Spiritual Rants: January 12, Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Genesis 26:17-27:46 Matthew 9:1-17 Psalm 10:16-18 Proverbs 3:9-10

Old Testament:   Genesis 26:17-27:46

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Genesis 26:17-27:46   Mideast Conflict

Summary:  Well, well: a deep subject, especially when you need water to prosper. God was prospering Isaac making the king’s men jealous so he kept moving further from them. Isaac was pretty worried but God appeared to Him and told him He’d take care of him because of the covenant He had with his father,  Abraham.  Isaac was able to continue to find sources of water.

Jacob, whose name means “supplanter” or “trickster” had already bargained Esau out of his birthright. He felt like he had to fool his father into giving it to him. His mom helped. She recommended he dress up like Esau who was hairy and since his father was elderly and had bad eyesight he could easily be fooled.

When Esau found out, he wanted to kill Jacob. Rebekah told Jacob to abscond to her brother Laban’s place until Esau cooled off. Believe it or not, this is the beginning of the Israeli-Arab conflict. The descendants of Jacob became the Jews and the descendants of Esau became the Arab people.

In Chapter 26:17-35, we see that God was prospering Isaac making the king’s men jealous.  Isaac had a different personality than either his Dad or his son, Jacob.  He was not confrontational.  He kept digging new wells further from Abimelech’s people to maintain the peace (cf. Rom. 12:18).

The first well Isaac’s men dug was named Esek which meant “contention” (v. 20).  The second was named Stinah which meant “enmity” (v. 21).  Finally, they moved further out and dug a well and named it Rehoboth which meant “plenty of room” since no one quarreled over it (v. 22).    

God appeared to Isaac at Beersheba to comfort him and told him to build an altar there.   Yahweh reiterated His oath with Abraham (vv. 23-25).  He built a well at Beersheba which was fitting since Beersheba means “well of the oath” (vv. 23, 33, Shibah means “seven” or “oath”). God was going to keep His covenant with Abraham and bless Isaac who would be able to continue to find sources of water.

Abimelech made peace with Isaac. Perhaps he feared retribution from Isaac for filling in his wells (vv. 15:16).  They pledged to each other that they would continue in peace (v. 31) after they had feasted together (v. 30).

In defiance of Isaac’s faith, Esau married two pagan women once he turned forty (v. 34).  Isaac and Rebekah grieved (v. 35).  Later he marred another third pagan woman (cf. Gen. 28:9).

In Chapter 27, Jacob formally cheats Esau out of his birthright.  He had already made the deal with Esau after trading him for a bowl of red stew.  Here’s how it happened.

Rebekah overheard Isaac ask Esau to catch him some game for some stew knowing Esau was a good hunter.  Isaac was old and his eyesight was failing (v. 2, Ryrie says Isaac was 137 and would live 43 years, cf. 35: 28).  She told Jacob to bring in a couple goats that she could cook up for his father.  She also dressed Jacob up in Esau’s cloths with some goatskins on his hands and neck to make him seem hairy like Esau (vv. 5-17).

Jacob brought the meal to Isaac.  The plot was working.  Though Jacob felt like Esau (vv. 22-23) and smelled like Esau (v. 27), he sounded like Jacob (v. 22).  When Isaac asked Jacob how he made the stew so quickly and why he sounded like Jacob, he outright lied.  Isaac gave him the blessing of the firstborn (vv. 28-29).

When Esau finally came to Isaac and they both realized they had been hoodwinked, Esau yowled like a wolf (v. 34, 38).  Esau said that Jacob had been named right since his name meant “supplanter” (v. 35).  Esau felt like he had been cheated out of both his birthright and his blessing.  In fact, Yahweh had decided that Jacob would receive the birthright of the firstborn and the blessing (Gen. 17:19).  Rebekah and Esau did not have to go through their machinations for Jacob to be blessed and he would later pay for his dishonesty (Gen. 29: 21 -30).

Isaac stated that Esau would serve his brother and would eventually break Jacob’s yoke from his neck (v. 40).  Esau’s descendant’s, the Edomites, would live in an area less fertile than Jacob’s (v. 39, cf. Mal. 1:3).

Esau decided after his father died, he was going to off Jacob (v. 41).  Rebekah caught wind of Esau’s intentions and told Jacob to flee to her brother Laban’s place (v. 43).  Rebekah lied to Isaac that Jacob was leaving to find a wife because she wouldn’t be able to stand another local pagan girl around (v. 46).  Rebekah would never see Jacob again.

