Firstfruits

We’re continuing our study of Mosaic law in our Sunday School class, and this past week we delved into some of the festivals and feasts. In particular, we read about firstfruits.

In Exodus 12, God instituted the first Passover, and the Angel of Death passed over the obedient Israelites. In Exodus 13, God laid out the ritual of consecration of the firstborn – all the firstborn of God’s people were His. Exodus 13.2 Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.

In Exodus 23, God gives direction for three festivals each year: Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Harvest (the firstfruits of thy labors), and the Feast of Ingathering. These were to be solemn feasts to the Lord.

The premise of firstfruits is that we are to give back to God the first whatever-it-is that He gives us, whether it be income, friends, harvest, children, time, or other resources. God allows for payment to redeem the firstborn, because He does not ask us to kill our young.

Israel was precious to God, His firstborn of His peoples: Jeremiah 2.3 Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD. God desired to protect His people from evil.

God promises blessings when we remember Him and give Him thanks.

Proverbs 3.9, 10 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your harvest; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

Why does God want to bless us when we give Him the first part of what He gives us? He wants us to trust Him. He wants to give us hope and assurance. He wants us to see that we can trust Him, that He wants the best for us, that He wants to take care of us.

Romans 8.22-25 We know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until the present time. Not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see? But if we hope for what we do not yet see, we wait for it patiently.

We can’t see God; we can’t necessarily see His immediate blessings when we offer to Him, when we sacrifice, when we honor Him. But we hope! The more we obediently place our trust in Him, the more we are able to wait patiently for His blessings, because we learn that He is always faithful.

So let’s take this to a personal, spiritual level: I am the only one of me. God created in me a firstling: the first of its kind to be produced or to appear. There has never been, and never will be, another me.

John 12.24-26 Truly, truly, I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life will lose it, but whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, My servant will be as well. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

Do you see what Jesus is saying in this passage? He repeats it in other passages. Luke 9.23, 24: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. Mark 8.35: For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the gospel will save it. Luke 17.33: Whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it. Matthew 16.25: For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Because we have the Holy Spirit within us, and because we have the mind of Christ, and because God’s mercies are new every morning; we have the opportunity to die to self every day, to give God the firstfruits. We can sacrifice our flesh to the Lord, so that it may go well with us.

Think again on Proverbs 3.9, 10 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your harvest; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. Honor the Lord with all He gives us, even our own selves. He will bless in so many ways, we will overflow! We will gain hope and assurance of His great provision and lovingkindness.

Be Ye Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind

Romans 12.2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

In Romans 12.2, the word transformed is from the Greek metamorphousthe or μεταμορφόω (metamorphoó), which is the root of the English terms “metamorphosis” and “metamorphize.”

How do we effect this transformation, this metamorphosis of the mind?

1 Corinthians 2.11b-16 even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

This is how we effect the transformation: through the power of the Holy Spirit of God. We simply cannot understand the things of God without His guidance. And, as children of the Most High God, WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST!

But we must work with God’s Spirit, and put our salvation to work – we must LEARN the Word of God, the ways of God.

The primary avenue of learning God is through the mind. The foundation must be God’s Word.

We learn with both our hearts and our minds. The heart may influence the mind, but only the fool allows the heart to rule. (Jeremiah 17.9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?)

We must train our hearts through the transforming of the mind.

When we learn God’s Word, the Holy Spirit works to transfer that knowledge to our hearts. This is vital, because we act on what is in our hearts – what we really believe. We know things in our minds, but we believe them in our hearts.

Proverbs 4.20-23

20My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

21Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.

22For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

23Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

As you study God’s Word, pray that it floods your heart and fills it with His Truth.

God’s Word can be a mainstay in times of trouble. In my own experience, I sometimes haven’t had the heart to read my Bible or pray. But when, in obedience, I read anyway, and I prayed anyway, God blessed that obedience. March your way through the tough times in obedience.

Allow God’s Word to cleanse you, to fill you with hope, to guide you, to bring you peace.

And, in order to set your heart aright, learn what God says; let it filter to your heart, and believe.

Still Learning Pt 1

image from messianic-revolution.com, text from King James Version

I get lots of questions swirling through my head as I read the Bible, or as I contemplate events in light of God’s Word.

