"God's Word is Living & Active!" ~ Hebrews 4:12
Genesis 24:52-26:16 ~ Matthew 8:18-34 ~ Psalm 10:1-15 ~ Proverbs 3:7-8
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Old Testament – Rebekah and Isaac meet and marry in today’s readings! Below is Italian painter G.B. Castiglione’s oil painting titled “Meeting of Rebekah and Isaac” circa 1640:
Before the meeting & marriage – I love the very opening verse 52 in Genesis chapter 24 today: “At this reply, Abraham’s servant bowed to the ground and worshiped the LORD.” This just made me think – when was the last time that we actually bowed to the ground and worshiped the Lord? This may sound strange, But why is it so hard for us to get back down on the ground and worship God once again?
Genesis chapter 25 has a lot going on in it today! We read about Keturah, the death of Abraham and the descendants of Ishmael. In verse 19 we begin reading about Jacob and Esau. Jacob we will read about for a large portion of the remainder of Genesis – there is actually not that many chapters we will read about Isaac. In verse 34 we read this about Jacob & Esau: “Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew. Esau ate and drank and went on about his business, indifferent to the fact that he had given up his birthright.”
Below is Dutch Baroque Era painter Hendrik Martensz Sorgh’s beautiful “Interior with Jacob and Esau” painting from the year 1662 (the bright foreground almost takes away from the background with Esau swearing off his birthright):
In Genesis chapter 26 we can see where the old adage, “like father, like son” could have come from. Isaac like his father Abraham told foreigners that his wife was his sister. However, the artist Raffaello captured verse 8 from King Abimelech’s perspective in this painting from the year 1519 below: “But some time later, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out a window and saw Isaac fondling Rebekah.”
New Testament – Matthew’s readings in chapter 8 today are powerful in so many ways. The first section of our readings focuses on the costs of following Jesus. And I do think that we all probably realize that there are some costs associated with faith. However, there is also eternal reward, which outweighs all the temporary costs we might have to pay in this life.
Our faith must simply be about following Jesus and God’s Perfect Plan & Will for our lives and accepting the costs – and the benefits – that come along with this Walk.
Psalms – Psalm 10 is a prayer for rescue from attacks from the proud and wicked. Wisely, you’ll note that this Psalmist is not taking punishment into his own hands – but asking God for punishment. We would do well to remember that punishment is the Lord’s… For some reason much of this Psalm reminded me way too much of our world today – and I realized that not much has changed over 3,000 years! Verse 4 in particular rang true to me about much of our world today: “These wicked people are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead.” Only about 100 years ago the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche uttered those exact words – “God is dead.” And I know that this viewpoint of many expressed in this Psalm 3,000 years ago, and 100 years ago by Nietzsche, is still a viewpoint of many in our world today. What a sad thing.
Psalm 10 verse 1 also stood out to me today: “O LORD, why do you stand so far away? Why do you hide when I need you the most?” Have you ever felt like this? I know I have. However, I also have realized later on that just when I thought God was no where near me, he was actually as close as could be taking care of me. Even though it may have seemed that God was “hiding” from me, he was actually right there with me all along!
Proverbs – Today we read this in Proverbs 3:8 (just after the verse on fearing the Lord and turning away from sin): “Then you will gain renewed health and vitality.” I think this is so true. I have been a much healthier person – mentally, physically, spiritually, etc. – since I came to faith in Jesus. Through God’s wisdom and grace, I have been able to discern what is healthy for me and what is not.
Please join me in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7-8 NIV
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