8: "Is Any Thing Too Hard for the Lord?" (Genesis 18–23)
Have you ever felt a prompting to do something that seemed so impossible, you could only shake your head in disbelief? But then somehow, God intervened and everything turned out better than you could have imagined? We read about Sarah experiencing those same feelings when the Lord tells her she is going to have a son way past her childbearing years. This week, we'll dig into Genesis chapters 18–23 and learn from the stories of Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac about how nothing is too hard for the Lord—and how our disbelief can be turned into rejoicing.
Lord = Adon, Superintendent of household, Kinsmen
Quote: “The messages brought by these three, who were likely the presiding authorities of the Lord’s kingdom then on the earth—possibly Melchizedek and his counselors—were messages directly from the Lord” (Ogden, Skinner Verse by verse Old Testament vol. 1, 102-103; See also: McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:235; Sperry, Improvement Era, Aug. 1931,583,585)
Fornication = Ekporneuo – ek preposition meaning “from,” porneuo = Sexual immorality, figuratively to be unfaithful to Christ while posing as His true follower. (Not the same as porneia = the root for pornography, fornication, whoredom).
To Dream = epupniazomai “In the slumber of sin, the wrong kind of dreaming. This hoping or desiring opposes God’s kingdom and then expects such personal aspirations to be granted to Him! This shows someone is completely out of touch with the principles of God’s kingdom” (See Strong’s Concordance reference to Jude 8).
“Apparently, what was wrong with Lot’s wife was that she wasn’t just looking back; in her heart she wanted to go back. It would appear that even before she was past the city limits, she was already missing what Sodom and Gomorrah had offered her.”
“She did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she already had.”
“To all [people] of every generation, I call out, ‘Remember Lot’s wife.’ Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the ‘high priest of good things to come’ (Hebrews 9:11)” (Elder Jeffery R. Holland, “The Best Is Yet to Be,” Ensign, Jan. 2010, 24, 27).
Mocking = mitzaheq – To laugh or make sport. (Same word used in Genesis 26:8).
Tempt = nissah – To try or prove. See Abraham 3:25.
“John Taylor, the third President of the Church, said: ‘I heard the Prophet Joseph say, in speaking to the Twelve on one occasion: ‘You will have all kinds of trials to pass through. And it is quite as necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God, and (said he) God will feel after you, and He will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings,’” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Chapter 19)
“The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we ‘give,’ brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him!” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 24).
Is anything too hard for the Lord? Like, for reals? I really am truly asking that question because I want us to ask ourselves this question throughout today. Because we say those words a lot and we see them in Scripture often. Is there really anything that is too hard for the Lord to figure out to help with a problem to be solved or a grief to be carried? Today's discussion of Genesis chapters 18-23 will answer that question, and hopefully help us realize that nothing, and I mean nothing, is ever too difficult or too impossible for the Lord.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the Come Follow Me lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Okay, if you're new to our study group, I just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast, so follow the link that's in our description. It's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your Come Follow Me study, just like our friend Marti Watson. She's my friend and Dianne's. Hi, Dianne.
Dianne G Iman 0:59
Hey, Marti is the best, and my all-time favorite person, besides my family.
An avid listener, so we just had to do a shout out to our friend Marti Watson. Hey, Marti. Okay, now you just heard Dianne, and this is my favorite thing about the podcast, is each week we're joined by two of my friends so we get to have different perspectives. And I am thrilled. I love these two people so much. And I just told them they're going to be regulars from here on out. We have Dianne Gerdy Iman and Ron Case. Hi, you two.
Ron Case 1:08
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:10
Okay, remind everybody how we know each other.
Ron Case 1:35
We were all together in the Salt Lake Valley East Area, teaching seminary together, like 25 years ago, or some, long time ago.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:46
Boy, that was long ago.
It really was. Yep, we all did. We taught together and we had Fun with a capital F. Oh my gosh, it was so much fun. So I always say it this way: They're my kind of people. Like they're just a little bit goofy.
Ron Case 2:00
A little bit? I'm a lot goofy.
Ron teaches, you currently teach at Ensign College, formerly known as LDS Business College. Dianne did it for a while; Dianne graduated, she got married and moved along. So,
Dianne Gerdy Iman 2:13
Yeah, so I taught for about two and a half years until we had our Abram, kind of named after Abraham. So
You had your son. Well, if you want to know more about my guests and see their pictures and read their bios, you can find them in our show notes which are found at LDS living.com/sundayonMonday. So this is going to be a fun discussion. And my favorite thing is what Ron texted me; after I texted you the sections we're studying in Genesis, Ron, what did you say to me?
Ron Case 2:41
Ah, you put me on the best scripture block in Genesis. I mean, other than the Joseph scripture block, this is probably the best one.
It totally is. It's going to be fun, and you guys are gonna love the stories. So do this: grab your scriptures, your scripture journal, and your scripture marking pencils. And let's dig in to all of this goodness. Okay, here we go. So I'm just going to start off by asking you guys this: When someone comes to visit you at your home, what sort of like, do you have a custom of hospitality? Is there anything you do when people come? Or do you just kind of hide and feign an illness so nobody can come in your house?
Ron Case 3:16
Definitely wash their feet. No, (laughter) I don't know
Do you fix them a meal? Do you let them in? Or do you, or are you a stay at the door and talk to that person.
Ron Case 3:24
It kind of depends on whether I like them or not.
I love it. What do you do, Dianne? You said you're a hugger?
Dianne Gerdy Iman 3:30
I give em a big hug.
It's sort of been my goal in the last year because I noticed I'm strictly a door person, I open the door, talk to me at the door, get your business done and get out. And I thought, Okay, I think my goal this year is to actually have people come into my home, come on in, sit on a couch, and let's talk. So I don't know, I think that we all have these different rituals when people come over, When I was a kid, it was a big deal when someone came over. Do you remember that? Did your parents do anything?
Ron Case 3:57
Yeah, my mom is European. So it's, it was a big deal.
Anything particular she would do?
Ron Case 4:04
Oh, always feed them something. At least give them a drink. Even just somebody delivering something, she would give them a drink. You know, she'd be like, Oh, come in. She was very hospitable.
Oh. K, now I love that; that's going to be my next goal. I'm going to offer people something to eat. I love that. Well, the reason I asked you this question is because we have this sort of law of hospitality in the book of Genesis chapter 18. So let's go there. And we're gonna find out how Sarah and Abraham, how-what their custom or law of hospitality was in Genesis chapter 18. And in chapter 18 verse 1, Abraham was looking out of his tent door in the heat of the day. I'm imagining - they're in the desert and it's hot. And he looks out of his tent door and he sees something. So Ron, will you please read Genesis chapter 18 verse 2, and let's see what Abraham saw.
Ron Case 4:53
18:2 "And 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,"
Highlight the 'three men' right there. And let's make sure we connect it to the footnote down below, because it says three men in verse 2, but the footnote tells us angels, or another word would be holy men. So we want to know, there's 3 of them and they're holy men. And this is what I thought was pretty interesting about these 3 holy men. According to one of the sources that I use, there is a belief by scholars that these 3 holy men would have possibly been Melchizedek and his counselors, so would've been like the First Presidency coming to visit Abraham. So this is kind of, yourself in that situation. You see President Nelson and Elder Oaks, I mean, they're walking towards your house and your heart, right, is racing, and they come to your door. So tell us, let's go to verse 4 and find out how did Abraham and Sarah respond to this visit? What did they do?
Well, I love in verse 4, where it says,
Dianne Gerdy Iman 5:04
18:4 "Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree."
And so then it goes on in verse 5. First, I'm going to back up for just a minute. When I taught seminary, I really looked at what the meaning of words are. And so when I taught, we would look at words that we didn't really know the definition of, and it made the scriptures make a lot more sense. Oh, you know, I think that in some of these, we can kind of, it'll help us a little bit. So if we go to verse 5 it says,
18:5 "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 though has said."
