Genesis 14: Melchizedek – the Mysterious

There was a powerful king named  Kedorlaomer who, with some other lesser kings, attacked the kings in the Dead Sea area, south of Jerusalem. They defeated those kings of Sodom and that area, and ran them off into their own pits and hills. He then took Lot when he sacked Sodom. Abraham heard about it and called on a few associates and using only 318 of his own men, ran after  Kedorlaomer, defeated him and his kings with some sneaky strategy (and God’s help) and rescued his “brother” Lot.

Coming back home, he ran into the king of Jerusalem – Melchizedek. Genesis is not too specific about him but he is described as “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God), abideth a priest continually. ” in Hebrews 7:3. Some folks think it was Jesus, some think he was a man that never died, others that he was just a God fearing man who prophesied about and was symbolic of Jesus who would be a king and a priest. I guess we will know more about Melchizedek when we meet him face to face and I am sure thousands of souls will be asking him for details.

Finally, Abraham meets the latest king of Sodom and though the king offered him gifts, he would not take a shoelace. We can safely attach ourselves to God fearing men but we need to stay away from attaching ourselves to the Godless.

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Genesis 13: God Blesses Abraham in what at First Glance Looks to be a Poor Choice

Abraham and Lot come out of Egypt and decide they must part ways. Abraham gives first choice of the land to Lot and he takes the choicest looking land not knowing it would be a money pit. Lot gets Sodom, and Abraham gets Cainan. Abraham is promised by God that his descendants would be as numerous as the dust or sand of the Earth. One estimate of the sands of the earth is about 75 to 17 power. This is, of course, blatant hyperbole – which just goes to show that even God uses extreme exaggeration to make a point – and there is a need to be careful (and to make personal judgements) of Bible scripture; there is such a thing as too much literalism.

Lot heads off down the plains of Jordon and Abraham ambles towards Hebron and the Palestinian oaks of Mamre. Nice symbolism found in the oak – long living, strong and useful. Acorns can grow from a single small seed into a whole forest of oaks – appropriate analogy for Abraham. And one of those oaks would bless all men.

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Genesis 12: Abraham – A Fallible Faithful Follower

Abraham encounters God, leaves his Chaldean homeland and fails a trial in Egypt.

God knows that Abraham will fail a test when he goes to Egypt and tries to deceive the Pharaoh into thinking his wife is his sister. Yet, God blesses him in the end anyway. This is a great comfort to me because I fail every day but because of Abraham I can be confident in the love of God in spite of my stupidities, misgivings, errors, vanity, fear and just baby-like selfishness. God is faithful as long as I don’t give up on his faithfulness. I often say, “even if I must go to hell, I will go praising His name.”

There will be consequences of our sin. Often we do not think ahead about the possible results of what our actions may entail. Not only do we hurt ourselves – we may hurt our loved ones and in hurting our enemies we build an environment that is more hostile to our daily lives and our family members as well.

It is a pretty basic formula: we will be tested, we must make choices and there will be consequences. The difference in a worldly- materialistic response is that while they can only choose based on their desires and perceived needs, we as Christians can choose with the help of the Spirit to achieve a Godly response. The world is alone but we are never alone.

 

 

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Genesis 11: The Tower of Babel

God told men to fill the earth, but they decided to stop at Shinar because they were afraid of being scattered over the earth. And then they decided to build a temple to join earth with heaven  and as a monument to themselves, not to God. How we still have not learned our lesson. As others have related, it is interesting that what is perceived as a monument to pierce the heavens, is from Gods perspective – barely perceptible.

I did some reading and Youtubing and it seems that the original Tower of Babel foundations are still to be seen today in the following Google Earth photo.

Tower of Babel Site

 

It is possible the original Tower of Babel was begun by Nimrod and later completed by Nebuchadnezzar II.  Regardless of mans folly, God confounded their plans and completed his original plan of populating the Earth, and so as to prevent a future attempt to halt His intent, He confounded their languages. Smart! Had not men been so intent on uniting themselves in one city/state with one language, we might today all just be speaking various dialects of a single language. Many languages today still retain traits and obvious references to the time of Noah.

On an archaeological note: the Tower of Babel remnants are of brick and bitumen. Just like the Bible says. Huh!

Only in Jesus have men been united into a single culture – the indwelling of the Spirit in each one of us bonds us in a single language and culture of Love and obedience to God.

