The First Days of New Canaan (Genesis 20:1-21:7)

Early in Genesis, the corrupt Cities of Man — the cities of Cain — had become so powerful and so violent that the earth itself was in danger of being consumed. And so, Moses tells us, the Lord saw what was going on and saved the world by destroying Cain’s civilization with a flood, saving only a seed of the new creation inside a wooden box, a giant boat: Noah’s ark.

And after the flood was over, Noah’s ark came to rest high in the mountains, looking down at an earth that had been washed clean by the waters of judgement.

And the first thing Noah did as he left the ark was sacrifice some of his precious animals to God. As the new High Priest over all the world, it was Noah’s job to re-dedicate the earth to God, as it had been in the beginning.

And God responded by making a covenant with Noah: an eternal promise that, no matter how terrible mankind became, God would never abandon them to total judgement again. He would never allow them to completely reap the consequences of their self-destructive behaviour, he would never allow the waters of chaos to come sweeping in again and wipe out all life.

And then Noah got to work planting a new garden of Eden — a vineyard, to be exact. He set out to do what Adam was supposed to do in the first place. He set out to claim the earth for God: farming the soil and restoring order to what the waters of judgement had destroyed. It was his job to bring creation back to life and lead it into the true worship of the true God.

He failed, of course, because he was not a perfect man.

But now, many chapters later, Moses is repeating the pattern, this time in much greater detail. The Cities of Man — Sodom and Gomorrah — had become so powerful and so violent that all the surrounding nations were in danger of being consumed. But the Lord heard the cries of the innocent, and came down, and saved the nations by destroying Sodom’s civilization. And even in this God was true to his covenant with Noah: this was not a total judgement, and it was not a judgment by water; instead, it was a local judgement by fire.

And after the judgement was over, Moses showed us Abraham standing high in the mountains, looking down at an earth that had been purified by the fires of judgement. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.

And now, this week, we are going to see Abraham descend from the mountains to the plains, just like Noah did. And if the ancient pattern holds true, we are going to see Abraham perform some sort of sacrifice, some sort of re-dedication of the earth. We are going to see him set to work reclaiming the earth for God. We are going to see him plant a garden, bringing new life out of the dead soil, leading the nations back to true worship.

So, Judgement Day is over. The spreading corruption of Sodom has been burned out like a cancer. The plains are now safe again. So Abraham descends from the mountains where he has lived for the last 20-over years and he travels southward into the region of the Negev and he lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar.

Now, this is not actually Abraham’s first time to visit these southern plains. Way back in Chapter 12 he actually travelled through this region on his way down to Egypt.

However, back then his travel was unauthorized, and we all know what came of that.

This time, his travel is authorized. Now is the time!

And so that is what Abraham does: he travels. He deliberately moves from place to place, claiming the land for God with every step.

symbolically claiming the land. Because, even though Abraham is now actually living on these plains, he has no political power. He is not a king. He does not rule. At this point Abraham is really nothing more than a travelling merchant, a shepherd, a businessman. He is a stranger in a strange land — literally. That is what Moses literally says here in verse 1. Our English translation says for a while he stayed in Gerar. In Hebrew the verse reads: for a while he ger-ed in Ger-ar. In Hebrew, “ger” means “stranger”, “wanderer”, “pilgrim”. So a literal English translation would say for a while he strangered in Stranger-land.

And it quickly becomes clear that Abraham is very aware of his strangeness and his powerlessness in the face of the surrounding nations. Because he revives an old trick that he has used at least once before: he tells everyone that his wife, Sarah, is really his sister.

And since we remember very clearly what happened the first time, we’re like: “Dude! Really? Even after God has proven his faithfulness to you again and again?”

But then we remember how we also keep on trying the same old stupid tricks long after God has proven himself faithful to us…and we decide to cut Abraham a break.

But, of course, what we expect to happen, happens: Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.

This time, however, God steps in early: [3] he came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”

[4] Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? [5] Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”

So Abimelek is claiming that he was tricked. If he sinned, he sinned in ignorance.

