Monthly Archives: February 2017


The birth of a child usually brings great joy. When it was told Abraham that he would have a son in his advanced age of one-hundred years, Abraham fell on his face and laughed (Gen. 17:17). Sarah laughed as well at the thought that she and Abraham would have a child, being “well stricken in age” (Gen. 18:11-15). At this time, her laughter must have been tinged with doubt for she was reproved for it. But when Isaac was actually born, Sarah stated “God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear me shall laugh with me” (Gen. 21:6). In Isaac, we all laugh with joy. It is no wonder that the name “Isaac” means “laughter.”

The joy at the birth of Isaac was partly because Isaac was a child of promise. God had promised Abraham many years before that he would make a great nation of him (Gen 12:1,2). When children seemed to be a long-time coming, Abraham cried to God, “To me Thou hast given no seed” (Gen. 15:3). However, God assured him that one born from his own bowels would be his heir and through him all nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 15:4). He also promised him that his offspring would be as many as the stars in the sky and the sand on the shore. God could cause even a dead womb to bring forth life (Rom. 4:18-21)

Just as Isaac was a child of promise, he was also a type of the Christ. When God promised that one was coming who would bless all nations, ultimately this was not Isaac. Before Abraham, God had promised Eve that her seed would crush the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15). To the ancient patriarch Job God has promised a Redeemer Who would stand upon the earth in the latter days (Job 19:25). In fulfillment of these and all other Old Testament prophecies, Jesus came as our Redeemer (Gal. 3:13; 4:15; Rom. 11:26; Is. 59:20). Indeed, Jesus was truly the seed promised to Abraham (Gal. 3:16).

Isaac’s life once and again demonstrated the kind of faith his father had demonstrated. With the exception of Isaac’s lie to Abimelech about his relationship with his wife, which was, in itself, reflective of his father’s character, Isaac lived an exemplary life. Isaac’s life was:

“So quiet and unenergetic, that his whole life was spent in the circle of a few miles; so guileless, that he lets Jacob overreach him rather than disbelieve his assurance; so tender, that his mother’s death was the poignant sorrow of years…so patient and gentle, that peace with his neighbors was dearer than even such a coveted possession as a well of living water dug by his own men; so grandly obedient, that he put his life at his father’s disposal; so firm in his reliance on God, that his greatest concern through life was to honour the Divine promise given to his race…” (Cunningham Geike, Hours With The Bible, p. 378).

For Abraham, however, the laughter undoubtedly turned to sorrow when God commanded him to sacrifice of his son, his only son, Isaac (Gen. 22:2). Isaac surely must have been aware that something was amiss when he and his father went off to sacrifice to God but took no offering (Gen. 22:7). Isaac was probably now at least twenty years of age. When he finally realized that he would be the sacrifice, did he struggle? Did he run in fear? Did he resist in any way? The Bible does not give the details but it appears that he submitted to his father to be offered as the offering, and, in doing so, he demonstrated a faith that rivaled his father’s!

How much did Isaac know of the seed promise given to Abraham? Surely Abraham must have spoken of this to Sarah and Isaac. We do know that immediately after Abraham’s death, God repeats the promise He had given to Abraham to Isaac (Gen. 26:1-4). It doesn’t seem to be news to Isaac that he would be given this promise. It seems possible, and perhaps even likely, then, that Abraham would have revealed this promise to his wife and son. Which makes Isaac’s role in being offered by his father all the more remarkable. If Isaac was aware, then we can assume that he was a willing participant in this sacrifice.

If the Angel of the Lord had not intervened, Abraham would have delivered the death blow. There was no doubt in God’s mind that Abraham would have gone through with it (Gen. 22:11,12). Evidently, Abraham was able to offer his son because he believed that God would raise him up if he were indeed killed in order to fulfill the promise God gave to him (Heb. 11:18; Gen. 22:5). If Abraham was certain of this because of the promise, and Isaac knew of the promise, then mustn’t Isaac’s faith have been equally strong? To knowingly face going to the slaughter and still go requires remarkable trust in God.

