SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20130127 "Tale of Two Brothers"

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          Last week in my Anger Management class a young man asked me about what started all this contention in the Middle East. I explained to him the Biblical narrative of Abraham and that the trouble started with two brothers who shared the same father. In Middle Eastern culture the oldest gets the "birthright," a blessing from their father that honors God's promises to the father.

          The world's population is projected to be 8 billion by 2030.

There are currently 26% of the world's population are Allah worshipers. As much as 20% of them are Shia Conservatives, while 80% are Sunni Moderates. Comparatively, there are 2.1 billion Christian worshipers world-wide.

          The problems in the Middle East go further back than the current Palestinian / Hamaas conflicts. The earliest incident of brother being against brother is in the creation story involving Cain and his brother Able. Death and murder entered into the human situation with Adam and Eve's first two sons.

          In the end time before the Lord's Second Coming brother shall be divided against brother. Matt. 10:21 'Now brother will deliver up brother to death. . .'  The Jews and the Arabs are genetically linked. Technically, they are brothers. They hate each other and yet, they biologically have the same ancestor, Abraham.

          The story of two brothers starts with how God favored a 29 year old man who lived in Ur of the Chaldees who rejected polytheism and worshipped the one God in heaven. This sermon attempts to show the Biblical roots of the Middle Eastern conflict, and shows how God can use the weak to overcome the strong.


Pastor Phil   <><<





January 27, 2013 - Sheepfold Ministries

Pastor Phil Roland




"The Bible contains more than 200 narrative stories. Many of the stories are action filled dramas of God's working in human lives thousands of years ago. God and human nature are the same. Two brothers reveal the root sources of conflict."       Pastor Phil  <><<

"And the Angel of the LORD said to her (Hagar): "Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because

the LORD has heard your affliction. 12 He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, And every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren."  Genesis 16:11,12


"A serious disagreement or argument lasting over a protracted time."

            A. Earliest conflict was when God chose to honor Able's Offering

                   1. Cain becomes jealous and commits first murder - James 4:1

                        “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from

                          your desires that battle within you?”

2. Why did/does God play favorites?

                        3. God's favor was with the Blood Sacrifice to atone/cover sins

                        4. God could have blessed Cain, but he became impatient

                        “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper

                          than one who takes a city.”   Prov. 16:32

B. Ishmael / Isaac conflict is similar

                        1. God favors Isaac and gives him and his progeny the Land

                        2. God promises Kings and Nations to Ishmael



"And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: "Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are--northward, southward, eastward, and westward; 15 for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. 16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. 17 Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you."

            A. "Abrahamic Covenant" - Genesis 12:1-3

            "Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your

             family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will

             make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And

             you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse

             him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be


1. A Biblical Covenant involved the letting of blood

                        2. The word in Hebrew, "Brit," sometimes called a "Bris"



                        3. Hebrew meaning is "To Cut" - You "cut" a covenant

                        4. Abraham sacrifices animals - Genesis 15:9

                        5. Heifer, Goat, Ram, Turtledove and Pigeon

            B. God promises the land to Abraham and his progeny - Gen. 15:18

            "On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your

              descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great

              river, the River Euphrates--"

                        1. This promise is made to Abraham 2100 B.C.

                        2. The narrative is about 4100 years ago



            A. Two brothers, one father, Abraham, but 2 mothers, Hagar/Sarah

                        1. Ishmael - Hebrew "God listens. . ."

2. Isaac - Hebrew "He laughs. . ."

            B. Hagar is an Egyptian handmaid of Sarah

                        1. Abraham and Sarah get ahead of God

                        2. They have no children for 75 years

                        3. Sarah gives Hagar to Abraham as a wife

                        4. They lose faith in God's Promise

                        5. They help God out and Ishmael is born

                        6. Abraham is 86 when he first becomes a father

            C. Isaac is born 14 years later when Abraham is 100

                        1. Ishmael is a natural birth

                        2. Isaac is a supernatural birth



"Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her." 17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" 18 And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" 19 Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.  20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year."
22 Then He finished talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.

          A. God gives Abraham and Sarah the Son of Promise, "Isaac"

                        1. Abraham is 100 years of age

                        2. Sarah is 90 years of age

            B. Islamic apologists struggle with God's preferred choice

                        1. Reject the Bible because of God's favored choice



                        2. Call the Bible a "Corrupt Book"

                        3. Wrongly believe that Ishmael is the Son of Promise

            C. Why do Ishmael's descendents hate the Jews?

                        1. Jealous over God's favor given to Isaac

                        2. Jealous over the award of the Land



“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

            A. We don't deserve his favor, nor did Isaac  –  Romans 5:6-8

          “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the

            ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a                  good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His

            own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for                       us.”

1. Abraham / Sarah got ahead of God, but He still blessed them

                  2. God can choose whom He will: Salvation is for all mankind

            B. Now God's favor is not expressed in Progeny or Land

                        1. He promises us a spiritual kingdom, not made with hands

                        2. We are to seek Him and His Righteousness - Matt. 6:33

                        "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all

                         these things shall be added to you."

            C. Turn your life and its outcomes over to Him

                        1. Allow Him to control and lead you into His favor

                        2. He loves you and extends His hand of Invitation




Genesis 12:1-9 (NKJV)
1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed
4 So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from
5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in
Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.
6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land.
7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
8 And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.
9 So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.




          My sermon today was entitled "A Tale of Two Brothers," and involved the 4100 year struggle between two brothers and the conflict that arose over the blessing of their father. I could have been preaching about the struggle between Cain and Able, but I wasn't. I could have been preaching about the struggle between Jacob and Esau, but I wasn't. The two brothers I chose to preach about was Ishmael and Isaac.

          All three of these brothers rejected their birthrights and despised their patriarch's blessing. Jealousy and disappointment were at the root of the contention. Cain resorted to impulsive rage and murder to express his outrage at God's approval of Able's paschal offering.

          Esau despised and trivialized his father's blessing and sold it to his brother Jacob for a bowl of porridge. Later, Esau began to comprehend what he had lost and vowed to kill his brother Jacob.

          Ishmael was passed over as the traditional recipient of his father Abraham's birthright and God's approval. God still granted a vast genetic progeny to Ishmael that included twelve Princes that would rule twelve Kingdoms. It is significant that Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, ended up settling in the place of Hagar's birth in Egypt.

          God decided to bless the younger of the two brothers by BOTH a genetic blessing of progeny AND the LAND. Ishmael's descendants wanted the Land and despised the genetic inheritance. They still are jealous for and contend for the land. Technically, they don't want the progeny of their half-brother Isaac, to possess their God-given inheritance of the land.

          The irony here is that God promised to Isaac's descendents their entire fertile crescent from the Euphrates River on the North in Southern Iraq to Egypt's great river, the Nile. Today, Isaac's progeny only possess a fragile sliver of their promised land. Israel today is 19th the size of USA's state of California.


          The Jealous contention today by the so-called victimized Palestinians and their Egyptian sponsors is a strip of land 263 miles long from North to South. At its narrowest point, Israel today is only 9 miles across. The entire Arab world desires to annihilate this small, vigorously democratic nation and all its inhabitants.

          The jealousy of Ishmael's descendants has been so great that they despised the Jewish/Christian Bible and created their own god, Allah, and their own scriptures, the Qu'ran, written by their prophet, Mohammad, twenty-eight centuries after Abraham and Ishmael.


Phil Roland   <><<