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The Most Awesome Place on Earth–Genesis 28 part 2

When Jacob awoke—he realized How awesome is a place where God is. He saw that it is about the most awesome place on earth.  We see so many amazing things.  We see his beauty in Nature, we see his mercy in our lives and we see his salvation in the midst of our sin.  God is awesome.  We cannot replace his glory with any earthly thing.  It became clear to Jacob that even a bed on the ground with a rock for a pillow becomes a glimpse of Heaven when God showed up. 

We need to see things from the same eternal perspective.  We can be in God’s very presence and be oblivious to it if we fail to pay attention.  The best way to get that is to simply seek him in the word and in prayer. The more in touch we are with him, the more aware we become of his presence.  Our prayer needs to be, Father help me to seek you and you only—then like Jacob we can wake up in the most amazing place on earth.

God Bless You

10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. ”

16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” 18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.

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It Is not just What You Do–Genesis 28 part 1

Esau just did not get it.  When Isaac and Rebekah sent Jacob on his way, they blessed him and gave him direction how to stay separate from the culture.  Jacob left with the blessing and direction in mind.  Esau was angry, but did not understand so in response he married a woman from Ishmael’s clan as steeped in local culture as the other Canaanites he married.  Esau thought this was a problem of marrying outside the family line—when it was really an issue of keeping separate from the culture. 

We do the same.  In our culture, we surround ourselves with trappings and meetings thinking that is what God wants. We go to the right church, say the right things and distance ourselves from the right issues.  But, what God wants is complete surrender.  He wants us to separate from the world’s culture. He wants us to think and be different than the rest of the world.  It is not what we do, it is simply who we are.  If we live a life like Christ, our actions will stand out without even a conscious effort.  We will also experience peace that we never thought possible.  Help me Lord, to walk and live separate from the world culture.

God Bless You

 

So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman. 2 Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. 4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.” 5 Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

6 Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman,” 7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. 8 Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; 9 so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.

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Backlash–Genesis 27 final

Backlash—Isaac and Rebekah’s attempts to circumvent each other ultimately ended in God’s plan being executed.  Since there was so much deception, however, Esau became bitter and planned the death of His Brother.  Esau was not a Godly man and did not care to follow God’s plan to build the nation of Israel.  Had his father, been honest with himself and his son, Esau would have been unhappy but, would have accepted the truth.  Instead he was bitter and wanted his brother’s life.

God does not make the journey easy.  When we attempt to circumvent him, there is backlash.  Time and again we see the backlash, in his word and in our lives. Time and again we need to seek his way.  If we will wait upon him, the reward will be great.  He wants his best for us—we simply need to wait on his best and not try to form our own plan.  Help me Lord to patiently await YOUR PLAN.

God Bless You

41 Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is planning to avenge himself by killing you. 43 Now then, my son, do what I say: Flee at once to my brother Laban in Harran. 44 Stay with him for a while until your brother’s fury subsides. 45 When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I’ll send word for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”

46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.”

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Whose Blessing Was it Anyway? Genesis 27 part 3

So Jacob received a blessing intended for Esau.  When you read the body of the blessing, it is clear Isaac was not happy with God’s plan for Jacob.  He attempted to reverse all that God had already promised.  In spite of his efforts, God still made his plan prevail.  God allowed Isaac to be deceived.  Isaac then blessed Jacob as he was supposed to.  The fall out was tremendous, but God’s plan was done.

When we try to intercede and undermine God’s plan, we also find that our best efforts will be thwarted so that his plan can prevail. The more we are willing to listen and follow him, the less difficult it will be for him to do what he needs to do.  In addition, we will be able to point to what he has accomplished and give him the glory.  We simply need to listen to him and follow his direction for our lives.  When we do, he will bless us.  Help me Father to follow you and not try to undermine your plan.

God Bless You

14 So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. 15 Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. 16 She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. 17 Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made.

18 He went to his father and said, “My father.”

“Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?”

19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”

20 Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”

“The Lord your God gave me success, ” he replied.

21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.”

22 Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he proceeded to bless him. 24 “Are you really my son Esau?” he asked.

“I am,” he replied.

25 Then he said, “My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing.”

Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here, my son, and kiss me.”

27 So he went to him and kissed him . When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said,

“Ah, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a field
that the Lord has blessed.
28 May God give you heaven’s dew
and earth’s richness —
an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you
and peoples bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed
and those who bless you be blessed. ”

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Quit playing Games with Game! Genesis 27 part 1

Both Isaac and Rebekah were looking to assist God in his execution.  The results were ridiculous.  So much deceit, so much pain.  Isaac knew God’s promise to make Jacob the lineage, yet he wanted to bless his Son Esau.  Rebekah knew God’s plan and protected Jacob, but should she have simply told Isaac the truth.  We do not know God’s ultimate plan.  We simply know he is the ultimate God.  As we wait on him, he blesses us and provides.  Usually there is not a great deal extra, but always there is enough.  In Isaiah God promises strength, sufficiency and amazing power if we are willing to wait for it.  Isaiah 40:31—Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength they will mount up with Eagles wings.  (They will run without tiring; they will make the journey without passing out!) My paraphrase at end.

We must be willing to endure no matter how Long the battle.  We have to walk by faith and remember the Children of Israel they lived on Manna daily for 40 years.  God’s lessons are not always quick, they are rarely fun but when we follow his plan we always see his Glory win out.  Help me Lord to wait upon you and not try to change your plan.