[6] Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. [7] Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”

And this phrase here, at the end — “You will certainly die” — should sound familiar to us, because this is exactly what God told Adam way back in the Garden of Eden. What Moses wants us to see is that Abimelek has made the same fatal mistake Adam made: he reached out and took something that belonged to God.

Actually, Abimelek’s situation is more like Eve’s, because — just like Eve — Abimelek has not been properly educated as to what God expects from him, he has actually been deceived. And so God, in his mercy, has kept Abimelek from actually eating the fruit, which would have done irreversible damage to it. But as things stand now, Abimelek can still get his life back if he returns the fruit unharmed.

Well, Abimelek is convinced: [8] Early the next morning he summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid. [9] Then Abimelek called Abraham in and said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.” [10] And Abimelek asked Abraham, “What was your reason for doing this?”

And this whole thing is hugely ironic! Because what we are seeing here is that Abimelek’s people are actually a very moral people, a very ethical people. They believe adultery is wrong, and that the penalty should be death. Even more, they believe that if a king commits adultery, then his corruption actually corrupts the entire kingdom and brings the penalty of death upon it.

And what is even more interesting, archaeologists have confirmed that, for many nations in that area at that time, adultery was considered “The Great Sin”, a sin that polluted the land and destroyed nations.

So what we are discovering here is that Sodom and Gomorrah really were unusual in their corruption. The sin of the rest of the Canaanite nations has not yet reached its full measure.

This is why Abimelek is horrified. And the only explanation he can think of is that Abraham must secretly hate him, and purposely tricked him into committing adultery, so that the curse of the gods would wipe out his whole kingdom.

Abimelek is completely baffled and furious.

[11] Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ [12] Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. [13] And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”

And this entire speech is really just defensive and pathetic from beginning to end. Abraham’s doesn’t even say, “Sorry!” And that, no doubt, is what Moses wants us to realize: Abraham is still just an ordinary guy. He is not some kind of super-saint. His faith is amazingly strong in one chapter, and then amazingly weak in the next.

But still, Abimelek does the right thing: [14] he brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him. [15] And Abimelek said, “My land is before you; live wherever you like.”

And Moses definitely wants us to notice the parallels — and the differences — between Abimelek’s response and Pharaoh’s response back in Chapter 12. Both kings give Abraham sheep and cattle and male and female slaves because of his wife. But the king of Egypt kicked Abraham out of his country; Abimelek invites Abraham to stay and live wherever he wants.

Abimelek the king is submitting to God’s messiah. Which means he is bringing himself and his land under God’s blessing and protection.

But he’s not finished yet: [16] To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother

— and that is a little passive-aggressive poke, isn’t it? He says “your brother” instead of “your husband” —

I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”

Now, 1000 shekels of silver was the rough equivalent of 160 years of salary for a workman in those days. This is a huge sum of money!

Why does Abimelek do this? Well, he told us why: this is to cover the offense against you. Basically, Abimelek is offering Abraham 1000 shekels of silver as a way of saying, “You’ve got to believe me, I did not touch her!” And if Abraham accepts the money, then he is basically telling the world, “I believe him.”

Abimelek is essentially paying the penalty for his sin, even though he sinned by accident. He knows that, even though he did not actually sleep with Sarah, the damage to her reputation is real, and he needs to do what he can to make that right.

But why so much money?

Well, we have to remember that Abimelek is not just saving Sarah’s reputation, he is also saving himself from death. And he is not just saving himself from death, he is saving his entire kingdom from annihilation. Abimelek is also a kind of messiah in this episode, a kind of saviour, for his people. And as a good king, he knows that it is his responsibility and privilege to pay whatever price needs to be paid in order to save his people.

Well, apparently Abraham was convinced. He accepted the money, [17] he prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again, [18] for the Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek’s household from conceiving because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.

And this last bit of information actually turns this whole story on its head. So far, Abimelek has looked like this great, godly, righteous king, and Abraham has looked…really pathetic.

