BSF Genesis: Week 22, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

6.
a.
heaven’s dew, earth’s richness, abundance of grain and new wine, nations serve you, peoples bow down to you, lord over your brothers, sons of mother bow down to you, those who curse you be cursed, those who bless you be blessed

b.
Nations will serve you, 12:3 bless those who bless you, whoever curses you be cursed

7.
a.
regret is to feel loss or disappointment for an action or event.  repent is to accept responsibility and choose to make a change to do differently in the future.

b.
Esau regretted the series of events and cried out.  Isaac recognized something as wrong and set about making things right.  He did not withdraw his blessing from Jacob, but instead set him on a straight path.

8.
a.
Esau regretted the series of events and cried out.  Isaac recognized something as wrong and set about making things right.  He did not withdraw his blessing from Jacob, but instead set him on a straight path.

b.
To benefit from God’s blessing requires a willingness to honor that blessing.  People want the outcome of blessings, but do not want to bend a knee to the only one in control of providing such.

c.
He did seek to please his father.  He demonstrated respect to him and accepted his word as law.

d.
trending in the correct direction.  Plenty of potholes and detours along the way, but I think others see and hear my testimony to the Lord.

9.
They stood against Israel during the Exodus, but fell to David and his armies.  During that time every living adult male of Edom was killed, but even at the time of cross and Edomite sentenced Jesus to the cross.

My Daily Journal:

One of the things that caught my eye today was the start of the blessing from Isaac bestowed upon Jacob: “May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness.”  Why dew?  Not rain, not water, but dew?  This thought encouraged me to search for other dew references in the bible (don’t you love online bible references?)  Evidently there are 35 times it appears and it is an interesting progression.

This reference in Genesis is the first appearance of the word in the bible.  The next time we see it is during the exodus, each day the dew was followed by the presence of manna on the ground which fed the Isrealites (Jacob’s family) for 40 years.  Next appearance is in the blessing Moses gave to the tribe of Joseph before Moses’ death.  Next God uses dew on fleece in making a covenant with Gideon in Judges.  David references the lack of dew when lamenting the death of God’s first appointed King Saul and his son Jonathan.  There are references in Psalm and Proverbs equating dew with the abundant provision from heaven.  The dew of heaven is a central feature in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar interpreted by Daniel.  The last times the word is used in the bible are in the books of the prophets.  Micah 5 prophecies the “promised ruler from Bethlehem” and ties the dew from the Lord directly to “the remnant of the house of Jacob”.  Then the final time the word appears in the bible is in Zechariah 8:12 – “The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people.”

I love the way God plants these stepping stones for us to follow leading to the redemptive birth of His son, Jesus.  A simple word, like dew, something that can be counted on and expected as a daily occurrence, is woven in and through stories starting with a promised inheritance to Jacob and then being brought full circle to the remnant of that house and the promised ruler from Bethlehem who is the vine that yields everlasting fruit.

BSF Genesis: Week 18, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

6.
a.
He was his only son, whom he loved, he was a patient and respectful father

b.
Obedient to his father even to the point of carrying the wood for his own sacrificial death and placing himself upon the wood to accept the judgment of this father. Abraham was 100 years old, Isaac could have fought or fled. Took burden from animal, 3 days, final steps alone with his father, He was bound to the act by the will of his father.

7.
a.
Where God had mercy on Jerusalem and stopped the hand of death they were to experience. Where David built an altar to seek for God to stop the plague

b.
Abraham was willing to give the life of his innocent son simply because God had required it. God substituted and provided a lamb, but ultimately that lamb became the lamb of Christ who took away the sins of the world (while it was still in sin)

My Daily Journal:

Abraham’s discussions with God and his faith actions are the book covers to this story, but the heart of the story is Isaac and the way he reveals God’s character and plan of salvation through His Son.  There are so many parallels: 3 days, took the burden from animals and carried the wood that would enable his own sacrifice, submitted fully to his father, an only son, loved by his father.

The bible is God’s method of revealing Himself to his children.  This is not a story just about a test of Abraham, it is a story of prophecy of God’s demonstration of His own love.

An altar is for sacrifice, for honor and tithe for the account of sin.  But, how interesting that we see that this very altar is the location that God repeatedly stops the taken of the payment.  He stopped Abraham from killing Isaac.  He stopped the plague in the days of David.  He stopped all sacrifices with His all atoning sacrifice.

BSF Genesis: Week 17, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

12.
a.
They saw the blessings, Peace, God’s presence, Abraham’s prayer life

b.
prayer leads to God’s continuous presence leads to peace leads to blessings

13.
a.
Swore not to deal falsely, show kindness, swore oath together, gave 7 ewe lambs in settlement of disagreement

b.
show fairness, honesty, let my word be true, show honor to God in all

My Daily Journal:

I’m reading a book called God Forsaken by Dinesh D’Souza.  I’m not very far into it, yet, but one of the things that struck me in the first chapter was the argument by athiest and non-believers that we’ve all heard before:  “How could I possibly believe in a god who would __________?”

