Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo -Jacob Meets Esau

Read Gen. 33:1-20
Today is D-day.  Esau is here!  Jacob sees Esau in the distant and as they get closer Jacob bows as he walks toward Esau, giving him homage and respect.  Esau, on the other hand, ran to meet Jacob and hugged and kissed him while they both cried.  When Esau saw all the people with Jacob he asked about them.  Jacob proudly introduced him to his family.  Then Esau asked about all the cattle he met on the way.  Jacob told him they were a token gift to win his favor.  Esau tried to refuse them but Jacob insisted in sharing his blessing with Esau.  This was Jacob’s way of giving back to Esau what he had stolen from him years ago.  Esau finally accepted the gift and offered to accompany Jacob to Seir.  Seir means “rough”.  Jacob had been living in “rough” so what he needed was a little peace.   Jacob explained that his troop was too tired to continue without a rest so Esau went on ahead of him.  Jacob went to Succoth which means “booths”.  Later this would become a festival called the festival of booths or Tabernacles.  Succoth was a place of rest.  The name of the city he stayed in was Shalem which means “peace”.  Jacob had finally made peace with his past and now able to rest.  Shalem later became Jerusalem.  Here he bought some land and set up camp.  He built an altar to God and called it El-elohe which means “the mighty god of Israel”.   
Lord, thank you for being our place of peace in the midst of rough situations.  You lead us beside still waters and you restore our soul.      

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - Jacob’s Bout with God

Read Gen. 32:26-32
Jacob sent one group on to meet Esau and spend the night waiting.  He took Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, Zilpah, and his 11 sons and put them in a safe place, then he went to spend some time alone.  God sent an angel that wrestled with Jacob all night long.  Jacob fought so hard the angel couldn’t get away so the angel touched his thigh and it went out of joint.  How do you wrestle with an angel and all he had to do is touch you to hurt you?  That word “wrestle” in the Hebrew means “to float away (as vapor)” so maybe Jacob was fighting a vapor and spiritually had power to hold him there.  He only touched Jacob when the sun was about to come up and he needed to leave.  I think Jacob was wrestling for his promise that God had given him.  Jacob refused to give up till the angel blessed him.  So the angel made him speak his name.  When he did, the angel told him that he would no longer be called Jacob, the supplanter, but he had fought and earned a new name - Israel, which means “he will rule as God”  When Jacob asked him his name, he refused to tell him.  Jacob had to figure it out himself… he did.  It was God himself.  Jacob left that encounter a new man, with a new name, and a new way of walking.  He limped because God had touched him.  The place that God touched him became a sacred place and his children refuse to eat that part of the meat to this day.  
We are Israel spiritually and should walk as God on this earth because we carry his presence in our spirits.  If we could get this in our minds then we could wrestle with God and be forever changed.  
Lord, help us to walk cognizant of your presence in us and the power we possess as your children.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - Jacob’s Battles

Read Gen. 32:1-25
Jacob leaves Laban - one battle down -  only to face a new battle.  To strengthen him, the angels of God meet him in great number.   Now we’ll see what kind of man Jacob has become.  The first person he wants to see is Esau.  He and his brother were never really close, but before he even sees his mother that he was very close to, he wants to make things right with Esau.  He sends messengers ahead to let him know he is coming.  Instead of returning the greeting, Esau heads out to Jacob with 400 men with him.  Now we’ll see what kind of man Esau has become.  Jacob is “greatly afraid and distressed”.  He guesses that Esau is still mad and coming out to battle.  So Jacob comes up with a plan.  He puts his people in groups so that if Esau attacks the first group, at least the others can flee.  Then he starts praying 
reminding God that it was his idea that he came back so he’s hoping God is prepared.  How funny that seems, but we do it all the time.  God calls us to do something and when we face opposition, we wonder if God has abandoned us.  He decides to stay right there to think and comes up with the idea of a present to appease his brother’s anger: 200 goats, 20 he goats., 200 ewes, and 20 rams, 30 milch camels with their colts, 40 kine, and 10 bulls, 20 she asses, and 10 foals. That’s over 500 animals!  He made the first group drive the animals so that when they met Esau and he asked them whose they were, they could tell him that they were a present to him from his brother.  
Lord, remind us that the enemy will always come to steal our promise.  But, through you we can run through a troop and leap over a wall!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Mon.’s Devo -Jacobs Flight

