Reading 1

•2022/03/09 • Leave a Comment

We read in Genesis chapter 1, that God created all created things during six 24 hour days.  And in vv.26-27, after everything needed to sustain human life was created, on the sixth day, we read— 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image….”  27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  Nothing else that God made, was made in His image, only Man, both male and female.  

Then we come to v.28, where we read, “And God blessed them.” Notice that the first stated blessing by God is Children, Many children. God said, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.” God said, right here in the beginning, that the population growth of the planet would not be a problem with life on earth, it’s not a curse, it’s a blessing. Also, we see that God has given Man the responsibility of stewardship over, all of earth’s creation, viz., the animals, the birds, the fish, as well as all the plants and trees.  So as a blessing to Man, God provided us with all of creation, to manage for the good of all mankind. Furthermore, we see here how God has provided food for every living creature, what a loving God!  After these six days, God looked at what He had made, and said, “This is very good!”

In ch.2 we read that God rested on the seventh day, and blessed it, making it holy, in order that we would have an intentional day set aside for rest and focused worship.  In ch.2 we also see a more detailed account of creation, and when we get to v.16, we see God’s establishment of Law.  16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  

Also in chapter 2, we see how God established marriage, v.18 says, 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”  And  21  the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.  23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. 

All was well in the world, that is, until we get to ch.3.  Here we meet the serpent, the deceiver, our adversary.  In ch.3 we see how sin, pain, and death, enter the human experience.  Adam and Eve ate the fruit that God commanded Adam to not eat, they sinned against God, and brought both, the separation from God, and the judgement of death upon themselves, and upon the entire human race.  

As all may appear to be hopeless, in Genesis 3:15. God begins to reveal the hope of the gospel, when speaking to Satan, He said, 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall Crush your head, and you shall Crush his heel.”  Right here in the Garden, God began to shine light on the promise that He would provide a Savior for mankind, and then Adam and Eve were put out of the Garden.

In John Ch. 1, we went back to creation.  John is speaking of Jesus, when he writes, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  

And in v.4, we begin to see the fulfillment of God’s promised Savior, referring to Jesus, John writes—  In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  And in v.14, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  And in v.17, we see the hope of the gospel unfolding, as John writes, 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 

In ch.2 Jesus calls men to follow Him as His disciples, and He performs His first public miracle by turning water into wine.  Afterwards He cleansed the Temple of blasphemous greed, and when questioned by the Jews, Jesus told of His death, and His resurrection on the third day.  

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Reading 3

•2022/03/09 • Leave a Comment

Sin and violence was great on the earth, and God commanded Noah to build an ark.

Gen. 7 – Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.

11 …the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

17 The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered.

24 And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days. 

CH:8  – But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark.

and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 

15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing that is with you

the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” 

CH:9 – And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything

 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. 

11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

John Ch.5 – Jesus encounters a man by the pool of Bethesda who would like to be healed.  Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.

The religious leaders had a problem with the man carrying his bed on the Sabbath, as well as Jesus healing people on the Sabbath.

17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Ch.6 – We see that  a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.  Not because of His message.

He knew they were hungry and had no way to get food, So Jesus created more than enough food for them all.

15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.

26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.

Here, Jesus begins to use the image of eating food, to talk about Faith

27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

Jesus tells the crowd that it is not by good works that they can be saved, but by faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah.  

30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 

Jesus already created food for them, only a day earlier, but they still seem to be unconvinced, and want Him to do even more before they will believe that He is the Messiah.  Seemingly obsessed with food, they say

31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”

Jesus speaks to both the historical and the present when He says, 32 … it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

Notice that Jesus sticks with the illustration of food as an analogy for faith.

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”

47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

48 I am the bread of life.

Notice that the problem is that they will not believe that Jesus is the Messiah, they want food, manna from heaven, Jesus is saying that true life sustenance is here, it’s Jesus, and by faith in Jesus, they can be saved.  Jesus is using the image of Eating as the analogy of Believing.  He says, 48 I am the bread of life, the Messiah, the Savior of the world, you must believe.

49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die (eat = believe).  51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”  Jesus gave up His flesh on the Cross, so that by His death, the world could be saved.  

