That You May Know by Katelyn Erickson

Today’s Passage – Exodus 10 – 12 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 1 – 2Proverbs 23Psalms 111 – 115)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Isaiah 40:31

Read the “0123 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s passage in Exodus – “You’re Free To Go,” “Now Do I Have Your Attention,” and “What Can Wash Away My Sin?

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord. (Exodus 10:1 – 2)

From these first two verses of chapter 10, We can see the importance God places on sharing Him and His wondrous works with the next generations.

I’m burdened about the massive amount of children AND adults, who have never been taught the faith of these first believers. Some have been given the traditions of men, but most people today have never known what real faith is like to live out in real life. Moses and the children of Israel had front row seats to the most amazing miraculous works of Jehovah God, but we can rejoice in the fact that that same God has preserved His word down through the ages, and that there have been many men and women who have remained faithful to tell. 

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8

Let’s realize that the holy, sovereign God of Moses is still the very same God that we serve today; and let’s purpose to tell our sons…and daughters, and grandchildren, and friends, and strangers that the Bible is the Living Word of God and that it applies completely and perfectly to each generation.” Today’s passage convicted my heart about making sure that I share these Bible accounts as the Truth, in love, rather than just a “once upon a time..” bedtime story.

“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5

Phil Jr., Katelyn, Jaxon, Caleb, and Philip III

Posted in Devotions by with 2 comments.

Sin Stinks

Today’s Passage – Exodus 7 – 9 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click hereto view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 15 – 16Proverbs 22Psalms 106 – 110)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs 27:15

Read the “0122 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Did Pharaoh have a Choice?

“And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 7:21)

“And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank.” (Exodus 8:14)

There are a few thoughts that came to mind from these three chapters of Scripture this morning. First, notice in the above verses the results of the first two plagues upon the people of Egypt. These plagues were delivered by God to the people of Egypt through Moses because the Egyptians had enslaved the children of Israel and had flatly refused to submit to God and then let them go. In the first plague, the waters of the Nile River and then all of the fresh water sources were turned to blood, killing all of the fish. In the next plague, the frogs came out of the water in droves and covered the land and even got into people’s homes. Notice also in Exodus 8:7, the “brilliant” Egyptians magicians while trying to prove that they had just as much power as God did, duplicated the plague, producing even more frogs, and complicated the problem even more for the people of Egypt.

When God finally called off the plague, the frogs died. They gathered all of the dead frogs and piled them up “in heaps.” All of this death that was result of these initial plagues caused Egypt to stink. Here we see that the wages of Pharaoh’s sin not only caused a lot of death in Egypt, but it also caused a very unpleasant stench. There would be more death to come as well as many cattle would die (Exodus 9:6) as well as many other “men and beasts” (Exodus 9:26). Sin produces all sorts of negative results. Sin stinks! It causes nothing but devastating and unpleasant consequences for everybody involved.

Another thought that came to mind from this passage is that the magicians who worked for Pharaoh did have power, but their power was limited. They could imitate some of the miracles that God wrought through Moses (Exodus 7:11), but most of them they could not. The magicians were also powerless to undo what God had done, and even acknowledged to Pharaoh the far superior power of God.

“And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.” (Exodus 8:18-19)

And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.” (Exodus 9:11)

The devil is certainly a very shrewd and powerful being, but he “ain’t got nothin’ on God.” God is infinite in everything He is, including in power. If you want to be on the team that doesn’t “stink,” and wins every time, you will want to be on God’s team.

Posted in Devotions by with no comments yet.

Wait … What!? – Guest Post by Phil Erickson Jr.

Today’s Passage – Exodus 4 – 6 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click hereto view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 13 – 14Proverbs 21Psalms 101 – 105

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

Read previous posts from this passage – “Expect Opposition,“ and “What’s Your Excuse?”