I’ve been reading through Exodus of late, and I’m in the middle of constructing the tabernacle and all its furnishings and implements and tools and curtains and robes and ephods…

And I wondered: Why was God so explicit with so many intricate details in fashioning each aspect of His holy worship? I mean, I get it that He gave detailed instructions to Moses to give to the workers – they needed exact blueprints. But why record all that in His eternal Word so that all the generations to come would have available to read? We aren’t re-building His tabernacle, after all.*

Or are we?

In the New Testament, God reveals that we are now His tabernacle.

2 Corinthians 5.1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

2 Peter 1.13, 14 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;  Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.

Just as the Israelites moved around in the wilderness, and carried the tabernacle with them, we have the freedom to BE God’s tabernacle, to carry Him with us wherever we are (or maybe, it’s that He carries us).

And, just as God gave explicit detail in how to construct that tabernacle, He gives us explicit detail in how to construct our own. The entirety of Scripture is a how-to lesson for worshiping our Lord.

2 Timothy 3.16, 17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

He provides instruction in how to deal with Him, with others, and with ourselves for each aspect of life.

In addition to building our temple, God provides cleansing. He gives us Jesus, the Word, who washes us clean (Ephesians 5.26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,), the springs of Living Water to refresh us in our works (John 7.38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water).

And it’s all done in love! God designed us for worship: it’s how we receive our greatest joys and live in the greatest peace.

As an aside, I also wondered about two other things as relates to building the tabernacle:

  1. When we, as humans, plan out and design a new space, we get giddy with excitement about the doing and how it will turn out. Was God giddy?
  2. What was God’s purpose in having His people construct the tabernacle? He could have miraculously ‘poofed’ it into existence, and everyone would have been totally awed. But I think there’s something to be said about making it with their own hands. It involves ownership. Most things mean more when you work for it, except salvation. But even the gift of salvation means more when we put some sweat into it to work it out.

* I get excited to think that we CAN rebuild the tabernacle, just as God designed, since He left us His exact instruction. Each aspect of the tent, implements, furnishings, clothing, and rituals represents an aspect of Jesus, and we have so much to learn from it.

Prayers for Those in Pain

There are a lot of different kinds of pain. All of them need prayer. When pain becomes chronic, we need new perspectives, different ways of thinking, and new ways of doing things.

Whether you are in pain, or know someone who is, here are some prayers to consider for those who are suffering, and for those in their lives.

Lord, as ____ suffers, I pray

  • For discernment to know Your task list day by day
  • For peace with having a smaller task list.
  • For peace with more rest as needed.
  • For courage to speak up and advocate when needed.
  • You give wisdom and words to share deeply with spouse / loved ones.
  • ____ keeps an anchor in Scripture and God-centered writings.
  • You show ____ specific verses to lift and give light and peace.
  • That ____ looks to You for Your Light.
  • Keep ____ from falling into darkness. Suffering can drag us down to despair, into darkness. Darkness can lead us astray, it is disorienting, and walking in it leads to errors; and then we believe lies, and we stumble. I pray a continued light unto ____’s path, step-by-step.
  • May ____ continue faithful in Your Word, even when feeling faithless.
  • Sometimes we miss Your blessings. May ____ consciously look for Your blessings, and rejoice to see You. Give ____ eyes to see you.
  • Show ____ how to rise above the pain, and know Your peace that passes all understanding.
  • Show ____ how to be a blessing to others, even amidst suffering.
    • And bless ____ with a soft heart, to desire to be a blessing.
  • May we all remember to praise You always.
  • Give wisdom to all medical care persons, and to those who help to care for ____. Give wisdom to ____ in knowing when to call for help / appointments, and how to appropriately carry out necessary treatments / procedures.
  • Bless all concerned with soft, loving, and forgiving hearts.
    • But also give courage to stick to what is necessary.
  • As our lives / schedules / needs change, give our minds capacity to see things with a different perspective, and grace to accept changes.
  • When there are children involved, give grace and wisdom for appropriate and loving communication.
  • When things are especially tough, may we put aside our fleshly reactions; and fall, instead, to our knees before You.
  • Father, we praise You for Your hand in our lives. We know You have purposes for all that we go through. May we persist in You, knowing that a crown of righteousness awaits us, for we love You (2 Timothy 4.8).

