Week 2 - Essential 100

May 5, 2016

Week 2 - Essential 100

This week we read From the story of Noah and his family through the beginning of Joseph's story.  Amazingly we covered the great Patriarchs in just one week; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!  Don't you just love this plan???

I am going to list my thoughts by day as I read.  I am assuming you all have a start date of April 25th like I do:

April 28th, Day 4:  After the account of God's judgment of the known world and His great salvation in the story of the flood and God saving Noah and his family along with the animals, He promises in Genesis 9 to never again destroy all life on the earth through flood waters and leaves the sign of a rainbow as the sign of the covenant He has established with humanity.  In the account of the flood, Noah and His family are saved from the coming judgment of flood water through climbing inside God's appointed vessel of salvation (obedience to God's CRAZY commandment to build a HUGE boat in a desert wasteland = BIG faith).  For us who have placed ourselves within Jesus Christ through faith (Remember, in Ephesians Paul constantly refers to us as being IN Christ - Example Eph. 1:13 and many more), we too are saved from the coming future judgment.  God is merciful, and to all who heed his call and warning, as many as look to Jesus Christ, THEY WILL ALL BE SAVED IN CHRIST unconditionally through Jesus' finished work on the cross! (John 1:12)   We should think on this amazing truth whenever we see a rainbow.   

April 29th, Day 5:  After Noah's time, people all moved Eastward.  Whenever you see people moving Eastward in the Bible, it is an allusion to people moving away from obeying God.  For instance, Adam and Eve were sent Eastward when they were ejected from the garden.  People got together and did what people do; they made themselves into little gods.  And because God created them in his image, they were quite successful in building a "tower that reached to the heavens".  So, since people were operating in brokenness and ignoring God whom they were created to trust and worship, God confused their languages so that they could not continue in their godless way.  It was a great mercy for God to do this because if people do not remain reliant on God, they cease to "work" and chaos ensues.  God created us to worship Him, and when we move away from this reality progressive evil ensues.  I thought to myself when I read this; in what ways am I functioning more like these people (doing life and ministry without God - in my own power), and how can I move back towards a full reliance on Jesus.  Reminded me of John 15:4..."Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."  Once again, as in the account of Noah, we must not only begin IN CHRIST, but we must REMAIN in Him.

April 30th, Day 6:  We meet Abram (Abraham) on this day.  He had a lot of good qualities.  He obeyed God right away when God told him to leave his familiar surroundings and go to a land God would show Him.  That's a picture of faith and reliance on God!  God promised to bless Him, and God was impressed with Abram's faith...Then we see the badness come out.  It's a big theme for the rest of the week.  Abram lies a lot out of fear even as he follows God in faith.  I thought to myself, in what ways are my major character flaws continuing even as I follow God in faith in my life?  Since Abram didn't take care of his character flaw of lying, it passed to several generations as we will see.  Our sins seem small to us, but then they get passed on to our children if we do not deal with them honestly.  Abraham's kids and grand-kids all had a lying problem! 

May 1st, Day 7:  In this chapter God reaffirms his covenant with Abraham about making him into a great nation and providing him with an heir though he and his wife could not have children.  God makes a covenant with Abraham through the ceremony with the animals.  The notable thing about this covenant ceremony is that Abraham is ASLEEP throughout it as God affirms his promises.  It's almost as if God is saying "even if you do not get your part right, I swear by myself to be faithful to you".  And isn't that What God does for us in Christ?  1st Timothy 2:13 "...if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown himself."  God is faithful to keep His end of the bargain, and ours as well when we put our faith in Jesus.  God says "be holy as I am holy" then allows us to actually be holy through receiving Jesus' righteousness in faith!  God is faithful.  We should spend the rest of our days trying to live up to this great gift God has given us in Christ in His faithfulness.  Notice in Genesis 15:13-16 -God knows the future, and that God is in control of all things! 