This stuck with me throughout our study this week.  God’s position should be the head.  He should be in the lead, in the forefront.  But how often in my life do I act like Abraham and Sarah and ask God to perform janitorial duties and clean up my messes?  Then when those messes get so large and convoluted, people blame God that He isn’t cleaning them up fast enough to suit their thinking.

It is good that he was able to settle in this region for a while and concentrate on raising his son.  It is hard on a family to be traveling and relocating all the time.  But, by relying on his own wit and wisdom, Abraham not only put that at risk but he put the ability to father a child at risk.  It is hard to have a child with your wife if she is living in another man’s palace as his wife.

It was just convicting to me of looking at those areas where I run ahead of God and then pray for Him to bail me out of a mess I made.  Not only because of the pain that causes me and those I love but also because of the message others see in those messes and how that reflects on their heart for God.

Side Note:  What’s with the 7 lambs?  In order to have a lasting relationship with Abimilech, Abraham had to reach the understanding that it could not just be about me, me, me.  It also had to be about “ewe”.  (sorry, couldn’t resist!) (I published this earlier on the wrong day, but it belongs with this day’s lesson.

BSF Genesis: Week 17, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions

9.
a.
mocking

b.
Hagar represents man’s attempt to be self-justified through works. Impossible to become part of God’s family, only by grace

c.
He did not abandon them, opened their eyes, provided for them, stayed with, saved, became a great nation

d.
The word of God last forever – while we face certain death God has the ability to bring us through it

10.
It is the difference between self sufficiency, self strength and complete submission to God’s strength. The second is stronger, but weaker and subject to mocking by the first in human view

b.
In the desert with a single skin of water, left for dead, but God saves. Mocking and despising/jealousy leads to being set apart

11.
a.
Struggle between patiently submitting and being led by the spirit and impatiently wanting to run forward

b.
The spirit controls my heart and the Lord fills me to overflowing with his Love, but I become impatient, allow human nature

My Daily Journal:

I was reminded of how God uses the desert.  The desert is a barren, stripped down place.  When Abraham followed Sarah’s wishes he abandoned this side of his family (something clearly not meant as an example of how to behave as a man) and sent them out into the desert with minimal provisions.

We find ourselves in the desert sometimes as well.  We go through periods of time where things are plentiful and, at least on the surface, all may be seeming to go well.  Then, one day we find ourselves in the desert, relying on the things we brought from our old life until those run out.  In the deserts of life we have a hard time focusing on anything except the troubles all around us and the life we used to have.

But, God provides.  To go from one mountaintop to the next you must go through the valley.  God brings us into desert times in our lives so that we may learn to rely on him.  In doing homiletics on this passage it struck me that every verse I summarized from 17-21 started with God.  God heard, God called, God promised, God opened, God provided…

BSF Genesis: Week 17, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.
Same: Abraham lied about Sarah being his sister, taken by King, not gone to, God intervenes – people get ill, “what have you done to me/us?”, Abraham gained monetarily.
Difference: Run out of Egypt not Negev, Explanation of why they lied (habit and prior agreement), no mention of Sarah’s beauty, Abimelek knew God although Abraham didn’t recognize it, ended in prayer

4.
a.
He is an idiot and horrible role-model for being a husband. He was afraid and rather than rely on God relied on his own wit and intellect. Twisted truth to attempt to satisfy his own needs/desires.  This lie must have been a deep rut he fell back in to.

b.
When afraid but feeling they can “weasel” their way out. They know it is wrong but justify it because it is “partially true.”

5.
a.
Missed opportunity. Rather than being a witness to Abimilek and the nation he was a source of disease and problems

b.
We can only be a blessing if people see God in us. If we deny God the opportunity to be at the forefront and relegate him to cleaning up our messes how can we be a blessing?
(text) vs 10: he was not treated as his sins deserved or repayed according to his iniquities

6.
a.
vs 10: he was not treated as his sins deserved or repayed according to his iniquities

b.
He formed a treaty with him, swore not to deal falsely, stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time

c.
He has treated me with compassion and not once given me what I truly deserve. He has blessed me and my family and encouraged me to be an honest husband.

My Daily Journal:

In the children’s lecture, one of the principles talks about restoration in this section.  This brought to mind the illustration of restoring a piece of furniture.  To truly restore furniture requires stripping it down to the bare wood and carving out any weak or decayed pieces of wood, joints or fabric.

