February 23, 2012
In 1891, John Blunt wrote a book on Undesigned Coincidences in the Old and New Testaments. This book was a unique look at apologetics from the standpoint of the veracity of the historical accounts of the unfolding history of the people of the Bible. Many of the details of the natural events of the Biblical story exhibit an unsurpassed harmony. These details in the natural events show the truthfulness of the narrative. Thy also are interwoven with the supernatural details of the special events in the lives of the Bible characters. If the natural events show remarkable truthfulness what does this say about the supernatural events which are interwoven with these natural events? The Bible history is true. Bible history is not myth. Taking this one step further, we have to consider the redemptive story that unfolds through these natural and supernatural events. God was working in the history of man to bring Jesus Christ into the world for our redemption! This is the ultimate focus of Bible history.
A Wife For Isaac.
Abraham’s servant is sent to Mesopotamia to procure a wife for Isaac of the daughters of that branch of the Patriarch’s family which continued to dwell in Haran. The servant entreats God to give him a token or sign whereby he might know which of the women He (God) had appointed for Isaac to wed. The sign given was: whichever woman drew water from the well for him and his camels was the woman Isaac would wed. Rebekah came out to draw water. She was the daughter of Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother. Rebekah was the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother.
It appears, therefore, that the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother is to be the wife of Abraham’s son. A person of the third generation of Nahor’s side is found of suitable years for one of the second generation on Abraham’s side.
What could harmonize more remarkably with the fact that Sarah, Abraham’s wife, had no child until stricken in years. Thus it was that a generation on Abraham’s side was lost and the grandchildren of his brother in Haran were the coequals of his own child in Canaan.
Again, the ordinary and extraordinary details of the story are placed side by side. Sarah gave birth in her old age when she was past child bearing years and previously had been barren. God intervened miraculously! The natural and the supernatural events recorded in Scripture must stand or fall together!
Now, we all know the importance of Abraham in the lineage of the Messiah. The promise that God made to Abraham in Gen. 15:1-6 and Gen. 22:17-18 regarding his seed and “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” were fulfilled ultimately in Christ (Gal. 3:16). The veracity of the sacred text is undeniable.
February 6, 2012
Leonard Pitts Jr. (Columbus Dispatch, January 22, 2012, p. G5) wrote an article titled, “These days in the U. S., absolutely nothing is held sacred.” He illustrated his lamentation with the following words, “It seems that one Jeffrey Darnell Paul, a graphic artist from Miami Beach, had been tasked with creating a poster for a strip club’s “I Have a Dream Bash” last week in apparent “honor” of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. So this genius concocts an image of the nation’s greatest human-rights leader holding up a fan of $100 bills like some low-rent “playa” while a scantily clad woman looks on. And let the record show as African-Americans duck their heads in mortification, Paul is black.” Pitts goes on to elaborate on the transgression of Paul. He states that “Paul’s transgression speaks to more than just the shortcoming of the ignorant. It speaks also to an overriding shallowness, an obsession with the superficial and trivial that seems unfortunately characteristic of this era.” Pitts describes this as the tyranny of irreverence or the death of reverence.
If we can discern an irreverence for men, what about an irreverence for God? Do you fear God? In Genesis 20, Abraham sojourns in Gerar with his wife Sarah. Abraham and Sarah have made an agreement to obscure her true identity as Abraham’s wife in order to secure Abraham’s safety. Abraham tells Abimelech that Sarah is his sister. While this is half-true is certainly is not the whole truth. Abraham hid the fact that Sarah was his wife. Abimelech took Sarah into his harem.
God intervenes to protect the purity of Sarah and preserve His promise to Abraham. God spoke to Abimelech in a dream by night and told him “thou art a dead man for the woman thou hast taken unto thyself is another man’s wife.” God closed up all of the wombs of the house of Abimelech by preventing conception. Abimelech affirms the integrity of his heart and innocency of his hands. Morally, he did what he thought was right. God recognizes the king’s innocence and explains why He imposed a physical affliction upon him to prevent his laying hands on Sarah. God ordered Abimelech to restore Sarah to Abraham and to ask Abraham to pray for him (Abraham was a prophet of God).
Abraham accounts for his actions on three grounds. First, he surmised the fear of God had been lost here as in other places among the Canaanites. Second, he had not been completely untruthful because Sarah was his half-sister. (A half-truth is a whole lie!). Third, he and Sarah agreed beforehand on the action they would take which would preserve Abraham’s life and sacrifice her purity. God’s actions show He did not approve of this arrangement.
What did Abimelech do? He carried out the divine instructions. He gave Sarah back to Abraham. He gave a present–an atoning gift–to Abraham as compensation for injury unwittingly committed. He sought intercession from Abraham. Abimelech did everything God told him to do. This demonstrates that Abimelech feared God.
Do you fear God? To fear God involves: (1) respect for who God is and what God says. When we take God’s name in vain, we manifest irreverence for who God is. We profane the sacred. (2) obedience to God. Submission to God’s authority is a manifestation of reverence. When we resist God and rebel against Him, we act with irreverence. (3) restraint from sinning against God. To restrain is to hold oneself back from participating in that which God forbids. Self-control is generated by fearing God. (4) desire for forgiveness. When we know that we have sinned against God and need His mercy, we seek it immediately. We know that God is a consuming fire and will judge the ungodly. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.