“Isaac pleaded with the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. The LORD answered Isaac’s prayer…” -Genesis 25:21a
Rebekah gave birth to twins (!) and one of them was thick haired, who they named Esau. The other was grasping his heel, they named him Jacob. The name Jacob sounds like the Hebrew words for “heel” and “deceiver”, according to the notes at the bottom of the page in this bible. Interesting!
When we are wanting something, especially something that seems to be according to God’s will (like having children), we can plead to the LORD and ask Him! He will hear our prayers. I like how even though God answered and provided Isaac and Rebekah with children, which I’m sure was a huge blessing to them, there was still trials that came along with their kids. God said to Rebekah, “From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals.”
I also never noticed that it says Abraham, who died at 175 years of age, “died at a ripe old age, having lived a long and satisfying life.” A blessing from God!
Something to do:
If there is something I truly want (something that I think is according to God’s will), I can plead with the LORD (or perhaps my husband should plead on my behalf!). Trust that the LORD will answer our prayers, but perhaps not in ways that we expect.
Since this past Saturday, I have been struggling to get these blog posts done! I have already been tempted to give up on this effort, but I know how helpful and exciting and also simple this has been so far! It really only takes 30 minutes to do the reading and the post, so do I have any excuse? Sure I’ve been working almost every night and I have been exhausted and have had some very stressful and trying times at work (one of my patients died unexpectantly this past weekend while I was caring for her)… but these are all the more reason to get into the Word and soak it up! Learn from it and tuck it away in my mind and heart for all these trials I go through.
So please forgive me for my lack of posts. By the grace of God though, I have kept up with the reading each day. That alone is a big step for me! But I hope I can keep working hard and pushing myself to keep up with these posts as well.
Please be praying for me to persevere through this and keep going as the year marches on. By God’s grace and love and mercy will I be able to do this for the rest of 2011 and hopefully, in some fashion, the rest of my life!
“Then God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water.” -Genesis 21:19a
When Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac, I am always amazed at his simple obedience. It isn’t said anywhere that he questions God or grumbles or complains or worries, but rather that “The next morning Abraham got up early.” When I know God is asking me to do something, do I just do it? No excuses or complaints? Do I “truly fear God” (Gen 22:12b) and also consider God as my Yahweh-Yireh (“The LORD will provide”) (Gen 22:16a)?
I love the story of Hagar wandering aimlessly in the wilderness, when Abraham sends her off, and then becoming thirsty and worrying (crying) about her and her son’s lives. It says that God opened her eyes, and then she saw the well of water. God assures her to not be afraid (21:17b) and tells her that he has heard her son crying. But it amazes me that the well was probably already there, right in front of her, but because she was crying and worrying and probably not trusting in the LORD to protect and provide for her and her son, she couldn’t even see that he had already given her exactly what she and her son needed! I love the picture of how closely God watches over us and cares for us and is “with us” (Gen 21:20a).
Something to do:
If God is telling me to do something… just do it! Don’t worry, question, complain, delay. And remember that he is with me, knows my needs, and will always provide. I need to ask God to open my eyes to what he’s already provided for me, rather than always requesting something else. He has given us all we need!
“Then Abraham pressed his request further.” Genesis 18:29a
The LORD kept His promise to Sarah and Abraham and they gave birth to a son, even in old age. “This happened at just the time God said it would” (Gen 21:2b). God will fulfill His promises to us, even if they do seem absurd and beyond physical capabilities!
The interaction between Abraham and God in Gen 18 is just amazing to me. How Abraham keeps asking and approaching and pressing further in talking with God to really understand what He is saying. What I love most though is that the LORD’s responses are simple and kind (“If I find fifty righteous people in Sodom, I will spare the entire city for their sake” … “Then I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”) God does not show any frustration or impatience with Abraham for the doubt that he seems to have by continuing to question God’s promise and mercy and goodness toward us. We can trust God for what He says, and keep it simple! Yet we can also come before Him, without fear, and ask Him to help us understand.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Something to do:
Don’t be afraid to come before the LORD with my fears, my raw thoughts, my questions, my requests. He will not become angry or frustrated with me. He is kind, patient, and loving! And I must trust that the LORD will do what He promises to do. :)
“This is my everlasting covenant; I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.” -Genesis 16:7b-8
God changed Abram’s name (exalted father) to Abraham (father of many), and Sarai’s name to Sarah (princess). These were changed by God right along with his promises to bless and multiply their descendants. I love how Abram fell face down on the ground in worship at this promise from God in 17:3 and then later in 17:17.
When Hagar, whom Abram had just slept with in attempt to ensure he has children, runs away from her mistress Sarai, she hears from God himself. She used another name to refer to the LORD, El-roi, or “God who sees.” (16:13). God truly does see us and know our hurts and our needs! How comforting. I also noticed how God appeared to Abram and said to him that he is “El-Shaddai- ‘God Almighty” (17:1), and then goes on to ask Abram to serve him faithfully and live a blameless life. Then he made the promise of giving him countless descendants. This was then when Abram fell face down, I’m sure because he was in awe and probably disbelief that God could give him a long line of descendants knowing that him and his wife could not get pregnant. Only an almighty, powerful God can do such a seemingly impossible thing! The name of God is also mentioned in the previous day’s reading in 14:18- El-Elyon or God Most High. Love these names of God!
Something to do:
Never doubt what the LORD can and will do! Trust in his plans for me, as a God who sees me and knows my needs, and as a God who has the power to do anything and loves to bless us.
“But the LORD came down…” -Genesis 11:5
Gen 12:10-20- When Abram and his wife Sarai visited Egypt, Abram tells her to lie and say that she is actually his sister, not his wife. He does this to protect himself that they would spare his life because he is worried of their interest in her. I’m alway surprised though that Pharoh, who does take Sarai as his wife (because of the lie he was told), ends up being upset with Abram and “accuses him sharply” and then sends them away. Lies never give us what we want or need, though perhaps temporarily they seem to.
I love the story of the tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9)! After reading this and then viewing the video for the day from Wendy Pope, I see this story in new light. How the LORD came down and stopped all the people from building: “a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the earth.” Fame and security, apart from the LORD, is so luring, isn’t it? I just love how God saw this and intervened to stop it, to protect and discipline his people. Also points us to Christ- God coming down to protect and save us from false security and joy.
Something to do:
Find my true joy and security only in God in Christ, not in ANYTHING ELSE! Not in my marriage, money, job, family, friendships, church, etc. Anywhere else will be in vain, since it will be false and fleeting and will not satisfy. God can and will otherwise destroy all my false “towers”, and for my own good! Praise God!
“Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.” -Genesis 9:11
Once Noah and his family and the animals were safely on land again, God blessed them and said to be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth (9:1). This was part of his covanent! It is a blessing to have children and fill the earth, not a burden as I’ve heard many people speak of their children.
Since I’ve only read this story a couple times, believe it or not, and have usually skimmed over it, there was much that is new to me. I never knew that God made a covenant to Noah saying that he would never again destroy all the earth with flood waters. This is reassuring after years of hearing about “global warming” and how the icebergs are going to melt and we’re going to sink. Sounds kinda silly really! We can trust God that He will not let this happen again!
Something to do:
Trust that when God sends “floods” in our lives, those seemingly impossible trials and events that come unexpectantly and seem to only weaken us, that He is doing this out of love and is purifying and disciplining us. We can trust that he will remember us (Gen 8:1) and will bring us out and into new life again!