Graduation Day

Graduation Day

Today’s Passage – Genesis 48 – 50 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Mark 9 – 10; Proverbs 19; Psalms 91 – 95)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 119:105

Read the “0119 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” (Genesis 49:1)

I remember when I was a young person attending school. At the end of every school year there was an awards ceremony and they would give out various awards for attendance, academics, athletics, and even some for attitude. I didn’t receive many awards as a child, I was what you might call “exceedingly average” in just about every area. Looking back on my school days, I can only recall receiving three awards: two in intermediate school, and one in college (the first time I went to college – not Bible school). However, I remember that every time I attended one of those awards ceremonies, or a commencement exercise, I would always feel two things. First, I would feel regret for not having applied myself more that year. I would realize that I could and should have done more; I should have worked harder; I shouldn’t have goofed off so much, wasting valuable time. The second thing that I would feel is motivated. I would determine that next year was going to be different for me; next year I was going to do better; next year I would be up there on the stage getting some kind of award. The only problem was that my weaknesses in character always outlasted my bursts of motivation.

You may be wondering right now what all of this has to do with the passage that we read in Genesis this morning. Well, here is the connection. Every time I read chapter 49 in Genesis, I am reminded of these award ceremonies. Except, here it is the one who is graduating to Heaven that is handing out the awards. Jacob is about to die, and he calls all of his children together to pronounce a blessing upon some. Unfortunately, he also will be pronouncing a curse upon others. Can you imagine the last words that you hear out of your father’s mouth before he dies being words of regret, rather than words of praise. I know well what it feels like trying to live a life that is pleasing to a father. I spent a good deal of my young adulthood trying to receive “attaboys” from my dad by achieving sales and success in the business world, which was his life. I think every child desires to please their father; at least most do. I cannot imagine the hurt I would have felt had my father said words of regret about my life at his passing. These sons of Jacob had all ran out of time. The time to live a life that would be worthy of being blessed by their father had passed.

You know what’s worse, however, than not receiving words of blessing and praise from your earthly father? Not receiving them from your Heavenly Father. Someday all who are His children will stand before Him and give account for their lives. Some will hear words of praise and will receive rewards; others will not. I want to please my Heavenly Father in my life today so that He will someday say to me, “Well done”. I guess I never got past that desire to hear “attaboy”; only now it is my Heavenly Father that I want to live for. Don’t misunderstand, I loved my dad dearly, and I wanted my life to be a source of blessing to him as well, but my passion in life today is to live for God. I want the same thing for my children. Yes I want to be pleased with them, but ultimately the only thing that matters is if God is pleased with them.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 1:4)

Posted in Thoughts from Genesis by with 3 comments.

The Green Eyed Monster


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

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

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

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

“And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” (Genesis 37:11)

“And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,” (Acts 7:9)

“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on; …” (“Othello” – Shakespeare)

“For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.” (Mark 15:10)

“Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:26)

“Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” – (Proverbs 27:4)

You have probably heard the expression, “Jealousy is a terrible thing.” There can be no clearer illustration of this truth than the example given here in Genesis 37. Here Joseph’s brothers are so jealous (envious) of Joseph that they first conspire to kill him, but finally acquiesce to selling him into slavery. What would cause them to envy there brother so much that it would cause them to sin so against him (not to mention against their father)? I believe we can see three ingredients that fueled the jealousy.

1  The Favoritism of the Father – Joseph was one of only two boys that was born to Rachel, the wife he loved dearly; and he was the second youngest of all of his children. Jacob did not attempt to veil his love for this child, either He made it clear to all others inthe family that He had a very special place in his heart for Joseph. He made him a beautiful coat of many colors. The other brothers received no such token of the father’s affection. It is not wrong to treat our children individually, based upon the needs that each may have; but it is wrong for parents to love their children differently. I confess, that at times this can be difficult; but we must strive to assure each of our children that we love them, and that our love for each does not exceed the love of another.

2   The Folly of the Son – I may be off base here; but Joseph did not show much wisdom in his bold declarations of the dreams to his brothers. God had obviously revealed a special plan for Joseph: a plan which involved him being placed in a position of authority over, not only his brothers, but also his father and mother. Maybe it was just because of his honest nature, but Joseph seemed to almost rub it in the face of his brothers.

3  The Finger of God – God obviously had his hand on the boy’s life. He had a special plan for Joseph. God’s hand upon Joseph was clearly evident to his brothers, and I believe this was the real problem. They saw in Joseph something they had lost. Joseph had a purity about him, that we have already seen to be lacking in some, if not all, of his brothers. They saw in Joseph what they should be, and instead of rejoicing in his devotion to the Lord, they attempted to destroy the reminder.

Envy is a terrible thing. I fight it all of the time in my life. I hear of a preacher being blessed of God in his ministry, and often the “green eyed monster” rears his ugly head. I sometimes have to force myself to rejoice in the victory that God is giving to my brothers. I bet that some of you have this problem as well. God blesses somebody in your life, maybe financially or materially, and you get jealous. Maybe your peer at work receives a promotion, and you don’t. How does it make you feel? Ask God to help you rid your heart of this monster. This green beast does not come from the Spirit of God; he is purely a product of your sinful nature. Don’t allow him to influence you to such an extent that you sin against God and others with your words or actions. The “Green Eyed Monster” needs to be put to death in all of our lives. Remember, God is not a repecter of persons. He loves no one more than he loves you, and He has a special plan for your life, just as much as He has used others.

Posted in Thoughts from Genesis by with 6 comments.

Waiting on the Will of God

Today’s Passage – Genesis 20 – 22 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click hereto view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 13 – 14; Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7

Read the “0107 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 34

Read previous posts from today’s passage – “The Whole Truth, “When God Withholds You,” and God Will Provide Himself a Lamb

“1 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. 4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. 6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. 7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.” (Genesis 21:1-7)

God had been promising Abraham that he would give him a son for a long time. Abraham was seventy-five years old when he left Haran, after his father Terah died. At that time God had promised Abram that He would make of him a great nation and when he arrived in Canaan, God promised that He would give Abraham’s “seed” the land (Genesis 12:1 – 8) God reaffirmed the promise in Genesis 13:15 after Lot had departed from him and there He promises Abram that He would make his seed as “the dust of the earth.” God reminded Abraham of the promise again after Abram rescued Lot from the four kings who attacked Sodom (Genesis 15:1 – 6), and there we are told that Abraham believed the promise:

“4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:4-6)

Abram and Sarai get out of the will of God and try to make God’s will happen by allowing Abram to sleep with Sarai’s Egyptian handmaid Hagar, which resulted in the birth of Ismael. Abram was eighty-six at this time, which was eleven years after God had originally promised him a son. I am sure Abram and Sarai thought that God surely was not going to give them a child through Sarai as she was beyond the normal child-bearing years. She would have been seventy-six at this time. So, they figured that God must have meant that a surrogate mother would give Abram the promised “seed.”

Practical Point – Make sure that you have clarity from God before you make any major decisions. Do not just assume that you know what God wants. God will clearly reveal His precise will to you through the Word of God, prayer, godly counsel, and often – waiting on the Lord!

In Genesis 17, when Abram is ninety-nine, God reaffirms that Abram will have a son through Sarai. By the way, it is here in this chapter that God changes Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning “father of many nations,” and Sarai’s name to Sarah, meaning “princess.” Abraham laughs when God verifies this because it would surely be miraculous for Sarah to bear children at her age and after she had been barren. I think that Abraham might have been a little upset about the fact that God was not considering Ishmael to be part of His promise (Genesis 17:18).

In Genesis 18, God appears to Abraham again with two angels, and this time has dinner with him. Here God once again reaffirms his promise regarding Sarah bearing a child, and this time it is Sarah that laughs. God rebukes her for being faithless and Sarah denies that she laughed, but the Lord obviously knew even the secret thoughts of Sarah’s heart.

In our passage today in Genesis 21, Abraham and Sarah finally receive the long-awaited child of promise, Isaac. It was just twenty-five years after God had originally promised him. Abraham was now one hundred years old, and Sarah was ninety-one.

Here is my thought. God rarely operates on our timetable. Sometimes we expect immediate blessing from the Lord and instantaneous answers to our prayers, but God does not often work that way. I have been a pastor here at Jersey Shore for twenty-two years now. I honestly expected God to move a lot faster than he did in the ministry here. I thought we would have had thousands of people and many large buildings by now, but it did not work that way, and it probably will never happen as I anticipated. God is doing what He wants to do, and He is doing it in His time. We just have to be faithful to keep doing what God has called us to do and allow Him to bring the increase when and if He is ready. I have discovered that the Christian life, and particular the ministry, is not about the short-term but instead about the long haul. God has blessed and is continuing, and will continue to bless in His time.

How about you? Had you been waiting for God to do something for a long time and have since given up hope. Unless God has revealed to you a change of plans, just keep praying and keep serving, and be patient as you wait for God to do His will.

Posted in Devotions, Thoughts from Genesis by with 2 comments.

Who is Melchizedek?

Today’s Passages – Genesis 13 – 16 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 9 – 10Proverbs 5Psalms 21 – 25)

Read the “0105 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Scripture Song – Psalm 119:105

Read previous posts from today’s passage – Plain Stupid;”  “Back to Square One – Almost;”“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.”

“18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” (Genesis 14:18-20)

“4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4)

“10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. 11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.” (Hebrews 5:10-11)

“1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. 4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: 6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. 7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. 8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.” (Hebrews 7:1-10)

What do we know about Melchizedek? (Note – the New Testament spelling is Melchisedec)

Genesis 14 gives us our initial glimpse of this mysterious character who is mentioned in only one more verse in the Old Testament (Psalm 110:4), but the New Testament unlocks the door of understanding who He was. 

            A         His name means king of righteousness.  (Hebrews 7:2)

His name is derived from two Hebrew words: melek, which means king; and tsedek, which means right.

Jeremiah 23:5 – 6 refers to Christ and gives us one of the names for God – Yĕhovah tsidqenuw, which means “The Lord Our Righteousness”:

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6)

            B          He was the king of Salem. (Hebrews 7:1 – 2)

Salem means peace and is also an older name for the city of Jerusalem:

“In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.” (Psalm 76:2)

Note – righteousness and peace work together:

“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” (Isaiah 32:17)

“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”(James 3:17-18)

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Hebrews 12:11)

            C          He was the priest of the most-high God. (Hebrews 7:1)

He was both priest and king. This distinguishes him from the kings of Judah, for they could not serve as priests. (2 Chronicles 26:16 – 21). It is also a contrast from the Levitical priests who did not serve as kings. Note – Christ is Prophet, Priest, and King.

            D         His lineage is unknown, and he had no known descendants. (Hebrews 7:3)

Some would say that Melchisedec is actually a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is certainly a type of Christ. The language used here merely indicates that we know nothing about where he came from and we also know nothing about the rest of his life and priesthood. Some believe that he is Noah’s son Shem who was still alive during this time.

Vernon McGee stated this regarding Melchisedec:

Here Melchizedek is a picture of Christ and a type of Christ in another way. The Lord Jesus comes out of eternity, and He moves into eternity. He has no beginning and no end. He is the beginning. He is the end. You can’t go beyond Him in the past, and you can’t get ahead of Him in the future. He encompasses all of time and all of eternity. Now how can you find a man who pictures that? Melchizedek is in the Book of Genesis, a book that gives pedigrees—it tells us that Adam begat so-and-so, and so-and-so begat so-and-so, Abraham begat Isaac, Isaac begat Jacob and Esau, and you follow the genealogies on down—it is a book of the families. Yet in this book that gives the genealogies, Melchizedek just walks out onto the pages of Scripture, out of nowhere, then he walks off the pages of Scripture, and we do not see him anymore. Why did God leave out the genealogy of Melchizedek? Because Melchizedek was to be a type of the Lord Jesus in His priesthood. From the prophecy given in Psalm 110 we see that Melchizedek is a picture of Christ in that the Lord Jesus is the eternal God, and He is a priest because He is the Son of God, and He is a priest continually. That is, He just keeps on being a priest—there will be no change in His priesthood because He is eternal.[1]

The Bible is very specific regarding genealogies. It was important that a priest be able to prove his lineage. (Ezra 2:61 – 63; Nehemiah 7:63 – 65) Yet, Melchisedec has no genealogy. He appears mysteriously and suddenly on the pages of Scripture and leaves the same way.

Consider Wiersbe’s comments on Melchisedec:

Melchizedek was not an angel or some superhuman creature; nor was he an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Christ. He was a real man, a real king, and a real priest in a real city. But as far as the record is concerned, he was not born, nor did he die. In this way, he is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. Though Jesus Christ did die, Calvary was not the end; for He arose from the dead and today lives in “the power of an endless life” (Heb. 7:16). Since there is no account of Melchizedek’s death, as far as the record is concerned, it seems that Melchizedek is still serving as a priest and king. This is another way in which he is like the eternal Son of God.[2]

The New American Commentary presents many of the different historical interpretations of Melchisedec:

The identity of Melchizedek has been the source of considerable discussion and debate. At least seven major views can be delineated. He has been identified by some as a divine being. There are four variations of this view that developed during the Patristic era. A second century Gnostic text identified him as Jesus himself. A sect known as the Melchizedekians arose early in the third century AD. Composed mainly of Jewish converts, it affirmed Melchizedek was a heavenly being superior to Jesus since Jesus was a mediator of men, but Melchizedek was considered a mediator of angels. In the third century, according to Epiphanius (fourth century bishop of Salamis), Melchizedek was identified as the Holy Spirit by the Coptic heresiarch Hieracas. Others understood Melchizedek to be a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus.

A second interpretation suggests Melchizedek is an angelic being, perhaps Michael the archangel. A third view, suggested by some Jewish rabbis in the time of Jerome, was that Melchizedek was Shem, the son of Noah. Philo took Melchizedek to be an actual human high priest who represented nous (mind) in an allegorical fashion. Carmignac suggested Melchizedek is a symbolic name for the human Davidic Messiah.551 Kobelski regarded Melchizedek as a historical and a heavenly figure, but not an angel. He was superior to angels but inferior to the Son. Davila suggested he was a tutelary deity of the Davidic house along the lines of ancestral deification in West Semitic royal cults.553 A seventh view takes Melchizedek to be a Canaanite king-priest of Salem (Jerusalem) who was a worshipper of the true God.[3]

E          He was honored by Abraham. (Hebrews 7:2; 4 – 10)

Melchisedec came out to bless Abraham and Abraham gave him a tenth of the spoils from the battle. This passage points out that since Abraham honored this man, then so did Abraham’s seed. The Nation of Israel looked to Abraham as their greatest patriarch, yet Abraham submitted to one who was even greater.

Note – the practice of tithing was commanded under the Old Testament Law (Leviticus 27:30 – 32) and was to be given to the Levites (Numbers 18:21 – 25). However, we see from this passage in Hebrews and from Genesis 14 that tithing commenced before the Law. (also Genesis 28:20 – 22 regarding Jacob, also before the Law) Tithing was also commended by the Lord Jesus:

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”(Matthew 23:23)

Note also that Melchisedec met Abraham with bread and wine which foreshadow the Lord’s death and shed blood. It appears that Melchisedec and Abraham observed something similar to the Lord’s Supper that we observe today, only their observance foreshadowed and prophesied the death of Christ, and our’s remembers it.

Was Melchizedek a Christophany or a type of Christ?

The verse that seems to be the main source of controversy is Hebrews 7:3

“Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” (Hebrews 7:3)

Of the many theories put forth by good men on this subject, I have concluded that there are really only two strong arguments:

  • Melchisedec is a type of Christ

The description given of Melchisedec here in Hebrews, and also in Genesis 14:18 – 20 indicates that the mysterious Melchisedec was a person recognized by Abraham as being superior to him. Remember, Abraham was a priest himself, in that he interceded for others and offered up sacrifices to God. (Genesis 12:7 – 8) He also was a king, though the title is never used in reference to him. He ruled over 318 servants (Genesis 14:14), and their families. Abraham had no respect for the kings that he rescued in Genesis 14, nor for the kings that he conquered, but he did have respect unto Melchisedec (meaning king of righteousness), the King of Salem.

The phrase in Hebrews, “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life”, means that there is nothing recorded about them in the Genesis record. Again, it is important to note that Genesis is a book of genealogies, but there is no genealogical record of Melchisedec because he is a type of Christ. We no nothing of where or who He came from, nor do we no anything about his descendants. Notice again the phrase “without father, without mother”. Taken these words literally, we could not possibly understand them to refer to any human being, but neither could we perfectly attribute them to Christ, who certainly had a Father, and even in terms of His humanity, had a mother.

The phrase, “like unto the son of God”, is also very interesting. “Like unto” always indicates a comparison; comparing something to something else that is similar in some respect. If Melchisedec was, in fact, the Son of God, the wording is very unusual. The oft repeated statement in Scripture that “there is none like unto the Lord our God” does not refute the fact that Melchisedec, though not God, was like Him in a limited way. There are many people in the Old Testament who are types of Christ, and as such are like Him in a limited way, though no human being could be completely, or even close to completely like God. Melchisedec, as recorded in Genesis and Hebrews is said to be like Christ, in that he did not descend from Levi, and in that his priesthood had had no recorded beginning or ending.

  • Melchisedec may have been a Christophany (or Theophany) – Christ (or God) in the flesh

Below are some of the views of good men regarding the subject of Melchisedec.

Here is what Spurgeon writes regarding Melchisedec:

“Consider how great this man was” as to the singularity of his person, “without father, without mother, without descent”: that is to say, we know nothing as to his birth, his origin, or his history. Even this explanation hardly answers to the words, especially when it is added, “Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.” So mysterious is Melchizedek that many deeply-taught expositors think that he was veritably an appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are inclined to believe that he was not a king of some city in Canaan, as the most of us suppose, but that he was a manifestation of the Son of God, such as were the angels that appeared to Abraham on the plains of Mamre, and that divine being who appeared to Joshua by Jericho, and to the three holy ones in the furnace. At any rate, you may well consider how great this man was when you observe how veiled in cloud is everything about his coming and going-veiled because intended to impress us with the depth of the sacred meanings which were shadowed forth in him. How much more shall this be said of him of whom we ask- “Thy generation who can tell, Or count the number of thy years?”[4]

Harry Ironside takes this position:

There is no reason to think of Melchisedec as in himself a mysterious personage, possibly supernatural, or even as some have supposed a pre-incarnate appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. If any ask, “Who is Melchisedec?” the only proper answer is “Melchisedec.” He was not Shem the son of Noah, nor Job of the land of Uz, nor Cheops the builder of the great pyramid, as some have endeavored to prove. He was, as is distinctly stated, Melchisedec, King of Salem. All that we know of him is given us in the book of Genesis, chap. 14:18–20. This historical account depicts him as a royal priest reigning in Salem, the city that was afterwards known as Jerusalem. Long before the Levitical economy had been established and a special family set apart for the priesthood he, like Job and Abraham, offered sacrifices as a priest of the Most High God. In the divine providence he met Abraham and his triumphant band as they returned from defeating Chedorlaomer and his allies. It is noticeable that the King of Sodom was on his way to meet Abraham when the latter was intercepted by Melchisedec, who came to bless him in the name of the Most High God, and whose spiritual authority Abraham recognized by giving him tithes of all the spoils. Strengthened by the bread and wine administered by Salem’s king-priest, Abraham was prepared to refuse the blandishments of the King of Sodom, representative of the world in all its impurity and debasement.[5]

The Bible Knowledge Commentary has this to say:

To begin with, the writer set forth the personal greatness of the Old Testament figure Melchizedek. As a fit prototype for Christ Himself, Melchizedek was both a king and a priest. He both blessed … Abraham and received his tithes. Melchizedek’s name and title suggest the messianic attributes of righteousness and peace. So far as the Old Testament record is concerned, he was without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life. In saying this, the author is often taken to mean that the silence of the inspired record presents Melchizedek as typologically like the Son of God. But though this is possibly true, the statements do not sound like it, particularly the assertion that Melchizedek remains a priest forever. The word “forever” translates a phrase (eis to diēnekes) that occurs only in Hebrews (here and in 10:12, 14) and means “continuously” or “uninterruptedly.”It seems more natural that the author meant that Melchizedek belonged to an order in which there was no end to the priesthood of those engaged in it. (He later said in 7:8 that Melchizedek “is declared to be living.”) If this is correct, Melchizedek may have been an angelic being who reigned for a time at Salem (i.e., Jerusalem). If so, the statement that he was “without beginning of days” would not mean that he was eternal, but simply that he had a pretemporal origin. Nor would this concept of Melchizedek as an angel elevate him to the same level as God’s Son, since the author painstakingly asserted the Son’s superiority to the angels (1:5–14). There is indeed evidence that, at Qumran, Melchizedek was regarded as an angelic personage. If this is the case in Hebrews, then the Son of God is the HighPriest in an order in which Melchizedek is simply a priest.[6]

[1] McGee, J. V. (1997). Thru the Bible commentary (electronic ed., Vol. 5, p. 552). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 300). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3] Allen, D. L. (2010). Hebrews (pp. 408–410). Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group.

[4] Spurgeon, C H – from a sermon preached at The Metropolitan Tabernacle on April 12, 1885.

[5] Ironside, H. A. (1932). Studies in the Epistle to the Hebrews (pp. 85–86). Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers.

[6] Hodges, Z. C. (1985). Hebrews. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 797–798). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Posted in Devotions, Thoughts from Genesis by with 3 comments.

The Earth Was Divided

Today’s Passage – Genesis 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 – Matthew 7 – 8Proverbs 4Psalms 16 – 20)

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.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Finding, Obeying, and Staying in the Place of God’s Will;”Don’t Move Unless God Moves You;“ The Beginning of Globalism;  and “The Land Belongs to Israel.”

“16 And Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg: 17 And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters. 18 And Peleg lived thirty years, and begat Reu: 19 And Peleg lived after he begat Reu two hundred and nine years, and begat sons and daughters.” (Genesis 11:16-19)

If you were paying attention to the lifespans of the descendants of Noah’s son Shem given in chapter eleven, you noticed that they dropped dramatically in the generation of Peleg. In the four generations preceding Peleg, the average lifespan was 491.5 years. In the four generations after Peleg, the average lifespan dropped rather dramatically to 205.5. What happened? Though I cannot prove it, I think the answer may be found back in chapter ten where God give the genealogical information of the descendants of Shem:

“And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.” (Genesis 10:25)

The Bible says something similar while giving the genealogical information for Japheth:

“By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.” (Genesis 10:5)

What does it mean that the earth was divided? There are two theories. The first is that the continents shifted during this time. According to this theory there was at one time a large super continent, called Pangea, which was broken up and drifted apart in what has been referred to as “continental drift,” but later was called “plate tectonics,” which involves a very gradual shifting and separation of the continents. Though I am not a scientist, it seems to me that a dramatic division within one generation as seems to be indicated here in Genesis does not fit within the description of a gradual drift. If something like this were to have happened in one generation, it would have had to have been caused by some sort of cataclysmic event, which is not revealed here. The only biblical event that would have made sense to have caused a rapid division of land masses was the flood, but that occurred three centuries prior to Peleg’s day.

The second theory, which I believe to be the correct one, is that God scattered the nations during the time of Peleg. This was after Nimrod who was a descendent of Noah’s son Ham built the Tower of Babel (see Genesis 10: 8 – 10 & 11:1 – 9). This theory makes the most sense when considered with Genesis 10:5 where the Bible specifically connects the division with the word, “tongue.” For some reason when God scattered the people throughout the earth and confounded their languages, their life expectancies suddenly and dramatically decreased. 

An even more interesting fact about this passage is that Noah was still alive and was 940 years old when Peleg dies. He would live an additional ten years after Peleg’s death.

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Seen as Righteous

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

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 5 – 6Proverbs 3 ; Psalms 11 – 15

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.

Read previous posts from today’s passage – It Doesn’t Take Long, Does It?;“ “A Token;“  Too Old To Do Something for the Lord?;” The Law of First Mention Regarding Wine; and “The Dove Flew Away.”

“1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1)

Noah lived in a time when people were extremely wicked, so much so that God stated that he was grieved that he created man in the first place. Consider these verses from the previous chapter:

“5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. … 11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Genesis 6:5-6, 11-13)

Noah was not a perfect man and neither were his wife and sons, but God saw Noah as righteous. Chapter six stated: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). Why was Noah, an imperfect man, seen as righteous when others were not? Was it because Noah was less imperfect than they were? No, it was because Noah had faith in God. God said something similar about Abraham:

“6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)

Noah had faith before God commanded him to build the ark and his obedience to God’s command was evidence of the faith that he already possessed. The New Testament sheds some light on this fact:

“7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)

The New Testament also tells us that Noah was a preacher of righteousness, meaning that he tried to get others to have faith in God:

“5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;” (2 Peter 2:5)

It is very comforting to know that those who have faith in God, and more specifically, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, are also seen by God as completely righteous or sinless. Consider the following verses:

“21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Romans 3:21-22)

“8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)

“18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)

Now let me caution all of us. Just because God sees us positionally as sinless and completely righteous does not mean that we are to give up on trying to live a life for the Lord that represents the righteousness that God has given us. The faith that we have should be driving us toward a practical righteousness. We will never be sinless while living in these fleshly bodies, but hopefully as we grow in grace and get closer to the Lord, we should be sinning less.


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Today’s Passage  – Genesis 4 – 6 (Click on the reference to listen to the audio. Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 3 – 4Proverbs 2Psalms 6 – 10)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Joshua 1:8

Read the “0102 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “Walking with God,” Sin Lieth at the Door,“Shining Brightly in a Dark World,” and “Grieving God.”

“1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. 2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” (Genesis 4:1-5)

The story of Cain and Abel is very sad indeed. Unfortunately, the friction between these first brothers that led to the tragic murder of Abel is something that is all too common still today. Many families are torn apart by petty jealousies and squabbles over things that matter very little. Even among Christians sibling rivalries abound and it just should not be. Christ has forgiven us every offense that we have committed against Him and yet we find it so difficult to forgive others, even within our own families.

