Friday, November 30, 2018

Genesis 30~ God of promises~Day 30

This chapter makes me feel so uncomfortable!! The competition between the sisters, Jacob’s willingness to sleep with anyone thrown at him, Jacob’s superstition with the striped wood in front of the animals in heat, Jacob operating in his deceptive way again when mating the stronger animals for himself and leaving the weak for Laban,  argh!!
Faith in God is not being demonstrated, at all in this family!!

If the story stopped here in this chapter, I would be left thinking that these people are no different than the rest of the polytheistic people of the day.  They are acting just as the culture around them~ everyone looking out for themselves.

But God still had a plan for them, to set them apart.  This is where God gets his title “The God of Promises”.  In spite of what these people did, He was still going to keep the promise made with both Abraham and Isaac.  

That’s a good take away!  In spite of things I do to mess things up in my life, God’s promises still stand.  And there are a lot of them! It’s been counted that there are 3573 promises in the Bible!! You might be thinking, “Yeah, well those promises aren’t directed to me specifically”….. Oh, really?

Take a look at what Paul says to us, “It is not the children by physical decent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s off spring.” (Romans 9:8)  That’s me!  I am a child of Abraham, so all the promises made to him and his people apply to me!! That’s you also, if Christ lives in you!  We have been set apart to be heirs to the biggest promise of all~ salvation!  Woo πŸ™ŒπŸ»wooπŸ™ŒπŸ»! 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Genesis 29~ What's in a name?~Day 29

Remember that Jacob’s name was given to him because he was “grasping Esau’s heel”?  (25:26).  That sounds cute….but after awhile, in the Hebrew culture, the word Jacob became the jargon for someone who deceives.  Kind’a like today we use the word sodomy because of the behavior first described in the town of Sodom.  So for a while there, Jacob would not be a popular name that would be used amongst Jewish babies!

I bring this up because I see why the Hebrew people would think of deception when they hear the name Jacob.  We read how Jacob deceived both his brother and his dad, (25:31 & 27), and today, ironically,  we read how he himself was deceived.

According to my Bible footnote, a parent, back in the day, would name their child by reflecting the situation at the time of birth (as Rebecca did) or choose a name with a meaning they hoped their child would fulfill.  If a grown child’s name did not end up matching their character, they would change their name!

We are going to read (in a couple of days) how Jacob’s character changed and therefore God changes his name! (32:28)  I think that’s so cool!!  Our heavenly father can change our name! God changes hearts and has no problem changing a name to reflect the new heart.  I wonder…when we get to heaven, will we hear how some of our names had been changed when we became believers…but we just won’t use it yet until we get up there?  Ha, it’s fun to think of heaven and how different it will be…possibly even with different names!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Genesis 28~ Growing in faith~Day 28

I thought it was interesting that God says, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac.” (28:13)   He was not the God of Jacob….yet.

There comes a point in every person’s life that he/she needs to choose whether to make God their own or not.  For some people it is one moment in time where they remember making the decision; for others it’s a process.  I think this moment with God (ch. 28) was the beginning of a long process for Jacob.  This chapter shows that Jacob doesn’t quite get the “faith” thing that his dad and grandfather had.  He is bargaining and dictating what a relationship with God should be like according to his way of thinking.  Faith doesn’t come as easy for Jacob as it did for Isaac.  But, God isn’t finished with him yet!  Later we will read how he wrestles with God.  In that chapter (32), we will see a real heart change in Jacob. 

I am encouraged reading this story!  God keeps seeking after those who have a heart bent toward him.  A person may not have “it” all correct when they first start believing, but God continues to mold and change people as they go.  That’s very encouraging, don’t you think?!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Genesis 27~ God works it out.~Day 27

So this blessing Isaac gives to his son…It’s weird, don’t you think, that the blessing can be so binding, even though Isaac thinks he gave it to the wrong son?

The writer of Hebrews understood how much faith Isaac was displaying in this scene.  “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.” (Hebrews 11:20)

This blessing was not a wish or a prayer of blessing, but a prophesy in regards to the future line of the family.  Somehow God had communicated the future to Isaac and in full confidence, Isaac believed God would accomplish all that was predicted.  He believed it to be true, so much so, that when he thought he “did it wrong” he “trembled violently” (27:33).

