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Faith of the Gentiles


Blog title card; topic is Gentiles believing in the Old Testament
Faith of the Gentiles

     The first Bible I owned after coming to Christ was filled with excellent notes, insights, and articles. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better copy of God’s Word to begin my relationship with Christ. Much of the information I read I can recall to this day. One of the commentary articles I remember well was in the book of Exodus and entitled “Few Atheists but many Rebels.” The article describes how the human problem is unfaithfulness to God, not lack of evidence that He exists. After all, how could Israel realistically deny the existence of a God who brought them food six days a week and doubled it on the sixth day so that gathering it was unnecessary on the seventh? Indeed, as Moses declared in Deuteronomy 8:7-17:


For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.

It is easy to judge the Israelites for their foolishness and disobedience. What excuse did they have? However, we do well to contemplate our own foolishness and disobedience. Unlike the early Hebrews, we have had the completed canon of Scripture for nearly 1900 years. Further, we can look back and know that Messiah has come. As Jesus stated in Matthew 13:16-17: “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” Imagine the joy and delight of Simeon, who was told that we would not die until he saw the long-expected Messiah, the Suffering Servant, and the Consolation not only of Israel but also of the whole earth.


The ancient Jewish people and the church today have been blessed by the special revelation of Scripture. But what was the experience and testimony of the ancient Gentiles when they encountered Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Let’s take a look at one of the first, Hagar.


We do not know when Abraham acquired Hagar as a slave, or if she heard him talk about his God. What we do know is that conflict arose between Sarah and Hagar, as the latter was able to give to Abraham what the former could not, a child. If the Angel of the Lord was the pre-incarnate, second-person of the Trinity, Genesis 16 tells us of the conversation that Jehovah had with a homeless, unmarried, pregnant slave girl. Consider His words to her: “the Lord hath heard thy affliction” (Genesis 16:11). What a demonstration of the unconditional kindness and love of God! We also see that He condescended to ask her questions, as He did with our first father and mother in Eden, with Job before the end of his affliction, with Jonah when the gourd plant died, and with many others.


God gave instruction to Hagar and revealed to her the future of her son. Hagar obeyed and returned to Sarah, submitting to her mistress. Through this Gentile slave we have one of the first names or descriptions of Jehovah: El Roi, “thou God seest me,” or “The God Who sees me.” Hagar’s future would be far from easy. Genesis 21 records how she would leave Abraham’s household once more through no sin of her own, never to return. And once again, Genesis 21 records how God showed Himself strong on her behalf. These experiences revealed to her and to us a key truth about God: He sees us, He knows us by name, and He loves us. Would that the modern sons of Ishmael would come to the same knowledge of the God of their father Abraham, and display the faith of their mother Hagar.

 

The above article was written by Ben Reed. He is member of NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us at strengthforlife461@gmail.com.


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