BSF Genesis: Week 28, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

15.
a.
wept loudly, come close to me, do not be distressed or angry with yourselves – it was to save lives, God did this, tell and bring father, threw his arms around them and wept

b.
embracing, wept, spoke truth and willingness to sacrifice for each other

16.
be truthful and heartfelt.  Forgive and see God’s good in all.

My Daily Journal:

I loved Genesis 45:1.

We have talked over the past few weeks about the parallels between Joseph and Christ and how, in many ways, Joseph was a foreshadowing pointing to Christ.  I think we see that so strongly in verse 1.

I’m a dad and there are times I need to use my dad voice and make decisions that, while not necessarily popular, are in the best interests of my family.  I have to discipline my children and allow them to make mistakes even when I know they are mistakes.  My natural desire is to protect them, to help them, to do for them and provide for them.  But for them to grow and learn, I have to control that nature and allow them to experience and learn.

In Genesis 45:1, we see how God has placed that same “control” for Joseph to direct with his brothers.  Then, Joseph could control himself no longer and we see the heart of God that beat inside Joseph pour out.  What did he do when he was “out of control”?  He poured out love.  He poured out tears of joy.  He poured kisses upon his brothers.  He hugged them. He forgave them.  He told them about God.  He told them not to condemn themselves.  He provided a new home for them.  He provided everything they would need for themselves, their children, their grandchildren.  He commanded them to reunite the entire family.

So, what does your “out of control” look like?

BSF Genesis: Week 22, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

10.
He took Jacob away from Rebekah to the land of her kin, where he lived and worked for 14 years.  Jacob lived in fear of returning because of the anger of his brother.  He toiled as a servant to earn his wives, even though his father had ample resources to provide sufficient means (as had been the case with Rebekah).

11.
make you fruitful and increase your numbers, community of peoples, give you and descendants the blessing given to Abraham to take possession of the promised land

My Daily Journal:

This may come up in the next couple of weeks’ lessons, but one of the things that struck me was that Jacob left with the blessing and little or nothing else.  He was sent back to Rebekah’s family to secure a wife.  But unlike the servant that was sent for Isaac, he didn’t go with 10 camels carrying jewelry and riches to bestow on the family or his future bride.

This struck me because it is one of the very difficult parts, in my opinion, of being a good parent.  You want to protect and provide for your children, but to mature in their faith it has to be “their faith” not the faith of their parents.  Mom and dad had plenty of resources they could have sent with Jacob.  Isaac had inherited all the wealth of Abraham in addition to the prosperity God had given him (100 fold yields on crops).  But, there came a time for Jacob to leave the tents he had been so content to hang around and he was sent on his way.  Evidently, he didn’t even get to take a pillow with him on his travels.

I don’t think this is throwing him into a sink or swim situation.  He wasn’t disowned or exiled.  But to become the nation he was to become he needed the challenge of making it on his own (with God’s help alone).

BSF Genesis: Week 21, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

5.
a.
Isaac had a taste for wild game and Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the open country

b.
I don’t think God discourages a father’s love for a son.  He probably would have preferred he loved both sons and wished the same for Rebekah.

c.
Discuss, pray and change

d.
Discuss, pray and change

6.
To be in charge of the household and resulting nation, a double share of inheritance, ultimately, the human ancestry of the Messiah

7.
a.
No

b.
No

c.
To be in charge of the household and resulting nation, a double share of inheritance, ultimately, the human ancestry of the Messiah

d.
God upheld the choice he made and kept him from receiving the benefits of the birthright.  He did not look favorably on Esau or the sin that his descendents demonstrated.

My Daily Journal:

My wife pointed out how silly it was that Esau was fixated on Jacob’s soup in relationship to what other meals would have been available to him.  Think of it this way.  Assuming the brothers were at least 15 years old, their grandfather would have now died, leaving EVERYTHING, to their father.  We know Abraham had vast wealth and servants.  He had 318 fighting men in his household years earlier and had continued to prosper since.  Isaac had inherited all of his possessions (not withstanding some gifts to other children).  That would have put Isaac’s wealth on par with any king of the day, making Esau and Jacob the equivalent of Princes.  Esau, as the oldest and holder of the birthright would have received a 2/3rds share of everything belonging to his father.  That meant that any tent he approached and requested food would have recognized him and whose family he was, not to mention they would have had a 2/3rd probability of working for him in the future.  Do you think they might have given him something more than bean soup to eat???

