Genesis 26

Genesis 26 (NLT)

Verses 26-31
26One day King Abimelech came from Gerar with his advisor, Ahuzzath, and also Phicol, his army commander. 27"Why have you come here?" Isaac asked. "You obviously hate me, since you kicked me off your land." 28They replied, "We can plainly see that the LORD is with you. So we want to enter into a sworn treaty with you. Let's make a covenant. 29Swear that you will not harm us, just as we have never troubled you. We have always treated you well, and we sent you away from us in peace. And now look how the LORD has blessed you!" 30So Isaac prepared a covenant feast to celebrate the treaty, and they ate and drank together. 31Early the next morning, they each took a solemn oath not to interfere with each other. Then Isaac sent them home again, and they left him in peace.

When Isaac was living among Abimelech's people (the Philistines) he became very wealthy, and the Philistines became very jealous of him. Because of this jealousy, Isaac was sent out of their land. Isaac looked at these people as his enemy, and Abimelech came to him for a peace treaty. As far as I can tell, Isaac didn't even hesitate to accept this motion. I think this is what God wants of me, as a Christian. Not that I really have "enemies," but there are people in my past with whom my relationship ended on a bad note. If any one of these people would approach me today and want to make peace, God would want me to accept and live peacefully with them.


Genesis 21 & 22

"14So Abraham got up early the next morning, prepared food and a container of water, and strapped them on Hagar's shoulders. Then he sent her away with their son, and she wandered aimlessly in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15When the water was gone, she put the boy in the shade of a bush. 16Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards away. 'I don't want to watch the boy die,' she said, as she burst into tears. 17But God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, 'Hagar, what's wrong? Do not be afraid! God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18Go to him and comfort him, for I will make a great nation from his descendants.' 19Then God opened Hagar's eyes, and she saw a well full of water. She quickly filled her water container and gave the boy a drink."

This story just tugs at my heart. It's hard to imagine ever being in a situation like this, but I can get a glimpse of Hagar's despair and hopelessness. These verses remind me that God is always with me, no matter how bad my circumstances are or how upset I am. He is always there for me, and if I'm willing to listen to Him, He will comfort me and provide me with enough to get me through.

"1Some time later, God tested Abraham's faith. 'Abraham!' God called.
'Yes,' he replied. 'Here I am.'
2'Take your son, your only son--yes, Isaac, whom you love so much--and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.'
3The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about."

"9When they arrived at the place where God had told them to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11At that moment the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, 'Abraham! Abraham!'
'Yes,' Abraham replied. 'Here I am!'
12'Don't lay a hand on the boy!' the angel said. 'Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.'

Abraham had such strong faith in God. He waited a long time to have his son Isaac (he was born when Abraham was 100 years old). Then God asks Abraham to give Isaac up as a sacrifice. I don't have any children yet, but I still can't imagine having to sacrifice my own child. Abraham didn't even hesitate. He left the next morning to go to the place where God had called him. When God calls me to do something, I need to obey Him immediately. It's really easy for me to put things off for later, but God wants immediate action. I can't relate as much with the sacrifice part of this, but I could translate it over to helping people. When I see people who need help, I need to attend to them right away. God doesn't want me to wait until it's more convenient, and He especially doesn't want me to put it off until I completely forget about it.


Genesis 19 and 21

19:15-17; 26
"15At dawn the next morning the angels became insistent. 'Hurry,' they said to Lot. 'Take your wife and your two daughters who are here. Get out right now, or you will be swept away in the destruction of the city!' 16When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the LORD was merciful. 17When they were safely out of the city, one of the angels ordered, 'Run for your lives! And don't look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!'"
"26But Lot's wife looked back as she was folowing behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt."

The Lord showed such great mercy towards Lot and his family. He sent angels to tell Lot to take his family and leave Sodom, so they wouldn't be destroyed along with the city. Then when they didn't listen, the angels literally pulled Lot and his family to safety. (I wonder how many times God has done this same thing for me...). Once they were out of the city, one of the angels told them to run and not look back at the city. Sodom was horribly evil, and God wanted them to turn completely away from the evil. I think God is telling me to do this same thing. When He rescues me from my sins, He wants me to turn completely away from them. He doesn't want me to dwell on them and long for them. He wants me to choose Him completely. I can't choose God and long for sin at the same time. When Lot's wife looked back at Sodom, God destroyed her. God is showing me that if I choose sin over Him, I will ultimately be destroyed.

"4But before they retired for the night, all the men of Sodom, young and old, came from all over the city and surrounded the house. 5They shouted to Lot, 'Where are the men who came to spend the night with you? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!' 6So Lot stepped outside to talk to them, shutting the door behind him. 7'Please, my brothers,' he begged, 'don't do such a wicked thing. Look, I have two vigin daughters. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do with them as you wish. But please, leave these men alone, for they are my guests and are under my protection.'"

"30Afterward Lot left Zoar because he was afraid of the people there, and he went to live in a cave in the mountains with his two daughters. 31One day the older daughter said to her sister, 'There are no men left anywhere in this entire area, so we can't get married like everyone else. And our father will soon be too old to hve children. 32Come, let's get him drunk with wine, and then we will have sex with him. That way we will preserve our family line through our father.' 33So that night they got him drunk with wine, and the older daughter went in and had intercourse with her father. He was unaware of her lying down or getting up again. 34The next morning the older daughter said to her younger sister, 'I had sex with our father last night. Let's get him drunk with wine again tonight, and you go in and have sex with him. That way we will preserve our family line through our father.' 35So that night they got him drunk with wine again, and the younger daughter went in and had intercourse with him. As before, he was unaware of her lying down or getting up again."

