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The first five books of the Old Testament constitute God’s book of instructions for his redeemed people. It reveals the character of God and his good design for life. It bears witness to the beginning of his work of redemption. It equips the believer to live in God’s world, God’s way, as God’s image for God’s glory. What sin and death have broken, God’s people can rebuild by keeping to his instructions by the power of his presence with us.
Well, hi everyone. Welcome again. This is episode seven. I am Dan, your host, and I’m here again with my father David. In this episode, we’ll be looking at the life of Abraham, which is found in Genesis 11, verse 10, all the way through to 25:11 Now if would like to come over and have a look at the show notes and grab the study for this episode, please head over to trainingforliferedeemed.com/7.
Now in our reading of Genesis, we have reached the point where the three branches of Noah’s family headed off in three directions from the tower of Babel in what is now central Iraq. So Genesis 11 brings us down to the family line of Terah. What was that you said, Terah. They seem to be a fairly big mess.
They certainly are. We’ve got to imagine this is an agricultural society. We’ve discovered that people in an agricultural society have herds and flocks, and then they have farmland. Herds and flocks. Can’t hang around in paddocks that they’re not good paddocks. So they’re moving around and they’ve got herdsmen who are taking the cattle and the sheep and the camels and wandering, looking for pasture, wherever they can find it. And back home, you’ve got a main community, sometimes a walled community. They turned into a city, but these businesses are family businesses. So mum and dad moved there. Their kids grow up on the farm as it were. They end up with people who work for them. These are indentured workers. That’s not exactly the same thing as we would call slavery, but they are, more like serfs or, or, or people who are bonded to that family.
So they’re setting up a farming business, the people who work for them live with them, and they share that it’s one basic economic unit. Now in that setting, things is things are going to fall apart. It’s a great thing when a family stays together, but this one is breaking up already. It’s pretty incestuous by our standards. Before the flood people married, their sisters, Abraham marries his half sister. His brother marries his niece. It won’t be long before that’s no longer possible because we are, the age span is breaking down. Abram is going to be 175 they’re aging at half hour rate. By the time you get to Moses, we’re getting down to a normal rate. So here we are, actually, by the time we get down to Jacob and Joseph, we’re getting into a normal, right? So this is a difficult life and they’re making it up as they go along. There’s no mention of Terah’s family, even remembering who the Lord is.
All right. So God then comes along and calls Abram out to go to a new land and makes a whole bunch of promises to what, what exactly is God doing with Abraham here or Abraham? I get it. He’s going to have his name changed later. What’s going on?
Okay. So God has, in a sense, he’s taking, he took Noah and he put him in a box to separate him from all the troubles of the world. Now he’s going to take Abraham out of society. For the rest of Genesis we’re going to see God taking the line of promise out from under the rule of the snake out from under the offspring of the snake, they’re going to live as an independent homeless household, wandering around, waiting for God to bring them back to something like Eden so, this, this allows God to take a family out and retrain them not to live under the culture of, of Satan, not to live under the culture of a sinful rebellious enemy culture, but to start to get to know God, to know how he works, to understand his plan of salvation, to develop a life that is redeemed independently of the culture and the lifestyle that’s forming in all the communities all around them. So that that’s, that’s the point of what God is about to do by getting them to leave their country.
All right. Well, God’s also going to choose Abraham and Sarah to be the family in which the line of promise, you know, the offspring that was promised to Eve, that’s waiting for the seed. It’s going to come through his line. So why does God pick a man whose wife can’t actually have any kids?
Yeah, that’s beautiful. Isn’t it? We don’t understand this this early in Genesis, I guess, but if you remember back in Genesis 3:15, it’s the offspring of the woman who is going to defeat Satan and bring people back onto God’s side. He is the Redeemer, but he’s the child of the woman. No mention of the man. And that’s because we’re talking about a new humanity, a man who is the biological son of another man is simply going to inherit all of the damage of Adam’s sin. He’ll be born a sinner. He’ll be born with all the damage that sin has inflicted upon our flesh, our minds, our relationships, everything else. So we’re looking for a man who is going to be a new humanity. So God took the woman out of the flesh of the man to make a man and a woman. He’s now going to take the new man out of the flesh of the woman and create a new humanity.
So there’s going to be no biological father. Well for a woman who was virgin to produce a child without sex, that’s going to be, an impossible, ridiculously impossible, miraculous birth and conception. And that’s what we have in Jesus. Now, for people to understand how that’s going to work, God is going to demonstrate that he is going to produce the miracle boy. And the miracle boy is going to be the birth that could never happen. So we’re going to find a string of women who are demonstrably, unable to have children. This’ll go for Isaac’s wife, Rebecca it’ll happen to Jacob’s wife, Rachel, and it’s going to happen to other women down the track that God is going to produce the significant person to bring us closer to salvation as a miracle birth. So Sarah is just the ideal classic. Isn’t she, you got a lady who remember they’re aging at half the rate we do.