Read Gen 31:22-55
On the third day after Jacob had left, Laban noticed he was gone.     (On the third day after Jesus had left, Mary noticed he was gone!)  Laban took his men and went after Jacob.  He found him after 7 days of traveling and would have been violent had not God warned him in a dream not to harm him.  When he caught up with him he asked Jacob why he fled without telling him.  Laban tried to make him feel guilty with sentimental malarky when really he was mad that his household gods were stolen.  Jacob explained that he fled secretly for fear Laban would take his daughters back.  As far as the stolen gods… he was welcome to search and kill the person who stole them.  He didn’t know that Rachel had taken them.  She hid them in the saddle of her camel and sat on top of it.  They started searching all the tents and when they came to Rachel’s she told her father that she couldn’t get up because she was in her period and he believed her.  When they couldn’t find the teriphim, Jacob rebuked Laban for even thinking he would steal from him after the loyalty he had shown him all these years.  Jacob had served Laban 14 years for his daughters and 6 for his cattle having his wages changed 10 times.  So, they decided to make a covenant of peace between them.  This would mark the boundary line that they would not pass it to harm the other.  They had a meal together and Laban went back home the next day.  
Jacob came to Laban 20 years earlier as a conniving manipulator but God wanted to make Jacob a patriarch so he sent him to serve a man who was an even greater con man than himself.  In the 20 years that Jacob served Laban, God worked all of that characteristic out of him.  God knows just what we need to conform us into his image.  
Lord, thank you for the trials that you bring into our lives to work an even greater work in us.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - Jacob Flees!

Read Gen. 31:1-20
Jacob heard the way Laban’s sons talked about him.  They saw Jacob as a thief, stealing their inheritance and even Laban had turned against him.  In his dilemma, God spoke.  He told him it was time to return to his homeland.  Jacob had Rachel and Leah brought to the field he was working and told them his plight.  He had served Laban with all his strength, only to be deceived and lied to over and over.  But, God had always turned Laban’s plans against him and turned it so that Jacob always came out on top.  Then Jacob shared with them a dream God had given him.  In his dream, all the rams mated with the cattle and the offspring came out ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.  Then God told him to take his cattle and family and go back home.  Rachel and Leah agreed to go with him.  There was nothing for them here since their father had nothing to do with them and had spent any inheritance they might receive.  So, Jacob got up the next morning and took his belongings and left to return to Canaan.  Rachel stole the household images of her fathers before she left.   These images were idols that you were to pray to for healing.  These were the idols God hated.  Why couldn’t Rachel let these go?  She had grown up with these gods in her family’s house and they had used them over and over.  She somehow had become attached to them and didn’t want to leave without them.  What a pity!  She brought the sin of her idolatry down upon her offspring.  God had told him that he was their healer.  I wonder if that is why she died giving birth to her next baby.  
Lord, help us to let go of past sins and bad habits of our family and choose your way. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo - Ringstraked, Speckled, and Spotted

Read Gen. 30:25-43
Rachel is finally delivered from her barreness and now it is time for Jacob to break free from his oppressive uncle and find his own land and make his own name.  It is time for Jacob to go home.  He wants to leave the right way so he goes to Laban and tells him his plan.  Laban tries to talk him out of it because he knows that he has been blessed because of Jacob.  They talked about what his wages would be for all his years of work and Jacob came up with a plan.  He would go through the sheep and he would only keep the speckled and spotted cattle for himself and Laban would have the rest.  Laban agreed, so Jacob took what was his and took them a 3 day journey from Laban’s and settled there.  Then Jacob took rods and peeled them back to look like the hide of his sheep and pilled them up around the watering troughs so that they would bear cattle that looked like the rods.  I’m not sure how this works scientifically, but I do know how it works spiritually.  You will become what you behold.  If you are always filling your eyes with worldly things, you will become those things, but if you are always beholding the things of God and the Word, you will become a new creature.  When Laban’s strong sheep came to to mate by the water troughs, they bore ringstraked, speckled, and spotted cattle which now became Jacob’s.  He would take the rods away from the weak cattle so they would have solid calves.  Ingenious!  Jacob had worked for years for Laban and only had wives and kids to show for it.  He was finally going to get the wages that were long due him. 
Lord, you hold the secrets to the universe and you share them with us!! How great is your name! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - The Continuing Episode of “All My Children”

