This Land is Your Land–Genesis 12 Part 2

landAbram was faithful and when God sent him he, his wife and his nephew set out by faith to Canaan–“The Promised Land.” That name has been bantered around for millennia–but, it was in his initial steps of faith that God took Abram aside and promised Abram that he would give him and his descendants the land for as far as he could see. That was a pretty bold promise to a 75  year old husband and uncle.  Abram followed without question.

As we study through the Bible, we see great acts of faith–that only demonstrate their greatness, well after they were taken.  Abram’s inhabiting of Canaan, Joseph’s interpreting dreams, Daniel’s refusing to eat the foods of the King were all monumental steps of faith–yet, at the time each seemed kind of small.

In our journey, we too have opportunities to move forward each day in faith and allow God to be amazing in our lives.  When we do, we never know what impact those steps will have on the lives of others and on our personal faith journey. But, we do know that God promises if we trust him with all our hearts, lean not on our own understanding, acknowledge him in all our ways–then he will make our paths straight! Proverbs 3:5-6.  He did that for Abram, he will do it for us! God only calls us to be faithful–not perfect, that is his job!

God Bless You

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh and Schechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring[c] I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.

Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

Abram–Picking the Lineage–Genesis 12 Part 1

So, the choice of a lineage, was never based upon God looking for the best–it was based upon God looking for the most faithful.  In a word, That was Abram.  He was one and done–God said Go and he went.  The lesson of Abram, as we will see, is that as God’s chosen, we are always called to follow.  We are never expected to be perfect–although, the closer that we follow the less deviation from God’s plan will happen.  All the while, in good times and bad, and–when we are faithful as well as when we are not–God still leads, guides and protects those who follow.

Abram is very similar to Christians today–the world around us is a mess.  Sin is everywhere and no place feels like home.  We, as God’s chosen, must rise each day and look for just today’s lessons and blessings.  We must only face today’s burdens and trials.  We must do as Paul spoke in Philippians 4–“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition–with thanksgiving, bring your requests before God–then the peace of God, which passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus!” Phil 4:6.  Let your anxiety go and, Like Abram–simply go and follow God’s plan for today!!!

God Bless You

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.[a]
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”[b]

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring[c] I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.

Legacy and Life–Genesis 11 Final

Every person knows the story of Abraham. How he left his home country, went to Canaan and established the beginning’s of Israel. Very few people, however, know that his father Terah was also headed to Canaan. The Bible fails to speak to the reason for Terah leaving Ur of the Chaldeans and going toward Canaan.
 
Perhaps, God had already impacted Terah. God knew that his chosen people would not survive in the land that later became Babylon. For whatever reason, Terah stopped in the land called Harren. There they live well and acquired great wealth. Still, it is as though Terah did not complete his task. 

Still, it is obvious, he raised a son that love the Lord. That Son, Abraham, was predisposed to move to Canaan, despite never traveling there before.

We do not know whether Terah simply failed to complete his task, or, if his job is simply to get Abraham close to Canaan so that he could begin the journey God had for him. Whichever task was the case, Terah certainly was it integral part of God’s plan for Abraham.

In our lives, we do not always know if we’ve completed all that God has put in place for us to do. But, if we remain faithful, we will have an integral part of whatever plan he has for us and our family. Well, there are times, when we feel as though we have failed to complete his plan, only God knows how he chooses to use us. 

We, therefore, need to focus on being faithful and raising our family to be faithful. If we do that, he will complete what he started in our lives and the lives of those we raise. Thank you God for causing Terah to leave the land of his father. Thank you also for giving Terah the character to raise a son of the quality of Abraham. 

Please help me Lord to be the kind of father raises children who will later change the world. 

God Bless You

This is the account of Terah’s family line. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot.

Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’ s wife was Milkah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milkah and Iskah.

Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive.

Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there.

Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran.

Following God, the Making of a Hero–Genesis 11 Part 2

After studying the Bible for almost 50 years, I remain intrigued that God was so open and transparent about his plan to save the world.  He actually, like every good author, reveals himself in almost every chapter.  As we focus on the lineage that brings us to Abraham, we realize that the age of men dropped dramatically.  From Adam to Noah–the average age of men landed in the 900’s, now, by Abraham’s time that has dropped by 80%.
 
God knew men would not change–but, he also intentionally used frail men to carry out his plan of restoration.  The other revelation, is that the men that God used were not superheroes–they were normal people who lived normal lives. It was their desire to continue to seek God that distinguished them in the history of God’s plan.  
 
If we, as his chosen people. would commit to remaining faithful to God’s word and plan–we would see that faithfulness shine in this culture.  We truly make a difference, by standing in alignment with God’s plan and walking daily in the path he has made for us.  In addition, we, like the heroes of old, draw closer to him and are sensitive to his direction–making our journey easier to align with God’s leadership.  We need not be timid or ashamed, instead; we must stand tall and firm in the faith, humbly following God at his word.
 
