Seven Men Named Before Birth #5

Friday, August 6, 2021

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1 KJV).

Who are the seven noteworthy men in Scripture named before their births?

As we have seen now, in each of these situations, man’s sinful flesh is at work but God’s faithfulness overcomes it. Abraham (and especially) Sarah schemed to have a child their way (through Hagar) instead of God’s way (through Sarah). Then, Hagar was punished because of the ensuing domestic conflict; regardless, God blessed Abraham’s child through Hagar, Ishmael, for the LORD “heard” (took notice) of her dire predicament.

When joyous Abraham and skeptical Sarah finally did have a son, Isaac was appropriately named because of the “laughter.” The Abrahamic Covenant now had an heir. Although King David had illicit relations with Bathsheba, and that resulting child died, the LORD was faithful in giving them another son, Solomon, whose alternate name Jedidiah meant “beloved of JEHOVAH.” It was through this boy that God would achieve the Davidic Covenant: a son of David would reign over Israel forever. King Jeroboam of the Northern Kingdom was a pagan idolater; he caused the 10 northern tribes to stumble in heathenism. A son of David, King Josiah, destroyed Jeroboam’s religious system and instituted spirituality “founded of JEHOVAH.”

Though idolatrous Israel deserved her Babylonian Captivity, the LORD used Cyrus King of Persia to “possess the furnace” (overthrow Babylon), thereby freeing the Jews and letting them return to the Promised Land. Father God sent John the Baptist to announce the entrance of His Son: He had not forgotten His covenants with Israel, but would “favor” them according to His grace and fulfill those promises despite the nation’s rank unbelief. Finally, Jesus Christ Himself took upon human flesh, to shed His blood and become “JEHOVAH-Saviour”—first and foremost of Israel, but ultimately for the whole world!

One final note worthy of our consideration. Looking at the list another way, we can read the following message: “Being heard of God results in laughter, JEHOVAH has beloved and founded, the furnace/oppressor is possessed/conquered, for JEHOVAH is gracious and Saviour.” These are certainly descriptive of Jesus Christ’s ministry—what He will do especially for Israel.

Seven Men Named Before Birth #2

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1 KJV).

Who are the seven noteworthy men in Scripture named before their births?

Hagar, Sarah’s slave girl, really had no choice in the matter of serving as her mistress’ surrogate. Abraham fathered a child by her. When animosity arose between the two women, Abraham evicted pregnant Hagar, after which time God informed her it was His will that the unborn child be named “Ishmael” (Hebrew, “God hears”); God has heard Hagar’s situation and pities her and her boy (Genesis 16:11). By the time of chapter 17, Abraham and Sarah are now 13 years older. Sarah, aged 90, is still barren. Upon learning God will give him a son through Sarah, 99-year-old Abraham falls on his face and laughs—rejoicing not scoffing (verse 17). As verse 19 relays to us, God directs Abraham to call this son “Isaac” (Hebrew, “laughter”), the beginning of the nation Israel.

Over 1,000 years later, King David reigns over Israel. In 2 Samuel chapter 11, he has that infamous affair with a married woman, Bathsheba, and arranges her husband’s murder to cover up the resultant pregnancy. David marries Bathsheba. The LORD, in chapter 12, sends the Prophet Nathan to condemn David for his wickedness: furthermore, the king learns his newborn baby will die, which he does. David and Bathsheba subsequently have another child, Solomon, “and the LORD loved him” (verse 24). Verse 25 tells us God had already chosen a name: “Jedediah” (Hebrew, “beloved of JEHOVAH”).

After King Solomon’s death, with the kingdoms of Israel (north) and Judah (south) divided, his servant (Jeroboam) and his son (Rehoboam) head internal civil wars (1 Kings chapters 11–13). While both pagan idolaters, Jeroboam is the worse; he establishes heathen religion in those northern 10 tribes. In chapter 13, while King Jeroboam is engaged in idolatry, God’s prophet warns him: a descendant of David will be born, “Josiah” (Hebrew, “founded of JEHOVAH”), and this man will bring extensive religious reform in Israel (verses 1-3). Some 350 years later, King Josiah invades the northern kingdom and destroys Jeroboam’s shrines (2 Kings 23:15-20).

Now, just three men remain on our list….

Found Out and Fractured in Twain #9

Sunday, January 17, 2021

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23 KJV).

Doubtless, we never want to sensationalize or exaggerate. However, the fact remains, some dark days are ahead for the United States and the rest of the world. What can we Bible-believing Christians do?

In Genesis 12:1-3, the LORD God isolated one man, Abram, promising to make of him a great nation (Israel). After many years of growing old and still being childless, Abram wondered how a nation of people would descend from him. By the time of chapter 16, he has been waiting a decade for God to fulfill His promise (Abrahamic Covenant). He is still without a son! Thus, Sarai, Abram’s wife, suggests Abram take her slave girl, Hagar, and use her as a surrogate.

