular, but plural. On the other hand, if you were shown a picture of someone shearing a sheep, by context what do you know? – that we are talking about `one.’ Whenever the context refers to a vast number of people who are Abraham’s seed, we are not talking about Christ, but about the generations of Israel. Turn with me to Chapter 21 where we will see the singular use of the word.

Genesis 21:12

“And God said unto Abraham, `Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac (one person) shall thy seed (singular) be called.'”

Turn to Galatians, Chapter 3. I want you to be mindful of Genesis 3:15 (without having you turn there), where as soon as Adam and Eve had fallen, God made the prophetic promise that the seed of the woman would be the Redeemer and the One who would make the way back to God possible. Now in Galatians, Paul writes:

Galatians 3:16

“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds (plural), as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed (singular), which is Christ.”

Is it falling into place? In the Old Testament whenever we have the singular approach to the seed of the woman, it speaks of Christ; but when the plural is used with the generations following Abraham, then that is what it’s referring to. Back to Genesis 17:

Genesis 17:8

“And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed (plural) after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

They can say what they want about God being through with the Nation of Israel, and about God transferring the promises made to Israel to the Church. But that flies in the face of what the Scripture says. The Bible plainly teaches that no matter what the Israelite or Jew may do, God is still going to maintain the Covenant He made with Abraham clear back in 2000 B.C. If you are watching the Middle Eastern situation with an open mind, you realize the present day Jew is still the offspring of Abraham. Although we are not yet into the Jewish aspect of the Tribulation, etc., it is all coming. Everything in the Middle East is setting the stage for when the curtain will rise, and God will again pick up where He left off with His Nation of Israel back in the Book of Acts.

Genesis 17:9,10

“And God said unto Abraham, `Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations (again we are talking about the line of people). This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.'”

Remember this is years after that original Covenant. This is even some time after that Deed we saw in Chapter 15. But now God is going to, you might say, cement this whole thing with a blood Covenant. I think that is the best way we can look at it. Have you ever watched movies of the ancients where they made a covenant with one another? They would take a knife blade and put a little slit in each hand. They would then shake hands and literally mix their blood; it was a blood covenant. I think this is the whole aspect of the institution of circumcision. God now has a blood Covenant with the Nation of Israel, or the children of Abraham. So Abraham was given all the instructions of how circumcision was to be instituted even though he, himself, was ninety-nine. From then on, every child of Abraham was to be circumcised at the age of eight days.

I believe medical science will back me up that an infant’s blood coagulation reaches its peak at the age of eight days. In this present day we get our young mothers in and out of the hospital so quickly, that circumcision is accomplished before the child reaches eight days. When my mother gave birth to my little sister, the hospital stay for delivery was fourteen days. That gave the doctors ample time to circumcise the boy babies at eight days of age. This is all Scriptural. We’ll move on now to verse 15 where we just saw that Sarai’s name will be changed to Sarah to incorporate the `H,’ the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. God comes back and promises again that He will bless her.

Genesis 17:15-17

“And God said unto Abraham, `As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.’ Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed (not a laugh of scorn or ridicule, but I believe of joy and worship), and said in his heart, `Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?'”

After all, Abraham is 99 years old and it’s going to take nine months of gestation for Sarah to give birth. So he knows even if something were to happen shortly, he would be at least 100 by the time that child would be born.

Genesis 17:18

“And Abraham said unto God, `O that Ishmael might live before thee !'”

There is more in that verse than meets the eye. With such a faith in what God was going to do by bringing about the promised child, coupled with the fact that he had brought Ishmael on the scene without any instruction from God, what does Abraham fear God is going to do with Ishmael? – Take his life! Abraham is pleading for the life of Ishmael when he says, Oh let Ishmael live! God replies:

Genesis 17:19

“And God said, `Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.'”

If you haven’t done so before, underline now that part where God says He is going to establish His Covenant with Isaac, the child He promised Abraham.

Genesis 17:20

“And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him (God has already made up His mind that He isn’t going to take Ishmael’s life), and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly (look at the promise); twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”

A few chapters ahead is the genealogy of Ishmael. How many sons did he have? – Twelve! Exactly as God said he would. And the Arab nations have become great. They far outnumber the Jew.