And so if you look at the word 'morsel', it means a piece. So a piece of bread, and 'that you shall pass on' means to leave. So before you leave, I'm going to give you this. And then it says that Abraham in verse 6, "And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah,". That is probably one of my very favorite words is 'hasten'. So ,you know that's 'quick'. And so that is something I love, love, love about this story, is that, as you said, Here is President Nelson, walking to their tent. I mean, seriously, I would freak out. And so you see how, when he saw the Prophet, if the prophet speaks to you, you hasten; you do everything that you can, to, to obey, you know, to serve, to jump at the chance to do anything that the prophet has asked.
And don't you love that he goes to Sarah. He's like, Sarah, we got to feed the First Presidency, right? All right. Let's do it. Sarah, Sarah's the one that's gonna do it. She's gonna prepare the meal, get everything ready. And Abram offers to wash their feet, which is a custom of hospitality in the Old Testament, which is kind of what we're talking about. And you'll actually see this many times in the stories that we read from here on out. So I just wanted us to kind of be aware of that. I just noticed as I was rereading this today, verse 5 - I'm so thankful you pointed that out in verse 5, because I love this where it says - "fetch a morsel of bread and comfort ye your hearts." And I thought, I wonder if my house has ever been that kind of place for someone where their heart could be comforted.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 8:32
Where they feel loved and welcome, and that they can put the cares of the world away.
Yes, that's what I want my house to be for anybody that comes, just come on in, comfort ye your hearts. You want some Chewy Sprees? Because I got them. I have a whole cupboard of candy. What can I get you?
Dianne Gerdy Iman 8:50
And that is comfort right there.
Yeah, thank you. Exactly.
So they provide this meal and they get it all ready. And then we have this wonderful conversation between these 3 messengers and a prophecy that these 3 angels give to Abraham and to Sarah. And I just imagine: there's Sarah cooking in the kitchen, right? She's getting everything ready, and she's overhearing this conversation. And I just, I love the way that these verses go. And it starts in verse 11. And it's 11-15. What is the prophecy the men say to Abraham?
Ron Case 9:21
Your wife's gonna have a son.
Then what does Sarah do?
Ron Case 9:24
She laughs because she's like, I'm way past childbearing years, and I'm too old to have a son.
Yeah, she's 90 years old. Let's be clear. Put that next to verse 12. Where it says, "Therefore Sarah laughed within herself", because she says, "I am waxed old". And so, put she's 90. Yeah, she's a little bit past the age to have children.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 9:45
In verse 12 it says, "My Lord being old also". 'My Lord' is her husband, and he was 100.
Well, I'm so glad you brought that up. So the word Lord in this verse in Hebrew is ADON. And it's where we get the name for Christ Adoni. But it's really cool because it can mean 'husband' or I like this: it can mean 'superintendent of a household', or 'kinsman', as we've been studying this year. So that's what she's talking about when she says, "My Lord", she's saying, My kinsman, the person over this tent, he's old, too. And then we get verse 14. Ron, will you please read that for us?
Ron Case 10:20
18:14 "Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son."
There's that wording. Is anything too hard for the Lord? How do you interpret that in your own life?
Ron Case 10:36
You know, God's promises are pretty great sometimes, and amazing, and it probably makes us laugh a little bit with incredulity, because we just don't see how it can happen. And the way things are we just, we, it's not that we're doubting. I don't think Sarah is doubting,. she's just going, Okay. Well, it'll be fun to see how that happens.
I have to say that verse 15 kind of made me chuckle because the way I heard it in my head when I read it, it says, "Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid." So she was like, I didn't laugh. And I love it. And he said back, "Nay; but thou didst laugh." And I just imagined him going, Oh, you totally laughed. I heard you. Because that's how the conversation would have played out for me. I swear, I didn't laugh. Oh, no, you did. So I just think this is so awesome when we have this conversation, because for many of us we are struggling with things right now, where we think that it might be too hard for the Lord. Or we kind of say that, Oh, it's not too hard for the Lord, but in practicality, in real time? Boy, it sure does seem too hard for the Lord.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 11:45
So I have thought about so many times in my life that I have had Sarah moments. They might not be these huge things like, Oh, I'm 47, I'm gonna have a baby now. But I think about when I got my mission call. When I turned in my mission papers, I had my physical and the doctor said, you're gonna need to stay in the States. Because I have reflux, acid reflux. And I said, Okay, great. You know, I would love to stay in the States. So turn in my papers, got my call. I opened it up.
And I start spelling the word because I had never seen it before. And I said, C, Z, E, C, and everybody's yelling, the Czech Republic, Czech, Czech Republic, you're going to Czechoslovakia! And I was like, Excuse me. Like you're going to Europe. And I was like, Wait, is that Texas? Prague, Texas? And they're like, No, seriously, you're going to Europe. And I was like, awesome. But I really doubted it. And I remember just thinking, I'm not gonna go there. And I just, it was really hard for me to trust in the Lord. You know, I did have faith that the Lord that, you know, this was inspired, but I thought, There's no way.
So fast forward 3 months, in the MTC and see the mission nurse and she said, Oh, sister, Gerdy, I've been waiting to see you. The doctor wants to see you tomorrow. And I said, I'm sure he does. And so then I, my companion, and I was like, I knew it. I knew this was happening. So that night, we met as our District, and I explained to all of them, you know, just to let you guys know, I'm here for tonight. But tomorrow, I'm out. And this one Elder, I will never forget him. John Hanson. He said, Sister Gerdy, I really want to give you a blessing. And I said, Okay, that's fine.
So he gave me a blessing. And in that blessing, he said, "Sister Gerdy, you have been called by God to serve in the Czech Republic. There are people there that you are needing to see, that you're needing to teach, and the Lord has prepared them, and you will be fine. Your health will be fine, and you will go when our district goes, and everything will be fine."And I felt so comforted. And I knew, I knew right then that my call came from God, and that we have a prophet and that, that Heavenly Father loves me. And so the next morning, I go meet with a doctor and the doctor said, Do you have your inhaler? Excuse me? He said, Yeah. Do you have your inhaler? You have asthma.
And I said, Yeah, I sure, do. I have my inhaler, but what about my reflux? And he said, Oh, you're totally fine. You have medicine, right? You have Tums? Everything I, Yeah, but I'm not supposed to go there. And he said, No, you're totally fine. But be sure you have your inhaler. Have a great mission. What? And I did not have one issue at all with my reflux the entire time. So it doesn't always have to be, you know, but then you have little things too, that you question and, and you stress, and you think, Really? Does the Lord really? Am I going to have these big Sarah moments? Am I so afraid to put my trust in the Lord? Maybe it's with ministering? Do I really want to put my trust in the Lord that much to go and talk to somebody that I don't know well? Do I really want to, you know, reach out or take this calling? Because I'm a little scared. But nothing is too hard for the Lord. He's going to help us.
Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that story. That's a great application to this. And as you were talking, I kept thinking over and over again: Is anything too hard for the Lord? No. Is anything too hard for us? All the time. And I think that is where it comes into play. Like I think we let our fears come in and say, it really is too hard. You can't do this. The Lord's like
Dianne Gerdy Iman 16:20
You have to rely on the Lord. And that's the atonement too. It's not us.
It's not us. Excellent story. Thank you for sharing that. I love that application.
So I just think this is so awesome when we have this conversation, because for many of us, we are struggling with things right now where we think, It might be too hard for the Lord. Or we kind of say that, Oh, it's not too hard for the Lord. But in practicality, in real time, boy, it sure does seem too hard for the Lord. And so we're going to see in today's discussion, example after example, where truly nothing is too hard or too difficult for the Lord to figure out and handle for us. So that was a great discussion. And here's what I want to do now. We're going to stop here in the story, because in the next segment, we're going to tell another great story about how Abraham bargains with the Lord. And that, yes, that can be done. And we'll show you how in the next segment.
