We must thoroughly explore God’s reason for and method of testing so we can understand why and how God separated Abram from his people and the life he was living. Abram’s decisions were to have a direct effect on you and your relationship with God thousands of years after Abram’s lifetime was finished. No covenant= no Israel= no Jesus= no church= no salvation. It is that important.
(Gen. 3:6-24) We live a cursed life in a cursed world because Adam and Eve failed a test. (Gen. 2:9-17) They made the choice to eat of the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil instead of the tree of life. When you get right down to the truth of the situation our circumstances are the same as theirs so don’t blame them because you have the same opportunity as them, (Rev. 20:10-15 esp. V.15) a choice; eternal life or eternal death!
The creation sequence is over and the man and woman are in the garden in Eden in the presence of God. (Gen. Ch.3) Hidden in this chapter are the 3 sources of testing which all of God’s people will face until (Rev. 10:6) “time shall be no longer”.
(Gen. 3:3) “God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it,”. God had told them what to do but He left Adam and Eve free to choose. Unwritten but very plain was that they were to love and respect God and thus obey what He said; they had a relationship. God was not fooled, (Isa. 46:9-10 esp. V.10) because He knows “the end from the beginning.” God had given them a choice; obey and live or disobey and die!
#1 (Gen. 3:4-5) Satan said; “Ye shall not surely die—–ye shall be as Gods.” Satan said God had lied and Satan made the wrong choice look pleasing and rewarding to see if Eve then Adam would disobey God. It was a test. (Job. 1:6 thru 2:10 and on to the end) Job is another example (1:7-12 esp. V.12 & 2:1-6 esp. V.6) BUT God has the power above Satan and limits how much Satan can do to the individual! (Matt. 4:1-10 esp V.3 keyword: tempter, V,5 keyword: devil and V.10 keyword: Satan) Satan tempted (tested) Jesus’ (V.3) bodily needs, (V.5-6) tested Jesus to see if He had pride and (V.8-9) tested Jesus if He had lust for power and ownership. V.4, 7 & 10) Jesus defeated Satan with God’s word and His adherence to that word.
#2 (Gen. 3:6) “the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes,” The world they were in offered something that promised to feed the desire of their flesh (physical); “Wow, that’s sure gonna taste good!” and also to please their metaphysical senses (spiritual) “Wow, that’s the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen!”. The forbidden thing there with them was what their world offered was also a test.
#3 (Gen. 3:6) “a tree to be desired to make one wise”. Self wanted to believe Satan, self wanted the pleasing thing, self disregarded what God said. Self had a choice. Ditto Adam. (1Tim. 2:14) The woman was deceived and Adam was not but the result was the same for both; “get out of the garden”. Self tested self.
Another way to look at these 3 things is that they are the vehicles for purifying the individual for service to God through testing. If you are thinking about it you are realizing this process holds true throughout the whole Bible and you may already be thinking of these 3 obvious examples of being tested; (Matt. 26:69-75 keywords: denied and wept bitterly) Simon Peter, (Rev. 3:14-18 esp. V.18 keywords: gold tried in the fire) the church of the Laodiceans, (Rev. 7:9-17 esp. V.14 keywords: great tribulation) “and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” which is the whole Church.
(Eccl. 1:9) “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
The Word Test is Not in the Bible but test is in the definitions of words:
Tempt: OT #1(Gen. 22:1-18 keyword: tempt) “that God did tempt Abraham,” (keyword: tempt: Hebrew word- nacah: defined: Strong’s #5254: to test). God tested Abraham’s faith! Has God ever tested your faith?
Tempt: NT (1Cor. 7:5 keyword: tempt) “that Satan tempt you not.” (Greek word- peirazo= tempt) defined: to test. Satan tests Christians.
Tempter: NT (Matt. 4:1-11 esp. V.3 keyword: tempter) “when the tempter came to him,” (trial: Greek word- peirazo defined: a tester). In this situation (V. 5 & 10) the tempter (tester) is identified as the devil, Satan. Satan tested Jesus. (Luke 4:1-13 esp. V.13) “And when the devil had ended all the temptation (testing), he departed from him for a season.” Satan is persistent. He would be back to test Jesus again and again.
NT (1Thess. 3:5 keyword: tempter) “I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain.” (keyword: tempter: Greek word: peirazo: defined: Strong’s #3985: tester. God’s people will be tested and Satan keeps coming back.