Gen. 30:14-24
It is wheat harvest.  Wheat harvest is associated with Pentecost.  Pentecost has to do with having a deeper relationship with Jesus.  On the first Pentecost, God gave the law to Moses.  In the New Testament, on Pentecost, God gave his Holy Spirit.  Rueben goes out during the wheat harvest and finds mandrakes.  Mandrakes are natural aphrodisiacs, so Leah could use them to woo Jacob into a deeper relationship with her.  Mandrakes were called the “apple of Sodom” and had narcotic and stimulating principles.  Rachel sees them and wants them for herself.  Leah snaps back that Rachel has stolen Jacob’s heart from her and now she wants his sexual desires too.  Rachel bargains with her.  She gives Leah that night with Jacob for her mandrakes.  God understood Leah’s cry for love and blessed her with another son.  She named him Issachar which means “he will bring a reward”.  I guess she realized she would never have Jacob’s heart so this baby would be her reward.  She got pregnant again and had another son, Zebulun, which means “habitation”.  She thought this 6th son would cause Jacob to move in with her.  I don’t know if he did or not but they had one last child and this time it was a girl named Dinah which means “justice”.  God might not be fair as we count fairness, but he is always just.  Maybe, by having a girl, God was being just to Leah.  She now had a woman on her side that she could love unconditionally.  I bet that little girl stole Jacob’s heart also.  
Then, God opened Rachel’s womb for the first time and she had a son named Joseph which means  “let him add”.  Not only did Rachel have Jacob’s affection and love, but she added a son to their story.  Leah reminds me of the Old Testament mindset.  They strove for God’s affection, not ever knowing if they got it; going through the motions of loveless rituals.  Rachel stands for the bride of Christ that has her husband’s affections and desires.  She may be barren at first but she will add many and be a fruitful harvest in the end.
Lord, there are so many things I don’t understand about this passage, but I do know that I’m glad to be living in a day where your Holy Spirit woos us daily to draw near to you and we know that you love us as your bride.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - All My Children - Episode One!

Read Gen. 29:30-30:13
Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah so God had compassion on Leah and opened her womb, but Rachel was sterile.  Leah’s first born was named Reuben which means “see a son”.  She thought this would make Jacob love her more.  She got pregnant again and had Simeon which means “hearing”.  Maybe she thought Jacob would start listening to her.  She got pregnant a third time and had Levi which means “attached”.  She thought Jacob would feel one with her now that she gave him 3 sons.  (She needs a study in insecurity!)  She got pregnant a 4th time and called him Judah which means “praise”.  She finally learned to praise the Lord instead of thinking it would change her husband.  Then she stopped bearing.  Rachel realizes that she must be barren and she is jealous of Leah’s babies so she complains to Jacob and begs him to give her a baby.  (I think Rachel is a little hormonal!)  Jacob doesn’t realize she just needs his comfort and gets mad instead because it is not his fault.  (He needs a study on women!)  So, since Jacob is not understanding and can’t fix her, she decides the next best thing is to take matters into her own hand and let her handmaiden have her baby.  So she gives Bilhah to Jacob to get pregnant.  Bilhah means “timid” so I’m guessing she is not exactly gunho about having sex with her boss.  But she does and gets pregnant and has a boy and they call him “Dan” which means “judge” because Rachel feels judged by God.  She gives Bilhah to Jacob again and she has Naptali which means “my wrestling” because she was in a baby competition with her sister and she was feeling the pressure.  Leah stepped up and was determined not to be beat by her younger sister so since she wasn’t getting pregnant anymore, she gave Jacob her handmaiden, Zilpah.  Zilpah had a son and named him Gad which means “a troop”.  They almost had a troop - does Jacob only produce boys???  Zilpah had another son and they named him Asher which means “happy”.  Leah was clearly winning this race.    
It is amazing that women are the same no matter the culture.  Our sense of value is put on what we produce.  Some women find this in their kids, some in a perfectly clean - everything, some in their jobs, some in a perfect body, etc.  It is competition; and it is everywhere, stealing us of our joy to just be who God created us to be.  Let’s try to relax and just enjoy God and who he is in us.  We will be much more peaceful, joyful, and young!
Lord Jesus, today we want to focus all our energy on being a pleasure to you and enjoying who you made us to be.  Deliver us from competition.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - Working for 7 years, again.