The point of this story, according to the writer of Hebrews, is the faith that Isaac held in in God’s promises.  Don’t let the deception that was going on detract from the faith story. Bottom line to the deception is that God will still work his plan out, to his glory, even when humans start getting things all messed up.

I like what one commentary said about this, “By faith we may be fully sure of God’s providence, and of his gracious and powerful presence with us.”   

Monday, November 26, 2018

Genesis 26~ Do not be afraid.~Day 26

Have you ever heard your kid say something and think, “Oh my!  He got that from me!” Kids definitely emulate their parents!!  Look how Isaac copied his dad when he lied to the king of the Philistines about Rebekah being his sister.  That was straight out of Abraham’s playbook!  One thing you gotta admire about Isaac, however, is that he fessed-up immediately.  At least he didn’t let his wife go to the king!

Again, like I said yesterday these guys were normal people going through trials just as we do today; infertility, financial hardships and intimidation.  Most of our trails are connected to our fears, don’t you think?  “Will I have a posterity?, Will I have enough to provide for my family? , What will people think of me?, Will I survive?”  Even though our first response to those fears may reflect what we learn from our parents, our ultimate response should be what we learn from our heavenly father.  

“I am the God of your father Abraham.  Do not be afraid for I am with you.” (26:24)

What are you getting out of the reading?  I would love to hear!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Genesis 25~Praying for God's direction ~Day 25

Reading these stories of the people commended for their faith by the writer of Hebrews, I am realizing, they didn’t have it easy!  It seems God was constantly testing their faith!  Do you ever feel that way in your own life, always being tested?

It’s easy to forget that these characters were people just like us, struggling with the same issues we have today.  What sets them apart from many people today is their faith in God~ no matter what!
Think about it.  I’m sure Isaac knew that a great nation was promised to Abraham.  I’m sure it was in their conversations often between father and son.  And, Isaac was a good son!  He willingly let his dad almost sacrifice him! He also willingly took Rebekah as his wife when he had no say in the matter. (Good thing she was beautiful, and it worked out.  He loved her, but that’s beside the point; he obeyed and went along with it.)  I bet he was thinking. “OK, God, I have done everything you have commanded of me.  Bring on the kids! Bring on that great nation you promised!”…..But then…..nothing happens…..nothing for 20 years!  Imagine the tears he watched Rebekah shed as she dealt with infertility!  Fortunately, she did not make the same mistake her mother-in-law made!  Isaac too, learned from his parents mistake and sought God’s direction with prayer instead (25:21). Good move, Isaac!!

I want that type of faith!  One that seeks God’s direction even when things look like they aren’t going the way they should!  God has a bigger and better plan for me!

This is why the writer of Hebrews said of these forefathers, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 111:39-40)

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Genesis 24~ What a love story!~Day 24

This chapter is what romantic movies are made of!  “He looked up, he saw camels approaching.  Rebecca also looked up and saw Isaac.”  (24:63-64)  It sounds like love at first sight, doesn’t it?! 

But, it wasn’t.  It was obedience at first sight.  Everyone involved in this story showed a faith in God and willingness to obey Him!
  1. Abraham- he heard from God and trusted that God would direct the servants steps (24:7)
  2. The servant- prayed and worshipped repeatedly, seeking God’s direction (24:15).
  3. Laban and his father Bethel- recognized the Lord’s blessing and plan (24:31 & 24:50).
  4. Rebecca- willing went with the servant most likely because she too heard the servants account of how God directed him to her.
  5. Isaac - was in the field meditating (his family was monotheistic, so this meditation was most likely directed toward the one true God that his mama told him about).

Nothing was complicated in this story with disobedience, drama or rebellion. It sure does make for a fun, simple love story when one obeys God and seeks his guidance from the very beginning!! 

“So she became his wife, and he loved her” (Gen. 24:67)  I like that type of love story!! 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Genesis 23~Some history on the cave.~ Day 23

I’m so glad Isaac got to have his mom around for the 37 of his 180 years (35:28)!  That’s a good amount of time for a mama to influence her son!  Knowing that Sarah was a woman of faith (Heb. 11:11), you can bet she did her best to pass that faith on to her son!  