Our Lord came into this world knowing that He would go to the cross (Matt. 20:28). He knew that He must be about His Father’s business from the start (Luke 2:49). Yet He gave Himself willingly to save us (Rom. 5:6-8). Just as Isaac, Abraham’s only son, carried the wood for the sacrifice to the hill God had appointed (Gen. 22:2,6), Our Lord, the Only-Begotten of the Father, carried the cross to the Golgotha (John 19:17). And as Abraham received Isaac back to life again after three days (Gen. 22:4), in a figure (Heb. 11:18), so the Lord was victoriously raised after three days (Matt. 17:23; 27:64; Luke 24:46).

Rejoice evermore (I Thess. 5:16)!

Eric L. Padgett


Sarah was an uncommonly beautiful woman married to a rich man who traveled the world (13:2). Even at the age of sixty-five, Sarah was apparently attractive enough that Abraham worried Pharaoh would be so smitten of her beauty that he would take her for his own and kill Abraham (Gen. 12:11). Fragments of ancient stories that survive to this day, relating similar events, bear out Abraham’s fears as well founded. Nor did Sarah’s beauty leave her with time, for when she was ninety-nine years old, Abimelech, king of Gerar, similarly was smitten by her beauty and “took her” (Gen. 20:1). However, God providentially protected Sarah from committing any transgression (Gen. 12:19; 20:6).

In both instances, Sarah unfortunately agreed to Abraham’s sinful request to lie about their relationship. Abraham’s motive was fear for his own life and his lie betrayed a weakness (Gen. 12:13). Sarah’s motive can only have been that to please her husband and trust in God for there was nothing good in this for her. Even if she had not agreed, she still might have been taken by force and if she was found out she might have been killed for lying to the Pharaoh.

To illustrate the principle of the wife being in subjection to her husband, Peter alludes to the fact that Sarah submitted herself to Abraham, calling him “lord” (I Pet. 3:6). There is nothing in the Bible, however, that would vindicate this lie, even if it was only a half truth (Sarah being his sister as well as his wife – Gen. 20:12). While there was no direct condemnation of the lie, everything we know about God and His word reveals that purposely not revealing the pertinent information constituted a lie. Abraham and Sarah’s time in Egypt was a low point in their life. Afterward, they both headed back to Bethel and to the altar which Abraham had built to call again on the name of the Lord (Gen. 13:4).

While Sarah excelled in beauty, she lacked in another womanly area: she was barren; she had no child (Gen. 11:30). Even today this is a curse to most women, but in that age it meant much more, for Abraham had no heir to carry on his heritage except a foreigner, a Damascene, named Eliezer, a steward (Gen. 15:2,3). How this must have hurt Sarah, who, as we have seen, wanted to please her lord, and who must have been aware of the promise given to Abraham by God, that through him should all the nations of the earth be blessed (Gen. 12:11,2).

Was it the pressure of having no child and knowing the promise of God to Abraham that drove Sarah to conceive an idea whereby Abraham could have a son of his own loins? In the very next chapter, after Abraham cried to God in despair that he had no heir, Sarah suggested to Abraham that he take her handmaid, Hagar, an Egyptian, to conceive an heir (Gen. 16:1,2). Is it not ironic that in Egypt Sarah was almost taken by the Egyptian Pharaoh to wife (Gen. 12:19) and now Abraham has taken an Egyptian to be his wife (Gen. 16:3)?

But Sarah’s plan to either circumvent God’s plan or, in her mind, help it along, backfired. This is forever and always the case. Whenever man deigns to help God, or supplant God’s will with his own in hopes of making things right, it is doomed to miserable and complete failure (Prov. 14:12). Centuries of conflict have resulted from Sarah’s “good intentions.” But God had not forgotten His promise to Abraham twenty-four years earlier and was going to fulfill it in His own good time and way.