Read the “0121 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

I don’t know how many times I have said those words to myself while reading this book. Exodus is fascinating. It is full of unbelievable stories played out by some very interesting characters. If you read the Book of Exodus like a novel that you’re interested in, and not just out of good Christian duty, it really brings the stories and characters to life.

The main character of Exodus is Moses, and the first few chapters really give an insight into God developing him first as a believer, then as a leader. 

In Chapter 3, God tells Moses that He is going to do something big, and that Moses is the man He has chosen to do it through. This came as a shock to Moses. By this time, Moses was already getting up there in years, and was probably pretty set in his ways with a good life. What God was asking him to do now was going to change everything. 

In Chapter 4, God begins to teach Moses some things that I believe we can learn from:

  1. If God asks you to do something for Him, He will give you everything you need.

And he said, Certainly I will be with thee…” (Exodus 3:12a)

“And the LORD said unto him, What is in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent;…” (Exodus 4:2 – 3a)

“Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” (Exodus 4:12)

2.  Sometimes, He will ask you to do something that scares you.

“And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail…” (Exodus 4:3 – 4)

Wait…what!? Moses was my kind of guy! It says that when he saw the snake, he fled! And if you know anything about snakes, you know that you don’t try to catch them by the tail. This was something that scared Moses. But God was teaching him to just trust Him. It might scare you, and it might not make sense, but if God is asking you to do it, trust Him.

3.  Sometimes, He will ask you to do something that might be painful.

“And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.” (Exodus 4:6)

Wait…what!? Leprosy was a horrible, painful disease that would cause people to have to separate from their friends and family. 

Can you imagine being Moses in this moment? Going about, minding your own business, then God shows up and things go crazy. God would continue to have to teach Moses many more lessons on trusting Him. Moses was not yet convinced, and came up with excuse after excuse about why God has chosen the wrong man. But Moses was God’s man, and God would use him in a mighty way. Moses’ life had many ups and downs. Happy times and great victories, and sad times and regrets. But that was Moses life, and that is your life. There will be many times in your Christian life where you scratch your head and say, “wait…what!?” And God is saying, “Just trust Me.” None of us know what all God has in store for our lives, but we can know that He knows, and that He loves us. Sometimes it will scare us, sometimes it will hurt. But He will always give us exactly what we need, when we need it. We just need to trust Him.

Phil Jr., Katelyn, Jaxon, Caleb, and Philip III

Posted in Devotions by with 3 comments.

Forgiveness: It Does A Body Good – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passage – Genesis 45 – 47 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 7 – 8; Proverbs 18; Psalms 86 – 90)

Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:1-8)

Good morning. How many times in your life has someone done you wrong? Now, how many times have you forgiven their wrong? Too many of us hold a grudge against the many wrong-doers in our lives. We fail to realize that it may be part of God’s will: we may need to be hurt, so we will not hurt others. Look at what Joseph said, “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”

God had a bigger reason for allowing Joseph to be sold as a slave in Egypt: bigger than satisfying the hatred of his brothers: to preserve life. Joseph was able to see this, and forgave his brothers for what they did to him. Sometimes we are not sure of what God is doing, and should be tolerant of those times we are under attack: look at King David fleeing Jerusalem…

And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head. And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man. Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why Zeruiah? so let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so? And David said to Abishai, and to all his servants, Behold, my son, which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life: how much more now may this Benjamite do it? let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.” (2Samuel 16:5-12)

Peter asked “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?”, and Jesus told him, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

Stephen said, before dying from the stones that were thrown at him, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”

Our Example, the Lord Jesus Christ, asked the Father from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Being angry or upset with someone cannot end in anything good, unless it ends with forgiveness. Let’s strive to be a little more tolerant, and forgive as Jesus did. Jesus died for their sins as well as yours.


Posted in Devotions by with 3 comments.

Bereaved Again?

Today’s Passage – Genesis 43 – 44 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 5 – 6Proverbs 17Psalms 81 – 85)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “0117 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s reading passage – “Passed the Test,” and “People Can Change.”

