Tuesday, 7 January 2020


Scripture: Genesis 20 v 14 - 18: "And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife.
15  And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee: dwell where it pleaseth thee. 
16  And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved.
17  So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.
18  For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife."

An interesting thing happened in the palace of Abimelech when Abraham and Sarah came to stay.
Sarah was very beautiful and in order to protect her, Abraham made it known that they were brother and sister.

This was partially true, they had different mothers but the same father.  But they were also married but not yet parents.  Unfortunately, Abimelech wanted Sarah for himself until he saw Abraham and Sarah being very affectionate with each other.

Abimelech was very angry, and afraid, as he did not want to fall foul of God.  He confronted Abraham with his statement that Sarah was his sister, and Abraham had to tell him the truth.  His half truth had caused a real problem.

The king made right with Abraham giving him silver and flocks and the pick of the land dwell in.  Abraham had to pray for all the king's women, and female slaves, for their wombs to be opened as God had closed them all as a consequence of Abimelech's sin with Sarah.

Abraham and Sarah did grieve the Lord again when He appeared to them and said they would have a child in their old age.  Abraham was a hundred and Sarah ninety years old.  She laughed at the thought of bearing a child and suggested Abraham sleep with Hagar, her maidservant, who was young.  From this union came Ishmael.

Sarah did fall pregnant and bore Isaac, whose name means Laughter!  God having His own laugh at Sarah.
Isaac eventually married Rebecca who bore him twin sons, Jacob and Esau.  Jacob inherited the blessing of Isaac, and had twelve sons through various wives, handmaids and concubines.  

These twelve sons were the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel.  The other, illegitimate son of Abraham, Ishmael, also had twelve sons and they became the seed from which the Arab nations sprang.  The consequences of sin and disobedience are visible to this day.

The Arabs hate the Jews and believe they were from Abraham's firstborn and so they should now be the inheritors of the Holy Land.  They managed to build a golden dome on top of the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem, and a mosque, Al Aqsa, next to it.  This keeps the tension between the Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem at a high level.  The consequences of Abraham and Hagar.

If we can learn anything from this age old feud it is that God will not be mocked nor taken lightly.  If He dealt thus with Abraham whom He loved and honoured and trusted, what of us who only believe in His sweet side.

We are asked to pray for the terrible fires ravaging Australia, and the destruction, loss of life, loss of millions of animals, and everything else, the uncontrollable situation is tragic.  However, in tv newsreels showing burning homes we see statues of Buddha in the midst.  My friends who live in that country do a lot of house sitting in various places and everywhere they go there are statues of Buddha in gardens and homes.

This is idolatry and when we pray for Australia the Lord says to us, They have no fear of God in their hearts.  So is this a wake up call for Australia?  Are these fires the consequences of God's wrath?  

Sure they happen every year but never to this extent, and we pray that they will humble themselves and pray so that God may save them and heal their land.  Today I learned that hundreds of arsonists have been arrested in various parts of Australia for deliberately starting these fires or keeping them going when they died out.  How awful is that?

The Book of Revelation speaks of woes coming upon nations and we see this in many places on the planet.  Fires, floods, blizzards, famine, drought, and ice breaking up at the Poles.  We say its climate change, and so it is, but not something we can fix.  

Jesus said that before He returned to Earth there would be signs in the heavens and there would be earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, seas roaring, great storms, shortage of food, plagues and epidemics, hatred, wars and so on.  We are seeing and experiencing the truth of His words.  

Since the Iranian General was killed by  US drone, war drums are beating frantically.  This man killed thousands of Americans and was plotting to kill many more.  Who do we side with?  

Iran wants to totally wipe out Israel, and every Jew.  They finance Hamas and Hezbollah, terrorist organisations, to continually attack Israel.  They help send thousands of fiery paper parachutes to burn down Israeli crops.  When does God retaliate against evil such as this?  When does His judgment begin?  What are the consequences for wanting to destroy the Apple of God's eye?

God is love and He has done everything needed to save us.  He did not spare Sodom and Gomorrah from fire and brimstone.  He utterly destroyed them.  He did not spare any, except 8 members of one family, from the flood that wiped out the whole world.  Scripture said God repented that He made man.  He took the only sinless group of eight to restart the human race.

He gave His sinless Son, Jesus, to save the whole human race from sin and eternal death.  Those who believe receive everlasting life, the rest don't.  In Iran today where Christianity is forbidden, they are known as the country where the church is growing the fastest.  In the past twenty years the church has grown from 500 people to 500,000 members, despite horrible persecution.

The converts say the violence and hatred of Islam drives them to seek the Christian life of love, joy and peace.  And that is what we all need to do.  To avoid consequences that are truly awful.  Do we feel the sorrow of Australia, absolutely we do!  However, we need to know if this is a judgment from God as we cannot pray contrary to His will.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to seek Your will in every severe situation that confronts us.  We pray for Your mercy Lord God to bring people to their knees, to cry out to You for help.  You are loving and merciful and desire to see everyone saved, even through tough love.  Revelation 16 v 8 - 9: "And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
9  And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory."
We pray for them to repent and cease to blaspheme Your holy name.  We pray that Jesus returns soon.
In Jesus' name.  Amen.