Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians
The Faith of Sarah
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, [so many] as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
Introduction to the Faith of Sarah
“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, [so many] as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” (Hebrews 11:11-12)At first glance, this tiny piece of faith scripture appears to be a literal representation of the conception of a child by an old woman, encouraging the belief in the impossible things that the Lord can do. It does encourage faith in miracles! But, hidden within the depth of meanings and words and the mysteries and hidden things in God is a map of faithful living that supports the mature Christian’s works for Him. Let’s start our journey with the faith of Sarah, by meeting her before her preparation to do a great work for Kingdom of God.
Sarai was her name before she became mother of generations of God’s people.
“And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife [was] Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she [had] no child. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.” (Genesis 11:29-31)Abram married Sarai. Sarai was barren and could not become pregnant. Sometime after the marriage, Terah, Abram, Lot, and Sarai went to dwell in Haran. It is not known the precise location of Haran today. Note also how Scripture says that Terah took his family to go to this place, sometime after the Tower of Babel was built in Ur. Since Terah led the group, this most surely happened prior to Abram getting the call from the LORD God to leave the familiar and go to the land of promise (Hebrews 11:8-11).
Tradition tells us a little bit more about Sarai through interpretation by Jewish scholars and Rabbis. While it cannot be confirmed completely by the Word of God, this extra information adds a little flavor, and is worthy of our consideration. Milcah was born too Haran, who also had another daughter, Iscah, and a son Lot. (Gen 11:27-29)
Iscah is identified as another name for Sarai by many Jewish scholars, thus, they believe that Milcah and Sarai were sisters (The lack of confirmation of this fact within the Word of God makes the sister relationship of Milcah and Sarai doubtful; thus, Iscah should not be considered the same person as Sarai, regardless of traditional belief).
We do know, however, that she was a daughter of Abram’s father but not his mother, making her a half-sister to him. (Gen 20:12) Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. Haran, the youngest son of Terah, was the father of Lot.
Now focus upon this family tree a little longer. Haran was the brother to Nahor, and the father to Lot, Milcah, and Iscah. Nahor married his niece Milcah, the daughter of his brother. Milcah and Nahor had eight children. Tradition of the Rabbi’s interpretation of Gen 22:20 speaks of the providence of the LORD God granting Milcah children because of the merits of her sister (Targum Jonathan to Gen 22:20). It is said in the Midrash that Milcah was the forbearer of all the prophets in the world. (Yalkut Shimoni Balak 22:20)
So the family left for Haran as confusion of tongues initiated at the Tower of Babel in Ur, forced the scattering of people. Sadly for Sarai, Milcah was very fertile, and had many children, while she remained barren. It must surely have weighed heavily on Sarai’s heart, as she watched and heard accounts of Milcah’s offspring, all the while knowing that God had not allowed her the same blessing.
Together the family came to Haran and dwelt there. It is the place where Terah died. It is in this period, that the LORD God told Abram to leave his kindred, and his father’s house, and go to a place where he will be made a great nation with God’s blessing.
“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: 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:” (Genesis 12:1-2)
“So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram [was] seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.” (Genesis 12:4-5)Abram was an old man when he left Haran in compliance with the instructions of the LORD God. Abram was seventy-five years old. He gathered up his family, and substance for the trip, and servants from Haran, and they began their journey into the unknown.
“And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite [was] then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, [having] Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.” (Genesis 12:6-9)What must it have been like traveling towards the unknown for Sarai? The life of familiar comfort was coming to an end, as she moved with her husband to the places God willed. The travelers passed through Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh, within the land of Canaan. Then the LORD God appeared to Abram, he gave the land to Abram; Abram built an altar to the LORD in honor of the gift, and then went to a mountain on the east of Bethel and pitched a tent. Then they left.
The family had been moving for a very long as they traveled by foot in a caravan toward Canaan. When finally that found the place the LORD God had given them, Abram picked them up and moved them further south, still journeying. But this time, he journeyed not at the direction of the LORD God, but through his own needs to supply food to his people. There was a terrible famine in the land, and no food to harvest. Egypt had food, and it was Egypt where Abram took his people, so they could eat food and sustain their lives.
“And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite [was] then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, [having] Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south. (Genesis 12:6-9) And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine [was] grievous in the land.” (Genesis 12: 10)Abram and Sarai and Lot, with their servants and supplies, came to Egypt to sojourn in that place. Sojourn means that Abram had full intentions of “turning aside from the road” and going to a strange place that was hostile to him and his family. What road was Abram turning from? The road that the LORD God had first placed him upon was ultimately the road that Abram left as he chose to go toward Egypt. He turned aside of the spiritual land given to Him by God, and went to the world filled with natural life food that his soul apparently craved.
And it came to pass in the accounts of Abram taking his family down into Egypt, that we are able to meet a bit of Sarai and begin to understand the full impact of her faith in a later time of lost hope. The Word of God tells of the misadventure of Abram and Sarai in vivid portrayals that give us a fuller sense of the woman who would one day become the mother of the chosen, called, and faithful people of God.