Genesis 17:21

“But my covenant will I establish with Isaac (named before he was born), which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.”

Never lose sight of these two tremendous verses, wherein God stated:

(1) I will establish My Covenant with Isaac.

(2) I will bless the offspring of Ishmael, but my Covenant is going to be with Isaac.

44 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 4 - Book 4 - Names of Deity, Most High

44: Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 4 – Names of Deity, Most High: Genesis 14-16

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 4

NAMES OF DEITY, MOST HIGH

Genesis 14-16

I call Genesis 15 “Israel’s Deed.” You might write it in the margin of your Bible in Chapter 15. This is Israel’s deed. It is just as valid today as it was the day God issued it.

Genesis 15:7

“And he said unto him, `I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.'”

Obviously, Abram was just as human as we are. We take the promises of God by faith, but, being human, we say, “God, prove it.” So, understandably, here is Abram with all these promises. God says, “I’m giving you the land.” Abram asks, “How do I know?

Genesis 15:8

“And he said, `Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it (inherit the land, which is implied in the word `it’)?'”

Few people realize what God does next. Sacrificial animals being parted is the exact custom of transferring real estate in ancient time. From the Tower of Babel, everything was steeped in paganism and animal sacrifice. That wasn’t unique just to Israel. Their system of transferring title deed was exactly what God is doing here on behalf of Abram. What is the reason? – To prove to Abram that God meant what He said. Now God answers Abram and says:

Genesis 15:9

“And he said unto him, `Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.'”

They were to divide the carcasses and lay them with a space in between them. In other words, an alleyway between these carcasses.

Genesis 15:10,11

“And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst (he split the carcasses as a slaughterhouse does, hanging the beef on the rail and splitting it down the middle), and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.” Naturally, as these carcasses were lying in the open air, birds of prey came in. “And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.”

Occasionally, you’ll find a situation very humorous, even though it is serious. The birds were starting to devour the very thing necessary to the transfer of the title deed. What do you suppose Abraham thought? – “Oh, it’s all going to get muddled up!” So he drove them away. I can see him going up and down trying to scare them away. After all, this is what he had to have for God to transfer deed. So God put Abram to sleep and took care of the situation.

Genesis 15:12,13a

“And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.” Abram was out of it! Now to verse 13 which becomes a vision experience for Abram; however, it doesn’t take away the reality of it.

“And he said unto Abram, `Know of a surety (this is absolute) that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs,…'”

I usually refer to this as the very first statement of prophesy in the Bible. God is telling something before it happens. What is He talking about? – Their sojourn in Egypt, and Abram doesn’t even have his first child! God is already telling him that at some point in time, generations of Abram’s seed would be in Egypt.

Genesis 15:13b,14a

“…Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;” How long was Israel in Egypt? – 400 years. “And also that nation (Egypt), whom they shall serve, will I judge:…”

I admit if there’s anything in Scripture I have a hard time understanding, I just say that God is Sovereign. He makes no mistakes. God can raise up a nation to punish Israel, then turn around and reveal His wrath to that nation for misusing the Jew. I can’t comprehend it. When did it happen again? – with Nebuchadnezzar. He got the empire of Babylon rolling. God used him to take Israel out of the land which He had been promising to them for years and years by His prophets. He told them what would happen if they didn’t straighten up, and they didn’t. Along came Nebuchadnezzar who took them out, and took all the Temple wealth with him. So what did God do? He came down on him in His wrath because he misused Israel. I can’t explain it. Likewise, Egypt was the fulfillment of this prophetic statement. Egypt misused the Jew, and then the Jew got in that place because of the bad deportment of the eleven brothers (or at least ten of them). Yet, God came back and literally destroyed the nation of Egypt for the way they handled the Jew. I can’t explain it, but God is Sovereign; He makes no mistakes!

Genesis 15:14-16a

“And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they (the children of Israel) come out with great substance.” Did they? Why, they spoiled Egypt. You know that. It was all in God’s sovereign plan.

“And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.” We know Abraham lived a long time. Verse 16 gives us more prophecy from Abraham’s point in time.