Segment 2 18:03
Let's jump back into Genesis 18. And we're going to study the story in verses 16-18. And I asked Ron to help us tell this story. Ron, what is going on? We talked about how Abraham's bargaining with the Lord; that seems a little bit weird.
Ron Case 18:25
Yeah, so, well, we all do that, don't we? But uh, what's going on here is these men have not just come to tell them that they're going to have a child, that they've come to tell Abraham, We have to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because they're so wicked. So as they're going, as Abraham is leading them away, he has this conversation with the Lord. And he asked the Lord, in verse 24, he asked the Lord, will you spare the city if there are 50 righteous? And the Lord says, Yeah, (I think I'm kind of presumin to speak for the Lord here), but He's like, Yeah, I preferred, I always prefer mercy over judgment. So yeah, I'd spare if there were 50. And then Abraham's like, well, what if there was five less, if there were 45 righteous, would you spare? Yeah, I'm merciful.
Well, what about if there was only 30? What if you, if there were just 30 righteous in the city, would you? Yeah, I'm very merciful. And then he's like, Well, what about 20? If you just, what if we could only find 20 technically righteous people there? And the Lord's like, Yeah, I'm extremely merciful. I would not destroy the whole city if there were just 20 righteous people. And and then he's like, Lord, just one last thing. Like I don't want you to be angry with me. But if, just this one last question, if you could only find 10 righteous people there. Now, I think that what he's thinking in his mind is: I know I've got Lot there, his wife, I just, my family, my family that I love that's living there that like, I don't want them to die.
Yes. Okay, Ron, that is so awesome. I really liked how you just pointed out that Abraham had family living in Sodom and Gomorrah. So this is personal for him. And we learned last week in Genesis 13, verse 12, you know, when Abraham and Lot went their separate ways, and it said that Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom and Gomorrah. And then in chapter 14 of Genesis Lot became a prisoner of war. And Abraham fought for Lot's freedom. And now we have one more instance where Abraham is now begging the Lord to save Lot and Lot's family.
Ron, thank you for telling that story, because it's a perfect setup for Genesis chapter 19. Because while Abraham's having this conversation with the Lord, these 3 men - the First Presidency, as we've been referring to them - they leave and they actually go and visit Lot. So go to Genesis chapter 19. And we're gonna look at verse 1, and we're gonna highlight something here. It says in chapter
19:1 "And there came two angels to Sodom" Now highlight 'two angels', because it's not down below at footnote 19, 1a. It actually says 'three'. And you notice it says the Joseph Smith translation. Now Dianne has something cool about the JST, share with us what you would teach your students all the time.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 21:21
Yes. So this is something that I think is just so important. And a great steady tip. When you go to a page in the Bible, if you first thing, go down to the footnotes. Whenever you see JST, Joseph Smith Translation, if you go and you highlight that; and it's a really easy way to know, Oh, here's one. Okay, here's another one.
Yeah. Well, and the reason I'm so glad you brought that up, because you are going to want the Joseph Smith Translation for Genesis 19. It is imperative, to fully understanding what we're talking about here with Sodom and Gomorrah. Because I think traditionally, when we hear Sodom and Gomorrah, we associate it with one main sin. But that is not true. And so I'm so excited to actually dive in, to what the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was. So going into Genesis, chapter 19, look at verse 1. We have these 3 angels or 3 messengers who show up and Lot knows who they are, just by the way he reacts when he sees them in verse 1.
Highlight, "he bowed himself with his face toward the ground". Like he recognizes, Oh, my word, look who's here visiting. And he invites them in, like in verse 2, and he's going to wash their feet, just like Abraham did, which is so cool, because this is a, it's a law of hospitality, which the Savior Himself will redo. And he will show hospitality to the 12. Like, it's so important right here. And so these 3 men, then, they come in, and they're talking with Lot. And we have this whole story now, that starts in verse 4. And so if you can go to our show notes - you're gonna want to, you're gonna want to go there because I have the entire Joseph Smith Translation text - so that you can follow along and find out. Because as the story goes, Ron and Dianne, if you were just to tell the story from chapter 19, as it's written, without the Joseph Smith translation, what happens?
Ron Case 23:12
From the time that the angels come in, the men of the city find out that these men are there. They are so wicked, they want to have these men come out and abuse them. I'm sure sexually, and Lot is just like, No, please don't bother them, just leave us alone. And they get angry and they attack. And these angels just strike them blind.
In fact, Lot actually throws his daughters out under the rug. He's like, take my daughters, just don't take the holy men.
Ron Case 23:49
in THIS context, but not in the Joseph Smith Translation. So if you're reading 19 as it is, you kind of think Lot's a jerk. Like, why would he, why would a dad do that to his girls? So terrible. So then you go in and you read the Joseph Smith Translation, which I'm so grateful for. Specifically, in Joseph Smith Translation we have verse 11. It says:
11 "Wherefore they said unto the man, We will have the men and thy daughters also and we will do with them as seemeth us good. And Lot said, Behold, I have two daughters, which have not known a man. Let me, I pray you, plead with my brother, that I may not bring them out to you. And ye shall not do unto them as seemeth good in your eyes".
Like he doesn't want anyone to be hurt in this exchange. So we have these men and these people, they are so wicked. And I think it's interesting, because we automatically assume that oh, well, then the great sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is homosexuality, and that's why it was so bad. And we have to just reframe this. I think it's just one of the greatest examples of 'othering' that we've ever seen in Scripture, as we would put it from our guest last year, where she talked about sometimes we do this 'othering', where we look at the story and we say, Oh, well, I mean, that would never be me. I would never be part of Sodom and Gomorrah, but those people are. And so we just have to reframe Sodom and Gomorrah.
So let's do this. We have to go to 2 scripture references. The first one is Ezekiel chapter 16, verse 49. So let's turn there. When I finally learned this, I was like, Oh my gosh. I might have lived in Sodom and Gomorrah. Like, right?
Ron Case 25:23
The whole world is Sodom and Gomorrah now.
Yes, absolutely. Let's find out really what the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was. So Ron, will you please read Ezekiel chapter 16, verse 49 and 50.
Ron Case 25:35
Ezk 16:49 "Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
50: "And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me; therefore I took them away as I saw good."
Okay. Let's talk about that verse. I mean, what's really going on?
Ron Case 26:02
Yeah. If ever there was an abundance of idleness, it's today. It's just, that's the world that we live in right now.
Yeah, fullness of bread. You have so much that you want for nothing
Ron Case 26:20
We have everything we need.
Yeah, you don't have to work for anything. When it says in there again, her daughters, and it's in the feminine form, are we just talking about then it's just the girls who are struggling with this?
Ron Case 26:26
No. The membership of the church, or the family of God, the kingdom of God on the earth, are often referred to in the feminine ,s daughters, the bride, the virgins. The reason this, this is, Ezekiel is being shown this about Israel,because this is worse than Sodom and Gomorrah, actually, because they should know better. In Sodom and Gomorrah, they haven't been taught the gospel. In Israel they have and they should know better. And this is a worse sin than Sodom and Gomorrah was experiencing.
Exactly. And so we have right here, they wouldn't even strengthen the hand of the poor and the needy. They only cared about themselves. I mean, it's just heartbreaking when you read this is what Sodom and Gomorrah was about.
Ron Case 27:14
It's the exact opposite of Zion.
Oh, perfectly said. Please hold; I'm putting that at the top of my page. Okay, well then next on your scriptures where you have Ezekiel, let's read another definition of Sodom and Gomorrah. Let's go to Jude chapter 1, verses 7-8. Jude is in the New Testament. And we're going to read verses 7 and 8. And, Dianne, when you get there will you read that. Because there are two words in these verses that we have to break down which goes right in line with what Ron talked to us about.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 27:44
Jud 1:7 "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
8: "Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities."