“And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.” (Genesis 43:14)

The word, “bereave” (שָׁכֹל – shakol), is a very interesting word. It primarily has the idea of losing someone in death. The Hebrew word has been rendered a variety of ways, such as: “deprived” (Genesis 27:45); “cast their young” (Genesis 31:38; Exodus 23:26); “rob you of your children” (Leviticus 26:22). It has also been translated metaphorically as “barren” in reference to land (2 Kings 2:19; 21). The word carries the idea of being stripped of something that is very dear to you, such as a loved one, and especially a child. The word, “take (Benjamin) away,” is used synonymously with bereave in Genesis 42:36.

In our passage, Jacob did everything that he could to keep his youngest son, Benjamin, from going with his brothers to Egypt to try to buy food for the family. The brothers had a bad track record of losing people that Jacob loved. Joseph had disappeared and was assumed dead back in Genesis 37 after he went to check on his brothers. Simeon was arrested and put in an Egyptian prison after going with his brothers to buy food on the last trip for food (Genesis 42:24). When the brothers came back from Egypt from that trip (without Simeon), they tell Jacob that they can only return for more food if they bring their youngest brother with them. Jacob is furious that they even mentioned to the Egyptian official that they even had another brother. He flatly refuses to let Benjamin go:

“And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again. And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.” (Genesis 42:36-38)

At first, Jacob will have nothing to do with taking this great risk in sending Benjamin to Egypt with his brothers for more food. Why? He had been hurt in the past, and he did not want to risk being hurt again in the future. It was only after he had no other choice, when he realized his whole house was going to starve, that he finally acquiesces to let Benjamin go. You know the story: Jacob’s fears turn out to be unfounded as he not only get’s Benjamin back, he gets Joseph and Simeon back as well. But Jacob almost missed out on the blessing of seeing his two missing sons again, all because of his fear of losing a third son.

Bereavement can cause a person to put up barriers and protections that will keep them from experiencing future blessings from God. This may be a weak illustration, but I just talked to a man recently who was reluctant to get another dog because he had just lost one, and he did not want to go through the pain of loss again. Losing a new dog someday will definitely be painful, but does that temporary grief outweigh the joy that the dog will bring through all of the years of its life.

I also know of people who have been burned and hurt by broken relationships who are reluctant to enter into any new relationships. Hurt is real and fears are real, but we cannot let our hurts and fears keep us from the abundant life that God has for us today and tomorrow as we fulfill His will. Jacob was so worried about losing again that he almost missed a big win. Jacob almost missed it. He almost refused to let Benjamin go. But, God would not let him. God allowed Jacob’s situation to become so desperate that he had no other choice. We simply cannot let our grief cripple us, control us, or keep us from moving forward with life; it must be God’s will that guides the decisions we make.

Posted in Devotions by with 3 comments.

Lessons from the Life of Joseph – by Elizabeth Hamilton

Today’s Passage – Genesis 41 – 42 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 3 – 4Proverbs 16Psalms 76 – 80

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “0116 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “In His Time,” and “Give God the Glory

Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.  And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. (Genesis 41:14 – 16)

Anytime I read about Joseph in the Bible I am always impressed with his attitude and his patience. Joseph had been through more trials and more disappointments then I think most people could handle. He was sold by his own brothers, falsely accused of something he never did, and forgotten in jail for years! He was abandoned, his reputation tainted, and yet his faith in God never wavered. 

