Living in Abraham's Camp.
Living in Abraham's Camp.
The faith of Abraham is far more, than just a state of mind.
The faith of Abraham is not simply a collection of beliefs, it is also a lifestyle. This article will discuss much of the lifestyle requirements for those of us who wish to live in Abraham's camp by the Abrahamic Hebrew faith.
It is not about receiving gift-wrapped packages of blessings, it is about possibilities! There is work to be done. The ETERNAL gives you the water, but you have to drink it. The ETERNAL gives you the land, but you have to work it. Likewise, this article will not give you the answers. It will however, help you to find the questions. Your prayers, your study, your right relationship with the ETERNAL, by believing what He says, will bring you your answers.
"Living in Abraham's camp" is a lifestyle that is new to many of us. We have all come out of something, some form of religious organization or association. If we are not careful, we will make the mistake of trying to impose the same concepts and ideas of our past associations, in this new lifestyle, but they do not fit in. If we look at the life of Abraham we may draw from it some pointers that you may like to study or seek answers about.
(Genesis 12:1-4) (KJV) 1Now the ETERNAL 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 shew thee: 2And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4So Abram departed, as the ETERNAL had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
This is a series of wonderful promises, that did and will come to pass, because Abraham later proved himself to be totally obedient to the ETERNAL. However, in the beginning Abraham is disobedient. He had been told to leave his relatives, but he takes along Lot. This caused trouble then, and as we shall see, it is still causing trouble now because Lot's descendants, the Moabites and Ammonites, are part of the peoples who oppose the land called Israel today.
The people who were in Abraham's travelling party were aware of those promises. They would have been anxious to bless Abraham by their work and their attitude. They all knew they would participate in the blessing from the ETERNAL. This is a pointer for us today, because as a group (no matter how scattered), we have inherited these promises already. We are truly blessed, and the fact that the ETERNAL is now opening our minds to find this truth, proves that. People who bless us will find that they too, are blessed.
Abraham built altars and called on the ETERNAL by name as he traveled South across the land:
(Genesis 12:7-8) (KJV) 7And the ETERNAL appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the ETERNAL, who appeared unto him. 8And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the ETERNAL, and called upon the name of the ETERNAL.
(Genesis 12:7-8) (LEB) 7And Yahweh appeared to Abram and said, To your offspring I will give this land. And he built an altar there to Yahweh, who had appeared to him. 8And he moved on from there to the hill country, east of Bethel. And he pitched his tent at Bethel on the west, and at Ai on the east. And he built an altar there to Yahweh. And he called on the name of Yahweh.
The land, which Abraham had been promised and which he had traveled a long way to find, was in the midst of a famine:
(Genesis 12:10) (KJV) 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.
This did not make any less of a promised land because the ETERNAL was bringing about a plan to bless Abraham with very great wealth. Sarah, Abraham's wife, was also his half-sister. She is in her seventies now and still absolutely gorgeous because Pharaoh wanted her. (Later, when she is in her nineties Abimalech wanted her for the same reason). The ETERNAL intervenes and Pharaoh pays Abraham in many goods and possessions:
(Genesis 12:11-20) (WEB) 11When he [Abram] had come near to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, "See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman to look at. 12It will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, 'This is his wife.' They will kill me, but they will save you alive. 13Please say that you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that my soul may live because of you. 14When Abram had come into Egypt, Egyptians saw that the woman [Sarai] was very beautiful. 15The princes of Pharaoh saw her, and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. 16He [Pharaoh] dealt well with Abram for her sake. He had sheep, cattle, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels. 17The ETERNAL afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. 18Pharaoh called Abram and said, "What is this that you have done to me? Why didn't you tell me that she was your wife? 19Why did you say, 'She is my sister', so that I took her to be my wife? Now therefore, see your wife, take her, and go your way". 20Pharaoh commanded men concerning him, and they escorted him away with his wife and all that he had.
There are times when challenges face us, no matter how obedient we think we have been. You need to press on, because that is often the way the ETERNAL chooses to pour blessings into your life. He often uses the most unlikely people to do this.
Trouble develops between Lot's people and Abraham's. The land cannot support all these flocks and the locals are not happy, so they separate:
(Genesis 13:8-12) (NKJV) 8So Abram said to Lot, Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. 9Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left. 10And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the ETERNAL destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the ETERNAL, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. 11Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. 12Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.
Here, you see Abraham's attitude. Abraham was the one who was called to the land, but he allowed Lot to choose what appeared to be the best land. Now the contrasts appear, Lot takes the watered land, he wants the easier life and he wants the city life in Sodom. These are not wise choices. On the other hand Abraham takes the open plains of Canaan. The very next thing that happens is really great, because of what it teaches us:
(Genesis 13:14-17) (NKJV) 14And the ETERNAL said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are, northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. 16And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. 17Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.