Then, completely missing the point, 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  

From this point forward, Jesus hammers down on the analogy.  Jesus is the Bread of Eternal Life, and eating the Bread, means to Believe in Him, to Trust in Him, so that we may have Eternal Life.  It seems that since they have chosen to be offended at Jesus’ statement that He is the Bread of Life, come down from heaven, Jesus is going to escalate the analogy.  But in either picture, Jesus as the True Manna or Jesus as the Bread of Life, the spiritual truth is that you must believe.  

53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.

58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?

63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.

Jesus is the promised Savior of the world, the Bread of Life.  To be saved, to be Born Again, to be redeemed, you must believe, you must really, truly, believe.    

Reading 4

•2022/03/09 • Leave a Comment

In Genesis 1:28, we read God’s blessing to Adam and Eve, saying, 28 … “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 

But after Man’s collective rebellion against God led to the judgement of the Flood, as God said, the earth was filled with violence. God preserved mankind, through Noah and his family, by have them build an great ark.  The waters receded, the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat, and after God had them all leave the ark, in Genesis 9:1, we read, God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.  And again in v.7, God reiterates, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.” 

Right from the creation of Man, God’s command was to be fruitful and populate the earth, the entire earth.  There is no such thing as overpopulation, the amount of people are not the problem.  We can take responsibility for the mismanagement of the elements of creation that God has given us to steward, and we can take blame for not disbursing, but not for having too many children.   

So, now we come to Genesis 11 

11:1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same wordsThis is to say that they had not yet separated at all.  There we no differences in language, no difference in slang, and very likely, no difference in accent or culture.  The whole earth had one language and the same words.  And as they migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.  The entirety of the world’s population settled in a single place, Shinar.  

Notice the unity.  Same language, same manner of speaking, all happily living together.  The problem was that they were not in obedience to God.

 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

So, in short, they’re all unified in their rebellion against God.  Instead of filling the earth, they decide to stay and build a city.  Instead of remaining faithful to God in worship, they decide to build a tower to heaven, very likely a high-rise temple.  In their pride they are determined to make a name for themselves.  Consider that, to whom do they want to make a name for themselves?  They consist of all the people on the earth.  There are only God, angels, devils, and themselves.  It seems that, like Lucifer, they wish to make a name for themselves in competition with God.  And they wish to maintain this unity against God, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”  They knew God’s command to fill the earth, to disperse, but they thought, like Eve, they would be better off in opposition to God’s command, in opposition to God Himself.   All the people of the earth are unified, but the object of their unity is rebellion against God.  

 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

We don’t know all of what they proposed to do, Scripture leaves much of that out.  But what we do know, is that in sinful unity against God, they had a much greater potential for evil, and because of God’s mercy, He protected them from themselves.   

So, God said, Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the cityTherefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth. 

Just as God intended in the first placed, the people would now be dispersed and fill the earth, but without having the blessing of shared language.  

Remember how the people wanted to make a name for themselves?  They wanted to be great.  Genesis 12:1–3, 12:1 Now the Lordsaid to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessingI will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 

God has not forgotten about His promised plan of redemption.  The Savior of the world would come through the line of Abraham, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed.   

The people of earth were all unified in their sin, and God came down to disperse them, because of the evil they would be able to achieve.  

In John 17, Jesus calls His people to unity in Him, unity in the Father.  

What could we accomplish for God’s glory, for God’s Kingdom, if we were truly unified in Christ, unified in the mission He has given His Church? 

Reading 5

•2022/03/09 • Leave a Comment

Genesis 13-15

So, Abram, Sari, Lot, and all they had, left Egypt, and went back to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first.  

4 And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord.

Conflict was emerging between Abram and Lot’s herdsman, and Abram realizes that they must separate.

Abram, with wisdom and humility, offers Lot first choice of the land.

Lot chooses, what he believes to be the best for himself, the Jordan Valley.

And so 12 … Lot settled among the cities of the valley, and notice that over time, Lot moved his tent as far as Sodom.  We read God’s commentary on the city of Sodom— 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.  

We can only wonder, why Lot is inching closer and closer to this evil city. 

