TODAY WE discuss a test of faith most of us hope we never experience: God, in the form of the Angel of Yahweh (another Old Testament Christophany), chose Gideon to lead Israel against the armies of Midian and Amalek, which had been oppressing the Israelites for seven years. Then He ordered Gideon to send home more than 90% of the troops so that the forces of Israel were outnumbered 400-to-1 (instead of just 4-to-1).
Map of the judges – click for larger version
We look at the rise and fall of Gideon’s son Abimelech (a name that means “my father is king”, a hint that Gideon’s pride may have gotten the better of him in later life), more minor judges, and the foolish vow of Jephthah.
THE PROMISE of God to Abraham was fulfilled through Isaac and Jacob. That is made clear in the chapters we studied this week, Genesis 23 through 26.
This week, we look at the death of Sarah, the faithfulness of the servant of Abraham (possibly Eliezer of Damascus) who traveled more than 500 miles on camelback to Aram-Naharaim to find a wife for Isaac. We examine the place and the people where Abraham purchased land for a burial tomb, Esau’s disposition of his birthright, and another example of the anxieties those chosen by God to bring forth His plans as Isaac repeats the lie of his father, calling his wife his “sister” while living in the land of Abimelech, the king of Gerar.
Click to enlarge – map by Logos Bible Software
The map at left shows the routes traveled by Abraham (we subscribe to the Northern Route theory, marked in red), his servant, and Jacob as they traveled to and from Abraham’s ancestral homeland in what is today southeastern Turkey.
WE’VE GOT the fire, we’ve got the wood, and we’ve got the Lamb!
This week, we continue in the book of Genesis with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the departure of Hagar and Ishmael, Abraham’s sojourn in the land of the Philistines, and the test of Abraham on Mount Moriah.
We also dig a little deeper into the nature of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Was it simply inhospitality, as some suggest? We think not. The epistle of Jude is clear; Sodom and Gomorrah, like the angels of Genesis 6, were punished for sexual sin–possibly something more than homosexuality, which has existed in all cultures and for thousands of years. Is it possible that the men of Sodom knew that Lot’s guests were angels, and that they hoped, through forbidden practices, to somehow obtain divine favors?