Grace Bible Church
The Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 030412
Nehemiah. Part 11.
A tour of the walls of Jerusalem with Nehemiah
So far in our study we have seen in detail:
1. The Sheep Gate revealing the cross of Christ.
2. The Fish Gate revealing the doctrine of evangelism.
3. The Old Gate, the way of faith.
4. The Valley Gate, the gate of suffering.
Since we are noting the Valley Gate of suffering I have decided to look at the Valley Gate of suffering from passages in the Old Testament that deal with suffering from the Jewish point of view rather than from the Church-age. First of all, we begin with the first Jew, Abraham. God had a plan for Abraham but as long as Abraham stuck with his father and his family, he was delayed in fulfilling the will of God. The will of God for the family is found in such passages as:
MAT 10:34-39, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter‑in‑law against her mother‑in‑law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it.
In effect, Abraham had to choose between his father, whom he loved dearly, and the will of God. At the beginning he loved his father more than the will of God. Definitely a challenge in the realm of suffering. You must decide in your life whether you love the will of God and the word of God more than anything else in life.
GEN 11:27, Now these are the records of the generations of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran became the father of Lot.
This is a very close nit family, but they’re going to be split up. They’re going to be split up by divine action. They refuse to separate, so God will bring in situations to divide them.
GEN 11:28, And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans.
Here is the beginning of the splitting up of the family so that the positive ones can grow spiritually and the negative ones can be dealt with by discipline or by death, which ever the case may be. In this case a death was necessary in order to break up part of the family. This family was apparently very close. And therefore there’s the over-ruling will of God in order to separate this family so that a new race might be started and that Abraham would reach super-grace and glorify God.
Beginning in verse 29, we are now getting ready to move out of Ur, but we can’t move out until first of all we get married, so in verse 29 before Abraham can be taken out of Ur we first of all have to have some weddings.
GEN 11:29, And Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai;
The verb, the qal imperfect of laqach means that they selected these women and they were aggressive in their wooing, and they persuaded them and therefore two weddings took place. Both Abram and Nahor took wives for themselves.
Sarai’s name means, contentious, a fighter, a domineering one. We think of men many times like this but here is a woman who was a fighter. Ten years younger than Abraham, Sarah was his half sister; they had the same father but different mothers according to GEN 20:12. She was a ravishing and stunning woman because when you study her you find out that it takes two and sometimes three Hebrew words to describe her beauty. Even at the age of 65, she is para meodh, in the Hebrew this means extremely beautiful. She had maximum beauty, the epitome of feminine magnificence after 65.
Abram married a nagging woman which was part of his suffering. You might wonder why and the answer to that is simple, he was carried away by her great beauty. And he saw her great beauty probably more than anyone else because she was his half-sister. She was one of the most beautiful women of the ancient world. Living at home under the authority of his father Terah, Abram apparently never had the full impact of her personality until after marriage. She was a very petty woman and quite a nag, but she did make God’s hall of fame. She starts very poorly and ends very well. In fact, the apostle Peter cited Sarah as an example of the holy women who trusted in God, possessed inward spiritual beauty, and were submissive to their husbands, 1PE 3:5‑6.
We have studied the dripping faucet and nagging passages from the book of Proverbs before so we don’t have to spend a lot of time with it. But it is an occupational hazard with many women.
PRO 27:15, A constant dripping on a day of steady rain And a contentious woman are alike;
PRO 19:13, A foolish son is destruction to his father, And the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping.
PRO 21:9, It is better to live in a corner of a roof, Than in a mansion shared with a nagging woman.
PRO 21:19, It is better to live in a desert land, Than with a contentious and nagging woman.
Sarah was beautiful but she was a nag! And she almost nagged Abraham to death! And believe me, it was a part of Abraham’s suffering. And anytime a woman can change a man through nagging it is the end of the line for the man. He becomes weak and wimpy. Beauty is found first in the woman in their overt behavior and then their appearance. The root of all female beauty and where it exists is in the soul. 1PE 3:3, And let not your adornment be merely external‑‑ braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;
For a long time Sarah had overt beauty but no inner beauty. She was full of arrogance, jealousy, hatred, bitterness, and most of all, revenge. All of this is illustrated in the way that she will deal with Hagar, the Egyptian slave girl. She became very jealous and vindictive. However, through perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine, she acquired both spiritual maturity and inner beauty!
Before we can examine more of the early suffering of Abraham and learn some doctrinal principles from Abraham, we must establish something that is revealed to us in the book of Acts 7 verses 1-8. When God first talked to Abram or Abraham He talked to him in Ur. He gave him GEN 12:1-3, in Ur.
GEN 12:1-3, Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Why is that so important? Because God told him to separate from his family in Ur and Abraham did not. He left Ur but he did not split off from his family. And that my friends ended up with the believer going through the Valley Gate of suffering. God told Abraham to leave his family and he didn’t leave his family. And a half separation is no separation. He separated geographically but he did not separate from his family. And that’s why when he separated from Ur he didn’t get to the right place. And that’s why when GEN 11:31, And Terah took Abram his son that’s all wrong because the Lord Jesus Christ said leave your family and he didn’t leave his family and he got into a lot of trouble because he didn’t leave his family.\
He ended up in reversionism. So GEN 12:1-3, was spoken to Abram while he was in Ur not Haran. While Abram was in Haran there was no divine revelation. There never is any divine revelation in Haran because Haran represents reversionism or apostasy or backsliding. It is the place of a dried up spiritual life. A dried up spiritual place or life does not have the divine timing of the proper and accurate doctrinal information available when the spiritual life is dried up. So in response to the command of Jesus Christ Abram did not separate from his family and that’s why we read in verse 31, GEN 11:31, And Terah took Abram his son,
You see Terah is still in charge! He is the head of the family, after all he is the father, and he should be in charge of the family when it’s together! However, Abram should have left and been in charge of his own family.
GEN 11:31, And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter‑in‑law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there.
Now, the Lord knew that Abram needed to be separated from his father and that he had to get out from his father’s authority. And the Lord has said in effect, You have to get out from your father’s authority, no matter how much you love him, he’s holding you back, he’s the high priest to the moon God. So Abrahams father is an idolater, an unbeliever, and he’s never going to change his mind,
Remember that when you are under someone’s authority, especially in the teaching realm, you will begin to think like they do and act as they do. And frankly there’s nothing more miserable than a dried up spiritual life. That’s where legalism came from. You look at those legalistic believers, they’re not happy. They’re always gossiping, judging, saying unkind things about others, presuming, thinking evil, criticizing, why? Because they have a dried up spiritual life.