On a different note, I thought I would share with you some interesting history on that cave Abraham bought in order to bury Sarah.  We will see in future reading that he himself would be buried there 38 years later.  Isaac and his wife were buried there as well, around 140 years later (35:28).  And get this, Jacob (aka Israel) died in Egypt but his sons took a trip from Egypt up to the cave in Canaan to bury him with his parents and grandparents (Gen. 50:13).  So the tomb got a lot of use, but listen to how  the site continued to get used!!!

All the burials were done in the years of 1600-1500 BC.  Then there was silence about the tomb until Herod the Great (Jesus’ era).  He was really into building! He was the first to build a large structure to commemorate the site for the Jewish people.  Well, we know around 70 years after Jesus, the Jewish culture and holy sights were destroyed or taken over by the Romans.  The Herodian structure stayed standing without a roof for centuries.  Then in the 500’s (the Byzantine period) a simple Christian basilica was built over part of the site.  However, in short order (the 600’s), the Arab Muslims took over the area and built a mosque in tribute to Abraham, their forefather trough Ishmael. 

But, I’m not done!  Then, during the Crusader period (1100 AD) a church was built again!  Yet, again, in a relatively short period of time, 88 years) the Muslims conquered the area again and made it a mosque again!
Here is the final scene on Sarah’s tomb.  From 1188 AD to 1967 it was controlled by Muslims.  Then, in 1967, Israel gained control of the area (first time in 2000 years!).  A synagogue was built under the mosque.  The area was still used by Muslims who now lived side by side with new Israeli settlers. So, in essence, the two are worshipping together! Needless to say, there have been many conflicts and deaths on or near the site ever since.  
What a mess!  Abraham would be “rolling in his grave” if he knew what his decedents were doing! πŸ˜‰

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Genesis 22~Keep God first!~ Day 22

Doesn’t this chapter make you feel sick?  It’s so hard to understand why God would tell Abraham to offer Isaac as a “burt offering”.  It’s pretty admirable to read of Abraham’s obedience and faith…..but the request from God still bothers me.  Why does he ask for a human offering when he doesn't like them?  In fact, he finds them detestable!!! (Deuteronomy 12:31 & 18:10-12)

Since it bothered me, I spent some time thinking about this.  It boils down to verse 12.  “Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Think about it, Abraham and Sarah had waited for that child for so long!  You can bet Isaac became the center of their life!  Talking about being spoiled!  I bet they were lavishing Isaac with all the good stuff.  After all, Abraham was wealthy!!  So, life was good.  They had everything they wanted…..But, perhaps that son was becoming their priority over everything..even God.

So, God sets out to see if Abraham will still keep Him as he priority.  Would Abe keep God first over his son?  That’s a good question I can ask myself.  Would I still love God if he took away what I hold most dear?  I, at times in my life, have thought out this scenario in my head so that I can pre-plan how I would respond.  Yes, I would be  devastated but I plan on working through that pain with the help of Jesus. (Phil. 4:13)
But, before God feels the need to test me, I want to always keep what I hold most dear, in second place.  I’m hoping if I just keep Jesus first, there will be no need for testing.πŸ˜‰

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Genesis 21~ Send it away quickly! ~Day 21

I commented on day 16 how Ishmael was “mocking” his toddler half brother at the “weaning feast”. I pictured the scene as a 13 year old boy teasing a 3 year old half brother, Hagar not keeping her son in line and Sarah getting irritated. I kind’a thought Sarah was being a little over reactive to Ishmael’s teasing. Today, I have a whole new understanding of the scene.