New Testament:  Matthew 9:1-17

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Summary:  Jesus made some religious leaders look like fools. A paralyzed man was brought to him and Jesus forgave his sins. The religious leaders said, “hey, you’re acting like you think you’re God.” Then Jesus healed the man, proving He really was God. Boy, did the leaders feel stupid.  Maybe not since they then hassled Jesus about having lowlife sinners follow Him. Jesus told them that sick people need a doctor, meaning the poor and sinners needed Him.  The religious leaders were too proud to trust Him.  Finally, Jesus gave a lesson on how to sew up wineskins but was really saying He was bringing in a new era of grace.

Matthew 9:1-17     Taxing Situations

Jesus came back to His home base, Capernaum (v. 1).  A paralytic was brought to Him to heal but Jesus, instead, said his sins were forgiven (v. 2).  The religious leaders were offended thinking that Jesus had taken the place of God (v. 3).  What they didn’t understand was that Jesus really was God.  Jesus could read their minds (v. 4).  So Jesus asked the religious leaders whether it was easier to tell someone they were forgiven or to say a person could get up and walk (v. 5).  To prove He was Who He appeared to be, Jesus told the paralytic to pick up his palate and go home (v. 6).  So the man got up and went home (v. 7).  This proved to be embarrassing to the religious leaders but the regular people were awestruck that God had worked that way through a Man (v. 8).

Jesus kept traveling on and came to a tax collector’s booth, the office of the author of this gospel, Matthew (v. 9, aka Levi, cf. Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27).  Tax collectors were despised by the Jews since they were themselves Jews who took advantage of the rest of the Jews by collecting their taxes for the Roman government.  They would collect more than the people owed and keep the difference for themselves.  But Jesus must have seen something in Matthew since He called him to be a disciple.

Many of the ceremonially unclean people were hanging at Matthew’s house eating dinner (v. 10).  The religious leaders were offended and asked how such a great teacher could commune with such lowlife (v. 11).  Jesus heard them and said it wasn’t healthy people who needed a doctor but unhealthy people (v. 12).  He was being a bit sarcastic since the religious leaders thought highly of themselves but Jesus knew that they weren’t humble enough to trust Him (cf. Matt. 5:3; James 4:8; 1 Pet. 5:5).  Jesus said He came for humble, unhealthy people (v. 13).

John the Baptist’s disciples asked Jesus why they had to go without eating for religious reasons but Jesus’ disciples didn’t have to go without eating (v. 14).  Jesus told them that the groomsmen didn’t grieve while they were with the bridegroom (v. 15a).  He said when the groom is gone, then the groomsmen grieve (v. 15b).   Jesus explained that no one puts a new patch on old clothes or it’ll rip and be worse than before it was fixed (v. 17).  It was the same with old wine and new wineskins (v. 17a).  New wine was preserved in new wine skins (v. 17b).  He was trying to teach them that there was a new age coming, the church age.

 

Psalm  10:16-18  Bullies Bullied, Pt. 2    A Lament By David

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Psalm 10:16-18   Bullies Bullied, Pt. 2

We look at the last part of Psalm 10 today.

Note again that David had started this prayer by whining and ends up trusting God and affirming that He is Lord of all (v. 16a, 17a).  He will hear the “humble” (cf. James 4: 6; 1 Pet. 5:5).  He will protect the “orphan and the oppressed” (v. 18).

He is the King over all the nations (v. 16) who will rule over all who have trusted Him (v. 16).  He will subdue “that man who is over the earth” so that they “will no longer cause terror” (v. 18b).

Wiersbe points out that the phrase “man who is of the earth” is similar to the phrase “those who dwell on the earth,” used 11 times in the book of Revelation (Rev. 3:10; 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 13:8, 14; 17:2, 8, e.g.).

We are flooded with garbage through the media: movies, TV, iPods, iPhones, iPads, Xboxes, etc.  A hundred years ago there were just books, radio, and newspapers.  Satan pounds us daily with his way of thinking.  John called all this the world (cf. 1 John 2:15-16).  It is the entire system of the world that he rules right now.  He rules over the men “who dwell on the earth.”  “Men of the earth” have the characteristics of the world.  They are “earth-dwellers.”

In contrast, we are all missionaries in that world (cf. 2 Cor. 5:20).  We are actually citizens of Heaven (cf. Phil. 3:20).  We will be persecuted (cf. 2 Tim. 3:12).

