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MATTHEW 13:44


CHAPTER II

    Heber, the great grandson of Shem and the father of the Hebrew race, possessed traits, tendencies and righteous possibilities which were passed on to his descendant Abram, in whom Yahweh saw proper clay for His purpose: to mold a people in whom He could demonstrate His glory.

ABRAM'S DISOBEDIENCE AND HIS FAITH

    However, when Yahweh called Abram and directed him to go to Canaan, he was delayed because he tried to take his family along. Abram's father, Terah (whose name has the literal meaning of "Delay" or "Weight") was indeed a burden to his son and was instrumental in delaying the progress of Abram toward his destination. Instead of going to Canaan he settled with his family in Haran where he remained until Terah's death. Then, released from his delaying burden, he remembered Yahweh's promise and call (Genesis 12:1-4).

    But, for a second time, we see good-hearted Abram disobeying Yahweh's orders and thereby delaying Yahweh's purpose to bless him. For He had commanded Abram to leave his kindred as well as his father's house. This time it was his nephew, Lot, who became the stumbling block to him and still further delayed the promised blessings.

    On the way from Haran to Canaan they passed through Sichem and into the plains of Moreh where the Canaanites had settled.

"And Yahweh appeared unto Abram and said, 'Unto thy seed will I give this land; and there he builded an altar unto Yahweh, who appeared to him" (Genesis 12:6-7).

    As we read on in this chapter, we find Abram moving about from place to place, but always remembering to build an altar to Yahweh, thus testifying to his faith in Yahweh's promise that he and his seed were going to inherit this land, even though the Canaanites were already occupying it.

ABRAM'S TESTING AND WEAKNESS

    A testing of faith came then to Abram as to all believers, There was famine in the land but Abram heard that there was plenty of food in Egypt and he set out to find it. In Egypt his troubles really began, but Yahweh saved him out of it all and even made provision for him through Pharaoh Leaving Egypt, Abram and his family and also Lot and his family finally arrived at Bethel where they camped, built a place of worship, and proceeded to settle down. Only strict obedience is pleasing to Yahweh and Abram's disobedience bore its fruit.

    Yahweh had told Abram to leave his kindred; and since he did not, there was continual strife between Lot's herdsmen and Abram's herdsmen so that the unbelieving Canaanites observed the believers quarrelling (Genesis 13 :7) .

    Hoping for a peaceful solution, Abram proposed to divide the land with his nephew and offered Lot first choice. Lot, yearning for material things, saw the well-watered Jordan plain that looked like a garden and chose it, settling near the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, in order that he might keep in touch with the people. Abram, yearning for Yahweh and His righteousness, dwelt in Canaan that he might better commune with Yahweh.

AN UNCONDITIONAL PROMISE

"And Yahweh said unto Abram after that Lot was separated from him, Lift NOW thine eyes and look from the place where thou art northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth; so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee" (Genesis 13:14-17)

    Surely this is a potent promise. Stop and consider whether a few million Jews can fulfill such a promise? Certainly not.

    Our Heavenly Father is no liar. Let us, like Abram, have sufficient faith in the integrity of the Most High to believe that His promises meant what they said. Only then may we have our eyes opened to see their glorious fulfillment: that we are physically, as well as spiritually the descendants of Abraham. This we shall seek to show later. The next recorded incident involving Abram was the Battle of the Kings which might never have been recorded and preserved for us, had not Abram's nephew, Lot been c aught in the melee and made a prisoner by Chedorlaomer and his allies. But one of the other prisoners escaped and brought the news to Abram the Hebrew. The result is given in the 14th chapter of Genesis.

MELCHIZEDEK: PRIEST AND KING

    Abram, after spoiling the spoilers, met the Priest and King, Melchizedek, who gave him the communion of Bread and Wine, sacred emblems which foreshadowed the shed blood and broken body of our Saviour, Yahshua the Messiah. This of course was long before the establishment of the Levitical Priesthood, by whom, for a time, the killing of a lamb and eating it at Passover typified the Lamb of Yahweh Who was to come and take away the sins of the world. After the Saviour came and accomplished the redemption which those emblems typified, He reestablished the Melchizedek Priesthood. Our Saviour, on the night in which He was betrayed, took Bread and Wine, the original emblems of His life, to commemorate His death until He comes again. Thus Yahshua became our "Priest after the order of .Melchizedek''. (Refer to the 7th chapter of Heblews.) Abram paid tithes, had communion, and was blest by Melchizedek.