Notice: “[1] Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. [2] And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai…. [15] And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. [16] And Abram was fourscore and six [that is, 86] years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.”

Move to chapter 17. God informs Abram, now 99 years old: “[2] And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly… [19] And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” Several years later, in chapter 21, verses 9-21, a nasty conflict erupts between Ishmael and Isaac, further dividing their mothers Hagar and Sarah. It causes Abraham such pain. The work of his flesh (son Ishmael—Law) was not God’s promised son (Isaac—Grace). His family permanently splits, resulting in the endless Jewish–Muslim–Palestinian–Arab conflict with which we are all familiar even now. Abraham’s sin found him out and fractured his people in twain….

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #2

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

The “Abrahamic Covenant” appears in Genesis chapter 12: “[1] Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] 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: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” These are God’s promises to Abram rather than Abram’s promises to God. God will work on Abram’s behalf to produce a nation. Abram is to separate from his pagan family—idolaters (Joshua 24:2)—so he can be set apart for God’s purposes. He believed the LORD God, and he relocated as instructed.

Abram is 75 years old (Genesis 12:4); Sarai his wife is 10 years younger. God has pledged to use them to build a great nation, yet they are elderly and childless! In chapter 16, Abram is now in his mid-eighties… and disheartened to still be without a son. Well-meaning Sarai develops a plan to “help” God. She gives Abram her handmaid, Hagar, to use as a surrogate mother. Through Sarai’s plan and Abram’s efforts, Ishmael is born.

Over a decade later, Abram is 99 years old (Genesis 17:1). God changes his name to “Abraham” and his wife’s name to “Sarah,” and then He remarks: “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him” (verse 19). God performs a miracle. Isaac is born in chapter 21, when Abraham is 100 (and sterile!). By the way, the Ishmael–Isaac struggle continues even today as the 4,000-year Arab/Muslim–Jewish war!

God rejected Abraham’s struggles (Ishmael); He accepted only His work (Isaac). If man will receive God’s blessings, it will be God’s efforts and not (!) man’s….

Abram Did It Man’s Way

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

“And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai” (Genesis 16:2 KJV).

Abram “hearkened to the voice of Sarai—the verse does not say, “the voice of God!”

We do not know how long Abram waited to see the promised seed God would give him. The Bible gives us an estimate of at least 25 years (Abram entered the land of Canaan around age 75, Genesis 12:4 says, and Genesis 21:5 claims he was 100 when Isaac was born). Some people speculate that it could have been as much as 50 years (since Genesis 12:1-3 was spoken sometime back in chapter 11—how long that was, the Bible is silent). We will stick by the Bible and say at least 25 years. Friend, imagine waiting 25 years for God to do something He promised you He would do on your behalf!

Beloved, Abram was just as human as we are. He held out for about 10 years, before finally listening to his wife Sarai and having a child with her handmaid Hagar (see today’s Scripture—yea, Genesis 16:1-16). This was not something God commanded but rather something Sarai devised. As it turned out, it was not the “God-taking-so-long-to-work” that resulted in a problem; it was man’s “quick fix” that ultimately proved to be so detrimental to Abram and his family. That child he fathered apart from God’s will (Ishmael) now has descendants (Arabs) who persecute the child God gave him through promise (Isaac) and the little nation Israel descended from Isaac and grandson Jacob. This problem, starting out as a silly woman’s bad idea, has plagued the Middle East for 4,000 years now!

If we can learn anything at all, friends, it is this. It is better to wait on faithful God for decades, Him bringing a result that will actually work and last eternally; than depend on our fellow man, as frail as we, to develop a “quick fix” that will disappoint forever! Rather than doing it man’s way, let us do it God’s way!

That Ishmael Might Live!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

“And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!” (Genesis 17:18 KJV).

Why did Abraham pray these words?

JEHOVAH God, after giving the nations nearly 2,000 years to come to Him by faith, scattered them because of their idolatrous rebellion (Genesis chapters 10 and 11). He isolated one pagan, Abram the Syrian. Genesis chapter 12: “[1] Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] 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: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

God promised Abram he would father a nation, Israel, for His earthly purposes. Yet, Abram and wife Sarai remain childless for many years. Impatient, Sarai suggests Abram use her slave girl, Hagar, as a surrogate mother. Abram, in unbelief, follows his wife’s advice. Genesis 16:15,16: “And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bear, Ishmael. And Abram was fourscore and six [86] years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.”

Some 13 years later, in chapter 17, God appears to 99-year-old Abram. “Abram” (“high father”) is renamed “Abraham” (“father of many”) (verse 5). Furthermore, God tells Abraham his promised son, Isaac, will be born next year to Sarah (verses 15-17). Since Isaac is coming and Ishmael was not God’s plan, Abraham fears God will kill Ishmael. In today’s Scripture, Abraham pleads for Ishmael’s life.

The Bible continues, “[19] And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. [20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” Ishmael indeed lived, but, due to Abraham’s fleshly behavior, Ishmael fathered the Arabs—Israel’s most bitter enemies!