Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 119:105
Read the “0119 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” (Genesis 49:1)
I remember when I was a young person attending school. At the end of every school year there was an awards ceremony and they would give out various awards for attendance, academics, athletics, and even some for attitude. I didn’t receive many awards as a child, I was what you might call “exceedingly average” in just about every area. Looking back on my school days, I can only recall receiving three awards: two in intermediate school, and one in college (the first time I went to college – not Bible school). However, I remember that every time I attended one of those awards ceremonies, or a commencement exercise, I would always feel two things. First, I would feel regret for not having applied myself more that year. I would realize that I could and should have done more; I should have worked harder; I shouldn’t have goofed off so much, wasting valuable time. The second thing that I would feel is motivated. I would determine that next year was going to be different for me; next year I was going to do better; next year I would be up there on the stage getting some kind of award. The only problem was that my weaknesses in character always outlasted my bursts of motivation.
You may be wondering right now what all of this has to do with the passage that we read in Genesis this morning. Well, here is the connection. Every time I read chapter 49 in Genesis, I am reminded of these award ceremonies. Except, here it is the one who is graduating to Heaven that is handing out the awards. Jacob is about to die, and he calls all of his children together to pronounce a blessing upon some. Unfortunately, he also will be pronouncing a curse upon others. Can you imagine the last words that you hear out of your father’s mouth before he dies being words of regret, rather than words of praise. I know well what it feels like trying to live a life that is pleasing to a father. I spent a good deal of my young adulthood trying to receive “attaboys” from my dad by achieving sales and success in the business world, which was his life. I think every child desires to please their father; at least most do. I cannot imagine the hurt I would have felt had my father said words of regret about my life at his passing. These sons of Jacob had all ran out of time. The time to live a life that would be worthy of being blessed by their father had passed.
You know what’s worse, however, than not receiving words of blessing and praise from your earthly father? Not receiving them from your Heavenly Father. Someday all who are His children will stand before Him and give account for their lives. Some will hear words of praise and will receive rewards; others will not. I want to please my Heavenly Father in my life today so that He will someday say to me, “Well done”. I guess I never got past that desire to hear “attaboy”; only now it is my Heavenly Father that I want to live for. Don’t misunderstand, I loved my dad dearly, and I wanted my life to be a source of blessing to him as well, but my passion in life today is to live for God. I want the same thing for my children. Yes I want to be pleased with them, but ultimately the only thing that matters is if God is pleased with them.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4)
Posted in Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 34:6
Read the “0108 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land. And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.”(Genesis 23:12-13)
“And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:” (Genesis 14:22-23)
“And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.” (2 Samuel 24:24)
“I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:33-35)
My thought this morning may be a little strange, but I noticed in our reading today that Abraham was offered several times a place to bury his wife Sarah at no cost to him, but he refused to take it unless he paid for it. Back in Genesis 14, we see a similar situation. Abraham and his servants had helped save the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah after they had been conquered and taken captive. The kings of the cities that Abraham helped offered to give Abraham money and possessions for his help, but Abraham refused them also.
In chapter 24, we again see Abraham’s servant giving valuable gifts to Rebekah and her family. He doesn’t negotiate with them to get a better deal. He is very generous:
“And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.” (Genesis 24:53)
In 2 Samuel 24, David was offered the threshing floor of Araunah along with the oxen necessary for a sacrifice, but David refused him also, insisting that he pay money for those things.
Paul also was very reluctant to take anything from people, as can be seen in the above reference from Acts 20.
All three of these men of God were very careful in their financial dealings with people. They didn’t accept any gifts from people who might be giving gifts with strings attached to them. These men wanted to be sure that people understood that God was the supplier of their needs, not men.
I too am very uncomfortable receiving gifts from people, perhaps because of a pride issue, which is also wrong; but I think all too many servants of God are too willing to accept gifts from people, even going to the extreme of constantly asking people for things. Ministers often have a bad reputation in this world for being covetous and greedy, and unfortunately in some cases this is not unjustified. Too many preachers I know are very slow to reach into their pockets and pay for things themselves; they always let somebody else pick up the tab. Ministers today need to be very careful to remember that it is God who supplies our needs, not people. The Bible says, “And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.” (Exodus 23:8).
We who minister today need to make sure that the people know that we are not merely hirelings who do what we do only for what we can get. We need to improve our reputation by being givers, not takers.
