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Stones of Remembrance 4 – Abraham’s 3rd Altar

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Stones of Remembrance 4 – Abraham’s 3rd Altar
Read Genesis 12 thru 21, and whatever else comes up   

Let’s talk about it…

Here are some things we might want to research: 

What is the last known address for Abram (13:18)? Who came to celebrate victory with Abram there (14:18)? Who did God say He is in 15:1?  What promise did God make in this place in 15:5?  Fill in the blanks of this sentence from 15:6: “Abram ________ in _____ ________ and ________ accounted it to him for ___________” (See Romans 4:4).  This is also the place of the split animal covenant/promise between God and Abram.  Draw little symbols on the map of all that we learn.

Where was Hagar from?  How and when might Sarai have acquired her (12:10)?  Where did she run away to (16:7)? Who appeared to her there?  Draw Hagar’s location on the map, also draw the well and label it with its name (16:14).  Draw an angel there also. What did God/Angel tell her to do in 16:9?

Where was Abraham when the three men visited (18:1)?  What did Abraham do for them (18:6-8)?  What message did they deliver to Abraham (vs 10)?  Who were the three men (18:17,20-22 & 19:1)?  Draw them eating under the trees at Hebron on the map.  What did the angels come to do? Where was Sodom (Gen. 13:10-11; 14:3,10)? This website gives an estimated population of around 40,000 to 65,000 for the townships of Sodom and Gomorrah at that time. In this video (beginning around the 3:33 minute mark) the Bible teacher says archeaology has discovered between 1.5 and 5 million bodies in graves in the Sodom and Gomorrah area. Taking such numbers into account, do you remember how many righteous men needed to be in the city for God to spare the city (Gen. 18:23-32)? That’s a LOT (no pun intended) of depravity.

Three men visited Abraham in 18:2, and then in verse 16 the men rose to go to Sodom, but it seems that one of the three was the LORD and He stayed behind to have a special conversation with Abraham. How many arrived in Sodom, and where did they find Lot (19:1)?  What did Lot compel them to do (19:2-3)?  Remember who the inhabitants of Sodom were (Gen. 10:6-20)?  What did the people of Sodom want to do to the men (19:5)? Might this be related to what happened with the sons of God and the daughters of men in Noah’s day? And, what Ham did to his father (Gen. 9:22,24) after the ark landed. (Sexual perversion).

The two men escorted Lot, his wife and two of his daughters out of the city (19:16) and then who brought down the fire and brimstone (verse 24)? Why do you think Lot’s wife looked back (see Gen.19:14)? Where did God tell Lot to flee to? Why, would you imagine Lot was afraid to go to the mountains – that some evil would overtake him and he would die there? Could it be that he knew about the pagan worship practices that took place in the high places?

***We’ll actually study, in a later posting to these stone-pile-studies, about the Moabites (who were the descendants of Lot through his firstborn daughter). They hired Balaam to seek an oracle in the high places (Numbers 22 & 25); also the Ammonites (which were the descendants of Lot by his younger daughter) who were the people who sacrificed their children to Molech (Leviticus 18:3,21-25). Sadly, Bible history tells us that Solomon took wives of both the Moabites and Ammonites and followed in their wicked ways (1 Kings 11:5,7), and he burned incense in the high places to their gods. Canaan, of course was the land of, and the people of Ham, Noah’s perverted son. The Canaanites were giants in the eyes of the spies when they and Joshua and Caleb peeked into the Promised Land for the first time.

So since Lot was afraid to go to the mountains, what city did the LORD allow Lot to flee to (19:22-23)? What happened to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (19:24)?

Did Lot remain in Zoar (vs 30)?  Why not? Make a little note on the map where Moab and the place of the Ammonites was, and note from whom those two people groups descended from.

Where did Abraham move to (20:1)?  What happened there?  Abraham told the TRUTH and Abimelech FORGAVE and welcomed them to stay.  He also paid Sarah’s fine for bringing a curse on them (20:11-16).  This is where Isaac was conceived and born.  What did Abraham do when Isaac was eight days old? What did Abraham do when Isaac was weaned?  What did Sarah see Ishmael do (21:9)?  Where did Hagar run to (vs 14)?  Is this the same place she ran to before (Gen. 16:13-14)?  What name did she give to GOD? Is this the well that’s in dispute in 21:25,31 the same well God showed to Hagar when she ran away twice?

Where did Ishmael dwell and what did he become (vs 20-21; 25:18)? What prophesy was spoken over his life (16:11-12; 17:20; 21:18-21; 25:12-18)? Where have we heard of the Pishon River before (Gen.2:11)? Mark the Wilderness of Beersheba and the Wilderness of Paran on the map. Draw a well in the wilderness of Beersheba with Hagar and Ishmael beside it, and then of Ishmael shooting an arrow in the Wilderness of Paran. What did Abraham plant in Beersheba? And beside what landmark did Abraham and Abimelech sware an oath?

Personal application

Have you ever been led by fear, as Lot was, running from one bad decision to another? Has your choice of where to live ever seemed like paradise at first, but then turned out to be the worst place imaginable to raise a family, a real nightmare on Elm Street? And what about Abraham, the newcomer to the Promised Land, and obviously surrounded by some scary folks. He also was led by fear at times and it caused him to feel like he had no choice but to tell a lie. Have you ever been surrounded by scary people who made you feel scared to tell the truth about who you really were? Ever been caught in a lie, but forgiven of it by someone you least suspected would ever forgive you?  Has anyone ever paid a fine or a debt that you owed? Is there someone you need to forgive. Or someone you might need to confess the truth to and ask forgiveness?  How has forgiveness changed your life? Do you know a single mother raising a son/child? Maybe you are that single mother – do you have a testimony of how God has been the God-who-sees your circumstances and been a comfort and help to you? Write your testimony down so that you can reflect on it later and not forget what God has done for you, and share it with the people around you. You could be an encouragement to others you didn’t even know were going through the same things you are. You are also welcome to share it in the comments section below.

Project  (an altar that I can build)

Forgiveness jar:  Make a jar where, before I go to bed at night, I can place little notes upon which I’ve written and expressed forgiveness for every little offense that came up that day.  Rather than be tempted to gossip about the offender, or harbor anger or bitterness toward the offender, let me choose to be intentional to speak blessings to the situation, apply God’s promises to it, and place those offenses in the forgiveness jar.  When the jar is full, empty it out in the fire pit and start all over with an empty jar.

My grandmother always had home-baked cookies in her freezer so she could set out a spread of coffee, tea, and at least something sweet for drop-by visits.  It was a marvel to me though, how she could throw together a meal at a moment’s notice, with several sides, when anyone stopped by.  Her house was always neat and tidy, and herself presentable by, at the latest, midmorning.  Food was love in her house and her table welcoming.  She wasn’t lazy about preparing meals, or stingy about sharing.  I want so much to make my table an altar of showbread for God and the people I love; a place where people are gathered around and the Lord is present with us.


 “So a book of remembrance was written before Him.” Malachi 3:16b