Marry Wisely

“When Esau was forty years old he married Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite; and they brought grief to Isaac and Rebekah.” (Gen 26:34-35)
Esau had a reputation for making bold moves without always thinking them through. Selling his birthright seemed like a good idea at the time, but later there wasn’t any room for him to change his mind once he’d thought it through (Heb 12:16-17). “Forgive me for the things I said when I was hungry.” – I think Esau got invented that saying.
Marriage is a beautiful thing, but marriage to the wrong person (or in Esau’s case, more than one person – yikes!) is a choice that comes with lasting consequences. Rebekah would later beg Isaac to send their other son, Jacob, away so he wouldn’t hurt her heart the way Esau had (Gen 27:46).
Marry wisely and you have a lifetime of joy ahead.
“House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.” (Prov 19:14)
#Biblebites Matt 4:4

Thank God for the Mountains

“Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in every way.” (Gen 24:1)
It seems to me that Abraham had an awfully unstable life. A lot of uncertainties and heartache. He had lost a brother, moved away from the other brother, lost a father, and watched a cherished nephew head out to live in Sodom & Gomorrah – I would imagine that would bring some hand-wringing and trepidation with it.
His son, Ishmael, left home under some tense circumstances, and his son, Isaac, the child he spent years of his life aching for, he almost lost on a mountaintop.
But that mountaintop is exactly why Abraham was a blessed man in every way. When it looked like Isaac would be lost, God provided a ram instead. Abraham called that mount, “The Lord Will Provide” (Gen 22:14)
Turns out that is exactly how you could sum up all of Abraham’s problems.
Need an heir? The Lord will provide.
Worried about your nephew? The Lord will provide.
What about an inheritance and a future? The Lord will provide.
Thank God for the mountaintops.
#Biblebites Matt 4:4

A Broken Spirit

“My spirit is broken” said Job. (Job 17:1)
He said that after losing seven beloved sons and three cherished daughters. He said that after he lost everything he owned, was gutted of all position and respect from his peers, and was left alone and misunderstood by even his bride of decades.
He said it while his body ached, his mind reeled for answers, and his heart felt both empty and worn.
He said it while his eyes cried tears of pain intermingled with tears of grief.
God says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Ps 51:17)
At the time when Job felt furthest from everything and everyone; he was closer than had ever been to being who God wanted him to be. The answers to the deepest questions sometimes are found in the darkest valleys.
Job thought his best days were past (Job 17:11), but God knew better.
#biblebites Matthew 4:4

A Time to Keep Silent

“The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent” (Ex 14:14)

Moses told the Israelites God was going to lead them out of slavery.

Jehovah would handle Pharaoh.

Jehovah would handle the Red Sea.

Jehovah would handle the needs for food and water.

Jehovah would handle the road to the Promised Land.

Jehovah would handle the snakes and the scorpions and the sandals that could wear out.

All they had to do was not complain about how He did it.


The Voice of the Heart

“Before I had finished speaking in my heart…” (Gen 24:45)

These are the words of Abraham’s most trusted servant. This servant is never named, but he is described as an older man that was in charge of all of Abraham’s possessions.

This unnamed servant is sent on a strange mission with little hope of succeeding. He is commissioned with finding a bride for Isaac from amongst Abraham’s extended family. He must travel to that unseen country and ask a woman to come with him to a foreign land and marry a man she had never met.

So he prayed.

He prayed that God would work out the details. He prayed for guidance and for clarity in his mission. And he called that prayer, “speaking in my heart”. An effective prayer is a heartfelt prayer. Jesus tells us we won’t be heard just because we say many words (Matt 6:7). The wise sage, Solomon says that you can recognize a fool’s voice because of his “many words” (Eccl 5:3).

It isn’t how much you say, but where the words come from.

To whom does your heart speak?


The Right Blessings

“All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father (Jacob) said to them when he blessed them.  He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him.” (Gen 49:28)

When Jacob blessed his twelve sons, he did so with divine authority behind those blessings.  It is interesting to read through the list of blessings given by Jacob to his sons in Genesis 49.

Though, I confess, I don’t understand the significance of all the things he said, it is clear that some of those sons received blessings that look an awful lot like curses.  Dan is described as a “horned snake in the path”, Levi and Simeon are told God would “scatter them in Israel” because of their cruelty, and Reuben is guaranteed he will never have any “preeminence” because of choices he had made with a woman named Bilhah in Genesis 35.

On the other hand, Naphtali is told he will give “beautiful words” and that sounds nice.  So does Asher’s blessing of being one who would have rich food and “yield royal dainties”.  I’d happily take those blessings.

But God gave each boy a blessing appropriate to him.  A blessing to their legacy that matched the people they were.  Their future, and the future of each of the tribes that would come from them, matched the lives they led.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (Galatians 6:7)


Tired of Sin

“so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.” (Gen 19:11)

Sin is a tiresome thing.  It wore David out trying to hide his sin with Bathsheba.  It wore Samson out fending off the wiles of Delilah.  It wore Saul out trying to hold onto power and control.

The people of Sodom were blinded by the angels but before that, sin had already blinded their hearts.

“For you [Laodiceans] say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” (Rev 3:17)

The Laodiceans believed the world would give them everything they wanted and make them whole, but Jesus saw the true picture of a people worn out, used up, and left destitute by sin.

Sodom thought sin would gratify them, but all it did was wear them out.


The Faith to Believe Forgiveness

“And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.” (Gen 50:17)

Years after Joseph’s brothers had been reunited with him, these men still feared his wrath.  In Genesis 50, these grown men thought that now that their father was dead, that Joseph would finally exact revenge on them for what they had done to him all those many years ago.

Joseph had moved on and had lived in joy because he had sincerely forgiven them.  They were still stuck in regret and fear.  Forgiveness clears the plate and opens the door for reconciliation, joyful service, and fellowship, but only if we accept it.

“as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.” (Ps 103:12)


Seeking His Face

“for he [Moses] was afraid to look at God.” (Ex 3:6)

This same Moses would beg God for the privilege to see Jehovah’s face and glory in Exodus 33 with such zeal that God would have to explain “You cannot see my face, for no man can see Me and live!”

What changed?  Not God – God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8).

Moses changed.  His fear of God blossomed into adoration.  His fear was the beginning of wisdom (Pr 9:10), but the Lord’s discipline, guidance, and mercy transformed Moses into a man that loved the Lord more than he feared Him.  He stopped running from God and started running to Him.