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Friday, January 28, 2011

From Eden to Egypt Day 33

11 So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.” 12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
- Genesis 26:11-15 (NIV)

Issac parted ways with Abimelek with an order of protection for both he and his wife.  However, Abimelek's orders did not cover Issac's wells "that his father's servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham." Those were not on the list of covered items in the king's orders.  The Philistines "envied" Isaac and his wealth of "planted crops" and "many flocks and herds." Here was an outsider making it and being more successful than those who had been born and raised there.

It's an all-too-familiar scenario.  It plays out throughout the centuries in various ways.  History will have to be retold one day about the many people who did not enslavement on plantations, residency on government reservations, growing up in reform houses, or temporary stays in internment camps hold them back from garnering the blessings that the Lord can bestow upon us.  For far too long, we have endured the countless tales of welfare mamas of color living on the dole simply because Mama and her mama before her had done the same all the way back to FDR's New Deal.  That's the story told to us, but we don't have to buy it. That's what political pundits and talking heads on broadcast radio want us to get all riled up about when we talk about cuts in spending and holding more people accountable.

Issac thrived in a foreign land.  He was blessed in a place called Gerar.  Gerar means "lodging-place."  It is derived from the Hebrew word that means "to sojourn."  In essence, you can't see Gerar as your home when you are destined for somewhere else.  Gerar may only be a resting place for you.  It may only be a temporary dwelling for you.  Don't get settled in Gerar.  You just get busy despite the haters and others who envy your success and blessings.  You can't control how it goes for them. 

The Word says "because God blessed him" in verse 12.  Issac was just the recipient.  God did the blessing.  Isaac was simply obedient.  God blessed him.  Isaac made the best out of what he had, but it was God who did the blessing.  Don't caught up in what you had to go through to get your blessing.  Get excited that God can bless you despite what you had to go through.  Someone else didn't get that blessing.  others wanted it, but they just couldn't get it.  God is still in the blessing business.  Are you working with expectancy and in obedience? Or, are you simply sulking and hating on the next person who is getting their blessing? You know yourself. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

From Eden to Egypt- Day 32

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings

And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. - Genesis 26: 1 (KJV)

Issac experienced a "famine in the land" similar to what his father experienced.  It drove him away from home.  God warned him to not go to Egypt in verse 2.  He ended up in Gerar.  He ended up in a similar situation to the one experienced by his father during a famine, and he ended up doing something similar to his father in how he handled it.

We have to see that what Abraham did as Abram had a legacy effect on his son.  Did he share about his challenges during the famine? Did he tell his son that things got mishandled when he told his wife to say that she was his sister? I don't know.  Commentaries may make assumptions, but I truly don't know.  Theologians may take a stab at some hermeneutic line of inquiry, but we were not there and we don't know.
What we do know is that Isaac repeated his father's flaws.  Isaac repeated his father's faults.  Isaac repeated his father's failures.

He may not have been his father, but he didn't have to repeat it.  It wasn't something that he had to do.  We all could use our parents and their human fallacies as an excuse for our mistakes.  The truth is that excuses do not excuse us.  We have to take ownership of our choices.  We have options.  We need to be diligent with exercising our options.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

From Eden to Egypt Day 31

Now Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison. And Rebekah loved Jacob.
- Genesis 25:28 (ASV)

Issac, the father of twin boys, loved one boy more than the other.  Okay, I might be a little harsh in my interpretation of the translation.  Issac showed, what Dr. Henry M. Morris called out as, favor towards one son over the other son.  His tendency leaned towards one more than the other.

The verse says because he did eat of his venison.  In a modern view, we might see this as: Now Daddy loved him some Junior because Junior sure could grill him some chicken and links.  It is bad enough what the Word says about the prenatal period of both of these boys, along with God's shared words about the two:

22The children struggled together within her, and she said, "If it is thus, why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23And the LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger."(Genesis 25:22-23, ESV)

The real trouble does not come from what is added by the parents.  Rebekah got in on it, too.  If Isaac could do so with Esau, she could certainly do so with the other.  The sad truth is that for all of his contradictory ways and confusing characteristics, Jacob may not be entirely at fault.  It may have a whole lot more to do with the nurture by his parents rearing of him than by his nature. 

If Mama and Daddy are playing favorites, what is Jacob expected to do when he has an opportunity to take advantage of his brother or his old, feeble father? If Daddy showed favoritism, why not favor Joseph over his other sons? After all, he was the child of his "favorite" wife.

