Friday, October 26, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday October 28, 2018

Over 177,000 readers worldwide

(GOD blesses a servant heart)
(Genesis 24)

   Genesis 24 shows how the providence of GOD is worked out in the lives of those who are faithful to him. Here we see chronicled, the special case of a man named Eliezer, a faithful servant of Abraham, and how he successfully answered the call of his superior when he was put to the task.   
    This lengthy passage can actually be simplified if it is broken down into four special and distinct segments, and we’ll entitle this first segment “the calling, “charge”, or “commission” of Eliezer (Vs.1-9), and any of those terms are applicable here. In this section Abraham charges Eliezer, the man in charge of all things concerning his household, with the even more special task, of finding a wife for his son Isaac, shortly after the death of Sarah. The aging patriarch wanted to ensure that Isaac wouldn’t end up marrying one of the local Canaanite women, after he had passed away.
    And so he commissioned Eliezer to go to his own (Abraham’s) homeland, to his brother Nahor’s house, back in Aram-naharaim, in the northern section of Padan Aram (Mesopotamia), located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and choose a woman from among his relatives there. Abraham also made Eliezer swear a solemn oath that he would never take Isaac to Padan-aram, but instead, that he brings the young lady back there to Canaan, which was Isaac’s promised inheritance from GOD. And if by chance the woman refuses to come back to Canaan with him, then Eliezer would free from his oath.
    The second section of this chapter (Vs.10-27) reveals “the faith and trust” that Eliezer shows in the “GOD of Abraham” to lead and guide him into a position to make the right choice for his master’s son. After receiving his instructions from Abraham, Eliezer loaded ten camels with gifts that consisted of the best of everything that Abraham owned, and set out on this 450-mile journey.  
    When Eliezer arrived in Padan Aram where Nahor had settled, he rested by a well just outside the village of Aram-naharaim. There he prayed to the GOD of Abraham to help him accomplish his mission. He asked GOD to show him a sign by which he would ask the women who come to the well to draw water, to give him a drink. If the woman answers by saying “Yes, I will give you a drink, and I will water your camels too” (it would take considerable time and water to accommodate ten thirsty camels) let her be the one YOU have appointed to be Isaac’s wife. And the LORD honored his request, and that woman turned out to be a young virgin named Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Nahor, Abraham’s brother.
    In the third segment (Vs.28-60), we see the success of Eliezer’s mission as he and his entourage, are invited into the home of Laban and his father Bethuel, who quickly concluded that Eliezer’s mission was truly a commission from GOD. In those days it was not unusual to see the brother of a woman negotiating along with the living father concerning her marriage, and that is why here we see, both, Laban and Bethuel actively involved. And so they entrusted Rebekah into Eliezer’s hand, and she went willingly with them back to Beersheba.
    And finally, in section four (Vs.61-67) we see the mission of Eliezer winding down to a conclusion, as they wrap up their 900-mile journey to Padan Aram and back. This final segment opens up as we find a, now 40-year old Isaac, who had just returned home himself from Beer-lahairoi in the Negev, strolling through a field meditating, when he looked up and saw Eliezer’s caravan approaching from the east.
    When Rebekah looked and saw Isaac, she quickly dismounted and asked Eliezer who Isaac was. He replied, “He is my master’s son”, and so Rebekah covered her face with her veil. Soon after they met they were married and moved into the tent of his deceased mother Sarah, and Isaac loved her very much, as she was a great comfort to him after the death of his mother whom he had missed very much. Abraham was 140 years old at that time, and he lived another 35 years, and he himself re-married before he died and passed the torch to Isaac at the ripe old age of 175.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander


Friday, October 19, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday October 21, 2018

Over 176,000 readers worldwide

(GOD keeps HIS promises)
(Genesis 18:1-15 and 21:1-7)