We saw Abram and Sarai (names back then) pull this same stunt in Egypt.  While God protected them at that point, it does not appear they really dealt with the lie.  I equate this with putting another coat of paint on the furniture instead of refinishing it correctly.

That doesn’t work here because (1) Abimilech is a believer and (2) God’s plan is for Abraham to spend some time in this land raising his son.  For this to work Abraham needed to be able to form a bond with Abimilech, to reach a covenant with him.  But you cannot form a strong bond in furniture without stripping off the old varnish.  Abraham and Sarah show their old varnish in their lie, but God’s response to Abimilech leads to Abraham’s prayer and ultimately to Abraham’s promise to Abimilech that he will not lie to him ever again.

Side Note:  What’s with the 7 lambs?  In order to have a lasting relationship with Abimilech, Abraham had to reach the understanding that it could not just be about me, me, me.  It also had to be about “ewe”.  (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

BSF Genesis: Week 17, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions

7.
a.
Lord was gracious, Lord did what he had promised, at the very time God had promised

b.
Faith – although “good as dead” did not waver through disbelief, stengthened in his faith

c.
I struggle with the same “me do” attitude that many do, trying to rely on myself first, then God when in trouble. God has given me challenges bigger than I can handle to help awaken and strengthen me to trust and rely on Him alone.

8.

  • No one can see the kingdom unless they are born again
  • body good as dead, through faith strengthened and made the father of many nations, credited as righteousness, we inherit
  • Birth through the word of truth that we might be a firstfruits of all created
  • born again of imperishable seed

My Daily Journal

The grass withers and the flowers fall but the word of our God lasts forever.  I know this and I believe it but I don’t understand it.  The idea that we are born again not only into new life but from a imperishable seed.

We accept the gift of eternal life but struggle to trust that God could deliver a promise to give a chile to a 90 year old woman and 100 year old man.  We trust the promise of heaven but try to supplement God’s wisdom and power in our daily actions on earth.

BSF Genesis: Week 14, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions

8.
Not a contridiction. Price is paid in full by Christ’s work on the cross. We cannot add anything to paid in full. But, accepting the gift means being transformed, and a transformed life is lived out in the light, not darkness, in acts of faith.

9.
a.
We were all dead to sin. We all will die, but God’s gift has changed that back into eternal life

b.
Yes. In my situation I was technically dead, my heart was offline as they performed surgery, but I was given a new spirit.

10.
a.
Choice to waver or be strengthened based on focus. Abram focused on God’s glory and was strengthened not on impossible situation and wavered.

b.
Do I waver in unbelief when I believe a situation is impossible or am I strengthened in faith and give glory to God because he can do the impossible?

My Daily Journal:

The discussion of the Romans 4:17-21 in light of Abram’s response stuck with me, today.  When I am struggling, when I am facing difficulty, when there are troubles and challenges, all too often my thoughts and the focus of my mind, my actions and my emotions is on the problem.

Focusing on the difficult situation leads to wavering and unbelief.  It makes the problem the big thing.  It creates a dialogue of difficulty in my mind.  I accept a solution as being impossible and therefore begin looking for a way around, an alternative, or, sometimes, just despair.

But, our lesson teaches us that Abram’s great super power was belief.  Instead of focusing on the problem, he focused on God’s power.  Instead of accepting that it was impossible for him to have a child, he accepted that God could do anything.  He saw God as a God who had the power over the impossible to convert death to life.  Since God can do that, why do I give any power to my problem at all?

BSF Genesis: Week 13, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

11.
a.
Himself, the Messiah

b.
you are a priest forever in the order of melchizedek

c.
Mel was both a king and a priest, king of righteousness and king of peace. Not a priest through Levites, but ordained by God

12.
a.
Christ has offered forgiveness for everything troubling you. He has been given the power to forgive all.

b.
Christ prayers for you continuously. He calls on God to bless you, not because you deserve it or have earned it, but because it reflects the glory and honor of the Creator

c.
Give to the church joyfully and without regret or reservation for the body of believers is the the body of the church of which Christ is the head

My Daily Journal:

Christ cried.

Hebrews 5:7  says Jesus offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears.

One of the men in our group talked about this and it helped reveal how amazing this is.  Think about it.  This is the creator of everything.  Everything.  Heavens and earth, seen and unseen, mortal and spiritual beings, matter, dark matter, antimatter, everything.  This is the all powerful.  All knowing.  Eternal God.  And he cried.

Growing up my fear of my father was not one of fear of punishment or anger from him, but fear of causing him disappointment or pain.  If as a child I understand this for my human father, then as a maturing adult believer how much more should I feel this for my Lord.  And, yet, he cried.

I don’t say this as a depressing thought or for guilt, but I think it shows the heart of God and His amazing love for me and all of His children.  That love, embodied in Christ, serving in the role of eternal priest for me, interceding on my behalf and paying the sacrifice for my wrongs, well… that is love.