(James 1:13-15) (V.13) “Let no man say when he is tempted (defined: Strong’s #3895: apostatize: defined: internet: renounce a religious or political belief or principal), I am tempted (defined Strong’s #3895: apostatize) of God: for God cannot be tempted (defined: Strong’s #551: not temptable) with evil, neither tempteth (defined: Strong’s #3895 apostatize) he any man: (V.14) But every man is tempted (defined: Strong’s #3895 apostatize), when he is drawn away of his own lust (Strong’s #1939 desire, craving, longing, for what is forbidden), and enticed (catch by a bait, beguile, allure, entice, deceive). (V.15) Then when lust hath conceived (Strong’s #4815: to clasp, to seize, take one as prisoner), it bringeth forth sin (Strong’s #266: offense, to miss the mark): and sin, when it is finished (Strong’s #658: to complete entirely), bringeth forth death (Strong’s #2288: death of the body with the implied idea of future misery in hell).
(Job. 19:25-27) BUT; Job said “For I know my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins (kidneys, essential organs) be consumed within me.“ It was Job’s last stand; wealth gone, family gone, health gone but he still had the faith God would redeem him. Job’s faith in God brought him through it all. It is obvious Job was a Jew (Job 42:7-10 key: burnt offerings) who was well versed (Job 19:35-27) in the prophesies of the O.T. (Psa. 22:1-18 & Isa. 53:1-12) and believed a Redeemer would redeem him!
NT (1Pet. 4:12) “think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you,” (trial: defined: Strong’s #4451: a burning, a refiners fire: with the idea of making better, a test of character). It is a matter of values. Do we love God enough to face the tests this life brings upon us and, with His help, to not let them cause us to turn away from God? Job is the example: (Job 1:4-5 & 18-19) Job offered sacrifice to atone for his children sins continually; no mention is made of Job atoning for anyone else. (Job 42:7-10) Job had grown in character to the point he prayed for his three friends who had verbally abused him (Job 4:1 to 32:2) for so long!
Tribulation: OT (Deut. 4:30-31) “When thou art in tribulation, (defined: Strong’s #6862 defined: narrow, a tight place, trouble, an opponent, adversary, afflicted, anguish, distress) and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, IF thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; For thy God is a merciful God; he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee,” IF means it’s a test because there is a choice.
NT (John 16:33) Jesus said; “In the world ye shall have tribulation:” (Acts 14:22) It is written; “and that we must through much tribulation (tribulation: Greek word: thlipsis: defined: Strong’s #2347: pressure, afflicted, anguish, burdened, persecution, trouble) enter into the kingdom of God.” THROUGH means it always takes effort and struggle to get through something. So tribulation is a test because the choice is to struggle through or do nothing and let it beat you. SO:
I KNOW I HAVE BORED YOU TO TEARS WITH ALL THESE DEFINITIONS AND SCRIPTURES ABOUT TEMPTATION BUT YOU MUST BE VERY AWARE THAT:
ABRAM/ABRAHAM’S (Gen. 11:25 thru 22:18) JOURNEY THROUGH FAILURES, FEARS AND DEFEATS TO FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY (James 2:23) BECOME THE FRIEND (dear, fond, associate, now read John 15:1-17 esp. V.14) OF GOD IS A VERY GOOD EXAMPLE (Rom. 5:3-5 esp. V.3 keyword: tribulation: same definition as in the above paragraph and in every usage of tribulation in the N.T.) OF EVERY CHRISTIAN’S STRUGGLE TO SERVE GOD! (Luke 8:5-18 esp. V.14, 2Cor. 13:5-9 esp. V.5 and Heb 6:1-8 esp. V.1, 4-6 & 8 Keywords: whose end is to be burned) PLEASE READ THESE SCRIPTURES TO KNOW YOUR STANDING WITH GOD BECAUSE YOUR ETERNAL DESTINATION DEPENDS ON IT!
Trials, temptation and tribulation test the heaven worthiness of God’s people! (Psa. 1:5 & Acts 24:25 keyword: judgment) Judgment is the day when the tests are graded, pass or fail, heaven or hell, (Rev. 20:10-15) and at that time there is no second chance and no re-testing! I did not say if you fail a test (temptation, etc.) you could not go to heaven, (Heb. 4:14-16) Christians have a throne of grace where Jesus sits so we can “obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”! (Matt. 13:18-23 esp. V.21) Tests will make you stronger or weaker! (John 15:1-6 esp. V.5) Knowing God’s word and loyalty to and dependence on Jesus/God is the key.
NOTE that applies to Christians in America today; 6-30-14: We as individual Christians, who are part of a group we call God’s Church, need to check our priorities. A well fed American Christian was part of a Christian humanitarian mission to Africa. He casually told an African man he would pray for him. The painfully slender African man looked up from his squatting position, his burning eyes stared into the Christian’s eyes for a long, uncomfortable moment and he finally spoke with soft, slow, clearly understood, succinct words; “In America you have everything but God. Here I have nothing but God. You need my prayers!” I have never heard a more succinct, poignant, truthful statement.
