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.
“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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
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 Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
“Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi. And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.” (Genesis 29:27-35)
Good morning. Did you ever have the feeling that you were unloved, that nobody cared about you, or that everyone hated you? Maybe it’s your fault, maybe it’s not. Leah was hated. The Bible states that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, but when the Lord looked at the heart of Jacob, He could see that Leah was hated. What did God do? He opened her womb, and she conceived. She bare Jacob his first four sons. At the birth of the fourth son she said, “Now will I praise the LORD.”:therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.”
Her fourth son was Judah. Judah is the tribe that the Lord chose to come to earth through: the King of Kings, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, our Emmanuel: God with us.
How do you feel about harlots? God used a harlot to hide the spies sent into Jericho, saved her and her family, then used her in the line of Jesus. Rahab (spelled Rachab in the New Testament) the harlot was King David’s great, great grandmother…
“And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;” (Matthew 1:5-6)
Then after a few years later, we find Ruth in the line of Messiah…
“Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.” (Ruth 1:1-6)
Moab was the firstborn of Lot and his daughter. When Israel did evil in the site of the Lord, God had them serve Eglon, king of Moab, for 18 years.
“And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees. So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.” (Judges 3:12-14)
Israel hated the Moabites; God didn’t. So God put a woman of Moab, Ruth, in the line of Jesus also…
“So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.” (Ruth 4:13-17)
Come to think of it, everyone in the line of Judah, up to, but not including Jesus, was a sinner: everybody who ever was and is going to be is a sinner except Jesus. He died for the Leah’s of this world, the Rahab’s of this world, the Ruth’s of this world, and everybody else who has ever lived or died in this world. And Jesus gave His life for us because He loved us…
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:14-17)
If you feel you are one of the unloved, remember that Jesus loves you. He loved you so much that He believed you were worth dying for. Remember Leah, Rahab, and Ruth.
How do you feel about others? Do they meet your high standards or not? Remember who God chooses to use: you just may be looking down your nose at someone who will do something great for God.
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 48:1 & 2
Read the “0110 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
I really do not know where to begin the discussion regarding this story from Genesis 27. There is so much that is wrong here, and so many lies. We will take them one by one:
1. Isaac was actually many years from his death.
“And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.” (Genesis 27:4)
Isaac did say in verse 2 that he didn’t know the day of his death, but it seems that he feels his death would be very soon. Actually, his death would be more than twenty years later; after Jacob returns from Padanarum with his wives and children. The point is this: in this chapter, Isaac seems fairly sure that the day of his death was imminent, so much so that he is getting his affairs in order regarding his children’s inheritance, but the reality was that he had many more years to live and serve God.
Another thing about Isaac is that he was very carnal. He seems to be completely focused on his flesh. Notice how many times this chapter references Jacob’s love for savory meat (Genesis 27:4,9, & 14).
2. Rebekah conspires with Jacob to deceive her husband.
“My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing. And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.” (Genesis 27:12-13)
Rebekah cannot bear the thought of seeing her favorite son passed by for the blessing, so she conspires with him to deceive her husband. Jacob is reluctant at first but being a Mamma’s Boy he submits to her deception instead of obeying his dad and God. Some theologians have taught that Rebekah was merely trying to assist the will of God as she was told by God that the elder brother would serve the younger brother (Genesis 25:23). I don’t buy that. I think she was just playing favorites. Besides, God did not need her help in accomplishing His will, especially if that help would involve deception and a lack of submission to her husband.
3. Esau lies about his birthright and then determines to slay his brother.
“And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?” (Genesis 27:36)
Esau may have been innocent this time, but his birthright was not “taken away” from him. He gave it up, all because he wanted a bowl of “red pottage” (Genesis 25:29 – 34). After he loses the blessing, however, he is justifiably angry, but his anger crosses the line and becomes wrath, and he determines to kill Jacob as soon as his dad is dead (Genesis 27:41).