Read Gen. 29:12-29
After Jacob bedazzled Rachael with his stone rolling, his servanthood, and his kiss, he told her who he was.  (Some charmer!)  He was a perfect match for her.  Even Laban realized the good fate in finding a man from his own family.  Jacob stayed with Laban and served him.  After a month, Laban asked him what he wanted his wages to be.  He asked for Rachael’s hand in marriage.  Laban told him to work for 7 years and she would be his for free.  Laban also had an older daughter, Leah.  Surely, seven years would be enough time for her to get married since their custom was to marry off the oldest first.  Jacob must have thought that working for Rachael for 7 years was a good bride price and agreed.  He loved Rachael so much that the years flew by.  When they were over, he went to get his prize.  Laban threw a big feast with plenty of wine.  Late that night Laban brought Rachael to Jacob for his honeymoon night.  Jacob made love to Rachael that night, only to find out in the morning that it was Leah!  (How that happened is a mystery to me.  I guess without electric lights, who can see?!?)  Poor Leah! Poor Rachael!  Poor Jacob!  It was a lose- lose situation.  Needless to say, Jacob was irate and went to Laban to find out why he deceived him.  Laban told him that the custom was to marry the first born first, so his solution was to stay married to Leah, then marry Rachael.  He could work another 7 years for her (again).  So in the span of one week, Jacob got married twice and gained 2 handmaidens.   I can’t imagine the adjustment he went though from 0 to 4 women in the house!  
What amazes me about Jacob is his ability to adapt when things don’t turn out as he plans.  He seems to have the gift of long-suffering and patience.  
Lord, help me to have a good attitude when I don’t get what I want, when I want it.  Remind me of Jacob.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - Another Well… Another Wife

Read Gen 29:1-11
Jacob enters the country of his fathers and the first thing he comes to is a well in a field.  When Jesus met the woman by the well he explained to her that this well was full of water that would only satisfy her temporarily, but he was a well that was filled with living water that completely satisfies.  The well symbolizes the living water of the Word that gives life and salvation.  This salvation is like a well in the field of life that few find.  Isaac, Jacob, and Moses all three found their wives at a well.  The woman in the New Testament found her husband, Jesus at a well.  The only way to get the living waters is to remove the stone that covers it’s opening.  The “stone” is whatever keeps us from being able to receive the living waters that God has for us.  Once removed, we can drink freely and receive life.  
Jacob spoke to the shepherds who were gathered to get water and asked them where they were from and if they knew his uncle, Laban. They were from the same town and knew him and his daughter was walking up to the well as they spoke.  He asked them why they were sitting around the well and not feeding their sheep.  They said they were waiting for more shepherds so they could help them remove the big stone over the well’s mouth.  (They needed the angels who blew Jesus’ stone clear into the next mountain.)  That is the thing about the Old Testament - its deep truths come with a stone over them and only those who have “eyes to see” and will remove the stone and  draw up its deep truths.  When Jacob saw Rachael, it was love at first sight.  He walked over and rolled that stone away by himself and watered all of her flock then kissed her and wept.  (Hollywood aught to get a hold of that story.)   Jacob was a man who went for the prize and always got it.  
Lord, help us to be like Jacob, who gives everything to get what he knows to be valuable.    

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo - The House of God

Read Gen. 28:1-22
Isaac called in Jacob and gave him his blessing to leave and go to Padan-aram and find a wife from Laban’s family.  For someone who had just deceived him, Isaac didn’t seem too angry at Jacob.  I guess he realized he couldn’t out-smart God’s plans.  He sent him away with the blessing of Abraham.  Esau watched all this and realized that his parents didn’t approve of his choice of wives so he went to Ishmael’s line and found a wife.  He just didn’t get it.  You don’t go to the cursed and get a blessing.   His new wife’s name means “sickness”.  
Jacob, obeyed his parents and left for Haran.  On his way, he stopped to spend the night under the stars.  He took stones and made a pillow and lay down to sleep.  He dreamed about a ladder that reached to heaven with angels going up and down on this ladder.  The Lord, himself stood at the top and spoke to Jacob saying: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac; the land where you lie, I will give it to you and your seed.  Your seed will be as numerous and the dust and you will spread out to the north, south, east, and west and you and your seed will bless the earth.  I am with you, and will protect you where ever you go and bring you back to this land.  I will never leave you.”  (paraphrased)  When Jacob woke up he knew he had encountered God and that he had slept under a portal to God’s throne.  He took the stone that he had for his pillow and poured oil on it to mark it’s significance.  Then he named the place Bethel which means “house of God” and vowed to give God a tenth of all God gave him.  It had been called Luz which means “perverseness”.  Jacob turned a curse into a blessing.  The difference between Esau and Jacob was that Esau was impulsive and tried to do everything his way without asking God.  Jacob was submissive and followed God.  One of the privileges we have as Christians is to turn curses to blessings, but we must be led to them.  
Lord, may we dwell under your portal and see with your eyes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wed.’s Devo - Jacob and Esau Retold