Many American Christian’s priorities in the use of time, wealth and effort are dedicated to self instead of God. “I want, give me, mine, I’ll take, I’ll do, me first, I want more, I am, I will!” Half the world is malnourished, on semi-starvation or even dying of starvation and America has an obesity problem. For many Christians the greatest priority is keeping up with or surpassing other people by striving for bigger, better, more exclusive, or more expensive houses, cars, boats, social clubs, vacations, fame, fortune, authority, position, my yard, my collection, gadgets, eating, and etc.
The priorities of many Christians waste precious time in vain efforts to entertain self; TV, worldly movies, computer acquaintances like Facebook and etc., emailing, texting, games, sports, MY TEAM, gossip, my denomination, my political party, my social club, hug the trees, save the whales, rescue the dogs n cats, ethical critter treatment, ethnic power, feminine power, political power, my sexual identity, my gender identity, my sexual freedom, freedom from blah, blah, blah and etc.
Jesus asks us; “What is your priority? Where is your passion?”
(Matt. 22:37-40) Jesus said; “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.“ AND: (Luke 12:34) Jesus said; “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Yes, you have to live. God knows about that too! But how much of your time is dedicated to prayer, reading the Bible, attending Church, helping others, giving time and money, attending Church Bible Study and witnessing? (Rev. 2:19) Jesus said; “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience,“. (John 5:30 & 12:48 then 1Cor. 11:31) Judge yourself while you have time!
(Rev. 3:15-18) Jesus said; “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.“ (spue: Greek word: emeo: defined:the act of projectile vomiting- which means those people make Him sick at His stomach. Do you think Jesus will let them into heaven?) Oddly enough the Greek word emeo is the base word for emetikos from which the English word emetic is derived and an emetic is an agent such as ipecac that induces vomiting! (Rev. 3:1-6 esp. V.5) Jesus said the works of the (V.1) dead church at Sardis (V.2) had imperfect works. (V.3) Jesus told them to repent (V.5) and overcome and He would not blot out their name out of the book of life. (Rev. 22:18-19) Jesus said He would take certain names out of the book of life. Christians can fail and go to hell!!
Lukewarmness is ipecac to Jesus! When you stand before God to be judged will you crawl, cringe and cry and wish you could go back and do some things over? What would you do if you knew for certain you would die in 12 hours? I sometimes ask Christians that question and the first words out of their mouth are always the same. “I’d pray and ask forgiveness–. PLEASE REMEMBER THIS:” What is happening to Abram will, in similarity to your government, society, personal situation and etc., happen in every Christian’s life. We will be tested! And pass or fail determines each Christian’s eternal destination. END OF NOTE.
End of Christian discussion. Let us get back to Abram.
NOTE: In Abram/Abraham’s time the Bible had not been written. Before we enter into Abram’s trials, temptations and tribulations in his journey for God we must take information from both the OT and NT KJ Bible to help understand how Abram/Abraham was such a failure throughout his journey and still finished (James 2:17-26 esp. V.23) “the Friend of God”. END OF NOTE.
We have learned there are 3 sources of testing; 1) Satan, 2) the world and 3) self. We have learned there are 3 methods of testing; 1) trials, 2) temptation and 3) tribulation. BUT: (1Cor. 10:13) “There hath no temptation (Strong’s#: 3984 thru 3986: to test, scrutinize, discipline, assay, a putting to proof) taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it.“
In Abram’s time the Bible was not written yet but, as you have seen above, the process of God and His thinking were relevant from the very beginning of man. From his studies with Noah and Shem (Jude 1-11) Abram knew the sinful ways of man were regressing back to the way they were before the flood,* the clay tablet record verified it. (Psa. 115:4-8 key thought: dead gods) Abram knew idolatry and false god worship were foolish figments of man’s own desires, lust and evil imaginings.
(Ex. 34:6-7) Just like the Lord God had done before the flood, Abram knew the Lord God would suffer people and their sins for a long time but, finally (Deut. 32:41) the Lord God would judge them and render vengeance upon their evil ways. (Gen. 9:9-17) Abram knew mankind would never again be destroyed by water (Rev. 20:11-15) but God would destroy sinful mankind. (Luke 21:35-36 keyword: escape) Abram knew the Lord God would make a way for those who were faithful to Him to escape the destruction, He had proved it with the ark,* and Abram fully intended to be on whatever that vehicle of escape was when it was presented.
(Rev. 20:7-15) Abram did not know the great judgment would come thousands of years into the future but until then (Gen. 15:13-16) there would be many small judgments; the given scripture is but one example of a judgment on Egypt and the promise of another judgment on the Amorite nation but that had not yet happened.
