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Episode: “Conflicting Directions and Destinations”
Abram/Abraham was promised descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. Little did he know that his two sons (born from different mothers) would father two nations whose hostility toward each other would last millennia. Sometimes our journey of faith leads us into conflicts and challenges that require greater trust in God.
Series: “Faith for the Future”
Our Journey with the Patriarchs
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob displayed their faith in God by taking small steps and sometimes leaps of faith. Oftentimes, these actions dramatically altered the course of their lives, while redirecting them toward greater dependence on the Lord. In this ten part series, Dr. Jeffrey Seif takes us through strategic events in their lives while Dr. Barri Seif (Jeff’s wife) provides a personal perspective. This ten part series also includes discussions with David and Kirsten Hart as well as dramatic reenactments filmed in Israel.

Caption transcript for Faith for the Future: “Conflicting Directions and Destinations” (2/10)

  • 00:01 ♪♪♪
  • 00:03 David Hart: Welcome to "Our Jewish Roots."
  • 00:07 ♪♪♪
  • 00:12 David: "Now faith is the assurance of things
  • 00:14 hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
  • 00:18 For by it the men of old received divine approval."
  • 00:22 For whatever was written in former days was written for
  • 00:25 our instruction that through endurance and through
  • 00:29 the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.
  • 00:33 ♪♪♪
  • 00:36 David: "Faith for the Future: Our Journey
  • 00:38 with the Patriarchs."
  • 00:43 David: Thank you so much for joining us today.
  • 00:45 I'm David Hart.
  • 00:46 Kirsten Hart: I'm Kirsten Hart.
  • 00:48 Dr. Jeffrey Seif: I am Jeffrey Seif,
  • 00:49 and we are looking up.
  • 00:53 Kirsten: Right, and the whole series is about "Faith for the
  • 00:55 Future," and sometimes we look at the stars for our future, but
  • 00:58 there was a message for Abraham that came down
  • 01:00 from up there, right?
  • 01:02 Jeffrey: Yes, he looked up, and God spoke to him
  • 01:04 through the cosmos.
  • 01:05 What a story.
  • 01:07 Kirsten: All about his future and many, many generations.
  • 01:10 Jeffrey: You know, I've been out at starry, starry, dark
  • 01:12 nights and looked at the stars, and it's very inspirational.
  • 01:15 David: What's our drama today?
  • 01:16 Jeffrey: Well, it speaks to that piece of inspiration, to
  • 01:19 tell you the truth, and we're gonna see it now where Abraham
  • 01:22 is beckoned to go out and gets a vision for the future by looking
  • 01:25 above and seeing the stars.
  • 01:29 male announcer: After these things, the Word of
  • 01:31 the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, "Fear not,
  • 01:36 Abram, I am thy shield.
  • 01:39 Your reward will be exceedingly great."
  • 01:45 Abram: [speaking in Hebrew]
  • 01:54 Sarai: [speaking in Hebrew]
  • 03:27 announcer: And the Lord said further
  • 03:28 unto Abram, "Thy seed shall be a stranger in
  • 03:32 a land that is not theirs, and they will afflict them for
  • 03:36 400 years, and afterwards, they shall come out
  • 03:40 with great abundance."
  • 03:43 And in the same day, the Lord made a covenant with Abram,
  • 03:47 saying, "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from
  • 03:51 the river of Egypt, unto the great river Euphrates."
  • 04:02 Jeffrey: [speaking in Hebrew]
  • 04:07 "And the Lord said to Abram, 'Look up now.'"
  • 04:14 I mean, he was lookin' down. He was discouraged.
  • 04:18 He was deflated.
  • 04:20 Things didn't make sense to him.
  • 04:22 And then he got the Word.
  • 04:24 It says, "The Lord appeared to him," the Word of the Lord,
  • 04:27 "and said, 'Look up now.'"