Posted in Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Today’s Passage – Genesis 4 – 6 (Click on the reference to listen to the audio. Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Joshua 1:8
Read the “0102 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24)
The exact phrase’ “walked with God,” is used only three times in the Bible, and is only used in reference to Enoch and Noah. In connection with Enoch we are simply told that he walked with God and “God took him.” The Book of Hebrews shines a little more light on the subject:
“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)
Here we see that Enoch was translated up to God before he could physically die. We also see that “he pleased God,” which is a synonymous phrase to “he walked with God.”
“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6:9)
Regarding Noah, the phrase “walk with God” is connected to the fact that Noah was “a just man and perfect and upright in his generations.” The word “just” tells us that Noah had a relationship with God through faith (Romans 3:28; 5:1; Galatians 3:24). This is further evidenced by the fact that Noah was “seen [as] righteous” (Genesis 7:1). As a human, Noah was a sinner and not perfectly righteous, but he was “seen righteous,” or justified by God because of God’s grace (Genesis 6:8), and Noah’s faith.
Though the exact phrase, “walked with God,” is found only in connection with these two men, Enoch and Noah, we find similar phrases used in connection with other people of faith throughout the Bible:
“And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.” (2 Chronicles 17:3-4)
“But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, … Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 18:5, 9)
“Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” (Acts 9:31)
“And they (Zacharias and Elisabeth) were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” (Luke 1:6)
“I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.” (2 John 1:4)
From these and others related passages in the Scripture, we can state that walking with God involves three things:
- Relationship – Have you entered into a relationship with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Communication – God communicates with us through His Word, and we communicate with Him in prayer. In this new year, determine that you will carve out special time every day to communicate with the Lord.
- Submission – If we are going to walk with God, we are going to have to let Him lead. He is God and we are His children. Yield to His will and to His Word.
Let us start this new year off right by walking with the Lord!
Posted in Devotions, Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Deuteronomy 32:4
Read the “0101 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
This morning, on this first day of 2020, I want to start with a little Bible study from Genesis 1, and then move into a practical devotional thought from the passage.
The word “replenish” in its exact form is only found twice in the Bible: here and in Genesis 9:1 where God commands Noah to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” The word “replenish” is interesting. According to Websters American Dictionary of the English Language (1828 Edition), it means “to recover former fullness,” which is pretty much how we use the word today. The Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (2003) gives as its first definition: “to fill with persons or animals.” The Strongs Concordance also defines the Hebrew word (מָלָא – male’) as “to fill, or be full.”
Perhaps you are wondering as to why I am offering this word study on “replenish.” The reason is that there are some Bible teachers that would tell us that the word “replenish” only means “to replace or recover from a former fullness,” and based on that narrow view of the word they have come up with some extraordinary theories regarding a previous pre-Genesis world that somehow was destroyed and needed to be recreated by God. C. I. Scofield, in his famous Scofield Reference Bible espoused his Gap Theory partially based upon his understanding of “replenish.” He believed that a previous creation existed on the earth prior to Genesis 1:2, and went through “a cataclysmic change as the result of a divine judgment,” due to the fall of Satan and his fallen angels. His view and others like it offered an explanation for the billions of years that scientists have demanded for the existence of the earth. Personally, I think this is a weak argument. I am an advocate for a young earth, created by God as little as six thousand years ago, and not millions or billions. While I am certainly not a scientist, I would say that there is valid scientific evidence that supports a young earth. See Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis for more information from a scientific perspective.
Now for the practical application. Adam and Eve were given stewardship of a brand new world. They were given dominion and were commanded to subdue it, meaning to take responsibility for it and conquer it. They were to be fruitful and multiply in order to fill the earth with people, and they were to be good stewards of God’s Creation so that the earth would be filled with other good things as well.
Starting today, you and I have a brand new year. Last year is gone. It really matters not whether last year was filled with victories or defeats, we need to move forward in the perfect will of God in the future without dwelling in (or on) the past. Replenish (fill up) this new year that God has given you with all of the things that He would want you to include for a successful and prosperous year for His glory.
Fill the year with the Scripture. Spend some time in the Word of God every day. Follow a Bible reading schedule that will help you to stay on track. We cannot fulfill God’s will apart from His Word.
Fill the year (and yourself) with the Holy Spirit by yielding to His will and not your own. God commands us to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Let Him have control of your life.
Fill the year with Soul winning. Tell everyone you know about our wonderful Saviour. Let’s subdue 2020 for the Lord. Let’s let God work through us to give us dominion to “occupy” for Him this year.