Meanwhile, God reiterates, and expounds upon, His promise to Abram, saying, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” and as Lot becomes more comfortable with the sin of Sodom, Abram builds an altar to the Lord.  

So after a period of time, there emerges a regional war.  Various kings of the region are involved, Abram is not.  

11 So the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. 12 They also took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way.

Notice that Lot goes from dwelling in the Jordan valley, to moving closer to Sodom, and now we see that he is living in Sodom.  

So, because of Lot’s compromising with the sin of Somom, he finds himself, and his family, in the middle of the conflict.  

14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people. 

This was not an evening out on the town.  Abram and his men, pursued these invaders for at least 240 miles to the furthest point, and then had to travel back.  This took a long time.  

So, at great expense, time and effort, Abram rescues Lot, and all that was taken.  And sadly, Lot returns to place in Sodom, seemingly, learning nothing from the experience.   

We meet Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High.  19 And he blessed him and said, 

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor

of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And for an offering to God, Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

In ch.15, we see that God reiterates, and expands upon His promise to Abram.  

God said, Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

So God makes a covenant with Abram.  He will have a son, his descendants will be as the stars in heaven, and God will give them all of the promised land.  

But notice there will be some trials for Abram’s family between the Covenant and the fulfillment of the promise.  

13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

In these two chapters we see a division between Abram and Lot.  Abram draws closer to God, while Lot draws closer to Sodom.  Lot gets caught up in the drama of the world, and through Abram, God delivers him.  God makes a covenant with Abram, and Lot sinks even deeper into the city of Sodom. 

The decedents of Abram will occupy the promised land, but notice that they will need to suffer trial, and will have to believe and obey God for themselves.  Also note, there is an amount of sin that God will tolerate, and then He will tolerate no more.  God said, 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” 

All iniquity must be judged, all sin must be paid for.  You can trust in the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, or you can bear the penalty, for all eternity, on your own.  Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father but through me,” and in John 10:9, He said, I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Are you like Lot, moving closer to Sodom, or are you like Abram, drawing closer to God?  

Reading 6

•2022/03/09 • Leave a Comment

Ch.16

So God promised Abram that he and Sarai would have a son, and that Abram would be the father of Many nations, and that his descendants would inherit all the land that God had showed him.  

Now some time had passed since God’s promise to Abram, and they still had no son, And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.

This is clearly a bad idea, but take note, it was Sarai’s bad idea.  So, Abram goes ahead and marries Sarai’s Egyptian servant, Hagar, and she conceives a child.  

And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!”

But Abram, not being a very strong spiritual leader in the home, … said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. 

So, while Hagar was heading back to Egypt, 

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”

So, why would God want her to go back into a situation where she was being mistreated?  Well, notice that God had a blessing planned for Hagar and her son.  

 10 The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” 11 And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction.

Hagar replied, “You —God of seeing… Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

So, Hagar returns, Ishmael is born and Abram is now 86 years old.  

Ch.17

Thirteen more years go by, and when Abram is ninety-nine years old, God appears again to Abram, and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”

God reiterates His promise to Abram, He establishes circumcision as the keeping of God’s covenant, and God changes Abram’s name to Abraham.

The word Abram means, “Exalted Father.”  His very name would have been a painful reminder that he had no children.  It may have even felt like a mockery.  And now, having only one child, at the age of ninety-nine, God changed his name to Abraham, meaning “Father of a multitude.”  

God also changed Sarai’s name to Sarah.  Sarai = “Princess.”  Sarah = “Nobel-woman.”  And regarding Sarah, God said, 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”

17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

Ch.18

A short time later, Abraham is at his tent door, and he notices three men approaching his compound.  Somehow, he knows that one of these men is really the Lord.  So, he invited them to stay for a meal, and they agree.

10 The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him

12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord?At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” 

And as they were leaving, the Lord said to Abraham, 20 … “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.

The Lord does not tell Abraham that He plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, but Abraham, aware of their sinfulness, knows that judgement is due.  So, Abraham intercedes for Sodom, asking the Lord,  23 …“Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?  So, after Abraham’s intercession, the Lord agrees, that if there are even ten righteous people in the entire city, He will not destroy it.  

