Last Call: The Angel of the LORD called to Abraham -Bob Caldwell

Principles of Faith
  "Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: 'By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.'" -Genesis 22:15-18
In his progressive journey toward a life built upon faith in God, Abraham had just passed through the most difficult test of his life. In response to Abraham's faith, God reaffirmed His promise to bless Abraham beyond measure. From His descendents would arise not only the great nation of Israel, but also the Savior, Jesus Christ, who would become a blessing to the entire world.
In this reaffirmation of Abraham's faith, two principles are expressed that when acted upon by us today will still command great blessings from God. First is the meaning behind "by Myself I have sworn." There is nothing greater than God's own perfect being that He can swear to (22:16). There is no circumstance, no power, nothing that can withhold promises from being fulfilled. Nothing, that is, except our unbelief in God's faithfulness to keep it.
The second principle of faith we see is the necessity of obedient faith. Abraham had to obey God by actually moving to sacrifice his son to God. Abraham had become so confident in God's faithfulness to keep His Word that he knew that if it were necessary God would literally raise Isaac from the dead (Heb. 11:17). He had personal confidence in the knowledge of God's amazing attributes. God will always be true to who He is. This includes His complete faithfulness to always be true to His promises.
Genesis 22:15-23:16
 15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.
The Family of Nahor
20 Now it came to pass after these things that it was told Abraham, saying, "Indeed Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21 Huz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel." 23 And Bethuel begot Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother. 24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Thahash, and Maachah.
Genesis 23
Sarah's Death and Burial
1 Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 So Sarah died in Kirjath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.
v. 16 By Myself I Have Sworn – God is basing the power of His promise on the integrity of His own character.
Not Withheld Your Son – This becomes a living example of the principle Jesus would later teach when He said, "Whosoever loses his life for My sake will gain it" (Matt. 10:39).
v. 17 I Will Bless You – God reaffirms His promise that was first given more than forty years ago (Gen. 12:2-3).
v. 18 Beersheba – This was where Abraham had established his covenant with Abimelech in what, at this time, was a region of the Philistines.
Nahor's Family (Verses 20-24)
v. 20 Nahor – This was Abraham's brother who lived north of the Promised Land in Mesopotamia. He most likely founded the city of Nahor, which must have been named after him.
v. 23 Rebekah – This woman would soon become the wife of Isaac.
CHAPTER 23
v. 2 Sarah Died – She is the only woman whose age is given in scripture. She died 37 years after the birth of Isaac.
Kirjath Arba – This was the name given to Hebron by Arba, the Anakite, when they ruled this city for a short time. When the Israelites captured the city years later, they renamed it Hebron.
Abraham Came – This refers to Abraham coming from his flocks in the fields, not Beersheba. There had been a lapse of time from the events in chapter 22 which left off with Abraham in Beersheba (22:19).
To Mourn – This is a reference to his personal mourning as well as to the arrangement of the customary mourning ceremony.
3 Then Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, 4 "I am a foreigner and a visitor
among you. Give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight."
5 And the sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, 6 "Hear us, my lord: You are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places. None of us will withhold from you his burial place, that you may bury your dead."
7 Then Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the people of the land, the sons of Heth. 8 And he spoke with them, saying, "If it is your wish that I bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and meet with Ephron the son of Zohar for me, 9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he has, which is at the end of his field. Let him give it to me at the full price, as property for a burial place among you."
10 Now Ephron dwelt among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the presence of the sons of Heth, all who entered at the gate of his city, saying, 11 "No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field and the cave that is in it; I give it to you in the presence of the sons of my people. I give it to you. Bury your dead!"
12 Then Abraham bowed himself down before the people of the land; 13 and he spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, "If you will give it, please hear me. I will give you money for the field; take it from me and I will bury my dead there."
14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, 15 "My lord, listen to me; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver. What is that between you and me? So bury your dead." 16 And Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out the silver for Ephron which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, currency of the merchants.
v. 3 Sons of Heth – These were Hittites (v. 10), descendents of Canaan's son Heth. It was one of the seven Canaanite nations and possessor of the city at this time.
v. 6 Mighty Prince – "Nasi" (Heb.) This word means an exalted one, a sheik, a chief. These people recognized what God had done for Abraham since he first arrived in the land of Canaan.
v. 8 Meet With Ephron – Abraham shows wise business sense in seeking aid from the leaders of the area in negotiating a purchase from one of their own people.
v. 10 At the Gate – This is the area where city officials gathered to deal with government and business affairs.
v. 13 I Will Give You Money – Abraham turned down the offer to be given the land for free (v. 13) to insure free and clear title to the property.
v. 16 In the Hearing – Abraham wisely protected himself in this transaction by having witnesses who could confirm the arrangements.
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