Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 30 the specifics of Prayer

Matt 20:29-34
Two blind men push through crowds asking the Son of David for Mercy.
They were determined to be heard above the crowds. They had a proper measure of themselves before Jesus in asking for mercy. Although it was an attention getter, Jesus needed a little more specific information on what they needed.

I know that I have used the prayer of "Lord have mercy on us" in a crises and later when I could think straight, talk to Jesus about the specifics of what was needed. It is comforting to know that when we pray, Jesus has compassion on us also and then he touches our lives.Also when we receive clarity from God, like the two blind men, we need to follow HIM. Siobhan

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 29 The Privilege of Work

Matt 20 The parable of the workers of the vineyard.
Does it surprise that Jesus uses a vineyard as the picture of Heaven rather than an orchestra, with us all playing harps?

Here are the people who are available for work - a 12hour shift. Some get hired straight away, others have to wait 3,6,9 and 11 hours before getting hired. God choses us for work when He needs us, we are responsible to turn up and wait. I can't imaging waiting 11 hours, how many of us would give up or feel dejected because we weren't the first to be picked but left to the last. Just think of the time when people picked teams at school and all the popular kids got picked before you, and some even begrudged having you on their team. Now fast forward that to 20 years with a family to provide for. Their commitment to be in the marketplace where they could be chosen was commendable.
Here are a few questions to chew on.
Which side of the marketplace are we on?
Does it color our view of others?
If our service has been long and others receive the same reward/compensation for doing less, how do we feel toward them?

I heard a sermon that "They who wait, also serve", it gives me perspective as I wait in the market place. Siobhan

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 28 Posessions in the Kingdom

Matt 19:16-30The rich ruler shows us that it's not what we lack that keeps us out of having eternal life, but it's what we do have that keeps us out of the kingdom.

Day 27 Conduct in the Kingdom of Heaven

Matt 18 gives us some insights in what our Kingdom conduct should be and he begins by using Children to do it. Children do search for meaning and relationship as they figure out what life is all about. That is just basic brain development. They are trusting, open and vulnerable and while we are to exhibit those characteristics in our lives we are also open and vulnerable to temptations. Back to trust and obey!

We are not to cause others to stumble, wander of the path and get lost, or entice one another to sin. v10 We are not to despise or "look down" on these little ones, in contrast v12 God looks for the lost, those who have wandered off.

The story of Baalam (Numbers 22)gives us a clear picture of the righteous getting lost and wandering off. Here are a few verses to get us thinking about it.
2Pet2:15 "They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness".

Jude 1 "Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion".

Rev 2:14 "Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality".

Matt 18:17 This is interesting, "it is necessary that temptations come.." We all have our Garden of Eden experience, but if we are in the place of the serpent in someone's life, should we expect a lesser degree of punishment?

Forgiveness keeps Feet on Gods Path.
v15 Jesus talks about being proactive in ensuring that there is nothing to amiss in our fellowship.
v21 Nothing amiss in our obligations to one another, in this instance it's easily illustrated in financial terms of owing something to another.
Matt19:1-12 disharmony in marriage that leads to divorce is another example of a hard heart.
V 13Again the children are introduced to Jesus who eventually get to pray for them after he admonishes his disciples, which rounds off the object lesson nicely.
As the hymn goes "Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days all the days of my life" I can hear Shirley singing the rest of the verse :)!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day26 The kingdom of Heaven: Attitudes & Assumptions

Matt 18
Now that we know who can understand what the Kingdom of Heaven is, the next question the disciples ask is , who then is greatest in The Kingdom? What a surprise, we want to know how to excel, succeed and advance.
I can't imagine the look on their faces when Jesus draws a child close to him and says "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom" Enter!I can imagine that they thought they already had a place in the Kingdom all they needed to work out was the pecking order.

That is a good place to stop and reflect on my assumptions.
What qualities is YHWH looking for in us?
More later. Siobhan

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 26 The Kingdom of Heaven Foundations. Matt 12&13

Matt 12v11 begins the conversation about the Seed of the Word of God and the parables about the kingdom of heaven, we are told by Jesus that "the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you,...." v 16 "but blessed are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it and to hear what you hear but did not hear it".
As Pet 2 says "we have all we need for life and godliness".

We see that God's word (Matt13) the knowledge of the kingdom is scattered everywhere we need to have receptive soil i.e our lives (remember we are made of dirt) and have our ears and eyes open to fully understand,and therefore obey it.