Parents need to see the problem that is revealed by the Scriptures here.  The Bible is for people to read and understand about how God operates and intends for us to operate in a covenant with us.  We should see these two young parents in Genesis and start pumping the brakes, just to ease into some deep and reflective thoughts about how we have raised or are raising our own children.  Got a favorite? Does everybody and their mama know it? Feel free to repent and seek to move forward without any favoritism.  It's in the Bible but it is not God's way for us.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

From Eden to Egypt- Day 30

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings
7Altogether, Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. 8Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people. 9His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, 10the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites.There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah.- Genesis 25:7-10 (NIV)

In the end, "Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac' according to Genesis 25:5 (NIV).  This same chapters says that he gave other gifts to his other sons, the sons of his concubines, but he left his personal possessions to the son of promise, Isaac.  The other sons received something from Abraham, but the one son received everything that was considered Abraham.

Think about it like this: Abraham had an estate, including herds, property, and servants.  Before he died, he had already given gifts to his sons and sent them away from the son of promise.  When he died, he left everything that he had in his possession to Isaac.  It is peculiar because Ishmael, the firstborn son, is not mentioned by name until the burial of Abraham.  It may be assumed that Ishmael was included in the earlier verse where Abraham's other sons were given "gifts." However, he is not mentioned by name prior to the burial of his father.

It is Issac, "the beloved son" as called by J. Vernon McGee, who gains all of his father's possessions.  imagine the uproar that could have started if Abraham had not blessed the other brothers before his death.  Think of all of the ruckus that would have gone down if each brother sat around the house after laying Daddy to rest, only to find out that every single thing went to Isaac.  I can just picture the depths of discontent and the wealth of woeful feelings that would emerge as every sheep and goat, every acre of land, and every single slave went to Issac.

Parents need to make provisions for their passing on to the next life.  Be sure to deal with your children accordingly in the case of your death.  Let them know what provisions have been made for them and their children.  Do all that you can to leave a legacy that lives on beyond you.  Don't let your burial become a battle of Daddy's favorites versus the black sheep flock.  Be sure to handle your business and order your affairs while you have time and a sound mind.

Monday, January 17, 2011

From Eden to Egypt- Day 29


So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb.
And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau.
Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them
. - Genesis 25:24-26 (NKJV)

Jacob And Esau A Sermon (0239) - Rev C. H. Spurgeon
Sermon by Spurgeon

The boys were born twins.  It doesn't say that they were identical twins, but the Word says: indeed there were twins in her womb.  One was hairy and red, most probably a ruddy color.  The other came out behind him, clasping to his twin brother's heel.  Henry Morris says that the other was "evidently light and smooth." Morris goes on to say: "The strikingly unusual appearance of the two boys is reflected in the names given them." Esau means "hairy."  Jacob is translated "supplanter" or literally, "heel-catcher."

Twin brothers were born.  It seems that these twins only shared the same parents and womb.  Esau and Jacob were even at odds, it appears, at birth.  We are not given any indication if there was a struggle throughout the pregnancy of their mother, but we do get a clear view of what occurs at their birth.  Hosea interprets this birth when he said: "He (Jacob) took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God" (Hosea 12:3).

Jacob and Esau (Bible Stories)

We look at this particular birth beyond the birth of twins.  It is actually the birth of warring spirits.  See how these two brothers emerge over time.  see how they outdoorsman and hunter (Esau) compares to his herdsman brother (Jacob).  Watch as the story unfolds of these two brothers at odds.  Come to understand that their birth was an indication of things to come.

Jacob & Esau: The Truth Unfolded

Thursday, January 13, 2011

From Eden to Egypt Day 28

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings
And I will make thee swear by Jehovah the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a woman for my son of the daughters of the Canaanite, in the midst of whom I dwell; but thou shalt go unto my land, and to my nativity; and take a woman for my son for Isaac.
- Genesis 24:3-4

In his old age, Abraham desired a wife for his son Issac.  He did not wish for Issac to marry a woman "from the Canaanite girls" (verse 3, NCV).  He sent his trusted servant to find a wife for Issac from what Abraham termed "the land of my relatives" (verse 4, NCV).  This servant made a vow to Abraham to do as he wished.  Loaded down with trinkets atop of camels, he set out on his quest.  He prayed upon reaching this land, seeking the Lord's kindness for his master.  He requested that god make Issac's wife-to-be known, with God's confirmation through a sign to him.  His desire was that God would reveal that "she is the right one for your servant Issac.  And I will know that you have shown kindness to my master" (verse 14, NCV).

You have desires.  You wish for God to bless you and grant your desires.  You pray, pleading for an answer.  Oftentimes, you may also pray and bring others in to assist you in petitioning God.  We call them 'prayer partners.'  You put all that you have towards getting all that God has for you.

Yet, God can answer in all sorts of ways.  He sits high and looks low.  Your job is to simply place your heart's desires into His hands and put your full trust in the Lord God.  Once you put it in His hands, trust Him.  Trust Him to handle it.  Don't try to snatch it back or help Him along with it.  Just tell Him and trust Him.

