Sketching HIStory #24

Genesis 23 – Death and Burial of Sarah

1 When Sarah was 127 years old, 2 she died at Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron) in the land of Canaan. There Abraham mourned and wept for her.

3 Then, leaving her body, he said to the Hittite elders, 4 “Here I am, a stranger and a foreigner among you. Please sell me a piece of land so I can give my wife a proper burial.”

5 The Hittites replied to Abraham, 6 “Listen, my lord, you are an honored prince among us. Choose the finest of our tombs and bury her there. No one here will refuse to help you in this way.”

7 Then Abraham bowed low before the Hittites 8 and said, “Since you are willing to help me in this way, be so kind as to ask Ephron son of Zohar 9 to let me buy his cave at Machpelah, down at the end of his field. I will pay the full price in the presence of witnesses, so I will have a permanent burial place for my family.”

10 Ephron was sitting there among the others, and he answered Abraham as the others listened, speaking publicly before all the Hittite elders of the town. 11 “No, my lord,” he said to Abraham, “please listen to me. I will give you the field and the cave. Here in the presence of my people, I give it to you. Go and bury your dead.”

12 Abraham again bowed low before the citizens of the land, 13 and he replied to Ephron as everyone listened. “No, listen to me. I will buy it from you. Let me pay the full price for the field so I can bury my dead there.”

14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “My lord, please listen to me. The land is worth 400 pieces of silver, but what is that between friends? Go ahead and bury your dead.”

16 So Abraham agreed to Ephron’s price and paid the amount he had suggested—400 pieces of silver, weighed according to the market standard. The Hittite elders witnessed the transaction.

17 So Abraham bought the plot of land belonging to Ephron at Machpelah, near Mamre. This included the field itself, the cave that was in it, and all the surrounding trees. 18 It was transferred to Abraham as his permanent possession in the presence of the Hittite elders at the city gate. 19 Then Abraham buried his wife, Sarah, there in Canaan, in the cave of Machpelah, near Mamre (also called Hebron). 20 So the field and the cave were transferred from the Hittites to Abraham for use as a permanent burial place.

Prev – SH#23
Start – SH#1

Read your Bible…

The Truth will set you fee.


Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation.

BIBLE Q & A with Johann – #13

Obedience to Government or to God?

Acts 5:29
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men…”

There are times that I get arguments that the verse above gives us liscence to not obey the government (usually around April when it’s time to pay taxes). Of course, for some, I suspect that their motives has nothing to do with obeying God either. Nevertheless, it needs addressing.

Let’s start with a clear statement of the Lord’s will.

Romans 13:1-7
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Now, I understand that this is a hard pill to swallow especially in these problematic times when people feel betrayed by those in government. For myself, I take comfort in the words of Jesus when he said, “The truth will set me free.” And the truth is, all human beings make mistakes including those in government. So, I tend to be forgiving. Why? Well, my take on Romans 13:1-7 is that I give much credence to those in office because I trust God and leave the outcomes to Him.

1 Peter 2:13-17
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

How about the Apostle Peter’s statement above, ‘We must obey God rather than men’?

Let us look at the context of Acts 5

Acts 5
12 At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all together in Solomon’s portico…
16 The people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together as well, bringing people who were sick or tormented with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.
17-18 But the high priest stood up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public prison.
19-20 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and leading them out, he said, “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple area the whole message of this Life.”
21 Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple area about daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, that is, all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison for them to be brought. 22 But the officers who came did not find them in the prison… 25 …someone came and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple area and teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain went along with the officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned).
27-28 When they had brought them, they had them stand before the Council. The high priest interrogated them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this Man’s blood upon us.”
29-32 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Every Christian will stand on a crossroad where they will have to choose between obeying God or the government that want you go against God’s will. I pray that we choose right regardless the circumstances.

To Him be all the glory.

WORD Sent Forth #18

The Sign You’re on the Right Path

As Christians, what sign can you look for to see if you’re on the right path?

To answer this, ask yourselves, how does the world treat you right now?