(Mal. 3:2-3 keywords: #1 refiner’ fire: defined: melt & #2 purge: defined: to purify, refine) Abram did not know the Lord God, the one true God, the God of Eden always refines his vessels of service until they are faithful enough, strong enough and holy enough to serve Him, it is called righteousness. It sounds simple; “God opens the top of your head, takes this ‘n that out and pours that ‘n this in“. It is not THAT simple. Abram did know Lucifer, the evil angel, had been condemned for his activities against Adam and Eve but the Bible does not say Abram knew about Satan’s activities in this world.
Abram did not know there would be a Book of Job. The Book of Job tells us exactly how this testing happens and it tells us Satan’s part in it. Job is our school book for the activities of Satan throughout the rest of the Bible and his activities in our own lives. Remember! (Gen. 17:1) God is the Almighty God, (Psa. 18:30) God is perfect (Rom 13:1) and God has all power. (2Cor. 4:4) Satan is the god of this world.
There are only 2 sides in God and Satan’s war for men’s souls. God’s side or Satan’s side. Let us look at (Rom. 13:1) again; “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained (assigned, determined) of God.” That’s how Satan got his power. Seems simple doesn’t it; do you want to be a winner or a loser?
(1Pet. 4:12 keywords: fiery trial) This testing is a fiery trial (1Pet. 1:7 keywords: gold & tried with fire) and this trial (test) is compared to refining gold. It is commonly called “coming through the fire”.
(Mal. 3:2-3 esp. V.3 keyword: gold) “purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering of righteousness.” God inspired Malachi to write this scripture this way so we can fully understand the physical process of refining gold is a metaphor for the spiritual refining of a person so that person can serve God better. Simply put; God’s people are a work in progress. Actually these tests, pass or fail, determine a person’s eternal destination. (Prov. 25:4) “Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer (more pure). (Zech. 13:9) “will refine them as silver is refined and will try them as gold is tried:”
(1Pet. 1:7 keywords: more precious & gold) This scripture is very careful to point out that a person (a soul) is infinitely more precious than gold but the spiritual process of refining a person (a soul) to be of more value to God compares very well to the physical process of refining physical gold to be of more value to man.
The Gold Miner
Veins of gold occur naturally in veins of hot liquid quartz that are forced through rock during volcanic activity. When the volcanic action ceases the liquid quartz containing the gold cools and becomes solid. Gold is obtained in 2 ways.
#1) Alluvial or placer gold from an exposed “mother lode” (a mining term that describes an abundant vein of mineral, it is not misspelled) that gradually breaks off in bits and pieces due to weather or earth movement, eventually washes into a stream of water and mixes with silt and gravel. Miners use water in sluice boxes or manually operated special pans to separate the raw gold from the useless dirt, debris, sand and gravel.
#2) Men called “hard rock” miners use explosives to blast a tunnel into the rock so they can follow the quartz vein of “mother lode” gold into the mountain. The explosions rip apart the gold vein and it is mixed with the waste rock called debris. All of the material is hauled out of the mine and run through a crusher that turns the material into dust. The dust is placed into a separator that separates the raw gold from the debris just like the process described in #1 above.
These 2 gold extraction processes compare very well to both the OT process God used to select an individual to serve Him AND to God’s NT salvation to select an individual to serve Him. The 2 processes above are, in reality, the same process with the same end result. The valuable stuff, the gold, is “saved”. Spiritually the gold Miner (GOD) got the gold!
The Gold Refiner
Abram had to be refined and he would have to survive (Isa. 48:10 & 1Pet. 4:12) “coming through the fire” to become strong enough to pass the final test.
(Gen. 12:1-3 Abram & John 6:44 Christians) God approaches a person and offers that person the opportunity to serve him and the person must decide to accept or refuse God’s offer of salvation. When the person decides to accept God’s offer God accepts that person then God refines that person for service by removing the impurities of pride, malice, fear, selfishness, doubt, stubbornness, hatred, anger, weak faith and etc.
Raw gold is filled with impurities. (Mal. 3:3 keyword: gold) The REFINER (GOD) takes the raw gold flakes and nuggets and places them in a crucible. A “refining fire” (think: the trials, temptation and tribulation brought by the 3 sources of purification mentioned above) is lit to a little more than 2,000 degrees, (Mal. 3:3 keyword: gold) the melting point of gold.
The Gold is melted until it is liquefied in the crucible then the Refiner adds a chemical (Luke 11:9-13 esp. V.13 keyword: ASK <– more of the Holy Spirit influence comes through study, prayer, dedication and obedience to God’s Word:) (2Tim. 2:15 keywords: study to show thyself approved), the dross (impurities) floats to the top and is scooped off with a metal ladle. The gold is tested, it is 10 carat pure and a lot of impurities remain.
Heat the gold again, place more chemical in it, scoop off more impurities, test it and it is 14 carat pure now. Then God heats the individual some more (trials, temptation and tribulation) by applying them through the 3 vehicles of purification mentioned at the beginning; #1)Satan, #2)the world and #3)self, add chemical, scoop off impurities, test it and now it is 18 carat gold.