I can easily say if I was in his shoes I would be the most bitter and unhappy person you would ever meet. But In chapter 41 and 42 I can see two instances where Joseph never let bitterness get in the way, and because of this God was able to use him in a great way. In chapter 41 we see that Pharaoh had a dream that he doesn’t understand the meaning of. He calls for all his magicians and wise men but no one can explain the meaning of his dream. Then Pharaoh’s butler remembers how Joseph had interpreted his dream back when he was in jail with him and suggests that Pharaoh ask Joseph to tell him the meaning of his dream. Now if Joseph had been sitting in jail dwelling on the all the wrongs that had happened to him up until this point, and if he had let bitterness fester and spread maybe he wouldn’t have been so willing to help Pharaoh. I could see him saying “Why should I help anyone? No one has helped me? I have been sitting in jail for a crime I didn’t commit! And the last person I told the meaning of their dream just up and forgot me in here!” But he didn’t. Joseph got right up, shaved, changed his clothes and went to help Pharaoh. When Pharaoh told Joseph that he heard that He can interpret dreams, Joseph gave all the glory to God, “And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” If Joseph had thrown himself a pity party or became angry and bitter because of the unfairness of his circumstances he would have missed out on a whole lot, including being second in command under Pharaoh.  

Another instance of this is in the next chapter. The famine is in full swing and because of Joseph, Egypt has stored up a lot of food in preparation. People from all over are traveling to Egypt to get food so they don’t starve and among those coming to get food are Joseph’s brothers. The very brothers who threw him in a pit, sold him to be a slave, and told their father he was dead. I think most people, if they were in this situation would be rubbing the hands together wracking their brains for a way to get back at the people who destroyed their life.  But not Joseph.  He had every opportunity to get his revenge, but as we see in later chapters he doesn’t.  Joseph was very merciful towards his brothers. He also realized that if he had not been through the trials he had been through he would have never been in that jail, he would have never been there to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, he would have never told Pharaoh that a famine was coming and that they needed to store food. He understood that his whole family would have most likely died in this famine if he did not go through what he went through. Joseph never let his circumstances cloud his judgment. He never let all the horrible things done make him a bitter person. And because of that God used him in a mighty way!

In the end God had so many amazing things planned for Joseph, so amazing I’m sure Joseph probably couldn’t have even imagined them. But if Joseph didn’t trust God through all of his trials and low points in life, or if he let himself become bitter and angry and prideful, he might have missed out on all of it. We can’t take our eyes off of God and focus on how life is so unfair to us. Don’t let your pride, or your desire for revenge lead you to miss out. If you are currently going through a trial where you feel abandoned or you feel like everything is against you, look to Joseph’s example. He patiently trusted and relied on God. God was with Joseph in the pit, He was with Joseph when he was sold as a slave, He was with him when he was wrongfully put in jail; and God is with you also! So, keep your eyes on Him, be patient, and He will get you through the trial. It’s hard not to focus on all the wrongs done to us, but if we focus all our attention on our unfortunate circumstances and allow it to make us bitter it will cause us to miss out on some great opportunities to be used by God.

Larry, Elizabeth, and Asher Hamilton

Posted in Devotions by with 5 comments.

Godly Character

Today’s Passages – Genesis 38 – 40 (Click on the references to listen to the passages. Click here to view today’s passage on Blue Letter Bible.)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 1 – 2Proverbs 15Psalms 71 – 75)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 89:1

Read the “0115 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “What About Judah? and “God’s Perfect Plan

“And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:7-9)

Joseph was a man of great godly character and is a wonderful picture, or type, of Christ in that regard. He is simply not like other men. He has the ability to say no to his flesh and completely yield to the will of God for his life. This attribute of godly character can be exhibited in many examples from Joseph’s life, but a particularly vivid picture of this is painted for us in the verses above. Joseph, a young, single man, was being tempted in the area of sexual purity by the wife of his employer. Joseph had the perfect opportunity to yield to the the lusts of his flesh, but instead refuses. He says, “NO!” He knew that yielding to Potiphar’s wife’s wishes was foremost a sin against God, and was also a sin against Potiphar, a man that had been very good to Joseph up to this point. How many young men in Joseph’s position would have been able to resist the temptation and say no to this kind of proposition?

