MAN OF PROMISE – KINGDOM by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC
Introduction: When Nicole and I went to Egypt back in March-April, little did I realize how much it would impact my understanding of the Bible. As you just saw in that video, snakes are everywhere in the ancient sites in Egypt. Thank goodness we didn’t see any live ones! In the second message in our “Man of Promise” series, we are walking alongside Abraham and Sarah in their journey towards bringing the Jesus into this world. In the first message last week, we learned how the plan was almost forgotten, buried in the sands of time like Nicole’s golden earring. But, each step of the way, at the right time, God will pick up that ring and give it someone else to carry a little further until it came to Joseph and Mary. Today’s message is titled MAN OF PROMISE: KINGDOM. Main point: Throughout the journey towards the man of promise, the Enemy offered some alluring substitutes. Recognizing the pitfalls and choosing the true plan of God is the only way to go. Only those who keep their eye on the bigger plan of God can make it.
Genesis 12 10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. 12 Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, “This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Please say you aremy sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.”
Context: It all began in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” There are 3 important things that that were part of the cure for the sin of Adam and Eve:
- Enmity between the Serpent and the Woman
- Enmity between the descendants of the Serpent and the descendants of the Woman
- Enmity between the Serpent and the Messiah
Item B is very important for our message today: According to the curse on the Serpent, there will be two groups of people in humanity: descendants of the Serpent and descendants of the Woman. The descendants of Satan will be those who will despise God and want to deceive others into disobeying God. Keep in mind that these descendants will not be biological but ideological.
Last week I explained that Egypt was the kingdom of the Snake. John Currid in his book Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament remarks: “The venomous snake was truly the symbol or emblem of ancient Egypt.” As I mentioned, although we didn’t see a single “live” snake when we were in Egypt, ancient Egypt had plenty of snakes of different variety: cobras, horned viper, and other snakes. The Egyptians both feared and trusted the serpent. They feared it because of its power and the danger of its venom. They trusted it because of its protection against small vermin. Since the cobra would rear up and spit poison at anyone that would come against its young, it was associated with a female deity. The “uraeus” on the Egyptian Pharaoh’s crown was this cobra goddess protecting the creator sun god. At the same time, the enemy of the sun god was Apophis, a giant serpent that could hypnotize you with its eyes and crush you with its coils (For more details, see Handbook of Egyptian Mythology by Geraldine Pinch). There was a saying in ancient Egypt: “One should welcome the uraeus and spit on Apophis.” Furthermore, there were 3 cobras altogether, based on the environment: Wadjet (marshes, guardian of childbirth and children, also Pharaoh), Renenutet (cornfields, beautiful harvest for the living and nourishment for the spirit of the dead, also mother of Nehebkau, guardian of the underworld), and Meretseger (desert hills, goddess of mercy and punishment, watches over the dead). Plus, we already mentioned Apophis (Apep), the god of death, the enemy of Ra. By the way, this is not all there is to snakes in the Egyptian system of gods and goddesses. There are more, but we don’t have time to deal with all of them. The main point is this: The Egyptians had a reverence, a revulsion, and a fascination with snakes. The Enemy ruled their world for good or for bad.
Satan doesn’t have to be all good or all bad for him to rule your world. He can make you afraid of him or he can make you obsessed of him. As long as he is getting attention, he doesn’t care.
Application: How is the Enemy controlling your life? Through fear or through obsession?
As we read, Abram is entering into the lair of the Enemy with an unholy pact. Beware of secrets, the Enemy will use them against you. Genesis 12 14 “So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful.” Someone asked me yesterday evening – “Was every beautiful woman who came through the borders of Egypt in danger of being taken by Pharaoh?” Actually, if you study extrabiblical sources, Abram and Sarai moved like a king and a queen. 15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels.” Just because you are prospering, it doesn’t mean that God is blessing.
Application: How do you interpret what is happening in your life? It is great to be blessed, as long as those blessings are from God.
Genesis 12 17 But the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, “She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your wife; take her and go your way.” 20 So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had. What a sad testimony for the man or the woman of God…he had more integrity than Abram did.
Gen. 13:1 Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. 2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the LORD. Once again, God had saved the seed of the woman from the seed of the serpent. By the way, this is not the only time this will happen in Egypt. Few centuries later, when Moses would come to deliver God’s people from slavery, his first sign would be when God commanded him to throw down his rod before Pharaoh and it became a snake. Pharaoh called his wise men, sorcerers, and magicians and they did the same. But, Moses’ rod swallowed theirs. It was similar to their god Apophis/Apep who would swallow Ra/Sun every night.
We learned last weekend, how bruising the snake is not enough. His head must be crushed. When Abram and Sarah left Egypt, they took Hagar with her. What a great disaster waiting to happen! But, that wasn’t enough. One of their travelling companion took something with him that was far worse than any material or physical thing. It was a mindset. Genesis 13 5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. 6 Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. 7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land. 8 So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. 9Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.” 10 And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. 12 Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. 13 But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD. We know the rest of the account of how tragic it was for Lot. He lost his family, especially his wife!
Application: What are you willing to sacrifice for the “land of Egypt?”
Only Jesus was triumphant where all failed. Matthew 4 8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
Invitation: Are you allured by the wealth of Egypt? What are you willing to sacrifice for the passing pleasures of sin? Are you saved? Are you willing to leave Egypt, spiritually speaking?