The story of Jacob and Esau is a picture of redemption.  Esau, the first-born stands for us when we are born of the flesh.  The second born, Jacob, stands for our rebirth when we become born again of the spirit.  Our inheritance used to be in Satan’s domain, in this world, which is why Esau was a hunter and killed things.  That is the nature of the devil.  He seeks who he can devour and he gives the food of his deeds to others so they can participate in it also.  Jacob stayed around the tents and helped his mother which stands for a person who fellowships with the church and gains its strength and council from her.  As Christians, we must take the birthright back from the devil because we are children of the promise.  Jacob was born second, but promised first.  We are born of the flesh first, but when we are born again, we get to enjoy all the fruits of the promise.  The problem is, the old man doesn’t want to give this up freely and it is a battle.  Jacob walked in communion with God and was showed the opportune time to get it back.  He listened to the council of his mother, the church, and got both the birthright and the blessing.  His promise was from before he was born.  Rebekah was told before she was born that two nations were in her womb and that the elder would serve the younger.  We have been chosen since the foundation of the earth to be sons of God, chosen.  Ehp. 1:4-6 says:  “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Lord, thank you for all the promises you have given us.  May we seize them and walk in them.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - The Blessing and the Curse

Read Gen. 27:28-46
Jacob’s blessing was that God would give him the best the earth had to give.  He would be a powerful government and his own brothers would bow down to him.  His enemies would be God’s enemies, and everyone that blessed him would be blessed in return.  You can’t get better than that!
Esau returns bearing venison and ready for his blessing.  Did he not remember that he lost this privilege when he ate a dinner he didn’t prepare and now he is reminded after he prepared a dinner that won’t be eaten.  Not only did Jacob fight for his rightful blessing but he fought for his name.  He was named Jacob which means “supplanter”.  He was born to do this very act.  This was his destiny.  Isaac is furious when he realizes what happened and Esau is not so happy either.  Esau begged his father for a blessing - any blessing.  Isaac reached deep and found one for him.  He told Esau that he would live in a place where Jacob rules, but he would live in constant war with Jacob’s people until one day when he wins and take over.  (We might be living in this very day.)  This blessing made Esau even more angry at Jacob - so angry, he plotted to kill him.  Rebekah found out and told Jacob to flee to Laban’s house in Haran until Esau calmed down, then she would send for him.  Laban was Rebekah’s brother.   She explained to Isaac that she had sent Jacob to find a wife from her people instead of from the women around there like Esau had. 
Lord, every word that proceeded from your mouth will come true.  Help us to walk in your blessing, doing your will - not ours. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - Getting the Blessing

Read Gen. 27:1-27
Isaac is dying and wants to pass the blessing to his first-born, Esau, but Esau forfeited that privilege when he sold his birthright to Jacob.  The blessing is part of the birthright but for some reason, Isaac didn’t want to give it to Jacob.  He loved Esau the most, Esau WAS his first born, and Esau would make him venison one last time before he died.  I don’t know if any or all of these factors came into place, but I do know that Rebekah wasn’t going to let it happen.  I wonder if Isaac forgot the prophecy when they were born that the younger would rule the older.  Anyway, while Esau was out hunting venison to feed his father, Rebekah had Jacob go and kill some goats in the pin and cook them like they were venison.  She wrapped his arms with skins so he would be hairy like Esau, and gave him Esau’s clothes to put on so he would smell like Esau.  Then he went in to trick his father into thinking he was Esau.  He did and it worked.  Isaac’s eye sight had gotten really bad so he couldn’t see the difference even though he noticed the voice was Esau’s.  Once he felt Jacob’s arms, tasted his food, and smelt his robe,  he was convinced enough to give his blessing.  Jacob went to a lot of trouble to get what was now legally his.  I wonder what would happen if we cared that much to get our inheritance.  It once belonged to the devil, but Jesus purchased it with his own blood and now the inheritance is ours if we go for it.
Lord, help us to do whatever it takes to get our full inheritance as children of an All-powerful God.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - 40 Years