Then we have the parable of the man who sowed good seed in his field(/life) but through lack of attention, the enemy also sowed weeds. Then as both grew in the man's life, it became evident that there was both wheat and weeds in his field(/life) It is the harvesters who will discern and pluck the weeds from the wheat not others. That is just a good lesson as we the imperfections in each other! God will do His work in his own time.

However, there will be a harvest...
one will reap the wages of unrighteousness 2 Peter 2:15 (& Numbers 22) "They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness".
And the other the harvest of righteousness. Heb 12:11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it".

The parable of the mustard seed shows us the pervasive nature of the Kingdom of God. God is always at work in people's lives. The question is, are we cultivating ground in another's life to see and hear the secrets of the kingdom of heaven?

That will lay the foundation to the next set of scriptures. How we treat one another will open up the secret of the kingdom for us and them. Siobhan

Day 24 extra :) Sanctimonious to the Sacred

Just thought I'd slip this one in to finish up the life of Joseph.
We can learn so much from his life, he went from swaggering child to be sold into slavery and learned a life of service in prison to becoming a servant and master of a nation.
Powerful though he was, it only came about because YHWH sent him to egypt beforehand in preparation for the time of rebuke he had decided for Pharoah, Psalm 105:12-20. He was to be a deliverer for the Israelite, it was incidental that Egypt benefited also.

Joseph died at the age of 110 and it looks like he is one of the first to die although he has second to youngest of the brothers.
It must have confused the brothers when Joseph told them that "God would surely come to their aid and take them out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham". All was well in the land it was a strange thing to say, they had no intention or need to move. Then he went the way of all the prophets before him. I wonder if any of them took his words to heart?

In a couple of weeks time (reading-wise not chronologically) we will see that the Israelite's prosperity bred fear in the Egyptians.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Day 25 Blessings on our future generations

Gen 49 the blessings to our children.
I wonder what we would say to our children on our death bed?
Would it match what we say to them daily?

When Lisa had the blessing evening for Caleb, it made me think about what I would pray into my sons life on a daily basis. Now I need to get serious about it and I am putting together a set of paragraphs around my three, does anyone want to do a project like that with their children/grandchildren in mind? We can share this off the blog. It would be fun.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 24 Slavery/Servitude begins in Egypt

Gen 47:13ff It is interesting that the Egyptians were Pharaoh's slaves before the Israelites were. They sold their animals first, then their land and themselves for grain, they had livestock but they probably couldn't feed the animals without grain.
Here's a random thought....How often do we sell ourselves for carbs when there is plenty of protein around! Eating a slice of cake or a cookie when we really need a healthy meal.

It seems like the land of Goshen was excluded Verse 27 "the Israelites acquired land and were fruitful and increased in numbers". We know that shepherds were seen as detestable in the Egyptians sight, so maybe this prejudice kept them under the radar in times of famine. They seemed to live more peaceful lives than the Egyptians. The seemingly powerful ones often have the most turmoil in life. Siobhan

Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 23 when "you have some explaining to do"

Don't you love families?
When Joseph reveals who he is to his brothers, he doesn't put blame on anyone but sees Gods hand of delivery at work, and in this case, from famine. What a telling comment of Joseph's when he sends them on their way with "no quarreling on the way", any mother can see the accusations and fear flying out of their mouths, grown men though they are, they are still brothers! Now they have some explaining to do, I am happy not to be the "fly on the wall". Siobhan

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day 22 Children and Judah, the "lions cub"

Gen 43
We have seen the struggles with barrenness through the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the line that is promised would become as plentiful as the sand on the seashore. We have seen how Jacob was protective of the young animals and children alike and later to prize the younger children Joseph and then Benjamin.

Judah also takes a strong hand in being the protector young, with Joseph, he persuaded his brothers to sell Joseph rather than kill him Gen37:26. In Gen 38 having had two sons killed by God due to their wickedness, he is reluctant to give his youngest son to Tamar in case harm befalls him as well. He does have two more sons Perez and Zerah but no more. I imagine the deaths of two sons, and the public rebuke via Tamar produced a timidity or maybe a humility that was rare in those days.

Now we see him as the guardian of Benjamin as he goes to Egypt and the anguish he expresses to Joseph if he has to return to his father without Benjamin.

His is the voice of reason, persuasion, passionate in overseeing the young and careful with the heart of an aged parent. His is the better blessing we see later in Gen 49. His brothers will praise him,(if they had their way with Joseph they would have perished in the famine).He is the "lion's cub" and his scepter is the place holder for the future "Lion of Judah" Gen 49 V10.

"the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands". Isa 32v8
I wonder what our blessing would look like based on people's experience of us so far? My name means "God is Gracious" my prayer is that I live that description daily. Siobhan

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 20 Inauguration Day - the shadows of preparation.

Gen 40 Joseph certainly knew the back side of Pharaohs court as well as the throne room. When we look on this new era at the beginning of our new presidency we can look upon the triumph of the day through the lives that were forged in the heat of hardship, faithful people who gave voice to those who couldn't be heard.

Whether people are the flavor of the day or not is off no concern to YHWH, he remains with those who remain with him as they act in righteousness. Joseph's faithfulness and service to others eventually paid off. From looking after prisoners to planning the future provisions of a nation - what a transition. What a triumph! But that was only the beginning of the story...Siobhan

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 19 A desperate woman resorts to desperate means!

"When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" Psalms 11:3

That really sums up the story of Judah and Tamar in Gen 38. Tamar has two husbands die on her and puts the hope of having children within the confines of Judah's household, as was expected in those days. We are told that both Er and Onan were wicked in his sight and so cut them off - early in years. Judah thought the fault lay with Tamar and refused to give his youngest son as husband to Tamar. Tamar resorts to extreme measures and ends up with Twins fathered by her father-in-law Judah. No one rebukes Tamar for deceiving Judah, probably as it was evident that Judah was cheating Tamar out of her kinsman redeemer. Judah says of her that she is more righteous than he is because he didn't give her his youngest. v26
Judah, Perez and his mother Tamar are remembered in Matt 1v3 in the genealogy of the house of David, directly after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Also in Ruth 4:11-13 The elders in Bethlehem blessed Boaz and Ruth by referring to the family of Perez.

There are two things to ponder, What if Tamar didn't go through with this scheme to have children, what would the genealogy look like?
Why twins? God only needed Perez for the genealogy, could it be that God was replacing the two children as she had two husbands..Whatever HIS reason we know that the "Judge of all the earth will do right" Gen18:25 Siobhan

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 18 Gods response to trouble and grief

Psalm 10 Begins with the assertion that God is not involved in troubled times.

Verse 1-13 Why, O LORD, do you stand far off?Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Then the wicked says to himself, "God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees." Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself,"He won't call me to account"?

Ver14 But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand.
the victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

"you consider it to take it in hand". That is the key to trouble and grief, God thinks about it to take control, do something tangible with it to "take it in hand". I have a choice, find out the extent of the problem or over-react? question myself on how am I including God in the solution? HE is the one who creates order out of chaos, takes the calamity and puts in calmness....

As we look out on the week, what do we need to consider and what needs to be taken in hand? For me it's the check engine light on the car, literally. I know the first step is a diagnostic, to assess the depth of the problem, it may be something in the air conditioning unit, and as its snowing it mightn't be a priority right now.
I will find out sooner rather than later and not procrastinate and ignore the warning light. Siobhan

Day 18 Food and Fealty

Gen 37 begins the story of Joseph.
The meeting with Esau back in Gen 33 probably had a great impact on Joseph, he and his mother were the last to present themselves and bow down before Esau. That impression was to give Joseph insight into his dreams a few short years later as a teenager. The first dream was about the food and the second was about fealty.
Jacob kept the "matter in mind". He must have remembered the interactions he had as a younger man. Siobhan

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day 17 The blessings of paying attention

Matt 13 The parable of the sower.
V11 " the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you but not to them...."
v16&17 But blessed are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear....many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
What was Jesus getting at?

The context of the parable was in Matt12:46ff".... Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother" Putting the Word to Work.

The parable tells us what our decibel and accuity levels should yield. A good crop.

When we see and hear the will of the Father, which is the seed of the Word of God and then put it to work in our lives the deeper it grows the longer the results are seen.

You've heard the expression "try try and try again", and "the third time's a charm", "third time lucky" those sort of things.

Here we have a parable that gives us hope to dig deeper, in the words of Hosea 10: 12 “Break up your fallow ground” If we didn’t put the word to put the word to work in our lives the first time, or the word got chocked with the cares and pleasures of this world (Luke 8:14) as we struggled between looking up and looking at our feet. Then the next time round we know what works for us and what doesn’t. Isaiah 28:9&10 talks about learning precept upon precept, line upon line and sometimes that’s the way it is with us.

