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.

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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.

BSF Genesis: Week 13, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.
a.
Amraphel of Shinar, Arioch of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer of Elam and Tidal of Goyim

b.
Bera of Sodom, Birsha of Gomorrah, Shinab of Admah, Shemeber of Zeboyim, Zoar of Bela

c.
The plain of Shinar (Babel)

4.
a.
Decision to setup tents by the city of Sodom

b.
Choices on employment, choices on how to spend money and time, choices about whether to launch new ventures and how quickly to do them. Consequences affect myself, employees, family, readers, other believers. I also need to be talking with others about Christ. I need to pray about all of this.

My Daily Journal:

We know from the previous verses that the people of this valley were wicked.  In these verses we also see how inept the battle plans of the wicked are.

Here we see a big front.  5 kings allied against 4.  They draw up to fight on their home turf, in their own valley with naturally better ability to prepare to devise strategy, to prepare reinforcements.  What we see is that instead all they have is a big front.  There is nothing behind it.  At the first sign, they retreat.  Some are caught in the tar pits of their own turf, some flee to the hills.  The leaders themselves flee leaving the women, children, elderly and innocent to be taken by the enemy as slaves including ALL the food.

As Christians we fear confrontations with evil.  Evil today acts the same way, with a big scary front.  But like this battle, there is nothing behind it.  The soldiers are deserted, the leaders flee and they are caught up in their own lies and deceit.  I am not suggesting that we should discount the forces of evil, clearly they have the ability to cause harm and pain, but I am suggesting that under the power of the spirit of God, with the truth of the gospel, we need have no fear.

BSF Genesis: Week 9, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

7.
a.
Confused their language and scattered them

b.
Continuously. God’s hand is in all things. He does not prevent man from sinning, but He limits it now as always. He does it by allowing the repercussions of sin to play out (greed, lust, hiding, cheating) By our actions we make our towers fall

8.
God is love. It is only through communion with God that we gain insight into communion with others. Without God, we find the primary focus of our love to be self-love which leads to greed, self-serving, objectification of people, etc…

9.
a.
There are about 6800 spoken languages in the world today. But God has the power to touch the lips and ears of all people so they can hear His truth being spoken clearly

b.
Speak the truth in my language to all who I come in contact. Speak the truth in my actions to all who I come in contact. Speak the truth to myself about God. Speak the truth to God about himself, me and all those who I come in contact. Daily walk with God.

My Daily Journal:

I’ve struggled with the main message of this week, but today’s lesson helped it become clear.

The key phrase that I picked up on that was repeated 3 times is “come, let us”.

The people of this land and this time were trying to form a community without God.  They wanted to make their own kingdom inside God’s kingdom but without God in it.  It centers around them and what they want and how great they are, not God.

God longs for community with His creation.  That is why we were created.  That is what God is.  The Trinity is a divine community and God welcomes us in to it, he seeks us out and saves us so we can join.  Christ’s mission was to bring mankind back into the unity of the original creation before sin.  When ever 2 or more are gathered in His name, He is present.  God loves community, friendships, marriage, relationships, all with Him.

But we don’t include God in all of our communities, do we?  We compartmentalize Him.  God is great for our church community, but don’t talk about Him at work or school.  This is a sports team, not a Sunday school class.  My neighbors don’t go to church or believe but they are fun to hang around with.  If I want to be in the “in group” at school/work, then I need to tone down my chistian-speak.

We also hear it in the works that we do in “the community.”  We are welcoming to churches and church groups, but don’t push religion while you are doing the work, don’t proselytize.  Just be quiet and do the work, feed the people, build the homes, help the sick, but don’t bring God into it and you are welcome.

I particularly see it at this time of year because so many “community organizations” are collecting things for “the holidays.”  You know, the one day holiday where people get together and exchange gifts.  Don’t say the word – we don’t want any of that church stuff in our community, we just want the holy days, uh, holidays for our community without God.

In my opinion, it wasn’t the tower that pained God.  It was that they were using His word to form communities without Him.  They were using his word to confuse people into joining communities that excluded him.

So what does He do?  They wish to be confused and spread confusion, let them be confused – they aren’t using God’s Word to do it though.  They want to bond together without God, scatter them.

Want to feel less scattered and confused?  Bring God back into all your communities.  Commune with others and God.

BSF Genesis: Week 9, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.
in the fertile crescent between the Tigres and Euphretes.
More map links:

4.
a.
11:1 one language 4 make a name for ourselves 4 otherwise we will be scattered

b.
To fill the earth – they didn’t want to spread out

c.
break the 10 commandments, and do not Love the lord your God with… They love themselves, love money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient, ungrateful, unholy…Having a form of godliness but denying its power.

 

My Daily Journal:

Settle.

Where in your life are you trying to settle?  I hear it all the time.  When things calm down then I will…  I’ve just been so busy, but someday…  When I retire, I am going to…

The people at this time decided to settle.  They found a nice place, a lush valley, and they settled.  It was time to enjoy their kingdom.  It was time to build the things they wanted to build to make a name for themselves.  It was time to work on their legacy, as the saying goes.

But God didn’t call them (or us for that matter) to settle.  He called us to take His word to the ends of the earth.  He called us to do His will.  While we have breath left in our body, there is work to be done.

It is not that God is against rest – He created it.  But rest is not a destination.  Rest is part of the rhythm of life.  God has so much more for us – why would we every want to settle for less?

Settle.

BSF Genesis: Week 8, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

12.
a.
In love, they covered their father rather than ridicule or shame him

b.
Ham was engaged in stirring up conflict, Shem and Japheth in love that covers over an offense

c.
There is no place in a daily walk for gossip. I need to do more to help, in love, to cover the sins of my brother (and help him not repeat them) and less in discussing them with others. It doesn’t require a discussion or plan, just love and action.

13.
Shem be aligned with the blessing and praise of the Lord, God. David is a descendant of Shem and thus Jesus. God extends Japheth’s territory live in tents of Shem, Canaan slaves to Japheth. Canaanites were the inhabitants of the promised land.

 

My Daily Journal:

My first thought on this passage was, “aren’t we going a bit overboard here (no pun intended), Noah?”  I mean, I get it that he was hung over from the beaujolais nouveau, but aren’t we over-reacting a bit?  I know others have thought the same thing because there is this whole under-current of rationalization that there must have been more that went on in the tent to prompt such a curse. Of course, none of that is supported in the scriptures.

But the more I thought about it the more clear it became.  It is our every day, seemingly insignificant activities that reveal the true nature of our heart.  When I have heard accounts of people who have performed heroic acts, time and again the reaction is not one of surprise because this is the way they conducted themselves every day.  In that light, Noah’s predictions/oracle about the future of his descendents isn’t based simply on this one night or one action.  This is just an example of the behavior that reveals their heart.  The patterns of their actions.

Almost all of us bow our head when someone says, “let’s pray.”  But how often are we focusing on spending our day in conversation with God?  How do we bring in the model of the good samaritan of conducting our daily life in a matter that shows love to our neighbor.  There are implications that go far farther than to the impact today.  They cascade down to our children and their children.

But we also have the opportunity to change.  While the sins of the father cascade, each generation has the opportunity and choice (free will) to walk with God every day and change the pattern for themselves and their descendents.