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Brenda, does your mom have beautiful feet? Robin or Julie, does your mom? I think they do.

This is my last lecture. You'll be hearing from Brenda Cantwell starting next week. I know we'll be in for a treat. Being a lecturer doesn't mean we know all about the Bible. We are doing this because we are willing to spend some (a lot) of extra time studying beyond what our lessons cover and then share with you what we had learned. It has added some stress to my life in terms of time and brain power, but the benefits have far outweighed that stress. I've learned a lot.

One of the things I learned just yesterday was that Abraham had BEAUTIFUL FEET! Did you get that out of your lesson? I'll explain that later.

We're going to Texas. We looked at the map and know what roads to take. We have reservations.

Abram set out with his wife, nephew, and company to relocate in a land totally new to him. He left his known world for a strange world without a travel plan marked on his map and without reservations for lodging. (Would you have gone?) He would simply walk - and trust God to lead him to the destination known only to the Divine Mind. He felt the destination was worth any difficulty he might encounter along the way.

Last week we traced his journey on a map, heard the promises God made to Abram, and saw his nephew, Lot, choose the better land for his family and herds which led to Lot and his family being carried off into captivity in a regional dispute. We left off with Abram having gone up to Hobah with his 318 trained men. He defeated King Chedorlaomer and rescued his nephew Lot and his goods and the women and people and all the goods that Chedorlaomer and his men had carried off. Upon his return Abram is met in the Valley of Shaveh by the King of Sodom and the King of Salem.

The King of Sodom accepts back his people that had been carried off in the first battle, but tells Abram to keep the goods, the spoils, for himself. I suppose this was offered as a reward to Abram. Abram refuses to be obligated to anyone but his Lord. He wants the Lord to have all the credit for his well-being, so he wisely refuses to accept the goods lest the King should later say, "I have made Abram rich."

The other king, Melchizedek, King of Salem, brings out bread and wine to greet Abram. He blesses both Abram and God who delivered the enemies into Abram's hand. Melchizedek is said to be a priest of God Most High. In the New Testament, Hebrews 7, Christ is said to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek. (This is to fulfill the prophesy of David in Psalm 110:4.) This story seems parenthetical here in Genesis. It just doesn't quite fit in with stories of promises to Abram. There is a reason for this story. Melchizedek's importance lies in his symbolic name, his combining the office of king and priest, his receiving tithes from Abraham and especially the lack of information in the Scriptures about him. So that, as far as the Biblical record goes, he may be spoken of as "without father or mother or genealogy" as stated in Hebrews 7:3.

A priest is to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. In the 5th - 10th chapters of Hebrews, Jesus is shown to be a superior Priest to the Levitical priests of the Mosaical law. To contrast the two:

  1. The Levitical priest was appointed priest because of his lineage, bodily descent - a legal requirement. Christ became a priest because He was appointed by God.
  2. There had to be many Levitical priests because they couldn't continue in their office after their death. Jesus holds the priesthood permanently because He continues forever.
  3. The Levitical priest had to sacrifice daily for sins. Christ just had to do it once. He took His own blood into the Holy Place securing an eternal redemption.
  4. Levitical priests had to enter a hand-made sanctuary. Christ entered into a true sanctuary, heaven itself, to appear in the presence of God Himself on our behalf.
  5. The blood of bulls and goats could not permanently take away sins. Christ's perfect blood could.

The Hebrew writer is compelled to explain all this because the Jewish nation had gotten it into their heads that no one could be a priest except for the descendants of Aaron. Jesus wasn't a descendant of Aaron. So God, in His foreknowledge, had Moses include this seemingly insignificant story in Genesis as part of the narrative of Abram's life. Likewise, God had David prophesy about this in Psalm 110:4, saying, "The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, 'You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek'." Isn't it marvelous that 2000 years beforehand, God is already laying the ground work for His Son to come to be the perfect priest and the perfect and final blood sacrifice - for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:22)

So, Jesus has taken on the office of High Priest and the position of being the sacrifice. He offered the sacrifice as well as being the sacrifice. But the Old Testament priests had additional duties other than offering the sacrifices. They were to preside over the feasts (Exodus 27:21), be medical advisors (Leviticus 13:15), administrators of justice (Deuteronomy 17:8-9), give blessings in the name of God (Numbers 6:22-27) and other things. They were also responsible to teach and interpret the Mosaic Law to the people (Deuteronomy 17:9-13). With all these duties people began to see them as being God's representatives in the flesh. But since Jesus is not here with us in the flesh, who provides that part of the priesthood for us today? 1 Peter 2:9 explains that WE are to be a holy, royal priesthood. We are now the chosen race, the holy nation, God's own people THAT WE MAY DECLARE THE WONDERFUL DEEDS OF HIM who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

How do we declare His wonderful deeds? We're learning great things in our ladies' Bible class. Our knowledge and understanding are increasing, but knowledge and understanding will not save us from the debt we owe for our sins. WE'VE GOT TO LET WHAT WE LEARN AFFECT OUR LIVES AND THOSE AROUND US. That's why we have this study or any study. Not only to provide fuel for our knowledge, but so that Christ's light will shine in/through us to the rest of the world. We are not in this study just to know more about God, we are in it to KNOW GOD BETTER. Our ladies' class needs to have an impact on Fort Smith. Fort Smith SHOULD be different from the past because this class is studying His word. Are you in this study just for the knowledge or are you in it so the knowledge will cause you to affect your world? We all have an effect on the world around us. Even apathy has an effect. Let's use this study not only for the knowledge for ourselves, but mainly to apply to our lives so we can influence others positively for Christ. I love to learn, but unless I let that learning affect me so that it affects the way I interact with other people, it's all in vain. Study - yes. Learn - yes. But don't let it stop there. APPLY--live it. God told Abram he would be a blessing. Are you a blessing to those you meet?

In Romans 10:15, Paul quotes Isaiah saying, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS." Abraham in his life of faith, his walk, brought good news to the world. He had beautiful feet! Are your feet beautiful? Do they bring the good news to your neighbors and acquaintances? Mrs. Needham and Joyce Dunavin do have beautiful feet.

Can you imagine Abraham walking along with his head down? With an aimless and gloomy look on his face? Feeling angry and resentful or lost? Why, the echo of God's call ringing in his ears and the alluring dreams of a land God had promised him must have kept him striding along with confidence. With a spring in his step. As you walk with Jesus, let the world see that same joyous spring in YOUR step.

As Peter says in II Peter 1:12-13, I'm saying these things as a reminder to you and myself. We already know them. As long as we are in these bodies, it is right to arouse ourselves by way of reminder. Peter tells us earlier in chapter 1 of II Peter to supplement our faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with LOVE. For if these things are ours and abound, we will be effective and fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and we won't be able to keep it to ourselves. We'll be God's ambassadors. We'll be imitators of God, practicing hospitality, loving one another. We'll have the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, goodness, self-control, patience, kindness, faithfulness and gentleness. We won't hide the light under a bushel. We'll be the salt of the earth. We'll be the royal priesthood, God's own people. We'll declare His wonderful deeds. And we'll have BEAUTIFUL FEET to the people of Fort Smith!

Jeannie Cole

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Ladies Bible Class, Fall 1988

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