    The King of Sodom whom Abram had also rescued wanted to reward his benefactor With the spoils of war, but Abram declined, feeling that he was far richer than any material reward could make him, Since he had received the rich promises of Yahweh's blessing.

THE PROMISES REPEATED AND CLARIFIED

    After refusing the rewards of men, Abram had a vision in which Yahweh said, "Fear not, Abram, for I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Abram took advantage of this opportunity to make a request, the nature of which is highly significant.

"And Abram said, Yahweh Elohim, what wilt Thou give me, seeing I go childless and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold to me Thou hast given me no seed, and, lo one born in my house shall be mine heir." (Genesis 15 :2-3)

    Since Abram had no natural heir to inherit his possessions, he desired to adopt Eliezer as his legal heir and asked Yahweh's sanction of the adoption. Having no natural heirs, he asked for a spiritual seed to whom he could turn over all the promises as well as the blessings he had already received from Yahweh. But what was Yahweh's answer?

"And behold the word of Yahweh came unto him, saying, this shall NOT be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And He brought him forth abroad and said, Look now toward heaven and count the stars if thou be able to number them; and He said unto him, so shall thy seed be." (Genesis 15:4-5)

NATURAL SEED TO INHERIT

    Honest meditation must lead us to the realization that Yahweh repudiated Abram's attempt to spiritualize His promises. Yahweh meant what He said: He had promised natural blessings. The meaning is obvious, that Abram's own natural descendants were to be the recipients, to inherit the potentialities contained in the promises. As we know, all faithful believers in the Atonement become heirs WITH faithful Abraham, but not to the EXCLUSION of his own seed.

    Consider in this connection, the 3rd chapter of Galatians in which we read,

"Even as Abraham believed Yahweh, and it was counted unto him for righteousness, know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same ARE the children of Abraham." (Galatians 3:6-7)

    This verse contains a great treasure, for it provides a key to the identification of Abraham's natural seed. For they have the capacity for faith, having inherited it from Abraham their ancestor.

THE HEATHEN ALSO MAY QUALIFY

    Others are not excluded, of course, provided they meet the same prerequisites.

    We read further in the same chapter,

"And the Scripture, foreseeing that Yahweh would justify the heathen through faith, preached beforehand the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall ALL the nations of the earth be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed WITH faithful Abraham." (Galatians 3:8-9)

REAL, TANGIBLE PROMISES

Returning: to Genesis 15, we read,

"And he believed Yahweh, and it was counted unto him for righteousness, and He ( Yahweh ) said unto him. I am Yahweh that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees to give thee THIS LAND— (not pink clouds) —to inherit it." (Genesis 15 :6-7 )

    And this land grant was not the small strip we today call Palestine. It was a great deal more than Canaan. It contains over 2,500,000 square miles, as we learn in verse 18, "In the same day, Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying Unto thy seed — ( natural, not spiritual) —have I given this land from the River of Egypt— (the Red Sea)— unto the River Euphrates." (Genesis 15 :18)

    It is suggested that the reader look at his Bible map in order to comprehend the extent of this gift. It embraces all of Arabia, Mesopotamia, and Canaan. It is today in the possession of some of the natural seed of Abraham. It took great faith to believe that this would happen and Abram asked for a sign (verse 8). Yahweh answered him with a vision and a promise. Then was Abram thoroughly convinced and entered into a covenant with Yahweh.

    We have seen in this chapter how Abram, a descendent of Heber and of Shem, was of proper clay but had to be molded and shaped to receive and accept the blessings of Yahweh; that he failed to give prompt and complete obedience and thereby brought upon himself unnecessary tribulation; that Yahweh spoke in a very real sense of Abraham's descendants and that His promises could not be "spiritualized" away but applied to literal descendants; and that Abram's clay (natural children) provide the raw material for "vessels of mercy" (Romans 9:23) though not to the exclusion of the converted heathen who are to share the blessings WITH faithful Abraham. (Galatians 3:8-9)

    May Yahweh give us sufficient faith and vision to understand the literalness of His vast promises; and may we, like our forefather, enter into covenant with Him to share freely all He has provided for us.

CHAPTER III


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