Be encouraged, God teaches us and guides us we need to make room for a good crop to be produced in our lives. Siobhan
Further bible study on Hosea visit the link.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Day 16 Becoming an overcommer

Gen 32:28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,because you have struggled with God and with human beings and have overcome."

Jacob gets a name change
The man Jacob was wrestling with asks his name, and when he is told, "heel grabber/heel sneak" he changes it to Israel, God-Fighter/or he who struggles with God. and overcomes. Some times the name we are given only describes part of our character. Jacob could see himself as having to struggle & strive for every inch to gain the birthright, the blessing, his family and livestock. The Man acknowledges Jacobs struggles and lets him know he is also an over-comer.

Israel now realizes that he has seen God face to face. He buys a piece of land, pitches his tent, builds an altar. Dinah is raped and the slaughter is staged and executed at Shechem. (This tells me that just because we go to church, do the right religious/spiritual stuff that bad things are warded off. We can only know that God sees all in our lives.) God then speaks to Israel again and tells him to build an altar. (Jacob could have thought, I have done that already, so why do I need to build another altar?) Then in ch 35:10 God meets with JAcob and gives him the name change, and with it the promise God had given to Abraham and Isaac his father of seed and land. God could only give the land to Jacob/Israel when he returned to the land.

Why twice? maybe Jacob didn't realize the full impact of the change or indeed what it meant, maybe his more reflective response to his daughters rape shows us the change in Jacob.
How often does God have to remind us that we are overcomers through our Lord Jesus Christ? Probably daily....

John 14
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
1 John 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
1 John 5:5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Let us have a great day enjoying the blessing, seed and land that YHWH has given us.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 15 Jacob and Laban :Buying and Selling

I heard on the news this morning that retail sales has reached a 40 year low, the housing foreclosure rate increase 81% over last year, and that Madoff accused of $50billion swindle didn't physically make the fraudulent investments himself!

Perhaps in this time of recession we could take the time to see the costs of what we actually sell and evaluate what we buy. There is probably good reason that there are three commandments addressing wanting and possession what belongs to others.

Gen 30 &31 Jacob and Laban have an interesting relationship, both are grabbers and when Jacob shows without a shadow of a doubt before all, that God is blessing him and not Laban re the animals, Laban understands he does not have the upper hand anymore. Jacob is astute enough to recognize the change in Laban's demeanor towards him and YHWH encourages Jacob to get out.

Jacob could have stayed with Laban and he would have had a good life, he had extended family around him and we could say not real reason to move. But Jacob had come to his limit of what he could cope with. He did have a demanding family situation, with 4 women to satisfy with children, and of course he was the outsider and at some level probably felt that this not his own household. No matter what happened or how he was blessed, he was still earning wages from his father in law
Gen 31:26ff we see how Laban views the move, as stealing and tries to "save face" by intimating that Jacob would hurt Rachael and Lea, and offers a covenant between them.

A Covenant is drawn up, a line drawn in the sand, between them, Laban swears by the God of Abraham and the God of his grandfather Nahor. Jacob swears by the Fear lit"terror" of Isaac. The "awe of God" that YHWH seen in Abraham's eyes when tested with Isaac would have no less impact on Isaac and was passed on to his son Jacob. They will part, the buyer and the seller, which of them do you believe got the better deal?

Day 15 The Biblical Stock Exchange

Does anyone have insights or some genetic research information about what was going on here with the speckled,streaked and spotted animals and the branches? Siobhan

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 14 Leah lives the curse and the unloved married woman

These two scriptures give context to part of Leah's life.
Gen 3:16 To the woman he said,"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband,and he will rule over you."

Proverbs 30: 21 "Under three things the earth trembles,under four it cannot bear up:
22 a servant who becomes king,a fool who is full of food,
23 an unloved woman who is married,and a maidservant who displaces her mistress.

Jacob has landed with his mothers people and meets Laban who more than meets his match in scheming and playing tricks. Ch 29:14 sums up the relationship "without a doubt you are my bone, my flesh". sound familiar from the garden of Eden?
Laban does have a redeeming feature, he gave Leah her due her by marrying her off first as she was the eldest. Leah did have a tough road ahead of her.

By the fourth child she seems to be coming to terms that she can't win her husband's heart and gives God thanks by naming the son Judah. She reduces herself to having baby battles with two servants and her sister Rachael, then hires her husband to have sex with her, (I doubt there is much love involved at this point)By the 6th son he has given up on receiving love for love's sake from her husband. She has gone from saying "surely my husband will love me now" ch 29:32 to "this time my husband will prize me for I have borne him 6 sons" ch30:20 (Fox translation)
She has transitioned from wanting to be cherished to being content with being a chattel.