Lot had to leave so Abraham could be blessed. The ETERNAL is concerned about our associates. You cannot hold onto the past associations or to people whose life choices are not the ETERNAL's choices for you. Then the ETERNAL wants to give Abraham the land but first Abraham has to see it and then he was to walk over it, to claim it.
These are deep and meaningful lessons. When the ETERNAL speaks into your life, do you 'see' it? Do you catch the vision, the possibilities? Then will you walk over it and around it? Will you claim it? Will you now live as if you already have it? Will you thank the ETERNAL for it even before you receive it?
How do you think Abraham felt about the dust? The ETERNAL has given him this picture in his mind's eye about the number of descendants he will have. We now call this 'creative visualization', the ETERNAL calls this talking to his friend Abraham.
The War and the Wine.
A local war developed, and as a result all the wealth of Sodom and Gomorrah was taken, and Lot and all his possessions were taken by the victors:
(Genesis 14:13-16) (KJV) 13And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram. 14And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. 15And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. 16And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.
This is the first time the expression 'Hebrew' (Strong's H5680) is used in the Tanakh. It means from the other side. This could have two meanings, the word comes from the name of Abraham's grandfather 'Eber' (Strong's H5677) and the language he and Abraham spoke. He lived on the other side of the Euphrates River. It may also mean that Abraham is 'different', which is certainly true. Thus, the expression 'the Abrahamic Hebrew faith' by which we walk means we are totally different than all presently known religious thoughts and associations.
Abraham had been preparing for such a time as this. That is why his servants were trained, equipped, and motivated to act immediately. These people lived in the confidence that they were chosen. Not that they were better than anyone else, but that they had accepted more responsibility. They did not simply pray that the ETERNAL would 'look after' Lot, although prayer was in their program, they knew they had to act decisively. We need to be ready to act to support, defend or rescue our extended family of Abraham's Camp.
(Genesis 14:18-20) (ASV) 18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was priest of the SOVEREIGN Most High. 19And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the SOVEREIGN Most High, possessor of heaven and earth: 20and blessed be the SOVEREIGN Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him a tenth of all.
This is a foundational teaching on tithing a tenth of your increase. Malchizedek, who probably was Shem, passes on the blessings of the ETERNAL and also gives thanks to the ETERNAL for this successful outcome.
The king of Sodom then tried to get the people for himself and to let Abraham keep all the possessions:
(Genesis 14:22-24) (AMP) 22But Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have raised my hand and sworn an oath to the ETERNAL SOVEREIGN Most High, the CREATOR and Possessor of heaven and earth, 23that I would not take anything that is yours, from a thread to a sandal strap, so you could not say, I [the King of Sodom] have made Abram rich. 24I will take nothing except what my young men have eaten, and the share of the spoils belonging to the men [my allies] who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share of the spoils.
Abraham wants no dealing with the Sodomite king. He will not allow any opportunity for him to be able to claim that he helped make Abraham rich, that is his loyalty to the ETERNAL. The expression 'Far from me!' is an emphatic 'Get outta here!' Abraham will only take the food the young men used during the expedition and will allow his allies to take their share, which was customary.
The Covenant and the Children.
Abraham, apparently forgetting that the ETERNAL had promised that his descendants would be as the dust on the ground gets into a conversation with the ETERNAL about this. The ETERNAL then gives Abraham a more dramatic picture. His descendants will be as numerous as the stars. Every night after this Abraham will see this sign in the sky to remind him of the words of the ETERNAL:
(Genesis 15:5) (NKJV) Then He brought him outside and said, Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them. And He said to him, So shall your descendants be.
Read all of (Genesis 15), about the establishment of the Covenant. the ETERNAL took time out from being the SOVEREIGN of the Universe, to establish this Covenant, which is still in place today, despite the so-called [New Testament]™ book of deception's instance to the contrary with it's 'you are forgiven if you believe in me*', new covenant lie. The ETERNAL does this for us now, taking time out to bless us and apply all the promises of the Tanakh to our lives.
Abraham and Sarah decide they will help the ETERNAL out with the problem of getting a child. (I do not imagine I am the only other one who has falsely reasoned "If I just do 'thus and so' then, the ETERNAL will be able to 'do this and that'"). They take Hagar, Sarah's servant, as another wife for Abraham and she becomes pregnant. As you may expect, this causes some trouble around the tent. Hagar runs away but is sent back by an angel and gives birth to Ishmael. The Tanakh is not against multiple marriage, particularly in the matter of preserving the family line, but counsels against having to many wives. See the articles: ('The Union Of Man And Woman.', and 'The Union Of Man And Woman, How Sweet It Could Be.').