Read Gen. 26: 34-35
These last 2 verses seem so out of place, but nothing with God is “out of place”.  Remember Isaac and Rebekah had two sons, Esau and Jacob.  Esau is now 40 years and he takes 2 wives.  Isaac was 40 years when he married Rebekah.  We see “40 years” though out the Bible and after studying it I found that the people went through 40 years of testing and at the end of the 40 years they are either pass and are promoted, or fail and are demoted.  Moses was 40 when he came back to Israel and when he saw an Egyptian abusing a Hebrew slave, he killed the Egyptian.  He failed and had to go into the wilderness for forty years.  Forty years later he had his burning bush experience and Moses returned to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.  He passed.  Then for forty years the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness rebelling from God.  They failed.  Joshua was 40 years old when he spied out the Promise Land and brought back a good report.  He Passed.  The list goes on and on.  So back to Esau, at 40 he takes 2 wives and both of them bring grief to Isaac and Rebekah.  No wonder, they were both Hittites which means “fear”.   He failed.
Lord,  teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom and pass.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thurs.’s Devo - In Search of Peace

Read Gen. 26:23-33

Beer-sheba seems to be a portal between heaven, earth, and the grave. It has wells, burying grounds, and is the place the patriarchs visit often. Many have encounters with God there as Isaac did in today’s reading. This is the first time we see God speaking the promise of Abraham to Isaac. Isaac not only built a well there but he also built an altar to God. While he was staying there, his old friend, Abimelech came to pay him a visit. Remember, it was Abimelech that told Isaac to leave because he was becoming too powerful and Abimelech was afraid he would try to take over his kingdom. He brings with him a friend and the captain of his army. His friends name means “possession” because they were coming back to possess the peace and blessing that Isaac had. He brought the chief captain of his army whose name means “mouth of all”. The captain was speaking for his whole army. He wanted to know why they were looking for him since they had kicked him out. They responded that they realized the blessing of God was on Isaac and they wanted to make a covenant with him of peace. In other words, they feared the God they saw in Isaac and didn’t want to offend him. God later told the Israelites that they could make peace with anyone who asked for peace except for the Amonites and the Moabites. He told them they were never to seek peace with these people. (Duet. 20:11-12; 23:5-6). Isaac had a feast for them and sent them away in peace. God blessed Isaac for making peace and forgiving Abimelech and they found water in the well. He named the well Sheba which means 7th. This must have been the 7th well they had dug looking for water and this one produced! Now they had “living water” to drink.

Lord, thank you for showing us today that your blessings follow obedience and kindness. May our lives speak of you so that others will want to make peace with our God.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wed.’s Devo- Dig Deep, Drink Deep.

Read Gen. 26:18-22

The Philistines had stopped up the wells that Abraham had dug and named to claim the land. Isaac redug them (don’t know if that is a word!). By doing this, Isaac was reclaiming the land and the promises of his father. He renamed them the names that his father had called them. It is interesting that this very thing has happened in the Middle East. The Arabs have taken the land and renamed the cities. The devil does that in our lives. He takes our peace and renames it stress. He steals our time and replaces it with business. When Isaac dug in the valley, he found a spring of living water. In the valley is where we usually find the truth. We are to be lights which shine brightest in the dark. This world is going to get very dark, but we will shine brighter. It is a good time to be on the earth for Christians. We are going to see the grace and power of God like no other generation has seen it! But like Isaac, it will not come without a fight. When he redug his father’s wells the other herdsmen fought against him and tried to keep him from digging. The names of the wells were Esek and Sitnah which mean “strife” and “accusations”. These are the two things that will come against us when we decide we are going to take back our inheritance from the devil. A well symbolizes going deeper for the living water. We can stay on the surface and never learn the deep things of God: his ways, his secrets, etc. or we can dig deep into the well of God and search for the deep living water of the Word. It is worth the fight to do deeper. By the third well, the devil had given up and they got it peacefully. They called this well: Rehoboth which means “broad places”. Once you win some battle, the way gets smoother and the devil gets tired of fighting. But, he will come back.

