Marios Podcast

Episode 9 - The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob  

Welcome to Episode 9 of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We stand at a pivotal point in our story. We have now transitioned from Abraham to Isaac, so we are so glad you are joining us at this point. But that means that, if this is your first episode, you’ve missed quite a bit and it would benefit you immensely to go back and start from Episode 1 to hear the story of Abraham. 

You could also pick it up here and then go back, not a big deal. I am confident it will be fruitful and enjoyable for you. My name is Mario, glad to make your acquaintance. If you have comments or questions, feel free to find us on Facebook @MariosMinistries. You can definitely leave us a comment there or visit our website at mariosministries.com. 

Let’s go. 

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When we left off, Isaac had married Rebekah, after the death of his mother, Abraham’s wife Sarah. And now we start on Genesis chapter 25 with the account that Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah and she bore him 6 children and 10 grandchildren. Then we are told he died at the ripe old age of 175 years. He was buried with Sarah in the tomb he had purchased for her. 

We are then given the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham and Hagar’s son, and we are told he lived 137 years before he died. It is worth noting for future studies that his descendants settled, we are told in verse 18 of chapter 25, “over against all his kinsmen.” So, some of the conflict we will read about in Scripture later, are born out of this arrangement. 

Then we get to Isaac, through whom the Abrahamic covenant – the promise God had made—will be carried through. Isaac was 40 when he married Rebekah, and we get an interesting parallel right away because we are told that Isaac prayed for Rebekah, his wife, because she was barren—she couldn’t have children. 

As you will remember, this was the struggle of his parents, early on in their walk with the Lord, when they were given the promise of many descendants, but they were not able to have children, so it is interesting to contrast how the two handled the situation, at least initially. 

You see Abraham believed God, which was huge, under the circumstances. But both he and Sara, struggled with the infertility issue a bit, to the point that they fell into that fool’s errand of trying to help God keep His promise by making Abraham have a child with Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant. And, as we’ve discussed, much pain ensued from that misguided decision. 

But here we are told now that Isaac prayed to God and, “the Lord granted his prayer” – verse 21. Note, it was not an instantaneous prayer either. Isaac was 40 when he married Rebekah and will be 60 by the time she gives birth. Therefore, we can calculate 19 plus years of praying before Isaac’s prayer for his wife is ultimately answered. 

I hope that is encouraging to some of you out there. Maybe you who have been praying a long time for something, and you must realize that God’s timing is not human timing. We saw what he did in the life of Abraham, and here too we have in the case of Isaac, God waiting for His timing in answer to Isaac’s prayer. So don’t give up. We know for a fact that God hears our prayers and that He loves us, that He will keep His Words—His promises—so we can trust Him in His timing too. 

Rebekah gets pregnant then, and we are told the children (plural) struggle within her. So yes, surprise, surprise, there is more than one baby in her womb.  But it looks like the kicks and movements within her felt so out of the ordinary, that she inquires of the Lord about it. 

Let’s not miss that, this is admirable, once again. God will answer her, and it shows us that God cares about everything in our lives. We do well when we inquire of Him, instead of what most of us do, which is complain to God about most things. 

The Lord tells Rebekah, starting on verse 23, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” 

The matter is revealed further then. Rebekah indeed, has twins. The older is called Esau. The younger they named Jacob, and even as they came out of the womb, we are told Jacob was holding on to Esau’s heel, further symbolizing the struggle God had explained to Rebekah. 

This revelation by the Lord then will weigh in in the hearts and minds of, at least Rebekah, though we can safely assume she shared the word with her husband. I think that is a safe assumption for us to make. 

We are told the boys grow up and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents—which means he was a man of the house, if you will. So, in that sense, we can see how Esau became close with his dad, while Jacob gravitated towards his mother. We are told Isaac loved eating of Esau’s game, which will be important for the next event we read about at the endo of this chapter. 

It is a strange account that leaves you asking many questions, perhaps because we do not fully understand the weight of the birthright idea at that time, but here is what happens. Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came from the field, and he was exhausted. Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of the stew, for I am exhausted.”  Because of the response, we sort of figure that he was in bad shape. If you’ve ever been outdoors and run out of water or food, you might understand that things can get pretty desperate. One day, I’ll tell you the story of my friend Ken and I doing the Appalachian Trail. 

But that’s a story for another occasion. Esau is desperate then, ask for stew, and Jacob, seizes on the opportunity and tells him, well, if you want some stew, sell me your birthright. 

Now, again, lots of questions: was that “a thing” back then, the selling of the birthright? That is, was it common back then. What are the effects? Why does Jacob do this? Was he aware of the promise God had given her mother? We have already been told Rebekah and Jacob were close, so it would not be a stretch to think that Rebekah had laid it upon his heart about his destiny. So, maybe. 

The answers to this question do not seem to be determinative, though, so let’s continue reading. Esau, does not seem to think it a big deal, for he tells him, “I am about to die here, of what use is a birthright to me?” 

Jacob makes him swear. Esau does, and Jacob gives him the stew. 

Now, thankfully, in order to understand this event, we have help from other passages in Scripture, which is an essential principle for us to understand. We read Scripture in light of Scripture. I think we might have mentioned that before. So, for this account we have help from this very interesting passage in Hebrews 12:15-17 where the writer tells us: 

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. 

Wow. So, there you have it. Note how it connects this story with God’s grace and guarding against allowing that “root of bitterness” to spring up on us. That is what Esau had allowed. And that’s why he made the choice that he made. 

Some of you are there right now. You can feel the “root of bitterness” within you right now, and I want to sign the alarm for you: DANGER! We make bad decisions when we allow bitterness in our heart. Therefore, repent, come to the LORD, the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob immediately, while there is still time, before you make a choice you will regret. Do not be like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 

Note that the passage compares what Esau did to sexual immorality. Because isn’t that exactly the way that many of our sexual immorality comes about? A husband or wife feels neglected, perhaps unappreciated, lets bitterness enter his or her heart and now is ripe for the picking, as they say, in danger of making a choice he or she will regret for the rest of his life. Many throw away their entire lives for a single meal (a night of pleasure), an act to blow off steam, to relax and have a good time. Only those times are very short, and the regret lasts a lifetime. 

Do not be like Esau, Scripture tells us. Do not neglect what is eternally good and pleasurable, for a fleeting moment of perceived release. That sort of “freedom” enslaves. 

Certainly, there is much more to say, but we, unfortunately cannot stay here for long, so I commend you this story for further meditation and study. The Hebrews passage also gave us a glimpse of what is to happen, that Esau will indeed regret his decision, but we’re not quite there yet, so let’s keep going. 

We are told next that there was a famine in the land and Isaac went to Gerar to Abimelech, the king of the Philistines— ostensibly to overcome the famine. 

We’ve already dealt with Abimelech of Gerar, the king of the Philistines before in Genesis chapter 20. He was one of the kings who took Sarah before realizing she was Abraham’s wife, but, because of the passage of time, it is likely that this is a different Abimilech, perhaps his son? There are several characters named Abimelech in Scripture. 

At any rate, the Lord appeared to Isaac and speaks to him. Let’s read what He said (this is Genesis chapter 26:2-5): 

“Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you. Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.  I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” 

First of all, note God’s faithfulness to Abraham. He will bless Isaac and his offspring for Abraham’s faithfulness. Think about that, you parents out there, the sort of impact you can have in your family and children, if you are faithful to God. 

Remember our term, this is the Abrahamic Covenant still being unfolded through God’s amazing grace, and the promises of God, again being found unshakeable from generation to generation. You can count on His Word, 100 percent of the time. 

But he is not to go to Egyp. So, Isaac settles in Gerar. And, you won’t believe what we read about as he settles there, the men of the area ask him about his wife Rebekah, and guess what he decides to do, he was afraid, so he said she was his sister. 

Seriously? He’s going to follow his dad on that? Well, yes, apparently. And not surprisingly if we are honest with our own human nature. Yes, we will fall in the same hole, we saw our father fall. The many promises we made to ourselves not to be like them, notwithstanding. Right? 

Rebekah was beautiful, so that we know what is going to happen. But thankfully, Abimelech was astute enough to notice something. Verse 8 of chapter 26 tells us that when he saw the two of them laughing together, he knew something was up. So he called up Isaac and said, “Look man, don’t give me none of this she’s my sister business, she is your wife” (he didn’t quite speak like that, but you get the idea). Isaac confesses and Abimelech says, “what have you done, you could have brought guilt upon us.” Which is interesting, right. These people, even though they do not know or serve the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they know that certain things are wrong. 

Which is something many philosophers, thinkers and theologians have explored. How this moral law written in our hearts, points us to a moral law giver—to God. Yet another thing for you to think about. 

But here, Abimelech let’s everyone know that no one is to touch Rebekah as she is Isaac’s wife. The Lord blesses Isaac, as Abraham was, in his time in Gerar.  He became very rich, and the Philistines envied him. So, they filled up all the wells that they used, even the ones that Abraham had dug up, and Abimelech ultimately asks him to leave for apparently Isaac had become more powerful than their entire kingdom. 

He leaves and settles in the Velley of Gerar and has to re-dig up the wells that Abraham had dug up during his time there and that the Philistines had covered up. But when the water came out, the herdsmen of Gerar, fought them saying the water was theirs. So, Isaac moved and dug a new well, but they fought him about that one too. 

So, he moved and dug a third well, and was finally left in peace to use it. He called Rehoboth, saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us and we shall be fruitful in the land.” 

Then he went to Beersheba where the Lord appeared to him that same night he got there and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring for my servant Abraham's sake.” So, they built an altar there and dug another well. 