May 2nd, Day 8Genesis 21 contains evidence of Abraham's great faith and God's great faithfulness in the birth of the promised son Isaac.  This is the child that will make Abraham into a great nation as God had promised.  It also contains the sad story of Abraham caving in to pressure from his wife to take matters into his own hands and "make a descendant for himself" apart from God's provision, so he takes Hagar Sarah's handmaid and gets her pregnant with Ishmael.  Though he does this, God is still faithful.  Hagar gets sent away unjustly by Sarah and Abraham, and as she is alone and thinking that she and her baby will die of thirst, GOD SEES HER.  It is a beautiful story.  Kind of a tear-jerker if you're in the right mindset when you read.  GOD SEES HER.  And GOD SEES YOU in your distress as well.  God is faithful, even when we are faithless.  If you are in distress and feel absolutely alone and hopeless, Our great God sees you too, and He will provide.  In Genesis 22  we get the harrowing story of Abraham's faith being tested.  God tells Abraham to sacrifice the life of his only son Isaac, the kid who represents God's promise to Abraham to make him a great nation coming true.  Abraham believes that God can raise Isaac from the dead, so he goes forward to comply, but IT WAS ONLY A TEST and God provided a substitute for Isaac in a Ram caught in the thicket.  I preached on this amazing passage here.  Begins on 7:08.  This prefigures God providing a substitute for US in Christ.  Jesus died for our sins, the righteous for the unrighteous so that we could be called children of God and that is what we are!  Jesus died that we might live.  God provides.  Just as with Abraham; God is faithful to all who look to Christ in faith!

May 3rd, Day 9:  Jacob is Isaac's son.  Jacob has a lying problem just like his father.  Jacob even lies to his father when he is on his death bed.  The lying problem was passed from Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob.  Make no mistake about it.  Take care of your "little pet sins" or your kids will get them for generations.  God took care of Jacob's lying problem.  Despite his lying problem, as with his father and grandfather, guess who was still faithful to the Covenant He had made with sleeping Abraham - re-affirming it to Jacob in a dream?  That's right; GOD.  God is faithful.  God is faithful to us in this same way.  Amazing grace.   

May 4th, Day 10:  It was like God said ENOUGH!  God intervened.  Jacob was terrified to meet up with Esau for he thought Esau was going to LITERALLY KILL HIM for lying to Isaac and stealing Esau's blessing and birthrights.  Jacob is feeling repentant for his lying ways; ways that were passed directly to him by his father and his grandfather.  As he was sitting in fear, God wrestled him to the ground all night long in the form of an angel.  God changed Jacob's name to Israel which means "he struggles with God".  Sometimes I think I should rename myself Israel.  We all could do this.  We all struggle but God's work will prevail in us.  God will have His way!  He loves us too much to leave us in our sin, so God wrestled with Jacob and took care of his character defects leaving him with a reminder of God's faithful mercy in giving Jacob a limp from that day forward.  I have a couple of limps like this in my life.  God is good, God is faithful! 

The next day, to top it all off, Esau didn't kill Isaac...HE FORGAVE HIM COMPLETELY.  That was a great weekend for undeserving Jacob.  We like Jacob receive this type of love and forgiveness from God through faith in Jesus Christ.  It's undeserved.  It's surprising.  It's effective!  Thank God for his love and mercy towards us....and His...FAITHFULNESS!

May 5th, Day 11:  As God had prophesied to "sleeping Abraham" (that's what Trump would have called him), there was about to be a famine in the land which would set forward the chain of events where God's people would be in bondage for 400 years in Egypt.  God's faithful provision for everyone, both his people and everyone else in the known world, was setting it up so that Joseph (Jacob/Israel's son)  would be in a place to provide food for all during the drought in the land.  Unfortunately, Joseph's path to this mission and destiny was a rocky one including having his brothers sell him into slavery.  Bummer.  BUT, God knew something that no one else did.  God had a purpose, and God's purpose will prevail!  Rob Reimer says "Theology 101:  God knows things we do not know".  This is quite true.  What seems like a terrible start sets into motion a chain of events that God is in complete control of.  God is faithful, God is amazing, God is merciful.