When informed by the Lord that she was going to bear a son the next year, Sarah laughed (Gen. 18:9-15). Abraham also laughed when he was told this (Gen. 17:15-17). They were beyond the age of child-bearing and the idea seemed impossible. In response to her laugh, the Lord asked Sarah, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14). The answer, of course, is no and apparently both Abraham and Sarah believed this for Paul states that “through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised” (Heb. 11:11). Sarah judged God faithful, demonstrating her own faith.

When conveying the superiority of the New Covenant to the first century Judaizers, Paul, using their methods of interpretation, represented Sarah allegorically as the New Covenant (Gal. 4:24). Hagar and Ishmael represented Mt. Sinai and the Old Covenant that was in bondage and was after the flesh (Gal. 4:23,25). But Isaac’s birth was by the promise of God. He was born after the freewoman, Sarah, and we, like him, are children of the promise. “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all” (Gal. 4:26).

Eric L. Padgett


Archeology shows that Ur was as advanced a city as there was in the ancient world. It had a sewage-waste disposal system, multiple story housing, large streets, its women wore wigs and had compacts, its children went to schools, they had libraries and many of the inhabitants there were wealthy. On the darker side, they also worshiped various false gods. Terah, Abraham’s own father, apparently worshiped other gods (Josh. 24:2) and, if you can trust Jewish tradition, was a maker of these idols. This was the environment from which Abraham came.

Abraham was called by God to leave his home and go to a land that He would show him, the promised land (Gen. 12:1,2; Acts 7:1-4). It must have taken great faith for Abraham to venture on this journey, leave the land of his nativity, and all his kindred and his father’s house to travel to a foreign land, a destination as yet unknown (Heb. 11:8). Paul said he embarked on this journey because, in part, he sought a city which had foundations whose builder and maker was God (Heb. 11:9).

Though we cannot know the whole story, it is, perhaps, a testimony to Abraham’s faith and trustworthiness, that his father also left those environs. Terah was well advanced in age at this time and the travel would have taken its toll on such a man. In fact, he did not complete the journey but died in Haran (Gen. 11:2). But I like to think–though I have no proof–that maybe Terah gave up his false gods and worshiped Jehovah in the end through Abraham’s influence.

Abraham stands out in Biblical history as the seminal figure of the Jews. The Jews would say, “Abraham is our father” (John 8:39). They would ask Jesus, “Art Thou greater than our father Abraham?” (John 8:53). Even though Abraham was a great man, and even though he was the father of his people, John the baptizer noted that trusting in their Abrahamic descent was foolish for “God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matthew 3:9). It wasn’t Abraham’s genes that made him great and being his descendants did not provide an automatic entrance into heaven.

The one thing that stands out about Abraham and is noted by inspired, Biblical authors is his faith. When God promised him that one that would proceed out of his own bowels would be his heir, Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness (Gen. 15:1-6). Twice this passage is quoted by Paul to show that salvation does not come from keeping the works of the Law of Moses–Abraham preceded the law by 430 years (Gal. 3:17)–and it is quoted by James to show that faith without works is dead (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23).

Abraham believed God, but he wasn’t the first or the last to do so. What, then, makes his faith so notable? First, he is the one to whom the seed promise was first made (cf. Is. 51:2 – Eve was given a seed promise but it was her transgression that precipitated it – Gen. 3:15). Second, Abraham’s obedience earned him the appellation the “friend of God” (II Chron.20:7; Is. 41:8). It is said that the Lord spoke to Abraham as one speaks to a friend (Ex. 33:11). Third, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness” (Romans 4:20-22). Fourth, it was in Abraham’s seed that all the nations of the earth were to be blessed (Gen. 12:1,2).

