June 28 – Weekend Passage

Genesis 23

Death and Burial of Sarah

23 Now Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. Sarah died in Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. Then Abraham rose from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, “I am a stranger and a sojourner among you; give me a burial site among you that I may bury my dead out of my sight.” The sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, “Hear us, my lord, you are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our graves; none of us will refuse you his grave for burying your dead.” So Abraham rose and bowed to the people of the land, the sons of Heth. And he spoke with them, saying, “If it is your wish for me to bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and approach Ephron the son of Zohar for me, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he owns, which is at the end of his field; for the full price let him give it to me in your presence for a burial site.” 10 Now Ephron was sitting among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the sons of Heth; even of all who went in at the gate of his city, saying, 11 “No, my lord, hear me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the presence of the sons of my people I give it to you; bury your dead.” 12 And Abraham bowed before the people of the land. 13 He spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, “If you will only please listen to me; I will give the price of the field, accept it from me that I may bury my dead there.” 14 Then Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, 15 “My lord, listen to me; a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between me and you? So bury your dead.” 16 Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, commercial standard.

17 So Ephron’s field, which was in Machpelah, which faced Mamre, the field and cave which was in it, and all the trees which were in the field, that were within all the confines of its border, were deeded over 18 to Abraham for a possession in the presence of the sons of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city. 19 After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field at Machpelah facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave that is in it, were deeded over to Abraham for a burial site by the sons of Heth.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

June 7 – Weekend Passage

Genesis 21

Isaac Is Born

21 Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac. Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.

Sarah Turns against Hagar

Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking. 10 Therefore she said to Abraham, “Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.” 11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named. 13 And of the son of the maid I will make a nation also, because he is your descendant.” 14 So Abraham rose early in the morning and took bread and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar, putting them on her shoulder, and gave her the boy, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba.

15 When the water in the skin was used up, she left the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went and sat down opposite him, about a bowshot away, for she said, “Do not let me see the boy die.” And she sat opposite him, and lifted up her voice and wept. 17 God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. 18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” 19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the skin with water and gave the lad a drink.

20 God was with the lad, and he grew; and he lived in the wilderness and became an archer. 21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran, and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

Covenant with Abimelech

22 Now it came about at that time that Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, spoke to Abraham, saying, “God is with you in all that you do; 23 now therefore, swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me or with my offspring or with my posterity, but according to the kindness that I have shown to you, you shall show to me and to the land in which you have sojourned.” 24 Abraham said, “I swear it.” 25 But Abraham complained to Abimelech because of the well of water which the servants of Abimelech had seized. 26 And Abimelech said, “I do not know who has done this thing; you did not tell me, nor did I hear of it until today.”

27 Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech, and the two of them made a covenant. 28 Then Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. 29 Abimelech said to Abraham, “What do these seven ewe lambs mean, which you have set by themselves?” 30 He said, “You shall take these seven ewe lambs from my hand so that it may be a witness to me, that I dug this well.” 31 Therefore he called that place Beersheba, because there the two of them took an oath. 32 So they made a covenant at Beersheba; and Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, arose and returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God. 34 And Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines for many days.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Egypt…Take Two

Genesis 20

Ever experienced deja vu? Ever felt like maybe you’ve been down this path before? Much to Abraham’s embarrassment and shame he has to answer in the affirmative. Abraham, the prime example of faith in both the Old and New Testaments, still struggled with his faith? How could that be? Twenty-five years of seeing God work since that first fateful, “Go…”

Why does Moses include the account of this episode in the life of Abraham? He hasn’t told us everything about his life…there are long stretches where nothing is said. But now we have several vignettes in a row. We’ve already seen Abraham make this mistake before, so why repeat it? I think Moses includes this story to show the Israelites (and us) that ultimately the failure of Abraham’s faith God’s promises will not stop God from fulfilling those promises. Though Abraham’s faith may fail, but God remains faithful…His promises will not fail.

I don’t know about you, but I find that somewhat comforting in a weird way. If Abraham struggled, it shouldn’t surprise me my struggles. It doesn’t excuse them, but I know that I’m not alone in that struggle. Just as Abraham was a work in progress, learning more and more what it meant to follow this amazing God and still stumbling along the way, so we are works in progress learning what it means to follow this amazing God and to be His image bearers.

All the while this amazing God’s faithfulness continues to shine forth. He will deliver, He will protect, He will redeem, He will save…ultimately He will crush the head of the serpent. And if you don’t know this amazing God today…this patient, loving, benevolent, creative, faithful, powerful God today. You can. It’s as easy as believing that Jesus, the One we had been looking for came and lived the life you were supposed to live, died the death you were supposed to die and was raised again so that just as He conquered sin and death, you too might conquer sin and death and experience life…life today in His kingdom. Today is the day.

My prayer for us this week that instead of hiding, justifying, blaming, or downplaying our sin, we would simply acknowledge it, confess it and turn it over to Jesus.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Genesis series. Listen online at:http://www.centralchristian.org, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster