Thursday, November 22, 2007

Jacob and Esau: A Quick Study

  • Joseph was born circa 1914 BC.
  • Reuben (Leah's son) was 7 years old, had seven brothers, and Jacob had been married to Rachel for 6 years when Leah sold mandrakes to Rachel to lay with Leah.
  • Esau and Jacob were born circa 2005 BC.
  • When Isaac blessed Jacob, he was 137 and Jacob & Esau were 77.
  • Isaac lived another 43 years (he died at 180).
  • Jacob worked for Laban 20 years—7 for Rachel but got Leah, 7 for Rachel again, and 6 for the flocks.
  • Joseph was 30 when he stood before Pharaoh.
  • Joseph saw his father (Jacob) after the 7 years of plenty and 2 years of famine.
  • Jacob was sent away to Laban around 1928 BC.
Although Jacob and Esau never really got along, you would think that they would have learned to get along. Amazingly, at age 77, Jacob tricked Isaac to receive Esau's blessing from Isaac, they fought, Esau threatened to kill Jacob, and Jacob ran away to his uncle. Grow up, "kids!" Work it out like gentlemen!

Oh, and at 77, Jacob let his mother convince him to deceive his father? Yikes!

Jacob got the blessing and rejoiced (albeit quickly). Esau did not receive the same blessing as Jacob and he whined. He was 77!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thanks and Approaching

So I actually had a plan going into this composition, but it turns out that what I wanted to say has already been said. Although the following quotes may not seem to fit together, they represent some of the best news in the world and I could not keep that to myself. I was thinking about how children are so willing to pray—for dinner, initially. But then I got to thinking about how thankful I am for all that God has done for me and how privileged I am to be able to thank Him for His provision. That privilege in itself is unique to Christianity; how many other religions follow a living God with whom they can have a personal relationship?

Romans 5:1, 10-11 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 8:26-27 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”

Romans 5:10-11 “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also REJOICE in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

Philippians 4:4-9 “REJOICE in the Lord always. I will say it again: REJOICE! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

I Timothy 2:1-6 “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.”

Hebrews 2:5-8 “It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: ‘What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet.’”

Hebrews 4:14-16 “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Hebrews 5:7-10 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.”

Hebrews 6:10-12 “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

Hebrews 6:18 “God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.”

Hebrews 9:13-14 “The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!”

Hebrews 9:15 “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

Hebrews 10:15-26 “The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.’ Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’ And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

All quotes are from the NIV Bible. Emphasis added.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Job's Interaction with God

So I wanted to write something really good and deep, because it’s been a while since I’ve really written anything, but I decided that I can’t say what I want to say any better than the Maker Himself has said.

To give a little context, Job was a well-known man in his city, had a large family and numerous assets, and then lost it all because God spoke of him to Satan. God said, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is not like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” Satan responded by saying that God had protected Job, and if He removed His protection, Job would curse God. God then allowed Satan to afflict Job.

Job never cursed God, but he did question (raise accusations against) Him and request his own death. After Job’s friends attempted to counsel him, God answered Job out of a storm (whirlwind) and said the following (and oh, so much more!):
Job 38:3 Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.

Job 38:4, 6, 12, 16, and 18 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths? Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.

Job 38:31, 33, 36–38 Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth? Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart? Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven, when the dust hardens in clumps, and the clods cling together?
Oh, if I could quote the rest, and chapter 39 too! God mentions His love for and control over the lion and her cubs, the raven and her young, the mountains, the goats, the deer, the bear and her young, the wild donkeys, the wild ox, the ostrich, the stork, the horse and rider, the locust, the hawk, and the eagle and its young.
Job 40:2 Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it.”
Job answered that he was guilty as charged: he should not have found fault with God, insisted on his own understanding, thought God unjust.

God continued in Job’s silence:
Job 40:9 Have you an arm like God? Or can you thunder with a voice like His?
Then in 40:15–24, God talks about the behemoth (possibly an elephant or hippo, but definitely and strong and extraordinary beast). In 41:1–34, God talks about the leviathan, a mighty beast that could easily overwhelm man but was no match for Himself.

Job answered, “I know that you can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (42:2). “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (42:5).

Not only does God ask this all of Job, the way He asks the questions implies that He Himself has done all these things!