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Week 4 Day 2 Genesis 18 Matthew 17

5 February, 2015

Playing a bit (but not too much) catch up

Abraham is sitting at his tent in the sun/shade and three men appear.  He greeted them as was probably customary as being nomadic visitors might not be regular and it was good to be hospitable to strangers.

So Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah and said, Quickly get ready three measures of fine meal, knead it, and bake cakes.

And Abraham ran to the herd and brought a calf tender and good and gave it to the young man [to butcher]; then he [Abraham] hastened to prepare it.  Now this sojourn on their journey would not be short – bread takes time to eat and a calf takes even longer to butcher, prepare and cook.

9 And they said to him, Where is Sarah your wife? And he said, [She is here] in the tent. Now for the uninitiated, think massive tents – Arabian tents – watch the movie Hidalgo to see how big these movable homes are and how they are divided within.  The men may not have known or seen Sarah at this stage.  We’re not talking a little 6 man tent for camping.

10 [a][The Lord] said, I will surely return to you when the season comes round, and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son. And Sarah was listening and heard it at the tent door which was behind Him.  And now Sarah is indirectly told she will have a baby but not told by Abraham, if he had dared to tell her previously, she heard this prophecy.

11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in years; it had ceased to be with Sarah as with [young] women. [She was past the age of childbearing].

12 Therefore Sarah laughed to herself, saying, After I have become aged shall I have pleasure and delight, my lord (husband), being old also?

13 And the Lord asked Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I really bear a child when I am so old?

14 Is anything too hard or too wonderful [b]for the Lord? At the appointed time, when the season [for her delivery] comes around, I will return to you and Sarah shall have borne a son.  I think I would do the same if I had gone through the childbearing years without a pregnancy and likely through menopause (or even the scare of that when the monthly periods peter off).  And even God thinks having a child is wonderful!

15 Then Sarah denied it, saying, I did not laugh; for she was afraid. And He said, No, but you did laugh. I understand that fear, the fear of hope beyond your wildest dreams when you had moved past thinking it would ever happen.  Watching your slave who slept with your husband laud it over you with their child, their son.

16 The men rose up from there and faced toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.

17 And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham [My friend and servant] what I am going to do,  Something terrible was to happen and God decided to let his friend know what was in store for the nation near them.

20 And the Lord said, Because the shriek [of the sins] of Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is exceedingly grievous,

21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether [as vilely and wickedly] as is the cry of it which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.  God is about to test the two cities that Abraham chose to move away from when he and Lot parted ways.  In a way one parallel could be looked at that Lot, living less towards God was attracted by what he saw in the land established around Sodom and Gomorrah and chose to live among them.

23 And Abraham came close and said, Will You destroy the righteous (those upright and in right standing with God) together with the wicked? I do like this man – I like God even more that He’s not threatened by us questioning Him.

Abraham then asks if there were fifty righteous men would God still destroy it.  God says no.  So Abraham comes back with five less.  27 Abraham answered, Behold now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord.

28 If five of the fifty righteous should be lacking—will You destroy the whole city for lack of five? He said, If I find forty-five, I will not destroy it.

29 And [Abraham] spoke to Him yet again, and said, Suppose [only] forty shall be found there. And He said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.

30 Then [Abraham] said to Him, Oh, let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak [again]. Suppose [only] thirty shall be found there. And He answered, I will not do it if I find thirty there.

31 And [Abraham] said, Behold now, I have taken upon myself to speak [again] to the Lord. Suppose [only] twenty shall be found there. And [the Lord] replied, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.

32 And he said, Oh, let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again only this once. Suppose ten [righteous people] shall be found there. And [the Lord] said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.  The nerve of the man! The cheek to question God! But God responded to Abraham again and again – possibly curious (although He’s all knowing) as to where Abraham was going with his thinking – to his nephew and his family whom had gone into this region.  Would they be destroyed?

