Seed of Ishmael & Isaac

Seed of Ishmael & Isaac

SEED OF ISHMAEL AND SEED OF ISAAC

THE TALE OF TWO BROTHERS

 

We live in a time of unprecedented evil. Good is being called bad and bad, good. Terrorists murder people every day. There are wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, and famines. Christian and Jewish persecution is at an all-time high world-wide. As we witness these end-time “birth pains” (Matthew 24:8) our focus must be on the Word of God.

As a Jew who lives in Israel, we are constantly on the brink of war; war with the Palestinians, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, and of course ISIS, as it moves through Iraq and Syria seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). In general, the people who come against us are of Arab descent.

It’s interesting that Arabs and Jews are brothers, the seed of Ishmael and Isaac.

Where did this hatred and conflict come from, and how can we combat it today?

Let’s look at passages from the book of Genesis to try to unravel the conflict.

In Genesis 12 the Lord said to Abram …. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who curse you, and all the peoples on earth will blessed through you.

 

In Genesis 15 God says to Abram: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield; your reward will be very great. But Abram said, “Lord God, what can You give me, since I am childless… Abram continued, “Look, you have given me no offspring, so a slave born in my house will be my heir.” Now the word of the Lord came to him: “This one will not be your heir; instead, one who comes from your own body will be your heir.” 

 

When we get to Genesis 16 Sarai had born no children to Abram, so she came up with a plan for her servant Hagar and Abram to have a child. When Hagar conceived she became proud and hateful to Sarai. I believe this is where the struggles began.  Sarai began treating Hagar so harshly that Hagar ran away. The angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar in the wilderness with these instructions:

The angel said, “Go back to Sarai and be her slave. 10-11 I will give you a son, who will be called Ishmael, because I have heard your cry for help. And later I will give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all. 12 But your son will live far from his relatives; he will be like a wild donkey, fighting everyone, and everyone fighting him.”

This prophecy is exactly what we see today. Not only do the Muslims (the religion adopted by most Arabs) fight Christians and Jews, they fight each other!

 

In Genesis 17 God reiterates His promise that Abram would be the father of many nations. It was then that God changed his name to Abraham and promised to also give him the whole land of Canaan. Canaan was the name of a large and prosperous country (at times independent, at others a tributary to Egypt) which corresponds roughly to present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel.

 

Continuing in Genesis 17 when Ishmael was 13 God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah, with the promise that she’d become the mother of nations.  God promised her a son, Isaac; and God would make an everlasting promise with him and his descendants.

Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah the following year.

In Genesis 21 we read: The child grew and was weaned, and Abraham held a great feast on the day Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw Ishmael making fun of Isaac. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Drive out this slave with her son, for the son of this slave will not be a coheir with my son Isaac!”

What a scene! This entire story from the book of Genesis reads like a modern-day soap opera. Can you picture it?

Let’s continue in Genesis 21:11 Now this was a very difficult thing for Abraham because of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be concerned about the boy and your slave. Whatever Sarah says to you, listen to her, because your offspring will be traced through Isaac. 13 But I will also make a nation of the slave’s son because he is your offspring.”

 

So here we read God’s verdict in the situation. God would make a covenant with Isaac.

In ancient middle-eastern culture the firstborn son was the one who normally received a double inheritance and he was the one who’d inherit the father’s role as head of the family.

Here God was telling Abraham to turn Hagar and Ishmael away and that the inheritance would fall on Isaac; surely a root to the jealousy and hatred we see today.

But what was this all about? I’m sure God didn’t love Isaac any more than he loved Ishmael. Ishmael was going to father 12 tribes just like Isaac.

The real promise God was making to Abraham through Isaac’s lineage involved the “seed of the woman” we read about in Genesis 3:15. Through Isaac’s line one day the Messiah (Jesus/Yeshua) would be born. He would fulfill God’s promises to crush the head of the seed of the serpent. Yeshua/Jesus, that seed, would set mankind free from the power of sin and death (Romans 8:2); and therein through Abraham all the nations of the earth would be blessed.

Having this understanding, we need to embrace the Arabs, show them love and acceptance, and pray for them to understand that they too are blessed through the Messiah of Israel. By prayer we need break off all evil forces stemming from jealousy and rejection that the enemy has tormented them with all these centuries.

Let’s not be afraid to share our faith with them and show them the love of Christ that is their’s for the asking.

 

The Warrior Bride

The Warrior Bride

Today a friend asked me if I’d ever heard any teachings about the “warrior bride.”  I said “no, I haven’t”, but agreed to share my thoughts. Here they are:

Everyone who is truly the Bride of Christ/Messiah must be a warrior. We each have our unique battles to fight, based on our God given assignments. Fighting those battles takes great courage, strategy, perseverance and faith.

Rev. 21:8 states that no cowards enter the Kingdom of heaven. The letters to the churches in Rev. 2 & 3 state that only those who overcome and are victorious obtain the promises of God. These are the warriors.