God Bless You
This is the account of Shem’s family line.

Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father[d] of Arphaxad. 11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. 13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.[e]

14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. 15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.

16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. 17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.

18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. 19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.

20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. 21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.

22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. 23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.

24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. 25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.

26 After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.

The Tower–A Trophy to Self–Genesis 11 part 1

It’s all Greek to me! Well to the men that refilled the earth, there was only one language.  As they grew in number, they had the mind and the desire to run independent of God–again.  That desire, coupled with the amazing knowledge and ability to invent and communicate–provided men with the opportunity to destroy themselves again; and to abandon God–once again.  Their object of choice–A tower that reached to the heavens. 
 
It was not really the tower that made men dangerous, it was the fact that they had so quickly combined to abandon God, rather than to trust and follow him.  God did the best thing he could do to maintain some semblance of civility in the world–he spread them across the globe and confused their ability to communicate.  This was probably first a simple annoyance, but, quickly became an object to divide and to undermine the unified attempt to separate from God.
 
When we seek to make God the enemy, it always ends in a destructive pattern for us–not for God.  Our independence does not only exclude God, it excludes all that God represents.  Order, peace, unity and selflessness disappear–when God is removed from the equation.  Conversely, when God is reintroduced and people begin to follow and trust him–amazingly, the very peace, unity and order that were lost–suddenly reappear.  It is no coincidence; we were designed to live best in the shadow of the Father’s leadership.  If we will simply include him and depend upon him–He will free us and provide the very gifts we need to have an amazing journey.
 
God Bless You
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward,[a] they found a plain in Shinar[b] and settled there.They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel[c]—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

One Origin, Many Nations, One Goal–Genesis 10

Three groups exited the Ark–The family of Ham, the family of Shem and the family of Japheth.  Through the years that followed, each line developed into nations, peoples and traditions.  One of the remarkable confirmations in archeology is the common flood tradition among the nations of the world.  Whether one is in Africa, China, the middle east or other parts of the world, the tradition of the flood and its aftermath appears in each culture’s history.

When we see the development of the cultures, we also see why the character of one–leaves indelible marks upon the character of those that come after. Ham’s lineage become the Godless, hedonistic cultures, Japheth’s lineage become the European and Far Eastern cultures and Shem’s lineage fill out Israel and the middle east.  Each line fills history with rises and falls, but, all can be traced back to the original 3 brothers.

Knowing this, we should not be surprised that God is as invested now as he ever was–in seeing all peoples and nations restored to a right relationship with him.  God always wanted men–no matter their lineage,to be in relationship with him.  It was that desire, from the beginning, that continued and continues even today to make the “Great Commission” as relevant and important in 2017 as it was on Christ’s ascension.  It was, is and always will be God’s desire that his chosen rise as priests–not kings! That is why Jesus last word before he left was, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

God Bless You

10 This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.

The Japhethites

The sons[a] of Japheth:

Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.

The sons of Gomer:

Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.

The sons of Javan:

Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites.[b] (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.)

The Hamites

The sons of Ham:

Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan.

The sons of Cush:

Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah and Sabteka.

The sons of Raamah:

Sheba and Dedan.

Cush was the father[c] of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in[d] Shinar.[e] 11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir,[f] Calah 12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city.

13 Egypt was the father of

the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 14 Pathrusites, Kasluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites.

15 Canaan was the father of

Sidon his firstborn,[g] and of the Hittites, 16 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 17 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 18 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.

Later the Canaanite clans scattered 19 and the borders of Canaan reached from Sidon toward Gerar as far as Gaza, and then toward Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, as far as Lasha.

20 These are the sons of Ham by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.

The Semites

21 Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was[h] Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber.

22 The sons of Shem:

Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram.

23 The sons of Aram:

Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshek.[i]

24 Arphaxad was the father of[j] Shelah,

and Shelah the father of Eber.

25 Two sons were born to Eber:

One was named Peleg,[k] because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.

26 Joktan was the father of

Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 29 Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan.

30 The region where they lived stretched from Mesha toward Sephar, in the eastern hill country.

31 These are the sons of Shem by their clans and languages, in their territories and nations.

32 These are the clans of Noah’s sons, according to their lines of descent, within their nations. From these the nations spread out over the earth after the flood.

The Attitude of the Heart–Genesis 9 Part 2

Starting over was difficult.  The overwhelming nature of the destruction of life, the reset of everything–must have been overwhelming for Noah, and for his sons. But, clearly after settling in, there were clear signs that all the sons would not see the world through the same eyes.  Ham, like the men before him had an eye that searched for evil.  When he found his father drunk and naked, Ham dad not care to assist or protect his dad; he–only look for ways to expose and embarrass him. 
 
His brothers, however, chose to do neither. Respectfully, they covered his body and refused to embarrass or judge him.  Noah’s dignity and frailty was to remain an issue between him and God.  That is why, Noah cursed Ham and his lineage–he saw they would model the people destroyed by the flood–seeking evil and self–over all.  Shem and Japheth, conversely, honored God and their father–they were selfless and protecting.  So would be the attitude of their descendants.
 