From ICR: Secret Faults vs Presumptuous Sins

Directly from this site: https://www.icr.org/article/13458/June+3+-+Secret+Faults+vs.+Presumptuous+Sins


June 3, 2022
Secret Faults vs. Presumptuous Sins
“Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” (Psalm 19:12-13)

David, the author of this majestic psalm of praise to God for His revelation of Himself and His nature, voices his own frustration at his inability to mold his life totally in accordance with God’s revealed plan. He recognizes and asks for God’s forgiveness for his failure to measure up, and asks for strength to avoid habitual sin patterns and willful rejection of God’s way.

God had already made a careful distinction between these types of sins. “The priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him….But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously…the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him” (Numbers 15:28, 30-31).

Paul also recognized such a difference. Keep in mind that all sin is abhorrent to God and must be repented of, resulting, of course, in His forgiveness. But Paul claimed that even his blasphemous, murderous persecution of the church was done “ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:13). His plea of ignorance did not excuse his guilt, but through it he “obtained mercy” (v. 13) and “grace” (v. 14).

This is a “pattern to [us] which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (v. 16). Let us not be guilty of willful, presumptuous sin, but on these occasions when we do fall, we can be thankful that our “longsuffering” (v. 16) Savior still affords us such mercy. JDM

The Root of the Matter

When we feel unloved, worthless, rejected; we often believe it’s because we are unlovable and worthy of rejection. Of course, those are lies, as revealed in God’s Word.

But I think the deeper lie is nestled in who we think we are as compared to how others treat us.

The lure of Satan and the flesh is believing that we will be like God – that we should be lifted high because we are mighty. Our insecurities lie in the anger we have because others don’t treat us the way we think they ought.

Fear, for example, comes about because of lack of control. Same with anger.

A child who is raised by parents who abuse (physically, emotionally, verbally) will easily grow up fearing everyone, unable to trust; that fear may manifest as anger. That child’s first interest is self-preservation. Children learn some pretty kooky ways to protect themselves. Sometimes they get smart-alecky. Sometimes they crawl inside themselves and are very quiet. Sometimes they become bullies. Sometimes they become extra nice/giving. Sometimes they turn to substance abuse, or fornication. Sometimes they become murderers. Sometimes they learn to act just like everyone else so they can blend in. Each person carves out their own safe zone, however they think will work best for them.

But the real root is self. No matter how a person is treated, we are responsible for our own actions, attitudes, words, and emotions. We may point to a horrible childhood and excuse horrible behavior. But the root of it is a person feeling that they deserve better, and they’re doing whatever they know how to get there.

Consider a person who was raised in a wealthy family, even a loving wealthy family. As he grows, he is showered with everything he wants. Is he satisfied? No. Flesh always demands more: more respect, more love, more power. Look at Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel. Look at King Saul. Look at Haman in the book of Esther.

In a “perfect” fleshly world, everyone would treat us with love and respect all the time. If they didn’t, they would be struck with guilt and apologize all over the place to us. We like to think we would never have to apologize to anyone because we never do anything wrong. But, if we did make a mistake, we just know, because everyone is so nice, that we would be forgiven and our wrong forgotten. Then, we think, we would be happy and have a great self-image and be nice to everyone. What we really want, in our flesh, is complete control over everything. THEN, we think, everything would be alright. Of course, there can be no perfect fleshly world because we always would want more than what we get. (Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world, and wanted more than they had.)

Flesh is flesh, no matter how it is raised. And flesh will always sin in the climb to obtain what it desires most – to become like God in its own efforts.

May I submit that negative thoughts are sin.

I imagine Jesus (as much as my human mind is able): Someone rushes past Him in a hurry, knocks Him aside, and doesn’t apologize. Or someone hurls cruel words at Him (as they indeed did); or as a child He makes a mistake and that nail goes in crooked. I don’t believe He berated Himself or others, even in His mind. Because He was God, He was able to take every thought captive, able to continually set His mind on things above. I don’t believe He had negative thoughts, because He never sinned.

As contrary to flesh as this appears, God is the answer – the only answer. He created us, He knows our flesh, and He designed us to desire Him above all. When we live outside that design, we become miserable and tend to blame everything outside of ourselves, and we get mad at ourselves when we’re not perfect.

So I think the answer to people with low self-images, or who think they are unimportant or worthless; I think the answer is not to build them up and try to talk them into believing that they really are worthy (worthy of whatever – love from people or love from God). I think the answer is in digging down deep and realizing what sinful flesh resides in us; in understanding that I am indeed a sinner and that I don’t like to think that about myself. That others are also sinners, and everyone hurts everyone else – I hurt people, too.