There was a lot happening at the “weaning feast”!! In Eastern countries, they use the festive occasion to formally bring the child into the presence of relatives and friends and dress the child in a robe that symbolizes his birthright of him being the official heir of the tribe. If Ismael got this feast 10 years earlier, when he was weaned, the title was now officially striped from him. A 13 year old boy would certainly understand what was happening!
I read a headline this morning on my news home page. “Girl 10, accused of killing 6 - month-old boy.” (So sad!) Now hold that thought for a minute and think about Paul’s description of the scenario when he refers to it in his letter to the Galatians. “Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. (4:28-29)

The use of the word ‘persecuted’ and that news headline from this morning got me thinking.....Sarah wasn’t just irritated, she was fearful of what Ishmael was capable of doing! She was not just protecting Isaac’s inheritance by telling Abraham to “get rid of that slave woman and her son’, she was protecting his life! Looking at it that way, I understand better now why Abraham, the very next morning, sent them on their way. (21:14)
So, here is the take away when you read all of Galatians 4 in light of this story; when you see something threatening your salvation, send it on its way quickly!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Genesis 20~Don't prejudge what God can do.~ Day 20

On first read through, I didn’t think chapter 20 had a take away for me, but then I saw it!
Don’t assume that some people are too far gone to be open to hearing about Jesus.  Abraham was guilty of that.  He started with an assumption.  “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ “ (20:11)  Abraham made a decision out of fear.  He didn’t trust that God would show him how to proceed.

I have been guilty of that.  I have made decisions without consulting God.  Believe me!  If I saw a shady character in the isle of a store, shopping near me, it would not be my first thought to say to myself, “Well, here’s someone that needs to hear about Jesus!”  Nope, rather, I would scuttle away thinking the person looked scary and was beyond my ability to help.  

Yet, look how God met Abimelek in spite of Abraham.  God can choose to reveal himself to anyone, not just to those I think are ready or worthy to hear about him!  But, if God puts them in my path, he may want to use me to do the sharing.  I don’t want to miss the opportunity to be used by God, so I better let my prejudices go and consult God first! 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Genesis 19~God is merciful then and now!~ Day 19

Lot and his family are interesting characters don’t you think?  Like I pointed out on day 13, Lot may have made some mistakes in his life, but overall he was remembered for being a righteous man.  ( 2 Peter 2:7)

Today I pondered how this “righteous man” was on and off, yet God was merciful.  

It’s admirable that Lot had complete faith when he heard from the men that came to his town, that they would be destroying it.  In fact, in full belief of this, Lot went to tell his son-in-laws, but they didn’t believe (19:13).
So, Lot has full belief one moment and the next he hesitates (19:16)!  What an influence that sinful town had on him! Maybe he really liked what the town had to offer; plays, concerts, coffee houses, markets with everything you could image at your disposal, the power and affirmation he got from being one that “sits at the city gates”.  All those things could very well have been distracting him from fully following the true God.  He was embracing the culture of a town where the people were known as being “wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.” (13:13)  He was getting immersed into their culture. 
In a way, Lot reminds me of me!  Totally loyal one minute and hesitating the next! I LOVE God’s response to Lot’s flip-flopping, “they led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them.” (19:16)  
Praise God for his mercies that he extends to us daily!!!  Lord, please continue to lead me out of destructive ways!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Genesis 18~ Simple truth~Day 18

I have always giggled when reading the exchange between the Lord and Sarah. 
“Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.“ But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.” (18:15)
I think that exchange is funny, but there is a take away. 
I think some people actually think they can lie to God. They pretend to be a follower of Christ when they really aren’t submitting to him at all. In truth, they are really just lying to them selves. The Lord’s simple response to Sarah is very profound. You can’t lie to God. He knows the heart; he knows the truth.  End of story!

 I am really enjoying reading Genesis again! It’s good to be reminded of simple truths again.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Genesis 17~Are you a real Jew?~ Day 17

In chapter 15 we read about the promise (covenant) God made with Abraham.  Today we read what God expects of Abraham in return.  “You must keep my covenant, you and your decedents after you for the generations to come.” (17:9)

Abraham did a very good job keeping that covenant!  He taught the importance of it to all his boys.  It appears Ishmael did a good job of keeping the covenant as well…or at least the tradition of it.  He too, passed it on to his boys.  Ishmael is recognized by Muslims today as the ancestor of several Arab tribes and the forefather of Muhammad (1600 years before Muhammad).  I think it’s odd that the root word for “Islam” can mean “submission or surrender”. Don’t you find that contrary to the prophetic description we read about Ishmael in ch.16?  “He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” (16:12)  There is no submission in that description! 