   In biblical times in the land of ancient Palestine, inns, hotels, and motels were very scarce, and so many travelers had to rely on its citizens to be hospitable towards each other. Here in Genesis 18 we see the seriousness exhibited by Abraham in his desire to welcome strangers in his home as he offers three men (angels) a royal welcome into his abode.
    One day around noon Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent when he espied three men standing nearby. This passage tells us that Abraham jumped up and ran to meet them, bowing to them, showing the greatest of respect and acknowledgement, even calling them “LORD” (this indicates that he knew that they represented Divinity before him) and requesting that they abide with him for a while.
    Abraham offered that they rest in the shade of one of Mambre’s oak trees, and allow his servants to bring them water to drink, and to wash their tired feet (v.4). In addition, he offers to prepare them fresh food (not leftovers), for them to be filled before they continued on their way (v.5). And so we see here, the great lengths to which a person should go to welcome another person into their home, because we never know (like in this case) when we may be entertaining “an angel of the LORD”. 
    Notice that the first verse in this chapter indicates that “the LORD” appeared again to Abraham, and so at least one of these men was an actual “Theophany” of CHRIST, or, represented one of several Old Testament appearances by CHRIST JESUS” (Genesis 18:20-21 and 22:11-17, Exodus 3:2-3, Joshua 5:13-15, Numbers 22:21-35, and Judges 2:1-5).
    And so, after the three angels accepted Abraham’s invitation, he ran back to the tent and instructed his wife Sarah to help him prepare the meal for them. After the food was prepared, Abraham took it and served it to his honored guests, and then, respectfully waited for them to finish eating.
    One of the angels then requested to know where Sarah was, and Abraham responded that she was in the tent. “The angel of the LORD” then informed Abraham that by this time next year HE would return and Sarah would be nursing their very own son, conceived of their own bodies in their old age. Sarah, who was listening from their tent, laughed silently to herself, thinking, “How could a worn-out woman like me have a baby? Especially when my husband too, is so old”
    However, the LORD divinely perceived Sarah’s thoughts and said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, “Can an old woman like me have a baby?” Is anything too hard for the LORD? The LORD then iterates HIS previous statement to Abraham, and upon hearing it again, Sarah became afraid and denied that she had laughed. However, the LORD rebuked her telling her “That is not true, you did laugh”. 
    The promises GOD makes to us are often concerning things that are “humanly impossible” to achieve, and despite our doubt, HE humors us, and brings those promises into reality anyway. Here in this passage we see, for the first time, GOD actually giving this aging couple “an exact time-frame” for the birth of their son, who would be named “Isaac”, and HE reminds them that nothing is impossible for HIM to do. GOD is able to work with us through our limitations and imperfections, even when we exercise less than “mustard-seed faith” in HIS divine, unlimited abilities.     

Genesis 21:1-7

  In Genesis 21, verses 1-7, we see GOD’s promise to Abraham and Sarah finally being realized, and it is exactly at the appointed time. The silent laughter of both Abraham (Genesis 17:17) and Sarah (Genesis 18:12), because of their unbelieving spirit, is now turned into loud laughter of joy that can be shared by both, their family, and friends. And it had been made possible because they had both finally, through increased faith, turned themselves over to GOD, whole-heartedly and completely.
    This account in the lives of this aging couple serves to remind us forever, and to assure each of us individually, that, the seemingly impossible things in life are put here to serve as proof, that all things become possible for us when we serve the Almighty, sovereign GOD, the CREATOR of the universe, in total faith.
    As “human beings” living in this world, we seem to always attempt to solve our problems by taking matters in our own hands. However, after we become Christians, we need to develop a different mindset, calling on the advice found in GOD’s Word, and the power of the HOLY SPIRIT, to lead and guide us out of our own, self-imposed predicaments.
     Unfortunately though, we often continue on in “our worldly mindset” long after we’ve professed to have accepted the wonderful gift of salvation, and vowed to GOD that we are ready to place our lives into HIS protective hands. We seem to have a difficult time resisting the urge to try and move forward without the help of the only wise GOD WHO is physically invisible to us. We have to have faith in someone (GOD) other than what we see physically every day. As human beings, our mind finds abstract things hard to grasp and embrace, because we have to do so with our spirit, through our faith.
    When we develop an experiential relationship of friendship with GOD, we can then allow HIM to work in our lives through prayer, and by being patient and waiting on HIM to answer at perfectly the right time. Our trust in GOD should buttress our patience, so that, over time, we won’t see GOD as not moving fast enough, and begin to take foolish and prideful measures, thinking that we need to “help GOD out”.
    The only real way we can help GOD, or ourselves, is by being obedient to HIS Word. When we foolishly attempt to interfere with GOD’s speed, we often end up sinning against HIM, and thereby, we delay HIS promise and blessing that HE has already prepared for us.
    Abraham and Sarah are one of Scripture’s greatest examples of people who delayed their blessings and promise from GOD, by trying to “help GOD out”. First they brought their servant girl, Hagar, into their bedroom to try and produce a child totally outside of the will of GOD’s plan for them. This human act, of course, eventually caused a lot of strife in their family, and, as a result, they ended up waiting seventeen more years for their promised son, Isaac, to be born through their union.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