Sarai’s Beauty and Obedience
“And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine [was] grievous in the land. And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou [art] a fair woman to look upon: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This [is] his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou [art] my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.”
Sarai’s nature differed from her husband’s nature in one important way. Sarai was obedient to her husband, the master of their marriage. Abram knew she would be obedient, and he knew her beauty would overwhelm the enemy, and he knew that he would be safe when he played the “pretty” card to the world. While Abram was disobedient to the LORD God, and walked away from Him the first time things got tough, Sarai would honor her husband’s instructions, of that he was certain.
“And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou [art] a fair woman to look upon: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This [is] his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou [art] my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.” (Genesis 12:11-13)Abram was a little manipulative toward his wife to ensure she played her part perfectly. He not only instructed his wife to declare that she was his sister, but warned her that if she did not perform her part perfectly, he would be killed. This little disobedience against the Lord’s direction identified a pretty big flaw in old man Abram. Apparently, he liked to do things his way, and he thought he was wise enough to prepare a path that would work perfectly on his behalf. Many Christian readers like to create an interpretation of a noble Abram as one who offered his wife up, in order for the others to survive in such a terrible famine. Don’t be swayed by this “touchy, feel good” interpretation. Abram was being a cad, and his wife would obediently pay for his character flaw, by offering her body for pleasures to the enemy.
Abram knew his enemy well. One look at Sarai was all it took for the princes of Egypt to take note. They commanded her to come before the Pharaoh. Now, let’s apply some common sense to this. Imagine for a moment that you were entering into a big, big city to avoid the famine from taking your life and the lives of your family members. Would you go to the palace and announce to the Pharaoh that you have arrived in his kingdom, knowing full well that he was an enemy of God’s, and thus an enemy of yours. Most likely, common sense would dictate that Abram separate his large entourage into several groups, and enter the city without pomp and circumstance, and avoid attention altogether. There was food there for the common people also, so blending with the commoners would have satisfied his hunger, and saved his family from dying.
Yet, Abram did not enter Egypt quietly. The Egyptians, the princes and Pharaoh all noted Sarai’s beauty, which brought attention to Abram and his people. Maybe Sarai’s beauty was so exceedingly breathtaking, that it became the talk of the town that reached the ears of the Pharaoh. Or maybe, Abram entered Egypt with pomp and circumstance, assuming that since God had given him the land in the north, he also was able to declare the land in the south as his. Or maybe, Abram felt so much wiser than those who ruled Egypt, that he had a plan of trickery in mind to preserve his family during the famine. There is no way to know with any surety of what was in Abraham’s mind; however, it seems certain that we are not receiving the complete picture from this account in the Word of God.
We do know, however, that Abram was in a place that God had not directed him to go. As a result of his disobedience, Abram found himself in danger, and bargained with his beautiful wife to save him. It worked. Abram and the rest of the entourage was not taken or cast out of Egypt!
“And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she [was] very fair. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.” (Genesis 12:14-15)Just like Abram had predicted, the Egyptians beheld the woman, the princes of the Pharaoh also saw her, and took her to Pharaoh’s house. Sarai, the wife of Abram, was so obedient to her husband, that she did not deny the “sister” relationship that Abram claimed to the Pharaoh.
“And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.” (Genesis 12:16)Did you catch that word entreated? The Hebrew word for “entreated” is “yatab;” it means to make well, successful and right. Not only did Abram give his wife to the Pharaoh to guarantee his safety, but he was well paid for it at the same time! The Pharaoh gave Abram sheep, oxen, asses, menservants, maidservants, asses, and camels. Maybe some women might question whether it was obedience to her husband, or maybe a little relief to be rid of a man whom would do that to a wife! Let us err on the side of obedience on behalf of the Chosen people of God; later on, that same characteristic of Sarai will pop up and confirm our analysis.
Here’s the deal breaker! No matter how much power is held, regardless of the position in life that God appoints a person, it can be snatched away, changed, or misdirected at the Will of God. Abram may have been certain that he had figured it all out, and how to prosper and live during a famine. But, he did not know the future. If he had known that Sarai would play one of the most important parts in the plans of God later on, he surely would not have sold her to the world! The LORD God visited his wrath upon the Pharaoh immediately!
“And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.” (Genesis 12:17)Why the LORD God didn’t punish Abram is between Abram and Him. But we can be assured that Sarai remained honorable and no harm came to her through this incident. When God has plans for a person, they are never prevented because of the actions of another human or demon. Pharaoh was horrified that he had been tricked by Abram, and not told that Sarai was his wife! Pharaoh feared the LORD God, and knew the plagues were a direct result in his receiving Sarai, the wife of Abram, for purpose of marriage. And there was absolutely no doubt in his mind that he was being punished because of the manipulation and seeming lies of Abram almost led him to commit adultery with Sarai.