God Bless You

27 When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see,(A) he called for Esau his older son(B) and said to him, “My son.”

“Here I am,” he answered.

2 Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death.(C) 3 Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country(D) to hunt some wild game for me. 4 Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like(E) and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing(F) before I die.”(G)

5 Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country(H) to hunt game and bring it back, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob,(I) “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, 7 ‘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.’(J) 8 Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you:(K) 9 Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats,(L) so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it.(M) 10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing(N) before he dies.”

11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man(O) while I have smooth skin. 12 What if my father touches me?(P) I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse(Q) on myself rather than a blessing.”

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

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Really, The Sister Line Again? Genesis 26 part 1

Isaac was faced with famine—just like his Dad.  God directed him not to go to Egypt he obeyed.  Isaac was not only saved from the famine, but blessed besides.  The change in areas helped him to grow rich and powerful.  His Godless neighbors saw God’s blessing and tried to destroy him.  God did not allow it.  As we journey with God, we see him make provision again and again—yet when things get tough, we fold or at least hedge to accommodate our fear and insecurity.  When we do, it never plays well. 

But, if we stand firm, God ultimately shows his covenant and commitment.  When he does, the world looks at us with amazement and jealousy.  They often want to distance themselves or even undermine God’s work in our lives.  We have to stand firm and wait patiently for him to act.  His acts are always better than ours.  His way always makes sense.  We can never lose hope or lose faith in God’s commitment to us.  Help me, Lord to walk in your plan, by faith and without my own plans in hand.

God Bless You   

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.” 12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.

16 Then Abimelek said to Isaac, “Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us. ”17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. 18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.

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Souper-Trade Bro! Genesis25 part 3

Our culture speaks a great deal about “Instant Gratification”. The bible is clear– instant gratification is not a new phenomenon.  Esau had the “rumbly tumbly” to use Winnie the pooh jargin.  He smelled his brother’s soup and traded his Birthright for a bowl.  To grasp the enormity of the act, Isaac was by today’s terms a Multi-Millionaire.  The 1st born takes the majority of the wealth upon death of the parents.  In addition, the person with birthright becomes the patriarch of the family.  So for Esau to trade that for a bowl of soup, seems ridiculous.  

Well, we are the same.  Pete Rose traded his entrance to the hall of fame to gamble.  Countless pastors have traded their ministry for sexual sin.  Corporate officers have traded their careers and lifestyles for greed and parents trade their families and lives for selfishness.  God tells us to seek first HIS kingdom and righteousness—then you need not trade anything he will add the other stuff at NO extra charge (Matthew 6:33). What are our lives and families worth…I believe much more than a bowl of soup.  Help me Lord to value the life you have provided, and help me to seek you with all I have and am.

God Bless You

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.  27 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.

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The Abundant (Controversial) Christian Life-Genesis 25 part 2

Consistent prayer does not assure a life without challenge or controversy.  In Abraham’s lineage, there was a very complex situation.  Abraham fathered Isaac—God’s choice for the chosen people.  He also Fathered Ishmael—Sarah’s choice.  And then, Abraham remarried and fathered many more kids—His choice.  In the end, God’s choice inherited all.  Even after that issue was settled, Isaac’s family is promised its own controversy.  “The older will serve the younger.”  Nothing in Bible history, or church history or even our history has ever hinted that life would be easy and non-controversial.  Adrian Rogers said in a sermon I heard this morning, “The difficult and trying times are when we learn the most.”

When we receive Christ as Lord, he conforms us into a new creation and ultimately into his image.  Such forging only happens in extreme heat and repeated molding. We must be prepared to face the controversy and adversity—then we can also enjoy the final molding and conforming he promises.  Help me Lord to be conformed to your image, no matter the cost.

God Bless You

19 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Isaac. 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.

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While You Were Praying–Genesis 24 part 2

God loves to do things in a way that shows his signature.  Abraham’s servant arrives in Haran and there to meet him is Isaac’s wife. As he finished praying, Rebekah appeared .  When The servant returned Isaac was out praying, As he looked up they appeared.  Time and again, God proves his plan and its execution.  Still, then and now people have very short term memories.  They soon forget God’s consistent commitment and completion of his promise.  So, when they are in need or feeling self-sufficient, they act as if God cannot be trusted.  Still he keeps his daily commitment to provide our needs and participate in our lives.  As we surrender he directs and comlpletes in us a plan that is amazing.  We have to be patient; we have to set aside our preconceived ideas, but, when we do, he gives us the things we need and his spirit to comfort guide and direct us.

We have to follow to the end.  We cannot get close and quit.  We are more than conquerors in him and we must cling to the thousands of years of consistent completion of his plan to carry us through.  Help me Lord, not to lose faith and hope in you.

God Bless You

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.

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A Drink for Camels–Genesis 24 part 2

It is never a bad time to pray.  Abraham’s Servant was sent on a very critical mission.  He was to return with Isaac’a Bride.  No pressure, right.  So the Servant made the best choice of all put it in the Lord’s hand and let him execute his plan.  The Servant prayed specifically and God answered specifically.  God drew Rebekah into the servant’s path and showed him she was the answer. 

In our lives, God listens to our prayer and is equally as willing to answer our prayer as well.  When he does, we need to be grateful and vocal about God’s specific answers to our specific prayer.  When we cling to him and His promises, God is glad to lead, guide and direct us to the place we need to be.  Help me Lord to be present to pray and willing to wait and watch you answer.

God Bless You

12 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.