Interestingly, Abimilech and his advisors where indeed very afraid of Isaac’s prosperity because they follow after Isaac and ask that he make a pact with them not to harm them. Isaac does. 

Finally, we are told that when Esau was 48 years old, he took Judith and Basemath, daughters of two Hittites to be his wives. Not a wise move that we are quickly told made life “bitter” for Isaac and Rebekah. 

And there is that word again, I believe the Scriptures are sounding the alarm on for us today: bitterness. Do not let it take root in you, fight it with all your heart. Trust in God, full trust in His Sovereignty and goodness and love for us, is the answer. “What can man do to me?” sung David in his Psalms, and it is affirmed for us again in Hebrews 13:6, “we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” Rest in that. And don’t fret. Do not let your anxieties rule, leave them at the foot of the Cross. 

One last event at the end of Isaac’s life will mark the course of history. It’s an important one, we don’t want to rush it. So, we’ll live it for next time. It begins in chapter 27, if you want to study ahead before we meet again. 

It should be fun. See you then.

Episode 8 - The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob  

Back and better than ever, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob podcast continues. Episode 8 on the way. Are you ready? We pretty much finished chapter 22 of Genesis last time, so we’re ready to make the transition from Abraham to Isaac – a monumental transition, really. 

As always, I’ll encourage you, if this is your first time listening, go back and listen from the beginning so you can get the whole picture of this amazing story. 

And remember more resources, like this podcast, are available on mariosnministries.com. Also, can I trouble you to leave a review of the podcast on your favorite platform, that helps get the word out. The other thing that helps more than anything actually, is for you to share this podcast with your family and friends. We would be so grateful. 

The reason this is being recorded is to be a help to those who God would have listen, that they may be strengthen and encouraged in their faith as they meet face to face with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So, the more people we can get it too, the better. 

With that said, let’s get started! 

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Last episode, we finished the amazing story of Abraham sacrificing his son Isaac. A truly inspiring account of the faithfulness of God. It is a story that looks forward toward the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, on the cross. 

To put even more emphasis on it, take one last look at the end of Genesis 22. The conclusion of the episode with the sacrifice of Isaac is that the angel of the Lord calls out to Abraham a second time and says: 

By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice. 

So, you not only hear there, again, the affirmation of God’s promise to Abraham – He will multiply his offspring— but note that “in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” How is this possible? As we have discussed, the Christ will eventually come through Abraham’s offspring, through whom we are all saved. If you take a look at Luke 3, starting on verse 23, you’ll read the genealogy of Jesus and Luke will trace it from Joseph, all the way back through David and Jacob, Isaac to Abraham, and even all the way to Adam. It is all significant. And you can understand it better now, after getting acquainted with the God of Abraham and His faithful promises. I hope those New Testament passages take on a new meaning for you. 

Okay, time to move on now, we read that Abraham was told about his brother Nahor having children with Milcah his wife. A number of his children are mentioned, including Bethuel who fathered Rebecka. That is a name we don’t know about yet, but we will. It relates to one of today’s story, so I want to note it for here. 

Chapter 23 greets us with the death of Sarah. She lived 127 years, the text says, and she died at Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan (in Israel today, in the West Bank as it is known). We are told Abraham weeps for Sarah and sets out to find a fitting gravesite for his beloved. Recall that Abraham is sojourning in the land of the Hittites, so he asks them for a piece of land, and we have this sort of a funny exchange where they want to just give it to him, but he wants to buy it from them. They go back and forth, but Abraham insists, and he pays Ephron the son of Zohar four hundred shekels of silver for the cave of Machpelah, where he ends up burying Sarah. 

This is an important Biblical site that is still around to this day, Abraham will be buried here also, as will be Isaac and his wife and Jacob and his wife. The site has been transformed at different points in history. Herod the Great built a big structure around it. There was a church built inside that was later converted into a mosque by the Muslims in the 7th century, and then recaptured by the Crusaders in the 12th century, then again by Muslims. But anyway, you can still visit this site today, although the actual tomb is in the cave beneath the place that is open to the public. 

These facts are always encouraging to note because they remind us, we are reading history here, not fiction. Always remember that and remind your children and grandchildren of it. 

Abraham is left alone now, but he is very old also. If Sarah is 127, he is probably 137, given their ages at the birth of Isaac (90 and 100). So, he’s thinking that his time is coming and therefore wants to make sure Isaac marries a woman from his own tribe, and not a Canaanite from the place they are currently living, so he makes his servant swear to him that he would go back to his homeland and try to get a wife for his son. 

The servant is a bit reluctant at first, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” he tells Abraham (verse 5 of chapter 24) Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” 

Note again, Abraham is walking by faith. The woman will have a choice. To be sure there are societal pressures that force women to make tough choices at the time, but there is something deeper here than the simplistic calculations of our modern society. Never listen to those who want to sit in judgement of the Word of God, from their supposed enlighten modern or post-modern point of view. These so-called experts are usually the most blind of all teachers. 

We do well to approach Scripture always with humility. With a sort of fear and trembling due to the Lord of the Universe. 

Abraham’s servant swears, takes some significant resources, camels, servants and gifts, and then departs on his journey to find a wife for Isaac. Where is he going? He is going to go to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor—remember the name? — yes, that is Abraham’s brother, to whom we were introduced earlier (at the end of chapter 22) who had born children along with his wife Milcah. 

Now, you can see how this is a crazy endeavor. How is he going to even approach anybody, he doesn’t know anyone in the area, and he is just showing up unannounced. Just about the only thing he has going for himself is the appearance of being respectable, given the possessions he is carrying around, but everything else really seems to be working against him. What is he going to do? This is a desperate situation. Where is he going to turn for help? 

Well, here’s a great testimony, this servant has seen the faithfulness of the God of Abraham, and so he turns to that God for help. 

“O Lord, God of my master Abraham, [he prays in verse 12 of chapter 24] please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.” 

Ladies and gentlemen, faith will carry this servant through. He will have success, just as Abraham had affirmed through faith. He will complete this impossible task. The God of Abraham is the God of Abraham’s servant. 

And never lose sight, this is your God too. Or I hope you will recognize Him as such, if you haven’t. This Amazing God who can do the impossible is still looking out for his people, performing marvelous deeds to the glory of His name. 

Perhaps some other time I’ll tell you what He has done in my life. For He has done the impossible in my life too. This God is real. He is near and present at every turn. We are not talking theory here, but the true life that can be yours today. 

Let’s keep reading: 

Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her water jar on her shoulder. 

He, he… isn’t this exciting? 

The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known. She went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water to drink from your jar.” 

What do you think is going to happen? 

She said, “Drink, my lord.” And she quickly let down her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” So, she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels.  

C’mon friends, are you all reading the same thing I’m reading?! This is… this is mind-blowing. He just prayed for this. I mean giving the man water that’s one thing, but to volunteer to water the camels also, that’s something else. 

She’s beautiful, she’s not married, she’s doing this incredible charitable deed, she doesn’t need to do this, she doesn’t owe anything to this servant. 

What I hope you see is that the God of Abraham and his servant is at work. That’s what we are witnessing here. So, stand back and prepared to be amazed! 

After she finished, he gives her some gifts and asks, “whose daughter are you?” And you can only imagine his face when she tells him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” 

So, let’s revisit this again. I’m sorry, but, this servant shows up unannounced to a place he doesn’t know, prays to God, talks to the first woman that comes by and she does exactly what he prayed for, she is beautiful, unmarried and she is from his master’s household. 

You may call that coincidence and go on your way. But I join this servant as he (in verse 26) “bowed his head and worshiped the Lord,” saying, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master.” 

I am tempted to stop there… to leave us marveling at our God. I hope you take some time to mediate on this. 

But I do want to finish the story. 

The servant can’t believe it, in the next verse he says, “As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master’s kinsmen.” 

He knows he hasn’t done anything, he just showed up, walking by faith and God took him right where he needed to be at the exact time he needed to be there. 

Do you dare pray this way? This is not testing God, I know many of us have tried that, that is not the same prayer. Jesus refused to do that in the dessert when the devil tried to get him to put God to the test. We cannot do that. We will be frustrated and disappointed every time. 

This is someone sent by God on an impossible task that demands trust, and actually walking in that trust, desperately praying for God’s help and guidance through faith.  God will come to your aid every time in answer to such prayer. 

This servant is not out of the woods yet though. He’s got to go and talk to the family still. And he hasn’t even told Rebekah. She may refuse to go. Common sense says she will. He, he… 

But for God, ha? 

He goes to her household, meets the family, dines with them, and finally tells the story that has brought him there. Can you imagine? 

Just put yourself as a dad or a mom hearing this craziness from a man you just met, conveniently talking to you about your beautiful daughter. I mean, I have two daughters, people… this is not sitting well on my stomach right now. 

But you see, those are the calculations of men. I know these calculations; they don’t add up. They never will. 

The problem is that they are not reality. There is a spiritual reality that the world ignores, and because of that, it can never experience righteousness. You know what that means. It’s just what is right and good and excellent. In order for us to experience that peace and joy, we must walk by the Spirit, not by sight. Rebekah and her family must be guided in this way right now, or they will understandably reject this man as an unstable lunatic. 

But he is not. Do you see what we are talking about? 

If you have rejected God up until now, because things just don’t add up, and your parents or Cristian friends sound like crazy people, what if they are not? What if what they are telling you is the truth? 

I beg you to come and see, taste that the Lord is good. 

Laban, Rebekah’s brother, and Bethuel, her father, seem to be at a loss, but they believe it is from the Lord, so they agree. Listen to how they respond: “The thing has come from the Lord; we cannot speak to you bad or good.  Behold, Rebekah is before you; take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master's son, as the Lord has spoken.” 