But now we discover that the only reason Abimelek did not sleep with Sarah is because he couldn’t. He tried! — and failed. Because, apparently, as soon as Abimelek came and took Sarah, God struck him with some kind of sexual dysfunction, so he was unable to partake of the fruit. He wasn’t even able to perform with any of his wives. So it is true, what God said during Abimelek’s dream back in verse 6: “I have kept you from sinning against me. I did not let you touch her.”

And what we are finding out here is that, just like in the situation with Adam and Eve, the sentence of death fell at once on Abimelek and his kingdom — the process of death began right away — but it would have taken a number of years for the entire kingdom to die off. And — just like in the situation with Sodom and Gomorrah — the reason God did not bring death all at once was so that this pagan king would have a chance to repent.

And what this is showing us is that the only difference between Abimelek and the king of Sodom or the king of Egypt is that this king did repent. He listened to God, he submitted to God’s messiah, he recognized that sin — even accidental sin — causes damage that must be repaid, and he repented. And because he repented, he received life. Literally. Abraham prays for him, and Abimelek’s nation begins to produce life again.

But the story does not end there. Because it turns out that Abraham’s prayer on Abimelek’s behalf does not just bring life back to Abimelek’s nation, it brings life back to all the surrounding nations as well:

Because [1] the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. [2] Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. [3] Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. And [4] when his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him.

[5] Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. [6] Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” [7] And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

And this moment is the beginning of the rest of the history of the world. This son Isaac is, finally, the Son of Promise that Abraham has been waiting for — the Son of Promise the whole world has been waiting for. It is through this boy, Isaac, that all nations on earth will be blessed. This boy Isaac is the Seed that has been promised to Abraham since the beginning — the seed through which Abraham’s household will grow up into a nation which will grow up to give life to all nations on earth.

So here we have seen Abraham, like Noah, descend from the mountains to the plains. He has begun to do what Adam was supposed to do: claim the earth for God and lead all of creation back into true worship. And he has begun this process by moving here and there, claiming the land of Canaan piece by piece. He is, in effect, ploughing the soil, preparing the soil in which the nation of Israel will one day be planted.

And because Abraham is really Noah 2.0, we were expecting to see Abraham perform some sort of sacrifice, just like Noah did.

And he just has.

Did you miss it?

Verse 3: Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. And [4] when his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him.

If you recall, when we talked about what circumcision means back in Chapter 17, we discovered that circumcision is a kind of blood sacrifice. It is a way of taking a living son and sacrificing him to God — dedicating him to God — without actually killing him. It was a way of saying, “This son does not belong to me, he belongs to God.”

But this particular circumcision was not just any ordinary circumcision, because this baby was not just any ordinary baby. This child contained within himself the entire promised future of Abraham’s nation, and he also contained within himself the entire promised future of every nation. This child contained the seed of eternal life, eternal blessing, for the entire world.

So when Abraham circumcised Isaac, he was not simply dedicating the earth to God, like Noah did, he was dedicating the Seed of the earth to God, the Seed that was destined to lead the earth back out of the shadow of death, into the presence of God in the garden.

Of course, since Abraham is really Noah 2.0, we were also expecting to see him plant some sort of garden at this point, a vineyard or something — right?

Well…stay tuned. Remember, the story of Abraham is really the story of Noah that has been greatly slowed down and expanded. So far we have seen Judgement Day come and go, we have seen Abraham leave his ark of safety in the mountains and perform a sacrifice down on the plains. I think, as we continue next week, we are going to see Abraham plant a garden.

But I also feel the need to warn you to brace yourselves emotionally. Because, in Noah’s story, a division in the family took place right around the time the new garden was planted: one brother turned against the rest. So: don’t be shocked if this history repeats itself in Abraham’s family as well…

Okay. That was the story. But what does it mean? How are we supposed to apply this to our lives?

Well, over the last few chapters we have seen that at least part of Moses’ purpose in writing is to give his people — the ancient people of Israel — a vision of what it looks like for them to live as a holy nation in the midst of unholy nations.