“And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What [is] this [that] thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she [was] thy wife? Why saidst thou, She [is] my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take [her], and go thy way. And Pharaoh commanded [his] men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.” (Genesis 12:18-20)Realize the fine gray line that Abram straddled; Sarai was a sort of sister to him; after all, she was the daughter of his father from another woman, making her his half-sister. (Gen 20:12) So, Abram had not really lied; maybe that could be the case for the reason the LORD God punished Pharaoh and not Abram. Regardless, Pharaoh wisely released Sarai into Abrams possessive control once again, and sent them away with all of the treasures he had first paid Abram.
As a direct result of this little incident between Pharaoh, Abram and Sarai, riches changed hands, and Abram became very, very rich as did Lot, who traveled with him. Those riches actually separated Lot from Abram as disputes arose between the different camps; so, in the end, trouble came to Abram as a direct result of the riches he obtained from manipulative ways as he left the path of God.
“And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram [was] very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.” (Genesis 13:1-4)He returned to the land God had given him and to the tent he had erected at the first altar of God. The family was together once again, safe and sound and presumably less hungry, as the riches obtained from the Pharaoh assured their survival. And we learned much more about Sarai, the faithful and obedient wife of Abram that was protected completely by a loving LORD God who had many plans for this woman in the future of His Kingdom.
Communicating with GodBefore we can understand the Faith of Sarah in the LORD God, we must first examine the contact she and her husband Abram had with Him. Remember…
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)We will discover in these studies that Abram and Sarai had a great deal of contact with the LORD God, with actual conversation exchanges between Him and them. Take care that you do not confuse this real contact with the idea of Faith. When the LORD God talks directly to a person, it is not faith that it has occurred, but rather certainty! Faith will not develop in Sarah completely and perfectly until after she has taken God’s things into her own hands, in an effort to establish timing to control the movement of God.
Let’s frame our study today with emphasis on the actual presence that Abram and Sarai shared with the LORD God. It happened after God had confounded the different people in the Tower of Babel, by causing all people to speak different languages. (Genesis 1:1-9)
The LORD God feared that mankind would advance too quickly on their own, if He did not separate them immediately. He had specific plans and timing for the development of mankind, and He could not allow men to dictate to Him what that timing would be. So, in essence, the Tower of Babel is a problem of timing between God and Man. Mankind was moving at a different pacing and time with attempts to achieve different results than what the LORD God had willed. In the next lesson, we will find the exact same error in Sarah’s expression of works done according to her time and will, rather than the LORD God’s way.
As we examine the different contacts that Abram and Sarah had with the LORD God, we should focus upon what they learned from that contact with Him. Everything that they received from Him in these times of contact, does not count for faith, but rather, are actual events to educate them to His Will and Ways.
For instance, the first direct meeting that the LORD God had with Abram, He gave him both a direction, and a promised blessing.
“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: 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 him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)Now, take time to break the different things received by Abram in this first meeting, then go to the next slide and compare your list with ours!
Statements of Fact for Genesis 12:1-3.
1) Abram and Sarai (as a couple united in oneness by marriage) were instructed by the LORD God to leave their father’s house, and go to a new land that God would show them.
2) God promised Abram that after he came to that new land he would receive several things from God. Those things were
Abram would be made head of a great nation
Abram would receive a blessing from the LORD God
Abram would be a blessing to the LORD God
Those who blessed Abram would be blessed by the LORD God
Those who cursed Abram would be cursed by the LORD God
God would bless all families on earth through Abram
The next contact between the LORD God and Abram is recorded when Abram had reached the land that the LORD had sent him.
“And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.” (Genesis 12:7)Statement of Facts for Genesis 12:7
1) The LORD God appeared to Abram. This concrete statement of presence removes any doubt that Abram could have that the LORD God was merely a vision, dream, or craziness. While we are not told how He made contact with Abram before this, with this verse we learn with certainty that the LORD God and Abram saw and spoke to each other. This is not a matter of faith, but rather, reality.
2) The LORD God gave the land, as He had promised, to Abram.
3) Abram worshipped the LORD God, by building an altar for Him. He did this not in thanks for the gift of land, but rather, for Him appearing to Abram and speaking to him.
There is one little Scripture that revealed the LORD God’s will clearly. While it was not an actual meeting together of the LORD God, Abram, and Sarai, the results were so powerfully expressed that God was revealed further to them.
“And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.” (Genesis 12:17)Statement of Facts for Genesis 12:17
1) The LORD God sent great plagues upon Pharaoh because he tried to possess Sarai. While actual conversation between God did not occur, there was surely no doubt in Abram’s or Sarai’s mind of the anger the LORD held for Pharaoh.
2) There could be no confusion of the importance of Sarai in the LORD God’s plans. Abram and Sarai had a mission connected with the LORD God’s moving, and it became apparent that anyone who attempted to stop His intentions by binding Sarai under man’s control would suffer grave consequence in the form of plagues from the LORD God.
