January 15, 2020, Genesis 15

For all few of the readers of this blog, you might have noticed I missed January 14. I apologize, I started to write last night, got a major headache and shut-it-down for the night.

Rather than going back. I’m just picking-up with the next day.

In this chapter the big idea that caught my attention, was one of politics . . . please don’t tune out just yet 🙂

On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, 21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 15:18–21). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

This verse would indicate to me that a two-state solution in the Middle East would be a viable position.

For those who may not know what the two-state position is, here is an oversimplified explanation of the two-state concept from the New York Times,

The two-state solution would establish an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel — two states for two peoples. In theory, this would win Israel security and allow it to retain a Jewish demographic majority (letting the country remain Jewish and democratic) while granting the Palestinians a state.

Fisher, Max. (2016, December 29). The Two-State Solution: What It Is and Why It Hasn’t Happened. Retrieved January 15, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/29/world/middleeast/israel-palestinians-two-state-solution.html

The Bible states that the land would be to Abram offspring, as we will see in future chapters that includes Ishmael. Ishmael is seen as the ancestor from Abram over many Arab people. And God states,

Now there is definitely a Biblical point of view that sees the promise being transferred exclusively to Isaac’s line . . .

And I am probably wading into waters I don’t fully understand. But this blog is representative of my thoughts . . . and I see a Bible passage that leads me to perceive that a two-state position would be copasetic.

Even the end of the passage I quoted above, speaks of those being removed from the land as nations that predate the children of Abraham, not the nations from Ishmael.

My thoughts on Genesis 15 . . .

What say you?

January 13, 2020, Genesis 13

In Genesis 13 Abram returns to the place we first saw him worship in Genesis 12,

And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord.

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 13:3–4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

And just as in chapter 12 immediately after worshiping Abram is confronted with a dilemma. The confrontation in chapter 12 led to failure.

In chapter 13 Abram now faces conflict with his nephew and his nephew’s supporters.

But could it be that Abram remembers the last time he worshiped between Bethel and Ai how quickly he lost faith?

In this confrontation, Abram resembles the generosity and humble spirit of God.

What do we see?

Abram learning and growing from his past mistakes.

Isn’t that all that we are called to do–to learn from our past–to come again to worship God and to grow . . . to be better next time?

I Need Your Social Media​

Greetings faithful readers and new readers.

I made a choice two years ago to leave the Facebook world, you can read about that here

A little over a year ago I left Twitter.

And this past February I left Instagram, you can read about that here

Unfortunately no longer being on any social media platforms has hurt the traffic on this blog now that I have returned to writing.

Now maybe this is wanting my cake (having the advertisement of social media) and eating it too (being off of social media), but I would like to ask you the reader, if you read something on this blog that you think would be helpful, interesting, encouraging, challenging to others will you please click on the buttons to the left and share these posts in your social media environs.

I would also like to encourage you to subscribe to this blog at the bottom of the page.

Thank you for your help.

January 12, 2020,​ Genesis 12

“Consistency” was the word that came to my mind when I read Genesis 12 this morning.

God’s consistency.

Humanity’s lack of consistency.

The chapter begins with God making a promise to Abram (this is before God renamed him Abraham),

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great . . .

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 12:2). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

And the chapter ends with God being faithful to that promise. I won’t add the entire story here, but read it for yourself and Abram while he was in Egypt received,

"sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels." (v. 16b)

 Also, The Lord protected Abram from the Pharaoh in Egypt (vv. 17-20)

God was consistent!

The only reason, however, that Abram had to be protected from Pharaoh is due to Abram’s inconsistency towards God!

God made a promise to Abram, Abram trusted God and followed God’s leading and worshiped God,

From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb. 

 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 12:8–9). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Until things got tough.

Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ge 12:10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

 And since Abram was in a place God had not called him to go, he had to start operating under his own logic, which was to lie and betray his marital commitment (vv. 11-13).

Abram was inconsistent!

Let me point out the obvious.

God’s faithfulness is consistent.

Our faithfulness is not.

Who do you want to follow?

A consistent God . . . or your inconsistent self?

I’m going with God!

January 11, 2020 ​Genesis 11

If a person believes in the authority of scripture, they cannot read Genesis 11 and not recognize that sometimes God allows or even does things that will make us unhappy in order to protect us.

The first 9 verses of Genesis 11 tell the story of the tower of Babel and what jumps out at me is God was willing to upset a lot of folk and give them a level of unhappiness and frustration in order to save humanity.

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Genesis 11:5-9

Lesson to me, to us? Don’t assume every situation in our lives that is frustrating is a.) from the devil. b.) something to be upset about. c.) something that is working against us.

The Lord confused the languages of humanity and saved us from ourselves.

Lord frustrate me I pray if it will save me!

January 10, 2020 Genesis 10

What is the purpose and value of genealogies in the Bible (Because that is all Genesis 10 is)?

  1. Genealogies help to substantiate the historical accuracy of scripture.
  2. Genealogies help to confirm prophecy from the past.
  3. Genealogies remind us that God works with families. Strong families. Weak families. Intact families. Broken families.
  4. Genealogies sometimes share with us small stories or insights that we can apply to our lives for edification. Some of you may remember a little book that was very popular called, “The Prayer of Jabez.” Jabez’s story came from a genealogy, 1 Chronicles 4:9, 10. Two verses in a genealogy that God used to bless a lot of people.

So let’s not look down on genealogies. Let us mine them and see what blessing there may be for us.

January 9, 2020 Genesis 9

“The rainbow is a promise in the sky . . . ” is the opening line to a song written by Chuck Fulmore and performed by his trio.

I loved singing this song when I was a kid growing up, and have renewed the joy as I sing along now with my three sons.

