Spiritual Rants: January 11, Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Genesis 24:52-26:16 Matthew 8:18-34 Psalm 10:1-15 Proverbs 3:7-8

Old Testament:   Genesis 24:52-26:16

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Genesis 24:52-26:16    Rebekah Lit Off Her Camel

Summary:   Isaac married Rebekah, whom his father’s servant found for him (Gen. 24: 67).  After Sarah died, Abraham still had a concubine named Keturah. He lived to be 175 years-old.  Ishmael, Hagar’s son, died at age 137.   The Arab-Israeli conflict had its origins in the feud between Isaac and Ishmael  (see The Layman’s Prayer).  It was inflamed by the relationship between Isaac’s two sons, Esau and Jacob.  The “sins of the fathers” are shown to be passed down to Isaac when he, like his Dad before him, lies to a king about his wife (Gen. 26:7-11).  Fortunately, Yahweh saved both Sarah and Rebekah from their husband’s cowardice.

In Chapter 24:52-67, it seems Rebekah was a smoker (Gen. 24:64 KJV, “she lighted off her camel,” Abraham’s servant found her the perfect match see yesterday’s blog An Officer And A Gentile). Isaac was really happy with her and married her anyway.

In Chapter 25, Abraham married another woman after Sarah but no one really remembers her. If you play Bible Trivia, her name was Keturah.  She was actually a concubine and therefore, had a lesser status than Sarah (cf. v. 6, 1Chron. 1: 32, he may have married her while Sarah was still alive).  Keturah bore him six other sons (v. 2).  He lived to be 175 years-old (v. 7).

Ishmael, Hagar’s son, died at age 137 (v. 17). Galatians 4:21–31 uses the story of Ishmael and his mother, Hagar, to represent the law. Paul uses Sarah to symbolize grace in the New Testament (cf. Gal. 4: 27; Isa. 54:1).  Ishmael is symbolic, also, of our old, fleshly self which is opposed to God.

In verses 24-34, we find what has caused the big stew between modern day Jews and Arabs.  It began in Genesis 25 in the story of Isaac’s two sons, Jacob and Esau. Esau came back from hunting one day famished so he traded his birthright to Jacob for some red goulash. This turned out to be the worst trade in history beating out the Indians and Manhattan or even Babe Ruth to the Yankees. There is fighting to this day because of it.

In Chapter 26:1-16, Isaac messes up in the same way as his father did (twice, cf. 12:13; 20:3, cf. “the sins of the father,” Exod. 20:534:7)! What’s with this family? He lies about his wife being his sister to save his skin just as his father had done (cf. blog, Rockin’ Out). The difference is that Abraham’s lie was a half lie since Sarah was his half-sister.  Rebekah was not Isaac’s half-sister.  He told a whole lie!  Fortunately, God intervenes once again and saves Rebekah as he saved Sarah. Look at 1 Pet. 3:6 again (cf. blog, An Alien Concept).  It’s embarrassing that the unbeliever, King Abimelech, acted more righteously than Isaac (vv. 6-11).  By the way, this was not the same Abimelech as in the incident in Genesis 20.  That event occurred 97 years earlier.  Abimelech was a title like Pharaoh was a title.

God prospered Isaac so much while in Abimelech’s territory that everyone in the area was jealous of him (v.14).  When he sowed something, he reaped a hundredfold (v.12).  The local farmers filled in his wells to encourage him to move on (vv. 15- 17).

New Testament:  Matthew 8:18-34

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Matthew 8:18-34   Being Piggy – Matthew’s account  (see also Luke 8:26-39 and Mark 5:1-20 but not John)

Summary:  A man wants to follow Jesus but wants to wait till his father dies first. Jesus tells him to let the “dead bury the dead.”  A storm blew in while Jesus was in a boat with the disciples.  They woke Him up, He calmed things down but the disciples got in trouble for not having enough faith.  Jesus cast demons out of a couple men allowing the demons to go into some pigs.  The pigs jumped over a cliff and drowned in water.

A man wants to follow Jesus but Jesus discourages him (vv. 19-20).  He tells him that being a disciple could be a tough business.  He tells him that He Himself didn’t have a stable home environment.  Another man wants to follow Jesus but wants to wait till his father dies first. Jesus tells him to let the “dead bury the dead” (vv. 21-22). Would you want someone like that as YOUR pastor?  What was Jesus saying?  The man wasn’t saying that the funeral was the next day, he was saying he wanted to stay with his family till his parents died. Jesus was saying, come follow me now and let unbelievers do what unbelievers do like bury their own spiritually dead relatives.  Are you part of a “dead” fellowship?  Perhaps today is the day that you should find one that is alive, one that follows Jesus.

Jesus was sleeping while the disciples were in a boat with him (vv. 23-27).  A storm cropped up and the disciples got really scared and woke Jesus up. He calmed everything down but the disciples caught it for not having much faith.  They were amazed at Him (v. 28).