So we may be bullied but we continue to trust the Lord who rule as King (cf. It’ll Just Be HeavenAddendum To The End).

Proverbs 3:9-10   Probably Prosperous

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Normally, if you trust the Lord with all your heart (cf. Prov. 3: 5), He will guide you and you will do pretty well in life.  You should then give a portion of whatever God gives you back to Him (v. 9).  The New Testament recommends proportionate giving (cf. 1 Cor. 16: 2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7).  It should be part of the best and first returns that you get (v. 9).

If you give to the Lord the first portions, the Scripture promises that you will have an abundance (v. 10, “barns filled with plenty,” “vats will overflow with new wine”).

This is not a “prosperity” thing.  Wisdom literature like Psalms and Proverbs (Job, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon, too) deal in generalities.  You know, like generally if you wear your coat and hat in winter, you won’t get a cold.  But you might.

The major point is that we give to honor God, not to get things in return from Him.  We do it because we love Him.

Maybe Matthew 6:33 sums everything up, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Or, “Love God a lot and He’ll take care of you.”   Too bad we don’t sing hymns anymore hardly.  God Will Take Care Of You.

 

Choose Life: Scripture: Matthew 9:9b  NASB    “I Will Follow Him”

” . . .  and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he got up and followed Him.”  Matthew 9:9b

There used to be a catchy hit pop song when I was kid called, “I will follow him.”  It was by Little Peggy March.  She had one hit.  It was a love song about a boy but it would be a good theme song for all of us who would like to be Jesus’ disciples.

Not everyone who trusts Christ for salvation goes on to follow Him.  They should . . .  but they don’t.  The word “saved” is used in three tenses in the New Testament (see blog, Getting Off Square One).  I think it’s possible to be saved but not be disciple.

The Scripture doesn’t say that Matthew had seen the Lord before He called him to be a follower but it is likely that He did.  Many of the disciples had seen and heard of Jesus before they followed Him.

It is as a disciple of Christ that a person is really blessed.  It is also the time when things get tough (see blog Figgy Pudding From Scratch).  People have the idea that when they obey Christ, He will bless them and they will live in bliss.  Actually, often the opposite is the case.  When we are obedient, sometimes the roof caves in on us!  When I accepted my call to ministry, I lost my job, my wife lost her job and I spent a year parking cars at the Atlanta Hilton before we sold both our nice new cars and headed to Dallas to seminary.  Of course, the spiritual benefits are great (see blog Bema Me Up, Scotty!)!

Legend has it that Matthew died after being struck by a halberd.  A halberd is a combination spear and battle ax.  Ugh.

Don’t worry about whether you will die a martyr if you follow Christ.  Matthew didn’t.  Just trust Christ with your life (cf. Prov. 3:5-6).

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

Fun Application:

The way I see it, there is really just one thing you need before you escape life down here:  trust Christ.  I see life as one long probationary period.  We have just one job, as my teenage daughter would say.  We need to trust Christ.  If we do that we will escape Hell.  If we don’t trust Christ, we (not really me, I mean you, I’ve already trusted Christ) will spend eternity in agony with the devil.  If we trust Christ, we’ll spend eternity in bliss with Christ.  Sorry, I didn’t make up the rules but what’s the prob?  Is it so much for God to ask that you just trust Him?  Seriously.

But there’s more to the story.  Though Christians won’t be judged in regards to their sin and going to Hell (cf. Rom. 8:1), they still will be judged regarding their place in Heaven (cf. 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 3:10-15).  This judgment is called the bema seat judgment.  Charles Ryrie likens it to the awards ceremony at a graduation.  Some people receive special rewards and some don’t.  So though everyone who trusts Christ will go to Heaven, some will have different honors.  I don’t know what that will be exactly.  The New Testament speaks of different crowns (cf. 2 Tim. 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Pet. 5:4; Rev. 2:10, 3:11) and I don’t know if they will be literal crowns or not.  I do know whatever they are, we’ll be tossing them at Christ’s feet (cf. Rev. 4:10 for example).

You don’t need to worry about what your reward will be.  You do need to be concerned that you are working for the Lord in the power of His Spirit and in His grace.  If you are, you will receive some sort of a reward.

Tell me that’s not cool.

Are you a disciple of the Lord today?   Are you following Him?

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:   Mideast Conflict

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