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.
Abraham was a wealthy and influential man who instructed the Chaldean priesthood on the reality of God, showing the foolishness of worshipping the creation.
Abraham came from a civilization in Mesopotamia that was highly advanced in science, including calculus and chemistry, and having indoor running water.
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.
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. The size of Abraham's retinue indicates that, far from being an ignorant …
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 or self- will is involved, the fruits of such an endeavor will be bitter …
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, attempting to change the behavior of the people- but nevertheless, attempting to …
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.
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.
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 pattern that God's called-out ones are obligated to follow. Interestingly, …
Far more than on any other hero of faith, Hebrews concentrates on Abraham as the father of the faithful, the Bible's premier example of walking with God.
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.
God based the promises He gave to His friend Abraham on the patriarch's proclivity to believe Him even when he had only partial (and disturbing) information.
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.
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.
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.
We should be seeking the knowledge that will help us to understand the truth and shun the foolishness of sacred cows.
A spiritual Israelite undergoes a metamorphosis in which his own self-centered will is broken so that God's creative work can be completed within him.
Martha used her gifts, but to an excessive extreme. Jesus had to reel her in, setting her on a more productive course. We must use our gifts responsibly.
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.
Not all waiting is actually waiting on God. We might convince ourselves that we are waiting on God, when He is really waiting for us to move forward.
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.
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-necked like our forebears on the Sinai, even though God Almighty supplied …
The seven 'I will' promises Got made to Abraham were truly foundational promises, impacting the lives of multiple billions of people up to the present day.
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.
we must soberly count the cost before we embark on our spiritual trek. Are we willing to give up our job, our family, or even our life to follow God's plan?
Ryan McClure, reflecting on the oft-repeated Rodney King quotation, "Can we all get along?" asks us how we are doing with our relationships, dealing with people with whom we find it difficult to get along. The Scriptures provide many examples of how difficult relationships were dealt with by humility, deference, and …
Jesus and Abraham rose above their emotional pulls by exercising living faith—a faith built on acts of obedience. Faith can never be separated from works.
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 Abraham to go to Egypt, though God did not intend for him to take that course. …
From the beginning, God has set apart certain individuals, putting them through a sanctifying process, perfecting their character until they reflect His image.
Richard Ritenbaugh, suggesting that many people go to their graves with their spiritual problems unresolved, suggests that they carelessly follow the dictates of their own hearts. Even just men fall into sin. Many people have lived their whole lives not aware of their sin, unaware of the law that defines sin. The Great White …
The Abrahamic Covenant was made with one man, but it impacts all of mankind to the New Heaven and New Earth and beyond, involving billions of people.
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.
John Ritenbaugh, referring to the mind-bending inheritance God's called-out ones share with Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1-2, Psalm 8), points to the commonalities of the metaphors describing "in Christ," including a part of a temple, a member of a household and an appendage of His Body. Hebrews serves as an exhortative …
God frequently bypasses the firstborn, selecting for His purposes another sibling. Jacob selected Joseph's second son, Ephraim, to receive the blessing.
Richard Ritenbaugh, continuing on the topic of the creative imagination, reminds us that this capacity begins at age two, and allows children (of all ages) to transcend their current surroundings, enabling them to put themselves into other situations beyond normal reality. Dr. Jerome Singer suggests that children who use their …
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.
With godly hope, we need to envision the successful accomplishment of God's purpose for us, realizing that God has bound that promise with an oath.
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.
Masculine leadership is demonstrated by men who embrace God's commandments, love and protect their wives, and instill a love of God's truth in their children.
Circumcision was the sign God gave Abraham indicating that his descendants would ascend to greatness, acquiring physical and spiritual blessings.
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. Likewise, the apostle Paul admonished the New Testament church to refrain …