Secondly, I was convicted by the fact that God uphead the boneheaded choice that Esau made, despite how insulting it was to the Lord.  This should make any of us think twice about any decisions and commitments we make to others.  One of the childrens’ leaders, a few weeks ago, discussed the idea of SHALT (as in SHALT Not).  It is unwise to make a decision when you are Sad, Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.  Anytime we are faced with making a decision or commitment it is wise for us to self-assess if we fall under any of the SHALT temptations and delay the decision.  Whatever you bind together will be bound and whatever you loose will be loosed.  These are very important words to remember with lasting consequences!

BSF Genesis: Week 21, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.
a.
20 years

b.
Yes

c.
Waiting on God’s timing for children.  May have been a test to see if they would take matters into their own hands (e.g., Hagar)

d.
Wait on the Lord, trust in Him, pray for each other.

4.
Two nations: Twins will both form their own nations (Israelites and Edomites); and two peoples  separated: they will form separate nationalities (Israel in promised land, Edomites at Mount Seir); one people stronger: strength of character and faith of one nation will be stronger than other (Obadiah 18 – House of Jacob=fire, Esau=Stubble; older serve ounger: The descendents of Esau serve  Jacob. 1 Kings 11:15-16 King David, Joab smitten every male in Edom.

My Daily Journal:

Was it a problem that Isaac and Rebekah didn’t have children for 20 years?  Many years ago I read an interesting article talking about our biases and thought processes in western culture.  In large part the article talked about our predilection in the west to label something as broken or a problem so we can then fix it.  This is evidently a very western attitude and in other cultures this doesn’t occur.  Other cultures simply look at something and incrementally improve it, but we label it as a problem as broken as something that “needs fixin’.”

I discuss this because that attitude influences our thoughts about Isaac and Rebekah waiting 20 years.  God was going to provide a child (ok, in this case, children) at exactly the moment that He knew to be right to provide them.  Was this a test for Isaac and Rebekah?  Was it difficult?  Was it concerning?  It may have been.  But it doesn’t have to be broken for us to pray for others.  It doesn’t have to be a problem for us to trust and rely on God.

I don’t have to put myself or my situation down or label it as a problem or broken to trust in God to improve it.  I’m not a “home makeover” project, I’m a child of God.  I’m being taught, fed and developed to be stronger and more saintly.  God doesn’t need to label me as broken to make me better.

This may seem like semantics to some, but I hope it is helpful.

BSF Genesis: Week 20, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

9.
a.

Riches.  Planted crops and reaped 100 fold.

b.
So many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines became envious

c.
Philistines stopped up the wells that Abraham’s servants had dug.  As he dug new wells they quarreled with him.

d.
He moved on.  He had faith that God would provide.

e.
Each time he moved they found more water.  When he reached Rehoboth there was no more quarreling and Isaac praised God and gave Him the credit and glory as well as confidence in His promise to flourish in the land

10.
a.
The king of the Philistines sought out Isaac for a peace agreement because he recognized that God was with Isaac

b.
By living a life dedicated to pleasing the Lord I need not worry about enemies or the enemy.

My Daily Journal:

I recently read a very interesting business book called Abundance by Steven Kotler.  One of the key premises of the book is that so much of our thought and social policy revolves around a theory of scarcity.  However, historically, time and again, technology innovations have drastically changed the situation at the point where scarcity would have become a problem.  An example he uses is London at the turn of the century.  They were facing a major problem in regard to the amount of horse manure crowding the streets of London and were looking at regulation and policies to address this problem.  However, within a very short period of time, the problem went away as horses were replaced by automobiles.

Don’t we do the same with God?  We would think, “that is my well, my father’s servants dug that well, I need to fight for my rights to that well, finding water can be hard and I have all of these animals to water.”  But, instead Isaac sees the solution differently.  He doesn’t look at the scarcity of wells, but at the abundance of God to provide.  He doesn’t just sit back and wait for God to fix things, he moves, he and his servants dig, they work and pray.

