Posts Tagged: Devotional

January 20, 2020, Genesis 20

A quick note on the text today.

This story reminds us that simply because a person is a “pagan” does not mean they are less honorable than the “believer” in God.

Abraham shows dishonor once again to his wife Sarah,

Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”

Genesis 20:11-13, NIV

But Abimelek seeks to restore Sarah’s reputation,

To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”

Genesis 20:16

Abraham = I want to ask you to put yourself in a position of compromise for me.

Abimelek = I want to completely clear you from any blame or suspicion.

In verse 16, I also appreciated this subtle jab by the King, he tells Sarah, “I am giving your brother.” He doesn’t call Abraham her husband. Why? My guess is because Abimelek will not give the title of husband to Abraham when he has not earned such a respectful title.

Being a husband is to be earned.

January 3, 2020 Genesis 3

What happens when we decide that we know better than God’s Word? Genesis 3 is a testimony of the results . . . SIN . . . regret . . . SIN . . . Consequences.

How humanity deals with our sin problem . . .

  1. Cover-up (Gen. 3:7b)
  2. Fear (Gen. 3:8, 10)
  3. Blame God (Gen. 3:12a, 13)
  4. Blame others (Gen. 3:12b, 13)
  5. Try to justify (Gen. 3:12c, 13)

How God deals with our sin problem . . .

  1. Consequences (Gen. 3:16-19, 23, 24)
  2. GRACE (3:14-15, 21)

Consequences can hurt–but I still prefer God’s way!

January 2, 2020 Genesis 2

I wish Genesis chapter 1 ended after Genesis 2:3. But since chapter and verse breaks are not inspired (they were standardized in the 13th and 16th cent. respectively) I will not spend too much time worrying about it.

When I read Genesis chapter 1, I read about an overview of all creation.

When I read Genesis chapter 2, I read about the relationship of the creation to story to man and man’s relationship to that creation.

Genesis chapter 1 is a wide angle lens and Genesis chapter 2 the lens zooms in on that which is most relevant to the reader…our relationship to creation…

Wait a second, maybe that is why Genesis 2 begins with:

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Genesis 2:1-3, English Standard Version

Genesis chapter 2 is about mans relationship to creation and thus to the creator…

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Exodus 20:8-11, ESV

Memorize Scripture: Exodus 20:11

“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” –Exodus 20:11

Exodus 20:11 points us back to creation, back to the institution of the Sabbath,

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” –Genesis 2: 2, 3.

This text reminds us that the Sabbath is not some arbitrary law.  It’s establishment was not at Mount Sinai when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, but rather was a part of God’s original plan before sin ever entered the world.  The Sabbath is as Holy as the establishment of unity between one man and one woman at the beginning of time.  The commandment is simply a reminder to all mankind to worship the creator on His holy day.

Memorize Scripture: Exodus 20:9

“Six days you shall labor and do all your work” –Exodus 20:9

This text is more than about a command to simply not work on the 7th day Sabbath.  Exodus 20:9 is to remind us that our lives are not dependent upon our labor but rather on the grace of God.  While the rest of the world teaches that ceaseless labor is the key to success, God reminds us that worship of the one true God is of ultimate value in our life!

Memorize Scripture: Exodus 20:5, 6

“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”  –Exodus 20: 5 & 6

As I said yesterday we make idols not through a lack of belief in God, but a lack of faith of God.  This happens in the everyday living of our lives (which is worship), but often times it happens in what we specifically as followers of Jesus refer to as “worship” what we do Saturday mornings (or Sunday mornings).  We create idols in “worship” when God isn’t enough. What do I mean by this?  Worship for many is not successful unless the music was to the standard they desired, or the music was not of the genre they prefer.  It is not successful if the speaker they like to listen to isn’t the speaker or if the speaker did not finish by 12 or 12:30.  Even if truth, clear and direct truth from scripture was presented if the above were not up to their standard then worship by them would be deemed as not successful.  Why because worship has become about what they prefer and not the truth of God’s Word!  When this happens idols are created because we are no longer worshiping the Lord, but rather our own desires for worship! 