In the last lesson we learned how Abram messed things up badly as he took the timing and plans of God into his own hands. He went to Egypt to escape the famine by moving off of the path that God intended. As a result, his wife was given to the Pharaoh, which brought the plagues of God down upon his house. The LORD God forced the release of Sarai back to Abram, rewarded Abram with the riches he sought that would prevent his demise from famine, and caused Abram to return back to the path to the land God first gave him. It seemed as if Abram would not receive punishment for his disobedience in leaving the path of God. But then, all of the riches gained by them caused dissension, leading to the separation of Abram from his beloved nephew Lot.
“And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we [be] brethren. [Is] not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if [thou wilt take] the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if [thou depart] to the right hand, then I will go to the left.” (Genesis 13:5-9)Thus, it was only after the troubles brought upon by Abram in the gaining of riches, that the LORD God chose to speak to him once again.
“And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, [then] shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.” (Genesis 13:14-17)Statement of Facts for Genesis 13:14-17
1) The LORD God increased the land given to Abram as a result of the separation of Lot.
2) Abram is promised that his seed will possess this land forever.
3) Abram is promised that his seed will be so productive, that generations of men will come from him so numerable, that they will not be easily numbered.
4) Abram is instructed to walk the length and breadth of the land that he could see, and that would be given to him by God.
Following war in which Abram was the victor through the moving of the LORD God, a very special blessing happened. Many Bible scholars believe that that Priest Melchizedek was actually a Theophany (appearance of a deity to a human), that might have been the Lord Jesus Christ introducing the full circle of God’s plans before they unfolded. While that study must wait for another time, it is important to recognize that a Priest superior to Abram brought him bread and wine and blessed him.
“And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that [were] with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which [is] the king’s dale. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he [was] the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed [be] Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” (Genesis 14:17-20 AV)Contemplate this Scripture, pick out statements of facts and compare yours with ours:
Statement of Facts for Genesis 14:17-20
1) Abram is brought bread and wine, connecting the shed blood of Jesus Christ and the new covenant that would be established in the future. (Whether Abram would understand this connection is not known; but surely, the uniqueness of the offering must have caused Abram to pause and take note.)
2) Priest Melchizedek asked for the blessing of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth, to bless Abram.
3) Priest Melchizedek blessed the most high God, which delivered the enemies of Abram into his hands. Thus, Abram and Sarai knew with certainty that it was God’s Hand that brought victory to them in war.
The relationship between Abram and the LORD God was so intimate and so real, that Abram talked with Him in great detail, and expressed his worries for not having an heir. The LORD God reassures Abram that he and Sarai will indeed have offspring in great numbers.
“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I [am] thy shield, [and] thy exceeding great reward.”
When we consider the faith of Sarai, we first must examine the non-faith episodes that built up their confidence in the LORD God. Non-faith happenings are those things that literally happened in a fashion that took absolutely no interpretation to reveal its realness. Sarai and Abram were blessed with a real and intimate relationship with the LORD God. This reality must be considered, to understand the mistake of belief by Sarai fully, and the resulting developments that still plague us today. Mostly, it should be known that faith of those first Chosen people was based on solid contact with the LORD God, as the foundation of belief was established with direct relationship with Him.
Sarah Attempts to Control God's Timing
"Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 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. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
It really doesn’t matter the heart of Sarai; the terrible events that unfolded as she attempted to control the timing of the LORD God was directly related to her misguided effort. She had patiently waited for the LORD God to produce children; when He did not bless her with pregnancy, she reasoned that it must not be her body that would produce the offspring to her husband, but rather, another woman. In fact, she was at such a point in her age, that she may have already gone through the physical changes of an elder woman, and stopped the menstrual process entirely. She certainly looked upon the situation of her husband’s childlessness as her responsibility, which led to the terrible events that followed, and created a conflict that continues to influence world events today.
Many Bible scholars compare Sarai’s act of producing offspring for Abram through the maid Hagar, as being a typology of Adam and Eve, when Eve caused Adam to sin by offering him the fruit from the forbidden tree. Abram certainly followed his wife’s direction, and went into Hagar’s bed, for the purpose of conception of offspring for him. However, it seems over-the-top to tag Sarai with the accusation of a “temptress” that brought her husband down through sin. It is well known that in the ancient Near-Eastern culture, it was an acceptable practice for a concubine to be impregnated by a husband to create children for the wife and husband to raise and call their own. So it is doubtful that Sarai was leading her husband down the road of sin purposefully.
It really doesn’t matter about the traditions of society, or even the heart of the individual, when it comes to the Will and Timing of the LORD God. Sarah messed up big time by trying to take things into her own hands. By this time in her walk with her husband and her LORD God, she knew the promises given to them by Him, and she had seen Him protect and move them to the places He willed in His time. She also had seen the almost tragic results of losing her husband and her way, when Abram took matters into his own hands and disregarded God’s will.