Okay, now let me just, let's two words that changed this for me was 'fornication'. Highlight that word, because in Greek that word is actually ekporneuo. This will be in our show notes. But the porneuo is the verb it comes from. "Porneuo". That is not the same as the "porneia", which is the root for pornography. It's a different word. This word actually means, figuratively, to be unfaithful to Christ while posing as His true follower. Isn't that interesting? Giving themselves over to fornication, to posing as a follower of Christ, and you're not.
And then when we read likewise, 'these filthy dreamers'. Filthy' was added, so it's not actually in the original Greek translation, but the word dreamers is, and this word actually means daydreamers. Or, I love this definition, 'in the slumber of sin, the wrong kind of dreaming'. The Strong's Greek concordance says this: "hoping or desiring, opposing God's kingdom, and then expect such personal aspirations to be granted to him. This shows someone is completely out of touch with the principles of God's kingdom." That's what that 'dream' word means. To be completely out of touch. And then you see at the end 'speaking evil of dignities'.
Ron Case 29:27
What is that Greek word, 'dignities'? Let's look it up, shall we, do you have it?
Okay, Let's see what I have. So it does say, "authority, dignities, authority, Lordship, divine angelic Lordship, a celestial hierarchy. So it really would be like the apostles and prophets. And then you ask yourself the question, Have you lived in Sodom and Gomorrah? Are you living there right now?
Ron Case 30:28
Yeah. It's so easy to say, Well, I don't commit sexual sin. Oh, yeah. Okay, well, then I guess you're excused. No. I mean, wow. It's just pride, it's the root of all of this.
It is pride. Absolutely. So, awesome. That was such a great discussion on Sodom and Gomorrah. So in the next segment, we're going to find out what happened to Lot and his family.
Segment 3 30:52
K, let's jump right back into Genesis chapter 19. You've all heard the story about Lot's wife, and how this all played out. And so as the story goes, I think it's interesting because these three messengers say to Lot. Alright, you need to get out, in verse 17.
"Escape for thy life. Look, not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain." Mdark those two things he's told not to do. Don't look behind you and don't stay in the plain, because that's going to come into play in just a minute. And then they say, Okay, you need to leave, you need to go. And I love, Ron, look in verse 19, because you kept bringing up the word grace and mercy when Abraham was talking with the Lord. And in verse 19, "Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy;". Lot's recognizing like, grace and mercy was shown to me and my family, we're going to be okay, let's get out of here. And as they leave, verse 24-26, Ron, will you read those for us.
Ron Case 31:51
Before I do that, can I just point something out that this is so fascinating to me? Verse 18, you see that Lot has lived in Sodom too long. Because he's like, Oh, not so my Lord. And then he says, I can't escape to the mountain less some evil take me and I die. Excuse me. Evil has already overtaken you and your family and you're spiritually dying, and you don't know it Lot. And it's just kind of sad to me, that he doesn't see that. I mean, he chose the plain, he chose the easy place. Abraham's in the mountain, you know., That's, that's the harder place to farm and whatever, raise your livestock. He's got the easy way. And he's like, why, I can't go to the mountain. Hey, you got to go to the mountain. You got to! That's the holy place, right? Get to the mountains, stand in the Holy place.
I really like that, especially when you talk about the symbolism of mountain and temples. Umm. Had he been so far gone that he didn't even recognize that?
Ron Case 32:56
It's just interesting that in verse 20, he's like, There's this other little city, can we just go to this other little city? Like, we're just city people; we like dwelling in the city, you know. We don't want to go be up in the mountains. What are you talking about?
I would say can we just drive there? Because it seems like a lot of work to get to the top of that mountain. Well, my gosh, it is me. Yeah. In fact that he keeps saying "this little city, this little city", and then if you go to verse 22, the city is called Zoar, which means in Hebrew, "a little thing ". Like, the city's literally named after being little. Let me just go there. Oh, that's great, Ron. So keep going, Ron.Tell us what happens next in verses 24 through 26.
Ron Case 33:38
Well, so the Lord rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire; they barely got out. It's interesting, though. Sorry to go back to this again, but verse 16, look at that phrase. "And while he lingered". Are you kidding me? The angels of the Lord said, Get out of here as fast as you can. I mean, Abraham wouldn't linger. Abraham would do, would hasten, hasten to do immediately whatever God asked him to do. And Lot's just got this attitude like, Well, I'll do it. But, oh my gosh, I just want to linger. I really kind of like this place.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 34:14
And they kind of look back, too.
Ron Case 34:16
Yeah, we're always like picking on Lot's wife, but I'm sorry, Lot, you're the head of the house. And it's kind of started with you. But anyway
Well, then it makes sense in 16. Because then the men, they grab him by the hand, like, Lot, let's go!
Ron Case 34:28
Yeah, they have to grab them and pull them out of there. Really, we don't have time. This is going down.
Yeah, he didn't hasten.
Ron Case 34:35
It's literally Lot has made friends with the world. And Abraham is a friend of God. And God recognizes that about Abraham. And you're my friend, and Abraham knows He's God's friend and they know it. And Lot doesn't know the Lord very well. He knows the world and he's comfortable with it. And it's just sad. Look, I'm I'm the worst example of this probably; I'm too much in the world. And you got to learn how to live in the world. I mean, Abraham lived in the world. Like Abraham, was Haran a great place to live and grow up? No, it's terrible. There's no perfect place that to live on the earth where you can totally escape the world.
I'm so glad you brought that up, because we do joke how he was living in the mountains. But it's not like he was like off the grid, living in a bunker, like, no, he was still living in a place where there was the world around him. Absolutely.
Ron Case 35:26
But he was making a conscious choice to say, I'm not taking a shoelace of anything that Sodom has to offer, because the world doesn't have anything for me. I'm choosing God only. And we all better learn that lesson. And Lot and his family learned it the hard way, I'm afraid.
Oh, the hard way. Okay, let's then, we're gonna talk about this because a lot of times these verses get looked over. So here's what we want to know. Verse 26, Lot's wife looked back. And remember, they were told not to look back. But it's also interesting that in the Qu'ran, that verse actually says, "Those who stayed behind." So not only did she look back, but she wanted to stay behind and did not want to leave with her family. And so here's a great quote by Elder Holland about Lot's wife that we have to share. Dianne, will you please read this quote for us?
Dianne Gerdy Iman 36:15
You bet. "Apparently, what was wrong with Lot's wife was that she wasn't just looking back. In her heart she wanted to go back. It would appear that even before she was past the city limits, she was already missing what Sodom and Gomorrah had offered her. She did not have faith, she doubted the Lord's ability to give her something better than she already had. To all people of every generation I call out, Remember Lot's wife. Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past, but never longs to stay there. Faith, trust that God has great things in store for each of us, and that Christ truly is the high priest of good things to come."
Thank you. You know, we have this story and I think it's so interesting, when we go back to that, quote, I think what struck me was when she doubted in the Lord's ability to give her something better than she already had, because she had everything. What could God possibly give me more of when we consider our definition of Sodom and Gomorrah, right?
Ron Case 37:21
He can give you so much. She, you know, this story, this whole story to me is just about how, you know, we are supposed to be the salt of the earth. And we are supposed to be the light of the world. If 50 righteous people can save a city, and we have to be those people. You know, she doesn't literally turn to a pillar of salt. Like, I've seen a movie where it actually literally, God strikes her and she's a pillar of salt, and somebody like comes along and breaks off a finger and tastes it. It's the weirdest thing you've ever seen. It's not a literal thing. It's that she became the salt that lost it savor and wasn't, couldn't be used for what it was supposed to be, and that's preservation. That's what salt was for in those days.