Jesus cast demons out of a couple men allowing the demons to go into some pigs (vv. 28-34). The demons were happy to do it because they were afraid they’d have to live in the abyss forever otherwise (Luke 8:31, the abyss, ironically, was literally a “watery place” but a forever place, cf. the bottomless pit, hell in Rev. 9:1, 2; 11:7; 20:13).  The pigs subsequently jumped over a cliff and drowned in some water. This was later known as the “Great Swine Dive.”  The townspeople were so scared of Jesus after that that they asked Him to leave town (v. 34).

 

Psalm  10:1-15   Bullies Bullied, Part 1    A Lament By David

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Psalm 10:1-15   Bullies Bullied, Part 1

We look at the first half of Psalm 10 today.

I love when David is miserable.  As the saying goes, Missouri loves company.

He begins by asking why God seems so distant, especially when he needs Him (v. 1).

He is still being pursued by his son’s men who is trying to overthrow his kingdom (v. 2).

David’s adversaries had these characteristics:

Prideful (v. 2)

Wicked (v. 3)

Atheists (v. 4)

Arrogant (v. 5)

Self-trust (v. 6)

Potty mouth (v. 7)

Bullies  (v. 8)

Sneaky  (v. 9)

Use surprise  (v. 10)

Think God won’t notice them (v. 11)

David asks God to protect those who were being abused by these evil men (v. 12).  These men thought they could get away with their evil (vv. 13-14) even against orphans.  David asks God to take care of these thugs for him.

Did you ever have anyone who took up for you against bullies?  God was probably using those people.  He is always for the underdog (cf. 1 Sam. 2:8; Psa. 113:7).

Proverbs 3:7-8   Body And Bone Health

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People who fear the Lord will normally be healthier.  Many of the laws of Israel concerned health regulations and many were nutritional.  Later studies in medicine proved the wisdom of the Israeli’s regulations.  The Jews were not to be look like their pagan neighbors but they were also to be healthier.  A good example of this is Daniel and his buds who ate according to their Jewish laws instead of eating the pagan food offered them.  You can read what happened in Daniel 1:8-16.  

If you consider your body a temple of the Lord (cf. 1 Cor. 6:19), you will want to eat right, exercise, and get a decent amount of sleep.  All things considered, you will live longer.

And you’ll be blessed!

 

Choose Life: Scripture: Matthew 8:26  NASB    “Things Getting Stormy?”

“He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?’  Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.”  Matthew 8:26

I love this story.  I love the thought of staying close to Jesus as the storms of life whistle by you.  In contrast to the centurion, the sons of Abraham don’t exhibit any faith when things get rough.  The centurion believed Jesus could heal from a long distance but the disciples are laying right next to Him and don’t fully trust Him.

Jesus says they have “little faith.”  How much faith do they need?  Faith the size of a mustard seed is enough to rearrange mountain ranges (cf. Matt. 17:20).  James says that Elijah prayed “earnestly” to have the rain stopped on the earth (James 5:17).

There are so-called “faith preachers” today that blame everyone for their own problems as if they didn’t have enough faith in prayer.  However, God only promises answered prayers if the requests are made according to His will (cf. 1 John 5:14; John 14:13; 16:24, asking in Jesus’ name is the same as asking according God’s will).

What are the chances that God would have answered the disciples’ prayer if they had asked for protection when the Messiah was onboard with them?

Don’t ask for a new red Farari if you think it’s not God’s will and won’t help toward furthering God’s kingdom.  However, ask God whatever you want in faith and believe that He will do it (cf. Mark 11:24).  If not God’s will, He just won’t do it.

Here’s the key:  Get so in tune with God and be so committed to Him that you only ask for things that will move His program ahead.  You will be blessed beyond your imagination (cf. Eph. 3:20).  Are things getting stormy in your life?  Trust God with faith the size of a tiny mustard seed.

And if you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:

I had a good friend years ago who was the music minister in our church.  He used to tell me, “God is working in my life through ‘unanswered prayer.'”  Ha, ha.  Get it?  God was working in his life, not through answered prayer but un-answered prayer.

Here’s the deal.  Prayer is having a relationship with God.  It is the core of our relationship with Him.  Our relationship with Him doesn’t depend on whether He answers every whim of mine!  He is still my God and my friend if He doesn’t answer prayer that way I want.  Sometimes we learn more when He doesn’t answer our prayers like we would wish.  I think that is what my friend meant.

The most important thing about praying is that we pray!  It is not that we get our prayers answered the way we want.

On the other hand, we should ask for whatever we for in faith.  That is what God honors the most (cf. Heb. 11:6; James 1:6-8; Mark 11:24; John 14:12-14, ask that God be glorified).

Is God working in your life through un-answered prayer?

Are you asking for whatever you want in faith?

You’ll be blessed if you.

The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   Rachel Lit Off Her Camel

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