Jesus probably said it best when asked about how He caused an unfruitful tree to wither so fast; "Have faith in God" (Mark 11:22).  I love how Peter sums it all up in the final chapter of his first epistle.  He does not drag on about how we keep doing repeated nonsense.  He doesn't even "believer bash" as many spiritual leaders do in the heat of their pastoral frustrations.  he offers a simple solution that is certainly worth a sincere try: "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7, NIV).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

From Eden to Egypt Day 27

Some time later God tested Abraham... Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” - Genesis 22:1-2 (NIV)

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings

Even the best get tested.  The faithful are still tried and taken through things.  The trusting must go through trials and tribulations.


Check the Christian blogosphere and the answers will range from your garden variety samplings of strengthening, suring up, and building up to a few unorthodox views that take a stab at suggesting such tests and trials are to prove faithfulness.  The latter examples do not seem so unorthodox until you see that the divide that occurs with these views is that it is proving the believer's faithfulness to God on one side and showing that God is faithful, keeping all of His promises just as He has said.

Father Abraham was tested by God "some time later" according to the New International Version.  We find that this man who had awaited his son of promise did not tarry long. The third verse of this same chapter tells us that Abraham went to take care of the matter the very next day.  in fact, the King James Version says it was "early in the morning." He did not await an opportune time to spring it on his wife like over dinner or just prior to an evening walk.  Abraham got up and got busy doing as God had said the very next day.

Before some super-sanctified prayer warrior or Christian soldier gets their Bible pages all ruffled up because Abraham did not act immediately, let's settle one matter first.  Think of the last three things that you honestly heard or sensed God telling you to do that were not "normal" behavior for you.  Now, with those in mind, think of how much debate and doubt swam around in your mind.  Look back at the self talk that may have come about due to what God was saying to you by His Spirit.  After some careful consideration, don't even bother.  It may not do you any good if you cannot see the human fallibility in all of us.

Ponder how much God desires a deeper and closer relationship with you.  Identify at least two things that you could sacrifice for a closer walk with Him.  Please do not including your children, wife or in-laws on the list.  Some tests just come with the territory.  Start tearing away from those "sacrifices." Do it first thing tomorrow morning.  Purge yourself of them.  Leave them at God's altar and do not return for them no matter how much you want them back.  If you can recall, I used the word sacrifice.  It's the same type of sacrifice that is symbolized when John the Baptizer called Jesus the Lamb of God.  Identify what your sacrifice will be today.

Zondervan NIV Study Bible, Indexed

Thursday, January 6, 2011

From Eden to Egypt Day 26

Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born. And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. No one thought that I would be able to have Abraham’s child, but even though Abraham is old I have given him a son.”
- Genesis 21:5-7 (NIV)

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings
God can do wonders beyond our finite imagination.  He can things beyond the limits of the time frames and deadlines that we set up and uphold.  Yes, the Creator is in ultimate control and reveals His omnipotent power to us at various times.

God demonstrated His power by giving Abraham and Sarah a child in their old age.  At one hundred years old, Abraham was blessed with a son.  God can use us, even when we no longer think that we have any use left in us.  he can bless us at a time when we feel that there is no hope left.

Trust God today.  He is able.  His ability rests in who He is- I AM.  It does not depend on what we think He is or imagine He is.  It rests simply in who He actually is as God Almighty.  Trust Him today.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

From Eden to Egypt Day 25

Genesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings
1Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, 2and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelech king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her. -Genesis 20:1-2 (NIV)

Have you ever repeated a mistake? You have gone through it at least once before, but you repeat it anyhow.  Rather than rely upon God, you start relying upon instinct and intuition.  yet, you find yourself back in the same situation that you once experienced and should have learned from some time ago.

Abraham did just that.  He had done similarly as to when he entered into Egypt.  He  told his wife to tell those they encountered that she was his sister (Gen. 12:13; Gen. 20:2).  He was different in Genesis 12.  He was still Abram then, but now he had a new name.  He was uncertain of what God wanted to do with him, but now he had been assured by God.  He was unsure of this land that God would show him, but now he had already seen the land of promise

What gives?

We really don't know.  If we knew, we most probably wouldn't repeat mistakes like that ourselves.  If it was so easy, we could condemn Abraham.  However, it is not so easy and we surely don't have an easy answer that we can just slip in and suggest as a rationale for repeating mistakes.

What we can do is simply try our best to avoid making repeated mistakes.  Is there a lesson that we should learn in it? Learn in it and grow from there.  Cut down the number of repeat mistakes by seeking the counsel of God.  Pray before you make a major move.  Ask of God before making transitions and shifts in your plan.  Listen to God's Spirit.  Hear what the Lord has to say to you, then make a move.  Possibly, if you are attentive and act accordingly, you will see yourself making fewer and fewer repeated mistakes.
Amen Me!