Okay, that was so good. Like, I'm just thinking about this right now. Because salt is used to preserve, right? I mean, I hadn't even considered this. And now I'm sitting here thinking, Wait, am I able to do that? Because here's what I know, is that when salt is used as a preservative, it is used to save something from decaying. Like when you put it on meat, it preserves the meat, right? Or it can be used as a preservative when you're canning. And now I'm thinking about this, like, I hope, gosh, I hope that I am good enough to preserve myself and others from decay. So good. In fact, you know what? It really sheds some light now on the rest of the story about Lot and his family. I mean, talk about decay.
So in Genesis, chapter 19:30-38, we have the rest of the story. So I said earlier, there's part of the story that doesn't often get told, because it's uncomfortable to talk about, but it is a part that we have to recognize. Lot and his daughters flee to the mountains. And the daughters assume that they are the only ones left on the entire earth. And it is their responsibility to repopulate the world so they lay with their father, they get pregnant, and have sons. And while it is easy to see the decay here, I kind of felt like the more subtle influence is that they had no concept of anyone but themselves.
Like they honestly believed that no one else existed outside of Sodom and Gomorrah. I mean, that's a level of self absorption and superiority. That is so astounding to me. And and it is decay. I mean, there is nothing good that has been preserved in this relationship or in these young girls' minds. And so I'm just, ugh, I'm so, I love what you just taught us about that, that it is about the salt and it is about what are we able to preserve and what are we doing? And I hope, I hope I can preserve my family and myself. That was good, Ron.
Ron Case 40:00
Yeah. And you know, the idea that they should never have been in Sodom in the first place; just stay out of the world. It's such a foiled, you know, Lot and Abraham, you know, they're so different. Living in the world cost Lot his wife and some of his other children died there. And then these two daughters, it cost him everything, his family. The world can't give you any happiness. And I love that, you know, even then Abraham still saves Lot. Abraham still saves him because he sees him as worth saving. And I love that about this story, too.
He does. He loves him, he saves him. So thank you for that discussion on all of those verses. I think that just for a lot of us, it's a paradigm shift when we understand that when we've, because I've always thought, Oh, I would never be like that in Sodom and Gomorrah, I'm not that wicked. And then we redefine it. And so it kind of just makes us ask ourselves, what are we doing to stay outside of the perimeter of Sodom and Gomorrah, we don't have to live here. So that was a great discussion. Okay, so in the next segment, then we're going to go back and we're going to see what's going on with Abraham and his family. And this is such a fun story.
Segment 4 41:19
We are now going to go to Genesis chapter 21. We are purposely skipping Genesis chapter 20. But go and read the story if you'd like. There's just stuff we have to skip because we don't have enough time. But it's a fun little story. And then we're going to go into Genesis chapter 21. Now because we have this incredible story about Isaac and Sarah and Abraham and Hagar and I would just be remiss if we did not teach this story. So what we're gonna do is, my first thought is, Do any of you have siblings? Do you guys have older siblings? Did you guys fight a lot growing up? What was it like?
Ron Case 42:02
Oh, I have a twin sister, we never fought.
You're lying. What kind of fights are we talking about - knockdown drag out?
Ron Case 42:10
By the way, we're good friends now. But yeah, there was no, I mean, there was maybe a little bit of that, but it's mostly just arguing.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 42:17
Oh, my oldest sister and I fought all the time over everything, everything.
I'm amazed because my kids do not fight at the level that I did with my siblings. Like we would have scratch marks on our arms, throw each other down the stairs, pull hair out.
Ron Case 42:36
When you're young and the world revolves around you, sibling rivalry is a big deal.
Oh, it is a big deal. And it's a big deal in this story. Let's go to some sibling rivalry. So now we are in Genesis chapter 21 verse 1. So Sarah's pregnant. She conceives in verse 2, and she has a son. She is now 91 years old, that she's having this child. And they named him Isaac, just like they were told to do back in Genesis chapter 17. So that is in verse 3. She bared him and called him his name, Isaac. We find out in verse 5 that Abraham is 100 years old. And then we have here in verse 6. This is so great, because this is where I think really, Sarah does rejoice instead of laugh. Ron, can you read verse 6 for us please.
Ron Case 43:17
21:6 "And Sarah said, God has made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me."
What's she's saying there?
Ron Case 43:24
She's saying, I'm so happy and I want everyone else to rejoice. It's like when you have, when my first son was born, I was so excited. I wanted to just tell everybody,
Yes, it is; It's the best baby blessing of baby blessings. So happy. I love verse 7. For me, as a mom, this really struck me. She says, "......Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children ? for I have born him a son in his old age." Like she's just saying, And who would have even thought I could breastfeed? is what she's saying. Like, I'm old. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Nope. No, it's not. I mean, it's just, I love that verse. And so she will breastfeed him. And then when he's weaned, which could have been about three years old they're thinking, is when he has this huge festival. This is the baby blessing party, where all the family friends are going to gather. And then we have verse 9.
21:9 "And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking."
Now, this is important. So we understand the timeline here, this son Ishmael would be about 13 years old. That's how much older he is than Isaac, around 13 or 14 years older. And that word 'mocking' is really important, because in the story in the verse 10 it says, 10 "Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac."
11 "And the thing is very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son."
The thing is the mocking in verse 9. And that word in Hebrew can mean different things. It could mean that he was just mocking and making fun of Isaac. The word in Hebrew is MITZAHEQ, which means to laugh and to make sport. But it's also the same word that you'll find in Genesis chapter 26, verse 8 with Joseph, and Potiphar's wife, which means caressing or touching. So it could have meant that he beat up Isaac. And that's why Sarah was so angry. So going back to family fights, I'm glad my parents didn't kick me out for pulling the hair out of my sister's head, although I think my mom may have wanted to. But we have this sort of, you know, like he did something wrong that was so bad that even Abraham's like, why would you do that?
And so Hagar gets kicked out. But I love the story of Hagar right here. So we talked about her last week. And we beautifully framed the story about how she was seen by God. And she's at that well, where she is seen. But we have to go into this story now and tell this. So we're in Genesis chapter 21. And we're in verse 14. So that's where we're gonna start the story. I think it's interesting how Abraham is going to set her up. In the morning, he takes bread and a bottle of water and he gives it to Hagar and Ishmael. And then she goes into the wilderness, into Beer-Sheba. And Beer-Sheba means 'a well of the covenant'. So remember, we talked about this last week, that Ishmael is part of the Covenant. There are things that are being promised to him, very important things.
But then, this story 16-19. I just want to tell the story, because I love it so much. And it has rained true for me in many times in my life. So let's go in verse 16. She went, and she sat down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot. And she said, Let me not see the death of my child. She's basically saying he's gonna die and I don't want to witness this. And for anyone out there who has experienced either a physical or potential spiritual death, you get this, like, I don't want to watch my child suffer, I can't do this. And so she weeps. In verse 16 it says, "And she lifted up her voice and wept." I mean, who of us hasn't wept for someone that we've loved? It makes me so emotional.
Have you wept for a child or a loved one? And how beautiful in 17, 'and God heard the voice of the lad - like He hears the child; He acknowledges, he knows what this young child is going through - God heard the voice of the lad. And then the angel of God called unto Hagar out of heaven and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? I love that, like, what's wrong? Why are you so sad? He knows. And she's going to recognize, And He says, Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Isn't that interesting? Because I just think, "where he is" could be so many different readings into that: physically where he is, or spiritually where he is. Like, God knows where he is. He absolutely does.
And then in 18: "Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation."
Like he's going to be okay, I've got plans for him. And then I love verse 19: "And God opened her eyes, and she saw the well of water;" Like, He opened her eyes to see what she needed to see for that specific moment with that specific child. And everything's going to be okay. And I think there's so much beauty in this because I think we get so caught up in thinking, No, nope. But this is too hard for the Lord. There's no way He's going to be able to help me with this one. Because I'm alone. I don't have a lot, I have no water left, we are destitute, my son's about to die, there's no way You're gonna be able to fix this. And He opens her eyes, and everything is fine. Like, it's okay.