  • 04:32 Oh, it was a word for him, to be sure,
  • 04:35 because that man needed faith for his future, didn't he?
  • 04:39 Faith in God because things weren't going terribly well.
  • 04:44 But then he got the word, "Look up now."
  • 04:49 I wanna look at the Word, in fact, and see
  • 04:52 the particulars of it.
  • 04:54 Speaking of the Word, you know, in the Hebrew Bible,
  • 04:56 the Scripture is referred to as "Etz Chaim," the "Tree of Life."
  • 05:01 With Abram now, let's look up now.
  • 05:08 Jeffrey: Because he says here--
  • 05:10 [speaking in Hebrew]
  • 05:12 He said, "Your seed is going to be multiplied."
  • 05:16 And listen to me, listen to me: If you're an agrarian as they
  • 05:21 were back then, your seed is your future.
  • 05:26 "Seed" back then is a 401(k) today.
  • 05:30 It's a retirement plan.
  • 05:33 "Look up, fearful.
  • 05:35 You have a future.
  • 05:37 You might not feel it, you might not see it, but it's there."
  • 05:42 Now, we wanna talk about "Faith for the Future," and I wanna
  • 05:45 alight upon the fact that Abram bought into the program.
  • 05:51 He lived proleptically, that is to say, he embraced it before he
  • 05:54 got it, and the reason why I say that is because, in verse 6,
  • 05:59 it says, "And he believed in Adonai and he reckoned it to
  • 06:03 him as righteousness."
  • 06:07 "Righteousness" wasn't going to church Sunday morning, Sunday
  • 06:09 night, and on Wednesday and all week if there's a revival.
  • 06:12 I'm not trying to discredit that, but it's believing in God.
  • 06:16 It's having faith in him for the future.
  • 06:20 He did that.
  • 06:22 He took that step, and then we're told subsequent to that,
  • 06:26 that God made a covenant with him.
  • 06:29 He entered into a relationship to facilitate the promise of a
  • 06:35 seed of offspring and then a place for the offspring to go.
  • 06:40 We're told in chapter 15, verse 18, later on, on that day,
  • 06:46 Adonai cut a covenant with Abram.
  • 06:49 In Hebrew, there's no verb, "to make."
  • 06:52 It's "cut."
  • 06:54 You've heard the expression "to cut a deal"?
  • 06:56 Well, that's where it comes from literally, the verb, "to cut."
  • 06:59 He made a contract with him, and he said, "I will give to
  • 07:06 your seed--" "Zara Israel," "the seed of Israel."
  • 07:11 And, by the way, there are people who are of the seed
  • 07:16 of Israel, but they're not of the religion of Israel.
  • 07:21 I mention that Benjamin Netanyahu's father, a famous
  • 07:25 professor, argued, "There's some 30 million Hispanic people in
  • 07:30 Central and South America, descended from Sephardim,
  • 07:34 Spanish Jews that came to the New World.
  • 07:37 They don't practice the religion of Israel, but if they're
  • 07:40 checked out genetically, they belong to the people of Israel.
  • 07:44 There are certain people that have stirrings within them
  • 07:46 toward the Hebrew people.
  • 07:48 It might not be to something spiritual.
  • 07:50 It's something genetic.
  • 07:52 There's a kind of impulse there.
  • 07:54 In any case, he doesn't say, "So shall your religion be."
  • 07:58 He says, "So shall your people be spread out."
  • 08:01 He says here specifically he gives boundaries.
  • 08:06 He speaks to people about a place.
  • 08:09 There's a territorial dimension.
  • 08:11 He says, "I will give it to you from the river of Mitsrayim,
  • 08:15 of Egypt, to the great river, the river Euphrates."
  • 08:20 Now, if we're looking at the ancient world, we're looking at
  • 08:23 two big markers there, and there's real estate place there
  • 08:27 for the Hebrew people, right at the southwestern portion
  • 08:30 of the Fertile Crescent.
  • 08:33 Abraham is on a journey.