On that fateful day, when Sarai chose to direct her fate and leave the LORD God out of the equation, she began a series of events that cause us to shake our head in disbelief. She ordered her maid to her bed, and sent her husband to her, to know her intimately for the sole purpose of conceiving a child. When time passed, Sarai ended with a conflict between her and her maid Hagar causing hatred to stir as Ishmael, the son of Abram and Hagar, came alive. Her taking control brought conflict between the people of Hagar (Muslims) and the people of Sarai (Jews) that will last until the end of the earth. That’s how bad her mistake grew!
But, should we really be surprised, at Sarai’s attempts to control the LORD God’s timing? Isn’t that one of the faulty efforts that most Christian’s enact as they try to manipulate the Word of God to support their movements within the Christian religion? Rather than wait upon the Lord, and move according to His time, many, many Christian Leaders develop programs that take limited resources that are applied to pet projects. Many judge the worth of their ministry to the number of missions or the number of congregants or the number of dollars possessed.
Think upon this for a moment. How many Christian Leaders would stand before their congregations and declare that the Lord wants them to wait for His timing? That the Christian believers should wait and pray and listen for the movement of the LORD God? That until the time that the direction is established, money will be banked and saved, resources go un-purchased, and major programs of charity, fellowship and church building will not be done until the LORD God moves them to that place?
Take that a step further! How many Christian Leaders are brave enough to not do anything, until directed by Him? Can any Christian Leader stand before their congregation and not jump at every feel-good project that is created by those yearning to do good works. What if the LORD God requires a not-so-feel-good work? Would the same vigor and vanity apply to the dirty jobs at the same consistency as the noble ones?
Now take that thought-process a step closer to the individual believer. How many Christians can be found that move to the timing of the LORD God, rather than the timing to their own beat? Sarai was an old woman before she accomplished the greatest work of the LORD God in bearing Isaac to begin to populate the Kingdom of God. How many old Christian women do you know that have done absolutely nothing notable up to their old age, yet, remain obedient to the LORD God, and wait for that time when He gives her work to do?
How many resources could be applied to True works of the LORD God, if only we waited for Him to direct our ways? How much time could be saved if we trusted on His time, and made our lives forming intimate relationship with the Lord, rather than going out and doing great things that we think represent Christian love? How many feel the surge of the Holy Spirit within them, and imagine themselves the giver of great difference to the world, when that surge is meant to teach and guide rather than create a new works? How many ministries today would stop doing what they are doing in recognition of God’s timing and ways, and wait upon direction by Him? How many believers would know that even the seemingly insignificant work can turn into the most glorified and magnificent event, when the timing and works of the LORD God are directed by Him?
Our times today have killed the ability for most Christians to wait upon the LORD God. Mass media projects the great works of man and church, and causes all believers to try to accomplish as much and as many as the others. They often mistakenly weigh success in their works for the LORD God to be one of numbers, wealth, and feel-good projects that equal or excel what the secular organizations produce. Well-meaning Christians know that together they can provide better works than the world, and assume these works to be directed by the LORD God as a result. Sadly, Sarai was well meaning also; she had a plan to express the works of the LORD God through her own hands. She was mistaken, and caused the beginning of many wars, as the conflicts between the Muslims and the Jews continue. If only she had waited upon the LORD God and had the confidence in His Moving! The mother of the generations of the LORD God messed up big time by taking things into her own hands, and not having the faith to wait.
The Covenant Between the LORD God and Abraham
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. 9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
Up to this point, it was a conversation between the LORD God, Abram, and Sarai. There was nothing formal about their shared words. In fact, at this point, the LORD God had not made their relationship binding. Proof of that is found by realizing that both Abram and Sarai disobeyed the LORD God fully, yet He remained their LORD God, and they remained His planned works. Even when they tried to do things their way, He rescued them as a Father would rescue a young, unknowing child from danger. One can almost sense a Father/child relationship, where the Father has great patience and the child is innocent in his understanding of how to behave in front of his Father. But then, why should Abram and Sarai know how to act? Their background came from a society of worship to false gods that had a little god for every situation in their lifetime. It was a new concept to have one LORD God that controlled every aspect of your life!
Abram and Sarai had been chosen from all others alive on the earth to begin the works of their LORD God. These works were to establish a holy and true people that called the LORD God their one and only God. The LORD God was certain that Abram and Sarai worshipped only Him, and knew He was more powerful than any false god they had ever seen worshipped by others. If only He could get them to believe Him fully, and have trust and faith that He was able to create life itself and therefore, well above their human being requirements! He knew one way that faith in His promises could be fully developed, and that was through the trusted covenants that man had developed among themselves to enter into contract with each other.
So the LORD God made a covenant between Him and Abram. A covenant is a formal agreement that is made between two parties that is legally binding. The LORD God had made one with the earth through Noah that promised to not destroy more flesh by a flood, sealed by the sign of the rainbow. (Gen 9:12-17) And now, He chose to make a formal agreement that Abram and Sarai could understand to be binding to both Him and Them.
It was that promise presented within the covenant, that Sarai was able to obtain faith. Remember Hebrews 11:11-12?
