The first commandment sets the stage for understanding Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. God wanted to know: Would Abraham put Him first and have no other god?
Abraham is the only biblical character singled out as a type of God the Father. He is also the only one to be called 'friend of God,' and is a good model.
Based on his long friendship with God, Abraham could systematically calculate the reliability of God's promises even in the lack of visual evidence.
We learn from Abraham's experience to trust God even when we have incomplete information. When we attempt to take the expedient way out, we will run into trouble.
Taking issue with misguided notions of the primitiveness of Abraham, John Ritenbaugh contends that the patriarch was an extremely learned man, a product of a highly advanced civilization. Far from being "an ignorant donkey caravaneer," Abraham wa. . .
John Ritenbaugh takes issue with certain misguided biblical scholars who claim Abraham was a primitive, backward donkey caravaneer or perhaps a mythical or composite figure. Abraham came from a highly advanced civilization located in Mesopotamia, highly ad. . .
John Ritenbaugh torpedoes some popular misconceptions about the father of the faithful, revealing that Abraham did not come from a primitive, but a highly advanced civilization, having huge multi-storied dwellings with running water and indoor lavatories. . . .
If we surrender to God, allowing Him to shape character in us, He will enable us to live in hope, giving us direct access to Him, giving us a more abundant life.
If we hold fast to principles, though it may seem initially uncomfortable and fearful, we will eventually receive respect and even admiration.
Abraham was willing to lay down his life to rescue his nephew Lot. His sacrifice shows us what kind of effort and sacrifice is needed to wage spiritual war.
God helps us to overcome our problems in an unraveling process, sometimes taking us back through the consequences of the bad habits we have accumulated.
John Ritenbaugh asserts that understanding comes through sacrifice and that our lives alternate between light (understanding) and darkness (confusion). Abraham's experiences teach us not to try to force God's will by contrivances of the flesh. When any sin. . .
John Ritenbaugh ponders the qualifier "righteous" when applied to Lot. Unlike Abraham who separated himself from sinful society, Lot seemed to involve himself in the affairs of the perverted city, arrogating to himself the role of a judge, attemp. . .
Because the world is under the sway of the wicked one, if mankind were left to its own choices, the world would revert to the condition before the Flood.
Abraham, the father of the faithful, did not have a blind faith; it was based upon observation of God's proven track record of faithfulness.
In this keynote address of the 2007 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh, focusing on Abraham's pattern of life, answers the question, 'Why is the Church of the Great God doing what it is doing at this time?' Abraham and Sarah's life of faith is the patte. . .
Mike Ford, asking us to thoughtfully calculate the cost of our discipleship, warns us about the perils of looking, using the metaphor of plowing a furrow with a plow behind an animal. Looking back is dangerous because we may plow a crooked furrow and get h. . .
Far from being blind, faith is based on analyzing, comparing, adding up from evidence in God's Word, our own experience, and our calling by God's Holy Spirit.
Far more than on any other hero of faith in Hebrews 11, the apostle Paul concentrates on Abraham as the father of the faithful, the Bible's premier example of a human being's walk with God. John Ritenbaugh illustrates how Abraham's faithfulness to God sets. . .
Christianity is not for the faint of heart. Jesus urges us to count the cost of discipleship. Many of the patriarchs had to make hard choices, as do we.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that God based the awesome promises He gave to His friend Abraham on the patriarch's proclivity to believe Him even when he had only partial and sometimes disturbing information. Abraham remained a lifetime sojourner, owning no l. . .
Many people have experienced separation from friends and family due to their beliefs. From start to finish, the Bible is full of such stories.
The virtue of love gets the most attention, yet the life of Abraham illustrates how foundational faith—belief and trust in God—is to love and salvation.
John Ritenbaugh dives into a study of the Abrahamic Covenant, a covenant made with one man which impacts all of mankind to the beginning of the New Heaven and New Earth and beyond, involving billions of people. The Abrahamic Covenant is one of the most mas. . .