You can hear the fear of the Lord in them, but it’s like they don’t like it, they won’t speak good or bad about it. 

So, it is not surprising that then next day they are a bit apprehensive about it. They ask the servant to remain with them for a bit longer. Abraham’s servant sort of feels what is happening and then ask them not to delay them, so they finally turn to what they should have done in the first place, Let’s ask Rebekah what she wants to do. 

And they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will go.” So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham's servant and his men.  And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, 

“Our sister, may you become 
    thousands of ten thousands, 
and may your offspring possess 
    the gate of those who hate him!” 

Then Rebekah and her young women arose and rode on the camels and followed the man. 

What an amazing testimony of the goodness of God and none of them will regret trusting God. Not the family, nor the servant, nor Abraham or Isaac, and not Rebekah who will be loved by Isaac, note that on verse 67. When we are faithful to God, He is always sure to bless us in ways unimaginable. The God of Abraham is faithful and good. Put your trust in him today.

Episode 7 - The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob  

Hello there. Mario here, continuing our adventure to discover the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Last episode was epic! I hope you had a chance to listen. If this is your first time listening, I suggest you go back and binge-listen all six episodes from the beginning to get caught up. We’ve seen some amazing things through this journey, none more amazing than God delivering on his 25-year promise to Abraham to give him a son, Isaac. 

We have come to know the God of Abraham – a faithful, caring, purposeful God that will not relent on His word. So now, are you ready to start the transition from the God of Abraham to the God of Isaac? 

Let’s do this! 

[MUSIC] 

We left off on Genesis chapter 21, where “The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, [He] did to [her] as he had promised… Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age… [Abraham was 100 years old when it happened, and]….  Abraham called the name of his son… Isaac. 

Both Sarah and Abraham stand in awe of what God has done. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is Awesome! He gave them a child in their old age, demonstrating His omnipotence and Sovereignty – His limitless power and control over all things. 

Now, starting in verse 8 of chapter 21, we hear of troubling story, where on the day that Isaac was weaned, that’s when a child starts eating solid food and detaches from the mother’s milk, Abraham threw a feast and Sarah heard Ishmael laughing.  Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Hagar, as you remember, the slave woman who had bore a child to Abraham (we read that story back in Episode 3, when we looked at chapter 16). 

That was Abraham and Sarah’s scheme to help God fulfill his promise and to this day that sin continues to plague them. Now Sarah’s resentment towards Hagar and Ishmael spurs up again at this party. So, she tells Abraham to get rid of Hagar and Ishmael. 

Abraham does not like this idea and was greatly distressed, but He hears from God once again. God tells him (starting in verse 12), “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named.  And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” 

Note that phrase, “because he is your offspring.” Again, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is faithful. He has promise to multiply Abraham’s offspring. And even though Abraham sinned in bringing Ishmael into the world, God will not relent on His promise.  Ishmael is not the son of the promise, but God will still multiply his offspring because of His Word (His promise) to Abraham. 

Scripture tells us Abraham obeys the Lord and rises up early, gives bread and water to Hagar and sends her and Ishmael out of their camp, into the wilderness of Beersheba. 

This could not have been easy for Abraham. Just imagine sending your son away like that. I still remember the day we sent my brother away to serve in the military. It was an early morning too, while it was still dark. And it was tough on me, let alone my mother and father. 

But to consider how Hagar must have felt just breaks your heart. 

Now, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is the God of Hagar too. She knows Him— knows Him intimately. Remember, she tried to run away from Sarah once before. Remember? In that episode, Hagar met with “El Roi.” Remember what that name meant? — the God who Sees Me” 

This is kind of the point of this whole exercise. As you face life, you must draw on your knowledge of, and experience with, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to face your own trials. When you feel alone, betrayed, forgotten, hurt, remember “El Roi.” Remember what He has done in the past. Remember His love and faithfulness. When you’ve messed up, remember how He brought about Abraham’s blessings, in spite of his failures and shortcomings. 

This God is real. He is at work in our world today. He is working in Your life. Let us act accordingly. Let us trust in Him, fully. 

The wilderness was not kind to Hagar. She comes to a point where the supplies she had were gone and she thought both she and the child would die. So, she puts him under one of the bushes and goes and sits away from him so as not to see him die. Again, when we read something like this, it is just a few lines here in chapter 22, but we must pause and consider the agony, the desperation of the moment. Put yourself in Hagar’s position. Perhaps you’re going through that kind of pain and desperation today. I hope you feel God’s peace and comfort, even as you listen to this. 

Consider that these examples in Scriptures have been kept throughout the generations for your benefit, and to the glory of God. So, take your time to think about what you are reading in Scripture before moving on to the next thing. 

Because here God intervenes in the situation once gain. He is “El Roi.” He sees Hagar, and He cares. But often times it is when we are at that point of despair that we are ready to receive God’s help. Therefore, consider and remember it for your own trials. 

Don’t ask me why that is, God could have intervened with Hagar before this point. Perhaps our self-reliance must be completely destroyed. We are very proud as humans. But whatever the case, we must learn (by the grace of God) that He does not forget. He is aware of your circumstances and will come to your aid. Do not cast away your faith as you become weary in your journey. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is for you, if you have put your trust in Him. Never doubt Him. 

Can I take a parenthesis here to say this is the key to contentment? This has been the theme of what the Lord has been teaching me in this season of my life. The key to inner peace— to true freedom. The key is to keep our minds on Christ— to act in every way in His confidence. If He is in control, why should I grumble about anything. 

He who has ears to hear let him hear… 

Back to our story. God steps in. Starting in verse 17, we read, “God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.  Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.’ Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.”  

What a miraculous, merciful turn of events! They are both saved. And the story tells us God was with Ishmael, that he grew in the wilderness of Paran where he became an expert with the bow. This is interesting because the wilderness of Paran is part of the wilderness where the Israelites will wonder for 40 years after their exodus from Egypt. 

Yet another connection because we read here that Hagar found an Egyptian woman for her son Ishmael to take as a wife. 

At the end of chapter 21 we have the account of a treaty between Abimelech and Abraham, to establish a friendship and settled the matter of a well. What I’d like to point out is that this is brought about, right there on verse 22, because Abraham’s fame as one who has favor with God is being recognized by those around him. “God is with you in all that you do,” Abimelech and his commander tell him, therefore x, y z. 

May we also enjoy such reputation among those around us. May we be known as those who have been with God and walk in His presence. 

So, we come to Chapter 22 then, a very important chapter, and one that is well known. The first verse is a life-changing verse. It says, “After these things, God tested Abraham…” Can you settle that in your mind? Yes, God will test you. He will test me. 

Looking back at your life, can you identify God’s tests at different points? Not every difficult thing you go through is a test from God, so we need spiritual discernment for this. We need spiritual eyes to see and understand what we are going through. 

Here’s how Abraham’s tests went. And gain, note the kind of test he gets. This is not what you expect. And in our lives, we must learn that God will do the unexpected. Do not reduce God to the way you think He ought to behave, based on your personal experiences. When we do that, we are really trying to take on His role as God. We try to make Him in our image, instead of what is the reality, right?, that He made us in His. 

So, God says to Abraham, “Abraham… Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 

And we pause again. This cannot be! Put yourself in Abraham’s shoes. He’s waited for this kid his whole life. He waited on God’s specific promise of a son for twenty-five long years. He finally gets the son, he is rejoicing. He will finally get to relax and enjoy him. Guide him in the ways of the Lord, and… no. 

Now God asks him to give him up. His only son. The son of the promise. 

This is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Chances are He will ask you to give up some things that you hold very dear to you. Perhaps is not as dramatic. In my life, He asked me to leave my homeland, to give up my career, to give up some of the entertainment I enjoy. 

These are difficult things at the moment, but what awaits on the other side of obedience is the rest, the peace and the fulfillment you seek. 

God is worth it. He is worthy of these small sacrifices. 

That is why Abraham obeys. The very next verse says he “rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.” 

He walks for three days and then sees the mountain God told him about. He tells his men to wait there and he and Isaac will go and worship and come back. That little nugget on verse 5 is worth pointing out. He believed he was returning back with Isaac. 

How can that be? Well, Hebrews 11:19 tells us “Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead…” That is the type of faith He had in Almighty God. And His faith was not in vain. It was, indeed, reasonable. 

As Abraham went along with Isaac, the boy asks the father, “Dad, I see the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” That’s verse 8, and Abraham responds in faith again, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” 

And he was right, again. His faith was rightly placed. That is why he could act confidently. You and I can act in the same way today, if we put our faith in Jesus Christ. 

When they got there, Abraham built the altar, put the wood, bound his son and laid him on the altar. Many clues in the passage suggest that Isaac was a young man already when this happens, so that it almost looks like Isaac must have also had faith to go along with his father’s plan to willingly allow himself to be bound up, which is worth thinking about (the next chapter, for examples starts with the death of Sarah at 127 years-old). 

But whatever the case, he is bound up on top of the wood on the altar, and verse 10, “Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.” 

Pause the movie again… ponder this scene. This is amazing faith in God. We must pray that God will help us to believe in Him in this way. 

But as Abraham is set to kill the son of the promise, the plan is revealed “the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven [(verse 11)] and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 

Test passed. 

God then provides a ram that was caught by the horns in a thicket, so that Abraham can use it for the sacrifice to the Lord. Abraham called the place, “The Lord will provide.” This is that name for God many of you may have heard, “Jehovah Jireh.” That’s what it means the Lord will provide. Remember the song, “Jehovah Jireh, my provider…” This is where it comes from. 