“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” (Hebrews 11:11-12)IT WAS THE PROMISE! She was able to judge the LORD God to be faithful to them, because of the promise He made them! IT WAS ABOUT THE COVENANT! The agreement that the LORD God made with Abram and Sarai that gave Truth to their relationship in a way that Sarai could understand. Thus, to understand the faith of Sarai, as well as the faith of Abram, we must examine that Covenant fully, and see what exactly they agreed to do for each other forever!
Take a moment and read the entire covenant of the LORD God that He made between Him and Abraham (Genesis 17:1-22), then let’s tackle it bit by bit, so we can make sure we understand the promise made between the LORD God and Abram/Sarai perfectly!
While we go through each of the promises, make sure that you distinguish the Promises of God to Abram and Sarai, from the requirements of relationship that the LORD God expects of Abram and Sarai. Without both parties agreeing, there can be no promise given and no Covenant enforced. When you have found all the parts of the agreement in this first section, go to the next slide and compare your answers to ours.
"And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly."Abram was ninety-nine years old when the LORD God formalized the promise within a covenant.
I am the Almighty God – The Lord God identified Himself formally and fully to Abram, establishing the legal requirements that was traditional in the culture of formal promises made in contract with each other in that time.
Walk before me and be thou perfect – Abram was given the requirements of the LORD God to ratify the contract between them.
And I will make my covenant between me and thee – Next the LORD God promises to make the covenant with Abram, provided he walk and is perfect, and acknowledge the LORD God as His God.
Will multiply thee exceedingly – Promises of future generations to come from Abram is given formerly by the LORD God.
How did you do? Now let’s try a bit more. The next part of the agreement reads…
"As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee."The covenant is established officially between the LORD God and Abram
He promises Abram that he will be a father of many nations.
The LORD God changes the name of Abram to Abraham
The LORD God reveals that Abram was created specifically to be the father of many nations. It is at this very moment in the Word of God that it is revealed that Abram was not a man who stumbled into belief in the LORD God, but was created specifically for the work of the Lord.
The LORD God to make him exceedingly fruitful, with generations of nations and Kings
How are you doing with these statements of facts? Let’s look at more of the Covenant, and see if you can pick out the different points!
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.The LORD God promises this covenant to carry through the seed of Abraham to all generations of his FOREVER!
The formal promise of the LORD God is made to Abraham and his seed for everlasting eternity. There is no expiration date. (This means that the Jews alive today who walk perfectly before Him and descended from the seed of Abraham are included in this formal promise).
The LORD God promises to give Abram and his seed the foreign land of Canaan for an everlasting possession. (The land of Canaan is part of today’s Israel, although its borders have been shrunk by conflict among many nations. This means that the land of Israel today was given to His people in a formal, binding, legal Covenant by Him, and does not belong to any other people or any other nation.)
The LORD God promises to be the God of His Chosen People that come from Abraham, and who are given the legal title to the Land of Canaan.
I’m sure you’re doing great in your statements of fact! Now let’s continue and find more details in the Covenant between the LORD God and Abraham.
"And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant."The LORD God made Abraham and his seed responsible for keeping the covenant between Him and them to show that the covenant that was made between Abraham and the LORD God, He commanded every man child of the covenant to have his foreskin circumcised at eight days old. This includes every man child of all generations, and any servant of the house that is bought with money. Circumcision is the token of the everlasting covenant that the LORD God made to Abraham and his seed.
Any uncircumcised male child that is not circumcised will be cut off from the covenanted people, and will break the promise given to him by benefit of birth from the generation of Abraham.
Now the Covenant focuses upon Sarah! Pay close attention, because this begins the foundation that lays her faith, and gives reason for our study!
"And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. 16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her."The LORD God changed the name of Sarai, to the name Sarah.
The LORD God promised to bless Sarah, and give her a son
The LORD God promised to make her a mother of nations, with kings coming from her people
That was the promise that Sarah remembered. That was the promise that strengthened her in her old age. And once she conceived, it was the promise remembered that gave her full faith in the LORD God!
But, the promise did not stop there! Look at the rest of it, and make your statements of facts.
"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. 21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.The LORD God named her son Isaac
He promised to establish the covenant with Abraham with his son also and continue through the generations.
He also promised to remember Ishmael by blessing him, making him fruitful, and multiply exceedingly.
He promised twelve princes from Ishmael’s generations, and that they would be made a great nation.
HOWEVER, the covenant would be established and continued through Isaac and not Ishmael.
Sarah was promised to bear Isaac at a set time in the next year.
This concludes the agreed upon Covenant of the LORD God given to Abraham and Sarah.
"Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable."This is the promise that Sarah’s faith was built upon. Her faith did not come immediately, but rather developed as she saw the LORD God protect and bless her family. When she became pregnant as an old lady, her faith was confirmed to be valid and valuable, and she believed on the LORD God from that moment on. The Faith of Sarah became part of the foundation that all faith in the LORD God is based, as recorded in Hebrews 11:11-12.
“And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.
