Parasha #3

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 Parashah #03: Lekh L’kha (Get yourself out)

(Genesis 12:1 – 17:27)

Additional Readings:
Isa. 40:27-41:16; Act. 7:1-8; Rom. 3:19-5:6; Gal. 3:15-18; 5:1-6; Col. 2:11-15; Heb. 7:1-19; 11:8-12

Previous parashah recap Our last Torah reading was about Noah and concluded with the genealogy of Shem, Noah’s son. That genealogy ended with Terah, father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.
Terah took his son Abram as well as Abram’s wife Sarai, and Lot the son of Haran who had just died out of Ur, which was another big city of the Chaldeans, like Babylon. They were meant to go up to Canaan, but instead they settled in Haran where Terah lived out the rest of his days and died at 205 years old. 

  • Now this week’s parasha, Lekh L’kha, meaning “Get yourself out”, is where Abram carries on with God’s command that was given to his father, which was to reach the land of Canaan. Land which will be later known as the Promised Land, before being known as Palestine (territory named as such under the Roman Empire, but which comprised a way bigger territory that what it was reduced to in 1948, as what we know it by today).

  • The name Israel disappeared under the Roman Empire and came back only in 1948. The original inhabitants of Palestine were the Israelites, the people known as Palestinians today came into the land only few hundred years ago. Their claim is therefore few hundred years old compared to few thousand years old for the Israelites.

  • The Palestinians were a nomadic tribe rejected by all Arabs, actually hated by them till the 70’s. So much so that some of the main Arabic leaders, like King Suleiman of Arabia, were found saying in the 20’s and 30’s that all Palestinians could be slaughtered, they didn’t care. This is why the Arabic countries of the time didn’t mind Israel to be put there. In the 70’s the viewpoint towards Palestinians changed because the Arabic countries realised that they couldn’t win against Israel directly so they decided to use the Palestinian’s plight to change the heart of the international community against Israel. And this has and is still working a treat, since the UN agencies are now voting lots of measures against Israel and pro Palestinians. And all this is actually going against international laws; because the creation of Israel in 1948 had specific clauses forbidding Palestinians to have any claims whatsoever on the land, but no one seem to care anymore.

  • Abraham’s original name was Abram; meaning exalted father. He had no children, for his wife couldn’t conceive. Her name Sarrai meaning “mockery, or one who strives, one being contentious (of Mesopotamian origin, not Hebraic because it’s spelled with 2 r).

  • The start of God’s promise to Abraham is found in Gen. 12:2-3. But there was a requirement for that blessing to take place. It was for Abraham to leave his land and kinsmen – so for us, when God gives promises, he needs us to trust Him and move in that trust. This is a pattern throughout the bible.

  • Each time when God appeared to Abraham, he stopped and made an altar to dedicate those places to God. In the later portions of the Torah we can see that each of these landmarks started to mark the land that God would give to Abraham. This would help in circumstances where others would try to claim the land; Abraham could then show that it was his. So unbeknownst to Abraham, God was appearing to him at strategic points to start marking the territory He would be giving him. These served as landmarks of his future inheritance; for God renewed His covenant each step of the way with Abraham and increased His promises. In the new testament it says that God gives us a little and when He trusts us with that He will give us more (Luk. 16:10) – this is what was being done with Abraham and it is the pattern of our Christian walk; as we move in trust and do what is given to us by God, He will fulfil His promises to us.

  • In the NT Abraham’s new name appears 70 times. It is used by the Jews who say they are of Abraham; they never say they were of Jacob. But Jesus kept saying to them if they really were of Abraham, they would do the works he did and walk by faith instead of by law (Joh. 8:37-47). Starting in the book of Acts, Paul teaches to the gentiles that when they come to Christ they become children of Abraham as they follow his works.

  • Abraham was the first Hebrew

  • How do we become Hebrew? – Lekh L’kah (get yourself out)

  • Abraham moved from the land of Ur into the land that God had promised to him and all his descendants. A famine came upon that Promised Land and Abraham, instead of relying on God to provide, decided to go to Egypt, leaving landmarks throughout his journey. That lack of trust in God was dictated by fear, fear of lacking, and fear of death. When Abraham was about to enter Egypt that fear suddenly grew out of proportion; this is because his wife Sarai was beautiful and he was fearful that they would kill him so they could have his wife. So he devised a plan to say that Sarai was his sister – this wasn’t a complete lie because they were blood related. However, because Abraham moved in fear and stretched the truth, there was a curse that passed down through the generations.