Notice God’s willingness to be merciful to the wicked, based both on the intercession of the righteous, as well as the presence of the righteous.  Have you ever thought that America was due for God’s judgement?  Perhaps it’s being delayed due to the intercession of the righteous. And the presence of His Church.  Continue to pray for America.

John Ch.11

Lazarus dies, and Jesus raises him from the dead

Many of Jews who had seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead  45 … believed in him, 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. 

But not Jesus only, in Ch.12 we see that they also want to kill Lazarus as well.  

And in v.12, Jesus enters Jerusalem, to the praise of a multitude, 

13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

Later, indicating that He would be put to death by crucifixion, Jesus said, 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

And in v.44,  44  Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

God made promises to Abram and Sarai, and kept His word.

He made promises to Hagar, and kept His word.

He promised to send the Messiah, the Savior of the world, and He kept His word.

He promised that if He be lifted up, He would draw all people to Himself, that all who trust in Him as God and Savior will be saved, and He will keep His word.

Do you want truth, do you want promises that will be kept, read and believe God’s word.  

Reading 8

•2022/03/09 • Leave a Comment

Ch.16

So God promised Abram that he and Sarai would have a son, and that Abram would be the father of Many nations, and that his descendants would inherit all the land that God had showed him.  

Now some time had passed since God’s promise to Abram, and they still had no son, And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.

This is clearly a bad idea, but take note, it was Sarai’s bad idea.  So, Abram goes ahead and marries Sarai’s Egyptian servant, Hagar, and she conceives a child.  

And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!”

But Abram, not being a very strong spiritual leader in the home, … said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. 

So, while Hagar was heading back to Egypt, 

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”

So, why would God want her to go back into a situation where she was being mistreated?  Well, notice that God had a blessing planned for Hagar and her son.  

 10 The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” 11 And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction.

Hagar replied, “You —God of seeing… Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

So, Hagar returns, Ishmael is born and Abram is now 86 years old.  

Ch.17

Thirteen more years go by, and when Abram is ninety-nine years old, God appears again to Abram, and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”

God reiterates His promise to Abram, He establishes circumcision as the keeping of God’s covenant, and God changes Abram’s name to Abraham.

The word Abram means, “Exalted Father.”  His very name would have been a painful reminder that he had no children.  It may have even felt like a mockery.  And now, having only one child, at the age of ninety-nine, God changed his name to Abraham, meaning “Father of a multitude.”  

God also changed Sarai’s name to Sarah.  Sarai = “Princess.”  Sarah = “Nobel-woman.”  And regarding Sarah, God said, 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”

17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

Ch.18

A short time later, Abraham is at his tent door, and he notices three men approaching his compound.  Somehow, he knows that one of these men is really the Lord.  So, he invited them to stay for a meal, and they agree.

10 The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him

12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord?At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” 

And as they were leaving, the Lord said to Abraham, 20 … “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.

The Lord does not tell Abraham that He plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, but Abraham, aware of their sinfulness, knows that judgement is due.  So, Abraham intercedes for Sodom, asking the Lord,  23 …“Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?  So, after Abraham’s intercession, the Lord agrees, that if there are even ten righteous people in the entire city, He will not destroy it.  

Notice God’s willingness to be merciful to the wicked, based both on the intercession of the righteous, as well as the presence of the righteous.  Have you ever thought that America was due for God’s judgement?  Perhaps it’s being delayed due to the intercession of the righteous. And the presence of His Church.  Continue to pray for America.

John Ch.11

Lazarus dies, and Jesus raises him from the dead

Many of Jews who had seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead  45 … believed in him, 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. 

But not Jesus only, in Ch.12 we see that they also want to kill Lazarus as well.  

And in v.12, Jesus enters Jerusalem, to the praise of a multitude, 

13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”

Later, indicating that He would be put to death by crucifixion, Jesus said, 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

And in v.44,  44  Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

God made promises to Abram and Sarai, and kept His word.

He made promises to Hagar, and kept His word.

He promised to send the Messiah, the Savior of the world, and He kept His word.

He promised that if He be lifted up, He would draw all people to Himself, that all who trust in Him as God and Savior will be saved, and He will keep His word.

