started the Great Work in Malkuth where you first began climbing the Tree of
Life in an effort to overcome the World. You continued up the Tree of Life on
the path connecting Malkuth and Yesod, which represents overcoming the World
through the Gospel of Christ. At the sphere of Yesod you learned about the Holy
Spirit and that you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at baptism; who
will live in you and help you purify your soul on the rest of your journey. On
this path between Yesod to Tiphareth you continue this work. The tarot card
associated with this path is the Temperance card.
The Temperance card represents self-control or discipline. The image on the Temperance card is that of an angel with one foot in the water and one foot out of the water. This signifies the time right after baptism, and is where you begin your life in Christ. The angel is holding two cups and sifting the water between them. Neither cup is too full. The angel is balancing the water between the two cups. This represents the need for moderation in your life, or the need for self-discipline as you learn to control your actions and conform your life to the scriptures. The two cups can also be interpreted as representing the Cup of Christ and the Cup of Devils, which for the rest of your Christian walk you will have to decide between. You will need to make sure that you are making the right choices and drinking from the correct cup.
1 Cornithians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.
Angels are traditionally considered the messengers of God, and above the triangle on the angelís robe is the four-letter name of God (Tetragrammaton) written in Hebrew. The angel of the Temperance tarot card represents guidance from above, and due to the references with baptism can be associated with the Holy Spirit. There is a narrow path on the card, which leads up a mountain to something glowing in the distance. This represents the narrow path of the Lord that you must walk after baptism as you work your way to the Holy City.
Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Walking on the straight and narrow path is the challenge that all reborn Christians face. It is a difficult path to walk. Many people that begin on this path stray from it. This is where self-discipline comes into play. If you find yourself straying from this path, then you need to find your way back onto it. That is what the lesson of this path connecting Tiphareth and Yesod is all about Ė living a life in accordance with the scriptures after you have been baptized into Christ. This path leads to Godís Holy Mountain.
Isaiah 56:7-8 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.
Isaiah 57:13 When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain;
In the above verses Isaiah states that the Lord will gather the Jews and the Gentiles to the Holy Mountain of God. Many will lose their way due to their own vanities, but those who put their trust in the Lord and stay the path will make it to the Holy Mountain.
Daniel 9:16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.
Joel 3:16-17 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.
Jerusalem and Zion are identified as the Holy Mountain of God. Zion is another name for Jerusalem as is the City of David (1 Kings 8:1, 2 Samuel 5:7). Joel 3:16-17 is referring to Armageddon and states that the Lord will be there for his people and will make Jerusalem holy and will not allow strangers (sinners) to pass through. The above verses refer to the New Jerusalem, which is associated with Heaven and the Second Coming of Christ.
Zechariah 8:3 Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.
Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels
Revelations 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Revelations 21:2-4 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
The narrow path on the Temperance tarot card leads to the Holy Mountain of God (Heaven). There will be no more pain, tears, death, or suffering there. To get there you must walk the straight and narrow path of the Lord, which will require discipline while on earth. Both self-discipline and the discipline of the Lord will be involved. Before we get into the discipline of the Lord we will first examine how we are to raise and discipline our own children.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
We are to instruct our children to observe the commandments of God.
Colossians 3:20-21 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Children are to obey their parents in all things, and parents are to be careful not to discourage their children. We are to nurture and discipline our children in order to raise them up to be in subjection to the Lord. Provoking your children to anger or wrath does not mean that you are not to discipline them. A child might be provoked to anger or become discouraged if they witness their parents being hypocrites, or see them coming home drunk every night, or gambling away all of the familyís money. The parents are to set the example for their children to follow.
If they are doing this and raising their children in a loving home, then the children will not be provoked to wrath and will learn from the discipline. As you read this study look at yourself in the place of both the parent and the child. You may have your own children which or to obey you in all things, but you are also a child of God and must obey Him in all things.
Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him
Children need to be disciplined. They are not yet wise enough to understand the decisions they make, and are prone to make back choices. When they do it is their parentís duty to correct them, so that they do not continue to make the same mistakes in the future.
Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
Proverbs 29:17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
If we leave our children to their own devices they will bring us shame, but if we correct them they will be a delight to our souls. When you place yourself in the above verses as Godís child, you can see that if God allowed us to wander too far off the straight and narrow path, it would be hard to find our way back, but if he corrects us right away and we return to a life of obedience to the Lord, His heart would rejoice.
Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
If you do not discipline your children then you are doing them a grave injustice equivalent to hating them. If you truly love your children you would correct them when you need to. Likewise, you should expect to be disciplined by the Lord while you are on the Earth. You will never reach a point of perfection, and you will continue to face challenges and/or adversity when on the Earth in order to continually grow.
Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
You are to discipline your children while there is still hope. Donít let them get so set in their ways that there is no coming back. You need to be strong and remember that it is for their good that you discipline them. Nobody wants to hurt the ones they love, but you must discipline them for their own good.
Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
Your children will not die from being disciplined, and through your correction you can save your children from hell. The Lord disciplines us in the same way. The above example refers to spanking your child, but the idea is that of discipline. Whether it be through grounding your child or having them take a time-out, disciplining your child now will save them from worse things to come.
God does not spank us to discipline us, but the discipline He gives us sometimes stings or affects us on an emotional level. Discipline may seem painful at the time, but it is for our edification and is intended to straighten us up and have us return to the straight and narrow path of the Lord Ė as opposed to the broad path that leads to hell.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
As Christians we are to train our children and provide for them. This is our duty as parents. If we fulfill our responsibilities, our children will follow our instructions when they are older, and we can save their souls from hell. All of the above verses apply to us as parents and as children of God. Now we will look at verses that relate specifically to the discipline of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 8:5-6 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.
Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:
The previous verses state that in the same way that a man corrects his son, God corrects us. We are to keep the commandments of the Lord. The discipline of the Lord is done in our best interest and if we learn from it we will find happiness.
Proverbs 3:11-13 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
Do not be dismayed by the correction of the Lord. It is done out of love for us, and will bring us wisdom, understanding, and happiness.
Hebrews 12:5-7 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Being disciplined by the Lord is proof that He has accepted you as His child. If you did not receive discipline from the Lord then you would not be considered one of His children.
Hebrews 12:9-11 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Relevelations 3:19-21 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also over came.
The discipline of the Lord is for our own good. We may go through hard times, face difficult challenges, and they may seem grievous at the time, but it is proof that we are accepted by God; it will bring us happiness on the earth, and will allow us to be partakers of His holy kingdom to come.
Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Now that you have begun your Christian walk you must present you body as a living sacrifice and live according to the will of God. You are to overcome the world and follow Christ.
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
John 10:27-28 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
The instructions that we are given is that we must follow Christ, and live a life after His teachings according to the scriptures. During our journey we will have to overcome temptations, have our faith tried, and will be disciplined by the Lord. The discipline of the Lord may seem difficult at the time, but God will not allow us to endure more than we can handle and will always provide us with a way out.
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
1 Peter 1:6-7 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
We are instructed to overcome temptations with patience, so that we may be made perfect, wanting nothing, and we will receive honor and glory at the Second Coming of Christ.
1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christís sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
When we suffer trials and temptations on this earth we are sharing in the sufferings of Christ. If we suffer because of our faith, we should rejoice, because it is proof that the spirit of God rests upon us.
2 Peter 1:4-8 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we walk the narrow path of the Lord we are to seek to add virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, righteousness, kindness, and charity to our personal characteristics. These attributes will aid us in producing fruit of the spirit.
Daniel 10:12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
The very moment you set out to understand and discipline yourself before God, He will be there to support you. You will not have to walk the straight and narrow path alone. God will be there to support you, to strengthen you, and to correct you when you start to stray from the path. Except His discipline with joy, knowing that it is for your own good and that He will not give you more then you can handle.