This family is, to say the least, dysfunctional. It is hard to comprehend that all of this carnality, lying, favoritism, and hatred is present in the family that God chose to be the patriarchal head of Israel. This is a wonderful picture of the grace of God. When I read this story, I am greatly encouraged because if God could bless a dysfunctional family like Isaac’s, then he can certainly bless the Erickson family, which has had more than its share of dysfunctional moments as well.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 47:1
Read the “0109 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth. And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us; for thou art much mightier than we. And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him. And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah. And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” (Genesis 26:15-22)
When we read this passage we see the struggle that Issac went through. Issac wasn’t struggling because of any wrong he had done; he was very blessed of the Lord and it made the Philistines jealous, so much so they attacked in a major way. They stopped up the wells that Abraham had dug while he was alive. It’s easy to see why this was such a serious offense – water is life. For the next few verses we see Issac striving to renew these wells by removing the “earth” to get to the water once again. I would like to take a moment and share just how important this passage is, or should be to Christians today, and how the Lord spoke to me. Abraham dug these wells, and with his passing the wells were filled with earth. Our spiritual fathers dug wells of living water and laid a foundation of “Christianity” for us to draw from. When I say “us” I am speaking to my generation. A generation that I believe has become very apathetic to the idea of drawing from the wells. The wells of truth have become so full of “earth” (aka worldliness) and we are ok with that. If Isaac decided to sit back and leave the wells filled with earth, instead of digging them again, people would have died. Because, water is life.
What has filled our wells?
Worldliness – fitting in with everyone else around us.
Apathy – a numbness to the real facts, that people are dying and going to Hell.
Bitterness – towards former preachers or parents who weren’t perfect and messed up.
Contentment – to just live a mediocre Christian life.
If we continue to allow the wells to fill up with this “earth” people are going to die. The living water of Christ is not flowing and people are dying and going to hell. Because, water is life.
So what can we do? We can take back the wells; we can dig again the wells which our fathers dug. It won’t be easy, it wasn’t easy for Isaac (Genesis 26:20-21) but we can do it, just as he did. It’s going to take faith, hard work, sacrifice, determination and so, so much more. If we don’t do something now, it will be too late. The next generation will have no well to draw from, no water to drink, and they will die. It’s time we wake up and take back the wells. Because, water is life.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 47:1
Read the “0109 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.” (Genesis 26:7)
In order for you to fully understand this morning’s thought, you might want to go back and read Genesis chapter twenty. If this account of Isaac lying about the true identity of his wife sounds familiar to you, it is because we read back in Genesis 20 that his father, Abraham, did the exact same thing to Abimelech. It appears that the apple doesn’t fall very far the tree. Isaac apparently had picked up some of his father’s bad habits.
There is an old expression which states that parents don’t get what they want in child-rearing, they get what they are. I have observed that to be true. Our children definitely begin to emulate our values, character traits, and even our mannerisms. As a school teacher, I have closely observed the children in my charge, and it is amazing how much the children are like their parents. It’s kind of scary to think that we are also passing on our bad habits. Isaac learned how to lie from his dad.
As parents, we must be very careful to remember that our children are always watching us; almost analyzing us. They mistakenly think that everything we do is right, so they have no reason not to mimic who we are. Even later when they are taught with words regarding bad behavior, the message that they received from the life of the parent will often leave a stronger impression. Parents, and mentors, need to be very careful to watch their own behavior, especially around those young ones that are so impressionable. We need to be what we want them to be. Be the right example to your children.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
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.
Read the “0107 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.” (Genesis 20:6)
Abraham told Abimelech king of Gerar that Sarah was his sister which, as we find out, is true but not quite the full truth. Abimelech has no reason not to believe him and as a result takes her for himself. Before he ever does anything with her the Lord appears harshly to him in a dream saying, “thou art but a dead man.” Eventually, they get it figured out and he gives her back to Abraham. Abraham then prays for Abimelech, specifically requesting that the women of Gerar would be able to bare children again because the Lord had closed up their wombs for Sarah’s sake.
There is a lot not right with this story and mainly it’s about how Abraham handled this situation completely wrong. He didn’t trust God. He was willing to watch another man take his wife to save his own life, and this wasn’t the first time he had done this. Another point to see in this is how awesome God is at taking our mess-ups and making them works of art. In the end Abraham was tremendously blessed by Abimelech. It is a great picture of God’s grace.
However, my thought is not derived from either of these things but rather on King Abimelech and how we can relate with him. Have you ever tried to do something like apply for a job, buy a house, or pursue a certain dream only to be met with blockade after blockade as if the very hand of God was fighting against you? You may be pursuing something good in the integrity of your heart, just like it says about Abimelech taking Sarah. You might not be trying to do anything wrong but you can’t see it from Heaven’s perspective. It felt like God was punishing Abimelech, but rather God protected him by withholding him from sinning against God. The same goes for us, we can’t see what He see’s. He could be protecting us from some unforeseen danger.
