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Bible Pathways - Jan. 6, 2009


January 6

Genesis 16

Highlights In Today's Reading:

What a dynamic segment of Scripture! God promises Abraham a son, at the age of 99: Sarah thy wife shall have a son (18:10).

As the years passed and Abram and Sarai still had no child of their own, they began to doubt God's unconditional promise given in Gen. 15:5. Sarai suggested they help God carry out His promise. According to Near Eastern customs, a wife was forever disgraced if she did not have a son for her husband, but she could accept her personal slave-girl as a second wife, providing her husband the opportunity to father a son. But Ishmael was not God's plan to fulfill His promise to Abraham. God waited until His servant became old and had lost all hope of helping God fulfill His promise through human effort.

The moment a believer takes his eyes away from the promises of God, acts of unbelief that reap untold problems and suffering take place like the strife between Sarai and Hagar (16:4-6), and between their descendants (the Israelis and the Arabs). Like Abraham, people often fail to pray and seek the Lord's will.

Faith in the promise of God for a son continued to be a challenge to Abraham. Thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael, God promised a son through Sarah. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed (17:17). And later, Sarah laughed within herself. . . . And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh? . . . Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And He said, Nay; but thou didst laugh (18:12-15). The Lord knows our thoughts of doubt regarding His promises. To human reasoning, the promises of God often seem absurd; but when all seems hopeless, we must continue to trust that He is able to fulfill His Word. Is any thing too hard for the Lord? (18:14). Never! For with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37).

Lack of faith in God's promise did not hinder Abraham from promptly obeying God's command of circumcision (Gen. 17:9-27). And, for this, God rewarded Abraham with a Covenant: The Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre. . . . And the Lord said unto Abraham. . . . At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son (18:1,13-14).

The will of the Lord is fulfilled for them that fear Him; and He will shew them His Covenant (Psalm 25:14). God eventually reveals Himself and the knowledge of His ways to those who faithfully obey Him. If ye continue in My Word . . . ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32).

Thought for Today:

It never seems to fail that those God intends to use will go through tests and trials. But, He always supplies strength and grace to overcome (see I Pet. 1:7).

Christ Revealed:

Christ was a descendant of Isaac. Jesus. . . . Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac (Gen. 17:19; Luke 3:23-34; Heb. 11:18).

Word Studies:

16:6 hardly =arshly; 16:7 fountain =pring; 16:14 Beerlahairoi =ell of the Living One who seeth me; 16:16 fourscore = x 20 =0; 17:1 be thou perfect =ive to please the Lord; 17:10 be circumcised = physical sign of accepting God's Covenant; 17:20 beget =e father of; 18:7 dress =repare; 18:12 am waxed =ave become; 18:20 very grievous =evere; 18:24 Peradventure =f by chance; 18:33 left communing =inished speaking.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Radio Sri Lanka Broadcasts to India sponsored by Dorothea Peterson • Staff: Beth Carlton • Government Official: Rep. Frank Lucas (OK) • Country: Thailand (60 million) in Southeast Asia • Major languages: Thai and English • Limited freedom of Christian ministry; Buddhism is the state religion • 92% Buddhist; 4% Muslim; 2% Chinese folk-religionist; 1% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to make you willing to go wherever He wants to send you (Is. 6:8).

Optional Reading: Matthew 6

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 1:21

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