  • One of the commandments of the Torah is do not fear, God is with you. Look at David when he went to kill Goliath, he did not fear because he knew God was with him. This is the kind of attitude we need to have as Christians.

  • Abraham and his group were kicked out of Egypt after pharaoh discovered Abraham and Sarai were married, but they got to keep all the gifts that were given to Sarai. Reading carefully the scripture and putting it in parallel with what seems to be a like a repeat of the same event later on in the life of Abraham (Gen. 12:19; 20:2-6), we find that Pharaoh actually slept/had sexual intercourse with Sarah! And the Lord came down pretty hard on Pharaoh and all his people because of the adultery. Now the wealth Abraham left Egypt with caused strife amongst Abraham’s servants and Lot’s servants because they wanted the same portions. This led to Lot and Abraham going their separate ways with their groups. Abraham gives Lot first choice of where he wants go. This is not normal as Abraham is the leader/patriarch and should get first choice; so Lot chose the better land (by appearance) Sodom and Gomorrah. There is a lesson in this for us; what seemingly looks good, will amount to nothing if it is not blessed by God.

  • In the land Lot chose there were a number of cities. 2 of them were Sodom and Gomorrah. In the Septuagint bible you will see there were actually 5 major city centres in that land…and all 5 were destroyed (Gen. 10:19; 19:29). This is not found clearly in your regular bibles.

  • Lot didn’t realise that this land already had established cities and inhabitants. He chose the best land thinking he could have all he wanted and wouldn’t have to fight with Abraham anymore, but instead he ended up having to share with all the inhabitants of the land. Not to mention that as he entered the land he came straight into the middle of a war and got enslaved along with his family.

  • Abraham moved away from Lot, and God appeared to him and renewed/added to the covenant. In order to receive God’s promise of land, Abraham was required to walk the length and breadth of the land (this was a huge task). This fulfilled a legal custom in ancient times to claim ownership of a property by walking through it. In this custom the owner of the property would walk outside of the area, and the buyer would go into the property and walk the length and breadth of it to claim it and close the deal. This is what God was doing with Abraham. This is also mentioned in a few areas of the bible e.g. Joshua 1:3 & Deuteronomy 11:24

  • Abraham had an ability to cross over borders; not only from Mesopotamia to Kana’an, but also from a world of idol worship into a world where the one true God was worshipped instead. We are gentiles coming from a world enslaved to Babylon and idols such as TV, sport, cars, sex etc. and as Christians we are crossing over the border to come out of that worldly system and into the knowledge of God. We can look at Abraham’s walk and learn from it and see how we ought to walk and where we need to go

  • James 2:20-24 – we see that his faith worked with his actions. By the actions, the faith was made complete. And the passage of the Torah in genesis was fulfilled, which says Abraham had faith in God and it was credited to him as righteousness and he was even called God’s friend. As Christians we need to put our faith into action by doing what God has called us to do.

  • Abraham was the first one to be called ‘the one who crossed over’ – the Hebrew word is Ibree, which in English means ‘Hebrew’. Therefore, a Hebrew is one who crosses over. When we are engrafted in that vine and become children of Abraham, we cross over from the world and into God’s kingdom; we become Ibree.

  • The 5 first books of the OT are called the Torah. They explain how we can serve God and how we can please him. The first 5 books of the NT are the New Testament Torah. They explain how we can fulfil in the spirit what was written in the letter. They overlap one another. They fulfil/complete what the work of the law was meant to be. If not read in the proper context, you will not gain full understanding and will miss the point of the life of Jesus and the book of acts; and this is where the false teaching comes in about false grace and the law being done away with etc.

  • How do you come into the kingdom of God? By moving out of sin. It’s written in the story of Abraham and right through the NT. Like in Genesis 17:1 we are called to be well pleasing to God (LXX) and blameless, which is what righteousness and holiness are about: first trust God, then move and stay out of sin.

  • This parashah chronicles the adventures of the first Hebrew with God. Understand his adventures to understand who you are meant to be. And with each successive patriarch you will add to your understanding of what is required.