The angel of the Lord then reaffirms God’s promise to Abraham, “because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 

But, we cannot ignore the obvious parallel between this substitution of the ram for Isaac and the most holy substitution of Christ on the cross for us. There on the cross, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob provided His only begotten son to die in your place—for your sins. 

Our sins condemn us to death. Those are the wages of sin, according to Romans 6:23. But Christ, paid the price for our sin, and instead gave us His righteousness, that we may be saved, when we put our trust in Him. 

Would you, if you haven’t yet, put your trust in Him? 

I pray this is the day you do. 

Until next time.

Episode 6 - The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob  

We’re back at it with more on our story of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We are getting to know this God, straight from Scripture, and not from popular culture. In fact, in some cases, we may be destroying some of the misconceptions we have about God that we’ve picked up from here and there that have actually distorted God’s character and hurt us in the process. Here, we want no nonsense, to make us feel good inside while taking us farther away from God. 

Here, we’re after the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Simple as that. 

[BUMPER] 

After the destruction of Sodom, Abraham goes to Negeb and he sojourned in Gerar, this south of Israel today. There, incredibly, Abraham tries the old Sarah is my sister approach and he goes through the same predicament as before because Abimelech, king of Gerar took Sarah to be his wife. But the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, intervenes for Sarah once again. God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken for she is a man’s wife.” 

Now, I don’t know who listening to this needs to hear this but, if you are or are thinking of entering a relationship with  a married woman, listen to the words of God here. Death awaits on the other side of that exchange. Flee from it. That’s all I need to say about that. 

Now Abimelech had not “known” Sarah, as we have discussed before, kings took wives in those days and they were to go through a whole process to get ready to be with the king. So, he pleads to God, saying Abraham lied to him. “In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this,” he says in Genesis chapter 20, verse 5. 

So, yes, of course, God knows this and will acquiesce. But the answer will blow your mind away! Listen to what God tells him, He tells yes, I know you did this in the integrity of your own heart, [quote] “it was I who kept you from sinning against me” [end quote]. 

I mean, there is so much there… I don’t want to bog down the story so that you feel we’re sort of stuck in the mud and we won’t get out of it any time soon. I guarantee you we’re moving along, we will get to the birth of Isaac on this very episode, so that the transition will start already- BUT… but… let’s not miss what we are learning here about the God of Abraham. 

You see what we’re doing, right? We’re putting layers upon layers of knowledge. Your spiritual muscles are being strengthen as I speak. You are being built up. Do not quit now! 

Listen, we already know the God of Abraham will stand up for the oppress. He will not forget the destitute. He deals with each, with justice. No one gets away with anything, I like to say. 

Notice here against who the offense, the real offense is committed, if Abimelech was to marry Sarah. It’s against God. “it was I who kept you from sinning against me,” says the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Listen, you want to engage in sinful behavior, in sinful relationships, you have bigger problems than the people you are hurting around you. And believe me you are hurting A LOT of people. 

I know there are many out there who have already gone through the experience who can attest to the pain and suffering of such a path. But that is the least of your problems. Your eternal destiny is on the line. 

But there is good news. There is hope still. God can help you! He can help you get out of the deep whole you find yourself in. He told Abimelech, it was Him, God, who kept Abimelech from sinning. God did not let Abimelech touch Sarah. 

Listener, the battle against sin must be won in God’s strength, not ours. We are not strong enough! Cry out to God, ask Him to fight the fight for you, to strengthen you, to lead you. Surrender to Him and you will begin to see a change in your life. 

It’s not that He will not allow painful experiences come your way, they will still come. But God will use each and every one of them for your good. 

God asks Abimelech to return Sarah to Abraham, for he is “a prophet.” Let us note that. God calls Abraham a prophet, even though he has not up until now, at least as recorded, done the types of things that we usually think prophets do, proclaim the word of God and “prophecy” right of what’s to come. 

But I told you we would be tearing down some misconceptions, and the role of prophets here is one that we might need to start revisiting in our minds. God calls Abraham a prophet and we know he has been called and chosen by God for a specific task. We can also add to that, the fact that God tells Abimelech that Abraham will pray for Abimelech so that God will answer Abraham and spare him his life. 

So, we can say that the prophet of God is also an intercessor. He tells the people the Word of God and He brings to God the plight of the people. Remember that. 

Note again, how the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is revealing himself to us. It pleases Him to move according to His will, through the prayers of His people. This is sometimes a hard concept to grasp, but it is crucial for us to understand this. Yes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is in control. Nothing happens against His ultimate purposes. Yet, He asks us to pray without ceasing and He will move through our prayers. It is an amazing thing! 

Abimelech returns Sarah to Abraham and asks him why he did what he did. Abraham here gives the same answer he gave before, he thought he would be killed since there was no fear of the Lord in that place and Sarah was very beautiful. 

I do not know if we have mentioned it before, but we must consider that this practice, though foreign to us now, could’ve been fairly common at the time, so that Abraham’s fear is well founded. These kings, as kings, might do what they want. In fact, remember David, who as king took another man’s wife, so I throw that out there so as to make you feel the rawness of this account. The Bible is incredibly real. We read of some horrific things in it, perhaps things we have not experienced ourselves, especially those of us here in America, but let us be wise and consider that we are all capable of many of the horrific things we hear about. 

Much evil can come out of man’s heart. It is why we are in need of a Savior. 

But here the Scriptures lets us in in a little secret. You might have thought Abraham was plainly lying on these “she’s my sister” nonsense, but here we find out Sarah is indeed, according to verse 12 of Chapter 20, the daughter of Abraham’s father with another woman, not Abraham’s mother. And, they had also come to this arrangement as they sojourned over lands, that they would say this up front. 

Abimelech lets Abraham live on his land and he gives him money and many possessions, sheep, oxen and servants. Again, a potentially disastrous situation, has turned out for Abraham’s good, to bring about the promises of God in his life. 

This is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is worthy of our trust. Perhaps you find yourself in the middle of that difficult situation where there seems to be no way out. DO NOT underestimate the power of Yahweh, the great I Am. He will use this to your advantage, if like Abraham, you believe Him. 

Abraham prays for Abimelech and we are given an even more understanding here. It turns out that God had, according to verse 18, closed all the wombs in Abimelech’s house, since he had taken Sarah. So, we can see a bit more of the context of his dream. It seems things were not a right from the moment he took Sarah. But now Abraham prays, and everyone is healed from this him (he will not surely die now, immediately) and his household will be opened up again. 

And now the time has finally come, on chapter 21. The Lord visits Sarah and she conceived and bore a son in her old age and he was named Isaac. This is the son of the promise Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded, on the eight day, when Abraham was 100 years old. 

We must pause here, no? It has taken us five episodes, six with this one, from the time God gave the promise to Abraham. Can you understand a bit more the God of Abraham? 

He does not move on our timeline. Write that down. 

Recall when we started this journey, Abraham was 75 when he departed, after having heard God’s promise for the first time. The promise seemed impossible at first and with each passing year for 25 years, it would have been more than reasonable to doubt the promise of God. 

You see why, it was counted to Abraham as righteousness that he believed God. He had faith that God would deliver on His promise, even though it would have been more than reasonable to despair. To say, “God has forgotten about me.” 

But he had not. 

So, we’ll leave it there at this important, really significant point in the story, because, more than anything I want you to think about it, to meditate on what has just happened. The Scriptures just take a few verses to describe this to us, at the beginning of chapter 21, but you and I who know the Genesis of the story (pun intended) can appreciate the significance. 

If you are in the middle of your journey. In the middle of those 25 years of waiting on God. Wait on God. Do not despair. He is faithful. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob does not lie. You did not mishear His promises to you. This is what the enemy usually tells us when we are waiting on God. 

Remember the serpent on the garden? What did it tell Eve? “Did God really say…?” Do not fall for it. What God has spoken in your life will come to pass. He has not forgotten about you. 

All things, even the painful things, are working to bring it about. He is the Great I Am. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

There is none like Him. Believe it! 

Peace unto you.

Episode 5 - The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob  

This is the MARIOS podcast. You are listening to a series on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is episode five. If this is your first time listening, I do recommend going back and starting with episode one.  More on this podcast and other resources can be found at mariosministries.com. 

We left the story last time with the destruction of Sodom. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in His infinite mercy, spared Lot and his family, from the destruction of Sodom. But God told them not to look back or stop, and yet, Lot’s wife (on verse 26, of that 19th Chapter in Genesis), disobeyed the command. She did look back and lingered in the plains, and she seemed to have been caught up the fire and sulfur. Scripture tells us she became “a pillar of salt.” 

Now, let us pause, and consider what to make of this. The Scriptures are more than we can handle at times. But we must not gloss over what we are reading. This is a magnificent account. A terrifying account. This really happened. It is no fairytale. It’s history. This is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

Fortunately, we have some help here from Jesus’ himself on this account. 

And let me pause here and hand to you this precious Bible study tool. When you come to a particularly difficult passage of Scripture, look elsewhere. One of the miracles of God’s revelation through Scripture is its cohesion. The whole of Scripture tells one story and without the whole, you are missing a part. 

The Bible is composed of 66 books, written over a period of roughly two thousand years by forty different authors from three continents, writing in three different languages. And yet, there is a supernatural harmony in Scripture that will be your friend, a guide to you, in your personal study. It does require time and energy to get to know this, but I want to encourage you. This is a precious Gift of God to you. Do not waist it. 

So always interpret Scripture in light of Scripture. All passages fit together perfectly. This is why I always encourage preachers and teachers to teach the whole counsel of God. All of Scripture. Not just the parts we are most comfortable with. 