Isaac could fight the philistines.  He could take his case to the king and force him to alienate one group or the other through his decision.  But by relying on God’s abundance, he not only finds water, but also forms an even stronger relationship with men who otherwise would be his enemies.

BSF Genesis: Week 19, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

6.
a.
lengthy travel, did not know anyone, no references, no recommendations, short time, personal risk

b.
went, prayed, waited, chose to rely only on God (not his own preconditions)

c.
Hiring and work. Relying on God to bring the right people and the right work.

7.
a.
It was a sign of having a servants heart that revealed the character of Isaac’s betrothed. It fit the scenario, task and situation.  Not outlandish or absurd.

b.
That she had a servant’s heart and was generous and thoughtful and a hard worker

8.
a.
Asked God for specific scene and it was exactly presented

b.
From Abraham’s household, from his hometown – not a canaanite

c.
When he met her he did not know any of this

My Daily Journal:

Trusting in God allows us to trust in others.

I was moved by the relationship between Abraham and his servant.  Last week we saw Abraham demonstrate his trust of God through his willingness to obey even in a situation that did not make sense and tugged at his very heart: sacrificing his only son.  While the characters are different this week, the core of the lesson is the same – trusting in God.

We saw that Abraham trusted and relied on the Lord but also did the hard work to make provisions to fulfill his responsibilities as an obedient servant to the Lord and as a father of a son and of many nations to come.  When he was commanded to take Isaac to the mountain he embarked quickly, but not before he cut the wood, secured the fire, loaded the donkey, employed the servants.  This week we see those same qualities.

Abraham knew the promise God had made and knew that required a wife for Isaac.  Abraham sought to do the work to be a part of that promise, not to interfere with God, but neither to sit idle.  He wanted a great wife for his son because he knew the special plan God had communicated that would come through his son and thus his bride.  He wanted someone not only physically able, but, more importantly, spiritually strong.  He looked around and knew that person could not come from his neighbors.  Sin permeates and Abraham knew first hand the difficulties of growing up in a household that did not worship God and God alone.  He wanted better for his son.  He also wanted his son to stay in the promise God had made.  The promise was tied to land, Abraham was planting seeds in that land and it takes time and care for those seeds to take root.

But Abraham was old.  He had trusted in God and now he had to trust in another man.  He turned to his servant, someone who had been directed “to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just.”  He equipped him with gold, jewelry, riches, camels and, most importantly, the spirit of God and the prayer for angels to watch over his journey.  He put the future of his descendents in his hands.  There was no plan B – he said if you do not find the right person then you are free.

What this shows to me is that, yes, Abraham trusted this servant.  But more importantly and even greater, he trusted God.

BSF Genesis: Week 14, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

5.
a.
He saw any reward, especially at his age, as of limited value because the one reward he desired was to have descendents so that there would we someone to inherit any rewards and to continue his lineage

b.
A son. Your own flesh and blood. Offspring as numerous as the stars

6.
That he saw not only furtherance of his name, but that through Abram’s offspring God would send the messiah, the savior of the world as promised in Genesis 3.

7.
a.
God is righteous and His promise/word is righteousness

b.
Righteousness is a benchmark, a fixed constant that can be used to judge/determine right from wrong, just, correct, moral, pure. God is righteousness, He is the benchmark and His actions set to bring everything back into that state through salvation. Faith trust that truth.

c.
Believed, credited it to him as righteousness, obeyed (offering)

My Daily Journal:

I loved the discussion and thinking about righteousness.  For any objective measure there must be a constant.  In our world so many try to deny that constant, while at the same time we yearn for it to exist.  Yes, it is easy to say there is no absolute right or wrong, yet, the same voices that argue that point indict others for not following a moral standard that they consider to be fair and right.

Abram hit the nail on the head.  There is only one benchmark of righteousness.  There is only one absolute standard of what is ultimately and always right.  God is that constant.  God is unchanging.  God is eternal.  Everything about God and Everything done by God is demonstration of what is right, what is true, what is pure: righteousness.

That is why weighing anything against the word of the bible leads to correct thinking.  The Bible is the word of God and the way in which God reveals Himself to us.  That revelation is revealed righteousness.

Shouldn’t I, each day, follow Abram’s example and measure all I do, request, decide, and conduct as simply a withdrawal against God’s credit of Righteousness?  It is an account with unlimited funds.