Trust God and follow his will.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Posted in Devotions by Justin Mears with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 25
Read the “0106 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” (Genesis 18:19)
The big story from our passage today involves the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, apparently along with other “cities of the plain” (Genesis 19:28 – 29; Deuteronomy 29:23). Before the Lord destroys those cities, however, He visits with Abraham and lets him know about His plans. In chapter eighteen, He appears in bodily form with two other “men.” Bible students have long debated as to who or what these men were who arrived with the Lord and then leave the Lord alone with Abraham (Genesis 18:22), but it is logical to conclude that they are the same angels who show up, again in bodily form in Sodom in chapter nineteen.
The verse that drew my attention for this post is Genesis 18:17 – 19 where the Lord discusses with the angels his plan to reveal to Abraham ahead of time what he plans to do with Sodom and Gomorrah. He tells the angels that He “knows” Abraham, and then He reveals specifically that He knows what Abraham will do and be, not just who he was previously. God is the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 21:6; 22:13). He knows everything about us past, present, and future. He not only knows our past, He knows our potential. We tend to only see ourselves in our present and past state, but God sees who we can be in the future.
Notice also that God made a covenant (Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17) with Abraham based upon what He knew about him (foreknowledge). The last statement in verse nineteen states: “that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” There is a lot to think about from this verse, but the practical point I am trying to make is this: If God calls you to do something, it is because He knows what you will be as well as what you can do. You only know about what you have already done, but God knows what you can and will do. I made a decision a long time ago that If I was asked to do something that I believed was the will of God – even something seemingly impossible for me – I would step out in faith to do it. Your “I can’t do that” thoughts are based upon what you have already done, not based upon what God knows you can do. More importantly, God knows what He wants to do and can do through you. I am not saying that you can do anything that you want to do, but you can and should do anything that God wants you to do. God said to Abraham and Sarah in this same chapter, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD? (Genesis 18:14a) The answer is no. God can do in and through you whatever He wills. You just need to say yes to His will.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 5 comments.
Read the “0105 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.” (Genesis 14:14)
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
Abraham demonstrated that he was a good friend to a man who in the past was not so friendly to Abraham. Back in Genesis 13:8 – 11 , Abraham’s nephew Lot decided that he no longer wanted to live in the same place that Abraham dwelt in. He said that there just wasn’t enough grazing grass for the both of them and their large herds. He wanted to move away from the man that had taken him in and took care of him after his dad died (See Genesis 11:27 – 28). Abraham was very gracious to Lot and allowed him to make the first choice about where he wanted to be, and Abraham agreed to settle away from whatever area that Lot chose. Lot’s choice was the “well watered” plain of the Jordan Valley.
Time moves on as it always does, and Lot eventually ends up living near and then inside of the very wicked city of Sodom. When Sodom and four other cities are conquered and taken captive by a confederation of four kings, Lot and his family are taken into captivity with them. Abraham could have forgotten about Lot and left him in the hands of the Canaanites, but Abraham was a good friend to Lot, and came to his rescue. A good friend will help even when the person they are helping has not been very friendly. Abraham will later come to Lot’s rescue again by interceding for him to God (see Genesis 18:23 – 33) when God was about to destroy cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, including all the people living in them. God spares Lot and some of his family by removing them from the city before the destruction came (See Genesis 19).
Uncle Abraham was not a “fair weather friend” to Lot. He made a choice to be a friend to him, and he continued acting as his friend even when his kindness was not being reciprocated. People may not always be friendly, kind, and loving to us; but we can choose to be a friend to them regardless. Christ acted as our friend by dying for us when we were not deserving, and He still is our friend today. Let’s take the spiritual high road in our friendships. Let’s choose to be good to people, to be friendly towards them, even when they are not being very kind to us.
One more thought. While we should always choose to be friendly to all people, we should also be careful who we allow to be good friends to us. If we let the wrong people get close to us and influence us, it could pull us out of the will of God. Remember, “Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab” (2 Samuel 13:3), but Jonadab wasn’t a very good friend. Amnon should have been a little wiser in who he chose for his friend, it would have saved him a lot of heartache, and in the long run it would have saved his life.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.