We can read about the origin of the rainbow and it’s meaning in Genesis 9,

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbowappears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Genesis 9:12-17

It is the only visual symbol of a promise that God Himself gave to humanity for all eternity. The cross is a modern-day symbol, but we created that symbol, The Lord never told us to look upon the cross and remember anything. But God did tell us that every time we see a rainbow it should remind us of ONE thing, His covenant with humanity after the flood.

It is not politically correct to say, but I will say it; I am saddened that the promise of God is not the only thing thought about when one looks upon the rainbow.

One day when one of my sons points out the pretty rainbow flag he sees flying, I’ll have to tell him it is not flying to symbolize what we’ve sung about all these years, God’s covenant with all life.

“The rainbow is a promise for you and me, there’ll never be another flood throughout eternity. ‘Till Jesus comes to take us home with Him to be, the rainbow is a promise for you and me.”

January 8, 2020 Genesis 8

But God remembered Noah . . .

Genesis 8:1a

In this clause is the Gospel. Tough times are at hand, but deliverance is coming. Healing is coming. Joy is coming.

In the Old Testament “remember” is used with God as the subject seventy-three times. Eighteen times it is followed by the preposition “to,” demonstrating that God’s remembrance is interpreted more as “an action directed toward someone, rather than as a psychological experience of the subject.” ( Hamilton, V. P. (1990). The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17 (p. 299). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)

What does that mean? It means that when God remembers He acts!

“God remembered Abraham” and Lot and his family were rescued from the consuming fire. (Gen. 19:29)

“God remembered Rachel” and she was able to have a baby. (Gen. 30:22)

“God remembered Noah” and He sent a wind to dry out the land and end the flood.

Stay with God, He remembers and His remembering will lead to Him acting on your behalf.

January 7, 2020 Genesis 7 (I got nothing)

I do not know if it is appropriate to say, “I read the Bible and got nothing” but I am saying it today–but before you get bothered please allow me to explain.

I am currently in Louisville, KY. I am here for a doctoral seminar at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where I am pursuing my Doctor in Ministry degree. This is my third time here in the last 13 months and I will be here likely every six months until December of 2021, which is my projected graduation date.

So this morning, I read Genesis 7, and in the moment of reading it “I got nothing” now when I say, “I got nothing” I mean that nothing struck me–there was no “aha” moment or grand revelation. I didn’t see anything in there in a new way or something old that impacted me in such a way that I thought, “I want to write on that.” But I decided to sit on the text for a ‘bit and see if I would feel different about the text after I sat in class for the day. Well, I didn’t and now after dinner and a run, I still don’t.

Why am I sharing this?

First, because I want to encourage folk that sometimes read the Bible and come up blank. It’s okay, it happens to all of us–well maybe not everyone–but if you’re reading this you can know it happens to me also. You’re not alone.

Second, I am sharing this because while I say, “I got nothing” out the text, I don’t know if that is actually true. At some point tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, I may be conversing with someone and suddenly I need something from Genesis 7 to add to the conversation or to answer one of their questions. By reading the text even when I don’t “get anything out of it” is building familiarity with the scriptures. Familiarity God can and I believe will use for my edification or the edification of another in the future.

Third, because even when “I get nothing” of this scripture or any other, I am developing the discipline for returning to the Word of God day after day. The spiritual discipline of daily Bible Study is a challenge in our hectic world, a world with so many of the devil’s distractions. I have to develop the muscle of study. I sometimes go out for a run, and I feel like it was the worst run ever, but I know that even though the run felt like a waste, I still added discipline to my life that will help me go out there and run the next day.

Fourth, I know that while I may feel like “I got nothing” from my reading time. I have been building a relationship. The Bible is God’s holy word; it, along with Holy Spirit guided prayer, are the two primary ways God communicates to us and builds relationship with us. Relationships don’t go deep through every day “wow” moments. Relationships deepen through consistency. I called my wife and kids tonight. What did we talk about? With the kids: homework. Basketball practice. Going to their friend’s house (and that is literally all they said, no details about the friend’s house). With Christina: her work. My class. Paying for the piano lessons. My run. When am I graduating again? No “wow” moments. And honestly, nothing new. But my relationship is stronger with my family because I check in every day, even when “I get nothing.”

I’ll talk to you tomorrow–Genesis 8

Oh, P.S. Happy Birthday Dad and Uncle Donnie!

January 6, 2020 Genesis 6

Genesis 6 begins with a much debated passage:

Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.

Genesis 6:1-2

Some believe this passage is speaking of human women sleeping with evil angels or evil spirits. Some believe this passage is speaking of women becoming wives and sleeping with men of renown, kings and princes, etc. Others believe this is speaking of men from the line of Seth taking for themselves wives from the line of Cain.

I go with the latter. The latter is the least supported position amongst modern commentators and even ancient Jewish writers such as Philo and Josephus (they supported the angel and humans intercourse theory).

Why do I choose the idea of Sethites mingling with Cainites, because to me it fits in with the rest of the narrative of the Old Testament. As one will discover in later books God consistently warns God’s people not to take wives from those that are not followers of the one true God. And in multiple places in scripture when this does happen, wickedness flourishes.

I believe Genesis 6 is the first time God has chosen to teach the “unequally yoked” concept of 2nd Corinthians 6.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

2 Corinthians 6:14, 15

Marriage to someone that does not hold the same faith as you, (this does not mean they belong to the same denomination–a committed Adventist marrying a uncommitted Adventist or a committed Baptist marrying an uncommitted Baptist, is still being unequally yoked) is a path that often leads to deterioration in ones home, ones morals, and even as we see here in Genesis 6 society.

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lordwas sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

Genesis 6:5,6

There are many reasons evil spreads in the world, but in the context of Genesis 6 it is firmly rooted in the relationships ungodly marriage relationships being developed in society.

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