BSF Genesis: Week 6, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.
a.
Began to call on the name of the Lord

b.
Pray daily and in many settings. Lead prayer and worship with my family and with others. Use God’s name throughout my speech in a positive and praising fashion

4.
a.
Extol at all times, praise always on lips, glory in the Lord letting others hear, done with others (exalt together), seek and He answers, delivers from all fears, look on him and become radiant, not covered with shame, poor man called and Lord heard, saved out of troubles, angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and he delivers

b.
Look on him and become radiant not covered in shame. We are shameful people. As a christian I am even more aware of my sin and shame. But when I look on the Lord, then others see him and not me.

My Daily Journal:

I liked the discussion of daily habits.  I was reading an book this week that pointed out that it is very rare that we, as humans, have the ability to just “let go” of something.  Instead we are much more successful at grabbing a hold of something else.  With that in mind, it makes me think less of what do I need to quit or remove from my life and more in terms of what new habits I need to form which will replace the bad.

Doing my study daily is a challenge for me (obviously), but that is in part because I haven’t made it a habit.  I don’t have a trigger at which point I do it (like brushing my teeth when I first get up).  I haven’t set a time of day or place.  When I quit smoking I reached out for something else to do with my hands and my mouth.  In my daytime hours I need to substitute other things to do with my mind and my lips.  I need to remove the time thinking about me and substitute it with thoughts about what God wants me to do.  I need to remove the words that give my credit and substitute it with words that praise God.

That can be true of so much of our walk with God.  We try to cram it in to an already packed schedule instead of finding a better balance and order by reaching for it instead.

BSF Genesis: Week 4, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

13.
a.
Cursed above all animals, crawl on belly, eat dust, enmity between you & woman & offspring, he crush head you strike heel

b.
labor pains, desire for husband, he will rule over you

c.
Ground cursed b/c of you, through painful toil will you eat, thorns, thistles, work, sweat, die: from dust to dust

14.
a.
That the offspring of a woman (Jesus) would crush the head of the serpent (satan)

b.
Made garments of skin (some living thing died)

15.
a.
Except for the gift of salvation, we are condemned by sin, being born into a sinful state. Through Adam & Eve’s sin, we were separated from communion with God.

b.
Christ, the lamb, takes away the sin, only through Christ may we reunite, His shedding of blood paid the price for our un-punised sin and re-initiated atonement.

My Daily Journal:

While answering the questions today was relatively easy, the reality behind them is hard.  Our lesson today reminds us of the rippling consequences of sin.  When we sin it changes things and it stretches out to affect not only ourselves, but others, our environment and even future generations.  The sin of Adam and Even brought pain and suffering, longing and brokenness, mistreatment and domination, thorns and thistles, work and sweat to eat and survive.  And, it brought death.  None of this was God’s design, none His desire for us, nor are these bad things that God put in place to get even.  God is not vindictive, that is not an attribute of God.  These are ripples of the original sin.

When God sacrificed the first animal, it only provided a covering.  Underneath, we were still the same creature carrying the same sin, bearing the same consequences and ripples of our sin.  That was true of sacrifices throughout the old testament.  They were coverings for our inability to completely obey the law.

But, Christ’s sacrifice was different.  He crushed the head of Satan in the spiritual world and has paid the price of our sin.   Clearly, there is still pain, suffering, toil and death in this physical world and the bible tells us that Satan has not, yet, been removed from this world, but as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are no longer of this world.  Christ’s death was not just a covering, we are a new creation.

This is critically important to remember as we read the verses in today’s lesson.  We readily acknowledge in church that Christ removed death, one of the repercussions of the original sin.  But, He did not stop there.  He actually removes the sin and all the ripples of it for eternity.  Do we still face pain, longing, brokenness and mistreatment?   Yes, because we are still aliens in this physical world. But, through the work of the Holy Spirit in us, we are being transformed back into the state that we were with God before the original sin.  He can heal our pain, He can provide for our needs. He can remove the thorns and thistles that entangle us.  He can teach us how to live together without longing or domineering.  All of that is from sin.  These are not God’s design, they are all bad things that were ripples from our original sin.  God sacrificed the animal in the garden to cover our sin, but He sacrificed His only son to remove the sin and ALL that goes with it.