Friday, October 12, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday October 14, 2018

Over 176,000 readers worldwide

(From Shem to Abraham)
(Genesis 11:10-26)

   This is the “vertical” genealogical record that traces the line of descendants from Noah’s son, Shem, to Abram (later called Abraham). This list successfully shows the legitimate ancestry of the Shemites, and is generally used to trace the origins of that group of the human race, who would later be named by GOD as “HIS chosen people” (Israel), and whom, the world now knows as “the Jews”. This section of chapter 11, is an airtight chronology that distinguishes Abraham as the towering figure, to whom, all Jews trace their origin.
    Unlike the list in chapter 5, this chronology here in verses 10-26 of chapter 11, does not tell of the total number of years that each person lived, and at what age they died. Whereas the section of Genesis 5:1-6:8 stresses “death before the Flood”, here in this section of chapter 11, we see an emphasis on “life and expansion after the Flood”, even though the earthly lifespan of man had been decreased significantly by GOD, because of the onset of sin into “the human race”.
(Genesis 11:27-32)

   Here begins what is now known as “the Patriarchal Narratives of the Bible” (Genesis 11:27-50:26). They detail the history and origin of the Jews, beginning with Abram (later called Abraham), who was the son of Terah.
    Abram, had two brothers, whose names were Nahor and Haran. Haran was the father of Lot, whom would later become the responsibility of, and figure prominently in, the life and chronicles of Abraham. Haran died at an early age, while they were still living in their birthplace, which was called “Ur”, located in the land of the Chaldeans.
    Abram married Sarai, who could not bear children at that time, and his brother Nahor, married Milcah, one of the daughters of his deceased brother, Haran (Haran’s other daughter was named Iscah). After this, Terah, who was an idolater, moved his family, including his sons and their wives, and his grandson Lot, out of Ur, with intentions to move to the land of Canaan. However, they made a stop in a place called “Haran” (no connection to his dead son), which was known at that time as “sin city”.
    Through spiritual eyes, one can clearly see this as an early attempt by satan, on a “paganist thinking person”, like Terah, to interrupt the line of the coming MESSIAH, through the family that GOD would later sanction to begin with Abraham and Sarah.
    These attempted evil strategies by satan are something that can often be detected throughout the annals of Old Testament literature, if we apply our spiritual self to the reading of Scriptures (allow ourselves to be led by the SPIRIT). Terah lived out the remainder of his life (205 years) there in Haran with his family.


