Thursday, February 21, 2013

Genesis 33 - Cost of Peace

As we begin this chapter, Esau is coming toward Jacob with 400 men. Apparently neither brother knew what to expect from the other. Both are prepared for the worst. Jacob divides his family to protect them against any wrath Esau might have had toward them.

After seeing wave upon wave of gifts from Jacob, Esau is softened and comes to greet his brother. He asks what is meant by the droves and Jacob frankly states he wants to buy the favor of his brother.

While the reunion wasn't hostile, there is still mistrust between them as Jacob did not join his brother in Seir as he promised but settled in Canaan.

The price of reconciliation is rarely without cost. This is why maintaining peace is so vital. If Jacob had only done the honorable thing 20 years prior this would have never been an issue, but strife was created and it needed to be rectified.

In our lives, sin creates strife between ourselves and God. No amount of good deeds and tokens can make up for the division our sin creates. God outlines how impossible it was to bridge the gap by giving us the Old Testament law. This was not mere rules for living but a picture of how perfect you would need to be to restore fellowship. No one is that righteous. It was only when God's only Son took the form of a man and paid he price to reconcile us that we have any hope.

Like the waves of animals given to soothe the wounds between Jacob and Esau, Jesus paves the way for you and I to have a relationship with the Father. He paid our price of peace.

Perhaps you have a person in your life that has broken fellowship. As children of the Father redeemed by Jesus, we shod likewise pave the way for peace wherever we can. Consider what you can do to restore fellowship and be a walking testimony of Christ's love for us.

May God richly bless you as you seek him and as you serve him.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Genesis 32- Beginning a New Life

Beginnings can be exciting. A new adventure. God directing our beginnings bring with it an added excitement just knowing you are in the right place doing the right thing in obedience to God.

Sometimes new beginnings are also scary. Filled with the unknown and potential dangers our comfort zone would never allow. As I write this my aunt is beginning one of those new scary chapters as she sees her husband off into eternity and carries on here without him.

Jacob was in similar circumstances as he began a new chapter of his life. He was called by God to return to his land and face his brother who issued his death warrant. He was going into scary territory, but he answered God's call and headed toward home. As he sends servants ahead, he finds that his brother is coming to meet him with 400 men at his side. What can that mean? Is God bringing him home so that Esau can slay him after he has blessed him so much?

He divides his camp, sends waves of gifts, and sneaks his family across the river in the dark to avoid detection, and he prays to God to be his help. Once he is alone He wrestles all night with a man. Jacob perceives he is divinely sent and asks for a blessing and his name.

Interestingly, a new name is given to Jacob. No longer will he be known for taking what isn't his. No longer will he be a heel grabber. But God calls him Israel. (Meaning struggles with God). He overcame his struggle with God and was now prepared to meet his brother.

Our new chapters in life are not always smooth sailing or without anxiety. But if God has called you to a place, like Jacob, we can trust God's care for us. He alone is faithful and will not leave his children without comfort.

Obedience can be costly. But we can trust that the rewards are far more than the cost. God has promised a new name for his children; one that He will give. Be faithful to God in your land of uncertainty. Trust God to provide for you day by day and you will come to know Him intimately as your provider and your Salvation.

There is no problem we face that God cannot overcome. Jesus himself faced hardship on earth even to the point of dying a death he didn't deserve to provide a way of salvation for us. You can look to him as you go through the unknown y. He is more than able to take care of you!

May God richly bless you as you seek him and as you serve him.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Genesis 31 - Domination of Wealth

In this chapter we begin with Laban's sons commenting on how Jacob has taken all their father's possessions. In their bitterness they did not attribute Jacob's increase to God's blessing. Dominated by their lust for what was no longer theirs; their inheritance wasted, they poison their father Laban against Jacob.

Jacob in haste organizes himself to leave and return to the land of his father after 20 years of service to Laban. Meeting his wives in the field and shares God's message to leave. Their reply is interesting - rather than going out of love and loyalty to their husband, they consider their inheritance. They have nothing if they stay with their father but they have wealth, flocks and possessions if they go. They too have their motives dominated by wealth.

A little side story is given in verses 19 -21, Rachel stealing her father's idols and Jacob's deception by running away without notice. Jacob behaved as if God's command to leave justified any means he might use to accomplish the task. As people of God, we should be careful to put no idol, no possession, no relationship before Him and to follow God in his way and not make a way for ourselves.

A sad story is revealed here. Though God has blessed Jacob greatly, Rachel, his beloved runs back to steal her father's idols revealing the condition of her heart. Not satisfied with God's provision and lacking in faith for his future provision she steals idols that are not even hers. In verse 32 Jacob speaks a curse on Rachel unknowingly. If Laban had found the idols Rachel's life was on the line.

In the end, the family is split with grandchildren and daughters never to see Laban again. Materialism has destroyed many families as much as poor stewardship. Wealth is fleeting, as Laban found out. God blesses us in one season to prepare us for a season of want in our future.

If you are blessed by God with provision beyond the day know that the God who provides abundance is also the God who sustains us in want. This life is not about gaining blessing for a life of ease, but it is about trusting God in every season of life knowing he is all sufficient. Don't let possessions divide your families and ruin relationships. Wealth does not satisfy; only God does.

May God richly bless you as you seek Him and as you serve Him today.