I like the verse 29:31 in Fox "When YHWH saw that Lea was hated, he opened her womb, while Rachael was barren " Leah has a keen sense of YHWH in her life. Remember it is Rachael who later stole her fathers household gods not Leah.
YHWH also remembers Rachael and she gives birth to Joseph probably about 14 years later!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 12 Proverbs 1

Today completed the first chapter of Proverbs. I love Proverbs. There is so much to think about and learn. It opens with stating the standard of living a wise life. We all want to be wise but we don't always want the work that has to go into making it happen. Eve wanted to be wise the quick way and we know where that got us all!
The verbs used to describe active wisdom are understanding words of insight, acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right just and fair, giving prudence to the simple... I am sure we can add to this list as we read further.
Wisdom instructs:
In the v20-33 section we see that wisdom calls out instruction every where in the street, market place. There are lots of opportunity to learn and become wise. if we ignore advice and knowledge we become ignorant and the consequences of our "simple-minded" ways overtake us. A life of Ease has to be Learnt, then Earnt!
Folly entices:
Lets compare the voice of Folly Chapter 9 V10-18 Her voice is also heard, as she is loud but her voice is the call to enticement not instruction. Her voice is heard as she sits from her door and one needs to pass by on purpose to hear her voice. She specifically calls to the simple, to those who lean towards deceit, decadence, and secrecy. This picture of folly reminds me of walking through the Red Light District of Amsterdam. It was a sorry sight.

I read a book last year that revolutionized my understanding of Proverbs. It was Bold Love by: Dan B. Allender Phd. you can get a used copy for about $6 via If you get your hands on it. It is a keeper.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 12 Repeating the same character flaws.

Have you noticed the similarity between Gen chapters 20 and 26? They are both interactions with the Philistine ruler Abimelech. Abimelech, now much older, is still on the look out for good looking women, and Isaac treats with his wife Rebekah as his father Abraham did with Sarah! He told anyone who asked him that Rebekah was his sister, this time Abimelech was not taken unawares and kept his eyes open, and in time it became obvious that they were not sister and brother.
There is the continuing saga over wells and then Abimelech asks Isaac to move as they are getting overcrowed and "under each others skin".

Looking at the wells for a moment:
The first one "Esek" means dispute or bickering (Everett Fox)
The second one "Sitna" means opposition or animosity (Everett Fox)
The third one "Rehovot" means room or space (Everett Fox)

I see that the bickering and animosity among siblings is probably due to an overcrowding environment. I know that with child development the first thing to look at when toddlers play up is their environment, maybe its not so different for adults!

I like the fact that Isaac recognizes when he hits on God's success for his life with the third well V22. He now knows that he has travelled far enough to not get in trouble with the herdsmen of Gerar any more. So he prepares for growth and moves along a little further to Beersheba, then God appears to him and only then does he build an altar and pitches his tent and digs another well. Only he doesn't have to dig too far before they hit the well dug a generation earlier v32.
Isaac may or not have known that this was the same place where his father Abraham met with Abimelech and confirmed that He was the orginal digger of the well. (compare Ch 21:31 to 26:33)

The seeds of faith that we leave in our generation may be blessed and honoured much later.

I wonder at Abimelech who recognises that YHWH blesses both Abraham and Isaac enough to ensure peace between their tribes and at the same time keeps his distance from the people of YHWH. Siobhan

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 11 Business of MatchMaker

If we were asked to by our employer to assist in matchmaking and that we would be led by God to be successful, what would our response be? What if our employer needed to seal the request by putting our hand under their thigh! It's all a little bit non-standard to put it mildly.

The chief servant in those days, was an agent of the master of the household so they had alot of responsibility and respect. Notice that he made sure he understood the mission, what the options were in finding a wife (specifically, not to get a wife from the Canaanite nations around them) duration of the mission and the limitations of his responsibility. Today, its still a good employee who knows their roles and the limits to their responsibilities and authority.

The servant was diligent in his mission and knew that his masters success was the focus of the mission v12.
He was very open in his communications with Rebekeh's family. Laban is quick to tell the servant that it was he who has prepared the house and a place for the camels. It looks like he needs the attention and the stranger to think well of him. When we are around people who have that trait, it always seems a little strange interaction. When we see what Laban is really like later we can see this initial contact as a red flag to much deeper character flaws.

