Sins of the Father–Genesis 38 Part 1

Judah’s intentions were obvious.  After the trauma of Joseph and the impact it had on his Dad, Judah was done.  He packed up and left his brothers.  He did exactly what he knew not to do and married a Canaanite woman.  Once married, he had a number of kids his oldest—Er married and his wife was named Tamar.  But, Er was evil in God’s sight so God took him out.  The problem was is and will always be—God’s people when they are rebelling against God produce some pretty Godless kids.  All through Bible history we see God’s folk with Kids that all know are horrific—Samuel, Eli, David and Solomon all had rebellious awful kids.  It is most difficult to raise kids in the Lord anyway, but, when the parents are not seeking God, chances are, the kids will totally denounce him.

In our generation, we can see the culture doing the same thing that happened at Judah’s house.  When we as a nation started distancing ourselves from God, the children of that generation walked away. Now less than 100 years later, we as a nation are barely even recognizing God, and our kids laugh at the sin that horrified our parents,  The Good news is God still promises that if his people will humble themselves and follow him, he will forgive them, restore them and heal their land.  When that happens, We will see our kids and their kids come back and honor the God our generation has forsaken.

God Bless You

At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and made love to her; she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him.

Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death

Collateral Damage–Genesis 37 Final

It is a shame that others must pay the price for our sin.  When we choose to go “rogue” from God, there is inevitably collateral damage.  In the case of Joseph’s brothers, the damage was the destruction of their father.  Interestingly, it was the relationship between Joseph and his dad that drove the brothers to get rid of the boy—somehow, they failed to realize that taking him away would render their dad broken and inconsolable.  I am sure the brothers who focused on their own needs could not comprehend the level of loss their lie caused.

Sadly, sin does that.  It not only separates us from God, but it leaves a wake of damage that ripples far beyond our imagination.  Often, seemingly insignificant acts grow into devastating messes.  Had the person imagined the breadth of damage, they would never have done the act. That is why we are called to choose carefully whom we will serve. If we choose to follow God—great. If we choose to act independently, there is no telling the cost of the choice.  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

God Bless You

Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.”

33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.”

34 Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. 35 All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “No,” he said, “I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.” So his father wept for him.

36 Meanwhile, the Midianites[c] sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.

What is Life anyway? Genesis 37 Part 2

 

In Joseph’s Brother’s eyes, his life made no difference.  It was only important that he be out of their sight.  Killing him was of no more importance than killing a wild dog. Fortunately, they liked money more than they wanted him dead.  So selling him into slavery made them a couple of bucks and rid them of the dreamer. Rueben and Judah really hated to see the boy die…kinda, but they did not want to join him either. They quietly agreed and sent their little half bro to his destiny–oh and what a destiny it would be!

Look at our world today–people dispatch babies by the million. They behead Christians to show how really committed they are to world wide Islamic peace and order. Movies kill at least 5 or 6 people to make the show exciting. Amazingly, we become more distraught at the death of a cat or dog than we do of a mother or child! Lack of commitment to God is often followed with a lack of value in human life. 10 of Israel’s Patriarchs showed that lack of commitment in the life of their brother.

We must value our commitment and we must value life.  That will set us apart from the world and will transform us into God’s image. He values life above all and restored it with the sacrifice of his son.  Never be fooled, killing is killing no matter the label and to call it caliphate, abortion or euthanasia is a nice way to simply devalue life.  Help me, Lord to show the value of life to all I know!

God Bless You

So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. 18 But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.

19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”

21 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. 22 “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.

23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.

25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.

26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.

28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels[b] of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

Joseph–Genesis 37 Part 1

The favored one–Joseph was surely adored by his dad and chosen by God. What an amazing place to be. The honor of being chosen and favored come, however, with a price. Joseph lived differently than his brothers and was treated differently by the rest of the siblings. His behavior always honored his Father. He loved his dad and would never intentionally hurt or bring shame to him. Sadly, his brothers resented this favor and his attitude and failed to realize they should model him and not hate him. 