Even with modern smelting processes gold can never be made 24 carat pure, it can only go to 23.9999 and that is right and proper (Titus 2:12-15) because in this life God’s people must strive to be perfect (1John 1:7-10 esp. V8 keywords: if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us<–John included himself and all of us) but it will not happen (Rev. 21:1-4 esp. V.4) until “the former things are passed away.” (Heb. 4:14-16 esp. V.15 keywords: yet without sin) because Jesus is the only perfect man who ever lived without sinning. Paul was a Bible writing, church planting, firebrand for God (Rom. 7:15-25 & 2Cor. 13:9 keyword: infirmities: defined: Strong’s# 769 thru 771: read it) BUT Paul had the same problems as the rest of us!
The process does not stop there. To make a golden vessel one needs a mold. Even with today’s computer technology no two molds are ever exactly alike. In Biblical times the molds were much different from each other because they were individually fabricated from clay and then baked. That tells quite a story? (Rev. 20:7-10) (V.7-8) Satan has been very busy for thousands of years to bring people under his dominion by using philosophy, government dictates, religion, political correctness and peer pressure to make us all exactly alike so he can control us. He will think he has made it too (V.9-10) until God squashes him like a bug.
SO: The mold is ready that will shape the vessel and there is no other mold exactly like it (think: a person who wants to serve God and no 2 people are ever exactly alike). The molten gold is poured into the mold and the mold is set aside to cool (think: those little spiritual plateaus when you feel you will never get any closer to God!). After the gold has cooled and solidified the mold is broken (think: you are the only you who will ever live) and there stands the golden vessel.
(1Pet. 2:2) “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” BUT: The vessel is rough, it has pits, lumps, scratches and imperfections. Then the MASTER GOLDSMITH (GOD) takes a coarse abrasive (trials, temptation and tribulation by Satan, the world and self) and sands the complete vessel. Then He takes a less coarse abrasive and goes over it again. Again and again, over and over with a series of ever finer abrasives the Goldsmith polishes His vessel until it begins to shine.
(2Pet. 2:18) “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever.” Have you ever held up a rather shiny vessel but the only reflection you could see in it is the dark, blurry, indistinct shape of your head? That is what God begins to see in us; a little bit of His reflection (Luke 11:9-13 keyword: ask) as we strive to serve Him; a dark, blurry, indistinct image a little bit like Himself there in the imperfections of His vessel.
(Eph. 6:10-18) As long as a person studies, prays and strives; God, THE MASTER SOULSMITH, will keep right on polishing with ever finer abrasives until He finally holds His 23.9999, still imperfect, golden vessel (soul) up and God will see His reflection in His beautiful vessel. OK; sounds great, but what does it mean? (James 2:21-23 esp. V.23 keywords: Friend of God) Do just like Abraham; Learn about God, listen to God, trust God and obey God. At the end Abraham lived so close to God that God considered Abraham His friend. (John 15:14 keyword: friends) Jesus made the same offer to the Christians in the New Testament Church. If you want it, go after it. Values!
But Abram did not know his name would be changed to Abraham and he did not know he would be considered the friend of God. Just like so many Christians today Abram did not know he had some spiritual growing to do. Just like so many Christians today Abram did not know he was spiritually a work in progress just like the gold refined in “the finer’s fire” as determined by his actions.
Terah had escaped the devil when he turned away from idolatry and back to God. Terah had escaped the devil again when he fled from Nimrod and started toward Canaan (Gen. 11:31) BUT “they came unto Haran and dwelt there”. Disobedience! (Gen. 11:31) They were supposed to go to Canaan but got sidetracked by sin, greed.
They’d lived there a while and decided to stay, then they’d built an altar and a place to worship the Lord God. When they’d first came to this country they’d been forced to start animal husbandry to care for the flocks and herds they’d brought with them. They’d lived there a while and they named the country Haran after Abram’s brother and started farming.
Terah recognized the money making potential of trade and had founded their town which they also named Haran. In his business Terah met and became friends with the idolatrous families, clans and tribes who lived in the mountains and he met and became friends with the idolatrous boatmen and river traders who came upstream with their trade goods. Terah took every advantage he could and sometimes the Lord God refused to take their offering of fat and blood and He rarely spoke to their hearts anymore.
(2Cor. 4:4) Satan is the god of this world and he blinds the minds of them which believe not. (Luke 4:5-7 esp. V.6-7 keywords: And the devil said unto him, (Jesus) all this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me all shall be thine. Satan used the same thing against Terah and his family he would later try against Jesus.