Do you want truth, do you want promises that will be kept, read and believe God’s word.  

Reading 8

•2022/03/09 • Leave a Comment

Over the years, since Abraham and Lot first went their separate ways, have you ever wondered, how many times Abraham may have pleaded with Lot to leave Sodom.  Abraham watched, as Lot began to move closer and closer to the City, and then as he moved into the City.  Remember that Lot had so much cattle, herdsman, tents and so forth, that Abraham and Lot needed to separate.  Lot begins in the Plains of Jordan, and ends up living inside the City.  What happened to all that he had?  We saw that Lot needed Abraham to rescue him and his family from those who attacked Sodom, and still, Lot chose to remain in Sodom.  

Maybe Lot and his family just liked the opportunities of City Life, or maybe he and his family has close friends there.  

From the information we have in Scripture, we can’t know why Lot moved into, and stayed in, Sodom all those years, but we know that he did, and we know that he was not wicked like they were.  2 Peter 2:8 says, For as that righteous man (Lot) lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard.  So we see that Lot was righteous, and was tormented in his soul, because of their sinfulness against God.  

Are you tormented in your soul because of the lawless deeds celebrated in America?  Today, there are Christians arguing with each other because of differences of priority regarding the evils of abortion.  Is your soul tormented by the murder of innocent babies?  Can you really say that you are standing up for social justice, if you can’t even stand up for the rights of the unborn?  No, Without justice for babies in the womb, there can be no social justice.  

Are you tormented by the sin of homosexuality, and the advancement of the homosexual agenda in our society, in our government, and in our public schools? 

Whatever the reasons Lot and his family had for staying in Sodom, it would not last very long.  As we read last week in Ch.18, Abraham, pled with God to not destroy the City, if there would be even ten righteous people living there.  There would not be found there, ten who were righteous.    

Ch.19

19:1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. (this indicates that Lot held a position of importance in the city) When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. 

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly.

But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. 10 But the angels reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. 11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door. 

15 As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.

23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. 

27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace. 

29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived. 

Lot entered the valley of Jordan with many possessions and great wealth.  We don’t know why Lot moved into the city, and stayed there, but we can see that, even though Lot was righteous, and tormented in his soul by the sin of Sodom, there were terrible consequences for his family.   Apparently, Lot’s wife loved Sodom, more than she loved and feared God, Lot’s daughters were clearly affected by the immorality that they grew up with all around them.  

Incidentally, as Christians living in a pagan world, though we ourselves may be righteous, what are our kids learning in their schools?  What are they learning from the culture all around them?  Are we silently allowing Sodom to influence them, making them immune to the sin that God hates, sin that God will eventually judge?  

We have seen in the Scriptures so far, that God take His commands, and rebellion against Him very seriously.  

2 Peter 2:4–10 (ESV) 

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones.

Peter makes two important points here.  God knows how to judge the wicked, and God knows how to save the righteous. 

Next, we see that God fulfills His promise to Abraham and Sarah, and Sarah gives birth to Isaac, and it is through Isaac, that God promises to send the Messiah, the Deliverer, the Savior of the world.  

Just as there is condemnation of sin and rebellion, there is salvation offered to sinners by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.  

It’s in John 14:6 that we read, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

And what about God’s commandments?  In Psalm 19 we read—

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, 

reviving the soul; 

       the testimony of the Lord is sure, 

making wise the simple; 

     the precepts of the Lord are right, 

rejoicing the heart; 

       the commandment of the Lord is pure, 

enlightening the eyes; 

     the fear of the Lord is clean, 

enduring forever; 

       the rules of the Lord are true, 

and righteous altogether. 

Are you reading God’s word?  

In Romans 12:2, Paul wrote, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Prayer – 

Reading 10

•2022/03/09 • Leave a Comment

Gen 28

Isaac blesses Jacob with the blessing God gave to him, and instructs Jacob to not marry a Canaanite woman, and sends him off to the house of Laban. 

Now Esau heard that Isaac had commanded Jacob, saying, 6 …“You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women,”

So when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, in order to spite his parents, he went out and married another Canaanite woman.  This shows the rebellious heart of Esau, and it’s no wonder that God did not choose him.  

