Giving the Blessing

Genesis 47-50: Have you received a blessing from your parents? In Old Testament days parents would give a blessing to their children and grandchildren before they died. In Genesis 48 Jacob blessed Joseph and his sons.
48:5And he blessed Joseph and said,
“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day,
16 the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys;
and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

Passing on a blessing can alter the course of one’s life. I remember as a child my own father holding both of my hands, looking me in my eyes and saying. “Page, I love you. I have always loved you and always will. I may not always agree with the decisions you make, but I will always always love you.”

Through the years I have seen good times and hard times, but in all that time I knew one thing for sure. My parents truly loved me. I was theirs. My mom used to tell my brother “Remember whose name you carry.” A reminder to each of us is that God loves us as well. We carry His name and our life should reflect that. The blessing of the Father is on us. He longs for us to walk daily in His presence and know His strength.

I will forever be grateful to my earthly father and my Heavenly Father for the assurance of their blessing on my life. If you haven’t blessed your children, why not pray about that today. Then when the time is right speak words of strength and encouragement to them. You never know what a difference it could make in their lives.

Releasing The Old To Receive The New

Genesis 44-46: “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.” That saying may be true, but if the old dog is hungry enough he can and will learn. That was true for Jacob as his sons returned to tell him the good news that his son Joseph was alive and wanted him to come to Egypt to live. The famine was severe in his homeland and in order to survive he would need to move. The information of his son being alive and the summons to come to Egypt was almost too much to take in. Jacob could not believe it until he looked outside and saw the wagons prepared to take he and all of his family. Even then, it was God to reassured him that it was okay to move.

Can’t. you just see Jacob and his clan moving. I wonder if it was like the Beverly Hillbillies with rocking chair and granny sitting on top. Can’t you just imagine the reunion as Joseph’s head fell on his Father’s neck as he wept a long time. Wonder what their conversations were. How many times do you think either or both said, “I just can’t believe you are here!”

Once again we see God’s hand directing and guiding through difficult waters. God had a plan but the men had to be willing to leave their familiar to receive what God had in store.

How about you? Is God doing something in your life that is going to take releasing what you have or where you are today in order to embrace the new thing He has for you? It can be scary or even intimidating. Even as Jacob stood before Pharaoh don’t you know he had some anxieties? You too may have anxious thoughts as you face your new surroundings, but take heart, the best really may be yet to come. Trust God and walk through the doors He opens.

Consistency

Genesis 38-40: Consistency is hard for anyone, but it is especially difficult when you feel you have been wronged. Joseph could have claimed being wrongly enslaved and even imprisoned as reasons to hate God or even turn against his faith.
Instead of running from God, he ran to Him. When Mrs. Potiphar tried to seduce him, his response was how could I sin against God? Even when the baker and cup bearer were needing dreams interpreted Joseph made it clear that God interprets dreams. By shining the light on God and his relationship with God Joseph reveals the key to his success. It is God.
You may find yourself in a mess not of your own making. It may be tempting to shake your fist at God and tell him it is His fault. You may even question the validity of believing in God. Don’t allow what Satan means for evil to make you miss what God is allowing so that He can develop in you qualities you will need for days to come.
Joseph had no idea what God had in store, but God did. He knew that in order for Joseph to be ready to lead he had to first learn character traits that come from serving time in hard places. Consistency in his walk with God prepared Joseph for the hard days. God was with Joseph in the hard and dark places. He never left Joseph even when Joseph became discouraged because things were not working out as Joseph planned. God had greater plans and in the end God’s plan would not just save Joseph or his family. It would save 2 entire nations from famine.
Be patient as God does His work in you. Be consistent in your relationship with Him. Great things could be just around the corner.

Such Sadness

Genesis 34-37: I have had so many thoughts about this passage. Not all that I am ready or even able to share. My heart hurts for Dinah. Sexual abuse is nothing new. It has marked history from early days. It always takes a toll not just on the one offended, but on their family and friends sometimes even for generations to come. One may be violated, but it affects many.

Again deceit causes chaos for this family as the brothers take their revenge on not just the man that raped their sister, but on every man, woman and child in the village. They had persuaded the men to be circumcised leaving them weak and unable to protect their village. Two of Jacob’s sons took revenge and killed all of the men. Some of the other sons came to the village and took all of the possessions and families. This caused Jacob’s family to be feared, but not for the right reasons. Such sadness brought by a sexual sin that grew into something that took lives.

I am not trying to be politically correct or even join a movement. The scripture makes it very clear that sin hurts so many.