Now, with the wealth piling up from the trade center he had founded in Haran, Terah had power, wealth, and position because he was the middleman in buying and selling goods that came upriver and goods that came from the mountains. It was good for business to provide these trading people with places they could worship their gods. It was a good business to provide them with wine and hallucinogenic drugs. It was a good business to provide them with the images of their idolatrous gods and Terah knew how to manufacture them.
Terah and his followers started dabbling in idolatry and the Lord God stopped taking their offerings from the altar. (Josh. 24:2) It had taken several years but Terah had finally managed to wobble around and slide right back into idolatry just like the people before the flood.
(Matt. 10:36 keyword: foes) A person’s own family, using their influence, can destroy that person’s relationship with God but Abram was having none of it! Abram built his own altar in his own house, the Lord God took his offerings but did not speak. Abram would have none of Terah’s shenanigans so he went into business for himself and he traded fairly in what he considered clean goods.
Terah’s Lord God worship had dribbled out into idolatry and his altar was neglected and falling down. Abram took the defiled altar stones out, hauled them right through the middle of town to the river, dumped them in a deep pool, came back and burned their place of worship. Abram was making a point and he expected trouble but nobody noticed because nobody cared!
Abram lived on his farm but he was in town every day to run his business and he watched his little society in his little town deteriorate until it was just like Nimrod’s kingdom from which they had fled. There was idolatry on every hand, promiscuous sex, drunkenness, prostitution, fighting, cheating, some robberies, there had even been a killing now and then. Terah had hired 6 tough, tribal mountain men to enforce his will and protect his possessions but people were generally free to do what they would or could to other people.
The watchword was; “If you’ve got possessions you’d better be tough enough to keep ’em”. It was raw and wild as only a boom town can be. After 2 fights in which Abram beat the rowdies senseless who had made lewd advances toward his beautiful Sarai Abram forbade her to come into town and walk the streets alone. (2Cor. 6:17) Sometimes God lets the world and its people drive us to Him.
(James 1:13-15) Satan had been delighted to lead, teach, lie, enchant and help the citizens of Haran and their visitors into the carnal acts they wanted to do anyway. Satan loved a wide-open boom town. He’d been delighted when Abram had destroyed Terah’s dilapidated place of worship. He hated the places where men worshipped the Lord God because they made him feel threatened. The one fly that spoiled his soup of sin was that he was not allowed into Abram’s house nor could he enchant anyone to destroy Abram’s livelihood and possessions.
People were afraid of Abram’s hot temper and ready fists but there was something else too. Abram did not know he had an invisible bodyguard that made people steer clear of Him and Satan could not figure it out. Unseen, the Lord God stared at Satan with hard spiritual eyes and He whispered to Himself; “It is almost time to prepare Abram.” Abram hated what his family had become, he hated what his town had become and he hated the idolatry and rampant sinfulness. (2Cor. 6:17) Sometimes God lets self and self’s values drive self to Him.
(Gen. 12:5 keyword: souls) Abram had celebrated his 75th birthday with Sarai, Lot, and his servants a few weeks ago. He was glad he had managed to hold these few people against the onslaught of sin. If one of his servants showed signs of idolatry Abram roughly showed him or her to the door in no uncertain terms. There was only the Lord God and there was no other god!
Satan had made every effort to enter Abram’s house, his family, his servants, anything! Suddenly he espied a very small avenue into Abram’s mind; “I knew it! I knew it! I knew I’d outdo God.” and he viciously attacked. Calmly God watched the unfolding drama.
Abram was having a bad night, he could not sleep, he rolled, tossed, kicked and threshed until Sarai went to another room. That hurt. Sarai was the love of his life. Abram was sure she was the most beautiful woman God had ever let live on this earth, (Gen.11:28-29) he started remembering their wedding back in Ur of the Chaldees and especially the excitement of their wedding night when they were both virgins. He dozed off, suddenly Nimrod was raping Sarai and somehow Abram was bound and could not rescue her!
Finally Abram was able to break free of the horror and he came roaring out of his bed in a wild, sweat drenched, cursing, furious, killing rage. The nightmare was so vivid and real Abram could not believe it had not happened and he glared about for several seconds. He realized it had not really happened but the boiling emotional turmoil would not leave. He had the feeling some horrid thing had him in its clutches! It seemed a long time before the notion came that he should go pray and ask the Lord God for relief. (Luke 22:31) Sometimes God uses Satan to drive us to Him!
Abram went through the ritual of laying out the fat and blood and started praying. Exuding power and shot through with bolts of sapphire lightening the roiling cloud formed so fast it surprised Abram! When the lightening immediately took the offering it was with the snap of authority! Sweat started running down Abram’s face, goose bumps raced over his body and his mouth was dry as dust.
Sometimes in his private worship it seemed as if God’s voice had silently made itself known in his soul but never before had God’s audible voice spoken directly to him out of the cloud; (Gen. 12:1-3) “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Sometimes God drives us to Him by forcing upon us the decision of whether to obey or disobey Him.