These verses show how the evil of Sodom rubbed off on Lot and his family. The men of Sodom wanted to rape the men (angels) who were staying at Lot's house. Lot was doing the right thing in protecting his guests from these sinful men, but he was willing to give up his daughters' purity to do so. There had to have been a better way to handle it. He was so accustomed to the evil ways of Sodom, that he wasn't able to see clearly. He didn't see anything wrong with offering his daughters to the men.

Later on (after they had been rescued and Sodom had been destroyed) Lot's daughters became desperate to preserve their family line. They devised a plan to get their father drunk and sleep with him in order to have children. They were able to get Lot so drunk that he didn't even know that his daughters had sex with him. This shows poor judgement on everyone's part. They had all been corrupted by Sodom's evil. The daughters were able to devise this plan and didn't appear to find anything wrong with it. Lot allowed himself to become so drunk that he wasn't aware of what was going on.

It's so easy to let evil creep into our hearts. It starts by just being around it. Next, we become accepting of it and don't see anything wrong with it. Last, we act on it. I need to keep myself sharp and remember that sin is not okay. I need to remove myself from situations in which sin is likely to rub off on me.

"1The LORD kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. 2She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would."

God had promised Abraham and Sarah that they would give birth to a son. They were both past the age of having children, so they struggled with their faith that God would provide. Abraham was 100 years old when their son was born. I can understand how it was hard for them to believe they could have a child at this age, but God promised them on several occasions that it would happen. And He delivered, just as He said He would. God always follows through on His promises. Why is that so hard to believe sometimes? I need to have faith and trust that God knows what He is doing.


Hebrews 5 and Trusting God

Verse 7
"7While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God."

How often do I pray like this? Not often enough. Jesus really meant His prayers and put everything into them. I tend to hold myself back in my prayer life. I need to give everything I have to God!

God listened to Jesus, because He maintained a deep reverence for God.

Reverence (noun)
1. a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe
2. the outward manifestation of this feeling
3. a gesture indicative of deep respect

Jesus displayed all of these. Not only did He have respect and awe for God, but He showed it. I must continually give glory to God. Something as simple as bowing while speaking to God shows respect and reverence. I need to remember my place before God... He is above me, not the other way around; Nor are we equals.

Today I had a little lesson in trusting God. Often when I have a problem arise, I pray about it, but I don't give it completely to God. I still stress and worry about it, even though I have asked God to help me. This shows a lack of trust in Him. When I do this, I'm basically saying, "God, will you help me? ...I know you say you will, but I don't really believe you will solve it for me, so I'll just keep on stressing about it." I really need to learn to go to God (whole-heartedly!) and then trust Him! He has never failed me in the past, so why do I think He would now? Anyways, today I was really struggling with something, and I prayed to God about it. Then I told myself that I need to actually trust God, and let the worry go. After that, I knew that I needed to take action, and I was able to do so with a calm attitude, thanks to God. I knew in my heart that God would take care of my problem, if I would only allow Him to. So end of story, I was able to take the steps to work out my problem, and all is good now! It's amazing what can happen when I trust God!

It's also important for me to remember that God has His own timeline and way of making things work out. If I pray to God about something, and it doesn't get solved or answered the way I want, that doesn't mean that God isn't listening to me. He is probably just answering my prayers in another way than what I have set in my mind. If I would have an open mind about it, I may be able to see more clearly what God is doing. Afterall, He knows what I need better than I do.


Hebrews 2-4

"So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it."

It takes more than mere belief to be a Christian. I must continually seek out Christ and follow His teachings. If I'm not diligent in my pursuit of Christ, I could easily drift away from it.

"Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested."

"15This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."

These verses about Jesus are so encouraging! He became human and was tested and tried, just as we are. He knows what we are going through; He has been there! When I feel overwhelmed, I need to remember that Jesus has been here and knows what I'm going through. I need to come to Him in prayer and ask Him to help me when I'm struggling!

"7That is why the Holy Spirit says, 'Today when you hear his voice, 8don't harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness."

"Remember what it says: "Today when you hear his voice, don't harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled."

"God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: 'Today when you hear his voice, don't harden your hearts."

These verses all refer back to Psalm 95:7-8: "7for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today! 8The LORD says, 'Don't harden your hearts as Israel did at Meribah, as they did at Massah in the wilderness.'"

(Meribah means "arguing," and Massah means "testing.")

Basically, God is making it real clear that when He speaks to me, I should listen to Him! The Israelites missed out on the Promised Land because of their bad attitudes and disobedience to God. I certainly don't want to miss out on all the wonderful things God has to offer me! It's so easy sometimes to avoid or talk myself out of something that God puts on my heart. When God speaks to me, I need to listen and obey, not turn away from Him.

"12For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable."

God's word (the bible) is meant to be more than just a good story to read. It's a powerful life-changing tool. The bible exposes things about myself that I need to be aware of and change. If I read it with a true open heart, I can see where I fall short in God's calling for me.

Also, I can't hide my heart and my true intentions from God. He knows everything about me. Thinking about that fact makes me ashamed for my past (and sometimes even my present). I am very blessed that He is willing to forgive me and wipe my slate clean day after day! I also want to do my best to please God and live the way He wants me to. When it comes down to it, my heart really has to be in it! God knows if I'm just going through the motions.