Posted in Devotions, Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10
Read a previous post from this passage – “The Big Picture”
“And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.” – (Genesis 46:29-30)
“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” – (Proverbs 17:9)
I could be wrong about this, but I do not believe that Joseph ever told his father what his brothers had actually done to him. He does discuss it with the brothers, but only to assure them that he had forgiven them, because he knew that God had allowed all of it to happen for a greater purpose. Joseph was certainly in a good position to get even with his brothers, but what good would that have done. He also could have brought their evil report to their father as he had done earlier in his life, but that would only have hurt his father, and further damage relationships within the family.
Joseph was a great picture of Christ. He not only forgave their sin, but he also worked hard to restore the relationship. We need to learn to be more like Joseph. Too many of us are harboring bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts toward those who have wronged us. We refuse to just let things go. We want to keep punishing the people who have hurt us in the past, and we want to make sure that everbody else knows what they have done. But in the long run, we are only hurting ourselves, and that bitterness that is oozing from our hearts is literally destroying us from within.
Let it go. Learn to forgive, forget, and move forward in your relationships with people. Yes, we have been wronged, but we also have wronged others as well. It profits none of us to continue living in the past.
Posted in Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
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 a previous post from today’s reading passage – “Passed the Test”
“And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.” (Genesis 37:26 & 27)
“Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad benot with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.” (Genesis 44:33 & 34)
There is quite a contrast between the events that take place in chapter 37 and those that happen in chapter 44 of the Book of Genesis. In chapter 37 the brothers of Joseph want to put Joseph to death (all except Reuben). Judah, who is the fourth oldest son comes up with idea of selling his brother into slavery. His idea does save Joseph’s life, but consider with me what this heinous act did to Joseph’s father, Jacob. We are all familiar with the events that transpired in the life of Joseph; they are recorded in these chapters 37 through 44. God had his hand on Joseph, and although he certainly suffered, God raised him up to a position of great influence and authority. But what about Jacob? For years Jacob thought his favorite son, Joseph, was dead. Joseph’s brothers seemed to have no problem going home and telling their father that their brother was killed by some wild beast. How could their level of compassion and care for their father be so low that they would be willing to put him through the tragic loss of Joseph.
There is certainly a change, however, in chapter 44. Joseph puts his brothers through a series of tests. (You will have to read the story for yourself in order to fully grasp the thought I am trying to convey here.) The final test is when Joseph arranges to “set up” Benjamin his youngest brother. I think Joseph was really trying to keep Benjamin safe with him, away from his other brothers. He tells the brothers that Benjamin is going to have to be kept as a bondman in Egypt. But notice how Judah intercedes this time for his brother. He remembers what the loss of Joseph did to his father, and now he is doing everything in his power to keep the same thing from happening to Benjamin. He knows that the loss of Benjamin will completely destroy his father. He even goes as far as to offer to take the place of Benjamin. This is certainly a change from his earlier days.
Judah changed. God changed him. God can change you and I too. People can change. I believe the best way to bring about the needed changes in your life is for you to get as close to God as you can. I am convinced that as we draw nigh to God, He will purge the dross from our lives, and conform us to the image of the Lord Jesus. Do you desire to remain the same or do you desire to be more like Jesus in your life? Judah certainly bore a resemblance to the Lord Jesus here in chapter 44 in the way that he interceded for his brother, and by the way he was willing to be a substitute. God can do the same for you and me as we yield our lives and our will to Him.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – (Romans 12:2)
Posted in Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
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.
“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” (Revelation 5:5)
We don’t talk a lot about Judah as a man. We know that Jesus comes from the tribe of Judah, and we know that when Israel split in the time of King Rehoboam that the tribe of Judah alone stood in Jerusalem and demonstrated better adherence to the Law of God than her neighbors to the north did; but what do we know about the man, Judah. I have been guilty of assuming that the reason that God chose the tribe of Judah above all of the other tribes was due to the fact that Judah was a more honorable man than his three older brothers. In fact, I recently posted that thought in the “Boys Will Be Boys” post from two days ago. However, after reading today’s passage, I had to give it a little more thought.
In chapter 37, we discover that it was Judah that suggested to his brothers that they sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites, and there is nothing in the context to support the fact that he did so for the purpose of sparing his life:
“And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content.” (Genesis 37:26-27)
It appears that he merely wanted to make a profit from the situation. Killing Joseph would not have benefitted him financially. By the way, we usually don’t think too highly about Reuben, but it was he who tried to save Joseph, not Judah.