John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
If you are seeking God it is because God has chosen you. If you follow Him, He will not cast you out, and He will accept you into Heaven. All things will work together for the good of those that love God.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Philippians 4:5 In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Go to Christ with your troubles and He will give you rest. Follow Christ, obey the commandments of God, and learn from them. Seek the kingdom of God first and all of your physical needs on earth will also be provided for.
Colossians 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.
God will be with us during our Christian walk, however we will still be disciplined and have trials. No one is perfect, it is a hard path for anyone to walk, but the Lord is faithful and will be with us on our journey. To help you understand further the discipline of the Lord we will examine the lives of Abraham and Peter.
Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Galatians 3:6-9 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.
Abraham is remembered because of his faith, and considered righteous because he believed God. Letís examine Abrahamís faith more closely, and look at the trials that he went through.
Genesis 12:1-5 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: 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: 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. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
Abram (later renamed Abraham) was called by God, and obeyed. He was promised that he would be made into a great nation, that he would be blessed, and that God would curse those who curse him. Abraham brought his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot with him, as well as his servants and possessions. Abraham had faith in God and went where God told him. Now we will look at Abrahamís first trial.
Genesis 12:10-13 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
A famine hit and Abraham had to move to Egypt to survive. God promised to make Abraham into a great nation, but he would be disciplined and face some trials before that happened. His first trial was the need to travel to Egypt due to a famine that came across the land. Before he got to Egypt Abraham convinced his wife to lie for him and to claim to be his sister, so that the Egyptians would not kill him to take Sarai from him.
Genesis 12:14-16 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
When they made it to Egypt it happened just as Abraham had predicted. Pharaoh wanted Sarai, and because he believed that she was unwed, he bought her from Abraham. This was the first test that Abraham faced after God called him and Abraham failed.
God promised to make Abraham a great nation. God would not be able to make Abraham into a great nation if he were dead. Abraham believed God and left his country, but at the first trying of his faith, out of fear he sold his wife to Pharaoh. Yet God was faithful in His promise to Abraham.
Genesis 12:17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
God was faithful in His promise to Abraham, and He cursed those who would have cursed Abraham. God plagued Pharaoh with great plagues and Pharaoh returned Sarai to Abraham. Everything works to the glory of God. Through Abrahamís weakness God was able to display His faithfulness. How could a God of justice allow someone to lie and profit from it? God used this opportunity to prove that He will make good on His promises.
He blessed Abraham and cursed those that were against him. As far as this event not being fair to Pharaoh that depends on how you look at it. Losing a few servants and some animals does not seem to compare to the justice Pharaoh should have received for routinely murdering travelers and taking their wives as his own.
Genesis 15:4-6 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
God appeared to Abraham again and this time promised him that his offspring shall be as innumerable as the stars. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.
Genesis 16:1-3 Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
Genesis 16:11-12 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
Genesis 16:15 And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
Abraham had a promise from God that his offspring would be as innumerable as the stars, but they became impatient waiting for God to fulfill His promise and Abraham had a child with Saraiís servant girl. Many Arabs claim Ishmael as their forefather to this day. They believe that Ishmael was the firstborn and therefore the true heir of Abraham. Isaac is Abrahamís son through Sarah (Sarai) and is the forefather of Israel.
Isaac is considered as Abrahamís true heir because he is the one that was promised by God, and since Ishmael was the son of a servant he is considered illegitimate and not entitled to the rights of the firstborn son. In Genesis 16:12 the angel of the Lord said that Ishmaelís hand would be against everyone and everyoneís hand will be against him. The Arabs and Jews have been fighting this war for thousands of years. This on going war is the direct result of Abrahamís sin.
When Abraham lied about Sarai being his wife and sold her to Pharaoh he received Hagar as a servant for the price of his wife. It is likely that this is when Abraham and Sarah acquired Hagar as their servant because Hagar was an Egyptian and this was Abrahamís first trip to Egypt. Before that time they lived in Ur of the Chaldees, and Haran in the land of Canaan.