And I think it's interesting in verse 20: "And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness,". I don't know if you remember last year we talked about how, Aliah, who's our therapist who comes on, she taught us a beautiful lesson about the word 'wilderness'. And she said how the word wilderness in Scripture is used over 400 different times. And she said, you're either going out of the wilderness, or you're coming into the wilderness. But either way, the wilderness is an experience that someone's going through; you're either learning, or you're coming through it. And she tried to have us understand that when people have like we call a faith crisis, they're just in the wilderness. And when someone's in the wilderness, you kind of stop and think, what do you need? Can I get you some water? How can I help you in your wilderness right now?
And there, there it is that symbolism of that word, 'wilderness'. And so I love that story. I love that God opened her eyes. And as I'm telling that story, I'd love to know some of the thoughts that both of you had, as it maybe applies to your own life or anything you'd like to share.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 49:18
I love when it talks about that the Lord was with him. I think, for me, as a parent, I have a child right now who is really struggling. And Tam, we've talked about this before. It is so hard for me and I internalize it all the time and the problems that they're having. And I just stress and I stress and our family therapist that we talked to said, You know, Dianne, do you do anything but worry about this child? And my husband said, No, she really doesn't. And I thought, Excuse me. And but then I said, Yeah, you're right. And in these verses, it just, it brings me such comfort, where I see that the Lord always dwelled with the child. And I have to think about that with my child, that they are never alone.
And in this wilderness, they're not by themselves; but on this journey that they're on hey have somebody with them. And the Lord knows that journey that they're on. And I don't. And it's not my thing to see right now. But yet, I feel like God has opened my eyes at times, and I see really great things. It has really been a trial of my faith. But it's also been such a testimony builder to me, that the Lord is always there, He always hears us. You know where it says, "Fear not, for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. And it's, I tell us that's where he is. I know that the Lord has heard my child where they are right now, even though they're not in a great place. Right where they are right now the Lord hears them and sees them. And what better person could my child have? They don't need me, they need the Lord.
Beautifully said, Dianne, beautifully spoken. Thank you for sharing your experience with that. It's tender to you, I can tell. If you're anything like me, you're like, Uh, this isn't supposed to happen. Like, get it? This was not part of the plan; it's supposed to work out for us. Right? I know enough. I'm doing enough. Right? Ah, what about you, Ron?
Ron Case 52:06
You have control.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 52:07
Well, that's what I want to have. Right? And then we see
Ron Case 52:12
Sorry. But, even Heavenly Father doesn't have that kind of control over His children.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 52:18
That is what I am learning.
Ron Case 52:20
My youngest daughter last summer informed us that she didn't want to associate with the church anymore. And it's, it's heartbreaking. It just breaks your heart. And I was so grateful that the Prophet had taught us this, you know, couple of, you know, a year ago or more in conference where he explained 'Israel' is 'let God prevail'. I just had to at that moment, say, Okay, I'm just, all I can do is love this girl. You love her more than I do you, know where she is. I can't understand why she feels this way, but I know you can. So you can help her. I'll love her. And she even told us, she said, I know you'll love me no matter what. And it's true. And I'm glad she knows that. But it doesn't change the fact that it's heartbreaking. And we want to do something about it. But we're powerless.
But hey, nothing's too hard for the Lord. And, and probably it's going to take a lot of patience and continued faith on our part in just trusting in Him. Let God prevail. He can save her, just like he can save me.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 53:29
Thank you, Ron.
Yeah, thank you for sharing that. I love your connection to letting God prevail. He's the one that will prevail over all of this. He's promised that, so thank you, both of you for sharing those. And sometimes Hagar gets overlooked. She's the hero of this whole story. But there is so much beauty in her story and how, who cannot relate? I mean, who of us has not been Hagar? And in all reality, I mean, who of us hasn't been Ishmael, and count yourself blessed and worthy to be called to Hagar? Because the Lord sees you, He hears you.
And and here's the thing too, I think: so I'm just now recognizing - she was in the wilderness with him. And I think all of us have felt that way. Yeah, like, we're all there. And we're all trying to figure this out and God hears you, and He knows where you are. You better believe that the Lord has said to your parents, I know where he or she is. And it's gone generation to generation. And so all the way back to Adam, where Adam would, the Lord would have said the same thing to Eve and to Adam, "I know where he is, he's going to be okay." And so thank you for sharing those were beautiful.
Okay, so we're gonna just end our story there with that part of it. And then in the next segment, wow, this is going to be the let God prevail of all let God prevail stories where we really will find out Is anything too hard for the Lord? And we'll start that in Genesis chapter 22 in the next segment......
So Genesis chapter 20. Here we have it, like Abraham, are you really committed? Are you truly dedicated to the Lord, because you're about to be asked to do something. In verse 1, it says it came to pass after these things that God did tempt Abraham, and say unto him. Highlight the word tempt, because that word in Hebrew is actually 'to try, to prove, or to test'. So the Lord did prove, try, or test Abraham, 'and said unto him, Abraham. And he said, behold, here I am.' Okay, we're going to tell this story. And as we do, we want you to write down in your journal some important elements that you hear as the story is being told with these verses. And Ron and Dianne are going to help me tell it So Ron, go ahead and start, tell us a story about what the Lord asked Abraham to do.
Ron Case 55:42
Just remember that Abraham had seen a vision the creation of the Earth. The Lord said, I'm going to send these noble, great ones down there, and I'm going to prove them to see if they'll do everything I ask them to do. So he had been warned. Okay, here we go,
22:2-13. "And 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 shall tell thee of.
3 "And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him;
4 "Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
5 "And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
6 "And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
7 "And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My Father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
8 "And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
9 "And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
10 "And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
11 "And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12 "And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou has not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
13 "And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and beheld behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
14 "And Abraham called the name of that place, Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen."
Thank you. Okay, so there's our story. That is what happened. There's so much about the story that is in similitude; and we talked about that word, the very beginning of the year in our journals. The word similitude means to be in likeness of, or to be like. This is in similitude of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. And so that's what we want to show you, are all of the connections that this story has to our Savior, Jesus Christ. And then we're going to show you some other cool verses. So let's start out with that, just in verse 2. Ron and Dianne, show us, tell me about the connections we see between Abraham and Isaac, and God and Jesus Christ.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 58:29
One of the similarities that I see between Isaac and Jesus Christ is they are the only two people in the standard works who are called 'the only son'. And I think that that is really, that is just such a strong concept. You know, just that, how to be compared to the Savior.
Ron Case 58:59
Can you imagine Jesus being taught by Mary and Joseph as a child, from the book of Genesis, and maybe having this dawn on them that this is the story of Heavenly Father and Jesus, and trying to teach Jesus, this is you. I mean, Jesus is going to learn from Abraham and Isaac about what has to happen, in a way.
Wow, I love that connection, Ron.
Ron Case 59:27
In fact, you know, the Mount Moriah, the land of Mariah, that is the future Jerusalem. That's the threshing floor that David is going to buy for the temple. And that Temple Mount, right? That's where the, all the animal sacrifices were done. And that, just to the north of there is where Christ is going to be crucified.
Yes. I'm so glad you brought that up. Because I remember learning that and thinking really? I had to ask my Hebrew teacher, she said exactly what you said. She's like, Yes, that is absolutely true, a connection there that they'ss be sacrificed in the same place. So there's another awesome connection. Good job. Keep going you guys with these connections. What else did you see?
Ron Case 1:00:10
I'd like in verse 4 that it was on the third day. That number is obviously connected to Christ in 1000 times and in the scriptures.
Perfect. I liked how he took servants with him. And they followed him. And then he said to them, okay, now you stay here, like in Gethsemane when he says to his apostles: You stay here, I'm going to go take care of my business. And he does that; I thought that was really cool to see that connection. You guys stay here, and now we're going to go in and get the job done.
Ron Case 1:00:40
Verse 6, the wood is laid upon the son.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:00:45
Why is that a connection? I thought about that, too, with the cross. Is that what you were thinking?
