In the last article of this series, we did contemplate on the life of Abraham. We saw his heavenly calling, his departure to Egypt, his wife in the house of Pharaoh, plagues on the land of Egypt, Lot plundered by thieves, Abraham’s rescue operation, an encounter with Melchizedek, and finally God’s covenant with Abraham by walking in midst of halved sacrifices. In this article, we will see about Sarah’s handmaid Hagar, the three guests of Abraham, and the incestuous daughters of Lot. May God open eyes of beholders to return to Christ from the slavery of the law!
Hagar and Sarah (Gen 16,21)
In Genesis 16 and Genesis 21 we read about Hagar. Abraham mistakenly assumes that God’s promise of making a nation out of him will get fulfilled through Hagar (Sarah’s handmaid). So Abraham tries to get a son through Hagar via surrogacy. Hagar conceives, but she then begins to despise her mistress Sarah. So Sarah deals with her harshly. Hagar then flees to the wilderness. In the wilderness, the angel of the Lord meets her at a well and asks her to return to Sarah. After a few years as a maid in the house of Abraham, Isaac is born to Sarah. But Sarah observes that the son of the bondwoman Hagar is mocking Isaac (Gen 21:9, Gal 4:29). She, therefore, requests Abraham to cast out the son of the bondwoman, that he may not be an heir along with Isaac. Abraham sends his maid away with the provision of water and bread. Water doesn’t last for much time and fearing the death of her child out of thirst, Hagar keeps him under shrubs and walks away from him, saying “let me not see the death of the child.” As she weeps at a distant place, God answers her out of heaven. God opens her eyes and she finds a well of water. She quenches the thirst of her child. God takes care of her and the child. We are told that the child grows and is married to a wife taken from among Egyptians.
We observe that God encounters Hagar at a well, two times. Now, God communicating with Hagar at a well reminds us of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well (John 4). On both these instances, of Old Testament Hagar and New Testament Samaritan woman at a well, a striking similarity is visible. Both these women had an inappropriate relationship with men. Hagar had Ishmael through Abraham, who was not her husband and Samaritan woman had five husbands, and none was her real husband. It is amazing that Holy God communes with these sinful women and saves them from calamity. Both these women are blessed by Messiah at well. In the first instance, Angel of God opens Hagar’s eyes; she quenches her thirst out of well. In second, Jesus effectively says, “I am the well.” “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14).” Samaritan women’s spiritual thirst is quenched. Similarly, because of the water which God gave to Hagar, Ishmael was saved from dying. He became a great nation. Because of water which Jesus promised to Samaritan woman, many Samaritans were saved from spiritual death. They believed Jesus and became spiritual descendants of Abraham by faith (John 4:39-42). Compare the summary below.
|Encounters God at well||Meets Jesus at well|
|Had inappropriate relation with Abraham||Had inappropriate relation with five men|
|God opens her eyes and quenches her thirst||Jesus says’ he that drinks of the water that I give will never thirst|
|Ishmael is saved from death and turns into a nation||Samaritans believed Jesus and are saved eternally|
The next big lesson from Hagar’s life is allegorically interpreted by Apostle Paul. He compares the two sons of Abraham to two covenants (Gal 4). He says that Hagar is a bondwoman. Therefore her son is also born in slavery. Hagar and her son are allegoric of them who are under the law. Those who are under the law would get reward by virtue of their works. If they obey not the rules and regulations, under which they were by Abraham, they would get punishment. Therefore as punishment, Hagar and her son were cast out of the home of Master; because they failed in meeting the expectation of their master who made laws for them. On the contrary, Sarah and her son Isaac were not employees of Abraham. They were free. Like them, we are made free from Law by the death of Jesus. We inherit the promises of God by faith alone — as it is an inheritance to us in Christ, and not as the reward of our holy consecrated life or our works. If we get entangled in law again, seeking rewards according to our good and bad works, we will be cast away if we fail to meet the demands of the law. We should, therefore, seek inheritance and eternal life as a free gift of God as is expected for the heirs.
The Three Visitors (Gen 18-20)
Then in Gen 18, we read three guests visit Abraham. God (Yahweh) appears in human form(Theophany) and momentarily tabernacles with Abraham. This is one of few occasions in scriptures, where God appeared in all three forms, simultaneously (at the same time). A parallel event took place at the baptism of Jesus, – where God spoke out of heaven, Jesus was in rivers of Jordan, and Holy Ghost descended in the form of a dove. We all know how the story of three visitors of Abraham progresses ahead, and how Abraham’s hospitality pleased the three guests. Visitors mention the purpose of their visit is to bring judgment on the land of Sodom (Gen 18:17-21). God says should I hide from Abraham that which I am to do. So Yahweh reveals his plan and we see Abraham interceding for the wicked land (v22-33). While the two communes, the other two visitors continue their journey to the land of Sodom to bring judgment (Gen 18:22). We further see that Lot welcomes the messengers, but the people of the land of Sodom, aren’t hospitable. The two angels then make the people of the land as blind. They preserve righteous lot and pour vengeance on the ungodly world.