BSF Genesis: Week 13, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

8.
They came out to meet him in the valley and each attempted to honor him in his own way. Melchizedek brought bread and wine and blessed Abram with a prayer of blessing from God and honoring to God. Abram gave him a tenth of everything. Sodom focused on possessions. He wanted the people and to leave Abram with all other possessions. Abram said he swore an oath to God to not take anything, even a sandal strap. But the other kings should receive their share.

9.
a.
I am your shield. I am your great reward

b.
He had just stood up to a king of a wicked people and given up a great amount of wealth and riches. He had delivered a message to the king of Sodom that God was against him.  But, more so, I think he had fear for his nephew Lot.  Lot must have chosen to go right back into sin city.  Abram would have had great fear for his nephew.  Not to read ahead, but he doesn’t consider Lot to be a viable heir, but instead his only living heir is a servant he acquired.

10.
God tells us to not be afraid, over and over again. But it is hard. We make so many decisions and there is such uncertainty in this life it is hard not to be afraid and not to have second thoughts.  It is easy to look back on each decision and have doubts and questions: did I make the right choice.  But God calls us to have confidence and to shed the fear because God works all for His glory.  It is not whether I make the right decision, but how I make the decision that matters most to God.  Do I rely on myself or put my trust in Him with the intent to bring glory to Him?

My Daily Journal:

Question 8 was my pivotal question this week.

Here comes Abram marching back into the Valley of the Kings.  He is victorious.  He is accompanied not only with his entire army but with all the people and possessions.  To the victor go the spoils.  This all belongs to Abram.

The valley he walks in to must have been somber.  Not only had all the local kings been defeated in battle, but their cities had been sacked and raided, their people had all been hauled off as slaves.  It says the armies took ALL of their food.  The kings had fled from the battle, leaving their soldiers to be trapped in tarpits.  The few soldiers that did escape fled to the hills, but you cannot imagine they maintain any loyalty to these defeated and cowardly kings.

In comes mighty Abram and out come Melchizedek and the King of Sodom.  With one swipe of his sword Abram could kill the king and place himself on the throne over the entire valley.  Not even his own sword would be required, he had an army of fighting men with him loyal to his word or hand gesture.

The contrasts in this meeting are so rich.  Look at this:

The first words out of the mouth of the King of Salem are: “Blessed Be.”

Abram’s response is to give him a tenth of everything.  Note, he does not ask permission of anyone else.  All of this is Abram’s to give or keep as he sees fit.

Next is the King of Sodom.  His first words are “Give me.”

Abram responds, “With raised hand”

While the King of Sodom is trying to put on a good front, it has to realize that with one motion of that raised hand he is dead.  But instead of raising his hand against this wicked King, Abram says, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth”

What an amazing and powerful scene that is such a strong lesson to us.  Are my thoughts and words first to bless others or to get for myself.  Do I raise my hand against others or raise it in praise and promise to my solemn Lord?

BSF Genesis: Week 13, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

5.
He had 318 trained men that were able to go into battle and he was allied with Mamre, Eshkol and Aner

6.
a.
He fought a battle of righteousness before God. To those on God’s side, it was a pleasant site, to the enemy it was death. His household took a stand, but their armament was God provided

b.
Not the weapons of this world, but weapons of divine power. They battle strongholds of argument and pretense and wrong knowledge and wrong thought

c.
The sword of the Spirit. All else is defensive, but God’s spirit strikes the enemy

7.
It is both a challenge and comfort. I am not equal to the task of bearing the burden for whether a person lives or dies for all eternity. Comforting to know that the scripture recognizes my inadequacy and that it is only by carrying Christ in spirit that it comes to pass.

My Daily Journal:

In the lesson today I changed perspectives and looked at the battle and victory through Lot’s eyes.  At this point, Lot has been chained as a slave in captivity.  He has been marched off from his home, all of his possessions taken away, his family enslaved, he is helpless, with only one hope: Abram.

I can relate to Lot.  I am enslaved by sin.  I fight it off, but by my own strength I have no hope of staying free.  But, also like Lot’s relationship with Abram, I too have I have a family member, a savior who has elected to call me brother, who will pursue me, fight the evil ones that hold me in bondage and set me free.  Like Abram, Christ has an army of trained soldiers at the ready, clothed in the spiritual battlement.  They come, without reservation or condition, to rescue any of us that call on His name.  They do not expect us to free ourselves.  They do not hold back with thoughts that we have received no more than we have earned.  They just come and fight and vanquish.

I understand that I, too, am called to dress in the armor of God.  I am pleased to be called to serve.  But I am even more thankful for all the times in my life that Christ has sent soldiers in, whether fellow christians, angels or the holy spirit, to fight for me and to rescue me.