It is interesting to note that Rebekah's family is referred to as her mother's household even though Bethuel the Dad is alive. V50 we see that its Laban anad Bethuel who take the lead in negotiations for Rebekah, then in v 53 gifts are given to the brother and mother in v 55 the mother and brother change the plans, with no mention of Bethuel.
I wonder if the roles and resonsibilities in the family were as clearly laid out as they
were in Abrahams household, and whether this had a bearing on the character of Laban as he grew up. Siobhan

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day 10 Part 2 The God who provides/sees

There is so much in these readings....and Abrahams test by fire can't be read without mention.
The theme for Abraham the patriarch, is "seeing", and with the aid of Everett Fox's knowledge of Hebrew we can also see clearer as we read the Word.

It seems that Sarah and Abraham are not together at this point. There seems to be a number of years between Gen 21 and 22.(Abraham living in the land of the Philisitnes Gen21v 34 and Sarah Gen23v2 in Hebron where she died and Abraham travels to mourn for her).

When I look at Abraham, who haggles over wells, negotiates with angels over family members, works life with local rulers, he is silent when asked to sacrifice his son. We are told how distressed he was over Ismael, so he wasn't a callous man.

Gen 22 The events are placed in the region of Moriah, which means "seeing".
Isaac will probably be about 37 years old at this point and he accompanies Abraham up to the mountain range of "seeing" When Isaac asks about the sacrifice, Abraham responds with V 8 "God will see-for-himself to the lamb of the offering-up" or in our NIV translation "God himself with provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son". I was struck by the connection with God's provision, the act of seeing, the name place of sacrifice, and what God was testing Abraham for. Verse 12 After Abraham is successul God says "Now I know that you are in awe of God because you have not withheld the son of your love".
When we are in "awe" of something, we look at it with wide eyes, have a sense of amazement and have a humility of how great the other is in comparison to self.
God sees us, but often we fail to really see him because the "son of our love" is bigger in our
eyes than He is.
Abraham lifted up his eyes and seen a ram in the thicket. Abraham knew he was to sacrifice his "lamb" 37 years old or not, Isaac was still his "lamb". God provided a ram on that day, not a lamb. His Lamb of God would be provided on another day and fulfill verse8 "God will see-for-himself to the lamb for the offering-up". Siobhan

Day 10 Part 1 The God who provides/sees

Gen 21 The events leading up to Isaacs sacrifice, look briefly like this..
Sarah becomes pregnant, has Isaac, a few years later she sends Hagar and Ismael away to the desert. Hagar is met by angel of God in the desert, Abraham meets with Abimelech the Philistine ruler and ensures that a well he built earlier is returned to him.

What was Abraham thinking about? Why did he think about an old well? Why was it important?
I think that Gen 21v11 shows us why Abraham was in the desert "at that time" (v22). He was distressed about Ismael and it was he who sent them on their way to the desert.
I get the sense that there are two stories happening simultaneously.

Track 1 Abraham meets Abimelech the Philistine ruler about the well. He pays dearly for the rights of the well to be returned to him. It had to be marked that "I dug this well" v 30. It could be that Abraham had a need to provide at least water for Ismael and Hagar in the desert and also to preserve a memory for Ismael that Abraham, his father, had not forgotten him.

Track 2 Here we have Hagar and Ismael, (which means God Hears) in the desert and Hager is met by an angel of God. He tells Hagar that God has heard the boy sobbing. It was God who told Hagar to name the unborn child "Ismael" all those years previously. I wonder if she had an "ah ah" moment when the pun of the word "Ismael"dawned on her! sometimes God's preparation for us isn't obvious until we truly understand that God was not taken unawares by situations or events.
Hagar's eyes are opened and she sees the well of water.

Whether it was the precise well that Abraham and Abimelech agreed on in a similar timeframe or not, is really immaterial, and we are not told that it was. But it sure makes a good story worth repeating.

Now to part 2....

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 9 God & Calaminty: Relentless or Relents

Within the past four days, I have come across the same message in different biblical books and now it turns up in the daily reading, so it bears mentioning at least, and for me, to be taken to heart.
Sunday's sermon was from Jonah, last night's bible study was in Joel and this morning we see the same theme in action in Gen 20....
Jonah 4:2 ..."I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, A God who relents from sending calamity"
Joel 2:13 "Rend your heart not your garments, Return to the Lord your God for he is gracious and compassionate slow to anger and abounding in love, for he relents from sending calamity"

Here in Gen 20 we see this in action. God speaks to Abimelech the heathen king, God knows he took Sarah in good conscience and God steps in and warns Abimelech to prevent him from sinning against him, (the God he does not honor) and bringing calamity onto his family.