   Abram, whose name GOD later changed to “Abraham”, was born and raised in the fabled city of Ur. Ur was located in the southern division of ancient Babylonia known as “Sumer” (SOO-mehr), which was situated between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (now southern Iraq). Sumer is the territory referred to as “Shinar” in the Old Testament (Genesis 10:10). It was a part of the kingdom of the great Nimrod who attempted to build the infamous “Tower of Babel” there.
   The Sumerians, developed the first “high living civilization” in the history of mankind, and Ur was the center of their rich culture. They were the first people to develop a writing style that consisted of “Cuneiform script”, which were “wedged shaped” characters that became synonymous with Persian and Babylonian culture and literature. They were proud of their vast wealth, monumental architecture, grand homes, music, and art.
    While living in this ultra “worldly” culture, Abram worshiped many gods (Joshua 24:2), however, when the real and true GOD spoke to him, he was willing to leave this enchanting atmosphere, and travel, “on faith”, to the unknown land of Canaan, where he would live a “nomadic” life in tents for nearly 100 years. He traded the fading glory that is inevitable in the world, for a personal, trusting, eternal relationship with GOD.
    Here in Genesis chapter 12 we see the literal “calling” of Abram by GOD, into a life-changing commitment of humility and dependence on the promises of the only wise, sovereign CREATOR of the universe. Abram was 75 years old when he first received instructions from GOD to leave the land in which he was born, including, leaving his relatives and the entire house of his father (v.1).
    Abram, in spite of those instructions from the LORD, decided to take his nephew Lot and all of his clan with him (v.5). This disobedience would later cause many problems for Abram as we shall see (Genesis 13:5-7, 14:11-16, and 18:22-33).
    We see beginning in verse 2, GOD reeling off a list of five promises to Abram that will not all be realized in his lifetime. Here HE tells Abram that;

·         I will cause you to become the father of a great nation
·         I will bless you and make you famous
·         I will make you a blessing to others
·         I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you
·         All the families of the earth will be blessed through you  

    And so Abram left Haran and traveled to the land of Canaan. While traveling through Canaan, he came to a place near Shechem where he set up camp beside the oak trees at “Moreh” (which means “teacher”). This is significant in that, the Canaanites had worship shrines already set up there in the area among the oak trees of Moreh, and this in fact may have been the site of one or more of their many cult worship centers.
    Ironically, it is here that the LORD appeared to Abram and informed him that “this land will be given to your offspring”. And so Abram built a shrine for the LORD, right there among the shrines of the pagans. Perhaps this bodes as a symbolic gesture that the GOD of all gods was about to manifest HIS glorious presence in the cursed land of the Canaanites. Stay tuned.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Friday, October 5, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday October 7, 2018

Over 175,000 readers worldwide

(GOD uses obedient people for HIS purpose)
(Genesis 6)

