Archive | September 2014

Insights from Genesis 29-Exodus 16

Genesis 29. Leah. God saw that she was unloved. Sometimes God sees an injustice and steps in to even things out a bit. Leah births Reuben. In naming him as she did, she acknowledges that God saw her affliction, but she thinks a son will make Jacob love her. Leah births Simeon. First God saw he affliction, now He has also heard (the meaning of Simeon). She must have been crying out to God. For the third son, she leaves God out of it. Leah is just as desperate, but has given up on love. Now she’s ready to settle for less – attachment. Leah names her fourth son Judah, which means praise. She’s given up on Jacob. She can’t obtain his love, she can’t get attachment, so she hits bottom, gives up and praises God. God is enough. Lesson learned.

Genesis 29. Jacob hated Leah. He wanted Rachel, thought he had married Rachel, thought he had slept with Rachel, but woke up to find Leah. He was angry at Leah for taking Rachel’s place and deceiving him. He was angry at himself for not noticing all night he was with another woman, so he took it out on Leah. Jacob may have never forgiven Leah or himself. He punished her by hating her.

Genesis 45:5 Joseph is truly releasing his brothers. He is telling them to forgive themselves. God is telling us to forgive ourselves. If we have confessed and asked for forgiveness and repented, we have no reason to be grieved; to give ourselves any more pain over it; no reason to be angry with ourselves.

Exodus 3:12 When Moses objects to God’s calling, God replies, “Certainly I will be with you” and gives him a sign. Moses will know for sure that God has sent him when he completes the task and returns to the starting point where he met God. And so it is for us today. God gives us something big to do (or little), but the absolute final confirmation doesn’t come until we complete our assigned task. We shouldn’t give up when we aren’t given assurances at every step along the way. We have His promises at the beginning and will have His sign at the end. And we shouldn’t be seeking signs in between – we should just keep working by faith. In between we can expect doubt and difficulties, but we can also expect God’s help.

Exodus 4:19 God tells Moses to go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead. In Matthew 2:20, God tells to Joseph to return to Israel, for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.

Exodus 5:23 This is a pattern that continues today. Whenever God sets out to deliver us, our flesh fights, Satan fights, those who profit from our bondage fight. The people fought the judges, the prophets, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, not to mention God.

Exodus 16:4 The Israelites were hungry and complained to Moses and Aaron, so God rained bread from heaven – the opposite of what they expected. The expected bread from the plants on the earth, not in the dew from the sky. The people were to gather daily portions each day until the Sabbath – no stocking up until the Sabbath. God was testing them to see whether or not they would follow His instructions.

Be careful about complaining – it may lead to a test. God may meet our needs in unexpected ways and we should be open to them. Instead of looking for the usual, look up for the unusual. Go out and gather what you need for the day. Go out and gather early in the morning every morning. Manna was bread from heaven and Jesus compared the Word to the bread of life and heaven. God tests us to see whether or not we will walk in His instructions. He wants us to feed on His word early every morning and all the day long. He tests us to see if we will walk (continually move forward) in His instruction.

Insights from Genesis 24 – 28

Genesis 24:10-27 Eliezer had no clue. He actually disobeyed Abraham. He didn’t seek out Abraham’s family first. He stopped at the well to look for a wife who would be willing to water camels and who wouldn’t quit before the job was done. His criteria for a wife was a willing workhorse. God meets Eliezer’s criteria and Abraham’s. Perhaps after this, God Became Eliezer’s God and not just the God of his master Abraham.

Genesis 25:21 Odd that the wives of the fathers of many nations were barren for so long. Sarah for 25 years, Rebekah for 20. These were the first promises God had given since Noah. Perhaps He was trying to teach them and us to ask for our promises. Perhaps He wants us to remind Him, and show our belief.

Genesis 27:7 What Isaac actually said was “prepare a savory dish for me such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die.” Isaac never said anything about “in the presence of the Lord”. Was it that Rebekah saw Isaac as being in the presence of the Lord? Or that she knew the history and importance of the blessing from Abraham to Isaac? Or was she just using the phrase to get Jacob’s attention and cooperation?

