A Peculiar Treasure

Today’s Passage – Exodus 19 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 7 – 8Proverbs 26Psalms 126 – 130)

Read the “0126 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – Come As You Are.

“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and [how] I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These [are] the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:4-6)

The phrase, “peculiar treasure,” is translated from one Hebrew word (סְגֻלָּה – cĕgullah) which means “a valued possession.” Sometimes we use the word “peculiar” today to refer to something in a derogatory way, but here it just has the idea of something that is different, unique, or special. In the context of these verses in Exodus, the peculiar treasure that God is referring to is Israel, the people that He had just redeemed from Egypt “on eagles’ wings.” God uses this phrase, “peculiar treasure,” one other time in reference to Israel:

“For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, [and] Israel for his peculiar treasure. (Psalm 135:4)

The Hebrew root word (סְגֻלָּה – cĕgullah) behind the phrase has also been translated into other English phrases that have a similar meaning, such as: “special people” (Deuteronomy 7:6), “peculiar people” (Deuteronomy 14:2; 26:18), and even “jewels” (Malachi 3:17). In all of the these examples, the reference is to God’s People, Israel.

I want to make a leap here into the New Testament and broaden the application of that phrase “peculiar treasure,” to include Christians. Twice the phrase, “peculiar people,” is used specifically in reference to New Testament believers:

“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14)


“But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (1 Peter 2:9)

God considers His people today to be a peculiar treasure to Him just as He did (and still does) the Nation of Israel. Notice, however, that He put a caveat in all of these verses, regarding how and when He especially sees His people as a peculiar treasure. In Exodus 19:5, it was conditioned on the fact that Israel obeyed God’s voice and kept His covenant. In Titus 2:14, it is connected with the fact that these believers were redeemed from iniquity, purified, and zealous of good works. In 1 Peter 2:9, these peculiar people are said to “shew forth the praises of God,” meaning that their lives were to glorify God.

If you are saved, you are a peculiar treasure to God. You are different from other people who do not have that special relationship with God through faith in His Son. You are not better in yourself than other people who do not know Him, but you are certainly seen by God as something peculiar, very special to Him. You are one of His jewels. Shouldn’t your life (and mine) reflect that special relationship? Shouldn’t the way we live her on earth “shew forth the praises” of the God who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Sad to say that many of us are hiding our light and trying to blend in with the rest of those that are still in darkness. Ought we not rather embrace the fact that we are peculiar and special to God? It may be that we will then be used of Him to draw more people to Christ. Just a thought.


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He Brought Us This Far – Let’s Keep Going

Today’s Passage – Exodus 13 – 15 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Luke 3 – 4Proverbs 24Psalms 116 – 120)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Isaiah 51:11

Read the “0124 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Quit Griping!

“[Is] not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For [it had been] better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:12-14)

It is human nature to be fearful, struggle in our faith, and to doubt what God is doing in our lives. The Israelites had been marvelously and miraculously delivered from their bondage in Egypt, but now they faced the obstacle of the Red Sea in front of them, as well as a huge army of pursuing Egyptians behind them. This was certainly a great test of their faith. God had promised to deliver them from Egypt and to bring them into the Promised Land, in Canaan. So far, God has kept his word. So far, He has overcome every obstacle and come through for Israel time and again in keeping his promise. But can they trust Him to deliver them in this next great challenge? YES! God had brought them this far, and He would continue to work until He finished what He started. We can trust God to finish what He started in us today as well:

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6)

Let me give you an illustration of this principle at work in our church recently. As many of you are aware, our church has been in a building project for many years now. Soon after we built our last addition, God revealed to us that we needed to add more nursery and fellowship space. We have been praying, planning, and preparing, as well as saving for this project for a decade now. [Note – It is extremely difficult and expensive to build anything in New Jersey.] We have had several different design plans drawn up, and much discussion and consultation has been done with architects, engineers, township officials, etc. In 2020, the time finally came to present our final plans to our township’s planning board. I, for one, was a little apprehensive. Will they refuse to let us build? Will they require something that will make it impossible for us to afford the addition? We were afraid of all kinds of things that never came to pass. Somewhere along the way, going into the meeting, the Lord convinced me that He brought us this far, and He was going to see us through. I remember thinking to myself, “why would God brings us all of this way, only to shut us down?” He wouldn’t. God had brought us to this point, and He was going to see us through until the end, just like He did with the Israelites. The planning board passed our project unanimously, and they even worked with us to make the project a little easier.

