Week 2

Gen. 18:16- Gen. 31:16

Gen 18:23 Abraham enters into a “bargaining” time with God. He is trying to do anything to save Sodom and Gomorrah (in reality Lot). It’s so revealing of God’s nature that He was willing to be merciful for Lot’s sake.

Gen. 19:3 “But Lot insisted,”. So in the past I was always disgusted by Lot’s behavior. For the first time ever, today as I read this I could see so much of myself in Lot. Let me explain. In Gen 19:3 it tells us that Lot insisted the angels stay with him. He knew what would happen otherwise…he knew the evil that surrounded him. So my question was, if Lot knew the evil there and he was a righteous man, why was he there? Why did he stay in a place where he was surrounded by evil? When I just sat and LISTENED it’s like I could hear the question, “why do you??”. Continually, here recently, I have put myself in places/positions where I knew God would not want me.

Vs 11 says, “Then they blinded all the men, young and old, who were at the door of the house, so they gave up trying to get inside.” The angels blinded them to keep Lot’s family/home safe. I had to pray, “God, let that not be me! To have to be blinded to turn away from evil intent?!”

Vs. 16 “When Lot still hesitated…” He has seen the evil around him…he knows their evil intentions yet he still hesitates to leave that environment?! That was me! Things/people who I know I need to turn away from but still that hesitation. Why??

Vs 26 “But Lot’s wife looked back…” When God has reached down to pull me out of that filth why would I turn back? Why would I hesitate to cut the things out of my life that He doesn’t want there for my own good?! It’s sobering, convicting and yet so reassuring!! Don’t look back…we aren’t heading that way! Praise God!!

Vs 31 Lot’s daughter lied to herself.. “No men” What??!! Rather than wait for the Lord’s timing, she followed her own, very messed up and very ungodly, plan. Don’t fall for the lies that the devil, the world or we tell ourselves! Don’t let lies replace God’s truth and plan in our lives!

Gen. 20 In the past I always felt so conflicted when reading the story of Abraham and Abimelech. My first thought was always woah this is messed up!! Abraham lies (again!) and Abimelech and his entire kingdom get hit with a plague of infertility?! Then Abraham actually gets a payout?! How is that fair?? The more I prayed about it though I could see how this applies to my own life. Things I do, choices I make, sins I choose DO effect others! That’s the simple truth. Sometimes people get hurt, who haven’t done anything to warrant it, just because I mess up! But at the same time God chooses to bless me even when I don’t deserve it (and of course we never deserve His gifts)! He still uses us even when we lie, cheat, steal…and Abraham’s life is such an excellent example of this!

Vs 15  I found this funny! Abimelech is speaking to Sarah after he finds out that she is actually Abraham’s wife, not just his sister. He says, “Look, I am giving your ‘brother’ 1000 pieces of silver…” !!! lol The sarcasm game is strong with Abimelech!!

Gen. 21:1,2 “The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he promised.” “…This happened at just the time God had said it would.” EXACTLY WHAT HE PROMISED…JUST THE TIME GOD HAD SAID IT WOULD. God is always faithful and ALWAYS fulfills His promises!

Gen. 22 God may test our faith but He doesn’t tempt. Here we get into Abraham being tested by being asked to sacrifice Isaac, his son. This is such a hard passage of Scripture to read! I can’t even imagine! For the first time though I really focused on Isaac and his role in this. We always talk about the faith of Abraham to go forward like this and be willing to give his son…but what of the son?? Scholars may not be in complete agreement but the general consensus is that Isaac wasn’t a tiny child that Abraham could just overpower, tie up and throw on the altar! No, he had to willingly submit to his father. He carried the wood up the mountain and then we see they were to the point where Isaac was bound and laying on the altar! This blows my mind!! The trust he had for his father was complete! And Abraham, in turn, had that same trust in God. They knew that no matter how it turned out their Father was in control! Oh to have that faith!!! But then, (vs.11) “At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven…Abraham replied, ‘Here I am.'” The relief must have been overwhelming! No wonder they named that place Yahweh-Yireh (the Lord will provide).

Gen. 23 shows how respected and blessed Abraham was in his community.

Vs 15 “The land is worth 400 pieces of silver but what is that between friends?” Then why bring it up?! To make sure your “good deed” is known. If I’m going to be a blessing/give a gift, just do it! Don’t toot my own horn…don’t let my “left hand know what my right is doing”.

Gen 24: It was important to Abraham that Isaac marry one of their kind – same belief in the One, True God…”equally yoked”.