Even though we live in a world deluged by knowledge—after all, our day is known as the "Information Age"—we often rely heavily on our preconceived ideas about many things. ...
The name Isaac—'laughter'—suggests his optimistic disposition, someone not afflicted by fear and doubt. Isaac serves as a type of Christ, honoring his father.
It can be encouraging to us that our patriarchs and the prophets had serious doubts, but God overrode all their fears in accomplishing His purpose.
Waiting is a foundational aspect of faith, hope, and love, and is sometimes one of the hardest works of all. ...
Faith permitted Enoch, Noah, and Abraham to receive God's personal calling. Like our patriarchs, we were called while we lived in the wicked world.
God's calling is personal and individual rather than general, opening otherwise closed minds, replacing spiritual blindness with spiritual understanding.
Where is Israel today? God's ironclad promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob give ample clues for identifying Israel—and the answer is surprising.
The Hebrew word used to mark appointed times connotes a pilgrimage. The Hebrew year contained five steps or seasons, corresponding to God's holy times.
Americans (indeed most of the industrialized world) tend to be skeptical, cynical, and jaded, demanding mountains of evidence before becoming convinced of anything. We run the risk of losing our childlike credulity, becoming calloused, hardened, and stiff-. . .
John Ritenbaugh asserts that the seven "I will" promises given to our forefather Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3 were truly "big deal" foundational promises impacting the lives of multiple billions of lives up to the present day and that Abra. . .
John Ritenbaugh emphasizes that both Jesus and Abraham rose above their emotional pulls by exercising living faith- a faith built on a foundation of incremental acts of obedience. Living faith can never be separated from works, nor can it ever stand indepe. . .
John Ritenbaugh, observing that we make choices every day of our lives, cautions that though a choice be large or small, everything matters. Sadly, we make most choices with very little thought The miscalculation based on the fear of famine prompted Abraha. . .
John Ritenbaugh, suggesting that much of Protestantism shares more of an approach to Deism (that is, God establishes His laws and then abandons His creation to their machinations) than to Theism (that is, God maintains watchful control on His Creation), ta. . .
John Ritenbaugh emphasizes that a spiritual Israelite, following Jacob's example, undergoes a metamorphosis in which his own stubborn, self-centered will is broken so that God's creative work can be completed within him. Abraham, whose very name connotes f. . .
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting that our concept of time is vastly different from God's, indicates that our spiritual pilgrimage (including our participation in the work of God) is largely a matter of faith, not sight. If we see God in the picture, we will not. . .
Many churches understand tithing but do not believe that God commands them for today. However, tithing has always been God's way of financing His work on earth.
Why does God want us to keep the Feast of Tabernacles? John Ritenbaugh shows that the Feast is far more than a yearly vacation!
Among God's many titles is one that proclaims His supremacy over all others: 'Most High God' or 'God Most High.' It provides confidence in God's governance.
God coordinates events to place one of His servants in a position of high visibility and sometimes great power at the center of world events to sound a warning.
The Passover is a beacon of hope in an otherwise hopeless milieu. Jesus provided hope at His last Passover, exuding confidence despite what lay ahead.
We would like God to instantly gratify our desires. Consequently, we find living by faith difficult; we do not trust that He has things under control.
Mark Schindler, alluding to the Hollywood Movie The Ten Commandments as an illustration , suggests that the repetition of the name of Moses depicts special reverence given to this character. Seven stalwart individuals received this special distinction: Abr. . .
Circumcision was the sign God gave Abraham indicating that his descendants would ascend to greatness, acquiring physical and spiritual blessings.
Noah is an outstanding example of persevering through a dreadful experience. Not only did he persevere through the Flood, but also through 120 years of preparations.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that we are to follow Abraham and Sarah's example of relying on God's guidance, learning to trust in the wisdom of Almighty God rather than the world. In order to avoid strife, Abraham allowed his forward nephew Lot first choice.. . .
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