Don’t listen to that voice of negativity inside of your head that’s telling you “it’s impossible; it can’t be done.” Don’t listen to the naysayers who are always murmuring and complaining, and doubting God. Listen to God. Find out what He wants you to do, trust His Word and His will, and keep moving forward. Stick your toes into the Red Sea of whatever obstacle you are facing, and watch what God will do.


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Now Do I Have Your Attention?

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 – 2; Proverbs 23; Psalms 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 – “Your Free To Go” and “What Can Wash Away My Sin?

“And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.” – (Exodus 12:30-33)

Flies, frogs, locusts, darkness, hail. All of these and more sent by the hand of God in order that the Egyptians, as well as the Israelites, would know that there is an awesome and powerful God in Heaven. God’s command to the king of Egypt was simple: “let my people go”. However, Pharaoh was not too willing to heed the request of God. He seemed to be more willing to endure all of the plagues that God was sending his way. That is, all until his first born son was taken from him at the hand of God. God finally got his attention. He was finally ready to yield his stubborn will to the will of God.

There was a lot to think about in the passages of Scripture that we read this morning and I understand that there are deeper theological truths behind the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, but I couldn’t get past the thought that sometimes God has to allow some especially painful things in our lives in order to get our attention. We are sometimes like that hard clay that the potter must soften before he can use it. I’m just wondering this morning, is there something that the Lord has been trying to do in your life that you have been resisting. Have you hardened yourself to the point where, in order for God to accomplish His will, He will have to break you. What will God have to do to get your attention?  I suppose this thought applies just as much to the Christian that is fighting against God’s perfect will as it does to the lost person that is resisting salvation. Whichever your case is, the remedy is the same. Soften your heart, and yield to God’s will. Is there some sin that you are holding on to? God will do what He has to do in order to get you to repent of it and forsake it. Whatever it takes, God will accomplish His will for your life. You cannot win in a battle with God.


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Our Mighty God – The Saturday Morning Post

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 – 16; Proverbs 22; Psalms 106 – 110)

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

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?” (Exodus 9:13-17)

Good morning. As we look about this deteriorating world we live in, we can see a dwindling tolerance for Christianity. Can you think of one word to sum up the problem? How about religion? You can either work your way to God through religion, or have a relationship with God: know Him personally. Here is the problem: there can be only one right way: whose religion is right? Nobody’s…

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

Religion is not going to get you to Heaven. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Him. You need to have a relationship, not a religion.

As we see Pharaoh in this passage, he is raised up. God raised him up to demonstrate His great power. Pharaoh may have thought he was the man in charge, but he wasn’t. God has always ruled, and will always rule. Throughout all the plagues Pharaoh went to Moses to ask the Lord to remove them. The only one that would not be removed was the death of the firstborn. Pharaoh would finally let the children of Israel go. But Pharaoh chased after them in his chariots. And God got the glory for freeing His people from bondage in Egypt, as the waters of the Red Sea swept over Pharaoh’s chariots and army.

There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. Jesus said without me, ye can do nothing. God’s way is always the right way. When we do things in our own power, it will only lead to failure. If we have a relationship with the Lord, He will show us the right way to go, and the right thing to do.

Peace.


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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.


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Give God the Glory

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 – 4; Proverbs 16; Psalms 76 – 80

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

Read a previous post from this passage – “In His Time

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

“And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” (Genesis 41:16)

In chapter 41 of Genesis, we hear about Pharaoh’s dreams of the corn and the kine. He know that these dreams mean something, but he has no clue what the significance of them is. He learns that there is a man named Joseph down in the dungeon that has been known to interpret dreams for other people. Joseph is hastily summoned to appear before Pharaoh, and Pharaoh questions Joseph about “Joseph’s: ability to explain the meaning of these of these dreams. Joseph is very quick to deflect the focus from himself to the Lord. He doesn’t take any credit for his gift but immediately gives the glory to God. In fact, five times in Joseph’s discussion with Pharaoh Joseph mentions God to Pharaoh. (vs. 16, 25, 28, and 32) Pharaoh gets the message also, because in vs. 38 and 39, he acknowledges that the interpretation of the dream can from God also:

“And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:” (Genesis 41:38-39)

This heathen king was introduced to the God of the Universe all because Joseph took an opportunity to use a gift that was given to him by God and acknowledge the fact that it was God who enabled him to do it. 