Vs 2 “…Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh.” There is an interesting history to this practice. According to http://www.gotquestions.org, “The thigh was considered the source of posterity in the ancient world. Or, more properly, the “loins” or the testicles. The phrase “under the thigh” could be a euphemism for “on the loins.” There are two reasons why someone would take an oath in this manner: 1) Abraham had been promised a “seed” by God, and this covenantal blessing was passed on to his son and grandson. Abraham made his trusted servant swear “on the seed of Abraham” that he would find a wife for Isaac. 2) Abraham had received circumcision as the sign of the covenant (Genesis 17:10). Our custom is to swear on a Bible; the Hebrew custom was to swear on circumcision, the mark of God’s covenant. The idea of swearing on one’s loins is found in other cultures, as well. The English word testify is directly related to the word testicles.

Jewish tradition also offers a different interpretation. According to Rabbi Ibn Ezra, the phrase “under the thigh” means literally that. For someone to allow his hand to be sat on was a sign of submission to authority. If this is the symbolism, then Joseph was showing his obedience to his father by placing his hand under Jacob’s thigh.”

Vs 8: Abraham made it clear that under no circumstances should Isaac return to his homeland. His past. My past! I don’t live there anymore and I have no business going back. I need to move with faith into the land/life God has promised me. “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way!” -unknown

Vs 12: Abraham’s servant asked for God’s help…he asked for a sign on what to do. This was the first recorded prayer for guidance in the Bible. Specific prayer is important…it led to a specific answer.

Vs 21: “The servant watched her in silence wondering whether or not the LORD had given him success in his mission.” This is soooo me!! He asked for a very specific sign, God provided it and he still questioned! I do this!! God help me not to be a Gideon…to not have to keep asking for sign after sign but to instead learn to LISTEN to Your voice above all the noise and distractions. To learn to trust You and Your presence in my life!

Vs 40: “The Lord, in whose presence I have lived, will send his angel with you and will make your mission successful.”  YES!!! Praise God! He goes before us and with us!

Vs 58: “And she replied, ‘Yes, I will go.'” It’s amazing to me how, when I truly LISTEN, even the smallest verses are grabbing a hold of my heart…big time! Not knowing what was ahead…yes, I’ll go! Not knowing what was expected of her…yes, I’ll go! Not knowing where she was going or where life would take her…yes, I’ll go!! NOT KNOWING…YES, I’LL GO!!!! Help me, God, to be so willing. To have so much faith, so much trust that my answer is always, “Yes, I will go.”

Gen 25:1 Abraham had other sons. So the miracle was Sarah having a child in her old age. I never realized he had sons besides Ishmael and Isaac.

Vs 5: He gave everything to Isaac but gifts to his other sons and sent them away?!

Vs 9: Isaac and Ishmael buried Abraham together…I guess I just never thought of them interacting!

Vs 28: “Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home but Rebekah loved Jacob.” Now, my first thought was to wonder if this verse is where the saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” came from?! lol But then I kinda took that part out and saw, “Isaac loved Esau…but Rebekah loved Jacob.” How sad. Like loved to the exclusion of the other son?! No wonder they were at odds with each other! How hurtful that must’ve been to them as they grew up!

Vs 30-34: “Selling out for stew” is the way Pastor Paul Sheppard has referred to this. For the first time I really saw myself in this scripture…as Esau!! We shouldn’t get so focused on what we think we “need” that we lose sight of our coming blessings! Recently I was so caught up in things that I thought I “needed” that I was ready to give away my future (my husband, my family…) We have to keep our eyes on what God truly has in store for us!!     A funny thing I did take away from this story, though…Esau was kinda a drama queen!! lol Vs. 32 “Look, I’m dying of starvation…” What??!! He had just been on a hunting trip! It’s not like he was lost in the wilderness for weeks and they carried him into camp on his deathbed or something! Over-dramatic much?! But, I see me there, too!! So easy to get so focused on what we think we need until it becomes so overpowering to the point we feel like we’ll just “die without it”!! Thanking God I don’t live there anymore!

Gen. 26:7 Isaac now lies, just as Abraham did, and says his wife is his sister! Man, poor Abimelech must’ve been like, “What’s wrong with you people??!!” But again…a lesson in this for me also. Sins do repeat in our families. That’s sobering for me.

Vs 19-22: I can get blessings for my children. Isaac kept trusting God to give him the place He wanted him to be.

Vs 24-25: God appeared and Isaac worshiped! LOVE THIS!!

Vs 28: Even the ungodly see the blessings of God…Abimelech knew Isaac was blessed and wanted to benefit from that.

Gen 27:3 I find it odd that Isaac wanted Esau to feed him before he would bless him. It did say he loved him for the meat he brought him.

