Abraham was committed to the idea that he keep his family separate from the culture. He sent his servant to his native land to find Isaac a wife. What an inconvenience. But, Abraham knew that God had called him to this Land, but he did not call him to join in with everyone else. He was a chosen man and the father of a chosen people. He was to build a nation of folks that believed in and submitted to God. He knew that intermarrying with the local people would simply destroy his family heritage of life and worship. He also knew that if he sent his son back to their homeland, he would probably stay.
In our lives, we are called to be in the world but not of it. We are not to run away from where we live, but we are to remain different. We are to be selfless and God serving not selfish and self-serving. Nothing in our culture would support that, so, that is why we are to live differently in this culture. It is most difficult to remain steadfast when times are tough and the world is offering instant relief and instant gratification. If we do commit to being different, we will be blessed. We will never truly know how many struggles we will miss by simply following closely behind the Lord. Help me, Lord to honor you and live different than the world.
God Bless You
24 Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. 2 He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh. 3 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, 4 but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac. ”5 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? ”
6 “Make sure that you do not take my son back there,” Abraham said. 7 “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 I will give this land’ —he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. 8 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.” 9 So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.
I took a break today from the Genesis story—As I sought the Lord in the Psalms, this message screamed out–yet again. God wants his kids to be content. Not haughty, not proud—simply in step with him. We must surrender to the idea that HE will provide and HE will protect. The idea of a child snuggled in its Momma’s arms—no worries or cares. It is almost too much to understand or believe, but, God does have us safe in his arms and has plans for our journey. When we lose sight of his consistent faithfulness, we tend to want to run from him and take care of ourselves. The harder we work, the more obvious becomes the folly of our “Helping God out.” We need to seek, follow and rest in him. He then will provide, protect and propel us into the relationship we have always longed for. Help me, Lord to snuggle into your safe and sustaining arms.
God Bless You
My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
Abraham still was afraid his wife’s beauty would be his end. She is my sister—He told the King. The King took her as a wife AT AGE 90+. Once again, God as a protector of his own, saved Abraham and Sarah. The King initially was mad. But, then if you think of it—He did take Sarah. So God allowed him to make things right. Abraham prayed for him and his kingdom and they were saved.
When we follow God, it does not mean we will always be perfect. We still sin. But God looks at our faith and our hearts and when we submit and follow him, he will bless us and protect us. He provides in so many ways we never understand. I am sure Abraham was astonished when the King came with a repentant heart. He would have never guessed that. Often we face insurmountable odds in our lives and see God help bring us through without any help from us. The Lord wants us to pull up stakes and follow. He wants us to trust him to meet our needs and protect us. When we do, we are blessed and we bless others around us. Abraham should not have feared the King, but, Abraham certainly trusted the Lord and his faith was counted as righteousness. Help me Lord, to have Abraham’s faith
God Bless You
20 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, 2 and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister. ” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her. 3 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.” 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.”
God will always be clear on his covenant. God wants to bless us. He does demand, however that we engage in the covenant as well. God does not make temporary covenants—his are forever. That is a blessing because as we attack life, we tend to slip away from our commitments to him and forget our promises. Praise God that he always keeps his word. But, he expects us as his chosen to keep our word as well. With Israel the sign of the covenant was circumcision. It was a clear way to remember that Israel was to be set apart. In our day, we surrender our hearts and follow him.
There is a blessing unmatched as a chosen child of God. Our commitment carries us now and through eternity. We must follow God and believe he is Lord—not merely Savior. God will keep his word—Please Lord, help me keep mine.
God Bless You
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. 2 I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”
3 At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, 4 “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! 5 What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. 6 I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them!
7 “I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.”
When we attempt to assist God in the execution of his plan, we often make a mess out of what was clear, concise and beautiful. Abram fathered Ishmael, the beginning of the lineage of the Arab nation. Even at conception, God told Hagaar that her son and his lineage would always be in contention with those around him. Had Abram waited on God, the face of the Middle East would look amazingly different. The greatest news is that despite Abram’s help, God continued to work his plan in the life of Abram and his family. He still works that way today.
When life seems insurmountable and we attempt to assist God in completing his plan, we too can make a mess of things. The enemy then laughs and attempts to deceive us and tell us we are done, over and finished. Then God steps in, and as any father, he scoops us up and reminds us he is with us. While we have changed the dynamic, he reminds us through his word and prayer that his plan will be completed in our lives. If we trust him, it will be an amazing journey, otherwise it could be extremely difficult. As in all things, our willingness to submit to his leadership will allow him to free us from the sin and entanglements that try to overcome us. Help me Lord, to submit to your leadership and accept the plan you have for me.
God Bless You
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,
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 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 the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; 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.
God’s call is usually clear and simple. When we follow his lead, he lays out a path and a mission that are not confusing or buried in a pile of reasons and excuses. We simply are told to Go and do. His calling rarely includes a why… but it always includes a promise. Abram was told to go and God would bless him, his family, those that blessed him and ultimately the world. God kept his word.
In our lives, he calls us to seek him and follow him. He promises that if we do, he will give us a full and meaningful life here and eternal life with him in heaven. He does not provide many why’s in our circumstances, but he does provide the promise that he will be with us, provide for us and build into us the things we need to be complete in him.
Help me, Lord to be willing to follow wherever you lead.
12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “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.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you. ”
4 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. 5 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.
Solomon concludes Ecclesiastes with one main thought. Remember God while you are young because your respect for Him is all that will remain. All the things we do or accomplish, all the efforts we generate to manufacture a certain outcome—all the planning, effort and accumulation will fade as does youth. In the end, it will all seem meaningless. Focus upon Him and keep an eternal perspective. That is what will remain, that is all that is meaningful.
God Bless You
7 Light is sweet,
and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
8 However many years anyone may live,
let them enjoy them all.
But let them remember the days of darkness,
for there will be many.
Everything to come is meaningless…
Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”—
2 before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;
3 when the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop…
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.