In our lives, we like Joseph are chosen. It is a great honor and gift. It does, however, come with a price. We are called to be like Christ. We, out of love, strive to honor him daily. This is not always easy nor does it win favor with the world at large. We are considered at least ignorant or gullible. Often we are hated, singled-out and persecuted. Mostly, we are never supported for our choice. 

Take heart though, the Father loves us and will give his best for and to us. We simply walk faithfully an trust him completely and we will stand out like Joseph did.

God Bless You  

This is the account of Jacob’s family line.Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him.

When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.

He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had:

We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”

Genesis 35 final–Life marches on

Rachel gave Israel the man another son–Benjamin. She also gave Israel another tribe. In the process, she gave her life. A great loss to Israel. But, with now 12 sons the family was complete.  They were home and life as a nation was to continue. One thing Israel could count on was that things would remain challenging. Interfamily strife, death and struggle is inevitable even among God’s chosen. 

So it is in our lives. We no matter how centered in God’s plan are destined to meet life head on. And in it, we will face trials of every kind. The trick is to stay the course and not lose hope or faith. That is what sets us apart from those that are Godless. God will never leave or forsake us. That is the gift he promises. Take it and believe. 

God bless you. 

Leaving Bethel, Jacob and his clan moved on toward Ephrath. But Rachel went into labor while they were still some distance away. Her labor pains were intense.

After a very hard delivery, the midwife finally exclaimed, “Don’t be afraid—you have another son!”

Rachel was about to die, but with her last breath she named the baby Ben-oni which means “son of my sorrow”. The baby’s father, however, called him Benjamin which means “son of my right hand”.

So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath that is, Bethlehem.

Trust and Obey–Genesis 35 part 2

 Sometimes we forget the importance of reinforcing our message.  Fortunately, God does not.  Jacob returned to Bethel, as God instructed.  When he reset and cleaned up his life and the life of the tribe, God protected and blessed them.  Once they arrived, God pulled Jacob aside and reinforced the message–You are my chosen one “Israel”.  The commitment I made to Abraham, and your dad Isaac, I now also make to you–Your Land, Your nation. Trust and follow me and you will change the world.  So that was sealed with a new pillar and a new commitment. A personal commitment.

God does the same for us, his chosen.  with the gift of the Holy Spirit, he personally marks us as the new chosen.  The spirit guides, comforts, directs and teaches us.  But, it also personally seals us as part of the family of God.  We simply need to trust him.  His covenant is unbreakable, so also should our trust in him be.  “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey!” Hymn lyrics acknowledged!!!

God Bless You

After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram,[c] God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob,[d] but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.[e]” So he named him Israel.

11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty[f]; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. 12 The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” 13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.

14 Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. 15 Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel.[g]

Reset –Genesis 35 

Idols, murder and maybe had overtaken Israel and his tribe. So God said it was time for a reset. He sent them back to Bethel. Back where it all began. 

For their part, the Israel family repented, cleaned up and took everything that stood between them and God and buried it. In exchange God safely delivered them to their home. They were not bothered by any of the folks that would destroy them simply because God interceded. 

As we travel with God on our journey, we often allow things in the world to come between us and the lord. When we do it can become equally chaotic. But, if like Israel, we reset and put away the things that stand between us, we can reset and regain the peace and protection his freedom affords. God wants us to enjoy an untangled life–but it has to be our choice. So reset and return to your first love. 

Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.”

So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing.

We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.”

So they gave Jacob all their pagan idols and earrings, and he buried them under the great tree near Shechem.

As they set out, a terror from God spread over the people in all the towns of that area, so no one attacked Jacob’s family.

Dinah–WHAT!! Genesis 34

This Story is unbelievable–yet in a godless world, it makes sense.  Dinah goes out to meet the neighbors–she is raped.  Her rapist and his family, after the attack, think…She’s awesome, I want to marry her! They then go to Israel and seek his permission to bring son and daughter together in marriage.  In fact, to simply become one big happy family.  Everybody wins, right…But wait she was raped!!!!!