Vs 5-13: Rebekah encouraged Jacob to deceive Isaac. How heartbreaking! To pit your children against each other and to encourage your child to deceive their father in the process! “Don’t tell daddy…it’s our secret!”

Vs 20: “…The Lord your God put it in my path!” Jacob replied. I find this interesting. First, he said your God not my God…I think that’s telling. Also, using God to justify his deception…telling a lie to cover what you’re doing but then “talking the talk” to make it more believable?? Been there! Guilty!

Vs 24: Jacob had a chance to make it right. He could’ve backed away but instead he continued on. I see a clear picture here…Isaac & Jacob/God & me. Being given chances to make it right but stubbornly refusing!

Gen 28:1-2 Again, the command to not be unequally yoked in marriage.

Vs 8-9: Esau took a local wife just because he knew it would upset his parents! This always made me angry when I read it in the past…I would just think here’s a grown man making a major life decision with the sole purpose of making daddy mad?! But now I see me in Esau. Have I not been Esau before God? Being openly rebellious and making decisions that I knew would bring him pain? More often than I care to admit.

Vs 15: “…I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” Philippians 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Vs 18: Jacob set up an altar to God. I love how, again and again, when God speaks they worship!

Vs 20: Then Jacob made this vow. “If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, and if I return safely to my father’s home, then the LORD will certainly be my God.” This used to upset me…Jacob made a very if/then oath with God. Did Jacob not grow up hearing from Isaac about the goodness, power and provision of God? But you know what? This to me is the point where we do have to choose our own faith. Our parent’s belief isn’t enough! He had to come to that place of faith on his own…by seeing God at work in his own life.

Gen 29:28 I never realized Rachel was given to Jacob just a week after he had been tricked into marriage to Leah…poor Leah!

Vs 32-35: “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.” How my heart breaks when reading about Leah…but then I see God drawing her to Him. Each time she named a child it was something along the lines of ‘now surely my husband will love me’…until the 4th son when said, “Now I will praise the LORD.” Could God have been using her heartbreaking circumstance to turn her affection towards HIM…the One who truly mattered?!

Gen 30:1 Rachel became jealous of Leah…but Leah was jealous of Rachel! Isn’t that just like us women??!! We compare and contrast with each other and put unrealistic expectations on ourselves. Sometimes we miss out on the blessings of “sisterhood” because we are too busy competing!!

Vs 2: blaming Jacob…it’s so easy to turn on our husbands for something beyond their control!

Vs 3: Again we have women trying to work God’s plan out on their own terms! “Take my maidservant”…what??!! That never works out well! Have they not passed down family history stories?! I mean…Hagar?! Hello??!!

Vs 27: Laban is always about the money

Gen 31:4-14 I found this interesting. It seems as if Jacob is consulting with his wives about moving…I wouldn’t think this would be the norm in that day and age.

 

Matt. 6:25-10:23

Matt 7:23 “And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” The saddest words one could ever hear!

Vs 24-27: House on the rock vs. house on the sand…what am I building on?!

Matt 8:13,15 “…Because you believed, it has happened.”  “But when Jesus touched her…” Oh Lord Jesus, that my life would be a testament that cries out “but when Jesus touched her!!”

Vs 26: “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Why am I?? He is stronger than any storm!

Vs 34: “Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.” They were afraid…they had seen His power! Unrighteousness can not be around the Holiness of God without being fearful!

Matt 9:2 The faith of the friends led to the salvation of the paralytic man. Oh how true and how convicting! How many friends haven’t seen my faith? How many have come across my path and are no closer to salvation because they couldn’t see Jesus in me?!

Vs 9: “Follow me and be my disciple.”…so Matthew got up and followed him. This overwhelms me…how many just followed when Jesus said, “Follow me!” How many times have I questioned or just refused? Have I ever just blindly followed Jesus in faith?!

Vs 12: “For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” PRAISE GOD!!! That’s what it takes…knowing we are undeserving sinners, that we aren’t “good enough”. There are none righteous.

Vs 20: Just one TOUCH!

Vs 25: “took the girl by the hand” Just one TOUCH!

Vs 29: “Then he touched their eyes…” One TOUCH!

Matt 10:8 “…Give as freely as you have received!” YES!! We are all called to give back without expectation of payment, reward, reimbursement… We received freely, we need to give/share with others the same way!

Vs 9: They had to let God provide…ultimate faith!

Vs 19: “God will give you the right words at the right time.” Give me Your words, Lord.

Psalm 8-12:8

Ps 9:10 “…for you, O LORD, do not abandon those who search for you.” Thank God!!!!!

Proverbs 2:6-3:15

Prov 2:10-11 “For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.”