At this point in Sarah’s life of pre-motherhood, she had yet to develop a faith in the LORD God that would cover the supernatural ability that would be required for His promise to her. But, he had proven to her that He indeed was her LORD God, and she feared Him appropriately for the power she knew He held.
Abraham saw the strangers approaching in the heat of the day. He quickly instructed Sarah to prepare bread for them to eat. While the bread was cooking, Abraham butchered one of his most tender and good calves, gathered some butter and milk, and sat the meal before them, underneath the tree.
The location and the food were highly symbolic for the spiritual nature of the visit, and should be noted in deep interpretation and consideration of this event. The bread, meat, and milk would develop into typological significance later on in the ministry of the followers of Jesus Christ, as they are connected to His teachings. The bread represents his doctrine, while the meat and milk measure the levels of teachings, depending upon whether it is given to a young or mature Christian.
Therefore, the three men that came to Abraham and Sarah in that day were on a spiritual mission. It should also be noted that Abraham recognized that they were delivering the message from the LORD God. His bowing, as well as his preparation and serving of food leaves no doubt that Abraham knew exactly whose message these three men were delivering. The location, under a tree, further symbolically designates the spiritual life that was represented by these three men. The importance that this meeting cannot be mistaken; the movement of the LORD God chose that time and place to begin the fulfillment of the promise He gave to Abraham in a Covenant earlier.
The three men were recognized by Abraham as being the LORD God. It should be understood that the opening line “And the LORD appeared unto him” in verse one, has a very special combination of Hebrew words that give a deeper meaning than the English words portray. The use of these combinations of Hebrew words seems familiar and brings to mind the fullness of time through the expression of the Word made flesh later recorded in John 1:14. The Hebrew for this account is “va yera Elohim,” which literally says “And he saw the face of the LORD God.” (The formal and Holy name of the LORD God is used in place of the more general name of Lord; because of the holiness of the LORD God’s name, we choose to express this special name as LORD God, in tradition of Orthodox Judaism. While it is sometimes necessary to use His Holy formal name, in this case, unnecessary to make the important point.)
These three men addressed Abraham and asked the location of Sarah. Note the usage of the word “they” asked; yet, the speaker is identified as one person. This may well be another symbolism that addressed the Triune LORD God, where three speak as one; this adds to the view that Abraham recognized these men as speaking for the LORD God, and were much more than common angels as some interpretations suggest. They spoke with the voice and message of the LORD God, and they sought Abraham’s wife, for they had come to Sarah and her husband for a purpose. The LORD God announced that when they returned later, the time of life would be completed, and Sarah would have a son.
Sarah heard the LORD God prophesy that she would have a son from behind the tent door. She laughed within herself. Now, remember, she had a great deal fear of the LORD God by this time; she respected Him as being the all-powerful LORD God, and knew the appropriate honor and respect due for His omnipotence. So, she laughed inside herself and attempted to conceal her incredulous disbelief. She was an old woman, and stricken with age. She no longer had a menstrual cycle, and she was a weak and infirmed old lady, quickly approaching her end of life in her analysis. Not only that, but Abraham and her had probably long past stopped sexual intercourse because of their advanced age.
It seemed impossible to Sarah, and the thought of that impossibility caused her to giggle within herself. Until she heard the LORD God ask Abraham why she laughed that is. Suddenly, she realized with horror that her thoughts were known to Him, and she denied thinking the thoughts of disbelief. The LORD God firmly spoke to Sarah, and made it clear that He had heard her thoughts. It is that giggle that gives a certainty that Sarah did not have full faith in the LORD God to that point. While she feared Him and called Him her LORD God, to this point in her life, she had not developed the faith that she would one be known for and exalted in Hebrews 11.
“And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. 4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. (Genesis 21:1–5)It is only after the conception of her son, that Sarah gains the notable faith that is recorded in Hebrews 11. But, we’ll save that part for the next lesson. Suffice it to say, Sarah was in a spiritual place of immature relationship with the LORD God; the mature development of her faith was due to be born at the perfect time of life, as her son is brought forth as God said.
“And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. 7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age. (Genesis 21:6–7)And that was the day that Sarah’s faith in her LORD God was complete. There would be no other time in her life where she would doubt the impossible. Her LORD God had shown her that all things are possible with Him. Once this is realized, a limited belief to His power formed within believer’s inner being is an indication of a lack of faith that is known to Him.
Sarah laughed! She laughed in delight and happiness and joy that the LORD God had be faithful to His promise to her and her husband. She had her beloved son Isaac, just like He had said; the LORD God had done the impossible, because all was possible with Him. She laughed so others would hear and be able to join in the laughter of delight, that the LORD God was faithful and sustained her and made her fertile and conceive a good and righteous man of God that would emulate her husband’s faith in Him.
“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. (Hebrews 11:11–12)Sarah had notable faith in the LORD God, because He kept His promise. He had told her what He would do, and He did it! The LORD gave Sarah strength to become pregnant and deliver a child in her advanced old age. She not only received the LORD God’s promise as expressed in His Covenant agreement between them, but her husband was given generations to follow, that were impossible to number. What a testimony of faith Sarah had to share with everyone who could laugh in delight with her as they received the opportunity to have great faith in Him and His promises!