I believe that only the warriors who are victorious will be the “Bride of Christ.” Victory in God’s eyes is probably very different than victory to our human eyes. God judges by the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7) All our battles truly belong to the Lord and victory comes from Him! 2 Chronicles 20:15; Proverbs 21:31   The warrior bride knows and walks in these truths.

In the parable of the wedding banquet in Matthew 22, the Lord tells us the Kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. We read in Matthew 22:10 that this wedding banquet was full of guests. Who are the guests? The guests are not the bride; nor are the servants.

I believe the bride is one who has a deep and intimate relationship with the Lord. She is a warrior; and her weapons are her diligent study, meditation upon, speaking out and application of the Word of God (the sword of the spirit). (Eph. 6:17)

The warrior bride walks in love, grace and humility, yet knows, and is not afraid to exercise her God given authority on earth as Messiah’s Ambassador (2 Cor. 5:18-20).

She herself is continually being purified (sanctified) as she walks through life.  She’s not afraid to face the demonic realm that has influenced her life; and the lives of those around her.  Not only does she help others walk in the reconciliation and promises of the Kingdom of God, the warrior bride humbly renounces evil influences and life patterns; and finds greater levels of victory as her own life progresses.  As she longingly awaits her groom, she lives a life of total surrender and worship.  Her mind is being renewed and she is being transformed into the image of her groom, as she seeks first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. (Rom. 12:1-2; Matthew 6:33) In her honesty and transparency, the warrior bride is being made into a suitable match for her King. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

There’s another category of people Scripture talks about.  These people drive my passion with regard to Mission Discipleship. These are the people who profess Jesus/Yeshua as Lord, yet they’re not doing the things in their lives that will allow them to qualify as the Bride of Christ/Messiah. They are lawless, unsubmitted and self-willed. According to Matthew 7:21-23 many who call on the name of the Lord will be thrown away from His Presence.

God make us all people who come up higher by laying down lower. Keep us hungry for You, desiring to learn more about You and the things of the Spirit; and lead us in finding the victory of the true warrior bride.

 

God’s Weapons

God’s Weapons

Lately I’ve seen many of my brothers and sisters in the Lord fighting incredible sickness and emotional distress. Some have been hospitalized with extremely serious conditions and others tormented, as they await the manifestation of their healing. My heart goes out to them and to you, if you too are currently in a fight for your health, and the well-being of both your body and your soul.

I was putting on God’s Armor last week, as we’re commanded to do (Ephesians 6:10-18); and I had an epiphany that I think was from the Lord.  I had always thought and experienced the Armor of God as protecting and re-aligning my soul to come into agreement with the spiritual truths that are ours according to God’s Word. Last week I felt the Lord encourage me that His Armor also protects our physical body in this “earth realm.”

Since then I’ve been putting on the Armor of God very intentionally, declaring it to not only protect and cover my soul and its well being, but my physical body too.  I’ve updated the Armor of God bible study and you can read it HERE.

I implore you to not forget to put on the Armor of God daily.  If God instructs us to do something, it’s coming from a place of provision and protection; and how prideful it is for us to ignore, or get lazy with the instructions He’s given us as our Heavenly Father, Creator and Lord. 

Red Alert

Red Alert

I arrived in Israel one month ago and this morning I heard my first “red alert.”  Red Alert is an app that provides real time alerts every time a terrorist fires rockets, mortars or missiles into the State of Israel. It happened at 8:03 a.m. just as I had finished journaling these words.

Lord, in praying with Ruth yesterday You revealed something to me.  In my mind I’ve been battling…

I was shocked in that instant to hear the siren go off on my phone.  I looked and found out that the rockets were only 37.2 miles from where I was.  Having absolutely no fear, I looked to God and discerned the truth of the “battle” we are in, both in the natural and spirit realms.

Here’s what I’ve been seeing and wondering. Many mature believers have been experiencing severe spiritual and physical attacks in the last month, bringing hospitalizing sickness, disease and even death. Why?

For quite some time I had been experiencing an onslaught of negative thoughts toward my brothers and sisters in the Lord. I continuously fought them with the Word and with truth.

Could the enemy be seeding our minds with thoughts against each other? Could the thoughts that we entertain and agree with (that line up with an “accuser of the brethren”) ultimately give the enemy legal rights to attack our brothers and sisters, doing them and ultimately the entire Body of Messiah harm?

Whether or not this is true we must always fight to take those kinds of thoughts captive and renew our minds with God’s Word.  Here are some Scriptures the Lord has encouraged me to read, ponder and take to heart on the matter.

Philippians 4:4-9; Philippians 2:1-5

1 John 3:14-19; 1 John 4:20-21

1 Cor. 13:1-7

2 Cor. 10:3-7

Romans 8:1-14; Romans 12:1-5

Please take time to read and meditate on these scriptures so we can press forward, together, in love, unity and victory – in Yeshua’s/Jesus’ Name!