Shot through with flickering bolts of sapphire lightening, the roiling cloud hovered ominously a few seconds and was gone as if it had never been. Abram could not quench the thought that he was living in disobedience because he had not gone on to Canaan. It was a long night because Abram had a lot of thinking to do and decisions to make before he finally fell asleep in the wee hours of the morning. (Deut. 4:10 keyword: fear) Abram was afraid of God’s power, (Psa. 74:20 keyword: respect) he also respected God because God had made a covenant with him and in spite of his fear there was even a tiny bit of hesitant love for God.
“I will obey; God said He would bless me and make my name great. He said He would bless them that bless me and He would curse them that curse me. That means God will take care of me no matter what happens. God said He would also show me where to go. I’ve never felt so loved!” Abram did not yet understand (1John 4:8) that “God is love”. AND (Psa. 119:73 keyword: learn) Abram did not yet understand that God would actually build a relationship with him.
Abram was up with the dawn. For some reason he was as fresh as if he had slept all night and there was a jaunty spring to his step. (Gen. 12:4) He told Sarai they were moving south and to have the house servants to start packing. She looked startled, opened her beautiful mouth to speak but for some reason she turned away and started giving orders to the servants.
Abram told the overseer of the outside servants to get their tents from where they had been packed in the barn after they had built his house and other buildings, gather their travel necessities, gather the flocks and herds and (Gen. 12:5) all their substance; “We are moving south and we will live in tents.” The overseer looked startled but for some reason he went to work with a will and the servants followed his lead.
For some reason a trader had been trying to buy Abram’s lucrative business for the last few days and Abram sold it that morning. A few weeks ago for some reason Abram’s rich neighbor had taken a liking to Abram’s well kept, profitable farm and Abram sold it that afternoon. When Abram got home early that same afternoon he was astonished at how much work (Gen. 12:5 keyword: souls) for some reason his servants had gotten accomplished; “I believe we will be ready to leave sometime tomorrow morning.”
Abram had become a nomad, a pilgrim, and he, all his substance, his nephew Lot, all the souls of his servants and his precious, precious, beautiful Sarai ate supper the next evening in front of their tents on their way south to Canaan. The Lord God traveled with them, He smiled and thought what had transpired in the events of; “for some reason”. Then He thought again; “Abram has not got a clue but he will before this trip is over.”
Like gold, God had used the “explosive” of persecution to blast Terah and Abram loose from the “hard rock mine” of Nimrod’s Babylonian Kingdom in the Chaldees and they had headed toward the “crusher in Haran” so God could separate Abram from the “debris of the blast”!
(Gen. 12:1-4) All Abram knew when he left Haran was that he had decided to follow what the Lord God had told him to do. He did not really understand what was happening. BUT: Like gold, Abram had been ground into dust by the “crusher” of idolatry and sin in Haran. Then he had been separated from the debris that was in Haran by the “separator” of God’s intervention. Abram was still filled with “impurities”.
SO: Like gold, Abram was on the way to the “crucible” of trial, tribulation and temptation” that were fired by the 3 sources of heat named Satan, the world and self. Abram would have the “chemical” of what God told him to do to refine him and God’s rescue and blessing would be the ladle that scooped away the dross.
The above process is followed exactly concerning individual Christians in the modern church except it is called “Spiritual Growth” in faith and obedience. Remember: (Mal. 3:6) God does not change!
Abram had not even made it out of Haran before the very first thing he did was disobey God! (Gen. 12:1 keyword: kindred) “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred,” Sarai was supposed to go (Gen. 2:22-24 & Matt. 19:4-6) because she was the rest of him. BUT: (Gen 12:5) Abram took his slob brother Haran’s son, Lot, with him. (Gen. 13:7 & 14:5-16) At best Lot was a nuisance and would bring trial and tribulation to Abram! Disobedience always does!
ALSO: (18:22 thru 19:38 esp. V.37-38 keywords: Moab & Ammon) Lot’s sons, Moab and Ammon, he fathered by his own daughters would found the nations of (2Chron. 20:10-11) the Moabites and Ammonites who joined Israel’s enemies to fight against Israel. (2Sam. 8:1-12) But King David conquered them when they were in confederation with another group of nations who fought Israel. (Gen. 14:14 keyword: brother) Lot must have been a charming scamp just like his father Haran because Abram looked upon him as a brother. SO: The very first source of heat for Abram’s refining was ignited by Self when Abram disobeyed God!
A Special Message For A Special Man
(Gen. 12:6) “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was in the land.” There is a hidden message in the Hebrew definitions of these 4 underlined, highlighted words that tells us the content of what the Lord told Abram (V.6) #1) Sichem: defined: a ridge, the place of burdens, to load up. #2) Plain: defined: an oak tree and is derived from the Hebrew base word that is defined: strength, a chief. #3) Moreh: defined: teacher, and also the early rain. #4) Canaanite: defined: merchant, trafficker.
