Sunday, March 20, 2016

PRAYERS OF THE BIBLE SERIES: THE BOOK OF GENESIS #3

PRAYER OF THE FIRST HEBREW
2 Abram said, “O Lord God, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.”  (Genesis 15:2-3)

This is the first recorded prayer from Abraham. Abram, as he was called at the time, had already obeyed the Call of God and crossed over from his pagan homeland in Ur of the Chaldeans (modern day Iraq) into the desert. There, he was looking for a city whose builder and creator of God. Abraham became the first Hebrew. The word Hebrew does NOT mean Jew, but has several meanings. The word Hebrew simply means "one who has crossed over, passed over or a sojourner, and one who has gone to the other side". We, who have obeyed God and accepted the Lordship of Jesus Christ, have likewise crossed over, like Abraham did.

In his case, as in ours, we are now part of the family of the Hebrews - sojourners who have crossed over from darkness (paganism/idolatry/lost) to LIGHT (salvation/eternal life/Christianity). Abraham did not understand this plan when he was called to leave his idol-worshipping father's, Terah's,  house in dirty old heathen Ur. But God knew the plans He had for him.

In order to get to the context of this first prayer, we have to read the chapters leading up to Genesis 15:2 and on. Abram had just come through an amazing mountaintop experience with an example or type of Christ - the high priest of Salem Melchizedek, only to have a valley experience and a run-in with the corrupt king of Sodom. Then in Chapter 15:1, the LORD appeared to Abram and a vision, calmed his fear after the encounter with that king and proceeded to promised him a reward which stunned! God promised Abram, who had to be way into his 80's by now, a reward.

Abram was a very wealthy man at the time, even before he "crossed over" into Faith in the One True God of Heaven. He could not fathom what this reward could be. So he asked the Father what else could he possibly give a man, who was richer than all the billionaires in the world today! Ah, but there was one thing left....and it bothered Abram. He had no natural son with Sarah, his wife and the only heir, in his natural thinking, was Eliezar his main servant.

Here is when Abram prayed "O Lord God, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?....Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” (Verses 2 and 3). We all know what happened next, even with his massive world-changing error with Hagar. Jesus appeared to him in Chapter 18 and promised Sarah would have a baby in her 90's.

What does this prayer say to us? We are a people pressed down on every side. We are buffeted, beat up in despair. Our people are persecuted here and mostly abroad. Churches and villages are destroyed and Bibles burned. But as God told Abram when the king of Sodom tried to make a worldly deal with him "Fear not" (Genesis 15:1). In this way, we too should fear now. God says He is our shield and buckler.

That means not only that He has our back but from His view from heaven, He sees all the arrows coming at us from all sides. God as our shield means He will protect us from ALL, and I mean, ALL frontal assaults of the enemy. The slings and arrows will not touch us, the fiery darts will never pierce this Divine Defense. But the original word which the Holy Spirit used in Scripture here was "meginnah" or "armed"! This Shield of God is not just a productive barrier in front of us but is like the Iron Dome over Israel today - it protects against ALL incoming and can repel anything!

Secondly, what this first prayer of Abraham says to us is this - if you and I allow Almighty God, the Great God of Heaven to be our defense, we shall not be only protected but our Faith will be rewarded! Are you and I ready to allow Him to be our "shield and buckler" and cross over into a full measure of Faith, or are we still thinking "we got this, God"...and are trying to fight life's battles in our own strength? The choice is as plain as day!
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