Recently, Abraham’s life has been an example of how God’s people should interact with nations that are thoroughly corrupted, like Sodom and Gomorrah. Like Abraham, God’s people are called to love their enemies and pray for them, in hope that the enemies of God might repent and be redeemed. And, if those nations refuse to repent — like Sodom and Gomorrah — then God’s people have the difficult task of waiting for God to bring judgement upon them at just the right time.

But now Judgement Day has come and gone. And so now Moses’ application has changed slightly. Now Abraham’s life is becoming an example of how God’s people should interact with nations that are not completely corrupted, nations like Abimelek’s: nations that are sinning against God, but…sinning out of ignorance, because they don’t know any better. Because no one has told them yet what true worship looks like.

The next few chapters of Abraham’s life are supposed to give God’s people a vision of what it looks like for them to live as holy nation in the midst of nations that are somewhat friendly to them, nations that are still willing to listen to God’s Word.

So, what is Israel supposed to do when they find themselves in the midst of friendly nations?

They are supposed to prophesy to those nations.

Now, how do we know that this is really what Moses is telling his people?

Because of what he writes in verse 7: God, speaking to Abimelek in that dream, says that Abraham is a prophet.

Now, why is that significant?

Because this is actually the first time the word “prophet” is used in the bible. There have been prophets in Genesis before Abraham, but Abraham is the first man that is actually called a prophet.

Which means that Moses wants his readers to sit up and say, “Whoa! Wait a minute! We’d better pay attention here!” Because Moses never introduces a new word or a new concept without also defining what it means.

So the next question we are supposed to ask is: “What does it mean for Abraham to be a prophet?”

Well, the answer is right there in verse 7: first God says, “Abraham is a prophet.” Then he tells Abimelek, “If you return his wife, he will pray for you and you will live.

So what this means is that a prophet is a person, sent from God, who prays for people so that they will live.

— now, a quick side-note here: does this mean that if a prophet prays for a person, they are guaranteed to live?

No. Because if you recall, Abraham was already acting like a prophet back in Chapter 18: he prayed for Sodom and Gomorrah, that they might live. But they did not live. Why not? Because they did not repent. They refused to do what is right.

So, what this means is that prophet is a man, sent from God, who prays for people so that they might live — and if they repent, then they will live. The deal God offered Abimelek was this: first, repent and return Abraham’s wife. Then he will pray for you and you will live.

So, going back to our question: what is Israel supposed to do when they find themselves in the midst of friendly nations?

They are supposed to prophesy to those nations: they are supposed to pray for them so that they might live…if they repent and do what is right.

In other words, Moses wants the nation of Israel to love their neighbors. It is God’s desire for Israel to continue the work Abraham began: they are supposed to be a blessing to their neighbors —

— at least, those neighbors who are willing to have a relationship with them. If their neighbors are like Sodom and Gomorrah, completely corrupted and violent, hating God’s people…well, obviously there is not much you can do in that situation except pray that they will repent before God’s judgement arrives.

But if Israel’s neighbors are willing to live in peace with them, then it is Israel’s job to prophesy to them: to preach God’s Word to them, to instruct them in what God wants from them, to do their best to lead their neighbors back into true worship of the true God.

And once we realize that this was Moses’ application for his people, then it becomes very obvious that this is Moses’ application for us as well.

In fact, Moses’ application is even more relevant to modern Christians than it was to ancient Israel. Because ancient Israel had a homeland, they had an earthly home, and as a result they had relatively limited contact with nations outside their borders.

Really, in the Old Testament, the closest Israel came to actually accomplishing this was during the time of King Solomon, when nations came from all over the world to learn from his wisdom.

But our situation, as part of Jesus’ Church, is more like Abraham’s: we are strangers in a strange land. We are pilgrims. We are all, actually, refugees. Jesus’ Church is a holy refugee nation living among unholy nations.

Now, sure, some of us have passports in one unholy nation or another. Some of us have more than one passport. Some of us have no passports at all!

