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 6 comments.
Read the “0112 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“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.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson 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 4 comments.
Read the “0109 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. And Isaac dwelt in Gerar…” (Genesis 26:1-6)
Good morning. There was famine in the land. Isaac had a decision to make. He could go down to Egypt, or go where God wanted him to go. He could go to Egypt where there was food, or trust God to supply his needs. God promised to be with Isaac and bless him. He would multiply Isaac’s seed and bless the nations of the earth through his children. If he went to Egypt, the only thing waiting for him was food. If he stayed where God wanted him, Isaac had God, and God’s blessing waiting for him.
What choice would you make? What are the factors you would consider in making your decision? Maybe you would choose Egypt, because it’s easier? Remember Naomi from the Book of Ruth? There was famine in her land too. Naomi and her husband and two sons went to Moab. It was easy, and there was food there. She gained two daughter-in-laws there, but lost her husband and two sons before deciding to go back to her hometown. When she arrived in Bethlehem, all she had with her was Ruth.
“So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.” (Ruth 1:19-22)
Naomi’s husband died. Naomi’s sons died. Maybe when we decide to take the easy way, we should consider our loved ones first. Would you want your loved ones close to God, and being blessed by Him? Look at the reason God would bless Isaac…
“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” (Genesis 26:3-5)
Obedience is still better than sacrifice. Abraham obeyed God’s voice, kept God’s charge, kept God’s commandments, kept God’s statutes, and kept God’s laws. Feast or famine, the choice is up to you.
“But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.” (Jeremiah 7:23)
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 1 comment.
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.
Read the “0107 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read a previous post from this passage: “God Will Provide Himself a Lamb“
In Genesis twenty, we read that Abraham was up to his old tricks again, and not delivering the complete truth; this time to Abimelech, regarding his wife, Sarah. He told Abimelech that Sarah was his sister, which was technically true; she was the half-sister of Abraham, being the daughter of his father, but not his mother. If Abraham was to tell the whole truth, however, he would have had to declare that Sarah was his wife.
The reason that Abraham left out this important little nugget of truth to Abimelech here in chapter twenty, and to Pharaoh, previously in chapter twelve, was because he was afraid that these men would kill him in order to take his wife. This was certainly possible as these men were godless men who were both capable and willing to do whatever they pleased. However, Abraham should have trusted God. In both of these instances God protected Abraham and Sarah anyway, even though he had lied. In both of these instances, God also warned the men not to sin against Him by taking Sarah as their wife.
What is is about us, about our fallen, human nature, that we are prone to dance around the truth, either by outright lying, or by leaving out pertinent information? Is it because we, like Abraham, are afraid that we cannot trust God with the possible consequences of the whole truth? Even if there are real, potential negative consequences associated with telling the whole truth, are we not better off still declaring it. We need to trust God with the outcome. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 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.
26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which [am but] dust and ashes: 28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for [lack of] five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy [it]. 29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do [it] for forty’s sake. 30 And he said [unto him], Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do [it], if I find thirty there. 31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy [it] for twenty’s sake. 32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy [it] for ten’s sake. (Genesis 18:26-32)
This is a very sad story. God informs Abraham that He is going to destroy Sodom because of all of the wickedness that filled the city. Abraham was obviously very concerned because his nephew Lot and his family lived there. Instead of just intervening for Lot and his family, he pleads that God spare Sodom based upon the number of righteous people that live there. He actually haggles with God, eventually reducing the number down to ten. God promised that if He found ten He would not destroy Sodom. Abraham was relieved because surely there had to be at least ten saved people in the city. Lot’s family alone may have numbered more than ten (see Genesis 19:12 – 15). He had a wife, two unmarried daughters, and at least two married daughters who likely had their own children.
Sodom did get destroyed, however, because God did not find ten people within the city who were saved. God did spare Lot and his two unmarried daughters, but the rest of the city along with most of his family were destroyed when God rained down fire and brimstone upon Sodom. How sad! Lot was definitely a saved man (2 Peter 2:7), but he had very little influence for the Lord upon the people around him, including his family.
What about you, Christian? If you had lived in Sodom in that day; or if God was threatening to destroy the city or town that you live in today, would He find ten righteous people living there? I fear that many of us are just as poor in our testimony as Lot was. If we are going to reach our cities for Christ we are going to have to live the Truth as well as preach the Truth to our friends, family members, and neighbors.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:18 – 20)
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.
Read the “0105 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Read previous posts from today’s passage – “Balanced and Biblical Separation;”“Relationships are More Important than Riches;” “Gardens and Green Grass or God’s Will?;” and “Good Friends are Hard to Come By”
“And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.” (Genesis 13:3-4)
Have you ever made a decision in life that brought you down a path that you thought you were supposed to be on, and then, perhaps after traveling a long time and a great distance, you discover that the road you were on was the wrong one. Usually in those cases, you end up going back to the place where you started – back to square one.
In our text, we see Abram, Sarai, and Lot back in the area near Bethel, which was the place that God had originally stated would be the place of His blessing (See Genesis 12:7 and 8). Abram had made the bad decision to leave the place of God’s will because there was a famine in the land. He took his family and travelled into Egypt, which was not a good move for him or his family. A lot of bad stuff happens while they are away from the place of God’s will. But, thank the Lord, Abram had the good sense to go back to square one – back to Bethel – the place of God’s will. Almost.