Anyway, that’s enough of that. For this story of Lot’s wife, we have help from the words of Jesus in Luke 17 where we read of an account where the Pharisees (this were the so-called religious scholars of Jesus’ time), they asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come. Here’s how He responded, pay attention: 

“The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” 

[Pause] That alone there is something to think about for weeks on end (“the kingdom of God is in the midst of you”), but that’s not what relates directly to our story, so I won’t go there.  He then, turns to His disciples and He opens the windows of heaven a bit, to talk about the end times. He says, starting in verse 22: 

“The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.  And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them.  For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.  But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.  Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.  They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.  On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back.  Remember Lot’s wife.  Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 

Friends listen to me very carefully. There are those today who seek to minimize the Word of God, especially the Old Testament, as having no real application to us in the 21st Century. DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM. Do not disregard the Word of God. Not one part. Not one book. Not one sentence, not a single word. 

You have it form the mouth of our Savior! Remember Lot’s wife. Our God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob still rules, and He admonishes us to “Remember Lot’s wife.” 

So, how do we do that. Well, one thing is to listen to God and never look back to the sin that ensnared us with nostalgia.  What God has torn down was not to your benefit. Do not look back. Do not linger in the past. Do not long for Egypt, as the people of God would do after the Exodus. 

We are Christ’s. Old things have passed away. We are not who we were. We are a new creation and we must keep our eyes in Eternity. 

Detach yourself from the love of the world, and Love God above all else, and through Him, your neighbor. What profits man to gain the whole world and in the end lose his very soul? (Mt. 16:26). 

Ok, you get the picture. Again, we could write an entire book on this concept. We have much to meditate by “remembering Lot’s wife” as our Savior commanded. But we must move along in our story here. 

Abraham gets up early in the morning and sees the scene from afar, the smoke testifies of God’s judgement upon the land. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has kept His word, as He always does. 

Lot goes to live in a cave, we are told at the end of chapter 19, with his two daughters. This is an amazing contrast with the man who had so many possessions he could not live with Abraham on the same land. But his unwise decisions have led him to lose everything. 

There are Christians like this today. I confess I have lived like this. Ambivalent. You want to follow God, yet you are so attracted to the things of this world, you remain close to it. What fools we are! I bear the scars of my foolishness. And you will too, if you do not heed God’s voice and long for holiness. You know the meaning of holiness, right. To be separated. 

I’ll leave three dots on that one too. I apologize. There is just so much for us to get through. Perhaps our next podcast project should be a “meditations” one, where can stay on a thought like that for longer. 

But here we keep going. It is not surprisingly, that Lot’s two daughters, having grown up in Sodom, have also suffered under the influence of the prevalent sin around them. They take with them some very wicked ideas of what is important.  So, the older daughter decides that the two of them need to get pregnant by their father because if not there will be no lineage from them. They get their father drunk on two different occasions and each lay with him, while he was imperiled, and both became pregnant. 

Some commentators have suggested the pressures and realities of the day may justify their decisions, but I don’t buy it. It certainly helps to explain their actions, we’ve already covered some of the many injustices women faced at the time, if they had no husband or brother once their father died. But this does not justify sinful thoughts and behavior. Robbing someone is a sin, even when done to give to the poor. 

Remember God is just. He will bring justice. That is why we are blessed when we thirst for justice and righteousness, because we will be filled (according to Matthew 5:6). So, we need not try to be judges ourselves, trying to bring justice. Because we usually bring justice in unjust ways. Because, the problem is that we are not just. We have blind spots. God alone is just, and so we have to trust Him. We do not need to carry that burden. Wait on Him. He is our refuge and strength. He is our avenger. Hulk and Thor and Iron Man and the rest have nothing on God. 

We need only to trust Him. 

Lot’s older daughter became pregnant and gave birth to a son named Moab, from whom the Moabites will come. The younger bore a son and called him Ben-ammi, from where the Ammonites will come. As you can imagine, the history of  these two peoples is a troubled one. In Numbers 25, we read of how the Moabites led Israel to Baal worship. In Deuteronomy 23 we read about how the Moabites and the Ammonites hired   to curse Israel. 

But let’s be clear. The issue in Scripture, even when we read of a race of people in this way, is always faith, not race. The book of Ruth is a good account of how Moabites and Ammonites who put their faith in The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob can become part of the people of God. The issue is always faith. It was faith, we have already discovered, that made Abraham pleasing in God’s eyes. 

It is always about faith. 

What we can’t ignore is the influence that you and I as parents have on our children. Our faith or lack of it can be impactful in their lives. If you are not a parent yet, you know how your parent’s faith or lack of it had an impact on you. 

It should not surprise us to find our children walking in the same way we walk. And it is in the way we walk, not in the way we talk. Sometimes we talk a good game, in terms of faith, but our lives reveal the true state of our hearts, and our children pick up on it. 

God knows how many times I’ve had to repent for preaching unbelief to my children with my discontent and grumblings, even while I taught them about being faithful to God and trusting Him in everything. 

We must take this lesson seriously. Our lives will have an impact for generations to come. We don’t get to choose whether or not we have influence, only what type of influence will we be. So, let us turn from sin. Decidedly. Purposefully. Let us embrace holiness. Being separated by God for God. Let us not linger in the sin that ensnared us. Let us leave the past and walk differently. Let us walk in the light. 

That Hebrews passage pointing to all these giants of the faith, including Abraham and Sarah, concludes with the same charge in Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 

We look forward, we run, our eyes on Jesus. And we will endure. 

See you next time.

Episode 4 - The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob  

Hello, hello and welcome to the Marios Podcast. You are listening to a series on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is episode four, so if you are just joining us, guess what(?), you can binge listen all four episodes on your favorite podcast app, or at mariosministries.com! And I do recommend you go back now and start with episode one.  That will provide you the necessary context and background for today’s discussion. 

I am so thankful that you are listening though. I believe God is speaking to us through this study and revealing Himself to us in very special ways, so I hope you endure until the end. 

Today, the God of Abraham, Part 4. 

We left Abraham after receiving a reiteration of God’s promise towards him and actually receiving a sign of the “Abrahamic covenant,” remember that term? And do you remember what was the sign? That’s right, it was circumcision. God also changed Abram’s name to Abraham, for he was going to be the father of multitudes. God also change Sarai’s name to Sarah. 

Abraham then did what God asked of him. On the very day he received the message from God, He circumcised himself, Ishmael (the son he had had with Haggar, which we also learned was NOT the son of the promise) and his whole household. So, we pick up now in Genesis chapter 18. 

Here we learned that the Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre. The text tells us he looked up and saw three quote-unquote “men” (we’ll discuss more about why I put that in quotes) and he ran to them. He bowed before them and listen to how he speaks, “O Lord, [he says] if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant….” And in that manner, he offers them refreshment and rest through his hospitality. Abraham seems to recognize these men, these beings, as coming from God, by the way he treats them. One of them seems to speak from the Lord. Some have suggested these was the presence of the pre-incarnate Jesus, but we have nothing to really go on that. Perhaps we can say they are heavenly beings; I’ll show you why in a second. 

But, whoever they are, these messengers from God accept Abrahams invitation and he and Sarah work to make them feel honored. As they eat, they ask Abraham, where is your wife? And he says, she in a tent. 

This is important, I want to slow down here so that we can all get what is happening. The Lord is going to speak and with this sort of calling out to Sarah, it’s almost like he is drawing her inn. She needs to hear what God is going to say. She is in fact standing behind the door and will now surely be attentive. Here’s why I say this is important. In the Hebrews 11 passage we have already referenced in previous episodes, the Hall of Faith passage, as it is known, Abraham’s faith is not the only one mentioned. Sarah’s is also mentioned, independent of Abraham. 

Here’s Hebrews 11: 11: “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.” Do you see that? By faith Abraham believed God. But it was by faith also that Sarah herself will conceived past her child-bearing years. Don’t forget that as we read this scene. 

The Scriptures tell us that “the Lord said [to Abraham], ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” 

Now, before we get into Sarah’s reaction. Let us consider that the term Lord here is different from the term that Abraham used when he first saw the men. In our English Bible the difference can be missed because it is merely identified as Lord in small letters or lord in small capital letters. The term Abraham used in the beginning is in small letters. It is the Hebrew word Adonai, meaning lord or masters. But Here, when Scripture tells us who is speaking the term is Lord in all small caps, it means Yahweh, which you’ve probably heard was not pronounced for the Jews but it refers to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the Israelites specifically. 

So, what we are about to hear are the very words of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That’s what this, “The lord said, in verse 10 means.” It can get confusing with the three beings, but let’s stay alert. 

Now, Sarah, again is listening to this behind the tent and she laughs saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” 

On the one hand, you can sympathize with her, just as we did with Abraham. Think about it, the Lord gave this promise to Abraham decades before when they were younger, and nothing happened. That was the whole Haggar episode, right. They can’t have children, so they are going to “help God” fulfill his promise. God rejected that and insists she will bear a son, even now. 

It is almost as if God wanted to wait until the day when they could not, humanly speaking, rear children, beyond any medical issues that she might have had, so as to leave no doubt who was bringing this child about. The time is now where both Abraham and Sarah scientifically unable to bear children. 

And that is the point, isn’t it? It is as though, this is the perfect time now for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to shine. 

The Lord said to Abraham, why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘shall I indeed bear a child, now in that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? 

That question still reverberates throughout the earth’s atmosphere. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Remember that as you face your own struggles, your own impossible promise. Is anything too hard for the Lord? 

The answer is plain. Which is why Sarah, sort of comes to her senses and, realizing what she has done, she tries to deny that she had laugh because she was afraid. Which is, of course, is another bone headed move. Can we hide anything from God? Of course not, and God calls Sarah out on it on verse 15, saying, “No, but you did laugh.” 

