Mom is Always Right–Genesis 27 Part 1

I have been married for nearly a quarter of a century.  One of the most difficult lessons I have had to learn is the lesson that my lovely wife is usually–NO practically always right.  I confess I do not always like her approach, but–time bears out that she was on the mark with her assessments. It was the same with Isaac and Rebekah.  Rebekah heard God say–Joseph will rule Esau.  Throughout their lives, however, Isaac favored his burley Man’s man son Esau.  So when it came time to give the final blessing–there was a conflict.
Rebekah took the matters into her own hands–she built an elaborate plan to  achieve the right result.  It put Jacob in a bad place–he had to lie, cheat and steal the blessing to achieve God’s plan.  Everybody would lose.  Still, Rebekah was willing to take the shot–to see her son properly blessed. It could have been avoided had Isaac simply accepted God’s plan–but, he didn’t.  In addition, Esau was not a guy that was willing to accept God’s plan in any part of his life–especially as it relates to following God in building a God honoring nation.
I am consistently looking to follow the Lord in my life–As time has passed, I have learned that my wife is usually laser pointed on when I am not listening or not following his lead.  What’s more–if I listen, she will identify the key element that I miss and often sees what is best for our family.  It is not easy, I have to admit I am a bit dense…(HA! A BIT!!) and then take her wisdom and pray it through–but when we are aligned–God does amazing things in our lives and the lives of our family.  Thanks God for giving me a Godly wife!
God Bless You
Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the Lord before I die.’ Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. 10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.”11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin. 12 What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.”

13 His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.”

Breaking Parents Hearts–Genesis 26 Final

Kids! Isaac and Rebekah loved their kids.  Parents do that.  They carefully feed and nurse them as infants.  They raise them with the valued principles of God and life as youngsters.  As they mature they provide the best example of adult life possible–showing the transparency and frailty of all humans. Then as adults, they pray, hope, celebrate and grieve with the young adults they have to release to be their own persons. 

Such was the case with Isaac and Rebekah.  Jacob was the worker, the quiet and unassuming brother.  He was smart, insightful and a bit crafty…Esau was “Gaston”–rugged hunter, conceited and in his mind, invincible.  He was a superhero by the world standard.  So to him, rules did not apply.  That broke his folks heart–birthright, marriage and general attitude toward God was aligned with his Canaanite in-laws much more than with his family.

In our culture, we are not a great deal different.  We simply want to raise kids that will not be entangled and entrapped by the world.  We want them to enjoy the peace and purposeful life–only available if they walk with the Lord. Still, no matter how hard we work, we have to let them go.  They get to make their choices and often can break our hearts.  We continue to counsel and pray for them–but, then we have to step back and let them be adults.  Such pain and grief is hard to bear.  The only good news was given to us by Solomon in Proverbs 22:6, “Raise a child in the way they should go, and, when they are old, they will not depart far from it!”  God wants us to remember he loves them even more than we do–Like us, he will never give up!!!

God Bless You

When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.

The Sister Thing–for the last time–Genesis 26 Part 1

One has to question the lame excuse of these men of God–She is my sister, again–really.  I imagine it is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but, in that culture it was clear that life was not valued greatly.  Isaac was genuinely concerned for his life–but, at the cost of bringing shame to himself, Rebekah and all he was there to accomplish. 
God led him to that place.  He kept him away from Egypt.  God told him he would keep him safe–and Isaac believed God, mostly? Truth is, God would protect Isaac and Rebekah had he just been honest and transparent–He put sufficient fear in the godless king to cause him to make a death warrant for anyone that dared touch Isaac’s family. Isaac should have been confident in God–the God that had always been faithful.
We should also be confident in the God who has always been faithful.  In most lives–including ours; life’s circumstances bring a mixture of joy and sadness; confidence and fear.  God tells us to be content–in whatever circumstances–a directive that a loving father would only give if he had a plan to prepare us and carry us in each and every one of them.  I am often times slow to see God’s plan.  It is not that I am stupid–it is simply that I am impatient.  So I, we–need to trust him, follow him and wait on his timing so that he can maximize the training, blessing and preparation along the way.
God Bless You
Now there was a famine in the land—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar. The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring[a] all nations on earth will be blessed,[b] because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” So Isaac stayed in Gerar.When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.”

When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?”

Isaac answered him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.”

10 Then Abimelek said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”

11 So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”

Their God is Their Stomach–Genesis 25 Part 3

There is no accounting for what drives people.  Isaac waited a quarter century to have sons. When his sons arrived, there was a clear distinction; Esau was a burley–“Man’s man” and Jacob was an inside guy.  God told Isaac and Sarah–Jacob would continue the lineage–but, Isaac loved Esau.  He loved his talent, his rugged style and the yummy food he made.  So much so, that Esau clearly felt confident he had his future made.  He became cocky–self absorbed–his God was his stomach.

Esau felt like the rules were not made for him; so, when Jacob offered him a nice dinner for the family birthright–well, there was no question that he would take the soup.  Esau was all about now.  He worried about his next meal, his next hunt and his next desire–long term thought was simply not a part of his routine.  When Jacob traded him the soup for birthright–it spoke volumes of the hearts of the men.  Esau never desired the responsibility of continuing the family line–he only wanted to hunt and fill his stomach.

In our world, not much has changed.  Most folks are like Esau–self-absorbed and self-reliant.  Their concern is for today, for themselves and not for God. People admire their rugged style, their false bravado and the way they take care of themselves.  The truth is–it takes an eternal perspective to see past the here and now.  When people live for eternity–the world feels they are foolish, weird and out of touch with the times.  Truth is, however, it is that perspective–that will change the world.  We have to look beyond our personal needs and trust God for who we are and what we have. That is the only life that will leave a legacy.  Those who live for now will only leave stuff and emptiness. Paul spoke of those people as the enemies of God in Philippians 3–“Their God is their stomach and they glory in their shame.” In short–Esau was not an enemy of his birthright, He was an enemy of God.

It brings to a head what Joshua said–“Choose this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” Joshua 24:6

God Bless You

The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.[f])

31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”

32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.

So Esau despised his birthright.

The Twins–Genesis 25 Part 2

The building of a lineage is no small task.  Isaac was charged with the duty of continuing the line.  Now, his half-brother Ishmael had 12 sons and would have been glad to take the job, but God was clear–The lineage would come through Isaac. Like his dad, however, Isaac had to wait a quarter century to  see his kids be born. 

Rebekah was like Sarah–she was barren.  So Isaac did what he did when he sought a wife, he prayed, and prayed.  God was kind and gave him twins–once again, God did exceeding and abundantly more than Isaac could have imagined. But, there was a catch, the older would serve the younger–From the start, that would not play well.  But, God’s plan was perfect, so as Jacob and Esau entered the world, God was kind enough to let their parents know how things would progress.

God is not in the business of hiding the truth–since Adam and Eve, God has shared the truth with his people.  We often miss it, or disregard it; simply because we think we know better–“That tree of knowledge of good and evil makes some yummy looking fruit…!”  Still, as a father, I am constantly reminded that even though we train our kids on what is the right thing, they periodically disregard it, because they think they know better.  So we continue to teach, discipline and coach all the days of their lives–as God does with us, hoping to direct them toward the journey God has laid out for them–so they can experience the peace we have in humbly and gratefully following our Lord. Paul said it best, “He who has begun a good work in you, will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus!” Phil 1:6

God Bless You


Abraham became the father of Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram[c] and sister of Laban the Aramean.

21 Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

23 The Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
    and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
    and the older will serve the younger.”