  • 08:35 He's on a journey with God.
  • 08:38 He's a bit discouraged, and Sarah is too.
  • 08:41 Hope for a future with children seems not very doable, but
  • 08:45 "With God, all things are possible."
  • 08:48 Lord gets ahold of this fella, slaps him up a little bit, gets
  • 08:51 him lookin' up some.
  • 08:53 He does, he believes, God makes a promise, gives him some land,
  • 08:58 and the rest is history for him and for those who imitate
  • 09:02 him--for you as well.
  • 09:07 ♪♪♪
  • 09:16 announcer: Our resource this week,
  • 09:18 the "Grafted-In" necklace.
  • 09:20 Wearing this lovely sterling silver rendition of a classic
  • 09:23 messianic symbol shows you recognize the Jewish roots of
  • 09:27 your Christian faith and stirs curiosities and witness
  • 09:32 opportunities with this tribute to life, the Lord,
  • 09:36 and abundant love.
  • 09:38 For this resource and more, call 1-800-WONDERS,
  • 09:42 or visit us at levitt.com.
  • 09:47 ♪♪♪
  • 09:52 ♪ Sha'alu Shalom Yerushalayim ♪
  • 09:55 ♪ Sha'alu, Sha'alu Shalom. ♪
  • 09:59 ♪ For the Holy City of Jerusalem, ♪
  • 10:06 ♪ we will pray for peace, ♪
  • 10:09 ♪ Sha'alu Shalom. ♪
  • 10:18 ♪ Shalom. ♪♪
  • 10:23 David: This whole series is about "Faith for Our Future."
  • 10:26 Kirsten and I never dreamed in our wildest dreams that
  • 10:29 we'd be going to Israel two times a year.
  • 10:32 We have the faith now that Israel is in our future.
  • 10:36 Kirsten: Right, we'll be going back.
  • 10:38 David: Yes, also for you to have faith that Israel
  • 10:42 could be in your future, pray about it.
  • 10:44 We would love for you to join us on a trip to Israel.
  • 10:46 We go both in the fall and the spring.
  • 10:49 Information right here on levitt.com.
  • 10:52 Jeffrey: Yeah, it's not just a vacation.
  • 10:53 There's something very inspiring.
  • 10:55 And looking up to the stars, of course, as noted,
  • 10:57 Abraham was inspired.
  • 10:59 Someone wrote not long ago.
  • 11:01 They said, "Boy, I wish I could give you a million dollars."
  • 11:04 And I was indeed appreciative of that for the ministry's sake,
  • 11:06 but I'm not lookin' for million-dollar checks.
  • 11:08 Inasmuch as Abraham looked up and saw a bunch of stars,
  • 11:11 if everyone who watched this program just did a little,
  • 11:15 that would really help us to move forward a lot.
  • 11:18 I mentioned that, please, I'm looking at the stars.
  • 11:21 I'm looking out at you, all the friends that your last name
  • 11:24 isn't Gates, but you are in love with the Lord
  • 11:28 in this program.
  • 11:29 If you could pick up a pen and do a little, we surely would
  • 11:32 appreciate it a lot.
  • 11:34 Kirsten: We'll get to hear from your beautiful and
  • 11:36 intelligent wife in a minute, but, first, let's peek into the
  • 11:39 lives of Sarah and Hagar.
  • 11:42 Sometimes we girls can get catty with each other, and even back
  • 11:46 in the old times, it wasn't any different.
  • 11:49 Here we go.
  • 11:53 ♪♪♪
  • 12:01 Abram: [speaking in Hebrew]
  • 12:10 Sarai: [speaking in Hebrew]
  • 13:33 Dr. Barri Seif: As I see Sarai here, my heart goes
  • 13:37 out to my distant ancestress because of all the different
  • 13:43 emotions that she's going through.
  • 13:46 There's pain. She is barren.
  • 13:49 She is the matriarch of the clan, of the family.