In current culture, we see the same attitudes prevail.  Most men strive for self–often, to the expense of all others with whom they come into contact.  They are truly heinous in word and deed.  It is not that they commit one bad act–it is,that their every thought and action is self-centered, and they possess little care for the welfare of others. Sadly, when people emerge whose hearts are still focused upon God, this culture minimizes and exploits them. 
 
The Bible is full of brave and selfless men and women whose lives made a tremendous difference in the world. While their hearts remained pure, their courage and actions met all challenges and won the day.  We need to have the same courage and discernment as did those that have gone before–we need to Love the brothers, fear God, and honor the King! (I Peter 2:17)
 
God Bless You
The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19 These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the whole earth.20 Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded[a] to plant a vineyard. 21 When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. 22 Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. 23 But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked.

24 When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, 25 he said,

“Cursed be Canaan!
    The lowest of slaves
    will he be to his brothers.”

26 He also said,

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Shem!
    May Canaan be the slave of Shem.
27 May God extend Japheth’s[b] territory;
    may Japheth live in the tents of Shem,
    and may Canaan be the slave of Japheth.”

28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 Noah lived a total of 950 years, and then he died.

Come Hell or High Water–Genesis 9 Continued

One of the most endearing traits of our omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God, is his willingness to love us–even though he knows we are frail and sinful beings.  God said after the flood,
 
“Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.”
 
God knew what he destroyed was absolutely necessary–but, He also knew that men would reemerge and their hearts would be filled with sinful desire again.  Despite that, God loved his creation and made a covenant that we get to enjoy each time it rains–the rainbow. rainbow Through the years, God’s covenant mark has been used to represent many things, causes and people, but, it is the very first covenant God made with the people of the world. 
 
What’s more, it was not a bilateral covenant–he did not say, “Men, if you do this, I promise I won’t destroy the world by flood!” Instead, God’s covenant was solely based on his love for his people, and his desire to restore what sin had destroyed–a personal relationship between God and men.
 
God has made several covenants with men through the ages.  With great joy, we can report–despite men’s inability to keep their word; God always keeps his.  As we go through life, we make countless promises to do this or not do that before God. Invariably, we fail.  Conversely, God demonstrates his love for us, in that while we are yet sinners–Christ paid the price for that sin, by giving his life! (Romans 5:8) God’s promises are unconditional and his love is unshakable–So, to quote the western poet, “Come Hell or High Water–God will keep his word to us”
 
God Bless You
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

The Value of Human Life–Genesis 9 Part 1

After Noah, God changed everything.  Once he and his family left the Ark, God changed the relationship between men and animals.  Men moved from the caretaker of the animals to the ruler of the animals.  God made it clear, that men could eat meat.  He only required  that the blood be drained out.  In addition, he told Noah and his sons that human life was precious.  He put a sense of dread over the animals so as to make them fearful of men.  In addition, he made sure that Noah and his family were clear that taking a human life–any human life, would exact a great price.  God wanted men to know that among men and animals, all lives mattered.
 
Nothing has changed from God’s perspective. in his realm, all men will give an account when they take a human life.  God always has considered us a precious treasure in creation.  Sadly, we have so devalued life, that death barely raises an eyebrow in our culture. We have been exposed to so much death through news and entertainment, that we have lost the sense of importance for life.  That is why we, as his chosen, must be advocates  for life.  We cannot look the other way when people openly devalue the lives of anyone not convenient for their own plans. Abortion, euthanasia, violence in the streets are all vestiges of a bigger problem–disregard for life.  God calls us to be different, to be selfless.  He asks his own to value the precious treasure that life really is!
 
God Bless You
Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.“But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.

“Whoever sheds human blood,
    by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God
    has God made mankind.

As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”

Now What–Genesis 8 Part 2

One never relishes the idea of being called out by God.  But, for Noah, God was calling him out to be free again from the confines of the Ark.  He was the reset for all mankind.  It must have been a difficult mixture of emotions to see the world in a Pristine form again.  Noah could see the animals leaving the Ark and starting to repopulate the land.  I am sure Noah  was thinking–Now What?  The great news was that God had a plan.  Just as he had since the beginning.  God knew way in advance that even after the reset, men would still be sinful.  But, God would begin to build a kingdom of priests that would give men the access to a relationship with God, despite their sinful nature.

 
We do not need to see the end of our journey from our current position.  We need only know that God has a plan for us and will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. If we can grasp that; we can make each day’s journey enough.  We seek him with our hearts and follow him humbly and closely.  As we do–he continues to protect, provide and prepare us for an eternity at his side–as one of his chosen.  It’s a great place to be and a great God to make that place available to us!
 
God Bless You
By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 17 Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”

18 So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19 All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another.

20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though[a] every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

22 “As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease