Tuesday, October 30, 2018

McGee and Me #2 Genesis 16-33

Thru the Bible: Genesis 16-33. J. Vernon McGee. 1975. 188 pages. [Source: Bought]

I recently bought a complete set of J. Vernon McGee's Thru the Bible commentary series. These books are loosely based on his popular radio program. I have read a handful of his commentaries in the past--including this one--but I plan on reading and/or rereading all of the commentaries (again). 

His commentary on Genesis is broken down into three volumes. The first volume covers chapters 1-15. The second volume covers chapters 16-33. The third volume covers chapters 34-50. 

McGee's commentary reprints the whole text of Scripture in the King James Version. His commentary doesn't cover every single word of every single verse in every single chapter. But he does cover the whole text in chunks or paragraphs. His approach is not scholarly. It is relaxed, conversational. Every reader is his friend. But just because he considers the readers his friends doesn't mean he sugarcoats the truth. He is all about telling the truth as he sees it. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth--even if it hurts feelings. 

That being said, do I agree with McGee's conclusions 100% of the time? No. We have theological differences. We both love--loved--Scripture. (McGee died in 1988 at age 84.) We both view Scripture as having the highest, ultimate authority in the life of a believer. We share a desire to see God glorified and humanity redeemed. We just differ in a few little details here and there. 

I enjoyed his second volume on Genesis more than his first volume. 