Always remember, let the fear of the Lord lead you to repentance. There is no fooling God. 

But do not lose sight of what we are doing here. We are getting to know the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in very meaningful way. Nothing is impossible for him. And nothing is hidden from him. He is omniscient, that is he knows everything, and he is omnipotent, that is, he is all powerful. This is our God. 

The story then shifts. Genesis 18:16 tells us that the men that were with Abraham “looked down toward Sodom” this is where Abraham’s nephew Lot chose to live. Abraham goes to send them on their way and God says, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?” He continued, “For I have chosen him… to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice…” 

Again, we must step back and stand in awe of this God. The God of Abraham, cares. He is going to reveal His plan to Abraham, out of His great love for his children. He is going to invite him in into his plan and revealed his sovereign will. 

The Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not. I will know.” 

The story tells us that the men that were visiting him went towards Sodom, but the Lord remain with Abraham. Then Abraham drew near to God and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Supposed there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing…” Abraham is assuming, as we all do most times, that there are about 50-50 righteous and unrighteous in any given place. Don’t we assume that? But that is not reality. The Lord tells him, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” 

So, Abraham presses the matter, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.  Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” So he’s asking if there’s forty five. 

God again is clear, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 

Abraham continues this line of thought and asks about 40, 30, 20, and the Lord answers him, with incredible love and patience on each, even emphasizing, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” And the Lord leaves. 

Friends, listen closely, especially you young people, or if you have kids. We have a generation today that is eager to fight for justice. Listen closely, you are not more compassionate the Jesus. You are not more loving than our God. You are not even close to being as interested in the wellbeing of the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

Indeed, if you want to fight for justice, stop following the fads of the world and come under the guidance and authority of Scripture, of the Word of the One True Judge of heaven and earth. It is the only way to change the world. 

We get to chapter 19 here, in the book of Genesis, where Scripture reveals to us that the two that left Abraham where angels who are now entering Sodom. Lot was at the gate and sees them, bowed before them and asks them to come to his house to spend the night (similar to the way Abraham received them, somehow, they both knew these were messengers from God). They refuse at first, saying they would stay at the town square, but he insists, and they acquiesce. He serves them but soon the hospitality turns to horror as the real reason why God had sent the angels there was revealed. 

The wickedness of the people of Sodom, except Lot, had become so great that they headed down to Lots house and demanded that he gave the two angels to them the they may, [quote] “know them” [end quote].  This phrase to know them, of course, is the same type of phrase used in Genesis 4:1 when Adam “knew his wife Eve,” and she became pregnant, so we know the level of corruption that the Sodomites had reached. 

It is hard for us to imagine, but we can see why God had heard the cry against these people who would sexually assault strangers in this manner. Verse 4 of Chapter 19 tells us that “both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house to demand this. 

Lot went out to try to calm them down saying, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.” But they are enraged now. The level of tension is so violent Lot offers to bring out his two daughters instead. We really don’t know if he’s just trying to buy time, for this is a horrible proposition too, but they are not having it and they push him against him, threatening to deal with him even worse than with the angels, who they intend to grab by force. Verse 9 says they “drew near to break the door down,” when the angels reached out, grabbed him and brought him in. They struck everyone with blindness. And, as you can imagine is chaos ensued. 

They tell Lot and his family to get out of the city for they will destroy it. 

Lot tells his sons-in-law who were supposed to marry his two daughters, but they don’t take him seriously.  The angels say to him, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.”  But he lingered. The angels seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, Scripture says, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 

Just think of the patience and care of the God of Abraham. 

The angels tell him, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”  Lot pleads to be allowed to go to a nearby city and he is allowed to do so. The angel says, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” 

Lot get there with the rising of the sun and Scripture tells us, “the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven.  And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.” 

This too is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob friends. He will not put up with wickedness forever. He will intervene on behalf of the oppressed. And woe to those who are the oppressors, they will know true justice. 

Will pick up here next time.

Episode 3 - The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob  

The God of Abraham 

Part III 

We’re moving along everyone. Mario back with you, continuing our series on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If you are joining us for the first time, I suggest you pause this episode and start with episode 1, we’ll be right here when you get back. Previous episodes can be found on your favorite podcast app, or you can visit mariosministries.com. 

Please subscribe the series and let others know about it. Your support makes it possible for us to produce more series like this one in the future. 

Today, we dive into Part III of our look at the God of Abraham. 

We finished Genesis 15 last time with God’s sealing the covenant He was making with Abram with fire consuming the animals Abram had set up. We’ve had therefore the promise of the Abrahamic Covenant, there’s a term we had not used before, but that you should know. That is the theological term given to that covenant we’ve been discussing that God gave to Abram. What we have not seen is the fulfillment if you will of this impossible promise. That covenant, of course, it’s still unfolding in miraculous ways in our days, but today we’ll witness the beginning of God’s plan for Abram. 

Remember, his descendants are supposed to be innumerable. God will make him a great nation. And yet Abram is in his 80s and his wife is sterile. It’s almost comical. But what we are learning is that the God of Abraham is a God of the impossible. 

Sometimes, when we don’t see God move as we thought he would move, we start second guessing His word. Remember the serpent in the garden? What was his approach? “Did God really say you shall not eat…” We see this happen in our lives too. 

Here, since God had made a promise to Abram, but he and his wife had gone years without conceiving a child, they unfortunately take matters into their own hands. 

Sarai had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. Sarai says well, maybe the way for us to have children is through her and she tells Abram to take Hagar as wife, so they can bear children that way. Abram, amazingly (and foolishly) agrees to do this. 

This, of course, was definitely not what God had promised and God will make it clear to Abram later on. 

But here, in their disobedience and unbelief, we have a great picture, again, to learn about the God of Abraham. How will He handle their lack of trust? Because, guess what, we know exactly how Abram and Sarai felt. We are them, aren’t we? We doubt the promises of God time and time again. 

So, let’s pay close attention to what the God of Abraham does. 

Hagar indeed gets pregnant. But she becomes bitter towards her mistress, Sarai. Scripture says she looked at her with contempt. 

This is another aspect of the tale too. Hagar. How will God deal with her? She too is a woman bearing the image of the living God. Is it all about Abram and Hagar will be discarded as a casualty of war, so to speak? 

Hagar, understandably, resents Sarai. But it is interesting that she only resents Sarai. Why not Abram too? Keep that in mind as we continue the story because it reveals something about her heart, doesn’t it? 

Sarai, for her part, blames Abram now for her broken relationship with Hagar. “May the wrong done to me be on you!,” she tells him in verse 5 of chapter 16. Broken relationships are usually the result of our disobedience. 

Abram then tells her to do whatever she wants with Hagar. Which every husband in the world can identify with (that “do whatever you want” is still a favorite of ours, to our shame). 

But the result, as we also know, is more brokenness. Sarai deals harshly with Hagar. 

How does the God of Abraham respond? Well, it is encouraging to me that His first concern is for Hagar. 

We learn in verse 7 that, the angel of the Lord found Hagar by the spring of water in the wilderness. “Hagar, servant of Sarai,” he said, “where have you come from and where are you going? 

Hagar responded: “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” 

And the angel first says to her: “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” Which seems hard to a woman in Hagar’s condition, except that I think we can associate that with God’s work on Hagar’s heart, as we had mentioned earlier, she has some things to work out herself. God will deal with Abram and Sarai. 

But the angel is not done with Hagar, he also says to her: “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude,” that’s verse 10. He goes on: 

“Behold, you are pregnant 
    and shall bear a son. 
You shall call his name Ishmael, 
    because the Lord has listened to your affliction. 
    He shall be a wild donkey of a man, 
    his hand against everyone 
    and everyone's hand against him, 
and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.” 

So, God is telling Hagar to go back to a difficult situation, but He is telling her “I will be with you.” “I have listened to your affliction,” verse 11. And she knows her future is secure; she is going to bear much fruits from her womb. Her offspring too will be multiplied so that they cannot be numbered. 

Hagar recognizes the blessing of the Lord and calls him in verse 13 “El Roi,” “the God who Sees Me.” And isn’t that just a precious insight for us into the God of Abraham. God sees you. He does. He knows what you’re going through. He sees you by the spring in your wilderness. Perhaps you’ve been running away from something too. God is “El Roi,” the God who sees you. 

Hagar explained why she worshiped Him this way. She said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” God is looking out for you too. 

Hagar then goes back full of this hope and bears a son with Abram and, as God told her, he was named Ishmael. Abram was 86 at the time. 

Now, were Sarai and Abram right? Did they sort of help God out to deliver on His promise to them to have many descendants? Is Ishmael the son of the promise? 

Well, Abram went another 13 years without seeing any other way. But then, it was time. Abram was to become Abraham. When he was 99 years old the Lord appear to Abram again and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” This is a bit different than before, the God of Abraham is now interested in the way Abram is walking. ¿Could that have something to do with the way he had acted towards Hagar? 

The response of Abram is telling. He fell on his face. 

Then God said to him: 

 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.” 

Those are verses 4-8 of Genesis chapter 17. And there you have it, this is how Abram becomes Abraham. He is going to be the father of multitudes and kings will come from him. Note, again, the God of Abraham (our God), does not forget (remember He spoke to Abraham more than 25 years before this moment), and He is still working out His promises to Abraham. God does not forget, He does not give up, He is not startled; He plan is unfolding as planned, regardless of mistakes or opposition to it. 

Nature itself cannot stand against this God. Abraham is 99 years old now. And he will be a father to many. Not through his own dealings with Hagar, but through the miraculous, sovereign work of Almighty God. 

God then asks Abraham to keep the covenant with a sign, “Every male among you shall be circumcised.” He said, “it shall be a sign of the covenant… an everlasting covenant” between Abraham and God. 