While Jacob is on his journey, God visits him in a dream, and restates to him, the promise He made to Abraham and to his father Isaac, saying, 13 …“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel…. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21 so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, 22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” 

Ch.29

Jacob finds his way to the house of Laban, his mother’s brother, and agrees to work for Laban seven years so he could marry his daughter, Rachel.  After the seven years are completed, Laban tricks Jacob, and the morning after the wedding, Jacob realizes that he married Rachael’s older sister, Leah, instead.  Jacob loved Rachel, and agreed to work for Laban another seven years, so he could marry Rachel.  

As the years go by, there is much discord between the sisters, Leah and Rachel, and a race is on to see which one of them can give Jacob the most children.  They compete themselves, as well as through their maid servants, and when we get to the end, Jacob will have twelve sons and one daughter.  

Remember God’s promiose to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.  God said—

14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

So what does that “blessing for all the families of the earth” look like?  

John 19

19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.

So Pilate brought Jesus out before the people, and

… Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!”

And they also said to Pilate, …“We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat … 14 … He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered (with words they will likely regret for all eternity)“We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.

25 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 

They pierced Jesus’ side, to make sure He was dead.  

And before sundown, secret followers of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, andNicodemus, buried Jesus in a nearby unused tomb.  

The death of Jesus on the cross, was the sufficient payment for the sins of the entire World.  

And then, on the third day, the Resurrection, Jesus rose from the grave. 

Jesus appeared to Mary and to His disciples on that very day, to all but Thomas. 

25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

So, 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

So how is it that through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, All the families of the earth will be blessed?

Now John tells us that—

30  Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Reading 12

•2022/03/09 • Leave a Comment

Because of fear, Jacob seems to have forgotten God’s promises, forgotten his own identity, so after Jacob makes many mistakes and bad decisions, God reminds him of who God is, of who Jacob is, and of God’s never-changing promises to him.  

Now after his fear-filled interaction with Esau, we see in Ch.33:18, 18  Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, and 20 There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel. Which means, God, God of Israel.  

Gen Ch.34

Here we see Shechem’s abuse of Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, and his father’s Hamor’s attempt to make this crime go away.  

But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him to be his wife. Make marriages with us. Give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You shall dwell with us, and the land shall be open to you. Dwell and trade in it, and get property in it.”

We don’t here from Jacob on this, but his son’s are furious.

13 The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully, because he had defiled their sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15 Only on this condition will we agree with you—that you will become as we are by every male among you being circumcised. 16 Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters to ourselves, and we will dwell with you and become one people

18 Their words pleased Hamor and Hamor’s son Shechem.

20 So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, 21 “These men are at peace with us; let them dwell in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as wives, and let us give them our daughters. 22 Only on this condition will the men agree to dwell with us to become one people.

All the men of Shechem agreed, but did God want them all to be One People?

25 On the third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and came against the city while it felt secure and killed all the males. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the sword and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house and went away.

What was Dinah doing in Shechem’s house?  Apparently, Jacob agreed to the marriage, he agreed to the uniting of the house of Jacob and the house of Shechem, but this was not in accordance with God’s plan.  

The land of Canaan would be given to the children of Jacob, not by the Canaanites, but by God, not through politics and intermarriage, but by the miraculous power of God.    

So Jacob is once again living in fear, now he is afraid of the surrounding cities.  

Ch.35

35 God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.”

Its as if God is telling Jacob, “Do not be afraid, remember Me, remember who you are, remember what I promised you.”

And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.

We can see that Jacob had made some pretty bad decisions, due to his fear of man, and because of his doubt in God.  It seems that he was so terrified of Esau, that when he reached Shechem, he relaxed, and put down his guard.  

First, he got too close to Hamor and the people of Shechem, why would he want to settle so close, and get so involved with Canaanites, people who were under the judgement of God?  

It seems also that Jacob forgot that he was no longer Jacob, but was given a new name by God, he was Israel, and God had promised him all the promises of Abraham and Isaac.  Why did he fear man?

God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. 10 And God said to him (for the second time), “… no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he called his name Israel. 11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body. 12 The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.”