  • As we come to this chapter [Genesis 16], I must confess that I almost wish it were not in the Bible.
  • The terrible thing was that they just did not believe God. The wrong that they committed by Abram taking Sarai’s maid Hagar was a sin, and God treated it as such.
  • But today we reverse the emphasis and say that taking a concubine is a sin, but we do not pay too much attention to the unbelief. Yet the unbelief was the major sin here;
  • Sarah’s womb actually was a tomb—it was the place of death. And out of death came life: Isaac was born.
  • God promised you and me everlasting life if we will trust Christ—that is a covenant God has made. My friend, if God is not going to make good this covenant that He made with Abraham, you had better look into yours again.
  • Circumcision occupied the same place that good works occupy for the believer today. You do not perform good works in order to be saved; you perform good works because you have been saved. That makes all the difference in the world.
  • We need to keep the cart where it belongs, following the horse, and not get the cart before the horse. For in fact, in the thinking of many relative to salvation, the horse is in the cart today.
  • Whatever God does is right, and if you don’t think He is right, the trouble is not with God, but the trouble is with you and your thinking.
  • You are thinking wrong; you do not have all the facts; you do not know all of the details. If you did, you would know that the Judge of all the earth does right.
  • Chapter 20 seems about as necessary as a fifth leg on a cow.
  • You will notice that there is a very striking similarity between the birth of Isaac and the birth of Christ. I believe that the birth of Isaac was given to us to set before mankind this great truth before Christ came. Isaac was born at the set time God had promised, and Paul says, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4).
  • First of all, the birth of Isaac was a miraculous birth. It was contrary to nature.
  • Out of death God brings forth life: this is a miraculous birth. We need to call attention to the fact that God did not flash the supernatural birth of Christ on the world as being something new.
  • We also find here that God had to deal with both Sarah and Abraham. They had to recognize that they could do nothing, that it would be impossible for them to have a child.
  • This little fellow first lived by feeding on his mother’s milk, but there came a day when he had to be weaned. Even this has a lesson for us. 
  • Until you are converted, you have an old nature, and that old nature controls you. You do what you want to do. But when you are born again, you receive a new nature. The time comes when you have to make a decision as to which nature you are going to live by. You must make a determination in this matter of yielding to the Lord. 
  • As a believer you cannot live in harmony with both natures. You are going to have to make a decision.
  • I would like to call your attention to the remarkable comparison between the births of Isaac and of the Lord Jesus Christ. 1. The birth of Isaac and the birth of Christ had both been promised. 2. With both births there was a long interval between the promise and the fulfillment. 3. The announcements of the births seemed incredulous and impossible to Sarah and to Mary. 4. Both Isaac and Jesus were named before their births. 5. Both births occurred at God’s appointed time. 6. Both births were miraculous. 7. Both sons were a particular joy of their fathers. 8. Both sons were obedient to their fathers, even unto death. 9. Finally, the miraculous birth of Isaac is a picture of the resurrection of Christ.
  • If you were to designate the ten greatest chapters of the Bible, you would almost have to include Genesis 22. One of the reasons for that is that this is the first time human sacrifice is even suggested. It is in the plan and purpose of God to make it clear to man that human sacrifice is wrong. This incident reveals that. It also reveals that God requires a life to be given up in order that He might save sinners. 
  • Not only in the birth of Isaac, but now also in the sacrifice of Isaac, there is a strange similarity to the life of our Lord. 
  • Since he is called a “lad” in this chapter, you would not gather that he actually was in his thirties—probably around 30 or 33 years of age.
  • Let’s not say that the Lord Jesus died in the exact spot—we don’t know—but certainly He died on the same ridge, the same mountain, on which Abraham offered Isaac.
  • Isaac is not just a little boy whom Abraham had to tie up. He is a grown man, and I believe that Isaac could have overcome Abraham if it had come to a physical encounter. But Isaac is doing this in obedience.
  • I believe that any person whom God calls, any person whom God saves, any person whom God uses is going to be tested. God tested Abraham, and God tests those who are His own today.
  • There are two institutions that God has given to the human family: one is marriage, and the other is human government (God permits man to rule himself today).
  • The home is the backbone of any society—God knew that—and He established marriage, intending that it give strength and stability to society. The same thing is true relative to human government—a government must have the power to take human life in order to protect human life—that is the purpose of it.
  • The twenty-fourth chapter of Genesis is one of the richest sections of the Word of God because it tells a love story that goes way back to the very beginning. 
  • There are two things that I want you to notice as we go through this chapter. One is the leading of the Lord in all the details of the lives of those involved.
  • If God could lead in the lives of these folk, He can lead in your life and my life.
  • The second thing to notice in this chapter is the straightforward manner in which Rebekah made her decision to go with the servant and become the bride of lsaac.
  • He says to this servant, “You can count on God to lead you. God has promised me this.” Abraham is not taking a leap in the dark—faith is not a leap in the dark. It must rest upon the Word of God.
  • It is wonderful for you to believe God, but do you have something in writing from Him?
  • Faith is acting upon the Word of God. Faith rests upon something. God wants us to believe His Word and not just believe.
  • It is pious nonsense to think that you can force God to do something, that God has to do it because you believe it.
  • God wants us to bring our needs to Him, but He has to be the One to determine how He will answer our prayers.
  • The Lord leads those who are in the way—that is, those who are in His way, who are wanting to be led, who will be led of Him, and who will do what He wants done. God can lead a willing heart anytime.
  • Men are lost today because they are sinners. I hear it said that men are lost because they reject Christ. They are not lost because they reject Christ; they are lost because they are sinners. Whether they have heard about Him or not, they are lost sinners. That is the condition of man today. The Holy Spirit has come to let us know that there is a Savior who has borne our judgment and who has been made over to us righteousness and that we can have a standing in heaven.
  • We as the bride of Christ will have to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ, but He has been made over to us righteousness. He was delivered for our offenses, and He was raised for our justification in order that we might have a righteousness which will enable us to stand before God.
  • The struggle of these two boys, which began before their birth, represents the struggle which still goes on in the world today. There is a struggle between light and darkness, between good and evil, between the Spirit and the flesh.
  • This is a chapter that teaches patience, and some of us need that—certainly I am in that category. Yet, we would not have you get the impression that patience is all that God wants of us.
  • You can talk about the generation gap all you want, but there is no generation gap of sin. It just flows right from one generation to the other.
  • I feel that the water is a picture of the Word of God. We are to drink deeply of it. It is called the “water of the Word” and is for drinking purposes to slake our thirst, and it is also for washing. Jesus said that we are cleansed through the Word which He has spoken.
  • And, my friend, water is the explanation for the differences between God’s children in any church—the water of the Word of God. There is a great difference in the lives of believers who study God’s Word.
  • And there will be a struggle. I think that you will always have to pay a price if you are really going to study the Word of God. The devil will permit you to do anything except get into the Word of God.
  • All the way through the Old Testament we find that God does not want the godly to marry the ungodly. Intermarriage always leads to godlessness. I say this as a caution.
  • We are in a section of the Word of God which God has given to minister to our needs. It deals with a man who is a very sinful man in many ways and a man whom God would not give up.
  • God didn’t want Jacob’s boys to be brought up there. But, you see, Rachel had been brought up in a home of idolatry, and she wanted to take her gods with her.
  • He has Uncle Laban in back of him who doesn’t mean good at all, and he has his brother Esau ahead of him. Jacob is no match for either one.
  • He is caught now between a rock and a hard place, and he doesn’t know which way to turn. Do you think he wanted to take on a third opponent that night? I don’t think so.
  • Jacob is just holding on; he’s not wrestling. He is just holding on to this One. He found out that you do not get anywhere with God by struggling and resisting. The only way that you get anywhere with Him is by yielding and just holding on to Him.
  • God is very much concerned that a believer marry a believer and that a believer not marry an unbeliever. That is important for the sake of heredity. The second thing of concern is the environment of the individual. We see this especially in the life of Jacob.
  • We may learn truths in the Bible, but we will find that in our lives we are very much like Simon Peter, stumbling here and falling down there.
  • You and I need to recognize that in our own lives the growth is slow, and therefore the growth in others will also be slow.
  • Let’s not expect too much of other folk, but let’s also expect a great deal of ourselves.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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