Spiritual Rants: January 16, Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Genesis 32:13-34:31 Matthew 11:7-30 Psalm 14:1-7 Proverbs 3:19-20

Old Testament:   Genesis 32:13-34:31

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Genesis 32:13-34:31   Sore ‘Nuff


In chapter 32, Jacob attempts to appease his brother, Esau, with gifts since he had wanted to kill him.  He later has to persuade Esau to keep the gifts but they end up  getting along well.

Jacob wrestles during the night a with mysterious “man,” most likely an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Christ (vv. 24-32).  Jacob settles in Succoth (Gen. 33:17).

The men of Schechem in Succoth rape Jacob’s only daughter, Dinah.  His sons get revenge (Gen. 34:1 -17).

In Chapter 32:13-32

Jacob arranges to have some gifts of livestock ready to give his brother, Esau, to appease him when he meets him again (vv. 13-23).  In the next chapter, we learn that he has to persuade Esau to keep the gifts (Gen. 33:11).  Jacob, though he had prayed was not trusting God for the outcome of his prayer (Gen. 32:9-12).

Jacob wakes up during the night and wrestles with a “man.” It is probably “THE Man”! It is very possible Jacob wrestles with Jesus as an Old Testament appearing of Christ, technically called a theophany. Jacob does pretty good considering the competition. “The Man” asks to be let go by Jacob though he’s thrown Jacob’s hip out of joint. Jacob says he won’t do it unless “The Man” blesses him. “The Man” tells Jacob, “no, you da’ man,” and changes his name to Israel, which means, “strives with God.” That is actually a compliment (vv. 24-32).

In Chapter 33, Esau refuses Jacob’s gifts but Jacob insists and they get along great. Jacob calls the place, “Succoth.” It doesn’t really. Succoth means huts or booths because that’s what Jacob built there (vv. 1 – 17). He also built an altar in Shechem and called it, “El-Elohe-Israel” which means, “The Altar to the God of Israel” (vv. 18-19).

In Chapter 34, one of Jacob’s daughters by Leah was named Dinah, could there be anyone finah? The son of the king of Shechem really liked her but went about things the wrong way. He raped her (v. 2). He tried to get his father, the king, to get her for him to marry (v. 4). The sons of Jacob, without Jacob’s knowledge, negotiate an agreement that if all the men of Shechem agree to be circumcised, they can have Dinah and trade with the Israelites (vv. 13-17).

The men of Shechem were happy with this agreement because they thought it meant more livestock and property for them (v. 21). Their glee was not long-lasting as Jacob’s sons took advantage of the after-effects of circumcision (v. 25). While the men of Shechem were still sore, Jacob’s sons pounced on them and healed their soreness — permanently. They then took all the widows, children, and wealth for themselves (vv. 27-29). Then Jacob was sore with his sons and they said, “should they have treated our sister like a prostitute?” (vv. 30-31).

New Testament:  Matthew 11:7-30

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Jesus touts John the Baptist as the greatest man ever born, though anyone this side of the cross would surpass him. Jesus says John could have been the promised coming of Elijah (cf. Mal. 4:5). Things would be worse at the judgment for Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum than for Tyre, Sidon, and even Sodom!

Jesus invites those who are burdened in life to put His yoke on them and let Him bear some of the load.

Matthew 11: 7-30  The Yoke Is On Us

Jesus defends John the Baptist as the greatest man ever born (v. 11). He says John could have been the promised coming of Elijah (v. 14) but bemoans the violence being done to the kingdom (v. 12, “the kingdom suffers violence” meaning “the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it” which is the NIV11 rendering). Jesus says that no matter the approach, whether serious like John or partying like Jesus, the kingdom has been rejected (vv. 16-18).  However, “wisdom is vindicated by her deeds,” that is, whichever the approach, either John’s or Jesus’, there will be many people entering the kingdom and accepting Christ (v. 19).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell? Well, it’s going to be worse in the Judgment for Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum than for Tyre, Sidon, and even Sodom! So the answer is, “yes” (vv. 20-24).

Are you feeling burdened by the Christian life? You might have felt that way with the violent men attacking the kingdom, John being in jail, and the information about the judgment of major cities. If so, Jesus has a solution. Just as a more mature ox was bound by yoke to a younger ox, you can yoke yourself to Jesus. He will bear the brunt of your load  (vv. 25-30).