But all that is actually irrelevant. Our earthly nationalities mean nothing to God, because every one of the nations that we belong to are going to pass away. The only citizenship that really matters to our Father is our citizenship in his family. We often spend our lives thinking of ourselves as Malaysian Christians, or American Christians, or Muslim-background Christians — but all that is actually a lie. The truth is we are Christians: we are the adopted children of the Eternal God, nothing more, nothing less. And the unholy nations we used to belong to before our adoption don’t matter at all!

We are a refugee nation. We belong to Christ. We do not belong to this earth.

But, just like Abraham, we are claiming this earth for our God. That is our job.

But we have a problem, don’t we? — because this earth we are claiming is already occupied by other unholy nations. Some of those nations are so wealthy, so powerful, so corrupt — they hate God and hate God’s people so much! — that we cannot imagine how God is going to bring them under his rule.

When we find ourselves in that situation, living in the midst of nations that are actively trying to destroy Jesus’ Church, then God’s command for us is clear: pray for their repentance, and wait for Judgement Day.

But more often we find ourselves living among nations that are indifferent. Ignorant. Not especially hostile, but not especially helpful either. What are we supposed to do when we find ourselves in that situation?

We prophesy. We preach the truth. And we pray for those around us so that they might repent, and do the right thing, and live.

See, we have this problem: our nation — Jesus’ Church — is supposed to claim an earth that is already occupied by other nations. Certain other religions in our world today would say that the solution is to kill everybody who does not think exactly like the dominant religion. If you doubt me, just ask a Syrian about their experience; just ask a Rohingya.

But that is not our religion. That is not Christ’s command for us. Christ’s command for us is to do what Adam was supposed to do in the first place: bring order to the earth. We are supposed to bring life out of the earth, not death. We are supposed to lead the nations around us back into the true worship of the true God. Just like Abraham, we are not kings who rule with armies and swords. We are absolutely powerless in the eyes of the world! — and that is the way it is supposed to be.

And on one hand, we might say, “What? How can that be? Why would God leave his children powerless in the midst of all this? Why didn’t he let us have at least some kind of earthly power?”

But then, on the other hand, when we look back at the history of the nation of Israel, the answer becomes obvious: if our Father had given us a land, and armies, and swords — well, things can go bad in at least two different ways:

First, all that power would corrupt us. We would use it to conquer the world for ourselves.

Second, even if we used all that power properly, and conquered the world for God, then in the end we could still end up thinking that we did most of the work. We could still end up giving glory to ourselves alongside God.

So our Father, in his kindness, keeps us from sinning just like he kept Abimelek from sinning: he makes sure we do not have the power to take what we want. He makes sure we do not have the kind of power that belongs to kings and governments.

But it is not actually true that our Father has left us powerless in the midst of the nations. We have the Spirit of God. We have the Spirit of Prophecy. Every single one of us who has been baptized into Christ, into Christ’s family: we are all prophets, from the least of us to the greatest. And it is impossible to underestimate the power of that! — because it is the power of God to bring life and salvation to everyone who believes, to people from every nation.

This is why we do not need to kill in order to claim our world for God, like some other religions do. Because we have the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Prophecy, Jesus’ Church continues to extend God’s claim upon all the nations of this earth…even when those other nations kill us!

So, just like Abraham, we are called to claim this earth, and lead the nations into repentance and worship. Just like Abraham, we are not called to do this through political or military means, but through prophecy: through preaching and prayer. And we are able to do this because, just like Abraham, we have the Spirit of Prophecy: we have the power to pray for others so that they will live.

That is our application.

But we have another problem, don’t we? Just like Abraham, we don’t believe. Just like Abraham, we are often afraid. Even though Jesus has proven himself faithful to his Church for 2000 years, we still make moves to save ourselves.

We look around at our nation, at our city, and just like Abraham we think to ourselves, “There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill us if we tell the truth!” So we often lie about our true identity, our true citizenship. And just like Abraham we tell the best kinds of lies: lies that are also half-truths. Because Sarah really was Abraham’s sister — his half-sister! And we really are citizens of Malaysia, America, Syria, Holland, New Zealand, Yemen, Libya — half-citizens. But the whole truth is that Sarah was Abraham’s wife, and we are Christ’s bride. We belong to him alone. He does not share us with the nations of the world.

