Godís intent included peace, which most people fail to remember because
of the corrupt nature of this world, and because they fail to see His
creation and heavenly will as a direct reflection of His intent.
There is no pain or suffering or death in heaven, and there was none of these things in Eden until humans corrupted His peaceful creation; we need to focus more on Godís intent and conform to it, and no time conforming to the corrupt and evil ways of this world that cause millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
The same kind of guidelines apply to what is written in the pages of our Bibles, which we are going to put to use today.
Genesis 15:1-21 is considered to be a very important chapter in the Bible, because it included Godís promise to Abraham, but as we read this passage, we need to keep our minds focused upon the fact that Godís intent included peace.
1. After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision,
"Do not fear, Abram,
I am a shield to you;
Your reward shall be very great."
Abram was his given name until the Lord changed his name to Abraham, which has the meaning of ďfather of many nations,Ē at least as God intended it to be based upon His promise, and there is more to this name change and promise as we shall see.
2. And Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what wilt Thou give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?"
We should note carefully that at this stage in Abramís life he considers
having a physical heir in this world to be more important than anything else
that the Lord could do either spiritually or physically.
For our part, we need to remember that the physical will pass away, and that we will inherit the spiritual, so we really need to focus upon the spiritual things, while we help to free creation from its present corruption.
3. And Abram said, "Since Thou hast given no offspring to me, one born in my
house is my heir."
4. Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir."
The Lord is trying to get Abramís mind off of his present thinking, to trust completely in Him, as we all should do.
5. And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count
the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall
your descendants be."
6. Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
It takes real faith in God to truly believe everything He says, but at the
same time we need to remember what His creation intent and heavenly will
also tell us, for Godís word doesnít change unless He also tells us that He
changes His mind.
And if we truly believe, the Lord will also consider it as being righteous.
Itís like unconditional love, as Jesus teaches usÖit fulfills all the laws and requirements in the Bible.
7. And He said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the
Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it."
8. And he said, "O Lord GOD, how may I know that I shall possess it?"
Even though God considered Abramís faith to be the same as righteousness, he still seems to have some doubts.
9. So He said to him, "Bring Me a three year old heifer, and a three year
old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young
10. Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, and laid each half opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds.
And here is where we should be having some doubts because animal sacrifice
is not a part of Godís heavenly will, and certainly doesnít bring peace to
the animals who want to live just as much as we do.
Or did God have something else in mind to do with the animals, and Abram just assumed they were for a sacrifice because he brought it with him from Ur of the Chaldees?
Or, has this passage been altered by some scribe in the past?
We simply donít know, but we do know that Godís intent includes peace.
11. And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.
This verse also seems to confirm our understanding that God did not want an animal sacrifice, for if this is really what God wanted, we doubt that the birds would have come to eat the flesh.
12. Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and
behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him.
13. And God said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.
Is this really a part of Godís blessing upon Abram, or is the four hundred years of enslavement part of the punishment for the sacrifices, because Godís intent included peace, and enslavement is not a peaceful existence?
14. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many possessions.
Such a statement almost seems that God is setting up the Egyptians to take a
fall so that they can be plundered.
Where is the part about the Lord wanting everyone to come to the glory of God and be saved?
It is not here.
Therefore we believe that this passage is out of context with Godís creation and heavenly will.
15. And as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be
buried at a good old age.
16. Then in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete."
First of all the fourth generation is not 400 years, but in any event, God did allow the people of the earth 120 years to repent while Noah built the ark.
17. And it came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces.
This verse is referring to the pieces of the animal sacrifice which were lying on the ground.
18. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,
"To your descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:
19. the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite
20. and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim
21. and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite. "
We need to remember that these people were obviously living ungodly lives
and had no intent of repenting of their evil ways so God is replacing them
with people who were supposed to live according to His creation intent and
heavenly will, which the Israelites failed to do.
Davidís prayer, Psalm 28:1-9, follows the same train of thought as we read about in Genesis 15, and again we need to focus our minds upon whether or not we see anything in this passage that expresses the understanding that Godís intent included peaceÖ
1. To Thee, O LORD, I call;
My rock, do not be deaf to me,
Lest, if Thou be silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
This is believing in God, just as He considered Abram righteous for believing in Him, but at the same time we need to be living in His heavenly will and bringing it to earth as it is in heaven as a witness against evil and corruption going on in this world.
2. Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to Thee for help,
When I lift up my hands toward Thy holy sanctuary.
A vital part of believing is to trust in God, and if we do, we know that He hears our prayers, whether or not we are in His sanctuary, even if we just say ďthank youĒ for a beautiful day.
3. Do not drag me away with the wicked
And with those who work iniquity;
Who speak peace with their neighbors,
While evil is in their hearts.
Again, if we trust in God and are living in His heavenly will, we know that
He is not going to send us to hell.
This is also why we know that Godís intent includes peace.
4. Requite them according to their work and according to the evil of their
Requite them according to the deeds of their hands;
Repay them their recompense.
We donít believe that we should do this; God knows who is living in His heavenly will and who are true peacemakers, just as He knows the ones who are dedicated to living in the corrupt ways of this world, and judgement is His and not ours.
5. Because they do not regard the works of the LORD
Nor the deeds of His hands,
He will tear them down and not build them up.
This may be true, but God also sees the intent of each personís heart, and judgement belongs to Him.
6. Blessed be the LORD,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplication.
7. The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him.
The Lord always hears our voice, but history shows us that He doesnít always protect us here on earth, but He does preserve a place for all His children in heaven.
8. The LORD is their strength,
And He is a saving defense to His anointed.
9. Save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance;
Be their shepherd also, and carry them forever.
God does do this, but we donít always see it or understand His intent, and
this is when we just have to trust in the Lord to fulfill all that He said
He would do.
And remember that Godís intent included peace.
Letís also remember that this is the Lenten Season as we look at Luke 13:31-35, and that Godís intent included peace, and Jesus is the Prince of Peace for the whole of creation and not just for human beings.
31. Just at that time some Pharisees came up, saying to Him, "Go away and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You."
Itís not only Herod who wanted to kill Jesus, as we found out when the multitude in Jerusalem cried out for Him to be crucified, but Jesus had a goal that needed to be fulfilled.
32. And He said to them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons
and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.'
33. "Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.
This shows us that Jesus knew His fate, but still went to it, but the majority of the world has still remained hard of heart even though Godís intent included peace.
34. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!
Such a statement shows that Jesus was intent on bringing peace to the world, but for the most part they just wanted violence that they could impose on others.
35. "Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you shall
not see Me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in
the name of the Lord!'"
Not many people in the world seem to know the peace that Jesus wanted to
bring peace for every human, and animal, and the environment; they just seem
to want the corrupt and violent ways of this world.
We are currently in the midst of the Lenten Season and some people go vegan for Lent but most do not; some abstain from eating land animals but continue to eat sea animals.
This is all a hypocrisy; we should all be vegan all year, if we truly want the peace that Jesus wanted to bring to this world, and understand that Godís intent included peace.
We can have peace on earth, if we want to live it.
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