In this parashah, we read about the three angels coming to Abraham and telling him that next year Sarah will have a son. They also tell him about their mission to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham pleads for the righteous men in the city (probably thinking about his nephew, Lot) and God allows Abraham to haggle with him, getting God to agree to not destroy the cities if only 10 righteous men are found there.
Well, we know that never happened, and as the angels literally pull Lot and his family away from the place, Lot’s wife looks back and is turned into a pillar of salt.
If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.
Because Lot’s wife is dead, his two daughters decide that they will make sure his lineage doesn’t disappear, so they get him drunk and sleep with him, the oldest the first night and the youngest the second night, each becoming pregnant and bringing forth the kingdoms of the Moabites and the Ammonites.
Later, as Abraham enters the kingdom of Abimelech, we read how he pimped his wife, Sarah, to save his own life. Her true relationship with Abraham was soon discovered and God kept her from being defiled. When Abimelech, the king of Gerar learned of this deception, he asked Abraham why he did such a terrible thing, and Abraham excused his behavior saying he didn’t think anyone there feared God and would kill him to have Sarah as a wife. Abimelech gave Abraham sheep and goats to pay the bride’s price so that Sarah wasn’t shamed, but sent Abraham on his way.
Sarah gives birth to Isaac, as God had promised she would, but when Hagar’s son is found teasing Isaac, Sarah sends Hagar and Ishmael into the desert. God saves them from dying and promises Hagar that Ishmael will also be a great man and father of many nations because he is the son of Abraham.
Chapter 22 is known as The Akedah, the Binding of Isaac, and is considered by most to be a messianic passage indicating how God will sacrifice his own son, Yeshua the Messiah, in the future. The chapter retells the testing of Abraham’s faith in that God demands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only son and the son of the promise. Abraham acts immediately to obey God, and only at the last moment is Abraham’s hand stayed and Isaac saved. A ram is caught in a bush, and Abraham sacrifices the ram instead of Isaac.
The parashah ends with Abraham going to settle in Beersheba.
Here is an interesting thing you may not know: as a memorial to the ram that replaced Isaac, the shofar is usually made from a ram's horn instead of some other clean animal's horn.
Oy gevalt! There is just SO much in here I could spend a year talking about all that we can learn from this one parashah. But don’t worry- I am actually going to keep it short.
I want to talk about the dangers of “reading things” into what is written in the Bible. Too often people want the Bible to mean what they want it to mean, and to get that result they read between the lines, or conclude something that fits into the storyline but isn’t really justified by what is written.
A good example of what I am talking about is in this parashah, in fact, right at the beginning. But first, a quick background story.
When I was in Israel on a 10-day tour in 2016, the guide (who was terrific!) was telling us what the Bible says about each place we visited. As we were driving along one day, we were talking about Abraham being visited by the angels. The guide said that this visitation happened on the third day of Abraham’s circumcision, which is the most painful day. Yet, because Abraham was so humble and obedient, he was willing to get up, despite his pain, and make sure these visitors were treated correctly.
Well, I immediately asked if that was from the Talmud, which Yosi (the guide) confirmed. So this wasn’t a biblical story, or even mentioned at all in the Bible, but some Rabbi, at some time, decided that because the previous chapter ended with the circumcision of Abraham and his household, the visitation must have been right after that event. And, wanting to emphasize the holiness of Abraham, he created this storyline.
Well, we all know that the Bible is not always in chronological order, and even though this Talmudic story makes sense, it is NOT a biblical fact: it is something being read into the storyline from the Bible.
So what’s the problem? Does it really matter if Abe was hurting or not? Overall, no- it isn’t going to change anything if it was true or not, but there is an inherent danger to this sort of activity. When we make something we think might be into something that is, such as Yosi telling this as if it was a factual event from the Bible, then we are flirting with spiritual disaster.
Anyone who has been studying the Bible for a while will know when something someone says is in the Bible, isn’t, and they can correct that person (lovingly, of course.) But if you don’t know the Bible that well, which is the condition most people are in (yes, even Believers), then you can be easily misled. Religion is built on misleading people, and the fact there are so many different religions, each one having a different understanding of the Bible and what God says or doesn’t say and what is allowed and what is not, is proof of how easily people are misled.
At the bottom of my website home page, I quote Hosea, who said his people are destroyed by lack of knowledge.
Even well-meaning people, such as our guide, can mislead others away from the truth in the Bible to what they want the truth to be. I was with 22 other Believers, many of whom had been Born Again Christians for many years, some of whom were actually Ministers, and they didn’t have any idea that this story about Abraham wasn’t from the Bible! That scares the heck out of me…what about you?
So, with all the wonderful things that we can learn from this parashah, I am only going to give this one caveat: know the Bible!
Read the Bible, learn the Bible, study the Bible and be prepared to identify and correct anyone- no matter who that person is- when they teach something not found in the Bible.
You might just be saving a soul from damnation.
Thank you for being here and please subscribe to my website and YouTube channel. While on the website, check out my books: I just published my 4th book, “The Good News About the Messiah for Jews, Debunking the Traditional Lies About the Jewish Messiah”. I believe you will find it to be in line with today’s message because there are so many things people have been taught about Yeshua that are not biblically justified, but taught that way.
That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and Shabbat Shalom!