He then turns to speak to Abraham about his wife, “you shall not call her name Sarai,” He tells him, “but Sarah shall be her name” and God gives a bit of an explanation for that change too, “ I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”  

Then, (I love this, the Bible is so real), it says “Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” This is the way we would all speak. But, you know what, we should know better. We have the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We are not like Abraham; we have the Scriptures. We know God can do the impossible. 

Abraham does not have that advantage and is still thinking about Ishamel, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” he says in verse 18.  But God corrects him, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac.” And now we are introduced for the first time to the son of the promise, The God of Abraham and Isaac. 

Now, God doesn’t forget Ishmael, in fact he tells Abraham “he has heard him,” which is cool to know that Abraham was praying for his son, but also this fact helps us to remember: the God of Abraham is a God who hears our prayers. 

And God tells him: “As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.” 

The God of Abraham is a covenant-keeping God. He is able to bring about what He has promised us. Now Abraham is realizing how foolish he was to think he would somehow help God to accomplish his promise. God need nothing from us. He is the giver. We receive from Him. 

Now, that He deserves our honor and praise and worship, there is no doubt. But we can rest in His Word, secure. God has all things at His disposal. We need to trust in His ways. 

That very day Abraham did as God had commanded and He, Ishmael and all males in his household were circumcised in obedience to God, as a sign of the covenant with God. 

May we be as quick to obey the Lord’s commands. 

Until next time.

Episode 2 - The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob  

The God of Abraham  

Part II

Hello again and welcome to this series on the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. My name is Mario, and we pick up our story today on that curious encounter between Abram and Melchizedek. If you are just joining the discussion, I invite you to start listening from Episode 1 so that you can get a better understanding of where we are in this amazing story. You should have access to it on your favorite podcast app, or you can visit mariosministries.com, where we’ll have other resources that may enhance your study and understanding of Scripture and living out your faith. 

If you like the series, please subscribe to it—that helps promote it. At mariosministires.com, you can subscribe to our email list to get the latest on this and other projects we are working on. 

Well, without further ado, let’s dive into The God of Abraham, Part II. 

Abram just had an incredible victory. His beloved nephew Lot and his family were captured in war between Sodom and other neighboring kingdoms, and when Abram heard of the news, he assembled an army of his own and rescued them, along with all their possessions. 

On his victorious journey back, he is greeted by the king of Sodom and by “a priest of God Most High,” Melchizedek. 

We briefly considered last time Melchizedek’s independent revelation and relationship with God. It is one of those mysteries in Scripture that reminds us of the awesomeness of God. Our Father’s all-encompassing work is difficult for us to comprehend, but we can certainly stand in awe of His majesty. 

I think of Psalm 33:5, telling us “the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.” Full! Think of that! Do you look around and see that? Our eyes must be opened. 

I think of the resurrected Jesus speaking to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. Luke tells us that, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Lk. 24:27). I long to hear about that conversation when I meet the Master. The details are not recorded in Scripture, but we know it happened. 

In the same awe-inspiring way, Jesus will be identified by the writer of Hebrews (in chapter 7) as a priest in the order of Melchizedek. We do not have the time to go into all that this entails, but we get a sense of the importance of this mysterious priest of God that we are getting to know right here in Genesis. 

Abram certainly recognized his holy authority, for he gives him “a tenth” of all he had attained. This passage will help shape the Christian practice of tithing to the Lord from all we have, if you ever wonder about where that practice comes from. 

The king of Sodom welcomes all the people of Sodom back and wants Abram to keep all the material goods he got during the rescue. But Abram surprisingly refuses, saying, “I have lifted my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, that  I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me…” (Gn. 14:22-24). 

We get a glimpse of Abram’s relationship to God here. Note he had “lifted his hand to him,” which implies some sort of oath and a continuing communication between God and Abram, beyond those specifically recorded. Abram seems to be following through on his reliance on God. He does not take ownership of this great victory, instead, he jealously protects the name of the Lord, seeking that no man may take away from His (God’s) glory. In Abram’s estimate, there is only one who can say He is responsible for Abram’s prosperity, God. He will not compromise that. Isn’t that amazing? 

Following his encounter with Melchizedek, Abram has a vision. In it, God tells him, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great” (Gn. 15:1). Let us not lose sight of the simple fact then that the God of Abraham speaks through visions. We should not discard those in our lives. 

Abram responded to God saying, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir” (Gn. 15:2). 

Again, do you see what is happening here? Is this not encouraging to you, to see how Abram is free to speak to God from his heart? Can you not identify? He’s been faithful. He’s waited on the promise, but he doesn’t see how this is supposed to happen. With every passing year Sarai and he get older. There is no offspring. How is God continuing to speak of this great nation and blessing that will come through him? 

Now saddle up, because God’s answer is just so like God. This is how we get to know Him—by listening to Him. We need to learn to read Scripture with full hearts and minds. Listen to what God tells Abram, starting in verse 5 of chapter 15. God brings him outside and says, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then He says to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 

Can you believe it? This is not much different than what He’s said before. But God is patient with Abram and takes him as a child to see the stars. This is the Creator of all, who put the stars there in the first place. When we consider that, that he spoke and created out of nothing, you begin to realign your mind to the heavenly perspective. God is all-powerful, and he is for us. 

I actually love doing this with my sons and daughters, I tell them we moved to the house we live in right now because I wanted them to see the majesty of God’s glory in the starry host above. 

The God of Abraham’s lovingkindness is palpable. He is our Father. He is near us. 

And what did Abram do after hearing that lovely, but familiar answer? He believed the Lord, verse 6 tells us, and it was counted to him as righteousness. As we mentioned last time this will be Abram’s enduring legacy. He believed God. Let’s make it ours too. 

God said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” Here we get to know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a bit more, he constantly reminds us, because of course we tend to forget, of what he has done, where we’ve come from and what he has planned for us. 

He’ll continually remind the Israelites’ later on, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt,” in a similar way. And in our lives, we can always look back and see the Lord’s hand as to where he brought us out of. “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Carolina, PR” He tells me…. He, he… Lot’s of stories there, of God’s unwavering, sustaining love and mercy. It is one of my favorite things, to hear Christians tell me their “Exodus” story, so to speak. 

If I ever meet you, please, tell me that story, it is just such a blessing to me. But back to the story… 

Abram responds, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” This request doesn’t strike as doubting, we just heard Abram believed God. It seems more like an ask for help in seeing it more clearly. He seems to be asking for a sign, and God will respond with a familiar one. 

God tells him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 

God doesn’t specifically tell him what to do with them, but it seems Abraham knows these are for a sacrifice (it might be that instructions were given and simply not recorded) but it is not hard to imagine that Abraham is well versed on the practice. 

He cut them in half, put the over against each other and waited on the Lord. The text actually shows us another sign of Abram’s devotion to the Lord. It tells us in verse 11 that when the birds came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. 

Abram’s worship is similar to Abel’s, who gave the best that he had to the Lord. Here Abram wants to jealously guard his offering to the Lord. There is something for us to learn here. I fear sometimes we lose sight of just Who is it that we are dealing with when we approach the Great I Am. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the Creator of the Universe. And He is Holy! 

C.S. Lewis tried to get at this idea on his Chronicles of Narnia. Most of you have read the books or seen the movies. In the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Mr. Beaver is telling the children about Aslan (who is a sort of Christ-like figure that is represented by a great Lion in the books) and Susan, the youngest of the children is a bit afraid about meeting a Lion and she says, "Ooh… Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"... To which Mr. Beaver responds "Safe?... Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good.” 

Amen! May His name be praised forever. Listener, our God is good. He is patient and loving and kind. He is empathetic, compassionate and meek. “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,” says. Psalm 103: 8. 

But He is not like you and me. He is holy. He calls us friends, says John 15:15, but it is out of His marvelous grace that he does that, not because we deserve such an honor. 

He deserves our thanksgiving and praise. He deserves our reverence. 

Do not buy into the dreadful modern idea of a small “g” god, who’s just your buddy hanging out with you, “chillin.” That is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is a man-made non-god that will fail you, because it is not real. 

The God we are getting to know here, is the sort of God you go out of your give the best to. Abram wouldn’t dare present an unworthy sacrifice to the Lord, so he fights off the birds trying to ruin it. And you will have to fight off your own “birds” so to speak that will try to come and prey on your spiritual sacrifices to the Lord. He is worthy. 

The text tells us that Abram fell into a deep sleep and then “a dreadful and great darkness fell upon him” (that’s verse 12). There’s certainly much to think about this, but for now, let us note the magnificence of God’s presence. It is dreadful in the sense of where we stand in relation to it. This is one of the reasons why we need Jesus! Praise God, it is through Him, we are able to stand before the Father. 

God speaks to Abram then while he experienced that dreadful darkness. He said to him: 

“Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years.  But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.  As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age.  And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” (Gn 15:13–16) 

So, here is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in full too. This too is part of the promise. It is not all bliss – a great nation and a new land. But hardship will follow. There is no misleading in God. There is only truth. 

Life is hard. This we all know. And this the Scriptures reflect that without sugar-coating it. Abram’s seed is a “persecuted seed” said one commentator. And Jesus, to us said, in this world you will have trouble (John 16:33) “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” 

Trouble is a fact for the Christian life. But so is the victory. That’s where our hope comes when we are facing trials. We will persevere. We will endure. The enemy will not have his way. 

Abram’s seed is promised an Exodus. They will come out of the hardship. 

And, if we have learned anything about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is that his word, his word is sure. As He speaks it will happen. And there is nothing, no-thing that can stand in the way. 

