Day #30: Daily Bible Reading Plan - January 27th
Scripture Reading: Genesis 16 - 19 ...
A little more than 4,000 years ago, some two thousand years after God created mankind on the earth, the stage was set for the Middle East conflict that continues to this day: the descendants of Ishmael against the descendants of Isaac. It is true that Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the world's three monotheistic religions, all trace their origin to Abraham's offspring, but Islam did NOT originate from Abraham's GOD! And Judaism and Christianity are NOT two distinct and separate religions ... Christianity is the fulfillment of true, biblical Judaism ... which pointed ahead to the coming Savior, the Messiah, the Christ.
This means that the Bible is the only insight we have into the plan of God for the human race! God chose Abraham and He then chose Isaac and He then chose Jacob and from him came the nation of Israel, God's chosen people. In Genesis 15 we saw God establish His Covenant of Grace with Abraham and his descendants, promising to be their God, to give them the land of Canaan, to multiply Abraham's descendants and to bless all nations on the earth through the Seed of Abraham, the coming Savior. God miraculously gave a child to Abraham and Sarah in their old age, displaying His power even in this way. And through Isaac the descendants of Abraham would be numbered, as we saw just yesterday in Romans 9.
What does all of this mean for you and me today? In order to be safe from God's judgment you must believe in God's promises through faith in Abraham's "Seed," Jesus Christ. Sodom and Gomorrah really happened. Jesus refers to it in Matthew 10 and again in Matthew 11. Jesus says it will be more tolerable on the day of God's judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah than for those who reject the Gospel and who reject HIM!
People continue to believe that God's mercy extends to all people, but Abraham's conversation with God in Genesis 18 makes it clear that what the Bible teaches from beginning to end is true: there are NONE that are righteous ... not even ONE! (Romans 3:10). Abraham struggled with the thought that God would carry out His judgment on Lot and his family, so he asked God if He would spare the city for 50, then 45, then 40, then 30, then 20, then 10!! God agreed, for He knew that there were exactly ZERO righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot and his daughters (his sons-in-law-to-be refused to leave and his wife was turned into a pillar of salt), were not saved because they were righteous, but because of Abraham's plea for them.
"Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Yes! If there were even ONE righteous person, they would be spared from God's judgment, but there is not. We need a Savior, and biblical Judaism pointed to His coming ... then the followers of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus, became the first Christians. We live in the age of fulfillment spoken of in the Gospels. We live in the "day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2) ... the day when God's grace is being offered to the nations.
Do not receive God's grace in vain. Believe in Jesus. Trust in Him ... live for Him ... and you can know that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is with you now, and that when your life in this world is over, you will be with Him - in the promised land of the new heaven and the new earth - forever!! And it all began here in Genesis. The conflict in the Middle East will only be resolved when Jesus returns to bring judgment on those who do not know Him. Do YOU know Him today?
"Heavenly Father, Your wisdom surpasses the wisdom of man at every turn. While people question the truth of Your Word, Your Spirit opens the minds and hearts of those whom You have chosen to believe all You have said and moves us by Your grace to come to You through the promised Seed of Abraham, Jesus, the Christ, the eternal Son of the One, True and Living God! We praise You today, in Jesus' name, Amen"