Epistles of Thomas

January 5, 2009

Genesis 13-15

Filed under: Old Testament — Thomas @ 22:43
Tags: , , ,

Abram managed to get out of Egypt without too much trouble and returned to Canaan where he had first built an altar. “There Abram called on the name of the Lord” (13:4). This “calling on the name of the Lord” is a rather curious expression which began at 4:26. It is not clear from the context what this means exactly but obviously it represents devotion to God. Abram and Lot found that they could not live together because of the large resources each required. Lot was given first choice of where to settle and (foolishly) chose the plain of Jordon. God tells Abram to take a good look around because “All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever” (13:15). Lot was captured by those attacking Sodom and Abram had to take his 318 trained men and rescue him. This was accomplished and on return the king of Sodom welcomed him. This scene is made complete by the mysterious Melchizedek, king of Salem (peace) who is the priest of God Most High. He blessed Abram and in return Abram gave him a tenth of everything. Sodom’s king told Abram to keep the spoils and to return only the rescued captives. Abram refuses and returns all their goods declaring that he wants it known that he received nothing from them.

God then came and promised Abram a child from his own body. He furthermore promised that Abram’s descendants would be as uncountable as the stars. “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (15:6). This statement would become very important in light of the revelation of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant. Abram asks how he can know this will happen and God enters into a covenant with him through the, strange to us, method of cutting animals in two and then having a smoking firepot with a blazing torch pass between them. The chapter concludes with, “On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.’”

The news today is full of reports of Israel re-entering the Gaza strip and asserting control over Hamas who desires to extinguish the Israeli claim to the Levant. Who owns the land? God does and he chooses who will live in it. Too often Christians are part of the problem rather than the solution. Having Israel occupy the whole Levant will not lead to Christ’s return and will not speed the end of history with a battle at Armageddon. I think certain groups believe that God’s purposes are advanced through this fighting. Nothing could be further from the truth. God wants both Israelites and Palestinians to bow their knee to Jesus! Neither have this as their goal but it is God’s goal. Not the rebuilding of the temple and the institution of Israelite worship, nor the establishment of a separate Palestinian state where they can live freely as Muslims under their own rulers. True freedom will come with Christ and will result in all sharing God’s land.

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