BSF Genesis: Week 15, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

11.

  • circumcise your heart, so that you may love him with all your heart and soul, and live
  • detestable: foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into sanctuary, desecrating the temple
  • not only outward and physical… inwardly, circumcision of the heart

12.
a. through baptism, new birth, buried then raised through faith, from the dead. New creation, debt free because of redemption paid on the cross

b. Impatience. Ask God to help me walk closer with Him each day so I can better see and stay in step with His plans and desires for my life

13. Genesis 17:21 Abram was 99, God made promise that a son would be born by this time next year to Sarah.

My Daily Journal:

Two things stood out to me today.

The first involves circumcision.  OK, all puns aside (and at this point everyone reading this should say an extra prayer for all the children’s leaders who have to include this in their lessons this week!!!).  There are some interesting thoughts.  First to me was the clear fact that this was a sign, not a payment or punishment.  Abraham did not earn God’s blessing by snipping off a piece of unnecessary foreskin, what a ridiculous thought.  Abraham did not earn God’s blessing by suffering.  Abraham didn’t earn anything.  the covenant was by God, from God, to Abraham.  God gave Abraham the gift of being able to carry with him a sign of this covenant.  Something not on display for everyone to see – He didn’t have him tattoo his forehead or cut off his earlobe or pierce his nose.  This was something personal, something that required obedience, but not any significant cost.

Second was the name change.  This promise wasn’t new to Abraham.  God gave him more details, particularly about timing and players, but it was, in essence, the same promise he had given him 10 years before.  But, it was now time to turn the page.  Who ever Abram and Sarai had been before, they weren’t that any longer.  They now were recipients of the promise from God.  The old was gone, the new had come. Whatever baggage they had from before, whatever self focus and doubt, whatever sins and deeds, those all were left behind when God turned the page to the next chapter in their life.

What new chapter does God have planned for me?  I’m grateful for all that he has blessed me with and I’m glad He sees me as a novel and not just a short story!

BSF Genesis: Week 15, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

9.
a.
In God’s eyes, yes. He was neither blameless nor perfect, but the covering of Christ given by his faith made him so to God

b.
walk before God faithfully

10.
a.
be blameless, God makes His covenant, greatly increase your numbers, father of many nations, name change, fruitful, nations and kings come from you, everlasting covenant including descendants: be your God and the God of your descendants, land

b.
vs 7: everlasting covenant God, Abraham, his descendants for the generations to come. vs 8: The whole land of Canaan I will give as an everlasting possessions to you and your descendants after you

c.
everlasting

My Daily Journal:

I participated in an interesting discussion about different ways of looking at the concept in Genesis 17:1 of what it means to walk before me faithfully.

When I thought of it, my mental image was along the lines of Esther entering the court of the King.  This was not something you did haphazardly.  You prepared, both physically and spiritually, through dressing in the proper attire for court and through the prayers and fasting of yourself and supporters.  You don’t show up tracking in dirt, you cloth yourself in the robes that were a gift from the King.  You don’t show up proud and boisterous, you appear as a humble servant seeking, but not deserving, favor.  There are many analogies and parallels to be drawn from this illustration.

Another thought that was presented was the mental image of how a parent walks with a child with me being the child.  The parent normally walks slightly behind the child, so they can keep them in sight at all times, to protect from harm.  The child is not to run ahead or try to hide, but be in sight of the parent.  The parent walks along.  When the child stumbles the parent helps them get back up.  As they continue to move forward the view is always forward.  Past stumbles are behind them, the parent only looks ahead for the child.

I thought this was a great illustration of how scripture can speak to us in so many different ways and different levels.  I am the child.  I am also the servant.  God is both the parent and the King.  He is personal and walks with me.  He is also the sovereign who gave me the robe of righteousness as a gift.

BSF Genesis: Week 15, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

5.
a.
4: She began to despise her mistress, 6: Abram rejected her, Sarai mistreated her.

b.
Homeless, pregnant, no food, shelter, anything

c.
Promise of God to increase her descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count, blessing for Ishmael, fruitful

6.
God – Pre-incarnate Jesus. Gen 16:10, the angel of the LORD says “I will”. Not relying on another higher power.

7.
a.
Submit to authority

b.
Obedience, faith and trust always lead to blessings. I am called to increase in all of these areas and to give glory to God for everything.

8.
a.
16:16 86 years old

b.
10 years since time of the promise, but probably closer to 60 years that he had desired to have a son with his wife.

c.
Our idea of waiting a long time is 24-48 hours.

d.
10 years is not a long time for a God promise. Going along with a bad idea (the “it won’t hurt to try something new” approach)

My Daily Journal:

In searching for an illustration about submission the example that came to mind was a glass or cup. When I am at a restaurant and the server comes to refill my drink, my glass/cup is a great example of the nature God wants me to be in of submission. It is open from above to receive the blessings He has to pour out on me. It is closed at the bottom, to keep from immediately losing the blessing. It has been cleaned/prepared to receive the blessing. It is still.

This last point is the one we often struggle with. If instead of letting go or holding my cup still for the server I try to help by moving the cup, trying to catch what is being poured out, or even blocking it either trying to stop it with my hand or another object or being so focused on drinking the last drop left in it from before, I make things more difficult. Anything I do to try to help, other than submit, makes things more difficult for the server.

Christ talked about filling our heart to overflow with the spirit. The illustration of my heart being a cup helps me get myself in the state to receive those blessings.

BSF Genesis: Week 15, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.

a. She took the position that lack of a child was because of a problem with her. She gave her slave to Abram as a wife

b. 15:4 son who is your own flesh and blood

c. Believed God could give Abram a son. Did not believe His plan was to do that through Sarai, since she had not had children.

4.

a. 16:3-4 Abram took Hagar to be his wife, slept with her and she conceived; 16:4 Hagar despised Sarai; 16:6 Abram disowned Hagar, Sarai mistreated her, she fled; 16:10-12 Lord’s promise to her about Ishmael ch20 Isaac born, Hagar/Ishmael sent away – According to tradition, Ishmael is the father of Islam

b.  Each time that we trust more in our own thoughts and actions and plans rather than rely with patience on God. Each time we rely on what is acceptable as cultural norms, rather than acceptable in God’s eyes. Each time we focus on what is “wrong with me” or “my faults” rather than the power of God.

c.  Stress. I spent twice the amount of time calling on God to bail me out of the mess than I would have spent praying to Him for guidance and timing

My Daily Journal:

I was convicted by Sarai’s self focus and self blame.  So often we think of self focus as “it’s all about me”, egotistical, narcissistic.  But that sword also cuts the other way.  How often when we see problems, especially those being faced by loved ones, do we internalize the blame or cause to be something about us?  If I had been a better __________, then they would not be facing this problem.

Our lesson talked about “unbelief” today in the discussion of Abram and Sarai and their decision to bring Hagar into the picture.  Clearly, there was some “under-belief” in not seeing the full power of God, but I think that stemmed more from focus than heart.  Sarai’s focus became one of what am I doing wrong?  How are my “faults” hindering my loved ones?  And she took action to take herself out of the picture, to stop being the roadblock that she had convinced herself that she was to her husband and to God.

I can relate to that internal dialogue.  The lesson for me is, for better or for worse, it really is not about me.  I am not big enough to be a roadblock to God.  I am not perfect in my thoughts, words and deeds, but I am forgiven and blameless in the eyes of God.  I can do better, but the first thing I need to do is change the focus of my eyes, head and heart from a focus on my faults to a focus on God’s power.