Category: Devotional

Cold Comfort and Eternal Perspective

Rachel. The wife Jacob loved. Just to hear it hurts. Nevermind actually BEING Leah, the first wife — the one without the ‘sparkle’ in her eyes. She lived her life in Rachel’s shadow. When Jacob was afraid of his brother Esau coming to exact revenge, he lined up the concubines and their children first, then Leah with her children, Jacob was in the last wave with Rachel. An inspiring picture of male headship at it best.

Back in Genesis 35 we read about Rachel dying after giving birth to Benjamin, and she was buried there in the desert. Meanwhile at the very end of Genesis, Jacob asks to be buried in the family tomb with Abraham & Sarah, Rebekah & Isaac… and Leah. Her body is already there waiting for him. After a lifetime of faithfulness to a man who didn’t love her. Who probably raised her sister’s children when Rachel passed away. She would be the one Jacob asked to be buried next to. He would grow to love her.

And more than that, God had a plan for Leah. She was the mother of Levi. The man whose priestly tribe would produce Moses, the one who would receive the next Divine Covenant from the LORD. She was also the mother of Judah. A wild man whose tribe would produce King David, the one who would receive the next Divine Covenant after Moses. And of course, Jesus Himself, the bringer of the New Covenant would come from the line of David the king, from the line of Judah the lion, from the line of Leah, the loved of God.

It can be cold comfort to know that we have treasures in Heaven or that God is using our suffering for some greater good, but we need to keep an eternal perspective. Even if we are here for more than 100 years, Heaven is eternal. When we’ve been there 10,000 years bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.

Genesis 47:28-50:26 | 018/365

Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust

Immediately after Jacob returns home and he and Esau bury their father, Isaac, Esau moves his household out of the land because, basically, this town ain’t big enough for the two of us. He settles outside Canaan in Edom. They appointed kings and traded with Egypt, and eventually warred with Israel. How does Esau go so far wrong?

He showed no respect for his birthright, giving it away from some stew. This flippant, careless attitude would have reflected very poorly on him, and likely affected how his family, friends, and possibly even the wider community saw him.

Then he is cheated out of his Father’s blessing by his brother and his mother. It is possible that Rebekah was worried that Esau would treat his father’s blessing with the same contempt as his birthright, and thus sought to put it on the son who appreciated it’s value.

Possibly Esau was scarred by his own regrets and the actions of his family against him, and as a final act of breaking from both his family and the God of his ancestors, Esau leaves the promised land.

And so Esau’s rejection of his family and of God is complete. He will be a ‘self-made man’. And he flourishes into a small, semi-nomadic kingdom that would trade with Egypt and flourish under the Persians…

But eventually the Prophets Jeremiah, Obadiah, and Malachi would all pronounce God’s judgement on Edom. They were wiped off the face of the earth, and until 2021 they were totally absent from the archaeological record.

You can go it on your own. And you might even be quite successful at it. But as God tells Adam in Genesis 3:19, “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” When this life is over the self-made men and women will return to the ground from which they came and then stand before the judgement throne of God. All their hard work and determination will counted for nothing and their death will be eternal.

Let us appreciate the gifts that God has given. Recognize them for what they are. Cherish them and keep them close to our hearts. In that was we can build something of value that lasts forever.

Genesis 36; 1 Chronicles 1:35-54, 2:1-2 | 013/365

Hard Things are Harder, but They’re Better

This is a little piece of wisdom from my wife. She always laughs at it, but I’ve always thought it was profound in it’s obvious simplicity. I think this is what we see in God’s method of bringing his covenant with Abraham to fulfillment. Sarah had trouble conceiving, but Hagar had no such issues. Even elderly Abraham had 6 children with the woman he married after Sarah’s death.

In the same way, Isaac marries Rebekah, who also has fertility issues, they pray to God and she does eventually have twins. Jacob and Esau. But Ishmael, Abraham’s eldest son had no issues producing heirs. 12 boys, not to mention however many girls may also have been born to him.

And then Jacob, the one who would become the namesake for the entire nation of Israel, was called “deceiver” at his birth (and engaged in plenty of shenanigans throughout his life). God seems to enjoy subverting expectations, taking the hard road, and achieving the improbable.

When God says, “Trust me”, He really means it. I’ve witnessed it personally in my life. Several times. There is nothing He cannot do, yield yourself to Him and watch His plan work itself out.

Genesis 25:1-11; 1 Chronicles 1:28-31, 34 | 008/365

Adding Value to Your Life and the Lives of Others

Abraham is worried about who his son, Isaac, will choose to marry. And so he sends out his oldest servant to find his a wife — not among the Canaanites in the foreign land they inhabited, but from among his own people, Israel. The servant arrives and sets 3 criteria when he prays to find a woman who says, “Yes (kindness) have a drink (service) and I will water your camels too (thoughtfulness).”

This is a woman who exemplifies the love of God. She had drawn the water for herself and her family, it’s not like she was hoping to bump into someone to give it to. Now she gave her water to this foreign visitor, and not only that, she had to make at a minimum two more trips to the well. One or more for the camels, and one or more for her original purposes. She fulfilled not only the request of the stranger, but saw — and met — an unspoken need as well.

We should strive to be like Rebekah. Adding value to the lives of others through kindness, and observation, and service. And we should surround ourselves with Rebekahs who will do the same. In that way we can carry and support each other as we seek to emulate Christ.

Have a blessed Sunday. See you at church.

Genesis 21:8-24:67 | 007/365