Lord, we long to go deeper into you and drink from your living waters.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tue.’s Devo - From Famine to Prosperity

Read Gen. 26:1-17
When there is a famine in the land it means that the people have turned from God and God is judging the land in hopes of turning them back to him so he can heal them and the land.  So, that is where we find ourselves in today’s reading.  Notice, it was the second famine since Abraham had been born.  Isaac is in the land of the Philistines and God specifically tells Isaac not to go to Egypt and that God will tell him where to go.  If he will do this he and his posterity will be blessed and all the countries God leads him through will one day be his.  God wanted him to walk out his inheritance.  It was always the tendency to escape to Egypt when they were going through a famine instead to staying and sticking it out.  Naomi and her sons escaped the famine to go to Egypt and she lost everything there.  It is also our tendency to try to escape hard times when God wants us to stay and let him carry us through it and perform miracles for us in the trials.  Isaac obeyed God and didn’t flee to Egypt but he fell to the fear of the men in Gerar.  He followed the sin of his father and lied about his wife.  Because of his fear of dying, he told the people that Rebekah was his sister, not his wife.  The king happened to look out his window and see Isaac and Rebekah behaving like husband and wife instead of brother and sister so he called Isaac in and rebuked him.  The king was furious that Isaac would lie and cause potential sin to come to his people.  So he protected Isaac with a death sentence to anyone who touched them.  I think the king was offended that Isaac would feel like he needed to lie for his own safety.  Isaac stayed in that land and planted seed.  His harvest was 100%.  That is amazing, especially in the first year.  Only God could do that.  He grew very rich and powerful.  So much so, that the Philistines envied his success.  Envy leads to sin.  The Philistines put dirt in all the wells Abraham had dug.  Finally, the Philistine king asked Isaac to leave because he was becoming too powerful and he was afraid he would take over. So Isaac went into the valley of Gerar.
Lord, help us to not run from our trials but to wait on you to bring a harvest.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mon.’s Devo - Birth to Twins

Read Gen. 25:22-34
Apparently Rebekah had a very active tummy while she was pregnant so she asked God about it.  He told her that there were two nations in her belly and they were fighting even inside her.  When she delivered them, they would be totally different and the younger would be the leader.  When the time came, they were twins.  The first born came out red and hairy all over (I’d love to see that!) and they named him Esau which means “shaggy, handling rough”.  He was all boy.  The next baby came out holding on to Esau’s heel.  He was already trying to be first.  They named him Jacob which means “he will take by the heel”.  Esau grew up to become a very good hunter who spent most of his time in the field.  Jacob grew up to be a gentle man who stayed around the tents and took care of the women and the everyday events.  From this I take it that Esau was a person who liked to be alone and Jacob was a people person.  Isaac loved Esau because he loved to eat the food he killed, but Rebekah loved Jacob.  
One day Jacob was boiling soup on an open fire and Esau came in very hungry from a long hunt.  When he smelled the soup he begged Jacob for some.  Jacob decided to take advantage of the prophecy that he had been given as a baby and told Esau he would give him some soup in exchange for his birthright.  Esau couldn’t see the blessing in having a birthright if he was dead, so he promised it to Jacob.  Jacob made him swear first, then he gave him some soup and bread.  Esau was not willing to die for his birthright that would have gone to his next generation so God hated Esau for it.  (Ro. 9:13)
Lord, help us not to choose the immediate and sell the future.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fri.’s Devo - The Generations of Abraham

Read Gen. 25:1-21
Abraham took another wife, Ketura, who had 6 sons.  Ketura means a fragrance but her sons names mean musical, insidious, strife, contention, he will leave, humble, to ensnare; so I’m not sure whether Ketura’s fragrance was good or bad.  Abraham gave everything he had to Isaac and to the sons of his concubine he gave gifts and sent them away from Isaac.  Abraham finally died at the age of 175.  He was buried in the cave he bought for his family burial called Machpelah which means a fold.  I had wondered if Isaac ever saw Ishmael again but apparently they did because they both attended his burial.  I would love to know how their relationship was.  Isaac was blessed by God and dwelt in his presence  (by the well of Lahoi-roi).  
Next we have Ishmael’s generations.  Their names mean “to be fruitful,  to mourn,  disciplined of God, sweet fragrance, hearing a report, to silence by death, a burden, an innermost chamber, enclosed, refreshed, and precedence”. They were a motley crew!  There were 12 princes in all.  
Now to Isaac’s generations.  His wife, like his father’s wife, Sarah, was barren.  I find it interesting that the godly people have such a struggle bearing fruit.  They all seem barren till God touches them yet the ungodly seem to bear fruit abundantly.  What a principle to understand.  Weeds grow easily and in abundance but a pure line struggles to break forth into life.  I think that when God has a plan it has to go through much struggle to fight through the spiritual barriers the devil puts up to stop it.  Somehow the devil seems to be able to smell destiny and does whatever he can to kill it.  He killed all the babies under 2 trying to kill Jesus when he knew he was going to be born.  Isaac had to pray earnestly for Rebekah to be able to bring forth life and she did.
Lord, help us to be like Isaac and pray till we see the fruit.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thur.’s Devo - Rebekah’s Blessing