 

Memorize Scripture: Exodus 20:4

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”

–Exodus 20:4

In our current context how do we form images?  To understand this passage I believe we need to look at one of if not the most directly quoted passage in scripture, Habakkuk 2:4 which is then quoted three times in the New Testament, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38, “The righteous (just) shall live by faith.”  The reason the Israelites “made” idols for worship is because the way God was revealing Himself or not revealing Himself to them wasn’t good enough according to their own perspective.  They couldn’t see Him, They couldn’t hear Him.  He took too long to send Moses back down the mountain. So they reasoned to themselves that they should make something that would encourage them, that would make them “feel” better.  To “feel” more secure.  As you read scripture we see over and over again that many times the people still believed in YHWH (Yahweh) even as they made images.  Idols weren’t always a sign of unbelief, rather idols were a sign of no faith, no faith in what God was doing.  No faith that God would deliver.  No faith that God would protect.  No faith that God would provide. No faith that God heard them.  However more often than not, they still believed!  Well aren’t faith and belief the same thing?  No, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (James 2:19) Where Satan and the demons fail is not in their unbelief in the ONE God, they fail in their lack of faith in God. Idol worship continues in our current setting not because of a lack of belief in God, but because of a lack of faith in God and more specifically lack of faith in worship of God as we will see tomorrow.  We create idols even if we “make” nothing physical, when we believe in God but fail to “live by faith” in God and therefore try to figure things out and do things our own way.  Every time you or I try to overcome sin on our own we are making an idol.  Every time we try to overcome a conflict in our own life apart from God we are making an idol.  Every time we worry about how we are going to pay for something or we fail to give to God, because we then can’t pay our bills or go on that vacation, we are making an idol.  Idols are not about unbelief they are about a lack of faith and scripture tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God..” (Hebrews 11:6). 

So as we memorize this text let us think about the idols we’ve made and humbly ask God to tear them down by teaching us how to “live by faith.”

 

Exodus 20:3

“You shall have no other gods before me.” –Exodus 20:3 (Write it down on a 3×5 card)

The first commandment of the 10 is pretty simple, pretty straight forward, and extremely important and profound.  The entire purpose of scripture, the entire purpose of Christianity, the entire purpose of our lives is to give glory to God!  Anytime someone or something gets more glory than the one true God in our lives, that thing or that person becomes our god!  Our minds may automatically jump to bad things, but a god can be and often times is a good things as well: Our jobs, our kids, our spouses, our exercise routine (distance running, at times, unfortunately has been my God), our homes, our golf game.  What do you focus on most?  That is your godDo you need to replace your God with the one true God? 

“You shall have NO OTHER gods before me.” –Exodus 20:3

Memorize Scripture With Me! Exodus 20:1 & 2

Yesterday I set some goals for myself, you can read about it here.  One of them was to memorize 100 scriptures every Adventist should know.  So I want to invite you to memorize with me.  Every few days I will place on my blog our text we are going to memorize.  I also at that time will add a little commentary on the text.  Maybe if you read these in the morning this can be added to your devotional time.  Either way I hope you will join me and check back regularly!  Maybe to help you memorize get a packet of 3 x 5 cards and write the scriptures on them, keep them with you and look at them and recite them throughout the day.

We are going to start today with Exodus 20: 1, 2 and I am going to be using the New International Version:

Verse 1:  And God spoke all these words:

Verse 2: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Personal Commentary:

These two verses are the prelude, the intro into the 10 Commandments that God carved into stone with His own hand.  They are words that are directly from God, they aren’t the interpretation of man, they are not man’s perspective, the Bible tells us that “God spoke all these words.” That to me it seems would make them quite important!  And in verse 2 we see the basis by which the children of Israel were to keep the law. They were to keep the law, because they were delivered by God from slavery.  This text really highlights the basis for all obedience, including why we should continue to obey, because we have been delivered! Not like the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, but from sin, we’ve been delivered from the condemnation of the law by Jesus, therefore we should obey.  I like how God reminds His people that He already delivered them and then asks them to keep the commandments.  Our God’s acts of grace ALWAYS precede our response, our actions!  

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

–Romans 5:8

The act of grace came before our actions of repentance, before our actions of obedience, before our actions of love. But then we are to respond in love which is obedience. 

” “If you love me, keep my commands.”

–John 14:15

If you ever run into someone that tries to discourage your obedience by telling you not to be a “legalist” because it is all about love.  Remind them that love and obedience cannot be separated!  We obey because we love, we love because we are delivered, we are delivered because God loves us!

Memorize this scripture and remember the commandments are a response to a mighty act of GRACE!

 

 

 

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