The chapter finishes with a few more genealogies,  the length of men’s lives growing shorter and the stage being set for Abraham.

 

 

 

 

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Genesis 10: The Grandparents of the World

Genealogies are boring but the sons of Noah populated the world and there were only three family lines that we came from – unless Noah had other children after the flood?

Japheth fathered probably the Europeans, Shem the Hebrews and Middle Easterners and Ham the North Africans and Asians. I found it interesting, since I live in China, that a grandson of Ham was Sin from which perhaps the Sino (China) people came. It is also noteworthy that many of the early cities of these tribes still retained various spellings and derivations of the names of the sons of Noah.

We European stock probably came predominantly from Gomer (the Gauls and Germans), the grandson of Japheth.

Why would God include such a detailed genealogy? First to show the descent of Jesus directly from Adam, the first man, through Noah and Shem. Also I believe that it shows that we are all brothers and sisters – regardless of our color and differences. The world is one family, related by blood to each other and to God. And we are related to Jesus through his grandparents who are also ours – Noah (and wife). It also shows that Jesus was NOT European though we like to portray him as such in our biased and egocentric movies. And finally it provides a reasonable and believable source for our family tree and all cultures.

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Genesis 9: What did Ham Do?

In Genesis 9 God gives all beasts into the hands of men, even as food, with a caveat: don’t eat the life blood and if a man or beast kills another man, then the life of the killer is required. The rainbow is given as a sign the earth will not endure another world wide flood. Ham performs some mysterious offence against Noah. Noah curses Canaan. Noah lives a long time and then dies.

I guess the most engrossing and titillating story within the stories of this chapter is about Ham dissing Noah and then Noah cursing (or prophesying about)  Ham’s grandson, Canaan.

There are many theories bandied about about what exactly did Ham do to Noah and most of them involve some sexual impropriety on Ham’s part (and perhaps on other players as well). The story goes that Noah, at some time after the ark landed – we don’t know how long – could be years, cultivated a vinyard, made some wine and got drunk. He ended up naked in his tent, Ham saw or said or did something to Noah and then told his brothers who would not even look upon Noah’s nakedness. Noah then awoke, knew somehow what had transpired and cursed, not Ham, but Ham’s grandson Canaan.

Now the theories or speculations on what exactly transpired in the tent between Noah and Ham range from Ham just observing that his father was drunk and naked to Ham having incestuous intercourse with his father or his mother to Ham castrating his father. When I read about these speculations I at first dismissed them out of hand as musings of a salacious and vulgar imagination. Then… I read this:

https://saintpatrickslascruces.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/hahn-bergsma-noahs-nakedness-and-the-curse-on-canaan.pdf

Now I wonder what took place in the tent. And the speculation that Noah got drunk, and Ham took advantage of the situation to have sex with Noah’s wife, in a lewd power-play, and which made the mother of the Canaanites – Noah’s wife, is intriguing. But again, we just don’t and won’t know for sure what happened in our lifetime.

And then Noah seems to have cursed Ham’s grandson Canaan. And an interesting fact about the Canaanites is that they, and their various tribes, were guilty of sexual sins. Was Noah cursing or prophesying.

What can I take home from this chapter? These kinds of stories make the Bible real and believable to me – you just can’t make up this kind of drama. And regardless of mankind’s foibles – God is able to work it all out to His satisfaction or desires. Therefore, when I am in turmoil over some personal stupidity – I know that He is able to make it all right and He is not going to consign me to Hell because I acted human (like Noah) BUT if I persist in playing the evil game( like Ham) – well I may not be the only one to suffer – but my actions may damn my friends, family, nation, world.

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Genesis 8: The Flood Abates

This chapter is about how the flood subsides, the fountains of deep reclaim their water, Noah abides in the ark until God lets him out, Noah initiates alter sacrifice and God promises to never flood the world again – not that He does not promise to not destroy the world – evil men being the evil creatures they are.

I take from this chapter that God can change His mind – especially if we implore Him. He wanted to destroy all men at first – yet He reneged. Though the future is transparent to Him, it is not cast in stone – and we can have a say in it if we but prevail on His goodness.

It is interesting that Josephus and other ancient writers mention that parts of the ark were still present in their time.

And Noah left the ark and sacrificed – how many times have I received answers to my prayers – and then promptly forgotten who answered them.

 

 

 

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