24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 25 The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau.[d] 26 After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob.[e] Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them

The Life and Legacy of Abraham–Genesis 25 Part 1

One cannot put a value on a life without including the legacy left behind.  In review, Abraham lived a century after he was called by God to leave home and go to Canaan. In that time, he built a family and a fortune that was not only amazing, but he did it owning no more land than the land used to bury the family dead.  He waited until 100 to see the heir of his legacy, but, in the years to come had numerous sons that ultimately spread out over the Middle East.
Abraham listened to God; and, while he blessed all his children–there could only be one heir, Isaac.  Isaac was set apart and was blessed by God and Abraham. In that, Abraham completed his part of his covenant with God. Abraham’s legacy not only included his Son, but, it included mostly–a life of faith and faithful living.
It is great that our lives are not determined by one event. Instead, our story is a combination of several small choices and great experiences.  All of our lives include amazing joys and horrific tragedies. Our greatest legacy, however, is the same legacy as Abraham’s–faith and faithfulness.  As we walk forward, we will impact our families, our friends and all lives we touch.  Our devotion to God, will color our view and the view of our children in the age to come.  We have to live lives that display trust, humility and grateful heart toward the Lord God. Then, we too will be like Abraham and will leave an amazing legacy.
God Bless You
Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan; the descendants of Dedan were the Ashurites, the Letushites and the Leummites. The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanok, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah.Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east.

Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, 10 the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites.[a] There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah. 11 After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who then lived near Beer Lahai Roi.

The Power of Family Values–Genesis 24 Final

It is great, when a plan works.  As God prepared  the heart of Abraham and Isaac in Canaan–he was doing the same in Haran for Abraham’s family.  When given the story, not only was the family willing to step out in faith–but, Rebekah was also willing to trust God and leave the safety of home to go meet this Isaac.  What’s more, after traveling back through the desert, they arrive back at Abraham’s home only to find Isaac in prayer.  It was clear that God was a centerpiece in the lives of the family that Abraham’s Dad, Terah, raised.  That framework, was the very driving force that pushed his son to seek his daughter-in-law from a family with the same heritage and faith.
One can never underestimate the power of one’s lineage and family values.  It is the power of those values and traditions, that saved humanity during the time of Noah. Those values made Abraham a nomad for 25+ years, while he waited on God to provide an heir.  It is the same values that keep his chosen today praying for like-minded families to raise spouses for their kids. 
We pray for the spouses for our kids daily.  from their youth, we have instilled the critical nature of marrying Godly spouses that will be aligned in faith–to journey together.  It is no small thing–as seen in the life of Abraham, to properly raise and prepare your kids to marry Godly spouses.  That is how faith travels through the lineage from Seth to Noah; from Shem to Abraham and finally from Abraham to Jesus. Since prayer is the greater work, families must pray for unity and faith to continue as a family trait and tradition.  The world will hate it, and it becomes more difficult as each generation passes–but, with God, ALL things are possible.
God Bless You
When Abraham’s servant heard what they said, he bowed down to the ground before the Lord. 53 Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother. 54 Then he and the men who were with him ate and drank and spent the night there.When they got up the next morning, he said, “Send me on my way to my master.”

55 But her brother and her mother replied, “Let the young woman remain with us ten days or so; then you[e] may go.”

56 But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”

57 Then they said, “Let’s call the young woman and ask her about it.” 58 So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?”

“I will go,” she said.

59 So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah and said to her,

“Our sister, may you increase
    to thousands upon thousands;
may your offspring possess
    the cities of their enemies.”

61 Then Rebekah and her attendants got ready and mounted the camels and went back with the man. So the servant took Rebekah and left.

62 Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. 63 He went out to the field one evening to meditate,[f] and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. 64 Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel 65 and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”

“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.

66 Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. 67 Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

The Greater Work–Genesis 24 Part 2

When one lists the great tools for life success, the greatest tool is often left off the list.  The gift of prayer is overlooked, even though it is our greatest tool of all. Oswald Chambers, renowned Bible scholar and devotion said it best, “Prayer is not the preparation for the greater work, it is the greater work.”
Abraham’s servant traveled across the desert to the land of Abraham’s father.  He stopped in the area he had lived well over a quarter century before–then he prayed. The result was truly amazing–God brought the object of his prayer, right to him.  It was no coincidence, it was God doing what God does–hearing and answering our prayers.  I John 5:14-15–“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him”
In our lives, we often act as if we do not want to impose upon God.  Or, we pray like spoiled and entitled children–simply looking out for our selfish interests and not truly seeking God’s plan for our lives.  Abraham, his servant and God’s people throughout history have relied on prayer and faith to lead them in the journey and mission for which they were called.  When they have, God has done amazing and wonderful things for, in and through them. 
We can never underestimate, nor set aside our ability to reach out to the very God–that reached across eternity to restore his relationship with us. Prayer is the greater work and the key to a successful and amazing journey.
God Bless You
Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. 16 The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again.

