6 Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. 7 There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel,[a] because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.
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
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.
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.
3 Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites.[a] He said, 4 “I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.”
5 The Hittites replied to Abraham, 6 “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.”
7 Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites. 8 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 9 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.
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.”
19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.
The Sister line, again?? Well in fairness to Abraham, Abimelek was a fierce King that took whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it. But After all the trials and tribulations they faced, Abraham should have simply trusted and followed God. He used the sister line, though and sure enough, at 99, Sarah was taken to become the king’s wife…I often wonder how beautiful she must have been that she would still be enticing to kings at nearly a century later.
The great news for Abraham and his family was that God was there and would not allow anything to happen to Abraham and Sarah. Even though Abraham had trust issues, God was faithful, in a big way! As he had with the other leaders, God stopped Abimelek in his tracks and preserved Abraham and Sarah–in addition, he bought for them peace in a difficult country. There was no chance that the King or his men would dare harm this group that clearly was being protected by God himself.
In our lives, we too must trust God and allow him to lead, guide and direct us in our journey. In those times we doubt or fear, we MUST remember how he has protected and provided for us again and again. He is amazing and loves us beyond measure. He will protect, provide and prepare us for what lies ahead and never forsake us–even when we forsake him. His record is amazing–So trust him and follow him closely and humbly!!!
God Bless You
4 Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? 5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”
6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. 7 Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”
8 Early the next morning Abimelek summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid. 9 Then Abimelek called Abraham in and said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.”
2 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
4 Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”
6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
7 He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”
8 But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”
So many times in life we are faced with difficult decisions. Abram and Lot were both being blessed beyond measure. They had walked in faith and as a result, God had grown their fortunes to a point that they could no longer live in the same place. It was causing problems between them and between their workers. So Abram told Lot they must separate. But, in faithful form, Abram said you pick where you want to go and I will go elsewhere.
Lot, picked the lush plains of the Jordon river. It was the hip and happening place of Canaan. the lands were lush, the city life hopping and people were absolutely evil. Abram took the hills far from sin. In Abram’s mind, God had shown himself faithful time after time. So wherever God put him–that would be great. In the days ahead, God proved Abram correct.
In our lives, we are constantly faced with choices regarding following the pattern of the world or following the leadership of God. Often the choices seem small–food, entertainment social scenes or settings. Other times it becomes issues of life–jobs, home, family or marriage. In all cases, if we will simply believe God is the protector and provider, we can make the choices that honor him and allow him to prepare us for our mission here, and, our eternity with him. This life is simply not a sprint–it is a marathon. Our training to endure, pace and focus on the end prize will distinguish us from the crowd; and it will honor God and show him to the dying world.
Easy is rarely better and things that shine and sparkle are rarely the greatest treasure.
Trust God–and allow him to lead.
God Bless You
So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”
10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east.
The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.
14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[a] forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”
18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.