If you have been sexually abused please know my heart breaks for you. It was not right. No one deserves to be hurt in this way. Don’t allow what Satan meant for evil to hold you in prison for the rest of your life.

Dinah’s brothers took revenge and it affected them and their families the rest of their lives. I wonder how Dinah felt. Did she see the faces of wives and children her brothers had taken and feel guilt? Revenge may see sweet at first, but it can also be a poison that is long lasting. Allow God to exact His revenge. Release your anger to Him and allow Him to heal you.

There are no easy answers to feeling whole again. Letting go of bitterness and anger are a huge first step. Then allow God to heal your broken heart.

Deception Comes at a High Price

Genesis 30-33: I was pondering this morning how disobedience to God was not new with Jacob and Esau and their families, but they seemed to kick the deception game to another level. It was so rampant throughout their stories. They are not small lied either. They are life altering lies that they knew they would have to answer for. In my simple mind I would think that they would go back and redo to make the situation right.

For example when Esau came in and revealed that Isaac can been deceived in giving the blessing, it just seems like they would redo and take it back from Jacob and give it to Esau and punish Jacob’s deception. The same with Laban and his deception over his daughters. What has been passed down by each generation has been magnified by the next.

Today even the deception of leaving without telling Laban. Did Jacob and family not think he would be hacked when he found out? He did and he was. God’s word to Laban is the only thing that kept the peace.

Deception carries such a heavy toll. It splits up families. It causes much heart ache and grief. It steals, kills and destroys. Sounds like the devil’s calling card for sure.

Sure it can be hard to tell the truth sometimes, but the end result of a lie is much more devastating. It may take you longer to acquire what you desire, but if you are to have whatever you desire, it will come and you won’t have to lie. You also won’t have to pay the price when it is revealed that you lie. Your reputation is worth much more than anything you might desire.

The best way to say it is probably “Truth always prevails.” That is a great reminder to all of us. Stay far away from the enemy’s plan. It always costs way too much and takes you to places you have no desire to go.

Quick Learners

Genesis 27-29: Are you a slow learner? There are things that I pick up quickly and learn easily. There are other things that it has taken me years to really learn.

I think Jacob was a slow learner as well. Granted he saw things were wrong. He knew that lying to his dad was wrong, but he trusted his mom and obeyed her. He knew it would have bad consequences. Who wouldn’t! When Esau came home and his dad was confused Jacob knew he would be found out yet he did it anyway. Slow! Slow learning can cause lots of hurt and chaos.

Jacob was in a 20 year course on the effects of deceit when he went to Laban and worked with him for his brides. I wonder if deep down after 7 years of labor and getting the wrong girl, I wonder if he thought, “I deserved this because of what I did to my brother.” I wonder if he was even then feeling the long term effects of deceit and lying. Did he hate Leah even more not because of what Laban did, but because of what he had done to his own brother?

The take home for me from this passage was deceit always comes with a high cost. Learning the effects of it early and running from it are a must. Even with the knowledge of its effects, if you are not willing to tell the truth you will repeat the lessons over and over until truth becomes your default. We haven’t gotten to it yet in our reading but soon God will change Jacob’s name from deceiver to Israel. Through this man the 12 tribes of Israel will come and through Judah his son will come the Son of God.

May we all become quick learners and run from the chaos of deception.

Seeking a Bride

Genesis 24-26: Hallmark movies could not hold a candle to the story of Isaac and Rebecca. The intrigue of going back to his father’s homeland and the servant taking the message, the servant’s plea to God for direction and God’s immediate answer, even the willingness of the young woman to leave all to follow, all are the details script writer long for. The ending scene of the young man in the field when the camel caravan returns to bring him his bride and his immediate love for her should be tagged The End. Well maybe not the happily ever after variety because life did go on and there were some bumps along the way, but there is still the sweetness of the love story.

I love how Cindy Sampson wrote it today from the research she had done this morning she said, it is like the love story God has with us. We as believers are the servants who bring the message of the Father that he is in search of a bride. He has given us all kinds of blessings to share, but the ultimate decision is up to us. We must leave all to follow after Him. The Son is waiting for us to “come home”.

What a great analogy to the Father’s great love for us and His longing for us to be His. Our reminder is that we as the servant must go and tell. Abraham had his servant put his hand under Abraham’s thigh and promise to carry out his plan. God has commanded us to go, tell, and make disciples. It really is that simple, we are only the messenger. We can’t save anyone ourselves. The work has already been done. Our job is to go to the country far and near and tell those around us that the Groom waits for them. What a great responsibility and privilege.