How many opportunities do we get each day to display our God-given abilities to the lost world around us? But, when we do a good job and we are recognized, do we give God the glory by letting everybody know that it is God who is working through us. Let’s not steal God’s glory, and let’s not waste opportunities to be witnesses for the Lord. Our sole purpose in life is to make God look good; to glorify Him in front of a lost and dying world. If we meet Pharaoh in Heaven someday, it will be because Joseph made God look good. How many people do we point to God?

By the way, the opposite of this story is also true. When we do wrong things in front of the lost people around us, we are making God look bad. What an awesome responsibility and privilege we have to represent the Lord in this world. Let’s be sure to give Him the glory when we get things right, and take the blame when we do things wrong. Let’s make God look good to the world around us.


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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 is 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.


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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)


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Perspective

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 previous posts from this passage – “No More Jacob,” and “Following the Will of God.

“And he heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory.” (Genesis 31:1)

The dictionary would define perspective as “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view” (Apple Dictionary)

In the very first verse of our text today in Genesis 31, we see that Laban and his sons had a completely different perspective or point of view than Jacob did. From Laban’s family’s perspective, Jacob had received all of his prosperity from Laban: that Jacob had actually taken it from him and his other sons. From their point of view, Jacob owed them greatly. However, Jacob had a completely different perspective. He saw things in a completely different way than Laban and his boys. Jacob’s side of the story was that Laban’s family did not have very much when Jacob joined them, and because of the hard work and blessing of God upon Jacob, God had increased both Laban and Jacob tremendously. We know from the text that Jacob’s perspective was right:

” … for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.” (Genesis 31:12)

My point, however, is that Laban and Jacob had completely different perspectives on the exact same set of circumstances. It is like those pictures that were circulating around the internet a while back. The image would be of a dress, and some people would sware that the dress was green, and others were absolutely positive that it was another color. People often see things from different perspectives. 

Again, we know that Jacob’s particular point of view in this case was the accurate one according to God, but that does not change the fact that Laban’s sons truly believed that they were right also. They were not, but they thought they were. They could not see things from Jacob’s persepective. Oftentimes, people see things through the lense of what is in their best interest. Jacob was benefiting more than the sons of Laban were from the arrangement that Laban made with Jacob, so they naturally thought that somehow something was amiss; they thought Jacob must have been stealing from them, which simply was not true. 

There are a couple of lessons here that I think we need to learn. First, when it comes to conflicts between two people who are, in most areas, likeminded, there needs to be a sincere attempt to try to understand the other’s perspective: try to see things from their point of view. Oftentimes, if an open mind is kept, conflicts can be easily resolved.

However, when trying to understand people who come from a completely different perspective, a little more care will have to be taken. Christians have a God perspective; especially those believers who are well-grounded in the Scriptures. We see things from God’s perspective (at least for the most part). The lost world and even some carnal Christians have a totally different perspective, partially because of the fact that they have been blinded to spiritual Truth. Satan has blinded them:

“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

The lost world believes that Christians are foolish for believing what we do. They simply do not understand us:

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

As believers, we need to try to understand that the problem is a spiritual one. We are simply living in two different worlds; we have totally different mindsets or paradigms. There needs to be a paradigm shift. We need to pray that God will open their eyes to the Truth of the gospel. If they were to get saved, the problem of different perspectives would be solved. Like you, I get very frustrated watching and listening to the politicians and television personalities who “simply don’t get it.” But, they can’t get it because right now they are blind to the Truth. God needs to open their eyes. We need to pray for them, and compassionately love them and try to preach the Truth to them.


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A Dysfunctional Family

Today’s Passage – Genesis 27 – 28 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 19 – 20Proverbs 10Psalms 46 – 50)

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.

Read a previous post from this passage – “I am with Thee,” “The House of God” and “Savory Meat

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.

Christmas 2018


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