Abram had made it, he made it to where the Canaanite was in the land (Gen 12:7) “And the Lord appeared unto Abram,“
#1) Abram stopped on a ridge which is the high part of a mountain that divides 2 valleys. The valley of Eden, the failure and the flood was behind him AND the valley of Israel, Jesus, Calvary and Grace was before him. The Lord appeared to Abram and loaded him up with the burdens of going through the fires of refinement so he could learn to trust, obey, depend on and love God then he would be a vessel fit to found the nation from which Jesus would come.
#2) On the ridge where Abram had stopped was a grove of oak trees and Abram would have to be as strong and tough as an oak tree to be the first chief and founder of the (Gen. 14:13) Hebrew race of people.
#3) Abram would be a teacher to teach his people there is only one God, the Lord God, and all others were false gods that were the figments of men’s imaginations, ignorance, superstition and lust.
#4) Abram would discover the Canaanites were evil and they would spiritually represent Lucifer the trafficker of deception and merchant of evil who had engineered the fall of man in Eden. Satan was barred from the meeting. It was not any of his business
(Gen. 12:7 keyword: builded) It’s no wonder Abram builded an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him! It does not say what form the Lord used to appear to Abram but when the Lord was done I think Abram scrambled around barefoot, built the altar, worshipped and praised the Lord long and loud, realized what the Lord had in store for him and screamed a 3 word prayer; “HELP ME LORD!” Have you ever done that? Me too!
The Lord had told Abram; “Go south to Canaan, I am giving that land to you.” When the morning sun rose in the east Abram faced the sun, then turned right and started walking; that meant he was going south toward Canaan! Have you ever gone into a strange place but you did not have a map? You were just blundering along, following your nose and hoping for the best. Imagine yourself as being Abram.
(Gen. 12:8) Then Abram the nomad, the pilgrim, moved on south. The next camp he made was where they would rest awhile and it was between Bethel on the west and Hai on the east. He was camped about 12 miles north of the city that would become Jerusalem.
According to Jewish history, at that time the country around Bethel and Hai was a place of long green pastures well known for its pure, clear, flowing springs. Bethel defined is: the house of God. It is obvious Shem or some of his Godly progeny had come there and started a One God Only settlement/town while Abram was suffering in Haran.
It had to be Godly Shem because there was no other source! Archaeologists have found lots of artifacts in their excavation at Bethel and they even found the remains of a protective wall 11 feet thick at its base that surrounded the town. (Deut. 14:2 & Titus 2:14 keyword: peculiar) Obviously the idolatrous Canaanites did not approve of the weird (peculiar) people who believed in only one invisible God and God’s people had to be ready to defend themselves. Things have not changed much have they?
You don’t think so? Quit entertaining yourself long enough to check the worldwide persecution of Christians today, 7-17-14. Obtain the free newsletter from Voice of the Martyrs; email@example.com OR www.persecution.com OR P.O. Box 443 Bartlesville, OK 74005-0443 OR 1-918-337-8015 is a good publication to see pictures and read articles to understand what your Brothers and Sisters are suffering. Also read the book Tortured for Christ written by Preacher/Pastor Richard Wurmbrand; it is a good source because in it he tells about his torture under the Nazis in Germany and later under the communists in Russia because he would not renounce Jesus and how the ‘foreign’ church finally rescued him.
Also check the internet for a list of the 30 or so crusades (jihads) the Muslim faith (Islam) performed against Christians, Jews and their fellow Arabs before the Catholic Church finally fought back with 5 to 7 crusades of their own. All this is explained in detail in the articles Part 10 through Part 15 in the commentary Hell: Covenant: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Personal Note: (Rev. 7:9-14) Christians, be they black, yellow, white, red, brown, or any combination, are my blood Brothers and Sisters (Jesus’ blood) and any Christian who has a racist attitude is in sin, violates God’s principals and is in danger of hellfire. Would you let someone come and live with you who hated your children? Jesus will not either! The underground church needs the daily prayers and financial support of Free World Christians.
(2Thess. 3:1-2 & Eph. 6:18) Any Christian who does not at least pray daily for the underground church located in countries where (Matt. 5:10-12 & John 15:20-21) Christians are persecuted, tortured and murdered for their God worshipping and soul winning efforts is in sin and they also need a cleansing trip to the altar to get under the spout where the glory comes out (Jesus’ blood). I do not use the word reverend in association with a preacher (Psa. 111:1-10 esp. V.9 keyword: reverend) because it is the Lord’s name (Psa. 89:1-18 esp. V.7) and all reverence belongs to the Lord God of hosts.