While the Jews trusted in their fleshly descent from Abraham, it was never God’s intention to make that the determining factor in reconciling man back to Himself. Paul noted that, under the New Covenant, a person was not a Jew which was one outwardly, but he was a Jew which had received the circumcision of the heart (Rom. 2:28,29). This is a circumcision made without hands, “in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God” (Col. 2:12). Today, the Lord’s church is spiritual Israel (Gal. 6:15,16).

Abraham was the friend of God because he believed and obeyed the will of God (James 2:21-24). Today, through Jesus Christ, we can be called the friends of God when we obey the Lord’s commands (John 15:14, 15). “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Galatians 3:6-9).

“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:35-39).

Eric L. Padgett


Job was an extraordinary man. He lived very early in the history of the world and yet he still, at this late date, stands as one of the greatest examples of faith in God. He is described as “perfect and upright, one that feared God and eschewed evil” (1:1). Job continually sacrificed and prayed for his children lest they had “sinned and cursed God in their heart” (1:5). And even after he had suffered just about as much as one individual can stand, the Bible tells us that Job, in all this, “sinned not nor charged God foolishly” (1:22; 2:10).

Though Job never completely understood it, at least at the time of his trial, the adversary of all men was especially focused on breaking him. Anytime anyone is following God and paving a path to Heaven, the enemy is always intent on destroying him (I Pet. 5:7). For example, a messenger of satan was sent to buffet Paul (II Cor. 12:7). Jesus said satan had desired to have Peter and sift him as wheat (Luke 22:31). And if satan wanted these men, surely he wants us, too (II Cor. 2:11). Let us learn to resist him so that he flees from us (James 4:7).

One of the great truths that comes out of the Book of Job is the answer to the question, “Will a man serve God for nought (1:9)?” This was asked by the adversary and impugned God’s character as well as man’s. It impugned God’s character because it suggests that God can only receive adoration through bribes. In other words, as long as God blesses man, man will worship God. But Job proved this wrong, worshiping God even in his affliction. It impugned man’s character because it suggests man is only interested in God so long as he blesses us. Again, Job proved this false when he submitted to God even before receiving an answer to his question or being ultimately blessed.

The accusation was made against God that He put a hedge around Job to protect him from evil (Job 1:10). Actually, both good and evil befall all men (Matt. 5:45). On the other hand, the truth is, God does listen to the cries of His children (I Pet. 3:12) and He does in His Providence minister to His children’s needs (Heb. 1:14). Otherwise, what is the value of prayer?

Job’s friends were never a help to him. They falsely accused Job of having some terrible, secret sin. Eliphaz asked, “Whoever perished being innocent?” (4:9). Bildad said, “Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man” (8:20). Zophar proudly exclaimed, “Know therefore that God exacteth less of thee than thine iniquity deserveth” (11:6). Young Elihu was also upset because, he said, Job justified himself rather than God (32:2). And while Job was reproved of God, God especially reproved these friends of Job because, said God, “Ye have not spoken of Me the thing which is right, as My servant Job hath” (42:7). Bad theology leads to bad actions.

Also, while Job had questions for God, God finally had some questions for Job. These were questions that Job could not answer. They are questions that none of us can answer. The point was and is that there are things going on that man does not understand. How can a finite mind such as ours understand the infinite wisdom of an eternal and all powerful and omniscient God?

Job never received from God the answer to his questions about his suffering that he wanted (or that completely satisfies us). Job was, from all this, to understand that he was to trust in the Lord with all his heart and lean not unto his own understanding. This is a good lesson for us to learn. The Biblical answer to the question of man’s suffering is a multifaceted one. It is complex, but not incomprehensible.

Finally, one of the great promises of the Book of Job is that there is hope even through all the suffering. Job asked the question, “If a man die shall he live again?” (14:14). Even though Job’s life occurred very early on in the history of man, the Book of Job sets forth the hope in the resurrection. Job stated: “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (19:25-27).

What a blessed hope!

Eric L. Padgett