January 17, 2018
The Bible is primarily a book about God. Verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, the Bible is the story of how God has progressively revealed Himself to man, with its ultimate revelation found in Jesus Christ.
When Jacob returned to the place called Bethel, where God had first appeared to him, God once again appeared. This time the Lord revealed more about His own character by revealing one of His names, “El-Shaddai,” which means “God Almighty.” God wanted Jacob to know that His promises were sure because His power was complete. He is the omnipotent One, the all-powerful One, El-Shaddai, God Almighty. What God promises, He is more than able to do.
January 15, 2018
PRAYING THE PROMISES!
When Jacob heard that his brother Esau was approaching with 400 men, he was afraid. So, he prayed to the Lord for protection. In his prayer, he admitted his fear, yet clung to God’s promises, quoting them back to the Lord word for word.
Isn’t this how we should pray? When we are afraid, we can lean on the promises of God, repeating them word for word back to the Father. Where are you afraid? Where has anxiety stolen your joy? Search out the promises of God. Meditate on them. Stand on them. Pray them back to the Father. His Word never returns void.
January 14, 2018
Jacob already wanted to return to the land of his birth, but when the Lord instructed him to go, he began to make preparations. He told his wives what the Lord had said to him and they immediately were supportive, saying, “Go ahead and do whatever God has told you” (Gen. 31:16). It is a powerful thing when a husband hears and obeys the word of the Lord, and a wife is unified with him.
On a side note, I found it interesting in today’s reading that most of Jacob’s twelve sons were introduced by name in the OT reading and then the twelve disciples of Jesus were introduced by name in the NT reading.
January 13, 2018
On Jacob’s trip to Haran to find a wife, he had a vision from the Lord. As he slept on the ground with a rock for a pillow, he dreamt of a stairway between heaven and earth. At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, who told him that “all the families of the earth” would be blessed through his family. This was a confirmation of God’s covenant with Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, to whom God had promised the same (See Gen. 12:3).
Has God kept His covenant promise to bless all the families of the earth through Jacob’s descendants? Yes! First of all, God has blessed the world with the gift of the Bible, which was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit almost entirely by Jacob’s descendants. And most importantly, God has blessed the world with the gift of Jesus, who is a descendant of Jacob and the Son of God.
Jacob saw a stairway, a ladder, between heaven and earth. In chapter 11 of Genesis, mankind tried to reach God through their own effort by building the tower of Babel, but failed. Yet, Jacob saw a ladder from heaven that reached all the way to earth. Isn’t that ladder Jesus? What man couldn’t do, God did by sending Jesus. “For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). Jesus is the Promised descendant, God’s greatest blessing to all the families of the earth!
January 11, 2018
Abraham sent his servant to get Isaac a bride from his own relatives. He did not want him to marry a local Canaanite woman. The servant is the picture of obedience. He was faithful to find Isaac a wife from Abraham’s relatives. The servant is unnamed in this chapter, but he appears to be Abraham’s most trusted servant, “Eliezer” (Gen. 15:2). This is a beautiful story and is often seen as a spiritual typology given to Israel to prepare them for the coming Messiah.
As a spiritual type, who does each character represent?
– Abraham represents God the Father.
– Isaac represents Christ the Son.
– Rebekah represents the Bride of Christ, the Church.
– Eliezer represents the Holy Spirit
January 10, 2018
The Lord had promised the land of Canaan to Abraham, yet he lived in the land as “a stranger and a foreigner” (Gen. 23:4). But when his wife, Sarah, died. he bought a plot of land for her burial. The first record in the Bible of a man weeping is Abraham weeping at his wife’s death. Yet, the man of faith, did not falter in grief, nor become disheartened in despair. He bought a small piece of land to bury his wife, knowing that one day soon, his body would be laid beside hers. By faith, he bought the plot, believing that his descendants would one day possess the whole land. However, as a sojourner in the land, he longed for that city “whose designer and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10).
Four years ago, I bought two grave plots for my wife and I next to the plot for my grandson, Conner, when he passed away. I bought plots that face East. I want to be facing in the right direction when the trump sounds and the dead in Christ rise to meet the Lord in the air.
January 9, 2018
Abraham named the place where he took Isaac to be sacrificed in obedience to the LORD’s command, “Yahweh-Yireh” (Or its Anglisized version: “Jehovah-Jireh”). The name was given in praise of the LORD’s provision of a sacrifice in place of Abraham’s son. This became a well known name in the region of Mount Moriah where at a later time, Solomon built the Temple and even later, Jesus, God’s only Son, was crucified. The LORD has indeed provided a lamb in place of Isaac and in place of all those who believe. This lamb is Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).
January 7, 2018
When my children were young and took too long to obey, I would say to them, “Slow obedience is no obedience.” Certainly, Abraham could not be accused of this. He was quick to obey God, as the Scripture says, “On that very day…” When Abraham believed, he obeyed. There was no disconnect between his faith and his obedience. Not only was he quick to obey, he obeyed fully. As the Scripture also says, “Just as God had told him.”
It is good to teach our children to obey us just as Abraham obeyed the Lord. Three attributes of obedience should be taught. In teaching, you might ask, “Johnny, how do you obey?” And his learned response should be, “Immediately, sweetly and completely.” This is good training for our children, but also good instruction for how we should obey the Lord.
January 6, 2018
What did Abram do to be considered righteous? It was not “what” he did, but “Who” he believed. For it was by believing the Lord that he was “counted as righteous.” The apostle Paul wrote of this saying, “The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Rom. 4:23-24). When the crowds following Jesus asked, “‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent’” (John 6:28-29).
Neither the Old, nor the New Testaments, teach that righteousness comes through law-keeping. Righteousness is credited to those who have put their faith in Jesus. As the Scripture says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
January 5, 2018
Abram began a pattern of going “down to Egypt” when famine hit the land of Canaan that his descendants also followed. Although it may not always have been the case, “going down to Egypt” often represented Israel’s dependence on the world rather than on God. Abram, whose name was later changed by God to Abraham, was a man of great faith, but he was also a man with all the shortcomings of humanity.