Ron Case 1:00:48
Yeah. Christ carried His cross, yeah.
Yeah. So good. I mean, I'm just writing as fast as I can in my scriptures. I love that. What about verse 7? What did you highlight there?
Just the whole verse.
Ron Case 1:01:03
Well, I connect it to verse 8; he's asking, Where's the lamb? And Abraham says, My God - and if you read it this way, if this makes sense, - My son, God will provide Himself a lamb. In other words, The God of the Old Testament, who's Jehovah himself, is going to come down and be the lamb. I don't know if Abraham understands that - what he's saying? I mean, Abraham is just one of those people that's so faithful, you know. Paul says later on in Hebrews, that Abraham had so much faith that he would have killed Isaac, believing that God could just raise him up from the dead, because that's not hard for God to do.
Nothing's too hard. And that one really would be, huh? Wow!
Ron Case 1:01:52
I mean, I just, I think that is the best verse right there. God will provide Himself a lamb.
He himself. Ooo, I love that connection. I liked in verse 7 where he says, Here, am I. You've seen that. That answer. Beautifully done there. Here am I, send me. There's that connection.
Ron Case 1:02:11
The savior. Yeah.
Absolutely. Keep going. What else?
Ron Case 1:02:15
Verse 9. Isaac cannot be bound, unless he allows himself to be bound. He's grown. He's, he's a young man. And he's definitely old enough to overpower his 100 and something year-old father?
Yes. In fact, most scholarship agrees that he would be well into his late 20s, early 30s. So he's just not this little boy that's following his father. He's old enough to say, Hold the phone, dad.
Ron Case 1:02:45
And so he, he's trusting and he's willing, and he's obedient. And I think Jesus would see that and say, Okay, I'm just gonna trust that it's all gonna work out.
Yes. In fact, for me, I recently was studying this. And I feel like in that verse is when Isaac is committed, because he could have so easily been like, I'm out of here. You're crazy. But Isaac is bound now to the covenant, like the binding being bound to God, being bound through covenants. He, he himself is being bound to this whole commitment of what his father started, to the Abrahamic covenant.
Ron Case 1:03:25
Exactly right. I'm going to stick, I'm going to be like my father.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:03:28
He is all in.
Ron Case 1:03:29
Like my father's 100% obedient, I'm not taking one shoelace from Sodom, either.
Right, that's exactly right. Give me some more connections. Anything else that you saw the rest of these verses?
Ron Case 1:03:43
In love also, verse 13. Just this: Abraham lifted up his eyes. He does that a couple of times. What I think that means is he's really, this is really killing him. This is not, not literally, but this is really like taking it all out of him, just like, Oh my gosh, I can't believe I have to do this. And he's so sad. And he's, he's downtrodden a little bit and he maybe discouraged. But right when he lifts up his eyes, a ram. He sees a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. A ram is a full-grown adult male lamb.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:04:29
So it's the Lamb of God.
Ron Case 1:04:32
And the horns, remember are symbolic of power, priesthood power, right. And
Just a side note for those of you in the temple: look for horns, and you will see them.
Ron Case 1:04:46
Yeah, in the initiatory.
and it is a symbol of power. Keep going.
Ron Case 1:04:51
The prophet Samuel carried a horn of oil with him, to anoint the kings with, King David. Anyway. Verse 13, again, "caught in the thicket". The thicket is brambles or thorns. So the ram is caught by his head and the thorns. How obvious is that?
Well, and I think what was so cool to me was when I look up what a ram symbolizes in Scripture, and I thought this was so fascinating to me because it symbolizes in some different contexts, a leader or a chief. Like it is a full adult grown male, but it is a symbol of being a leader or the head. Yes, exactly - the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, aleph. And that's what the Savior is. And that's what Isaac will become, he will become the head or the leader, getting us to Jacob, getting us to 'let God prevail'. So very cool. I love that connection.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:05:53
I have another one. Um, Isaac and Jesus Christ are both in agreement with their fathers. Neither of them are arguing with their fathers and saying, I'm out, you know. But they both "Thy will be done."
Ron Case 1:06:10
And he's asking the question: Hey, where's the, where's the ram?
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:06:16
Where's the lamb? Come on, here.
Ron Case 1:06:19
You could say Jesus was like, hey, is there some other way?
Yes. Is there any other way? Oh, Ron. That's a great connection. Wow, those are good.
Ron Case 1:06:31
Thank Diane for that because it just came to me after she said it.
Thank you both. Go to verse 14. Because how much do we love what the place is called. Highlight the name of it, Jehovah-jireh. And then down below, the footnote in Hebrew tells us it means 'the Lord will see or provide'.
Ron Case 1:06:48
Or, in the mount the Lord shall be manifest. Remember, the mount is where the temple will be.
Yes, I love that. So goooood, I'm writing that down. Oh, my gosh, you guys. Those are incredible connections. Here's the thing I want to just shout out: to those of you listening, I'm going to do a call-out on social media this week. If you can find any other connections, please share what else you have found. Because there's so many wonderful things. This story is absolutely in similitude of God and Jesus Christ. And that is so important for us to know because what I love is when Ron said this earlier, Ron said Abraham was a friend of God. We have to put that cross reference because it's in the New Testament where it really does say Abraham was a friend of God. And it is in James chapter 2, verse 23. In fact, let's just read that. Ron, will you read it when you get there.
Ron Case 1:07:44
James, chapter 2, verse 23: "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God."
I love that because Jesus says, You are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you. That just proved it right there.
Thank you, Ron, for reading that. And thank you, both of you for coming prepared with all those incredible connections. That was so good. And so what I want to do then, is, Ron, you mentioned that becoming a friend of God is a covenantal word. It's a word that comes by keeping commandments. And so in the next segment, we're going to talk about maybe what our own sacrifices might be, and what that might look like for each one of us.
Segment 6 1:08:37
Let's go back into Genesis chapter 22. And we're going to look at just two verses: 15 and 16. And Diane, can you please read both of these verses for us.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:08:47
Genesis 22:15. "And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,
16 "And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:"
Thank you. Now I kind of read this a different way. I read it as two things, where He says, "because thou hast done this thing, and has not withheld thy son, thine only son," That, I highlighted this thing because it really struck me like, what is this thing that he's talking about? What did Abraham really do here? What did he prove? When the Lord says I'm going to test him, I'm going to try him, I'm going to prove him, what does this look like in our lives?
Ron Case 1:09:34
Well, I just feel like, what is God asking us to sacrifice? You know, what is He asking us to give up? And in the end, really, it's the thing that's most precious to us. It's all earthly things, really. And it could be, you just never know what it's going to be. But in the case of, for instance, Joseph Smith was asked to practice plural marriage. It was so hard for him, it took him literally 10 years to really get to the point where he could do it.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:10:11
And I really like Hugh B Brown talking about what was happening right here. Listen to what he said. He said, "Abraham needed to learn something about Abraham. I wonder, what do I need to learn about myself?" What am I willing to give to the Lord to learn that lesson? I mean, what is it that the Lord is going to ask me to give up?
Ron Case 1:10:37
And I love the word that used 'willing', because it really is about the willingness in our heart to do it. He might not ask us to actually do it ever in this life, but are we willing?
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:10:38
So would you do it?
Ron Case 1:10:41
Are we willing to do it?
Are you totally all in? Are you committed?
Ron Case 1:10:52
Yeah, all in. Like, remember what the Savior asked the rich young ruler? Would you give up all, you know, your worldly wealth, all earthly things? And he walked away sad; hopefully the next day, he was like, I'll do it. It's a tough one. Joseph Smith said, and I think it's Wilford Woodruff who quotes him: "will tug at your heartstrings. He's going to yank on your heart and say, Are you willing to sacrifice?" And I think for some of us, for a lot of us, probably it's, it's probably our sin, our favorite sin that we just can't seem to give up, you know, because we've spent too much time in Sodom. And the Lord's just saying, 'If you will just give that up, I will give you everything I have. I'll give you all that I have in eternity. Can you just please give up that one dumb thing that you're so stuck on?'