  • 13:55 She is to be respected, and, yet we are told in Scripture that
  • 14:01 Hagar saw her as "qalal" in Hebrew, "despised, belittled,"
  • 14:06 and it was not a pleasant place for Sarah, and you can see it in
  • 14:12 her emotions and in the pain, and the comfort that we have
  • 14:17 when we go through these times--and maybe you've been
  • 14:21 despised or betrayed.
  • 14:22 I sure have.
  • 14:24 And I'm comforted to know that Yeshua was despised
  • 14:27 and rejected by men.
  • 14:29 A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, who better to
  • 14:33 comfort us in these times of difficulty, as we see with
  • 14:39 Sarai, who is in deep pain.
  • 14:42 I like to know that the Holy Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh,
  • 14:47 is there with us.
  • 14:49 He's our "paraclete," the one who comes alongside of us and
  • 14:52 comforts us.
  • 14:54 And Paul encourages us as well in 2 Corinthians, the first
  • 14:58 chapter, that "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
  • 15:02 Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who
  • 15:07 comforts us in any of our affliction with the comfort that
  • 15:11 we ourselves had in Jesus so that we can comfort others."
  • 15:16 God never weighs suffering.
  • 15:18 He cares about us. He carries us through.
  • 15:21 And we know the end result because we know about Sarai as
  • 15:24 she becomes Sarah, and she's the mother of many.
  • 15:27 But there's the journey of going through, and God is faithful.
  • 15:31 If we can't see his hand, we can certainly trust his heart.
  • 15:39 Kirsten: Barri was mentioning that Hagar now was
  • 15:43 belittling Sarah.
  • 15:44 Sometimes when there are two wives and one husband, there
  • 15:47 could be fighting happening, but that even happens among women,
  • 15:52 and I think sometimes we set our minds to what we want, and I
  • 15:55 think Sarah wanted Hagar to bear the children 'cause she
  • 15:59 couldn't, but all of a sudden, that ugly thing called jealousy
  • 16:03 kind of started stirring up in Sarah, and Sarah sent Hagar off,
  • 16:07 but God saw Hagar.
  • 16:10 God saw her pain and her shame and her hurt and sent a word
  • 16:14 through an angelic being of promise and prophecy.
  • 16:19 Let's watch that.
  • 16:25 announcer: And Abram said unto Sarai, "Behold,
  • 16:28 thy maid is in thy hand.
  • 16:31 Do to her as it pleases thee."
  • 16:34 And when Sarai dealt harshly with Hagar, she fled from
  • 16:38 the face of Sarai.
  • 16:41 And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in
  • 16:44 the wilderness, by the fountain on the way to Shur.
  • 16:49 angel: Hagar.
  • 16:58 angel: [speaking in Hebrew]
  • 17:11 Hagar: [speaking in Hebrew]
  • 18:31 Jeffrey: Okay, here's the word for this segment: "Meow."
  • 18:37 "What kind of Hebrew word is that?"
  • 18:38 you wonder.
  • 18:40 Well, it's really kind of English, as in cats.
  • 18:43 I mention that because these ladies are gettin' at it.
  • 18:46 This is a little in-house cat fight going on here now.
  • 18:49 It sounds a little disrespectful--I get it--but
  • 18:52 it's true, and quite frankly, I'm not particularly impressed
  • 18:56 by Sarah's performance.
  • 18:58 She's not at her best here.
  • 19:00 After all, she was the one that shoehorned this maiden into
  • 19:04 marrying her old man.
  • 19:06 Literally he was an old man, and that was a young girl.
  • 19:09 She turns up pregnant, and it gets very, very complicated.
  • 19:13 Someone might not like me saying it like this, but it's true.
  • 19:18 Again, I don't think Sarah was at her best.
  • 19:20 But, of course, not everybody can be as sweet as my wife,
  • 19:24 Barri, all the time.