God sent Jonah to warn the people of Ninevah, the calamity that was surely heading their way, and they repented, this time round at least. They Repented of their evil and violent ways and God had compassion on them. Jonah 2:10
Joel is sent to God's own people encouraging them to "Return to the Lord your God"

Here Abimelech makes Restitution to the person who was wronged in the situation, Sarah. Imagine introducing yourself as the spinster sister instead of being the wife of Abraham. She was already bearing the brunt of being infertile, is still dealing with the whole Hagar drama (Gen 16) and this was being compounded by her husband by referring to her as his sister. Abimlech gives Sarah via Abraham 1000 shekles of silver V16 "This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated".
What was the offense being spoken off? Abimelech didn't touch her.
Here is the more literal translation from the Hebrew from Everett Fox "it (the money) shall serve you as a covering for the eyes for all who are with you, and with everyone, that you have been decided for." The offense was her implied spinsterhood afterall!

Even so, it takes a prayer from Abraham to heal Abimelech family from infertility and with them Sarah is also healed.. but that's tomorrows story :)

Side note:
The three elements of heeding God warning from sending claminity into our lives that I see are
Repenting from the wrong behaviour, Returning to God with our heart, making Resistution where necessary. He will do whatever it takes to get our attention and save us from ourselves.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 7 & Day 8 The tag alongs in life

Gen13 Gives us some insight into Lot as a person, he doesn't strike me as a go getter, and has no firm direction of his own. His father Haran, died in Ur of Chaldeans , his death obviously left a great impression on the whole family as his grandfather, Terah didn't continue his journey to Canaan Gen11:32. This event stopped the journey for the whole family.
Lot was brought up by his grandfather and uncles, one of whom was also his brother in law! His other sibling,Iscah we aren't told anything about. His family dynamics were probably as strange to us as ours would be to them today. It seems every generation has something to deal with in their family, now back to the blog....

The land could not support the prosperity of both families and quarrels break out between the two households. Abram takes the initiative and offers Lot whatever land he needs. Lot chooses to live among the cities of the plain, beside the retrobate city of Sodom. Later we are told that he lived in the City, Gen 14:12. and then he and his household get captured and Abram has to save them.

Having said all that, Lot is spoken of as being a righteous man and God marked him and his household out for saving (by remembering Abram) when Sodom was about to be destroyed 2 Peter 2:6-8 "and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men. (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)".

Could it be that Lot had enough integrity to recognize the wickedness around him but lacked the personal direction or backbone to stay away from the cities or fight against it? His pleading with the men in Gen19:6 show that he focused on appeasment. Reasoning with people who are irrational is generally not fruitful. People who are focused on getting their own way generally have hearing problems!

So where does this put Lot? God saves him and his family but the story does not have a "happy- ever-after" ending. His wife turns into a pillar of salt, and his two daughthers deceive him, have sex with him and become pregnant. The daughters had focus, they feared that they were alone in the world and wanted to preserve the family lineGen19:32. Unfortunately, they too gave birth to nations the Moabites and the Ammonities future enemies to the people of God.

What I have considered while looking at Lot, I see that in our first family we may bear a hallmark of an event in our lives that "takes the rug from under our feet", it undermines our confidence in our own abilities and decision making process, we let issues slip and slide until they are totally out of our control.
Death of a father, failure to continue the journey by the grandfather, could all be contributors to Lot's lack of backbone, but there is something else. Lot did know right from wrong, he spent his time travelling with Abram the man of faith, but it didn't rub off onto Lot.

As Abram moved about, he pitched his tent and built an altar. It is not recorded thatLot does likewise when he moved to live beside the cities. Abram is known as the Hebrew Gen 14:13, why not Lot? Lot lived closer to them...

It seems that a healthy backbone is supported when the heart worships YHWH.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 6 Canaan, a curiosity

The promised land, Canaan, the land of milk and honey began with being cursed.

The behavior leading to the curse was when Ham seen his father's nakedness. (As we seen in the creation story, nakedness and shame go hand in hand). Noah cursed his grandchild, Hams child Canaan. then we read of the industriousness of Hams generations which include, Babel, Babylon, Sodom and Gomorrah(Gen 10:6ff). Key names that sum up lasciviousness, greed, pride and oppression.