When a culture is godless, the value of life and others is minimalized and self interest is made King.  Hamor and Sheckem  saw the attack as an opportunity to merge the peoples–Jacob and his family saw this as the way these men were going to treat him and his family.  As such, The boys wiped Hamor, Sheckum and the tribe out. That is why God was clear–Israel was to remain separate from the Canaanites.

We may not be able to choose where we live, but we can choose how and with whom we live.  We have to live with Christ as our lead and his standards as ours.  Selfless not selfish.  We value life and others–we don’t simply use them.  Further, we cannot look at others that abuse and exploit the lives of others and think, Öh well, that is just how they are. We shall never approve of those that self absorbed and abusive.  Be Holy as God is Holy!

God Bless You

When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home.

Then Shechem’s father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob. Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in[a] Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter—a thing that should not be done.

But Hamor said to them, “My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife. Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade[b] in it, and acquire property in it.”

11 Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12 Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.”

There Is No Place Like Home! Genesis 33-Final

Two decades of turmoil, a complete change in character, 4 wives, 12 kids and one peaceful brother later–Israel is home.  Not simply Israel the man, but also Israel the people.  They returned to the land God picked for them and set up house. None of his family had ever set foot on this Land that would be theirs.  Yet, God declared and it was home.  The faith of Abraham started a legacy that would last over 4000 years. We have to respect God for his word, his plan and his devotion to those whom he has chosen.

Now, in 2015, we, as his adopted children, are also his chosen, and like Israel, we have God’s seal on our lives.  We also will face decades of turmoil.  We will also watch as our Lord transforms us into his image–we will never be the same.  We will live among our enemies and be with them, but not like them.  God calls us to live like ambassadors in a strange land. We refuse to get so attached to this land that we regret or refuse leaving it.  Like Israel, we possess our treasures–we do not allow them to possess us. It is our goal to pitch our tents and live as though what we have is all because of God’s covenant to us.  We live with grateful hearts and humble spirits–like Israel.

God Bless You

But why do that?” Jacob asked. “Just let me find favor in the eyes of my lord.”

16 So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir. 17 Jacob, however, went to Sukkoth, where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Sukkoth.[a]

18 After Jacob came from Paddan Aram,[b] he arrived safely at the city of Shechem in Canaan and camped within sight of the city. 19 For a hundred pieces of silver,[c] he bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, the plot of ground where he pitched his tent. 20 There he set up an altar and called it El Elohe Israel.[d]

Oh Brother–Genesis 33 Part 1

It was inevitable.  Israel returned home to meet his brother.  All he had was God’s promise, to protect him.  When he arrived he expected the worst—but, it did not happen. Rather than revenge, Esau simply wanted to hug his brother’s neck.  The reunion was sweet and the reception was kind. Jacob was protected by God. Esau had plenty and didn’t want anything from his brother.  Still, Esau saw a different man than the brother that left.  He was trying to give his brother treasures, he was protecting his family and not himself.  The selfish and deceitful Jacob was now a humble and faithful father, husband and brother. 

When we are made new in Christ it is obvious to all.  Our new nature is a treasure that is welcomed by many.  We can leave our past behind and become the people we were called to be.  We may face some opposition because of our faith, but we will face little because of our character.  Israel’s brother saw the difference and accepted him for who he was.  God’s people can be a light to the world.  When we stand out and can truly bring peace in the chaotic world we live in.  We need to humbly present ourselves to others and allow God to handle the rest—walking daily and following closely.

God Bless You

Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men; so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants. He put the female servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.

But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept. Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. “Who are these with you?” he asked. Jacob answered, “They are the children God has graciously given your servant.”

Then the female servants and their children approached and bowed down. Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down. Last of all came Joseph and Rachel, and they too bowed down. Esau asked, “What’s the meaning of all these flocks and herds I met?”

“To find favor in your eyes, my lord,” he said. But Esau said, “I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.”

10 “No, please!” said Jacob. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably. 11 Please accept the present that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me and I have all I need.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau accepted it