Jacob needed to be refocused, sometimes we need to be refocused as well. 

Acts Ch.2

On the day of Pentecost, the Church is together in Jerusalem, and with the sound of a great rushing wind, they are filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other languages.    

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?

12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

Peter steps up to tell them all exactly what this means, and he preaches the gospel to them all, saying—  

21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 

Now notice the life of this new Church—

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Remember how Jacob lived?  In fear, in compromise?  He forgot who he really was, he forgot God’s promises, he even allowed idolatry to fester in his own house.  He lived defeated, but God intervened.  

In this passage we see the early Church, and we ask, “How could they live that way?”  

They knew who they were in Christ, they knew God’s promises to them, and therefore, they were devoted to the—

– Apostle’s teaching,

– to the fellowship of the Church,

– to the Lord ‘s supper, the remembrance of Christ,

– and to prayer.

Do you know who you are?  Do you know the promises of God, in Christ?  When you are not living in your true identity, when you are not living according to God’s promises to you, in Christ, you, like Jacob, will live in fear and defeat.  

In Psalm 34, David wrote—

 I sought the Lord, and he answered me 

and delivered me from all my fears.

 Those who look to him are radiant, 

and their faces shall never be ashamed. 

     This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him 

and saved him out of all his troubles. 

     The angel of the Lord encamps 

around those who fear him, and delivers them.

     Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! 

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 

17  When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears 

and delivers them out of all their troubles

18    The Lord is near to the brokenhearted 

and saves the crushed in spirit. 

19    Many are the afflictions of the righteous, 

but the Lord delivers him out of them all. 

Reading 13

•2022/03/09 • Leave a Comment

As you read the Scriptures, take note of God’s intended response to His word. Take note of the responses of people we read about in the biblical narrative, and just as importantly, take note of what is your response to all that God says in His word.  

Ch. 37

Joseph is now seventeen years old, and up to this point, we see a seriously dysfunctional family, and in these chapters, a stark contrast between Joseph and his brothers.  Now consider— what must God do, and allow to be done, to make this family unified as the people of God?

37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. 

And after this, God had given Joseph two prophetic dreams, regarding their future, and he told his family of these dreams, dreams that indicated that Joseph would one day be greater than they, and that they would bow before him.  We read of their response to God’s message through Joseph. And instead of inquiring of the Lord as to the meaning of these dreams, we read—

… they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. 

… they hated him even more. 

… they hated him even more ….

11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind. 

What was God’s intended purpose of sending these dreams?  Surely not hatred and dismissal.  So some time had passed, 

13 And Israel said to Joseph, …“Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock, and bring me word.”

17 … So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan. 18 They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him.

26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites…And his brothers listened to him. 28 …And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt. 

31 Then they took Joseph’s robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 And they sent the robe of many colors and brought it to their father and said, “This we have found; please identify whether it is your son’s robe or not.” 33 And he identified it and said, “It is my son’s robe. A fierce animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days.

Ch.39

39:1 Now Joseph had been brought down to Egypt, and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard, an Egyptian, had bought him from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down there. The Lord was with Joseph….

And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “… How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” 10 And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her. 

11 But one day, when he went into the house to do his work …. 12 she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house

14 she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 15 And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.” 

19 As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. 20 And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed. 

To bring faith and repentance to this family, God allowed Joseph to be separated from them, and the family would then be humbled.  

Acts 4

We see Peter and John out and about, and noticed the different responses to the gospel.  

4:1 And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus, the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. 

When questioned before the Counsel,

 Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucifiedwhom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened.

They were released, and went to be with the Church—

31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 

Ch.5

5:1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the landWhile it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it

His wife also lied about the selling price, saying that they had given it all to the Chgurch, and

10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

12 Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico.

14 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed. 

17 But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy 18 they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” 21 And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.

The leaders were not pleased—

40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.

In the passages about Israel and his family we see rebellion and faith in light of the sovereignty of God lived out.  What does that look like in your life, in your family?  In Acts, we see two responses to the gospel, rebellion and faith.  Which response is yours?

Psalm 37

37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. 

38  But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off. 

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. 

40  The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. 

Have you taken refuge in Christ?