Read Gen. 24:59-67

Rebekah took her servant and left with Isaac’s servant. Before she left her family they blessed her to be a mother of thousands of millions. They added that her seed would possess the gates of the enemy. Rebekah did become the mother of thousands of millions of Jews and from her seed came Jesus who possessed the gates of hell for us. Blessings are so important. With our words we can create life and blessing or we can create death and destruction. Every word that proceeds from our mouth is alive and active just as every word that proceeded from Jesus’ mouth was active and productive. We need to watch what we say and create life and blessing.

Meanwhile, Isaac is traveling south from the well of Lahai-roi which means “living waters that see me”. God did see Isaac and answered his prayer for a wife. When Isaac went out to the field to pray, he looked up and saw camels coming his way. At the same time, Rebekah saw him and slid off her camel. When she found out who it was she veiled herself and covered herself. The servant told Isaac how God had led him to Rebekah and Isaac married her and loved her.

Lord, watch over our mouths and remind us to create life.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wed.'s Devo - Rebekah's Response

Read Gen. 24:28-58

Rebekah ran home and told her family. It is tradition to go by your mother’s name because there is no mistaking who your mother is but there is no proof of who your father is. That is the way they look at it today. When her brother, Laban heard the story he ran to get the man who was still waiting at the well. He invited the servant into his house to hear the story from his mouth. He not only put him up for the night but all his camels and all the men that came with him. That is Middle East hospitality. They fed them all and washed their feet. Before the servant would eat he wanted to tell them his story and fulfill his request of his master. He told them all about Abraham and how God had blessed him with much wealth and given him a son in his old age. His mission was to go to his family’s roots and bring back a Hebrew bride for his son. Then he told them the prayer he had prayed and how Rebekah had been the answer. Now, before he could eat, he wanted to know their answer. They couldn’t deny it was God who set it up so they agreed. The servant was so glad he bowed down and worshipped God, then he brought jewels of silver and gold and raiment and gave them to Rebekah. Then they could eat. The next day the servant was eager to get Rebekah back to Isaac so he asked if he could take her back that day. They wanted her to stay but decided to let her decide. She chose to leave.

This is a beautiful picture of salvation. Abraham is a type of God who is looking for a bride of his son, Jesus. The servant, the Holy Spirit, seeks those whose hearts are tender. He offers them the privilege of becoming the bride of Christ. When they agree they are given silver (knowledge), and gold (wisdom). Then he covers us with the blood of Jesus and we are forever protected by Him. When the servant (Holy Spirit) told Rebekah to go, she went. When the Holy Spirit tells us to move I pray we will have the same response.

Lord, you are such a loving, patient Father. May we become the bride you are looking for.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tues.’s Devo - Finding Rebekah

Read Gen. 24:1-28

Abraham is getting old and knows that his time is short but there is one thing he wants to settle before he leaves. He wants to find the right wife of Isaac so he calls for his servant and makes him promise to find a wife for his son among the daughters of his own family. He wants him to go alone to the land where his family lives and bring a girl back for Isaac. He promised the servant that an angel would go before him and help him do this. If the woman refuses to come then he will be released from is obligation. So this servant took 10 camels laden with goods and set out for the city of Nahor. Nahor was named after his brother, Bethuel. When he got to the city he went straight to the well. He knew that it was the time that the young women would be coming to the wells to fill their water pots. He said a quick prayer that God would have the right girl offer to not only to give him water, but his camels also. Before he could finish his prayer, Rebekah came to get water. The servant noticed that she was beautiful and a virgin. He ran to see if she was the one. Sure enough, she fulfilled all his prayer. When she had finished, he gave her a golden earring and two bracelets and asked her who her father was and if he had room to put him up for the night. She told him she was the daughter of Bethuel (which just happened to be Abraham’s brother) and that they had room to lodge him. He blessed God for guiding him to the house of Abraham’s brother. Rebekah ran home to tell her mom what had happened at the well.

The servant was a type of the Holy Spirit that goes ahead of us and makes sure God’s will is done. This servant went to great lengths to obey his master and the Holy Spirit works like that with God. They are one. So he can do that for us in our need.

Lord, help us to see the great love you have for us and that your plan will be done no matter how impossible it looks to us.