Open Hands Even With Tears

Genesis 14-16: Have you ever noticed when we take things into our own hands we make a mess? Abraham was not just the Father of one nation, but two. We are still seeing the effects of Sarai’s taking things into her own hands today. Ishmael is where the Muslim world traces their roots back to. We will read later about Isaac, the son of the Promise, but our Muslim friends consider Ishmael to be the son of the promise.

When Sarai came up with the idea to give her servant Hagar to Abraham as her substitute it started thousands of generations of chaos. My heart goes out to all of those involved. I feel for Sarai and Abraham because I know what it feels like when you know believe God has told you something and then it doesn’t happen as you thought it would or it is not in the timing you thought it would be. I can just imagine Sarai saying, “He knows how old I am and this plumbing is worn out. Maybe He was meaning that it would be someone who could stand in for me.” Do you reason your way into disobedience sometimes? It is as though we believe God needs our help to keep from losing face. GOD DOES NOT NEED OUR HELP! How I need to remember this.

I feel for Hagar. She may have been a woman of some prestige in Egypt who was given to Abraham and Sarai as they left Egypt. She was definitely a woman who stood out to Sarai because Sarai chose her to be her stand in. Wether or not Hagar became prideful when she became pregnant we do not know, but we do know Sarai felt she was and because of that Sarai treated Hagar with contempt. It got so bad that Hagar ran away. God saw Hagar and she knew His presence.

I don’t believe that Ishmael was in any way the Promised one. I do know that God still blessed him with many descendants and even though we differ greatly in our understanding of God’s promises, God still loves them. That is one of the reasons I open my hands today to send our daughter and son in law again off to that part of the world to love and share with these who do not know the truth of the Promise.

May we all have a heart for the people of this region and pray for peace to come to that part of the world. Pray that the Prince of Peace will be made known and that many will turn to obedience to Him. To the Ends of the Earth. (with tears of thankfulness and joy even in sadness)

Confusion

Genesis 10-11: Have you ever tried to trace your family line? Our family has traced its roots back to before the Revolutionary War. I always find the work that my family members have done so interesting. When I look at today’s scripture it reminds me that we can all trace our roots back to one family. Adam and Eve started all family lines, but when the flood came everyone was wiped out but one family. Noah’s family was spread out over what we now call the Middle East. I read with interest where each of the children settled. These are the people who still live in many of these areas.
The people of the Middle East struggle to get along now, but in days of old they got along so well that they frustrated God by trying to build a tower to reach Him. It is so innate in man to try to “be like God” and yet we are made in His image and have been given so many gifts. Why do we ever think we could be who and what He is?
The tower they were building was never completed because God caused them to speak different languages. To this day if you go to that part of the world they still speak different languages in just a few Kilometers.
I ask a personal favor as I close because our kids will be leaving early next week to go to the Middle East to study the language that is spoken most there. Just as the languages were changed, their love for the one true God was changed too and most of them do not know Jesus as the One and Only Son of God. God has called our kids to go and study deeper into the language and to be able to communicate with the people of that area the love of Jesus and His saving power. Please pray for them as they go. Please pray for me as the tears flow even as I write this. I have perfect peace that this is God’s plan, but my momma heart is reeling. It is hard having them so far away. The best thing is that they are just a prayer away for the Father to bind them up and bless them. This truly gives me peace. Thank you ahead of time for your prayers

Seeing God’s Provision Through The Storm

Genesis 8-9: It is very easy when studying about Noah and the ark to focus on the humans in the story, but chapter 8 begins reminding us that God did not just have concern for Noah and the family but also for the animals.

Genesis 8:1But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.

God could have just built a small boat and saved Noah and his family, but He didn’t. God had a divine plan for all living creatures. Even how the animals found their way to the ark was a God thing. I think about my horses and trying to get them to go into an enclosed place. It is second to impossible if they don’t want to go and yet every one of the animal pairs not only got on the boat, but they had to be in cages. Some probably even shared cages with other animals.

As we see that the length of their stay was almost a year I cannot imagine how Noah and his family kept the peace. Some of you reading this have had children home for the Christmas holidays and you know how hard keeping the peace has been with them. lol. A year of shared quarters with each animal pair and yet all of them survived. That had to have been a divine miracle!

It is easy to understand why Noah had a worship service when he disembarked the Ark. I am sure He praised God for bringing them through but also for the many ways he had see God’s hand at work over that almost a year.

How about you? Are you so overwhelmed by the flood going on around you that you have missed some of the divine miracles? Even if you are wading through your own flood, don’t forget to look around you and see how God is providing, sustaining, bringing others to encourage and help you and most of all praise Him for His presence that has gone with you. We all have something to praise God for!