Abram an ancestor of Shem, is called by God to leave his country, his people and fathers household to Canaan. But he brought more than God wanted him to be burdened with. Maybe God knew that the famine was going to strike and Abram may not have needed to go to Egypt if his household was smaller. Then we have Lot and his family needing to be rescued, twice. Maybe Abram didn't have to have the chaos in his life, and to go through the embarrassments with Sarai but he brought it on by adding to God's directions. Don't you think that sometimes we do the same?


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 4 Build it and they will come

I always thought that 40 days and nights was the duration of the Flood, but it turns out that its more like a year than 6 weeks, when all the time frames are added up.

Also the day the ark was finished was the day the flood began. God told Noah he was going to destroy the earth but not how that was going to happen, Noah lived about 100 miles into the desert and probably never seen the sea, never mind a boat. Not only was the ark to be built, but food had to be gathered for them and the animals I can see Mrs Noah wondering about the menu and groceries! Did Noah wonder how to gather all the animals and birds?
I wonder how I would have managed the stress of it all, thinking that it was all for me to do...but God had the animals come to Noah, there is a picture of peace and order that only God could orchestrate. All got done in the allotted time. And who would close the door to the Ark? God was their protection, and he done it.

When I don't have all the pieces worked out in life or can see the way ahead, I remember Noah he had been given a task and he done it and God done his part.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 3 Preparing the Way

John 3verse 3 found also in Isaiah 40:3
Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.
John's message was one of repentance as an act of preparation to meet with Jesus.

I am reminded of Zaccheus, Luke 19:1-9 who was looking for Jesus, repented of sinful ways and was committed to restitution Jesus not only came to his house but said that "Today Salvation has come to this house".

Another way to prepare our hearts for Jesus is to Thank him,
Psalm 50:23
He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God."

We get greater clarity when we are thankful so that we can see God at work, bringing health to every part of lives.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day 2 Wisdom older than Dirt! Honest

"Did God really say?" Four little words that gets us into trouble even today.
The purpose of deception is to undermine authority and the deceiver does a great job in asking a question. He didn't give a sermon on the virtues of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil nor did he spend alot of time persuading her to eat of the fruit. He just asked a question and let her internal enticing take over pretty much like we are told about in James 1:13-15.

Eve was a smart gal, she assessed the fruit. She seen it looked good, was nourishing and gave her the wisdom she felt she didn't have. We would probably have done the same. The only thing wrong with it was that it was "off limits" by God.

Eve had the "light of the world"available to her, the wisdom from God that existed before Dirt. Psalm 8 verse 26. But she substituted it for the knowledge of good and evil. Sometimes we don't have to dabble in the bad/evil to better understand the godly/good.

James 3:13-15 gives us further insight into the difference between godly and worldly wisdom. Its a good checklist of attitudes to help us distinguish between godly wisdom and worldly wisdom.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day 1

On the Old testment reading I found a couple of things I would like to share.

I found it interesting that when God was bringing order out of chaos the first thing he did was to create light. Often that is what we need when we are making decisions and choices in our lives and we usually plan our lives to get out of chaos or maintain a life of order and balance.

When God said "let there be light" what did he use to bring light? The sun moon and stars weren"t made until the 4th day and made specifically to bring light to the earth and later in the OT we are told the stars are be guides for our journeys.
Maybe when Jesus is referred to as the light of the world this is the light "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8

Proverbs 8 :23-26 talks about Wisdom
I was appointed [d] from eternity,
from the beginning, before the world began.

When there were no oceans, I was given birth,
when there were no springs abounding with water;

before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was given birth,

before he made the earth or its fields
or any of the dust of the world.

So it looks like, the Light is Jesus afterall.

If we begin 2009 with the desire to bring order out of chaos we will need the one who can provide the wisdom from God, who existed well before our personal chaos/troubles, to shed His Light on our lives.

It doesn't stop there, Jesus said that "we are the light of the world" Matt 5 :13-15

As his disciples, How can we share this light with others who are still walking in their chaos and pass on the hope we have been given?


Signing on the site

Hi All,
If you could sign your blog if you are using the that would be helpful, as I have no way of knowing who you are and or how to contact you.

If you would like to use your personal gmail account, please send it to me Siobhan and I can invite you specifically via the blog.

Thanks Siobhan