That’s Romans 8: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … [those are all troubles, you see, but the love of God, which guarantees the victory will see us through] … Therefore, Paul declares, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Amen! 

To finish up this episode here. 

In the darkness, “a flaming torch passed between” the animals Abram had laid out. And with that sign, God sealed a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land…” The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has spoken. And as he says, so it shall be. 

See you next time.

-MD

Episode 1 - The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob  

The God of Abraham 

Part I 

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It’s kind of a weird way for God to identify Himself as, but this is exactly what He did when He spoke to Moses out of the bush and introduced Himself as “I Am that I Am”: 

“God… said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: “The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.’” – Ex. 3:14-15  

Thus, He has been remembered as the Great I Am, and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But what does that mean to you? Who is this “I Am”? Who is “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”? The only way to grasp the meaning behind these expressions is to go back in time and immerse ourselves in the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And that is exactly what we’ll do in this series, starting with Abraham Part I, today! 

Who is the God of Abraham? 

Stay tuned as we begin the journey to answer this question that just might change your life. 

Hello everyone, I’m Mario Alberto, one of the Marios in our little tribe of six Marios and counting (but that’s a story for another day). Today, I’m excited to start this new series, following up on the release of our single. I certainly hope you’ve had a chance to listen to it and share it with others. We want to glorify the name of our Lord, and He has pressed in my heart this desire to know Him and share Him fully. 

So let’s get started, to get a better understanding of who is the God of Abraham, we’ll start with the man himself, from the beginning. 

God creates Adam and Eve. They have Cain and Able, Seth and other sons and daughters. Though most people know the story of Cain and Able most, it is from the line of Seth that eventually Noah will come. So, that’s the line that will continue the Biblical narrative. Noah comes actually eight generations after Seth to be precise. 

This Noah is, of course, the one with the Ark who survived the Great Flood along with his wife and his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japhet and their wives. Though Noah did have more sons and daughters after the flood. 

It is through the lineage of his eldest son Shem that Abram (who will become Abraham) is born. Some nine generations after Shem. 

And here is where our story begins. Starting at the end of chapter 11, beginning of the 12th in Genesis. 

Abram and his family are from the land of Ur of the Chaldeans. Ur was near the west-side of the Persian Gulf on what today would be the south of Iraq. Abram had two brothers Nahor and Haran. The first thing we are told is that Haran, the youngest of the brothers, dies before their father (Terah) died. This is important because Haran’s son Lot if featured prominently in the story of Abraham, so we’ll hear of him again. This early traumatic event helps us understand Abraham’s love for his nephew Lot and his family. 

Abram marries Sari, and we are told she is barren.  Before Abram’s father passes away, Terah takes Abram, Sarai, and Lot, out of Ur towards Canaan and they settled in Haran— the northernmost part of Iraq, today. 

It is there that the Lord speaks to Abram and tells him: 

“Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gn 12:1-3) 

This is how we are introduced to “the God of Abraham,” so to speak. We, of course, learn about Him from the very beginning, the emphasis here is not to minimize God’s entire revelation through Scripture, but to remain focused on this journey of ours to discover how God interacted with Abraham in recognition of His revealed desired to us to be remembered as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

So, what do we learn about this God here? Who is the God of Abraham? Well, we see it is a God of communication and commandment. He speaks to Abram and gives him instructions. This is a God of power, a God of promise. He promises to make him a great nation.  Promises land and blessing. It seems the God of Abraham wants to use and work through us—He will bless others through Abraham. We, of course, know today that this is a messianic promise. The Messiah, the Savior of the world will come through Abram’s lineage. That is how we can make sense of that amazing promise that “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gn. 12:3) 

This is an amazing God we are talking about here. His power knows no limit. He is beyond space and time. He is beyond human comprehension. 

And yet, he is interested in Abram and his family. We see here a God of protection, promising to bless to who bless and to curse those who dishonor Abram. This is a loving, caring God. 

But we know much more today than Abram did at that point. And yet, isn’t it interesting how Abram’s belief in God is much more concrete than ours is today. 

Abram’s response to the Lord’s call is to pack up with his family and go. He was 75 years old when he took his wife and his nephew Lot with all their families and possessions and set out towards Canaan. He moved by faith, not by sight. This is the faith that is praised in Hebrews 11, where it tells us, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Grace, through faith, was and continues to be the only way to salvation. 

Still, it is important to note the unconditional nature of this promise. This is what God will do. Period. 

Abram and his family reached a place called Shechem, around Jerusalem today, and the Lord appears to Abraham and gives him another unconditional promise: “To your offspring I will give this land.” (Gn. 12:7) Abram builds an altar to the Lord there, his first. Then he journeyed to toward the east country west of Bethel (in between Bethel and Ai). There he builds another altar to the Lord and Scripture tells us he, “called upon the name of the Lord” (Gn. 12:8) there. Then he kept on going toward Negeb. 

Now, there comes a severe famine, and Abram had to go down to Egypt in order to survive. But, before he enters Egypt, Abram asks Sarai to tell everyone she is his sister because he thought they would kill him if they knew she was his wife since she was extremely beautiful. Abram was indeed treated better (given many gifts, including sheep and oxen) because of Sarai’s beauty, but she was taken to Pharaoh’s house. 

What we see next is God’s commitment to His Word. Listener, hear me out now, God’s promises never fail. There is no surer hope, no more solid ground than that which He proclaims. We do well to stake our whole lives on them. 

The God of Abraham defends Sarai. He “afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai…” (v. 17) so that Pharaoh eventually figures it out and goes to Abram and asks him why he didn’t tell him she was his wife. He gives Sarai back to him and sends them away. 

They travel to Negeb and then back to the place they had been before between Bethel and Ai. There, Abram called upon the Lord (perhaps at that 2nd altar he had established before). 

But Abram and Lot’s livestock had grown too many for the land to sustain all of them. Strife started to arise among the herdsmen. Then Abram tells Lot there should be no strife among them. He gives them the choice of the land. Lot can take whatever side he prefers, and Abram will take the other. Such was his confidence in the promise of God. 

Lot’s choice seems a bit self-centered and prideful. Scripture tells us he was even eying other nations, like Egypt, in choosing where he wanted to settle. That will cost him later on. 

So, “Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved… as far as Sodom” (Gn. 13:12). This was not good for Lot, for the Bible tells us the men of Sodom were wicked and great sinners against the Lord. 

After the separation, God spoke to Abram once again, and told him to look around him, for, “all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever” (Gn. 13:15) Here we see, for the first time, that promise of the land connected, not only to Abram but to that great nation, he was promised would be coming from him. The land would be for him and his offspring, forever, which introduces for us the time element, as related to the land too. 

As you know, we are still witnessing this promise today. 

God continued, “I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you” (Gn. 16-17). Abram believed God, even though there were settlers in those lands. This promise was not easily seen. Abram saw it through faith. 

Here we see the God of Abraham, revealing Himself, further. He will not forget His promises. His plans and thoughts are higher than ours so that we often do not see a clear path forward to what He has planned. But this God, the God of Abraham, can open pathways where there are none. His purposes cannot be detained. He is Lord of all. 

Again, note God continues to speak this prophetic word into Abram’s life at a time when Sarai is still barren and has been for many years now, while married to Abram. Still, Abram believes and moves as God said, once again, settling by oaks of Mamre at Hebron this time, where he built a third altar to the Lord. 

There were wars in the region where Lot and his family dwelled between different small kings. The king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah got into a war where they lost everything, and their enemies took Lot and his family. When Abram heard of it, he took 318 of his trained men and went to fight to get him back. He divided his army and defeated the enemy and brought Lot and his family with their possessions back. 

As Abram is on his way back, the king of Sodom when out to receive him and we have the great and somewhat mysterious encounter of Abram and Melchizedek, the King of Salem, which the Scriptures describe as “a priest of God Most High” (Gn. 14:18). This, as some of you may know, has Messianic connotations also, but we do not have time to discuss that right now. 

He brings bread and wine (which is not insignificant also) and Melchizedek blesses Abram, saying: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” 

There is no record of Abram divulging the promise God had made to him to Melchizedek, so it looks like God had revealed to Him some of His plan by the way Melchizedek recognizes God’s hand in Abraham. 

He too lets us know concretely, what you and I surely suspected, that it was God who fought the battle for Abram. He delivered the enemy into Abram’s hands. 

And so, we continue to get to know the God of Abraham deeper still. He is mighty in battle! He fights for us and delivers us from our enemies. He cares for us and our families.  This is a very different God than what people are used to dealing with. This is not a God that is far off, the God of Abraham is near. 

Note this God seems to speak and move outside of time. He declares things to Abram that will take years, decades, even centuries and millennia to be fulfilled. This is a God in control of history. History, as they say, is His story. We do well to remember this. Somehow, we tend to see history with our lives at the center, but the God of Abram is far too big to be defined in such menial ways. He has His hand on Abram, but His plan is beyond Abram. Far beyond. 

In the same way, He has a plan for that ultimately is not about you, but about Him. This is great news for us! Our lives have eternal value. The God of Abraham imparts in us that life purpose and meaning. 

Do you know the God of Abraham? Does your life have purpose and meaning beyond yourself? Or are you struggling to find your purpose? Does everything seem meaningless? 

If that is the case, I invite you to open your heart, mind, and soul to Yahweh. This God who loved you so much, He gave His only begotten Son to die for you. That was the plan all along. Even from these early ages in history, he planned for you. For this moment that you may meet Him face to face. That your spiritual eyes may be opened, in an instant! 

Do you see? Are you being made new? That is my prayer. And I pray that you will continue to listen to our next episode where we will continue to learn about the God of Abram. There is no better investment for our time than to know Him more and more. 

Talk to you soon.