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Saturday, November 26 2011
Don't Look Back
Abraham was born in Ur Of The Chaldees, in what is today Iraq. It was the area where human civilization began again after the flood, in a lush area of Mesopotamia, which means "between the rivers" i.e. the Tigris and the Euphrates. Everywhere away from Babylon was regarded as uncivilized wilderness. But it was nevertheless "Babylon"; despite its beauty, it was an idolatrous place that was built by man, not by the LORD. And so it was that the LORD told Abraham to leave it all behind him.
"12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country [see The Journey From Ur Of The Chaldees], and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 12:1-3 KJV)
Abraham obeyed the LORD (i.e. Jesus Christ - see The LORD And The Two Angels). Abraham never looked back because he had faith in God's promise.
"11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." (Hebrews 11:8-10 KJV)
Abraham was also given a prophecy about an exodus that his descendants would make - not out of Ur, but out of Egypt.
"15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 15:14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance." (Genesis 15:13-14 KJV)
"Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God"
The Israelites entered Egypt after the death of Abraham, in the time of Abraham's grandson Jacob - who the LORD renamed as Israel (see Why Did They Go To Goshen?).
"46:26 All the souls [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?] that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were threescore and six; 46:27 And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten." (Genesis 46:26-27 KJV)
The Israelites were settled in a rich part of Egypt where they prospered greatly for most of the next four centuries.
"47:11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 47:12 And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread, according to their families." (Genesis 47:11-12 KJV)
The people of Israel prospered so much that they grew from a mere family of about seventy people into a powerful nation within Egypt - so powerful that a later Pharaoh began to fear them. Hence the reason that the Israelites began to be oppressed (see The River Of Moses):
"1:6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. 1:7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. 1:8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. 1:9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: 1:10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land." (Exodus 1:6-10 KJV)
By the time of the Exodus, the Israelites weren't thinking of going home to Israel; they regarded the Exodus as leaving home in Egypt (they had by that time been born in Egypt for four centuries). The failure of the adults of the Exodus to reach the promised land (see A Journey Without A Destination), even as they were about to enter it ("wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land") was because they were unable to stop looking back to their slavery to the political and religious system that they had been brainwashed into thinking themselves as being a part of ("let us return into Egypt").
"14:1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 14:2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 14:3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? 14:4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
Coming "out of the world" isn't merely a matter of geography (just as it actually wasn't in the time of Abraham or the Exodus either - see Milk and Honey). It's a matter of never "looking back" after repentance has begun.
"2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." (2 Peter 2:20-22 KJV)
Fact Finder: (a) What happened to Lot's wife after she had been saved out of Sodom? (b) Where is the spiritual Babylon that we must come out of today?
This Day In History, November 26
43 BC: The "Second Triumvirate" was formed by Octavian (who later became Caesar Augustus), Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Mark Antony (see The Politics Of Rome and Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire).
1688: Louis XIV of France declared war on the Netherlands.
1703: The Great Channel Storm devastated Britain, flooding the Thames and Severn rivers. Up to 8,000 people were killed. The Royal Navy lost 15 warships.
1778: Captain Cook discovered the Sandwich Islands.
1914: The British battleship Bulwark, carrying 750 men, blew up as it was loading ammunition. Only 12 survived.
1922: Archaeologist Howard Carter and his sponsor, the Earl of Carnarvon, became the first 2 people in 3,000 years to see inside the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun. Uncovered near Luxor, Egypt, it had been spared the fate of many tombs which had been pillaged by grave robbers.
1938: Poland signed a non-aggression pact with Russia to protect against a German invasion. Within a year, Poland was invaded by both Germany and Russia.
1939: James Naismith, the Canadian inventor of basketball, died.
1940: Occupying Nazi troops began sealing off the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw, Poland, imprisoning its 400,000 inhabitants.
1949: India became a sovereign republic.
1970: At Manila airport, Pope Paul VI was attacked with a dagger by a Bolivian artist dressed as a priest. He was unhurt.
1979: Oil deposits estimated to be as great as that found in the Middle East were discovered in Venezuela.
1988: The U.S. government, claiming the possibility of terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens, denied Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's request for a diplomatic visa so that he could address a session of the United Nations in New York.
2003: The supersonic Concorde made its final flight, over Bristol, England.