Genesis 28-31 (NLT) 

Discover His Heart: Our loving Father patiently prepares us to receive His blessings

We all know people who have had a rough start in life, plagued with poor choices and wrong turns.  Jacob was certainly in that group.  Jacob’s struggles began even before he was born, “Rebekah became pregnant with twins. But the two children struggled with each other in her womb. So she went to ask the Lord about it. ‘Why is this happening to me?’ she asked.  And the Lord told her, ‘The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.’” (25:21-23)

In Chapter 27 we read how Rebekah manipulated Isaac into granting his generational blessing to her favored son, Jacob, rather than the elder Esau. Even though Jacob questioned his mother’s decision to deceive his father, it appears that it was only because he didn’t want to get caught.  Regardless of Rebekah’s motivation for doing this, her actions produced a lifetime enemy for the nation of Israel and she never saw her beloved son again.  What a trade-off!  Anytime I try to help God through compromising means, I can expect the same negative results.  Lesson learned. 

@ Genesis 29
The love story of Jacob and Rachel is as compelling as any good novel, but unfortunately the saying “What goes around comes around” was true for Jacob the deceiver.  He fell in love with Rachel, the daughter of Laban, a man who understood deception only too well.  Jacob had met his match!  Laban tried to cheat Jacob out of marrying the woman he loved, robbed him of sheep and goats and changed his wages 10 times over the 14 plus years, yet Jacob persevered.

Jacob persisted because of one night long before, on the way to his future, he had a dream and a promise from God to bless him.  “Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway.  At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you.  I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth!’” (Genesis 28:11-14)  God used the next several years to make Jacob worthy of this blessing and of the blessing he had stolen so many years before from his brother.

God longs to bless each of us and often places promises deep within our hearts.  It’s easy to give up when the Labans in life or our circumstances postpone our dreams, but from Jacob’s life, we understand that He is often perfecting us and preparing us for His blessing.  Jacob eventually returned home a very wealthy man with a small, but growing nation in his caravan.

Moving Forward: I will hold on to the promises that God has placed deep within my heart as He prepares me for all that He has for me, never manipulating or compromising to bring it to pass.

Tomorrow@Judges 12-16

Genesis 24-27 (NLT) 

Discover His heart:  His Word encourages us to live a righteous life to avoid the many consequences of sin

Tucked in between Christmas and Easter on the holiday calendar is Valentine’s Day, a day spent enjoying and celebrating those we love.  More sugary chocolate treats will be given as gifts and consumed than any other day of the year outside of Halloween.  As the saying goes, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we diet!”

Sugar!  Who doesn’t like sugar!  Even now I look across the room to my kitchen and spy my glass sugar canister with the sun hitting it just right and each sweet grain sparkling in its rays.  I’ve known a few individuals in my life who care little about sweets and can pass up a sugary dessert without batting an eye.  I’m not sure what planet they’re from, but I’m certain it’s a miserable place.  While sugar seems rather benign in nature, it does hold an addictive property to where our appetites require more and more in order to be satisfied.  In addition to obvious weight gain over time, we now have learned that when sugar consumption is left unchecked, serious health issues can arise.  But then, as we discover today in our reading, uncontrolled appetites can lead to all sorts of problems in our lives.

@ Genesis 25
“One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, ‘I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!’…‘All right,’ Jacob replied, ‘but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.’ ‘Look, I’m dying of starvation!’ said Esau. ‘What good is my birthright to me now?’” (29-32)  I sincerely doubt that Esau was truly starving to death, but the excuses we make are quite creative when we yearn to satisfy our appetites.  “Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.”  Those were expensive lentils, to say the least.

Jacob, a heel-gripping deceiver during those early years, made a great deal for himself because of Esau’s uncontrollable appetite.  He would now possess the wealth and power of a first-born son.  Appetites come in a variety of passions, and any appetite that causes us to make a poor trade and sacrifice something of value should certainly be considered out-of-control.  Many have sacrificed their honor and reputation to satisfy their lust for power or have lost the respect of family and friends to satisfy their sexual appetites because they traded their core values for temporary pleasure.

Esau lost his future, his riches and his promise.  Hebrews 12:16-17 reminds us, “Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.”  Fortunately, God forgives our sins, but it is at the very least difficult and often impossible to restore the honor, reputation and respect we once enjoyed when we dishonor them as Esau did.

This disheartening story of Esau is not one of the feel-good uplifting stories of the Bible, but I would imagine that God was intentional with its inclusion.  If we heed its message, it will spare us the pain and loss that comes with making a poor trade in order to satisfy a fleeting moment of power or pleasure.  And in that sense, the story of Esau is priceless. 

Moving Forward:  I love the Lord for showing me the disciplines of His word.  I choose today to protect those things of value, praying never to trade the eternal for the temporary in my life. 