So at 65, she looks like a 30 year old at 80 Abraham’s life is at risk because she’s so hot that any King in the area is going to dong him on the head to get his wife. Remember, these are the managers. Look, see it’s beautiful and grab it no by your leave. No nothing. So he’s very much in this world of sons of God who take whatever women they like and kill any man that gets in the way at 80 Sarah, is that good-looking, she’s like a 40 year old movie star. She’s been married for 65 years and she still hasn’t got pregnant. Now let’s just prove that she’s the problem’s her not Abraham. Pharaoh is going to take her into his harem. He’s going to have sex with her, and she’s still not going to get pregnant. And then God’s going to pull her out of there and give it back to Abraham and give us a little demonstration of what he’s going to do to Pharaoh later on with Moses. Then he waits until she hits menopause. And that’s when God turns up and says, okay, next year, you’re having the son. So he’s, he’s teaching us through Sarah’s barrenness that he is the God who will bring the miracle baby that we could never produce by ourselves. The savior is going to come by an act of God, not a natural act of the husband. And you can read about that again in John one.
All right, now there’s also a lot of horrible things that happen in Abraham’s life. How is God teaching us how to live a life redeemed through all these events?
We’re effectively watching a man learning faith. So he starts out. Abraham believed God and God credited to him as righteousness. That’s a good start. But now we’ve like we’re doing here in this series, learning to live a life that’s redeemed starts when we’re redeemed, when God declares us righteous, because we put our trust in him. But then we’ve got to learn to ride the bicycle. We’ve got to learn to get life back and not get sucked into all the stupidity that the world’s into. Now poor old Abraham is a bit of a slow learner, and we’re going to watch what happens when you fall off the bike. And when you get back on the bike and how God won’t let you go, no matter what happens, he’s training, not just Abraham, but he’s training us to trust God and not try and rescue it and do it all ourselves.
So Abraham, Sarah can’t have kids. She comes up with a way to make it happen without God having to do anything. So she gives her slave girl over to her husband. That’ll produce a child that will be an heir of Abraham’s family, but it’s not the child God promised it’s not the miracle baby. So that that’s not going to work. Abraham scared that somebody is going to kill him. So he prostitutes his wife. That’s an incredibly destructive thing to do. He does it twice. And yet God brings him back and we walk it through again, get back on the bike, try again. And eventually God tests his faith when he calls on him to kill his son.
Yeah. And then I, I can’t even imagine. Yeah, I’ve got a seven year old son. I can’t imagine being asked to do that. Let alone actually following through on it. You know, what’s what is Abraham thinking when God tells him to take the promise son even, and go and sacrifice it.
It’s interesting. Isn’t it? The Bible doesn’t give us the slightest clue as to what Abraham was thinking, but we’ve come to a point where God says to Abraham jump and Abraham says nothing. He just jumps. There’s almost a, we’ve reached a point of faith where I don’t have to know. I don’t have to understand. I’ll just do whatever you say, because you’ve proven yourself. You know, this is the way a life redeemed is lived. We do what you say, and it doesn’t make sense to me. And it isn’t what I would have chosen to do. And it’s not the way I would have done it, but Hey, you’re God. And I’ve got it wrong so many times, I have no idea what you’re doing. I’ll just go with you. So we have no idea what he was thinking. It’s an unimaginable request and it contradicts it.
It, it just sets up. If you kill Isaac, what happens to the promise of the promised line through Isaac? It’s dead. And Abraham says, I don’t get it. You do. That’s enough for me. We’ll go and do it. That would be horrendous. It’s it’s almost the ultimate test of faith. Isn’t it? Definitely. So yeah, there we are. We’re up there. We’ve got the knife. We’re ready to go. I’m not so much interested in what went through Abraham’s head. I often wonder what went through. Isaac’s. He’s he’s not a seven year old. This is my guess. He’s about 16.
It’s quite willing carries all the wood up lies on top of the woods.
Yeah. Whatever you say, dad. Yeah, you can turn my feet up. That’s good. Yeah. Here’s my wrists. What’s with the knife. I mean, what’s happening there for this kid? In our world He’d be seeing a counsellor for the rest of his life after this, but it seems to be one of those experiences. He’ll carry with him at the point where he was going to die, God intervened and put a substitute in his place. And in that sense, we’re the Isaac on the altar. We, the one deserving death. This is, this is like a, I dunno, like we do demonstration examples or exemplars in a science lab and you showed kids how something works. This is, you know, this is a demonstration of how Jesus will save us.
Well, it’s definitely a very intense training course for Abraham and Sarah as well. Kind of makes you wonder how Isaac is going to come out of it. Well, of course, you know, next week when we come back to, you know, that our next episode, or we have to eight next week, we’ll be looking at God’s plan and how it continues to process through or progress through, the next stage with Isaac and his sons, Jacob and Esau. But of course, if you want to come and grab the full study for this episode, come on over to trainingforliferedeem.com/7, you can get the show notes. You can get the study there. And of course you can leave a comment. Contact us. We’d love to hear from you.