Fourteen years later the ETERNAL speaks to Abraham to remind him of the Covenant and to expand on it. This makes it very clear, that both the benefits and the obligations apply to us as much now, as they did to Abraham then:
(Genesis 17:7-14) (KJV) 7And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a SOVEREIGN unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their SOVEREIGN. 9And the ETERNAL said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. 10This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
This is a very specific, and non-negotiable requirement. (Verse 14) goes on to say that an uncircumcised man can invalidate his covenant with the ETERNAL, and therefore should be cut off from his people.
Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he circumcised himself and all the males in his camp. It was after this obedience that the ETERNAL announced that Sarah, who was in her nineties, would bear a child. Do you see the pattern here? Obedience to the will of the ETERNAL allows Him to bless you with the things He wants you to have.
Although the Covenant that The Mighty One established with Abraham is to be continued through the, as yet, unborn Isaac; the ETERNAL says He will bless Ishmael because Abraham asked Him to. When you become a friend of the ETERNAL, He wants to bless you, and through you, others.
Hospitality and Destruction.
(Genesis 18:1-8) (KJV) 1And the ETERNAL appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3And said, My SOVEREIGN, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 7And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.
Abraham shows us true hospitality. It is the hottest part of the day but when three strangers appear he runs to greet them and offer a meal. As the story develops we see what the mission was, that 'The Mighty One' and the two angels are on.
The meal Abraham offers, meat with milk and cream, served with hot bread, dispenses with any man made rules about not serving dairy food with meat.
Now the promise that Abraham and Sarah will have a son is repeated. Sarah laughs at the idea but is quickly silenced with the question "Is anything beyond the ETERNAL?" (This is a question that confronts us all)! We then come to the key verses of this whole story:
(Genesis 18:17-19) (KJV) 17And the ETERNAL said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the ETERNAL, to do justice and judgment; that the ETERNAL may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
The ETERNAL honours Abraham with His confidence because Abraham lives, and teaches his household to live, by the ETERNAL's ways of doing things. They practice charity and justice and the ETERNAL loves them for it. These characteristics plus the blessings of the ETERNAL will cause them to be blessed, so much, that other nations will want to adopt their lifestyle so that, they too, may be blessed.
Sodom and Gomorrah.
The ETERNAL reveals that the evil of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah is so great that they and their cities must be destroyed. Abraham bargains with the ETERNAL to have the cities spared if there are ten righteous people in them. Abraham does not mention Lot and his family who live in Sodom.
The two angels arrive in Sodom and find Lot sitting at the gate of the town. Lot offers them hospitality and then tries to persuade the Sodomites to leave them alone, even offering his daughters to the crowd rather than his guests.
Lot is a contradictory character. He has chosen the Sodomite lifestyle but acts bravely to defend the travelers, who are actually angels. But, when the angels urge him and his family to leave for their own safety they do not want to go. Finally, they agree to leave, but not for the open plains and the natural life. They do not want to give up everything, they just want to go to a smaller town. Lot's wife so misses the city life she looks back regretfully, and dies. (Genesis 19:1-26).
The people of today who are 'in Abraham's camp' are often asked by the ETERNAL to give up something. A job, a lifestyle, a habit, a hobby, a personality trait, anything. We cannot 'do a Lot' and just give up part of something, it has to be total. The ETERNAL never asks you to forego something good out of nastiness. He wants the best for you. Better things, a better life than you would choose for yourself, a better future than your deeds deserve. Abraham made sacrifices and was blessed for it.
After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot, who is now a widower is hiding in the mountains out of fear. He has lost everything except two daughters. Abraham is the one standing on the mountain looking at this distant destruction saying, "I am glad I didn't choose the city life!" This life is about choices. Four hundred and forty years later Joshua would put it well to Israel "Choose this day whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:15). As you learn the ways of the ETERNAL, these choices confront you every day. You can choose to serve the ETERNAL and His ways and be blessed like Abraham, or serve something else and pay the price!
A Sister and a Sacrifice.
Once again, Sarah, the gorgeous ninety year old, is taken away by someone who wants her for a wife. This time it is Abimelech. Abraham, who uses the slogan 'if you're on a good thing, stick to it' has once again told people that Sarah is his sister so he will not be killed to get him out of the way. The ETERNAL tells Abimelech in a dream he will die for taking Abraham's wife. Not only that but the ETERNAL punishes everyone in Abimalech's household. Once again Abraham is given more flocks, cattle, servants and stuff as compensation. (Genesis 20:1-18).
When you are being blessed and you keep on being obedient, the blessings increase!