  • 19:26 Well, Barri has her moments.
  • 19:28 We all do, to be sure, so I don't wanna be too critical, but
  • 19:31 what I want to underscore here is, even as things deteriorate,
  • 19:35 what I observe in the literature is that God has some love for
  • 19:40 Hagar and for her child Ishmael.
  • 19:45 Never mind my little "meow" play on words.
  • 19:47 Maybe you like it, maybe you don't.
  • 19:49 "Ishmael" means "God hears," or "God listens."
  • 19:52 How about that?
  • 19:54 This disenfranchised young girl, thrown under the bus, you know,
  • 19:57 God had her back.
  • 20:00 Talk about faith for the future.
  • 20:02 Now, let me offer a corrective to something here which might
  • 20:07 not comport with the sensibilities of some.
  • 20:10 I mention that because those of us that love Jewish
  • 20:14 people--hooray.
  • 20:16 Those of us that love Israel--hooray.
  • 20:19 Those of us that believe that God has a place for the Hebrew
  • 20:22 people in the land of Israel--hooray, I love it.
  • 20:25 But sometimes those of us of that ilk are inclined to be
  • 20:30 particularly disdainful of these "brothers from another mother."
  • 20:35 I find no merit at all in hating Arab people or hating anyone
  • 20:42 for that matter.
  • 20:43 And speaking to the children that are gonna be born here,
  • 20:46 Ishmael and later Isaac, when Abram dies later on, they're
  • 20:51 both at the funeral, getting along.
  • 20:54 It wasn't until the conflict, you know, Muhammad
  • 20:57 was born in 570 A.D.
  • 20:59 He mobilizes in 610, and something else is born thousands
  • 21:03 of years after this story.
  • 21:07 We're related.
  • 21:08 People say, "Well, you know, are those Arabs anti-Semitic?"
  • 21:11 No, they are Semitic.
  • 21:12 We're from the same stock, at the end of the day,
  • 21:14 descended from Abraham.
  • 21:17 And what I find noteworthy in here, and then what I wanna
  • 21:20 commend to you, is to be a lover of all people.
  • 21:27 God put on my heart sometime back that, yes, I do support the
  • 21:30 Jewish people and the ancestral homeland, and I have good reason
  • 21:35 to do that, but that doesn't incline me to be disdainful of
  • 21:39 other people.
  • 21:41 Personally, I don't believe we're allowed to be that way.
  • 21:45 In any case, when I look here in the literature--and, again, I'm
  • 21:48 looking in chapter 16, verse 10--the promise to this woman,
  • 21:54 who finds herself in a bad way--you know, Abram and Sarah
  • 21:58 were in a bad way earlier, and a promise came to them, "I'm going
  • 22:01 to multiply your seed."
  • 22:03 Well, same thing is said, by the way, to Hagar here: "I am going
  • 22:10 to deal bountifully and multiply your seed, till they're
  • 22:17 too many to count."
  • 22:19 You know, this is a big planet.
  • 22:21 When I look at planet Earth, you know, the belt around the waist
  • 22:25 is 24,000 miles.
  • 22:26 You know, you can look at the distance east to west in Israel.
  • 22:29 It's rather small.
  • 22:31 I think there's room for a lot of people on this planet, and I
  • 22:36 think there's room for Hebrew people to dwell in their
  • 22:39 ancestral homeland, and I believe there's room for
  • 22:44 "the brother from another mother" to dwell in proximity
  • 22:48 as per the literature here.
  • 22:50 But you know what it's gonna take to bring
  • 22:52 that about, I think?
  • 22:54 Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace.
  • 22:59 And, by the way, he was the one that said,
  • 23:02 "Blessed are the peacemakers."
  • 23:05 Let's be about that.
  • 23:07 There are a lot problems in the world.
  • 23:09 Let's be part of the cure.
  • 23:13 Let's endeavor to build bridges to those estranged from us.
  • 23:17 I think that's a good thing to do.