Sexual impurity is not limited to just the act of committing adultery with another man’s wife. It is just as wrong for unmarried people to commit fornication regardless of what our very carnal contemporary culture would say. It also dangerous to view images portraying sexual impurity on the internet. It is very difficult for both men and women to say no to their flesh and yield to God in these areas, but it can be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. the Bible says:

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)

I realize that the Holy Spirit did not work in quite the same way in the Old Testament time that Joseph lived, but I know this: Joseph had a deep and abiding relationship with God, which is exactly what walking in the Spirit is for the New Testament Christian today. Joseph’s love for God and His will superseded Joseph’s fleshly desires. Joseph did not have “better flesh” than other men; he was not superhuman. He just was in love with God.

Peter wrote about this level of Christian discipline:

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)

Notice two of the seven attributes that Peter states can and should be added to every Christian’s life: virtue and godliness. These are the two that Joseph exemplified in his encounter with Potiphar’s wife. However, Joseph also demonstrated the other five attributes listed by Peter throughout his life. And so can we, if we are walking with and filled with the Spirit of God, and yielded to God’s will. It is not easy to “just say no” to our flesh, but it is certainly not impossible with God’s help.

Posted in Devotions by with 2 comments.

The Coat of Many Mournings by Issan Acosta

Today’s Passage – Genesis 36 – 37 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 27 – 28Proverbs 14Psalms 66 – 70

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “0114 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Green Eyed Monster.

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. Genesis 37:3

As believers in Christ we have the privilege of knowing this Bible story very well and knowing the outcome of it. It would do us well to put ourselves in the shoes of Jacob, Joseph and his brethren and see each circumstance play out from their point of view.

In this passage we saw Jacob’s undeniable favoritism for Joseph displayed in making him a coat of many colors. One of the things I have always overlooked while reading this passage was the fact that the Bible says, “…he (Jacob) made him a coat of many colours.” When I see this play out in my mind I picture Jacob putting in hours of work every day into making this coat. I see his sons observing their father meticulously dyeing the fabric he was using and assembling this rare piece of garment. They must have assumed it was for Ruben the eldest son. They may have also had the intuition that it was for their father’s favorite son. When his father presented the coat to him it struck hatred in the hearts of his brothers from that day forth. Little did Joseph know that this wonderful gift Jacob made for him was going to be the begining of tribulations in his life.

We see favoritism play out earlier in Genesis with Isaac and Rebekah favoring one child over the other. Favoritism never ends well. It can destroy families and lead to bitterness. The Old Testament was written for our admonition (1 Corinthians 10:11). A look at this story in the Bible shows us the importance of ending generational curses. We do not have to repeat the sins of our fathers. Later on in Genesis God blesses Joseph with two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. With Joseph’s track record throughout his life I can almost guaranteed he stopped this cycle of favoritism within his own family. A life of constant surrender to the Holy Spirit of God will help us break these cycles. It will help us manifest God’s Grace and Love to our families and loved ones.

Posted in Devotions by with 2 comments.

Worried Over Nothing

Today’s Passage – Genesis 33 – 35 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 25 – 26Proverbs 13Psalms 61 – 65)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 55:17

Read the “0113 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s reading – “Lead On Softly;“ and “Boys Will Be Boys.

“Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands; … Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.” (Genesis 32:7, 11)

“And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.” (Genesis 33:4)

For twenty years Jacob lived with the fear that his brother Esau was going to kill him. His fear of Esau was likely part of the reason why Jacob spent so many years in Padanaram working for his father-in-law in a less than ideal arrangement. But when Jacob finally got fed up with Laban and his in-laws Jacob determined to go back to Canaan and face his brother. For more than two decades Jacob had the fear of his brother in the back of his mind, but all of his worries and fears were for nothing. Not only did Esau not want to kill Jacob, He actually welcomed him in love.

I remember when I worked as a salesman in my father’s wholesale candy and nut business. My job was to service supermarkets, making sure they had enough product, etc. For most of the accounts I took care of, I would need to be in the store at least once per week. Every once in a while, I got backed up and could not get to the stores, sometimes for two or three weeks. I would dread facing those store managers when I was late, and I always imagined the worst-case scenario. In my head, all kinds of bad stuff was going to happen – “the stores are going to be completely empty or a mess,” or “the manager is going to fire my company as a supplier” – but rarely, if ever, did my fears ever prove to be true.