When Jesus took human form and visited people of Israel, many washed his feet and were hospitable to him (Simon, Martha Mary, Zacchaeus etc), but many cities received him not. Jesus condemned the cities which received him not, saying “Woe to Chorazin…. woe to Bethsaida….., woe to Capernaum.., if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for thee (Matt 11:20-24).” Similar to the purpose mentioned by visitors, i.e. to bring judgment on the land of Sodom, Jesus said, “For judgment, I have come into this world.” Then like the two messengers made the people of Sodom blind (Gen 19:11), Jesus said, “I am come…. that they which see not, might see; and that they which see, might be made blind (John 9:39).” As Abraham interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 18:22-33), saying “Will thou destroy righteous with the wicked… perhaps if there be fifty… perhaps if there be forty… perhaps if there be ten.. will thou destroy it?” so does Christ, sitting at the right hand of God, intercedes for perishing world (see Gen 18:22-33, Heb 7:25). As the intercession of Abraham saved Lot from getting perished, so will intercession of Christ save us from eternal damnation! Here is the summary below.
|Guests visit Abraham, Lot||New Testament Parallel|
|The three guests||Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit|
|Abraham and Lot showed charity and hospitality, but men of Sodom did not receive triune God||Few were hospitable to Jesus, but many cities (Capernaum and Bethsaida), received him not|
|Abraham in the role of intercessor||Jesus is our mediator and intercessor on the right hand of God|
|Lot||New Testament Believer|
|Lived in wicked Sodom and Gomorrah||We live in this wicked world|
|All night, angels and Lot’s family faced pressure and threatening by men of Sodom||Until the day dawns, there is persecution for the church|
|Cities destroyed with fire and brimstone||This Wicked world will destroy by fire (2 Pet 3:10)|
|Lot’s wife looked back and was not fit for escape||Disciples (followers of Christ) who look back after laying their hands on the plough, are not fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62)|
The phrase “looking back” in Luke 9:62 is intentionally used to remind readers of Lot’s wife. Jesus said, no man putting his hand on plough ….LOOKING BACK… is fit for the kingdom of God. Jesus used this phrase to remind us of words of Angels to Lot’s family – “..Look not behind thee… (Gen 19:17).” But Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt (Gen 19:17, 26). Many times TPM pastors interpret Luke 9:62 as those who leave TPM ministry will fall directly to hell from Zion. However, the right interpretation is spoken in the context of Genesis and should be seen in the right perspective. The meaning of Jesus’ statement was that if any of his disciple (the word disciple means followers of Christ), has shown hospitality to him and hearkened his warning to escape from the wrath of God, looks back for obtaining material blessings of this world like job, money, lands, houses, after having left it, he is not fit for kingdom of God. This in no way means one cannot serve God in any other organization other than TPM. Jesus uses the Lot’s wife’s turning again in Luke 17:31-32. He says, “if any man is on the rooftop, let him not return back to his home to take the worldly things. Remember Lot’s wife (Luke 17:31-32).” This again is applicable to all followers of Christ and in no way means one cannot serve God in any organization other than TPM.
Note 2 (for your research):
The phrase “yet so as by fire” in I Corinthians 3:15 may or may not allude to Lot being saved with fire. In I Corinthians 3:14-15, Paul says, if any man’s work abides, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss. But he himself shall be saved YET SO AS BY FIRE. Commentators think that Paul used it in reference to Malachi 3:2-3 (see also Rev 3:18). However it is my instinct, and I may be wrong, that the phrase used by Apostle Paul may allude to Lot being saved from fire, and his work which he built in Sodom, which was his home, his vineyard if it was, and all the property which he build, was destroyed in fire. Yet he was saved as by fire. (See also Amos 4:11; Zech 3:2-5; Jude 1:23; Lev 13:47-59; Lev 14:47; Isa 64:6; Rev 3:4)! This (Note 2) is for your meditation and further research.
Lot’s daughters – mothers of abominable nations (Gen 19:30-38)
Next, we are told that Lot, along with his two daughters, escaped to a mountain and lived in a cave in seclusion. His wife had become a pillar of Salt. Husbands of his daughters did not believe Lot and preferred to stay in Sodom and were probably destroyed (Gen 19:12, 14). Being saved from destruction, Lot along with his two daughters dwelt in the hole of rock (cave – cf. Ex 33:22, Isa 2:21). However the two sisters committed incest in that rock, and out of them came Moabites and Ammonites (Gen 19:37-38).
God made Lot escape the filth of Sodom and Gomorrah. However, Lot’s daughters committed the worst sins than what they had escaped earlier. They seemed to have returned to the filth which they left behind in Sodom (cf. 2 Pet 2:20). Apostasy or backsliding in scriptures is mostly represented as whoredom. Just like the woman in revelation 17 is the mother of Harlots and Abominations (Rev 17:5), so did Lot’s daughters became the mothers of Moabites and Ammonites, the idolatrous nations, worshipping other gods (which is fornication in the sight of God – see the book of Hosea). As the mother of harlots in Revelation 17 is drunk with the blood of the saints, so Moabites and ammonites did much harm to Israelites (cf. Number 25:1-3, Deut 23:3-4, Joshua 24:9, Jud 3:12-14, Zephaniah 2:8-9 ). Any backsliding on our part and getting us back under the slavery of law is also the same as returning to place from where we were redeemed. So pay heed that you don’t backslide and become part of an apostate church which brings you back in the slavery of laws, rules and regulations (like Roman Catholic and TPM churches), from which we were redeemed by Christ (Gal 5:1). Here is the summary.
|Lot’s daughter||Apostate Church (TPM and likes)|
|Returned to sins of Sodom which they left earlier||Backslidden, fallen, entangled again under the yoke (Acts 15:10)|
|Committed incest (Gen 19)||Commits whoredom (Rev 17:2)|
|Mothers of the idolatrous nations (Moabites & Ammonites)||Mother of Harlots & abomination (Rev 17:5)|
|Did much harm to Israel ( Num 25:1-3, Josh 24:9)||Drunk with the blood of the saints (Rev 17:6)|