Genesis 27:20 Just as to Isaac, God was the God of Abraham, to Jacob, God is the God of Isaac his father. Perhaps it was cultural and God was always the God of the patriarch. Jacob acknowledges that God directs our actions and embraces our results.

Genesis 27:45 Rebekah is speaking to Jacob. The plan to steal Esau’s blessing was her idea, yet she tells Jacob what he did to Esau. Did Esau ever learn of his mother’s involvement? Rebekah tells Jacob she will send for Jacob, but she never did. Twenty years later Esau was still angry and still hadn’t forgotten.

Genesis 28:10-17 Jacob’s ladder. God’s promise. God tells Jacob He is the God of his father Abraham and the God of Isaac (but not “your father Isaac”). He promises the land. He promises descendants – to Abraham and Isaac, He compared the descendants to the stars, but for Jacob, He uses the dust of the earth and adds “spreading north and south and east and west.” God promises to be with him, to keep him, and to bring him back. He promises not to leave him until He has done what He has promised. God’s promises are thorough. Jacob awakes awestruck and sees his camp as the house of God and the gate of heaven.

Genesis 28:10-22 The note in the Hebrew-Greek Study Bible says Jacob realized his need for a blessing. He had recently stolen the firstborn blessing from Isaac and Esau, yet God is willing to bless him. He was the chosen one – it didn’t matter what he had done. Still, Jacob sees the blessing as a business deal – if You feed me and bring me back safely, then You will be my God and I will give you a tenth of everything. Perhaps he didn’t see much of a future for himself. He surely didn’t see much of a future with God. Twenty years later, he sees clearly. He has a multitude of food and flocks – the tithe is large. Its’ time for another blessing. A blessing he can’t steal. A blessing he can’t earn. A blessing he desperately needs. Perhaps that’s why God makes him wrestle for it – to see how much he really wants it. Perhaps God is wrestling the deceit and pride out of him.

The Widow’s Oil (from II Kings 4:1-7)

Verse 1 – When the widow cries out to Elisha, she identifies the dead man first as Elisha’s servant, then as her husband. She puts Elisha first and calls his attention to his obligation as leader and prophet of God. She then reminds Elisha that he knows the man was God fearing and therefore points out God’s duty. She asks for help the same way Moses pleaded for the Israelites in the desert – reminding God of the glory of His name and His reputation. If what we’re praying for isn’t going to bring glory to God, we’ve no business praying for it.

Verse 2 – Elisha is practical – he asks her what she has in the house. God asks us to use what we already have – what He’s blessed and gifted us with.

Verse 3 – Elisha tells the widow to borrow vessels from all her neighbors and to not get just a few, but all she can. When God asks us to do something, we need to give it our all. Don’t be cheap with God.

Verse 4 – The miracle was to happen behind closed doors – it was not for all her neighbors to witness, just the widow and her sons. We must take time to be alone with God so He can accomplish His work in us and provide for us. The widow’s neighbors were probably dying to know what she wanted with all those jars. Perhaps they gathered in the doorway and were offended when she shut her door in their faces. In order for God to work His miracles in our lives, we must be completely obedient despite what those around us may think or say.

Verse 6 – The miracle stopped at the last vessel. We must remember how generous and abundant our God is. Our obedience must be in proportion to His generosity and abundance.

Verse 7 – Note that when the widow first came to Elisha, he did not give her complete instructions. He didn’t tell her she was collecting empty jars so she could sell the oil. She didn’t know that step until after she had completed the first step. God does the same with us. God gives us step by step instructions and tests us to see how fully we obey. The more we obey, the better the result. Our obedience need to be complete so we don’t have any regrets or “if onlys” to deal with afterwards. We must be sure to do all we can from the start, or we may find ourselves saying, “I’d have so much more if only I’d gotten a few more jars, or if only I had asked so-and-so down the street…”

The widow sold enough oil to pay off the debt and still had money left to live off. If she hadn’t gathered as many jars as she did, she wouldn’t have had the extra money to live off of after she paid her debt. She may not have had enough for the creditors.

Our obedience to God’s instructions (especially when they don’t make sense) must garnish our full attention and effort if we want to see and experience God’s best.