Jacob’s fear of Esau did not go away until he faced him head on, and your fears will not go away either until you face your problems. Don’t allow your problems (or your worry about them) to become larger over time by not dealing with them. Jacob finally resolved his problem with Esau, but it was only after a few things happened:

  1. Jacob could no longer run from Esau. God made Jacob’e situation so unpleasant in Padanaram, that Jacob finally realized that he would be better off going back home.
  2. Jacob spent a lot of time on his knees getting right with God. Much of Genesis 32 records Jacob praying and preparing to face his brother.
  3. Jacob made things right with Esau. Esau was legitimately wronged by Jacob twenty years earlier. Jacob and his mother had deceived Isaac into giving him the blessing that was intended for Esau. Notice in Genesis 33:10 – 11, however, that Jacob wants to make things right. He wants to give the blessing to his brother.

“And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.” (Genesis 33:10-11)

So if you are worried about something, face it head on, but only after you have thoroughly prayed about it and are willing to do whatever is necessary to fix it.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Posted in Devotions by with 3 comments.

Following the Will of God

Today’s Passages – Genesis 31 – 32 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 23 – 24Proverbs 12Psalms 56 – 60)

Read the “0112 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “No More Jacob.

“And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. … Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.” (Genesis 31:3, 17-18)

Jacob had lived in the land of Padanaram for twenty years, after fleeing from the wrath of his brother Esau (see Genesis 27:41). During that time, he married two wives and had twelve children, eleven of whom were sons and one daughter, Dinah. His twelfth son, Benjamin, would be born later (see Genesis 35:16 – 18). He also accumulated much wealth during his time there due to an arrangement with his father-in-law, Laban, which allowed him to keep certain of the cattle that were born as part of his wages. God had blessed both Jacob and his father-in-law mightily during his time in Padanaram, but it was time for Jacob to move on and follow the will of God for his family.

As we read this story in chapters 31 – 33, we learn that following the will of God isn’t going to be easy for Jacob or his family. First of all, he is taking his wives and children away from the only life that they knew. All of their extended family and friends were going to be left behind. It is never easy to leave the people you love, even if you are doing exactly what God wants you to do.

Secondly, Jacob would also have problems with his former boss and father-in-law, Laban. Laban and his sons had been blessed mightily as a result of God’s hand being upon Jacob. And, even though God had perhaps given Jacob more than Laban received, Laban was still far better off after twenty years of Jacob’s service than he was before Jacob arrived. Laban knew that Jacob was the reason that God was blessing him the way He was, and Laban didn’t want to lose those blessings. Sometimes people, even well-meaning people who love you, will try to prevent you from doing what God wants you to do because they are afraid that their lives will be worsened by your departure. The truth, however, is that if Jacob had disobeyed the Lord and stayed with Laban in Padanaram, the blessings of God would have ceased for all of them.

A third consideration in following the will of God is the uncertainty of what lies ahead. God does not often paint a vivid, detailed picture of all of the things that will happen in the future as we follow his will for our lives. Jacob was certainly concerned about what would happen to him when he arrived back in Canaan. There was that little matter that needed to be settled with his brother Esau who had threatened to kill him twenty years earlier. I am sure that Jacob was imagining the worse-case scenarios regarding his reunion with his brother. However, even though Jacob was very apprehensive to go back, he trusted that his God was going to be with him as he went, and he was right. When Jacob finally meets up with Esau, all is well. It can be a little scary following God into the unknown, but we must trust that God wants the absolute best for us and our families.

It would have been very easy for Jacob to resist the will of God and stay in his comfort zone, but he did the scary thing. He followed God into the unknown. But, God blessed both him and his family mightily. Don’t be afraid to trust God; or better, don’t let your fears keep you from following God’s will.

Posted in Devotions by with 2 comments.