   Whenever society becomes racked and marked by perpetual wickedness and violence, the likelihood of divine judgment will always loom greater, and ever closer to realization. In the days of Noah the corruption of human civilization had become so great that, if GOD did not choose to intervene at that time, man, HIS greatest creation, would have become extinct by their own hands.
    Here in Genesis chapter 6 we see just such a scenario being played out in grand and historical fashion. When the human population began to grow rapidly on the earth, the sons of GOD “(the fallen angels” under satan’s command, “bene ha elohim” in the Hebrew), saw the beautiful women of the human race, and began to forcefully take them as if they were their wives. They conceived children with them that grew to become “giants” on the earth (“nephilims”), and they vexed GOD’s SPIRIT greatly with their sins, and caused HIM to severely limit the days of man’s lifespan here on earth to no more than 120 years.
    The term “Nephilim”, used here, comes from the Hebrew verb “naphal” and it means “to fall” in general, but further, and perhaps more so, it is associated with “violence”, and here in verse 4 of this passage it is translated “to overthrow and fall upon with violence”. Also, however, in the book of Numbers it is translated as “men of great stature” in its noun form. And so, in the collective sense, it describes “men of violence who were imposingly great in statue (400+ feet tall), and had no regard or respect for anyone but themselves.
    However, as the LORD observed the growing extent of the people’s wickedness, and HE saw that all of their thoughts were consistently and totally evil because of this spiritual contamination by satan (v.5), HE was saddened that HE had ever made them and decided that HE would go ahead and destroy almost all of HIS earthly creation and start all over with one family, Noah’s, and one male and one female of every kind (prototype, or genes) of wildlife and domesticated animal on earth at that time (Vs.5-8).
    One might say, “Well, didn’t GOD know that this would happen in the first place, after all, HE is omniscient (All Knowing). However, GOD’s omniscience and foreknowledge does not rescind HIS gift to man of “free will”. GOD gives us “wills that are free”, and man will always retain the right to choose, or make his or her own decisions, no matter what. GOD always grants us “freedom of choice”.
    In verse 9 we see, for the first time in Scripture, that the word “righteous” (“just” and “perfect”) is applied to describe a human being, as it is used here to describe Noah. Here the bible tells us that Noah was, in fact, the only righteous man on earth at that time (the only man seeking to obey GOD), and that he consistently followed GOD’s Will, and as a result, enjoyed a close personal, experiential relationship with HIM.
    To explain the use of this description to describe Noah further, in the biblical Greek there are two words that are used for “good”. One is “kalos”, and it describes “a good that is also lovely”, a divine attribute that can only be spoken of, concerning GOD. It is the “good” that was exemplified by JESUS CHRIST our LORD and SAVIOR, while HE lived here on earth. The other is “agathos” which suggests a good that is less than divine, and would dull by comparison to the goodness of GOD. However, by human standards, one would stand out if he or she possessed and practiced this kind of goodness. 
    Because of Noah’s strict adherence to the ways of GOD in his behavior towards, and his training of, his wife and children, Noah’s family was literally the only family left on earth that had not been contaminated spiritually, or affected physically, by the dreadful luciferic intermarriages and behavior of the demonic angels, nor by the subsequent violence, sin and corruption of “their nephilim offspring’s”, who dominated society with a heavy, forceful, and influential hand. Noah stood alone, with his wife and his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, exercising their faith in GOD, continuously night and day (Vs. 9-10).
    And while Noah may not have been “good” in the divine sense of being perfect, with man, GOD, WHO is the source of all good and perfection, accredits it (righteousness) to him, based on his desire to obey and serve HIM. The ones who desire to obey GOD are the ones whom GOD surely knows, loves HIM. Men are not good in the same sense that GOD is, but rather, only in a “relative sense of speaking”, for example, as to comparing a man who aspires to obey the will of GOD, to a man who doesn’t.
    With that being said we can now move on to what GOD decides to do with the corrupt society that is depicted here in chapter 6. In verses 14-16 the LORD instructs Noah to make a boat from resinous wood, (wood that is treated with a sticky substance that comes from certain plants, substances such as rosin, lacquer, or varnish), and then, seal it with tar inside and out.
    Next Noah was instructed to construct three decks (bottom, middle, and upper) with stalls throughout the entire interior of the boat, and to incorporate a single door in the side of the boat. The dimensions of the imposing vessel would be 450 feet long (approx. 1 ½ times the length of a football field), 75 feet wide (approx. ½ the width of a football field), and 45 feet high. He was also to construct an opening all the way around the boat, about 18 inches below the roof.
    At this point (Vs.17-22), GOD lets Noah in on HIS plan to destroy the entire earth with a catastrophic flood that would kill everything on earth except he and his family, and the designated animals that would come to him (to be kept alive) to board the ark once it is finished. Noah was to take enough food to last he and his family, and, all the animals, through an ordeal that would comprise a sum total of 377 days.   
    This craft would serve as the vehicle that would carry Noah’s family and his animal cargo safely, through GOD’s “judgment upon the earth”, and “into salvation” in the restored environment of a “washed clean” world. The flood would make a powerful theological statement to mankind, for all time, as it resoundingly re-affirms GOD as the undisputed “moral ruler of the universe”, WHO, can and will, exercise HIS authority and obligation to judge our sin, at HIS OWN appointed time.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website