When we examine the difficulty between Cain and Abel, we can easily see that the root problem was not necessarily a problem within their relationship with each other, it was a problem with Cain’s relationship with God. This reminds me of an important point: usually relationship difficulties are two-sided, but it can be that one person is completely innocent of any wrong doing. This seems to be the case with Cain and Abel. There is nothing recorded here about Abel doing anything amiss toward his brother. Cain’s problem was with God, and it overflowed into his relationship with his brother.

Notice here that God had “respect” unto Abel and to Abel’s offering, but did not have respect unto Cain and his offering. It was not just the offering that was the problem; it was the one doing the offering that God also had an issue with. The word, “respect,” is an interesting word. It means to regard with favor, or to behold. In the following verse, the phrase “had not respect” means that God turned His gaze away from Cain and Cain’s offering. Many have stated that God had respect unto Abel’s offering because it was a blood sacrifice, which pictured the shed blood of Christ. That may be true but it does not fully explain why God had respect unto Abel as a person and not Cain. However, when we examine the New Testament we learn that Abel’s sacrifice reflected his faith in God, and resulted in his receiving God’s righteousness:

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” (Hebrews 11:4)

The New Testament also reveals more about Cain:

“Not as Cain, [who] was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” (1 John 3:12)

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” (Jude 1:11)

The passage in 1 John 3 tells us that Cain’s works were evil and that he was “of that wicked one,” clearly indicating that he was not saved. The passage in Jude speaks of the ungodly men who had crept into the church, denying the Lord and turning His grace into lasciviousness. Jude tells us that these ungodly men had gone in the way of Cain. Cain’s offering was a reflection of his lack of faith in God and His provision of salvation. Cain rejected God’s way and was determined to work his way through his own merit into God’s favor. Cain’s murder of his brother further revealed that Cain was completed controlled by the flesh and was not living by faith. 

God can only have “respect” unto those who are living by faith. Saved people have, by faith, received the blood sacrifice that the Lord paid on their behalf when He died for their sins on the Cross of Calvary. They are no longer trying to justify themselves with God. Christians are not only saved by God’s grace through faith but they also should live by faith. The Bible repeats often that “the just shall live by faith.” If we have been saved by faith, we should also live by faith, meaning that we no longer do things our way but rather we yield our lives to the will of God. In this new year, let us yield our lives to what God wants.

One more thought: if God respects faith, then we should also respect acts of faith and people of faith. Unfortunately, many believers today are “gazing upon” or “looking upon with favor” many things that are not consistent with our faith in God. 

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Not Finished Yet

Today’s Passage – Genesis 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read – Matthew 1 – 2Proverbs 1Psalms 1 – 5)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Deuteronomy 32:4

Read the “0101 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from today’s reading – “In the Beginning;” “He Is Still Creating Me;” “Let There Be Light;” “Just Don’t Do It;” “Subdue and Replenish;“ and “Two Became One.”

“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2)

Before I share my thoughts from the Scripture reading from today, let me say how excited I am about starting a new journey this year through the Bible along with you. I want to encourage you to “tune in” everyday, read and listen to the passages, and then leave a comment. You can share your own thoughts from the passage or perhaps, make an encouraging remark about the blog post. In addition to posts written  by me on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, and the Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Stahl, I have also invited various guests writers this year to share some thoughts with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you are interested in writing a guest post, please contact me via the comment feature or email me at

Now for my thought from today’s reading. Genesis 1:1 tells us that God created the heavens and the earth, but in verse 2, the Scripture states that the earth was “without form and void.” There are many opinions as to exactly what this somewhat mysterious terminology means, including some who have promoted a “Gap Theory,” which basically states that God’s original creation became corrupted due to the fall of Satan but was then recreated by God in verses three and following. This theory does offer an answer for the billions of years taught by the evolutionists as well as an explanation for the fossil record.

Personally, I am not a fan of the Gap Theory. I believe that the earth is very young, possibly created with apparent age, just as Adam was created as an adult, not a baby. I also believe that the dinosaurs and the other strange creatures found in the layers of the earth all existed prior to the great Flood recorded in Genesis 6 – 8.

So, what did God mean when He said that the earth was “without form and void.” It means that when God first started the creation process, it was not complete. As we have read here in Genesis 1, God took six days to complete the earth. On Day 1, it was incomplete and required additional work on days two and following. God did not have to take six days to complete it. He could have spoken it all into existence in a millisecond. He probably chose to use the six days of work and one day of rest as a pattern for us.