Tomorrow @ Judges 7-11

Genesis 28-31 (NLT) 

Discover His Heart: Our loving Father patiently prepares us to receive His blessings

We all know people who have had a rough start in life, plagued with poor choices and wrong turns.  Jacob was certainly in that group.  Jacob’s struggles began even before he was born, “Rebekah became pregnant with twins. But the two children struggled with each other in her womb. So she went to ask the Lord about it. ‘Why is this happening to me?’ she asked.  And the Lord told her, ‘The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.’” (25:21-23)

In Chapter 27 we read how Rebekah manipulated Isaac into granting his generational blessing to her favored son, Jacob, rather than the elder Esau. Even though Jacob questioned his mother’s decision to deceive his father, it appears that it was only because he didn’t want to get caught.  Regardless of Rebekah’s motivation for doing this, her actions produced a lifetime enemy for the nation of Israel and she never saw her beloved son again.  What a trade-off!  Any time I try to help God through compromising means, I can expect the same negative results.  Lesson learned. 

@ Genesis 29
The love story of Jacob and Rachel is as compelling as any good novel, but unfortunately the saying “What goes around comes around” was true for Jacob the deceiver.  He fell in love with Rachel, the daughter of Laban, a man who understood deception only too well.  Jacob had met his match!  Laban tried to cheat Jacob out of marrying the woman he loved, robbed him of sheep and goats and changed his wages 10 times over the 14 plus years, yet Jacob persevered.

Jacob persisted because of one night long before, on the way to his future, he had a dream and a promise from God to bless him.  “Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway.  At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you.  I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth!’” (Genesis 28:11-14)  God used the next several years to make Jacob worthy of this blessing and of the blessing he had stolen so many years before from his brother.

God longs to bless each of us and often places promises deep within our hearts.  It’s easy to give up when the Labans in life or our circumstances postpone our dreams, but from Jacob’s life we understand that He is often perfecting us and preparing us for His blessing.  Jacob eventually returned home a very wealthy man with a small, but growing nation in his caravan.

Moving Forward: I will hold on to the promises that God has placed deep within my heart as He prepares me for all that He has for me, never manipulating or compromising to bring it to pass.

Tomorrow@Judges 12-16

Genesis 24-27 (NLT) 

Discover His heart:  His Word encourages us to live a righteous life to avoid the many consequences of sin

Tucked in between Christmas and Easter on the holiday calendar is Valentine’s Day, a day spent enjoying and celebrating those we love.  More sugary chocolate treats will be given as gifts and consumed than any other day of the year outside of Halloween.  As the saying goes, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we diet!”

Sugar!  Who doesn’t like sugar!  Even now I look across the room to my kitchen and spy my glass sugar canister with the sun hitting it just right and each sweet grain sparkling in its rays.  I’ve known a few individuals in my life who care little about sweets and can pass up a sugary dessert without batting an eye.  I’m not sure what planet they’re from, but I’m certain it’s a miserable place.  While sugar seems rather benign in nature, it does hold an addictive property to where our appetites require more and more in order to be satisfied.  In addition to obvious weight gain over time, we now have learned that when sugar consumption is left unchecked, serious health issues can arise.  But then, as we discover today in our reading, uncontrolled appetites can lead to all sorts of problems in our lives.

@ Genesis 25
“One day when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau arrived home from the wilderness exhausted and hungry. Esau said to Jacob, ‘I’m starved! Give me some of that red stew!’…‘All right,’ Jacob replied, ‘but trade me your rights as the firstborn son.’ ‘Look, I’m dying of starvation!’ said Esau. ‘What good is my birthright to me now?’” (29-32)  I sincerely doubt that Esau was truly starving to death, but the excuses we make are quite creative when we yearn to satisfy our appetites.  “Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate the meal, then got up and left. He showed contempt for his rights as the firstborn.”  Those were expensive lentils, to say the least.

Jacob, a heel-gripping deceiver during those early years, made a great deal for himself because of Esau’s uncontrollable appetite.  He would now possess the wealth and power of a first-born son.  Appetites come in a variety of passions, and any appetite that causes us to make a poor trade and sacrifice something of value should certainly be considered out-of-control.  Many have sacrificed their honor and reputation to satisfy their lust for power or have lost the respect of family and friends to satisfy their sexual appetites because they traded their core values for temporary pleasure.

Esau lost his future, his riches and his promise.  Hebrews 12:16-17 reminds us, “Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.”  Fortunately, God forgives our sins, but it is at the very least difficult and often impossible to restore the honor, reputation and respect we once enjoyed when we dishonor them as Esau did.

This disheartening story of Esau is not one of the feel-good uplifting stories of the Bible, but I would imagine that God was intentional with its inclusion.  If we heed its message, it will spare us the pain and loss that comes with making a poor trade in order to satisfy a fleeting moment of power or pleasure.  And in that sense, the story of Esau is priceless. 

Moving Forward:  I love the Lord for showing me the disciplines of His word.  I choose today to protect those things of value, praying never to trade the eternal for the temporary in my life. 

Tomorrow @ Judges 7-11