Chapter 38 is a parenthetical digression dealing solely with the family of Judah. In it we see that Judah marries a woman from Canaan:
“And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite, whose name was Shuah; and he took her, and went in unto her.” (Genesis 38:2)
You may recall that Isaac strictly forbid Jacob (Judah’s father) from taking a wife from the daughters of Canaan. (Genesis 28:1, 6)
Later on in chapter 38, we read about Judah purchasing a prostitute, which turns out to be his daughter-in-law:
“When Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face. And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter in law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?” (Genesis 38:15-16)
Now in a couple of days we are going to read a story about Judah where he is doing a good thing. In Genesis 44 he will be interceding with Joseph, pleading with him to allow Benjamin to go home to his father, Jacob. He even offers himself as a substitute. Judah got this one right:
“Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh. … For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren.” (Genesis 44:18, 32-33)
So, here it is: the bad and the good about Judah, and it seems that there is more bad than good recorded. So why did God choose Judah? Was it because he was a good man as opposed to his evil older brothers? No, I don’t think so. He did, however, demonstrate Christlikeness when he offered himself as a substitute for his brother Benjamin. But I still do not think that is the reason why Christ descends from Judah. Judah was just like you and me. He was a sinner. He did bad things, just like us; and it was only because of God’s grace that He could do anything with Judah at all. By the way, it is only because of God’s grace that He can do anything with you or I. He saves us by His grace, and He can only use us by His grace as well.
“Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.” (Genesis 49:8-12)
Posted in Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
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.
“And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” (Genesis 37:11)
“And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,” (Acts 7:9)
“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on; …” (“Othello” – Shakespeare)
“For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.” (Mark 15:10)
“Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:26)
“Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” – (Proverbs 27:4)
You have probably heard the expression, “Jealousy is a terrible thing.” There can be no clearer illustration of this truth than the example given here in Genesis 37. Here Joseph’s brothers are so jealous (envious) of Joseph that they first conspire to kill him, but finally acquiesce to selling him into slavery. What would cause them to envy there brother so much that it would cause them to sin so against him (not to mention against their father)? I believe we can see three ingredients that fueled the jealousy.
1 The Favoritism of the Father – Joseph was one of only two boys that was born to Rachel, the wife he loved dearly; and he was the second youngest of all of his children. Jacob did not attempt to veil his love for this child, either He made it clear to all others inthe family that He had a very special place in his heart for Joseph. He made him a beautiful coat of many colors. The other brothers received no such token of the father’s affection. It is not wrong to treat our children individually, based upon the needs that each may have; but it is wrong for parents to love their children differently. I confess, that at times this can be difficult; but we must strive to assure each of our children that we love them, and that our love for each does not exceed the love of another.
2 The Folly of the Son – I may be off base here; but Joseph did not show much wisdom in his bold declarations of the dreams to his brothers. God had obviously revealed a special plan for Joseph: a plan which involved him being placed in a position of authority over, not only his brothers, but also his father and mother. Maybe it was just because of his honest nature, but Joseph seemed to almost rub it in the face of his brothers.
3 The Finger of God – God obviously had his hand on the boy’s life. He had a special plan for Joseph. God’s hand upon Joseph was clearly evident to his brothers, and I believe this was the real problem. They saw in Joseph something they had lost. Joseph had a purity about him, that we have already seen to be lacking in some, if not all, of his brothers. They saw in Joseph what they should be, and instead of rejoicing in his devotion to the Lord, they attempted to destroy the reminder.
Envy is a terrible thing. I fight it all of the time in my life. I hear of a preacher being blessed of God in his ministry, and often the “green eyed monster” rears his ugly head. I sometimes have to force myself to rejoice in the victory that God is giving to my brothers. I bet that some of you have this problem as well. God blesses somebody in your life, maybe financially or materially, and you get jealous. Maybe your peer at work receives a promotion, and you don’t. How does it make you feel? Ask God to help you rid your heart of this monster. This green beast does not come from the Spirit of God; he is purely a product of your sinful nature. Don’t allow him to influence you to such an extent that you sin against God and others with your words or actions. The “Green Eyed Monster” needs to be put to death in all of our lives. Remember, God is not a repecter of persons. He loves no one more than he loves you, and He has a special plan for your life, just as much as He has used others.
Posted in Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
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 a previous post from today’s reading – “Lead On Softly“
“And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.” (Genesis 34:25)
“And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine: and Israel heard [it]. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:” (Genesis 35:22)
I grew up in a home with four boys. We were blessed to not have any sisters. Girls have cooties: at least that is what I was told as a boy. In fact, even in my extended family, on my dad’s side, there were only boys. I had six male cousins, but no girls. I remember my grandmother would often get frustrated with our bad behavior. We were always fooling and fighting. We were being boys. She would often go get my dad and tell him: “Those Boys!” I must have heard that phrase come out of her lips a thousand times, and it usually meant that we were in trouble.