  • We are engrafted into this olive tree; becoming children of Abraham; sharing in the same promises, but only if, like him, we trust in God and obey His commandments, statutes and laws. His walk is to be our example. Come out of idolatry and into God’s kingdom and then fight the good fight, like when Abraham went to rescue Lot

  • Malki-Tzedek – in this parashah is his only appearance in the whole bible. He comes out of nowhere and then disappears in history; as if he had no start/beginning and no ending. We don’t know anything about his family. We know that he is a priest of God…even well before Moses. He was king of a city called Shalem (peace) which will be called Jerusalem (so he was king of peace; like Jesus). He came and sat with Abraham and brought wine and bread (like Jesus when He did communion) and he spoke to Abram about God. This is the first time this name of God is mentioned in the bible (El Elyon = God Most High). From spending time with this king, Abram gives him a tenth of everything he had. If this was not acceptable to God you would think Malki-Tzedek would not have allowed it. So it may be possible that this tithing/tenth comes from an instruction given unto man, by God, through God’s priests. It came back in place through Jacob and again in the Torah of Moses.

  • As Christians we are to follow Abrahams example and give a tenth of what we have to God’s appointed ones for as long as we are under their care. Then the next ‘crossing’ is going from giving a tenth to keeping a tenth, because you now give your whole life over to serving the Lord and helping others (becoming appointed ones). However, because we belong to Abraham and not Jacob or the tithing under Moses, we don’t have to. We should do it out of love for God. Under the law of Moses those who were not giving their tithe would be killed; we are not under that BUT if we don’t, we do bring a curse upon ourselves as tithing is part of God’s commands

  • Gen. 15 – again God renews his covenant with Abraham. In this chapter God put Abraham in a trance (deep sleep) to show him something. In ancient covenant practices it was normal to make an altar and sacrifice to seal a deal. The animal would be cut in half and placed opposite to each other. Then both parties had to walk through the middle of the 2 parts of the sacrifice; the blood coming from both parts would serve to anoint them as they walked through, thus sealing the pact under the blood. In this case Abraham was in a trance, so he could not walk through it, only God could. If both were to walk through it, it would be a conditional covenant. Since Abraham did not walk through it, it became an unconditional covenant, making it a promise that would stand forever and nothing would break it. The form God took to walk though it was as of a flame, bringing a purifying fire, as it happened when the Holy Spirit came down on the day of Pentecost. The difference being that the believers’ old natures are now the sacrificed part, hence become living sacrifices to God.

  • Genesis 15:18 – this speaks of a land that will be divided between the 12 tribes of Israel as mentioned in Ezekiel 47-48, and for the believers it speaks of a perfect body which will be given unto them.

  • Gen. 16 – is about Sarai trying to find a way to give an heir to Abraham. Strife and division appears between Sarai and her servant Hagar whom she gave to Abraham. Now Hagar was Egyptian and most likely part of Pharaoh’s gifts to Sarah that he let Abraham leave his country with. We can see all the repercussions and the damage done when someone moves in fear instead of faith! This said, because Abraham loved the Lord and was trying to follow Him, God would be with him throughout the journey to grow Abraham into a man of God, fully trusting in Him. Now that part of the story with Hagar brings understanding to the scripture in the NT which says that out of the free woman is born a free son and out of the bond woman is born a slave son (Gal. 4). In the world we have slaves and the ones who under Jesus are free from the bondage of this world. We are to become children of Abraham through Sarai, not through Hagar. In this chapter it says that Ishmael will be the father of 12 princes (who will become 12 Arabic princes). Isaac will birth Jacob who will birth the 12 tribes of Israel. The descendants of Ishmael will never know peace and will always be waring. If we look at the world today we can see that the areas where there are Arabic bloodlines, have never been at peace. It was prophesied, they will be fruitful and have large families, which they do, but they will never know peace. The only way they can be redeemed is if they come to Jesus.

  • Gen. 17 – a covenant of trust is made. The requirement was for Abraham to walk in His presence and be pure hearted. How do you walk in God’s presence? You walk in Christ. What does it mean to be pure hearted? In the KJV it says ‘be perfect’. Jesus himself said to be perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect. John 8:31-32. The word pure-hearted/perfect means to be whole/complete/sound/innocent/entirely in accord with truth – and we all know that the truth shall set you free (Joh. 8:32)

  • Seeking the truth is the only way to be whole and perfect, and it is also the only way to inherit those promises made to Abraham. We must continue to read the word in order to be washed clean and find the truth and also to know how to turn from our wrong ways and follow God’s commands.

  • Abraham and all his household were circumcised. This was a sign of the covenant that was passed between Abraham and God. (With Noah the sign was the rainbow; with Jesus it’s love…)

  • And this covenant is for all the descendants of Abraham, for ever (Gen. 17:9-10), descendants that the NT keep saying we, as believers in Christ, are part of (Gal. 3:7).

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