  • 23:19 Similarly, I believe that even amidst the turbulence of
  • 23:23 broken relationships, fractures, misunderstandings, and
  • 23:27 resentment, I believe those of us that can marshal faith for
  • 23:31 the future, that we know that we have a future in God and that
  • 23:36 he's gonna watch over his word to perform it.
  • 23:40 I believe those of us thus-minded are able to look at
  • 23:44 others that aren't thus-minded with a kind of grace that
  • 23:48 wouldn't otherwise be there.
  • 23:50 Why?
  • 23:51 Because they have faith in God for the future.
  • 24:00 ♪♪♪
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  • 24:57 Kirsten: In your last teaching, you talked about
  • 25:00 Ishmael, and I think we believers in the Bible kind of
  • 25:07 kick Ishmael to the side because it's all about Isaac.
  • 25:11 He was the promised child.
  • 25:13 But you also mentioned and taught that there was a covenant
  • 25:16 blessing and promise that God himself gave
  • 25:20 to Ishmael, correct?
  • 25:21 Jeffrey: I don't believe in kicking human beings
  • 25:23 to the side--period.
  • 25:25 And I believe race hate is unacceptable, and I'm all for,
  • 25:28 as I mentioned in my teaching segment, supporting Israel,
  • 25:32 but I don't wanna hate "the brother from another mother."
  • 25:34 That does not comport with my sensibilities.
  • 25:36 That offends my understanding of what it means to be Christian.
  • 25:39 Kirsten: And I like that because, if I remember right, it
  • 25:44 was a "sand one," as if, "As the sands that you see, so shall
  • 25:49 your descendants be," to Ishmael, is that correct?
  • 25:51 Jeffrey: Yeah, there's a big world.
  • 25:52 God has a way of taking care of everyone, and there were
  • 25:54 promises to Ishmael and his progeny and perpetuity,
  • 25:58 yes, indeed.
  • 25:59 Kirsten: So even in our downfalls, when we make
  • 26:02 mistakes, when we step outside of God's perfect plan,
  • 26:06 there's still grace.
  • 26:08 Jeffrey: There certainly is. There certainly is.
  • 26:10 Now, there is--and I don't wanna--I wanna end the
  • 26:13 moment on a happier moment.
  • 26:15 There are people that are invigorated against Hebrew
  • 26:18 people, in Israel, of Islamic extract, and I think
  • 26:23 that's unfortunate.
  • 26:24 That needs to be stopped.
  • 26:26 We need to find a way to build bridges of peace, and
  • 26:28 the Bible gives us insights on how to do that.
  • 26:30 David: So much more in this series.
  • 26:32 Thank you for your teaching today.
  • 26:34 We end our program--
  • 26:35 Jeffrey: As always, Sha'alu Shalom Yerushalayim.
  • 26:38 Kirsten: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
  • 26:42 ♪♪♪
  • 26:47 ♪ When peace like a river ♪
  • 26:54 ♪ attendeth my way, ♪
  • 27:01 ♪ when sorrows like sea billows roll, ♪
  • 27:15 ♪ whatever my lot, ♪
  • 27:21 ♪ thou hast taught me to say, ♪
  • 27:27 ♪ 'It is well, ♪
  • 27:31 ♪ it is well with my soul.' ♪
  • 27:42 ♪ And Lord, haste the day ♪
  • 27:48 ♪ when my faith shall be sight. ♪
  • 27:55 ♪ The clouds be rolled back as a scroll. ♪♪
  • 28:05 ♪♪♪

Episodes in this series

  1. Stepping Out in Faith
  2. Conflicting Directions and Destinations
  3. Delivering the Unexpected
  4. Sacrifice and Loss
  5. Toward the Unknown
  6. Love and Marriage
  7. Not by Sight
  8. Life’s Detours
  9. Patient Endurance
  10. Stepping Closer to Destiny

Guest organizations and links