Yet, did you know that Muslims are the largest religious group to circumcise their boys?  However, in short order, the covenant story of Abraham has been lost in that culture.  Now the story goes like this, Muhammad was born without a foreskin (nearly 600 years after Christ), so men who want to be pure like Muhammad get circumcised.  The ritual is aimed at improving cleanliness.  

The Jews, decedents of Issac, kept the tradition more inline to remembering the covenant God made with Abraham, but even they, over time, lost the key point to the ritual.  

But God has never changed!  He wanted the ritual to represent devotion to him. Early on he reminded the circumcised people of the Jewish nation,   “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, do not be stiff-necked any longer….Fear the Lord your God and serve him.  Hold fast to him…He is the one you praise; he is your God..” (Deuteronomy 10:16-21)

God is the same yesterday as he is today!  We Christians still practice circumcision, but not of the physical type.   Our aim is to follow Romans 2:26-29, “A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.  No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.”

I like what my Bible footnote says, “All whose hearts are right with God are real Jews”

Friday, November 16, 2018

Genesis 16~Fatih makes you a child of God.~ Day 16

The Jews in the time of Jesus, were very proud of their heritage!  They were convinced that, since they were decedents of Abraham, they were the true “children of God” (John 8:39)…….But….Ishmael and his decedents were of Abraham as well……. “Yeah, but we have circumcision that sets us apart!”, they may say.  So does Ishmael (17:23).  So do the other 6 sons born to Abraham by his concubine, Keturah (Gen 25:1).

What makes someone a child of God then?…you know the answer… in God and love for Jesus! (John 8:42)  Sarah is credited to having that faith (Hebrews 11:11) “She considered Him faithful who made the promise.”

A mother sure does have great influence on her children, don’t you think!?!  Hagar, even though she had a personal encounter with an angel and knew God saw her in her time of need (16:13), still did not humble herself to God’s plan.  She may have gone back to her mistress, but I think she struggled to “submit to her” (16:9). We will read later (21:8) that Hagar did nothing to curtail her own son’s behavior toward his half brother. (Ishmael at around 13 years old, mocks his little, toddler brother).  Maybe Ishmael’s behavior was influenced by his mothers attitude towards her competition. Likewise, we will see that Sarah influenced her son to be a follower of God and to trust in His plan. 

How sad that one can have a personal encounter with God (like Hagar, in our reading today) yet still harbor bitter resentment.  It may seem on the surface that Hagar was dealt a hard hand, but Sarah had been dealt a hard hand as well.  Look how Sarah is remembered…for her faith!  There is no mention of Hagar having a faith. God wants hearts that trust in his plan, even if they never see that plan come to fruition in their lifetime.  To those, “God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

God help me to have the faith that Sarah had!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Genesis 15~God is our great reward!~ Day 15

Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield and very great reward.”  (15:1)

Here is my take away on that…

If only we would all hear that, truly take it to heart and rest in it!  Our great reward is to be with God in paradise for eternity!!! (Psalm 23:6, 49:15, John 3:16, 5:24, 6:51 & 1John 5:11 are just a few verses that speak of this great reward!) 
Eternal life with God…..that’s huge!! That’s everything!  That’s what we should set our eyes on!

But, instead, we are like Abraham who was thinking of the ‘here and now’; “who will inherit my riches?”  God already knew that was a worry of Abram’s.  That’s why He started with “Do not be afraid.”  He’s got a plan for us just as he had for Abraham.

God already knows all my earthly ‘here & now” worries.  Lord, help me to keep the heavenly perspective that you are my shield and my great reward!  I don’t need to worry about the ‘here and now’. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Genesis 14~Tar pits tell tales~ Day 14

Have you ever been to the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles?  It is a fascinating place!  It’s unbelievable to think saber-toothed tigers used to prowl around the greater Los Angeles area!  Still today, paleontologists are pulling fossils out of the pits, cleaning them and dating them to be 44,000 years old!  You can see hundreds of saber tooth tiger heads, mammoths and other ancient animals on display, yet they have only found the remains of one human.  Interesting….