If Abraham had not lied about Sarai being his sister, Hagar would not have been Saraiís maid and the years of conflict and bloodshed that exist between the descendents of the two brothers would have never came to pass. The impatience of Abraham in waiting for God to fulfill His promise is the second time that Abrahamís faith failed. It is a combination of Abraham selling his wife to Pharaoh and him impregnating his wifeís servant girl that resulted in a feud between the Muslims and the Jews that is still going on to this day (Galatians 4:29).
Genesis 17:1-5 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
Genesis 17:15-16 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
Genesis 17:19-21 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
God again appeared to Abraham and clarified His promise to Abraham even further. God changed Abramís name to Abraham, and Saraiís name to Sarah. God tells Abraham that Sarah will be the mother of nations and will give birth to Isaac. Isaac is the son that God will establish His covenant with, and God will give to the descendants of Isaac the Promised Land.
Ishmael will be blessed also and he will become a great nation, but of Ishmaelís line there would be princes, and of Isaacís line there would be kings. Because Abraham became impatient with Godís last promise God was much clearer with this one; Abraham will have a son named Isaac, Sarah will be his mother, and it will take place within the time frame of one year.
Genesis 20:1-7 And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.
God actually spoke to Abraham and promised him that Sarah would have Abrahamís child within the next year, and for a second time Abraham lied, said that Sarah was his sister, and gave her over to another man. God was faithful and protected Abraham again, and withheld King Abimelech from defiling Sarah. God dealt fairly with King Abimelech, and basically told him what was going on and to let Sarah return to her husband. King Abimelech did as God instructed him.
Genesis 21:2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
God fulfilled His promise and Sarah gave birth to Abrahamís son Isaac at the set time that God promised.
Genesis 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
Genesis 22:9-12 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
The Bible doesnít say why God tempted Abraham with the sacrifice of his son Isaac, but it can be surmised that it was to test Abrahamís faith Ė since Abraham allowed his wife to be taken into a Kingís harem for a second time. Abraham had the promise of God that he would live to have a child with Sarah, yet Abraham still feared man over God.
God gave Abraham another chance to prove his faith and this time Abraham passed. Events like these are what can be expected in your Christian walk. You will be tested and sometimes will fail. You will have to deal with the results of your sin, but God will give you another opportunity to make amends. I am not saying that there are an infinite number of second chances, but that if you slip, you can get back up.
Matthew 24:43-44 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
As a Christian you are always called to be ready to meet your maker. Along your path you may stumble, but you need to get right back on the path and be prepared for the coming of the Lord. Now we will examine some areas of the life of the Apostle Peter.
Matthew 16:16-18 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Peter is credited as being the first one to make the good confession, the confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It is a confession of faith, and it is through this confession that John the Baptist stated that God could raise up descendants of Abraham out of stones (Matthew 3:9). Abraham is considered righteous because of his faith, and the good confession is a way of demonstrating your faith in Jesus Christ.
Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Jesus states in Matthew 16:18 that it is upon this rock that he will build His church and Jesus gave Simon the name Peter at this time. The word Peter actually means rock. Some Catholics interpret Matthew 16:18 to mean that Peter would be the one to establish the church, and consider the Catholic Church to be the one true church because Peter is said to have baptized and establish the first Pope of the Catholic Church.
Matthew 26:33-35 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
Peter told Christ that he would die before he would deny Christ, and Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times that night, before the cock crowed. After this Jesus was taken prisoner and would later be crucified. Peter stayed behind but followed those that took Jesus.
Matthew 26:69-75 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
Luke 22:61-62 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
Just as Jesus predicted Peter denied Him three times before the cock crowed. The very man that was the first person to make the good confession was also the first person to deny Christ. Peter stated earlier that he would die before doing so, but when the pressure was on he failed. There is no doubt that Peter loved Jesus and he immediately went out and wept bitterly and repented.