Psalm  14:1-7   Acting The Fool A Lament By David

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Psalm 14:1-7   Acting The Fool

This is yet another lament psalm of David.  He is lamenting the unbelievers during his age.  They were practical atheists.  They said “There is no God” (v. 1a).  Mr. T. from The A-Team might have said, “Pity The Fool.”  Actually, a fool in Proverbs is a name used for unbelievers.

Verses 1-3 are quoted in Romans 3:10-12.  Mankind are dorks.  That explains a lot of things, doesn’t it?  They may be dorks, cutting people off in traffic, walking through doors you open for them without saying thanks, throwing trash out on the highway.  But worse, they are theological dorks, ever since the Fall.  They don’t seek after God it says in verse 2.  Doesn’t that make you wonder how there can be “seeker-sensitive” churches?  Well, actually the Holy Spirit tracks people down and the Father draws them toward Jesus (John 6:44).  The Holy Spirit convicts them of sin (cf. John 16:8).  Then they, themselves, will have to trust Him for salvation (cf. John 1:12, 3:16; Rev. 3: 20).

Unbelievers don’t like believers.  Generally, they have them for lunch.  They use them as breading for their sandwiches (v. 4b).  They are bullies that don’t realize that God protects those who trust in Him (v. 5).  They try to trip up believers but God is a refuge for them (v. 6, cf. Ps. 62:8).

When is God going to restore Israel?  How about in Millennium when Christ rules on earth (see Addendum To The End).  Notice it is not the church that is in view here.  David asks that salvation would come out of Zion for Israel.  Israel will be glad.  Jacob, a name here for Israel, will rejoice.  David doesn’t know anything about the church.  This is not to say that church people won’t be living in Millennium but it does mean that the thousand year rule of Christ will be a fulfillment of a lot of Jewish prophecies.

But we will be glad to see Yahweh glorify Himself in Zion, through Jacob, aka Israel.

We will rejoice!

Proverbs 3:19-20   Take That, Global Warming!

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Logic would tell us that The Lord is Jesus in verse 1.  John 1:3 says this about the Word, “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”  Colossians 1: 16 says this about Jesus.  ” For by Him all things were created, [both] in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him.”   Jesus used wisdom to found the world.  It is His Wisdom in making the world that allows us to produce computers, spaceships, large buildings, and electric cars.  Jesus’ practical knowledge is behind it all.  

Without God, there would be no weather.  He is in charge of all of the weather, the deeps or oceans were divided up and dew falls from the sky because He is the Great Weatherman.  Take that, global warming!

Choose Life: Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30  NASB    “Smell The Roses”

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. ‘Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. ‘For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.'”   Matthew 11: 28-30

Years ago, after I was called to ministry, a pastor at the church we were attending called me aside right before we left for seminary.  He gave me good advice that I don’t always take.  He told me while I was in school and in the ministry that I should “stop and smell the roses.”  I keep learning the hard way that I should keep his advice in mind (cf. blog, Rest Up).

I wish that pastor had slapped me when he gave me that advice so that so I’d have paid a little more attention to him.  The Bible would indicate to us, if experience doesn’t, that the human default setting is to try to do everything ourselves (it’s called “acting in the flesh”).  We have to re-train ourselves to trust Christ in everything.  We need to remind ourselves that as  Christians our default position is to always rely on Him and the Holy Spirit.

Of course, ultimately, this passage in Matthew is saying that we can’t bear the burden of our own guilt and sin.  We have to put that on Christ (2 Cor. 5:14-15, 19; Heb. 2:9; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).  But it’s also saying, that when we are burdened in life, we can go to Him and smell the roses.

Are you stopping to smell the roses with Jesus today?

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

Fun Application:

After wearing myself down in seminary and ministry to the point that I had to have six heart by-passes, then was so fatigued afterward I could barely do anything for ten years, I finally came to my senses and decided to try to stop and smell the roses.  Sorta.  I’m still working on it.  If you are a workaholic, you probably won’t listen to me just as I didn’t listen to my pastor.

But here’s what I try to do now.  I try to eat right.  I try to exercise.  I try to get a good night’s sleep.   And I try to take Sunday’s off.  Well, as much as a pastor can take Sunday’s off.  I don’t write on Sunday’s anyway.  (Also, check out blog Do It For Your Own Self.)

What is your plan to make sure you are getting enough rest?

Are you stopping to smell the roses?

Stop and take a whiff today.

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:  Sore ‘Nuff

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