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 Sister Act–Genesis 20

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

Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”

Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? 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.”

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. 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.”

Early the next morning Abimelek summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid. 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.”

Hagar-Don’t Worry–Genesis 16 Part 2

Hagar and Ishmael were simply on the wrong side of the lineage.  Hagar did not plan to be her mistress’s baby factory–but when she was pregnant, it became clear she allowed the power to get between her and Sarai.  So, She ran away.  There she was, out in the desert, with no friends or family.  She had no means of support and yet she had a life to live and a child within her.  The big question she asks is, “Who cares for me?”  The great news was that God cared for Hagar and Ishmael.

God’s messenger met Hagar where she was, and told her two very critical pieces of information–1) don’t worry–God has got this–your son’s lineage will also be numerous. 

2.) Your Son’s lineage will be at odds with the rest of the world.  The news gave Hagar a new hope and she never doubted God’s car for her.  She named the place they met after God–She called it The God who sees me.  She then returned and submitted and Ishmael was born in Abrams 86th year.

It sometimes feels as if we are on our own.  We cannot seem to make progress and no one really cares what happens to us.  In those times, we are like Hagar.  We just want to get away and be left alone.  But, as with Hagar, God meets us where we are and makes it clear that he knows us, loves us and has a plan for us. 

If we, like Hagar, will recognize that and simply follow God and his plan–then he is free to prepare us for what lies ahead.  The critical step is that we trust him and follow him.  There are no short cuts–this is a journey that lasts a lifetime.  We have to play the long game and trust God even when it seems there is no hope or possibility of a good life.  When we do, we find that is when God does his best work.

God Bless You

The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.

Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant
    and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,[a]
    for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
    his hand will be against everyone
    and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
    toward[b] all his brothers.”

13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen[c] the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi[d]; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.

15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

The Covenant–Genesis 15 Part 2

To understand how important Israel was to God, one need only see God’s hand in the ceremony of covenant. God counted Abram’s Faith as his pledge, in return God promised to the land of Canaan to Abram and his descendants. The covenant was no small matter and it’s completion was a lifetime commitment. As God is eternal, so was his covenant. 

God made a covenant with us as well. If we would trust him–as Abram did; then, he would restore our relationship and give us eternal life. Just like Abram, God’s covenant with us is also eternal. We simply must have faith and follow God–as Abram did. Then, like Abram–God will credit our faith as righteousness and give us eternal life with him. What a deal; what a gift!!

God Bless You

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”

Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.

As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.

On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—

What Am I Doing This For Anyway?–Genesis 15 Part 1

What am I doing this for anyway…That was Abram’s question to God.  He had just come off a sweet victory where he routed the enemy; saved his nephew and cemented his relationship with God’s high priest–Melchizedek. One would expect a celebration–at least a grateful heart–but, instead, Abram looked around and saw that in a sense he was doing all this trusting and following without leaving a legacy.  He was nearly 80–and while he had untold riches, a beautiful wife and the finest group of men in the world–he did not have a child to whom he could pass his legacy of faith and wealth.
Clearly, as we have marched through the history, we see the value placed upon legacy and ancestry.  From Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abram–this family was being tracked, because it was significant.  But 80 year old Abram–had no child, no heir but his faithful servant, Eliezer. Then, as God had so many times thus far, told Abram to trust him–he would in fact populate the world with a legacy that went worldwide.
No matter how many times God shows himself worthy, we still fear that this time, he may not come through.  It seems foolish and shortsighted, yet, we all fall into it from time to time.  As with Abram, God says to us–his chosen, “Do not be afraid, I have got this.  Look up and see I am great, in control and hopelessly devoted to you!” It is never God that fails to honor his promise, it is always us–his kids, that lose faith and hope.  Push forward–keep hopeful; know that as with Abram, God loves us and will keep his promises to us!
God Bless You
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.
    I am your shield,[a]
    your very great reward.[b]

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?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

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.” 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.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

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.”

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

Be Careful the Company You Keep–Genesis 14 Part 1

Things were peaceful in the hills of Mamre…But down in the lush Jordan Valley, not so much! since all the kingdoms of Canaan had decided to take God out of the equation, chaos ensued.  Five Kings, were going to fight four kings–that had wiped out three kingdoms in order to be the one alliance running the valley–confusing, you betcha!  Sadly, in the midst of the confusion, Lot, Abram’s nephew, was swept up and he and all he had was captured and taken away.
Now, there is no mention that Lot was involved in the battle, in fact, he probably was not aware of even what was happening.  Still, his choice to have it all–led him into the chaos that was the world culture of that day.  Lot was an unwitting victim of the selfish ignorance of others–it was neither fair, nor was it his fault, but, it was a horrible price he paid for trying to dance close to the world.
One of the sad parts of our culture is–we hear daily of people simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time and being victimized by the world.  It is not their fault, they did not take overt steps to be victims–but their proximity to world culture is their undoing.  We as his chosen, need to choose carefully how we involve ourselves and families in the world.  It is not that we have to hide away from society and never see others, but, we can choose not to place ourselves and our families in the middle of danger. 
Our prayerful discernment of how we counsel our children’s friend choice, where we let our kids go and where we spend our entertainment time all weigh into our families safety and attitude regarding God, his involvement in our lives and his leadership in our daily choices.
We simply need to allow him to lead and seek his counsel in our daily lives and choices–most important, honor him with our daily lives and our family choices.
God Bless You

In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert. Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar.Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboyim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goyim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills. 11 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. 12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.

I’ll Take the High Road–Genesis 13 Part 2

jordon-valleySo 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. 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.