Jacob also had a bunch of boys that would often find themselves in trouble. In fact the verses above tell of the shinanigans that three of the sons were involved in. The first involved sons numbers two and three: Simeon and Levi. (I was often referred to by number as a child as well.) It seems that these boys wanted to exact revenge upon a local huligan that had raped their sister. Now, there is nothing wrong with these boys wanting to see justice done to this guy; but they took it way too far. Without the permission of their father, they go into this man’s village and kill every male. Jacob later recalls the event and says that the boys were instruments of cruelty, and that their anger was fierce. I don’t blame them for the way they felt, and I do not fault them for desiring revenge. I have three daughters of my own now, and I don’t even want to think about what I would do if this happened to one of them. But, there will be many times in life where our passion, and our thinking need to be yielded to the will of God.
The next incident involves son number one; the oldest, Reuben. This man also had a big problem with passion, but with him it was a sick lust for the opposite sex. This man actually had sex with his father’s concubine (kind of a second class wife). His fleshly desires were out of control. He was certainly not considering the will of God when he did this. Consider for a moment the depravity of the human heart. Your heart and my heart. We need to yield our members as instruments of righteousness; and we need to walk in the Spirit so that we will not fulfil the lusts that are inside each of us.
Unfortunately for these boys there were some pretty severe consequences for their actions. You will recall that the boys involved in these two incidents were boys one through three, right? Reuben, who was the firstborn, should have been the one with the birthright, but he lost it. Simeon and Levi were disqualified also. Guess who got it? Your right. Boy number four, Judah. I seem to recall that Jesus is called the lion of the tribe of Reuben, right? No. He is the lion of the tribe of Judah. Jesus descended from Son Number Four. The only thing good that came from Reuben is a tasty sandwich with Pastrami and Swiss Cheese. The bottom line is that I want to exhort you to think before you allow your passions to take control. The act of passion takes only a moment, but the consequences are long term. Please, walk with God. Run every decision, every word, every act past His desk. Let Him control your passions.
Posted in Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31
Read a previous post from this passage – “Moving Forward“
And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? (Genesis 29:25)
It this passage we see that Jacob who had deceived his father is now being deceived himself. He had left Canaan (Israel) and travelled back to the place where his family originated (near Babylon) in order to find a wife. He arrives and meets a beautiful young lady named Rachel who happened to be his cousin (OK back in those days – really wierd today). He falls in love with her and strikes a bargain with her uncle to work for him for seven years as payment for his daughter. Oh how I wish that we still followed this program today. I have three beutiful daughters and I would have been rich. Anyway, after his seven years of hard labor is completed, Jacob wants his wife. However, when he wakes up in the morning he does not find beautiful Rachel lying next to him in the bed, but instead he sees Leah, Rachel’s older sister. You can imagine the suprize that must have been on his face when he laid eyes on Leah who the Bible describes as “tender- eyed”. That was the phrase you used in Bible days when you wanted to be kind when describing someone who was ugly. Jacob was tricked by his uncle Laban. The deceiver was deceived.
I have two thoughts regarding this passage of Scripture. The first is the principle of sowing and reaping. Jacob reaped deception because he was a sower of deception. In fact, I think we learn in the coming chapters that Jacob reaps a little more than he sowed. We sure have to be careful in our lives because this principle is certainly in effect today as well. The Bible says be sure your sin will find you out; and the way of the transgressor is hard. It will eventually come back to bite you. I have seen this principle often in my life and ministry. Many of the problems that I have dealt with as a pastor have been areas where I have been guilty in the past. However, the principle works for good things as well as bad. Sow some good things in your life and you will reap some good things back. Sow a little mercy toward others and you will reap a little mercy from others. Sow a little kindness, and reap a little kindness; sow a little compassion, and you will reap a little compassion. You get the idea.
The second thought is that you cannot trust the world. Laban was not a saved man, and Jacob was trusting him to be faithful and trustworthy in his dealings with him. Laban is a type of the devil. If you make a deal with the devil or the world for Rachel, you are going to wake up someday with Leah. Satan is a liar, and this world is completely out for itself. Even God’s people can be downright untrustworthy at times; but know this: you can trust God completely. He will always deliver what he promises, and He will always do right. Even when we don’t understand what He is doing, or why; we can be assured that He loves us, and that He has our best interests in mind.
Posted in Thoughts from Genesis by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.