From the moment that Abram and Sarai left their permanent home in Ur to claim the inheritance of the LORD God by following Him, tents became their shelter. They were no longer tied to the world with permanence, but rather, made homeless in the world while at the same time, occupants of the Kingdom of God.
That change in their status is significant; while once grounded into the predictable life of middle class society, their circumstances changed overnight into the place of wandering in foreign lands. If a house is the typological representation of “the container for our soul”, i.e. our bodies, then the deep meaning of tents are easily figured. A tent is a “temporary dwelling place of a soul for the accomplishment of works directed by Him.” While we are safe and secure in our “body”, sometimes (most of the time) the Lord requires us to come out of our self and complete works for Him. In those instances, we “pitch a tent” outside ourselves to accomplish the things He Wills.
Understand this well! Christian souls are housed within the body for a temporary time. Our houses are founded solidly upon the foundational rock of Jesus Christ, and can weather any storm. However, in the deepness of typologically representation, tents also share the idea that the housing of our souls as a temporary state to complete works, not a permanent one. Thus, we look for the time when our souls are released from our house/tent and given a new, glorified and permanent body which reflects our souls much better!
Realize the significance of Sarah moving from a house to a tent for the rest of her life. Recognize that every supernatural event that happened to her and her husband occurred while they dwelt within the tents in the foreign countries that they were moved to by God. Sarah heard the angels speak to her husband at the tent door, and she was heard to laugh from the same place. Tents were a major part of Sarah’s life, which makes this a perfect time for us to look at the typological concept, and go deeper in its representation.
Throughout the Bible, men of the LORD God “pitched their tents” in places that the LORD God led them. When they pitched their tents, you can be certain that they will be moving again at God’s direction. It is a temporary stay; the situation will change, and God will move them again. Symbolically, as we do works for the LORD God, we “pitch our tents”. Christian workers should know that most jobs directed by Him last for a set time, requiring them to move on as He sends them.
The first tabernacle of the LORD God was made in the wilderness after the pattern of a tent. While the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, it would not benefit them to make a permanent structure for the dwelling place and worship of the LORD God. Their journey was temporary; even though it lasted through a couple of generations, it would one day come to an end, and they would be allowed into the Promised Land. Until that time, the tabernacle of the LORD God housed Him within a temporary tent that held His Ark. (Exodus 16-40)
“And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness. 2 And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him. 3 And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: 4 He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: 5 How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! 6 As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river’s side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters. 7 He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. 8 God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows. 9 He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee.” (Numbers 24:1–9)Examine this Scripture carefully to realize the fullness of Israel’s blessings as they dwelt within their tents.
Israel abided in their tents according to their tribes. There was a strict order for the erection of the tents around the Tabernacle of the LORD God. Even when Christians are in temporary places to do the works of the Lord, there are rules and standards established by Him for perfect order.
Pitching tents and standards in camp around Tabernacle and order of marchEast
1. Judah (First Rank)
4. Reuben (Second Rank)
In the middle
8. Ephraim (Third Rank)
11. Dan (Hindmost)
The temporary tent constructed to house the LORD God was sufficient. Solomon built the LORD God a seemingly permanent house in Jerusalem. The LORD God reminded Him that all of His dwelling places are built by Him, even the ones made by human hands.
"Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. 45 Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; 46 Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. 47 But Solomon built him an house. 48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? 50 Hath not my hand made all these things?" (Acts 7:44–50)The tent in which the Spirit of God resides is called the “Tabernacle” in the Word of God, and is just as significant to Christians as it is to the Israelites!
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” (2 Corinthians 5:1–11)
“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. 3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. 4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: 5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” (Hebrews 8:1–5)The Lord Jesus Christ is the true tabernacle, pitched by the LORD God. He is the container of the LORD God that is permanent and eternally everlasting. While the tents and tabernacles built upon the earth were temporary, and one day ended, the tabernacle of the Lord Jesus Christ is sure and forever!
It is the tents of the strong and faithful Christians that protect them in a destructive world while they accomplish the works of the Lord. The temporary structures provide the surety of the Holy Spirit’s presence that travels with the journeying workers. Whether in the protected place of the body, or extended outside the body to accomplish the works of the Lord, Christians can be sure that a tent will contain and protect them as they do His things. How blessed we are that our Lord has provided for our protection in the midst of the wicked and worldly, by giving us temporary dwelling places for our soul as we work hard to accomplish His things!
Praise Be to God!
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About the Author
Kathy L. McFarland is a Becker Bible Studies Teacher and Author of Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians. She has received her Bachelor of Science degree in Religious Studies from Liberty University, and is currently seeking her Master of Divinity (Professional Ministries Track) degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary & Graduate School. Kathy is a noted expert on Old Testament exegesis, Christian apologetics, and Bible typology and mysteries.