Now, you can say, Well, come on. Abraham? He's a good man. Well, yeah, so what do you test a good man with? The most important thing to him,? the thing that he prayed for for decades and finally got the answer to his prayer. And wow, you just, I,if I were Abraham, I would just be like, You can't be serious. You can't ask me to give that up. You gave it, I prayed. What are we doing here? And he doesn't hesitate. He does not hesitate. The next morning, they go. And he will do it.
And he was a rich man. He could have asked, the Lord could have asked him to give up all of his wealth.
Ron Case 1:12:36
And he probably would have said, Oh, no problem. But my son? No. How about I give you everything else? No, I want your son.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:12:43
So my favorite thing that I am learning right now with this story is that Abraham didn't know that there was going to be this lamb in the thicket, right? Or this ram. He didn't know that it was going to be there. And I think that is incredible. You know, he was willing to do it. He didn't know that, whew, I didn't have to give that up. But that he was willing to do that. And I just think, Am I willing to do these things that if I was asked to give things up or to do something that the Lord wanted me to do, would I be able to do it?
Ron Case 1:13:28
No, it's probably not usually a big thing. It's just, will I give up my comfortable life like, when a new calling comes and I'm really happy with my old calling, will I or, just am I, I mean if you pay, if you pay tithing, you're sacrificing. If you do it with a willing heart, you're doing it. But can you go to the law of consecration next? And can you really just keep going line upon line as the Lord leads you along? He'll take you to a point where he might, you might have an Abrahamic test, I don't know.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:14:02
You're stretched, yes. In fact, let's read this quote by Elder Neal A Maxwell. It is right in line with everything that we've just been discussing. We have to read this quote. I'm going to read this quote, and I just want you guys when we're done, I want to talk about this and how we do it. Here we go.
"The submission of one's will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God's altar. The many other things we give, brothers and sisters, are actually the things he has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God's will, then we are really giving something to him."
Ron Case 1:14:44
Love that. We're not really sacrificing anything. We think going on a mission is a big sacrifice. But in the end, we're so blessed. We think paying tithing is a big sacrifice. But in the end, we're so blessed. If I serve in a calling, I'm more blessed than anyone. And so none of that is really a sacrifice. But this one kind of is a sacrifice, because I don't know, I'm just trusting that you're gonna give me everything in the end if I give you all that I, all that I am right now. It's hard.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:15:17
Do you guys have that song in your head going, "Sacrifice springs for the blessings of heaven?" right?
Ron Case 1:15:23
"Praise to the Man"
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:15:25
Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of zion.
Yes. Well, I love how in Genesis 22, after the angel the Lord is speaking to Abraham., it's right here in 22, (17) That in blessing I will bless thee, in multiplying I will multiply thee. That's it; I will bring forth the blessings of your sacrifice. And it just makes me go back to this question then, because people want to know like, but why did he have to sacrifice his son? Of all the things, and I think we kind of answered it with that, quote, it wasn't about sacrificing his son so much as it was Abraham giving up his will. And as the father of covenants, he's Abraham, he is the father of the Abrahamic covenant. There was nothing else that the Lord could ask of him that would have been more submitting his will on that altar. And who better to do that than the father of covenants? We needed that example.
Ron Case 1:16:18
It's just like the Lord said to Joseph Smith, when he was struggling to keep all the commandments of God. Go ye therefore (this is D&C 132 Verse 32)," go ye therefore and do the works of Abraham. Enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved." Trust me, I know what I'm asking you to do. I know it's hard. But I got to know I can trust you. I can't give you everything I have if I can't trust you. But if I know you'll do everything I ask, that you'll be 100% obedient, then you can have everything I have.
Wow. Amen! I'm just going to Amen that whole discussion, that was awesome. So then, we just got to come back full circle. And I just want everyone to think after this whole discussion today, really, truly Is anything too hard for the Lord? And I think we all can unequivocally say, No, it just isn't. He gets us, He hears us, He knows us, He is with us. And so thank you, both of you. Thank you for that discussion. That was, Ah, I love you both so much. It was so good.
Ron Case 1:17:23
Right back at ya.
Okay, take a minute and just think about what your takeaway is from today.
Ron Case 1:17:28
I wrote down it, I was taking notes. So of course. I wrote down when Ron said that Abraham was a friend of God. And I thought, Am I a friend of God? I mean, I would think, yeah, but really, am I a friend of God? And I'm thinking, you know, I do get casual in things. And I need to make a conscious choice to choose God, like Ron said, so all of those are quotes from Ron Case.
I'm just quoting scripture, come on.
Book of Ron.
Ron Case 1:18:10
Whatever. That'll never happen.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:18:11
I need to really be thinking, how am I going to, to be all in at all times and really be out of the world. But all in to the gospel? Thank you, Dianne,
Ron Case 1:18:30
My favorite takeaway was Genesis 21:17, which you read so beautifully, Tammy. And it's just that God heard the voice of the lad. And the angel told Hagar: Fear not. God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. He knows where we are each one of us. And we have, we worried and we're, you know, obsessing over our kids or whatever. He knows, and He loves him. And He'll take care. We just have to trust Him that He will.
Yeah, absolutely. And that was such a tender moment that we had, as we discussed that story, because we all can relate. All three of us have had those moments where really, oh, I hope He hears, I hope He hears and knows where he is. Or she for sure. That might have been my takeaway, just when you both shared your stories. It was so tender, and the spirit was so strong. That was mine. And I'm sure when I go back through and listen to this again, I'm going to find another takeaway, because I do that all the time.
I also loved our discussion on Genesis 22, all of the similitudes. There were more than I had even found, and that was so cool. And so I can't wait to find out what other people are going to share. But both of you shared things that I hadn't even considered before and I think it's so much even more deep. I think we could find more but that was a great discussion. So thank you for coming prepared. You both enlightened me with what you had to say. So it was awesome. So thank you.
Ron Case 1:20:02
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:20:02
Thanks, guys for the good talk. Love YOU!
Ron Case 1:20:05
See you next time. Thanks, bye-bye.
Gosh, I love those friends. What great discussion today. Okay, I just want to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. And if you haven't already joined our discussion group, go to Facebook and Instagram, sign up, join, share your takeaways, send me messages, anything, I just love it. And then every week at the end of the week, usually on a Sunday, or Saturday, we do a post asking for your big takeaway. So go ahead and comment on the post that relates to this specific lesson and let everybody know what you learned. I read them and I love it.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDS living.com/sunday on Monday, and go there anyway because it's where we're gonna have the links to all the references we use today, all of the scriptures, all of the quotes, as well a complete transcript of this whole discussion. And then at the bottom, we're gonna have glueins, where we'll have the quotes we used today that you can put in your Scripture, so go check it out.
The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our really incredible study group participants for Dianne Gerdy Iman and Ron case and you can find more information about my friends at LDS living.com/sunday Monday. Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert and me; it is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week.
And please remember that He hears your voice because you are God's favorite.
That's my only goal. My husband and I decided, we said to our kids, Listen we're at the age our only goal is to avoid lines and crowds. I don't care how you turn out from this point on. If I have to stand in a line or a crowd, sorry kid, you're on your own.
Ron Case 1:21:47
No. Not at our age.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:21:51
No, I can't. We've done that.
can't. Disneyland - Are you kidding me?
Ron Case 1:21:57
No, no, I can't, I'm too old.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:22:00
The grocery store's enough.
Ron Case 1:22:01
It's like standing at the DMV on the surface of the sun.
Thank you. It's exactly what it is.
Ron Case 1:22:09
Why would we do that? I stole that line from Jim Gaffigan, I promise.
Dianne Gerdy Iman 1:22:14