In this creation story, I see a wonderful picture of sanctification, and the new life that God imparts to believers. When we first get saved we are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), but on day one we are not yet what God has planned for us. We are predestination to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), meaning that what we are when we first trust Christ is not who we will be someday. God is still working, and He will continue to work on us until His creation of us is complete, which really will not happen until He takes us to Heaven.

I am greatly encouraged by this verse:

“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)

If you are like me, you get a little frustrated with yourself at times because you are not all that you think you should be as a Christian. Maybe you are a little like the earth on Day One – “without form and void.” Be encouraged. God is not finished creating you yet. He is still working on you.

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Just Let It Go


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

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

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – James 4:10

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Big Picture

“And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.” – (Genesis 46:29-30)

“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” – (Proverbs 17:9)

I could be wrong about this, but I do not believe that Joseph ever told his father what his brothers had actually done to him. He does discuss it with the brothers, but only to assure them that he had forgiven them, because he knew that God had allowed all of it to happen for a greater purpose. Joseph was certainly in a good position to get even with his brothers, but what good would that have done. He also could have brought their evil report to their father as he had done earlier in his life, but that would only have hurt his father, and further damage relationships within the family.

Joseph was a great picture of Christ. He not only forgave their sin, but he also worked hard to restore the relationship. We need to learn to be more like Joseph. Too many of us are harboring bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts toward those who have wronged us. We refuse to just let things go. We want to keep punishing the people who have hurt us in the past, and we want to make sure that everbody else knows what they have done. But in the long run, we are only hurting ourselves, and that bitterness that is oozing from our hearts is literally destroying us from within.

Let it go. Learn to forgive, forget, and move forward in your relationships with people. Yes, we have been wronged, but we also have wronged others as well. It profits none of us to continue living in the past.

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Today’s Passage – Genesis 29 – 30 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – Click here to view the passage from Blue Letter Bible)

(Second Milers also read –Matthew 21 – 22; Proverbs 11; Psalms 51 – 55)

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

Read a previous post from this passage – “Moving Forward

And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? (Genesis 29:25)

It this passage we see that Jacob who had deceived his father is now being deceived himself. He had left Canaan (Israel) and travelled back to the place where his family originated (near Babylon) in order to find a wife. He arrives and meets a beautiful young lady named Rachel who happened to be his cousin (OK back in those days – really wierd today). He falls in love with her and strikes a bargain with her uncle to work for him for seven years as payment for his daughter. Oh how I wish that we still followed this program today. I have three beutiful daughters and I would have been rich. Anyway, after his seven years of hard labor is completed, Jacob wants his wife. However, when he wakes up in the morning he does not find beautiful Rachel lying next to him in the bed, but instead he sees Leah, Rachel’s older sister. You can imagine the suprize that must have been on his face when he laid eyes on Leah who the Bible describes as “tender- eyed”. That was the phrase you used in Bible days when you wanted to be kind when describing someone who was ugly. Jacob was tricked by his uncle Laban. The deceiver was deceived.

I have two thoughts regarding this passage of Scripture. The first is the principle of sowing and reaping. Jacob reaped deception because he was a sower of deception. In fact, I think we learn in the coming chapters that Jacob reaps a little more than he sowed. We sure have to be careful in our lives because this principle is certainly in effect today as well. The Bible says be sure your sin will find you out; and the way of the transgressor is hard. It will eventually come back to bite you. I have seen this principle often in my life and ministry. Many of the problems that I have dealt with as a pastor have been areas where I have been guilty in the past. However, the principle works for good things as well as bad. Sow some good things in your life and you will reap some good things back. Sow a little mercy toward others and you will reap a little mercy from others. Sow a little kindness, and reap a little kindness; sow a little compassion, and you will reap a little compassion. You get the idea.

The second thought is that you cannot trust the world. Laban was not a saved man, and Jacob was trusting him to be faithful and trustworthy in his dealings with him. Laban is a type of the devil. If you make a deal with the devil or the world for Rachel, you are going to wake up someday with Leah. Satan is a liar, and this world is completely out for itself. Even God’s people can be downright untrustworthy at times; but know this: you can trust God completely. He will always deliver what he promises, and He will always do right. Even when we don’t understand what He is doing, or why; we can be assured that He loves us, and that He has our best interests in mind.

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