But just like Abraham we are afraid to say this…because we just don’t believe in God’s power to transform the people we speak to. When Abraham arrived as a stranger in the Land of Strangers, he took one look around and decided that this king and his people were beyond God’s power to influence. He assumed that they would not listen to the truth anyway, and so he did not bother to speak the truth.

I am just like that. And I know I am not alone in my fears.

And I am obligated to tell you the truth: that lack of faith is a sin.

So what is our solution to this problem? Should we spend our time trying to pump each other up, like a sports team in the locker room before a big game? “Come on, people! You are empowered by the Holy Spirit, so tell your neighbors about Jesus! By this time next week I want each one of you to have shared with at least three people…!”

Does that work? It works for some — usually those who already have the gift of talking to strangers. And that is a wonderful gift! — but the bible tells us clearly that our Father does not give all of his children that gift. And I do want to warn those among us who do have the gift of evangelism: delight in your gift, use your gift, but be careful with your gift. Be careful with that power that God has given you. Because things can go bad for you in at least two different ways:

First, that power could corrupt you. You could end up using it to lead people to yourself instead of Christ. Many evangelists do.

Second, even if you do use your gift to lead people to Christ, you could end up thinking that you deserve at least part of the glory. At least, this is how many evangelists seem to talk.

So be careful. Be wise. And be kind to your brothers and sisters who have different gifts.

But what about the rest of us, who are more timid?

Well, whenever we start looking for a solution to our lack of faith, it is always best to begin with the Good News, the gospel.

And here is the gospel we see at work in this episode: Abraham, the first man in the bible to be called a prophet, is also one of the most timid men in the bible to be called a prophet. He does not tell the truth when he arrives in the land, and then — when his lie almost kills his host — his explanation is defensive and pathetic, full of half-truths.

And yet, when he finally got around to actually praying, God worked. Life returned to the king, to his people, to the land.

That is the Good News for us also. History books are full of the stupid, faithless things Christians have said and done; our lives are full of stupid, faithless words and actions. And then — more often than not — when the world asks us why Christians are so stupid and faithless, our answers are defensive and pathetic, full of half-truths.

And yet, somehow, the Spirit of Christ speaks through his Church. Somehow, through the prayers of Christians all over the world, our Saviour is bringing life to the nations.

So if you are like me, if you’re sitting there wondering when and how you are going to activate this gift of prophecy that we’re all supposed to have now — do not be afraid. In Christ, you have the gift of prophecy. We have the gift of prophecy. And when it is time for each one of us to speak, Jesus will provide the opportunity and the words. He will even let us use our own fears to paint ourselves into a corner where we will be forced to make some kind of fumbling explanation — and even then, even in those half-hearted moments, even then the Holy Spirit is at work, lending life to our words, bringing life to all who listen and repent.

So the first part of the Good News is this: we are prophets. We are going to speak to our neighbors, to our nations, at just the right time, in just the right way. So if you are feeling stressed and guilty about how little evangelism you do: relax. Rest in the reality that the Holy Spirit within us is going to do all the evangelism God needs.

But the second part of the Good News is this: we are prophets, and yet prophecy is not primarily about evangelism. Prophecy does not begin with speaking to our neighbors. Prophecy begins with speaking to our Father about our neighbors. Remember Moses’ definition: a prophet is a person who prays for people so that they will live.

We are all prophets. So we are, first and foremost, people who pray for other people so that they will live.

So, in closing here, we are going to have a very practical application. Don’t worry, I’m not going to say, “Come on, people! By this time next week I want each and every one of you to have shared with at least three people…!” But I am going to say, “Come on, brothers and sisters, by this time next week I want each and every one of you to have prayed at least once for someone you know who has not yet repented. Pray for them so that they will live.”

We are called to lead the nations of our world back into true worship. Worship begins with prophecy, because how can the nations know how to worship if we do not tell them? And prophecy begins with prayer.

So let’s pray. 

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