Jesus illustrated that if we are to follow Him, we must walk the path that the world would not take. The world would always take the wide and easy route, but that way leads to destruction. The path that Christians should take is narrow and difficult. [Matthew 7:13-14] It is the same path that Jesus took himself and it led to the cross. What point am I trying to make?

John 15:19
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

The verse above is a gauge that will show you whether you’re on the right path.

Before we go on, let me say that I am NOT saying nor implying that Christians should outright declare war with the world. On the contrary, reach out to the world as witnesses of Christ, but do not be too surprise if people reject you and even persecute you.

1 John 3:13
Do not be surprised… that the world hates you.
2 Timothy 3:12
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…

Take heart, though, when you walk this part, you are in fine company.

John 15:18
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”

By the way, blessings are found on this path.

Luke 6:22
Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!
Matthew 5:10-12
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
1 Peter 4:13-14
But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

I really hope we can have a conversation. Please contact me here at Facebook MESSENGER by audio from 3-5pm Monday to Friday. Scheduled small group chats can be organized as well. Or send me a message HERE.

BIBLE Q & A with Johann – #12

Would you face the truth about yourself?

In the first letter of John chapter 1 verse 9, we are asked to confess our sins to the Lord. There is a purpose for this. So, that we can be cleansed from all unrighteousness. Cleanliness for us mean true freedom and we become an even better instrument for the Lord’s purpose in this world.

But because of our sinful nature which will continue to encrouch into our Christian lives in this world, we will falter in sin. Thank the Lord for 1st John 1:9. However, we all have succumbed in the miry sludge of sin to a point that we don’t exactly confess everything. And we need to truthfullly confess everything. Why? Imagine you are running in a race, but you fall into a deep hole filled with wet cement. You rinsed yourself but not thoroughly. Even just a little of that cement hardenning where it would cause chaffing, could cost you the race.

Hebrews 12:1
…let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…

Some sins are not so easy to shed like pride, for instance. In my observation, the sin of PRIDE is the sneakiest one among Christians. Like worms burrowing in skin, pride can easily get in through our egos and delve deep. But that is not the worst part. I have both heard of and known those people who are so visibly and undeniably prideful but yet seem to be unaware of it. Well, whether they know it or not, this sin is both damaging and hardest to get rid of… by themselves.

What is impossible for man, though… is possible for God.

Do you desire to be truly free? Then, before you confess, ask the Lord for help. Pray these words and mean it.

Psalm 139:23,24
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

Then wait on the Lord…

POST ADVENT Story Revealed part 18

RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN

We come to the hardest part of the Christmas story. It is rarely told around the Christmas tree for it depicted a dark event. But I believe it should be told, the reason for which I will explain later.

So, let us take a closer look at Herod the Great.

Though Herod was king of Judea, he was not a Jew. He was actually a puppet-king of Rome. Herod was not loved by the Jews but he gained their grudging respect mostly because he rennovated their Temple. One other thing about him was that he was extremely power hungry and not willing to share it. So, when the Magi from the east came looking for the new King of the Jews, the despot in him wanted Jesus dead and he’ll do anything to get it done.

Now, the Magi found the Christ child and we will pick-up the story from here.

Matthew 2:12,16
And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.
Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.

This horrendous event was actually foretold.

Matthew 2:17-18
Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN; AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE.”

Ramah, by the way, is the area of Bethlehem.

Anyway, what happened to Jesus?

Matthew 2:13-14
Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt.

So, let’s get back to why I believe this part of the story should be told around the Christmas tree; yes… even to little kids. How can kids and adults really appreciate the light unless they realize that darkness affect them.

What Herod did was an aftereffect of the original sin. Our history is filled with it. We are constantly surrounded by the darkness of sin.

One thing about darkness though, it cannot stand up to light. And Jesus, even as a child, escaping to Egypt is a big light piercing that darkness.

For that child grew and 33 years later, He said…

John 8:12
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Christmas Season is over again but the light of Jesus is there. All you have to do is walk in it. How?

B E L I E V E