Abraham lived around 4000 years ago.  I was wondering about those guys mentioned in chapter 14.  “Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills.” (14:10) 

The Siddim Valley is also known as the Dead Sea Valley.  Again, I was wondering why paleontologists aren’t digging up human remains of people in the tar pits there today, like they do in Los Angeles…

Well, I found out that the valley is now filled with water…The Dead Sea!  It is thought that the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were in that valley.  Doesn’t that make sense that Lot’s wife turned to salt!?!  (We’ll read about that in about 5 days.)
The Dead Sea is fed by the Jordan River.  It has no outlet, but the shore level has stayed level over the years due to heat that causes evaporation.  So, you don’t see tar pits around the lake, but that is not to say tar isn’t there.  

“Asphalt (bitumen) occurs naturally in the region, so much so that the Romans called the Dead Sea the Asphalt Lake. Josephus, the famous first-century Jewish-Roman historian, wrote “in many places it (the sea) sends up black lumps of asphalt: these as they float are in shape and size like headless bulls”.  These lumps of asphalt would be gathered from the surface of the sea and used for boat repairs, embalming and medicinal purposes.”

The lake is actually receding at an ”alarming rate” according to some conservationists, due to the usage of the Jordan as a fresh water source. So, maybe in time, those tar pits will reveal themselves again…think of the things future paleontologists will find!  The Bible, yet again, will be proven right, if they pull up some men with some fighting tools in hand! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Genesis 13~God can work through you!~ Day 13

I heard a sermon once where Lot was described as being very selfish in nature because he “looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered.” (13:10)

Well,  he may have had a moment of selfishness when picking where to live, but over all, he was known to be a righteous man.  “and if he (God) rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) -if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly…” (2 Peter 2:7-9)

Even though we may make choices that seem wrong in hind sight, God uses those choices and works them out for “the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
We are going to read later that Lot was “sitting in the gateway” of Sodom.  That means Lot got involved in the politics of his town!  He was using his righteous influence to try to change the sinful town!

Now, I don’t know for sure, but it is likely that God used Lot to warn the people of Sodom to change their ways.  After all, God used Noah to warn people of his day before their destruction. He used Jonah to warn those in Ninivah.  He even used John the Baptist to warn the people in Jerusalem before their destruction.  God uses people to give warning because he wants all people to come to repentance ( 2 Peter 3:9) and he always gives people a way out (1 Cor. 10:13).  It’s up to each individual to take the way out or not.

So, in that way, God could have used Lot to show his town a righteous way of living.  But…we know how that turned out in the end.  That is not to say God didn’t use Lot.  Maybe it was just to save his children….

My take away from this story is, I need to see how God can use me, even if I haven’t made the best choices in my past.  My past choices don’t render me ineffective.  God can always use me!!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Genesis 12~Inner beauty~ Day 12

Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.” (12:4)  We will read later that Abram didn’t have Ishmael until he had been in Canaan for 10 years (16:1).  Therefore, the family travelled from Harran, down to Egypt and up to Canaan all in one year.  So, by my calculations, Sarai, being 10 years younger than Abram (17:1) was 65 years old during that trip.
Abraham thought his wife was beautiful at 65 years old(12:11)!  Awww, how cute is that?!  
You know what my take away from today’s reading is?  You can be beautiful at 65! Sixty-five is the new twenty-five! I haven’t even hit my prime yet! HeeheeπŸ˜„

The Egyptians also thought she was beautiful….
Yet, knowing what 1 Peter says, I wonder what the Egyptians saw that made them think she was beautiful at 65 years old?  Could it have been how she was acting toward her “brother” more than her looks?

Peter says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…Rather is should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…For this is the way the holy women of the past…used to adorn Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord.” (1 Peter 3:3-6)

If you think about it, Abraham and his clan were of Seth’s family who took the stories of Adam and the fall to heart.  They were the line that wanted that relationship with God restored.  So, they were already living lives of faith that clearly made them different from those around them.  You’ve heard people, I’m sure, who have said of Christians, “I want what they have”, referring to the peace and joy that exudes from a true believer. 
For the Egyptians, their women would not be exuding those qualities.  So, seeing Sarai exude these “foreign qualities” would definitely make her stand out, looking different from the Egyptian women, even looking beautiful!