17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, “Please give me a little water from your jar.”

18 “Drink, my lord,” she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink.

19 After she had given him a drink, she said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.” 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. 21 Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.

In the World–BUT, Not of the World–Genesis 24 Part 1

It is very important to preserve our culture.  Abraham had lived his adult life as he was raised–trusting God and following God closely. He was raised in a home and culture where God was still honored and followed.  While that culture was neither popular or widely practiced, God knew that diluting it by mixing it liberally in the world culture would not end well.  God’s desire was to build a kingdom of priests–a nation that served God and brought his message of restoration to the world. 
God also knew that by mixing cultures, the world would dramatically impact Abraham’s family–far more than Abraham’s family would ever affect world.  That is why Abraham sought for and obtained the promise from his servant to find his son, Isaac a wife from the people in his land and of his family.  Abraham had already witnessed time and again the affect of the world–his nephew now was building his lineage through children he had with his own daughters–simply because God wiped out the evil that was Sodom and Gomorrah where Lot liberally mixed his family. 
The world’s way always diverges from God’s way.  That is why we are called to be “in the world”–but not “of the world”. That is why we–as families, like Abraham, have to raise those families in the culture–but define ourselves from the culture.  What we do to entertain ourselves, how we treat others and how we prioritize God in our daily lives; will separate us from the world.  In that position, we cannot be afraid of rejection from the world, we should be glad for such rejection–Abraham was! Jesus promised–“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”
God Bless You

Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.”The servant asked him, “What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?”

“Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said. “The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring[a] I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.

10 Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim[b] and made his way to the town of Nahor. 11 He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women go out to draw water.

So Long Sister Sarah–Genesis 22 Part 1

 Abraham lost his best partner.  Sarai, later Sarah stood beside Abraham during his days in Haran, then as he wandered through Canaan.  She allowed herself to be taken as Abram’s sister–by a number of Kings. She never held a grudge, nor did her years of bareness cause her to lose faith. She waited until  nearly one hundred to bear her son. She raised him faithfully and allowed God to continue to do the leading.  In that mode, she watched her family grow to be wealthy and powerful, but, never expected anything; she only followed faithfully.
It is also the same today.  We are in a wilderness of culture similar to the godless Canaanites. As we follow God closely, we may often feel like wanderers.  We may face points in the journey where we seem like hopeless captives, homeless foreigners or simple nomads. All the while, we journey toward the promised land–Heaven.  As we approach, we look more and more like the one we follow most closely.  Interestingly, our journey leaves a trail of others who also adopt the relationship and legacy of those who want become like our father.
Sarah, Abraham and those who came after, had one likeness–their desire to please and honor God.  That desire, the attitude of their heart was the greatest legacy they could leave.  It is also the greatest legacy we can leave.  God never demands perfection, only a desire to seek and follow him.  So as we follow God–we need to adopt the same spirit as Sister Sarah…
God Bless You
Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her.

Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites.[a] He said, “I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.”

The Hittites replied to Abraham, “Sir, listen to us. You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.”

Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites. He said to them, “If you are willing to let me bury my dead, then listen to me and intercede with Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf so he will sell me the cave of Machpelah, which belongs to him and is at the end of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for the full price as a burial site among you.”

10 Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city. 11 “No, my lord,” he said. “Listen to me; I give[b] you the field, and I give[c] you the cave that is in it. I give[d] it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.”

12 Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land 13 and he said to Ephron in their hearing, “Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so I can bury my dead there.”

14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “Listen to me, my lord; the land is worth four hundred shekels[e] of silver, but what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.”

16 Abraham agreed to Ephron’s terms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants.

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