I say, “almost” because Abram was not in as good of a position the second time in Bethel as he was at the first. Why? Because he and his family picked up some things in Egypt that were hindrances to God’s complete blessing when they went back to Bethel. For example: Lot developed a taste for big city life in Egypt. You will notice in Genesis 13:10 that Lot’s choice to move away from Abraham toward Sodom later on was based upon the fact that it was “like the land of Egypt.” Also, in Genesis 16:1 – 4, we read about Hagar “the Egyptian” that was given to Abram by Sarai to be his concubine. Where did Abraham and Sarai find Hagar? Probably when they were down in Egypt. The fruit of Abram’s union was a son named Ishmael who was “a wild man” (Genesis 16:12) who couldn’t get along with anybody. Ishmael and his descendants became a thorn in the side of the people of God for many centuries, even to this day.
It was great that Abram took his family out of Egypt and brought them back to Bethel, the place of God’s will; but it would have been far better for them had they never left Bethel in the first place. There are many applications that we can make in our lives from this story:
- If you are not now in the will of God, get back there as quick as you can.
- If you are inside of the perfect will of God for your life, don’t be tempted to leave it.
- Before you make any major decisions in life regarding geographical moves, new careers, a potential mate, etc., seek God’s will through the Word of God, prayer, and godly counsel (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22; 24:6).
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1
Read the 0104 Evening and Morning devotion for today by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.” (Genesis 12:6-7)
“But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.” (Genesis 17:21)
“And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.” (Exodus 6:8)
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it:” (Exodus 33:1)
“Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Leviticus 26:42)
Biblically, there is no disputing the fact that God gave the land of Canaan to Abraham, and through Abraham to Isaac, and through Isaac to Jacob (or Israel), and through Jacob to his twelve sons, the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. There is also no disputing of the fact that there have been other people groups living within the borders of Israel throughout its history, whatever those geographic boundaries may have been at any particular point in time. According to Genesis twelve, when God gave the land to Abraham, there were Canaanites already there. But that does not change the fact that, according to the Bible, God gave the land to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his sons. You may argue that the Bible is irrelevant or even incorrect, but you cannot argue that the Bible does not teach that the rightful owners of Canaan / Palestine / Israel, or whatever you wish to call it, are the Jewish people. By the way, I wholeheartedly believe the Bible.
The question is this: will you follow the teachings of Scripture and side with Israel regarding their land, or will you take the position as many in the world are doing that the Jewish people have no claim, or possibly, just a partial claim to the land?
Another question you may ask yourself is this: if the Jews do have sovereign right to the Land of Israel as the Bible teaches, do they then have the right to choose their own capitol? I contend that they do have the obligation to recognize God’s choice of Jerusalem as the Capitol of the Jewish People and someday, according to the Bible, the Capitol of the entire world:
“Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.” (Zechariah 8:3)
“Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel: But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.” (2 Chronicles 6:5-6)
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” (Zechariah 14:16)
I wholeheartedly support President Trump’s recent recognition of Israel’s sovereignty, and his decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. I believe that he is in complete agreement with the Bible regarding the Jewish people and their right to choose the capitol of their own land. I also believe the president’s decision will be a great source of blessing to the American people:
“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
I am thrilled that America has chosen to bless the Jewish people and the Nation of Israel.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read the “0103 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.” (Genesis 8:12)
I have a somewhat strange devotional thought from the passage this morning, from Genesis eight in particular. First, however, let me explain the context. In Genesis eight, the rain has stopped, and the water is gradually receding from off the face of the earth. Noah and his family are no doubt very excited about the prospect of soon being able to live on land again in a brand new world.
In verse eight, the Bible tells us that Noah released a dove presumably in order to see if the dove would find the water sufficiently drained someplace to roost. Apparently, the dove found no such place and returned. Seven days later, he released the dove again and the dove returned, this time with an olive leaf in its beak. This was exciting news indeed. Not only was there a tree out there somewhere, but it was alive and producing leaves. Seven days later, Noah releases the dove a the third time, and this time it does not return. It had apparently found a new home, and would await the release of its mate so that they could reproduce and repopulate the world with doves.
Here is my strange devotional thought from this passage. God had called Noah to save his family plus the rest of God’s animal creation by building an ark that would protect them in a worldwide flood. It took him a hundred years to build the ark, and then when the time came, God gathered all of the animals and Noah’s family into the ark. Noah spent a lot of time during this process in close intimate contact with his family and with the animals, but that was all going to end soon. The dove flew away and did not return, and soon Noah’s children and their wives would also leave.
God brings family and friends into our lives at particular times and for particular purposes. God may give a young couple children, and for eighteen or more years the children will live together with the parents and there will be a level of closeness and dependency during that period. However, in most situations the doves will fly away and not return. Oh, they may return to visit for a time, but it will not be the same as it was when they were living in the home. It can be very discouraging for parents, but this is the way God intended it to be. Children are supposed to leave, to fly away to do God’s will for their lives.
Sometimes God also brings people together to a specific geographical area for a particular purpose, such as a job or even in to serve in a local church. People may work together or worship and serve together closely for many years. But, eventually God will move some of those people away. My wife and I have been serving at Jersey Shore Baptist Church in Galloway, NJ for nearly twenty years. We have some great friends here. My children were reared here. I cannot imagine life without the people that God has brought into our lives. However, the reality is that God has moved some very dear friends away for a variety of reasons, and may very well cause some of the good folks that are here now to “fly away” in the future to do something else for Him in a different place. Or, He could call my wife and I to a different location.
Thankfully, we never truly lose our saved family and friends, especially in these days of technology and social media, but we do lose the closeness and camaraderie that we enjoyed while living or serving together. We simply cannot expect life to forever be exactly the same as it is now. God will bring changes of scenery and changes of people into our lives. It’s all good. The people that we are very close to now may be called by God to “fly away” and not return. That is His choice. Someday, we will all be reunited together in Heaven, but for now, we need to all find the place where God wants us to serve, and enjoy the people that God has given (for now) to serve along with us.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.