That’s the way I want to “adorn” myself; with “unfading beauty”!  With the Lord’s help, I’m going to be beautiful at 65!!  How exciting!πŸ˜ƒ Getting older is great!πŸ˜‰

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Genesis 11~The earth was divided~ Day 11

Did anyone of you wonder what on earth was meant when Peleg was listed saying, “in his time the earth was divided.” (10:25)?

Well, I read one book where a scientist went so far as to explain that geologic evidence points to the timing of that sentence as being the same timing as when the Bering land bridge (up near Alaska) had a mean temperature of 53 degrees. Insects and plants could survive in that temperature and fossils prove that they did live in that area around 14,000 -11,000 years ago.  Geologic evidence also points to a rapid rising of the seas and cooling which would have “divided the earth” by covering over the Bering land bridge, as Gen. 10:25 could indicate.  

That is one way to look at that sentence.  Another Bible scholar used archeological evidence to suggest that was when “the first cutting of canals” was being done between the Tigris and Euphrates.  The name Peleg in Hebrew means “water-course”, so this very well could be the meaning of “the earth was divided”.

Lastly, reading it in the context of the “Tower of Babel”, it an very well mean it was during Peleg’s lifetime that God divided the people by confusing their language.

All interesting takes on a mysterious sentence, don’t you think?!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Genesis 10~Prophecy proven right!~ Day 10

Here is a quiz….Which one of Noah’s three sons was the line that Jesus came from?

Luke lists the lineage of Jesus, going back through his adoptive father, Joseph.  From Joseph, his lineage goes back to Shem! (Luke 3:35)

Good ‘ol Shem.  Shem was the middle brother of the three.  He became the father of the Hebrews.  Ham’s decedents became the Canaanites.  We are going to read later that Isaac, when he was sending his son Jacob off to find a wife, explicitly said, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman.” (Gen. 28:1)

You can be sure that Shem heard the curse Noah said to Ham! Ham’s children would be “the lowest of slaves he will be to his brothers” (9:25)  I am sure from that time forward, Shem’s family steered clear of Ham’s family! (The beginning of prejudices~right?!)

On another note,  I thought the wording of the blessing/curse Noah used in 9:25-27 was interesting. First keep in mind, Shem became the father of the Hebrews, Assyrians, Persians and Syrians (they all stayed in the Middle East).  Ham became the father of the Canaanites, Egyptians and Philistines.  They too stayed in the middle east, but may have migrated down to what is now Africa. 
But notice Japheth, who Noah says “May God extend Japheth’s territory".  He became the father of Greeks and Scythian's who settled in Europe and Asia Minor.

I find that interesting because “extend” they did!!  The Europeans would be the ones who ventured north and kept going; maybe all the way up to the Bering Straight and over to the Americas!  Prior to that migration, they were the “maritime peoples” (10:4) who could have also populated the British Isles (in the north) and Indonesia and Australia (to the east).  Noah’s prophetic fords proved true.  God’s word always does!!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Genesis 9~Jesus paid the price~ Day 9

“Whoever sheds the human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed.” (9:6)  

Boy!  God set up capital punishment early, didn't he!?  He enforces that rule again in Exodus 21:12 & Lev. 24:17.  
Capital punishment is the earthly consequence of destroying God’s precious creation.  How clear, to me,  that it is also foreshadowing to Jesus! The spiritual consequences to murder and sin also require blood for blood.  Jesus’ blood is required as payment for the “murders” we commit here.
The rule God set up from the beginning has never changed, but the person who needs to die doesn’t have to be us!  
Thank you, Jesus!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Genesis 8~Each day is a reminder~ Day 8

Did anyone else wonder about, “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.” (8:12)?