“But in the fourth generation they (the children of Israel) shall come hither (Canaan) again:…”

Think of a generation in terms of 100 years here because it is 400 Years; 430 to be exact. Unless you understand the economy of God, you won’t know what He’s talking about in the next statement.

Genesis 15:16b

“…for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”

What is He saying? Studying this map will help us a little bit.

Here, again, is our Mediterranean Sea coast. Down a way is Egypt and the Nile River. Up along the Nile was Goshen. Up to the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, is the land of Canaan. Remember that Abram came down from Haran in Syria into the Land of Canaan. He sojourned up and down the highland. Lot, of course, went down to the area of Sodom. But, as Abram is now receiving title deed to the land of Canaan, God is telling him it is going to be 400 plus years before they can actually come in and occupy it. There was a purpose in God not permitting the Canaanites, referred to here as the Amorites, to be removed from the land until the 400 years had gone by. What was that purpose? Their iniquity had not yet reached the full.

It is hard for us to comprehend the patience of God. Remember who the Canaanites’ forefathers were? – Ham and his son, Canaan. These Canaanites started on an immoral plane right off the bat, and kept going down, and down, and down. God is telling Abram He is going to give them 400 years; that by that time they will have gone down so far that in all justice He will be able to tell the children of Israel to clean them out and not spare one; that the land was theirs (the Israelites).

Did God do it? Yes! Do you remember when Joshua came in from the east and made that circuitous route out of their wilderness journey? They crossed the Jordan River just above the Dead Sea. The first city they came up against was Jericho. But before they crossed the River Jordan, God gave explicit instructions to the Nation of Israel not to leave a single Canaanite alive. Unfair? Unjust? No, because they have had 400 years to clean up their act. But instead of cleaning it up they degenerated down, down, down until finally God, in justice, could tell Israel not to spare one; that unless they cleansed the land of them, in just a little while they would be just like them. What happened? Israel got softhearted. Israel just couldn’t put those people to death, but saw the better part of making servants of them. They assimilated the Canaanites into their very lifestyle.

A couple of generations later they turned their backs on Jehovah, and were headlong after the gods of the Canaanites. We know their god as Baal. Let’s look at an example. Turn with me to Jeremiah. It is absolutely unbelievable that Israel, this Covenant people, with all the miracle working of God as a fabric of their lifestyle, would come to this place. This is exactly what God knew would happen if they spared the Canaanites. In the following verse the Israelites are responding to Jeremiah’s plea to come back to Jehovah.

Jeremiah 44:16,17a

“As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven,…”

When you see the term `queen of Heaven’ it immediately tells you it was the worship of the female goddesses. Whenever it got into the worship of the female goddesses, the immorality hit new lows for some reason or other.

Jeremiah 44:17b

“and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then (while they were in active worship of these female goddesses) had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.” That was a lie. It was just the opposite.

Jeremiah 44:18,19

“But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?”

Jeremiah goes on and almost bewails the fact, that Israel could sink to such a low spiritual condition that they would burn incense and pour out drink offerings to this female goddess. Not too much later they got so involved in idolatry that they actually offered their own little children into the fire as offerings and sacrifices to these pagan gods. This is why God tells Abraham in Genesis 15 that the children of Israel would have to wait 400 years, so that these Canaanites would finally reach the epitome of their wickedness. Then God, in justice, could tell Joshua to not spare one. But, the Jews did. The result is as we saw in Jeremiah 44. Let’s continue. Turn with me back to Genesis:

Genesis 15:17

“And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.”

Who is that burning lamp? It is The Lord. He goes down between the halves of those carcasses. By doing so, He is fulfilling the ancient ceremony of transferring title deed. When Israel tonight says the land has been deeded to them, this is what they come back to. Although I have not heard the present day leadership say anything, when Prime Minister Menachem Begin was in power he would constantly refer to the fact that the land had been deeded to them, and that it was theirs. I agree. You cannot refute the Word of God. This is God’s Title Deed to the Middle East for the Nation of Israel.