Peter had walked with the Son of God for the past three years; he had witnessed Jesus raise people from the dead (John 11:44), and had even walked on water with Jesus (Matthew 14:28). There is no doubt that Peter knew Jesus was the Son of God, but Peter failed in the situation he was in and denied Him. After Jesusí resurrection He visited the disciples again and gave Peter a chance to redeem himself.
John 21:15-17 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Jesus came to Peter and gave Peter three chances to proclaim his love. This was to make up for the three times that Peter denied Christ. Jesus knew that Peter loved him, and He knew that Peter repented for his mistake, so Jesus gave Peter the opportunity to get back on the right path. However, there are always consequences when we fall away.
John 21:18-19 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
Peter would be given another chance to fulfill the things that he spoke. He did as Christ commanded and followed Him. Peter traveled around preaching the Gospel and eventually would be taken prisoner and executed for it. This time Peter was faithful to his word, he confessed Christ before men and gave his life before he would deny Him.
During our Christian walk we will face trials and temptations, in the same way that Abraham and Peter did. We will suffer, be disciplined, and endure rough times and hardships. Not every trial will have to do with overcoming sin, but they may be normal trials involved in everyday life. The trials could be trouble at work, at home, or in your spiritual life. We must put our faith in God and patiently endure them, knowing that God only disciplines those He loves, and is doing it for our own edification. God will be there with us, He will give us the strength to overcome the trial, He will not ask of us more then we can endure, and He will always give us a means of escape.
These trials and testings that you will endure during your Christian walk are the very reason for your existence. They are the very meaning of life. Think of your life as a big test to see whether you deserve to go to Heaven or to Hell. This is an open book test, because all of the answers to it are contained in the Bible, which you can reference anytime that you please. Your task is to pass the test by purifying your soul, and improving the areas of your life where you are lacking. You are to follow Christ and live your life in accordance with the scriptures.
Some people wonder how a loving God could sentence people to hell for making a few mistakes. The answer is He doesnít. Everyday that a person is alive they are either being tested, or given the opportunity to prepare for the day that they will be tested. You donít go to hell for getting one answer wrong on a test. The test is over your entire lifetime, and if you fail the test for eighty or ninety years it is of no great surprise that you would go to hell.
Today is the day to prepare your soul to meet your maker. Now is your chance to prove yourself. Your Christian walk will take patients and endurance, but it will be worth it in the long run. God actually spoke to Abraham, Peter lived with Christ for three years, but you have something they did not. You have the word of God written down in the Bible outlining how you are to live and what you are supposed to do.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Before we conclude this study we will look at an example of the discipline of the Lord and a trial that someone successfully passed. We will look at the encounter between David and Goliath. Goliath was the champion of the Philistines and was an enormous man that the armies of Israel were afraid to face. Goliath stood in defiance to the armies of the Lord (1 Samuel 17:10) profaning the name of God.
1 Samuel 17:32-37 And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.
David went to King Saul and said that he will defend God and represent his nation against Goliath. Saul told David that he was not capable of fighting with Goliath, because Goliath was a man of war and David was just a boy. David had faith in God and told Saul how in the past he had killed both a lion and a bear. Davidís argument convinced Saul to allowed him to represent the entire army of Israel.
1 Samuel 17:42-50 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field. Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands. And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
David had faith in the Lord and bravely walked into the middle of the two armies to face a veteran warrior much bigger than himself. David slew Goliath with one stone and since a boy was able to destroy the strongest and greatest warrior the Philistines had, the rest of the Philistines ran for their lives.
David found the courage to face Goliath through faith in God, but the Lord had prepared David for this day. God disciplined David earlier in his life by having him successfully face a lion and a bear. God built David up. David learned from the discipline of the Lord and was prepared on the day God called him to meet Goliath. This is why David was considered a man after Godís own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). We need to be patient during our trials, have faith, and trust in God.