Does that declaration nullify the original curse God gave Adam in 3:17, about cursing the ground?  I read a commentary that explained that the verse needs to be read in context to what is being said.  It is not lifting the original curse, rather it is a commitment not to annihilate life on the ground.  “The flood brought destruction on the whole earth, on all the ground (6:7).  God is declaring that He won’t do that again.”  Whew!  

Yet, the cause of why he did it in the first place still exists, did you notice that?  They are just off the boat and God says, “the human heart is evil from childhood”.  There must have been some personality conflicts on the boat!  Things already weren’t going smoothly for the 8 living people on the earth.  

 Wasn’t it comforting to read, “As long as the earth endures,…summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” (8:22)  
A new day will always come.  We get new chances everyday to turn to God and choose Him. 
This reminds me of the verse in Lamentations 3:22 that I learned as a song, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Also, Luke 1:78 speaks to this, “A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful.” 

So, not only is the rainbow a symbol, but also each new day can be a reminder of God’s love for us.    

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Genesis 7~Faith leads to action~ Day 7

I think its interesting that God felt it important enough (in the few details given about the flood) to tell Moses that “The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits.” (7:19)  
I don’t think Noah would have been outside, dropping the line to measure the depth because “the Lord shut him in” (7:16)  So, this information was known by God and he wanted us to know.

That one sentence causes me to pause on the theory of the flood being limited to one area of the globe.  Think about it, water seeks to level itself.  If the water was 23 feet “above the mountains” it would pour over those mountains into other areas and continue to rise until it was level.  God said it was level at death of more than 23 ft.  Some interpreters who want to believe in a local flood would like to translate that as, that quantity of water “washing over the mountains”.

Well, the debate can continue, but the end result is the same; destruction of life was complete. “Every living thing that had breath of life in it’s nostrils died.” (7:22)
God is holy and just.  He hates evil and loves righteousness (Psalm 11).  Like Noah, we don’t need to fear punishment, but we should definitely respect (fear) His justice.

Noah is a great example for us.  I like what the Hebrew writer says about Noah.  “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.  By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.” (11:7) 

God wants faith to lead to action.  Noah had that type of faith.  That’s the type of faith I want!! Faith that leads to action, that leads to saving my family!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Genesis 6~Jesus said it happened!~ Day 6

Ahh, now we come to the flood.  Debate exists, even among believers, as to whether the great flood was global, local or ever happened at all.  Geologists insist it never happened or at least it was not global due to lack of evidence in ice and sediment layers, radiation output of the sun, and radiometric decay rates.  Biblical scholars have made attempts to integrate lack of scientific evidence to promote the view of a devastating local flood destroying the “whole known earth” that was populated at the time.

Well, I love to see new scientific discoveries.  It’s exciting to learn how God did things!  But, I will always hold scripture as the “plumb line” to new discoveries.  If things don’t make sense, wait for more discoveries!  
For example, archeologists have discounted the story of the Exodus because they have not been able to find proof to such an event.  That is not to say that revealing discoveries had not been made.  The beginning assumption of trying to line up evidence to the story is that historians and archeologists started with one particular famous Pharaoh and the time he lived.  The evidence did not line up with that Pharaoh, therefore the Exodus didn’t happen. 
However, in a recent documentary, Patterns of Evidence: Exodus.  The film explores the possibility of using a less known Pharaoh who lived earlier in time.  The amount of archeological evidence that lines up and points to the exodus of a large group of people from Egypt, is remarkable when using the time frame of the other Pharaoh!!! 

Scientists make discoveries by starting with a hypothesis and proving it right or wrong.  The starting hypotheses is pivotal in how one looks at the evidence. 
So, as for me, I will wait for more evidence to explain the flood or a perspective that looks at the existing evidence differently. 

What is my ‘plumb line” as I wait for more evidence to be found regarding the flood?….Jesus! Jesus, the Word, who was with God in the beginning (John 1:1); he should know how things went down, right?  So, if he referred to the flood….then it happened!  End of debate!

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the last days of the Son of Man.  Then the flood came and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:27 & Matt. 24:38-39)

Exactly how that all went down is still a mystery, but I have no doubt that “man” will continue to explore God’s creation and keep working to find answers. And just as it has continued to happen over time…the Bible will be proven correct in how it is worded.