(Genesis 21:1-5) (KJV) 1And the ETERNAL visited Sarah as he had said, and the ETERNAL did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 2For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which the ETERNAL had spoken to him. 3And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. 4And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as the ETERNAL had commanded him. 5And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.
Although we are aware of the blessing of Sarah, which was honoured by the birth of Isaac, we also need to see that at one hundred years old Abraham had been blessed too. In fact, Abraham's blessing was so effective he fathered four more children after the death of Sarah some thirty-seven years later to another wife.
(Genesis 21:22-24) (KJV) 22And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, the ETERNAL is with thee in all that thou doest: 23Now therefore swear unto me here by the ETERNAL that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. 24And Abraham said, I will swear.
Other people were aware that Abraham was in the flow of blessings from the ETERNAL and that because of that he is a powerful man. Do people see that in your life?
Abraham's Big Test.
Now we come to that other well known incident where the ETERNAL 'tested' Abraham over Isaac:
(Genesis 22:1-2) (KJV) 1And it came to pass after these things, that the ETERNAL did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2And 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.
Notice the wording here. Isaac is to be taken as an offering, NOT as a sacrifice. Isaac is not the first-born so he was not being offered to the ETERNAL. The Mighty One, who actually despises human sacrifice and punishes people who practice it, provided a ram which, is sacrificed. Abraham's willingness to offer his son was the gesture the ETERNAL was looking for:
(Genesis 22:16-18) (KJV) 16And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the ETERNAL, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
Today, we know that the offspring of Abraham have increased as described. But the number of people who now listen to The Mighty One's voice is very small, just a tiny remnant. We have seen the descendants of Abraham including the British Commonwealth and America holding the gates of their enemies. Gibraltar, the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal, the Cape of Good Hope and so on. Lately there has been a suicidal rush to give up these 'gates' as the descendants of Abraham have forgotten, or been lead away from, the truth of the ETERNAL.
If you have read this far, you may be sure the ETERNAL is calling you to be in Abraham's camp. The response must be yours and it must be voluntary. Those of us who have put in some service time will have heard the expressions "If you volunteer you obviously did not understand the question!" I want you to be sure you really do understand the question being asked of you now. Will you serve the ETERNAL? Will your lifestyle, public and private, lead other people to see your blessings so that they want what you have?
Some people will be called to a lifestyle in community, some will join large groups who have these truths, some will be the Lone Rangers of the ETERNAL. There are as many right ways as there are people being called by The Mighty One.
Please read the entire story of Abraham in Genesis (Genesis 12-25), study it, and pray about it. Ask to see the truth of the ETERNAL's way. Ask Him to show you the faith of Abraham. Ask Him to give you the spirit to follow it. Ask Him to show you how to come to love Him, as He loves you. This article was to raise some questions. The ETERNAL provides the answers. Won't you ask Him today? Won't you thank Him today?
 Even though Abraham was originally Abram and his name was changed by the ETERNAL I have used the name Abraham throughout to try to avoid confusion.
 [a]All scriptural links point to the Bible Gateway, A Searchable Online Bible In Over 100 Versions And 50 Languages, located at "BibleGateway.Com", a vast biblical resource containing all the major texts and reference materials useful for in-depth bible studies. Most scriptual quotations are from the (KJV) of the Bible, however versions noted in (parentheses) should also be consulted. [b]All Strong's scriptural references point to the Blue Letter Bible Lexicon, located at "BlueLetterBible.Org", another vast biblical resource which has over 4,000,000 links available, pointing to more than 165,000 pages of concordances, lexicons, dictionaries, commentaries, images, and several Bible versions. NOTE: All Scripture in this article, is quoted from the Artscroll/Stone Edition Tanakh 1996, unless noted.
 Outdated reference.
 The custom of the time was to walk between the halves of a sacrifice animal, to make an unbreakable covenant. This was called 'cutting a covenant.' This is where we get our saying today of 'cutting a deal,' because a 'deal' and a 'covenant' are 'a binding agreement, a compact.'
 The Tanakh says in (Exodus 23:19) "You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk." However, a few verses before (Exodus 22:30) states that a young kid must be allowed to nurse seven full days before it can be sacrificed. This shows that killing a kid it "while it is in its mother's milk" means do not kill it while it is still nursing. To do so would be hurtful to the mother. Therefore, our SOVEREIGN states it is fine to have dairy products and meat at the same meal.
 My Stone's Tanakh says (Genesis 20:18) that the ETERNAL had restrained every orifice in the household of Abimelech, yours may say womb. The Hebrew word is womb, but used not in a specific medical descriptive sense but in the sense of sexual organs. In any case they were being punished and they knew about it immediately.