Matthew 17

17 And six days after this, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves.

And His appearance underwent a change in their presence; and His face shone [a]clear and bright like the sun, and His clothing became as white as light.

And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, who kept talking with Him.  A week after Peter says Jesus is the Son of God, he, James and John are taken into Jesus’ more special of confidences.

Then Peter began to speak and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good and delightful that we are here; if You approve, I will put up three booths here—one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah. Peter thought he could capture the moment and have Moses and Elijah (whom might have been recognised for their likeness or their countenance).  These are great historical men who would have been revered.

While he was still speaking, behold, a shining cloud [[b]composed of light] overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, This is My Son, My Beloved, with Whom I am [and [c]have always been] delighted. Listen to Him!

When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were [d]seized with alarm and struck with fear.  I wonder how I would act if God were to do this with me.  

I once had an experience that I can only describe as this when I was a helper on a bible camp and a reasonably new christian.  I went into the gym believing I was called there and this sudden wind swirled around me and I fell to my knees.  A door slammed and I really felt it was a supernatural event.  My memory is vague of particulars now but I remember the feeling of heaviness and reverence.

Another time I was being prayed for and the previous weekend I had felt as if the visiting speaker who laid hands on my forehead had been pushing me to fall over and I’d resisted.  This time though my knees unexpectedly buckled and I felt flooded by heat.

Falling before man is something I won’t do.  I will give respect but won’t yield so willingly as I did when I felt what I can only term as God’s presence.  I don’t know how it’s even possible to defiantly stand against Him – and we’ll learn more about that when we get to Revelations *spoilers*

But Jesus came and touched them and said, Get up, and do not be afraid.

And when they raised their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. I think I’d feel sorry I missed Moses and Elijah and also having disbelief as to whether I really saw them.

And as they were going down the mountain, Jesus cautioned and commanded them, Do not mention to anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.

10 The disciples asked Him, Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?

11 He replied, Elijah does come and will get everything restored and ready.

12 But I tell you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know or recognize him, but did to him as they liked. So also the Son of Man is going to be treated and suffer at their hands.

13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them about John the Baptist.  So another prophecy is not just fulfilled, but acknowledged as being fulfilled.

14 And when they approached the multitude, a man came up to Him, kneeling before Him and saying,

15 Lord, do pity and have mercy on my son, for he has epilepsy (is [e]moonstruck) and he suffers terribly; for frequently he falls into the fire and many times into the water.

16 And I brought him to Your disciples, and they were not able to cure him.

17 And Jesus answered, O you unbelieving ([f]warped, wayward, rebellious) and [g]thoroughly perverse generation! How long am I to remain with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to Me.

18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly.  We humans do things we see our teachers do but don’t do it with the understanding that they have behind the dynamics of the “why”.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus and asked privately, Why could we not drive it out?

20 He said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of [h]firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [[i]that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

21 [j]But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. As we explore the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) more we will see where some stories overlap and others are different – this is one of those times where things are a little bit different from the last and in a way makes us very reliable on listening to God about how we should heal or pray for people.

24 When they arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the half shekel [the temple tax] went up to Peter and said, Does not your Teacher pay the half shekel?

25 He answered, Yes. And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him [about it] first, saying, What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly rulers collect duties or tribute—from their own sons or from others [k]not of their own family?

26 And when Peter said, From other people [l]not of their own family, Jesus said to him, Then the sons are exempt. Are you getting the idea of what Jesus was willing to give and do?  It’s true though, if it were the tax collector’s son they probably would have waived the fee, just as God would waive the fee from Jesus.

27 However, in order not to give offense and cause them to stumble [that is, to cause them [m]to judge unfavorably and unjustly] go down to the sea and throw in a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find there a shekel. Take it and give it to them to pay the temple tax for Me and for yourself. But Jesus knew that this would confuse someone who hasn’t had a revelation of whom Jesus is and would make them bitter in spirit to what He might have to share.

Selah

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