Genesis 15:18a

“In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given…”

The verb is past tense, meaning it was done; it was accomplished in the previous verses. Look what God has deeded to Abraham.

Genesis 15:18b-21

“…I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,” And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

According to the tribes listed in this Chapter, Israel will have everything from northern Lebanon, out to the Euphrates River, cutting across the Arabian Peninsula, and all the way over to the River of Egypt. I don’t think it is referring to the Nile. I think there was another river a little bit east. But it doesn’t make that much difference. Do you see how much of the Middle East God deeded to Abraham? The whole shebang! Not just to the Jordan River, not just without the West Bank, but it has all, already been deeded. It is theirs; however, Israel will not enjoy this to the full until the Millennial Kingdom when Christ returns and Israel will finally get all of the land promised to them. They are not going to get it all now. I think they will be lucky to hang on to everything west of the Jordan River in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, don’t forget the fact that when it is all done, Israel is going to have a homeland that goes all the way to the Euphrates River, and all the way down to the River of Egypt, and all the way up to Northern Lebanon. It has all been deeded. God never goes back on His word. This is a Covenant He made with Abram that is all part and parcel of that Abrahamic Covenant.

Watch the Middle East. Right now there is a lot of pressure to get Israel to come to a so-called Peace Conference. There can be no peace in the Middle East until Christ returns. There may be a pseudo peace. There may be a makeshift peace of some kind, but there is not going to be any genuine peace in the Middle East. It is absolutely unforeseeable in the light of Scripture. Israel is going to have to stand her ground. The Arabs can do all they want to. I have said many times before that we can identify, we can empathize with the Arab people. It is home to them now. We know that. The fact remains that it is promised, it is deeded to the Nation of Israel. Look again at our map of the land promised to Israel on page 59.

Let’s go into Chapter 16. Again, we don’t want to go too far because the main thrust of this lesson between Ishmael and Isaac is going to take this full chapter.

Genesis 16:1

“NOW Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.”

File that in your computer because this is going to tell you something in regard to the present day Middle East situation.

Genesis 16:2

“And Sarai said unto Abram, `Behold now, the Lord (Jehovah) hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her.’ And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.”

Today we would call that surrogate motherhood. It was nothing new. It was a prevalent custom in the Orient. In the ancient cultures, to be childless was anathema. There was nothing a woman dreaded more than to be left childless. To compensate for it their custom allowed that if a woman could not bear on her own, she could have a slave girl actually bear a child on her behalf. This is exactly what happens here. It is not that they were being unduly sinful or immoral. They were acting according to custom, even as we saw the Title Deed transfer according to custom in our last chapter. There is one thing I want to emphasize. Who have they left out? God! God has not said one word about having a child by way of a slave girl. This is what we call the energy of the flesh. This was Sarai’s idea, and Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

Genesis 16:3

“And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.”

You can see the human side, can’t you? For ten years they have been waiting for God’s promise to come to fruition. Ten years ago God promised that Abram and Sarai would have a child, by which the Nation of Israel would come on the scene. Nothing has happened, so they take things into their own hands.

Genesis 16:4

“And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived (that is when Hagar realized she was now pregnant): and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.”

Again, you must get the mentality of the people. When this little slave girl realized she had accomplished something her mistress could not, she got puffed up, arrogant and impossible.

Genesis 16:5,6

“And Sarai said unto Abram, `My wrong be upon thee (she saw what a horrible mistake she made): I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee (Abraham is going to pass the buck right back).’ But Abram said unto Sarai, `Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee.’ And when Sarai dealt hardly (harshly) with her, she fled from her face.”

Sarai must have really made life miserable for that little Egyptian girl, who has to flee in order to get out from under Sarai’s harsh behavior.

Genesis 16:7

“And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.”

Whenever you see the term `the angel of the LORD,’ it is Jehovah. I stick by that because in Chapter 48, the term is used `the angel of the LORD who redeemeth me.’ There is only one Redeemer in Scripture. It is God the Son; Jehovah in the Old Testament, Christ in the New Testament. When you see the term `angel of the LORD,’ or `angel of God,’ it is God the Son, the Redeemer. Never lose sight of that as it will come up every once in awhile.