This is sin to be confessed. People must realize, confess, and repent of sin.

If fear or anger result from lack of control, we must give up our right to control, and trust God: He is the One Who controls it all, anyway. You are not on top of the totem pole, not the CEO, not the VIP: God always is. Trust that God is in control, and that He has your best interests at heart. Rest deeply in God. Give it to Him. If you don’t trust God, confess that sin of unbelief.

The whole point is to point people to God – it’s all in His Word. We MUST understand and believe that we are as dust. We must understand that our flesh is evil (Jeremiah 17.9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?). We must confess that before God. All our self-loathing comes from trying to deny the fact that we are sinners, and from not accepting / believing that God pursues us and woos us because He loves us so much, and that He forgives us because He wants us to have His Peace.

What – a loathsome sinner like me? He loves ME? Believe it.

He will forgive ME? Yes!

1 John 1.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

HE is the faithful One! HE is the perfect One. HE is the One who can and will cleanse us and set us free.

Do not fall into the sin of unbelief. If God says He loves you and that you are precious to Him (you can read a little about that here) – then BELIEVE it! 😁 Do not doubt God Almighty.

We must live in complete dependence on Jesus Christ. Without Him we can do nothing (John 15.5). Give up the false notion that you can do it yourself.

If you want to know more about yourself, read God’s Word.

If you want to feel better about yourself, read the passages about how much God loves you.

But be sure to read the passages that show what a sinner you are, too, because that’s how much you need Him.

When you have these negative thoughts, these vain imaginations, substitute with words of praise, and the Word of God. Here are some passages for you:

God gives us the whole Truth in His Word. It’s important to know the whole Truth, because it’s that Truth that will set you free. John 8.31, 32 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Ephesians 3.14-19 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

2 Corinthians 10. 3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Romans 8. 13For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.

A note of thanks to Stu and his postings derived from the “Get Out of Your Head” series by Jennie Allen, which inspired this post

God’s Light

Genesis 1.1-4 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

1 John 1.5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

God is pre-existent, from eternity past to eternity future. As humans, we cannot have a correct concept of eternity, not having been existent before we were born.

We cannot have a correct concept of light, either. God created the heaven and the earth, and there was darkness. He created light. It’s not that God created light for Himself, because He is light. No, God created light for us.

Maybe, when Adam and Eve were created, and perfect in the Garden, maybe they could see God’s light. Maybe their bodies were shimmering with light. Maybe that’s why, when they sinned, they were able to see that they were naked: their own light had darkened, and they were ashamed. And their eyes were darkened, and they couldn’t see God’s light any more.

God knew from eternity past that He would create us, and that we would sin. He knew that we would not be able to see His light, that we would need the light that He created for us.

He knew what we would need to live on earth, while we waited for eternity with Him. He provided everything.

All of creation cries out with God’s handiwork. All of this He did for us, an outpouring of His tenderloving care for us. It’s not just the light that He prepared. He also prepared a way for us to see His light again:

John 8.12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Jesus is our light (because He is God, and God is light) and our salvation.

Today may we celebrate the light God gives us through His Son, Jesus Christ. May we celebrate His light we have in our hearts through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Above all, may we celebrate God, Himself, Who is worthy of all praise and adoration!

Promises and Peace in and of the Trinity

I love how God reveals Himself to us. We are but poor, frail humans, with limited understanding. But God is abundant and gracious in His teachings, parables, examples, and love.

I was thinking about Jesus as He hung on the cross, with the two thieves next to Him. One of the thieves reviled Him; but the other thief asked Jesus to remember him. Jesus replied, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23.43) I’ve often wondered how that worked. I know that Jesus speaks only truth. I also know Jesus died that day, went to hell to pay for my sins, and rose again the third day. How could He be in paradise that day, but also go to hell? Of course, it’s because Jesus is God. God is always in paradise; and Jesus is God. The repentant thief could join God in paradise because he accepted that God had sent a Saviour in Jesus, and that He paid the price for his sins.

Like in Matthew 18.20: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Jesus spoke to them while in His physical body. When we pray in His name, He is not here physically, but His Spirit is here. Jesus and the Spirit and God are all the same. Here they are / here He is.

In John 8.56, Jesus told the Jews “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” The Jews didn’t get it: Jesus was too young to have known Abraham. But Abraham knew Jesus, and rejoiced for the day He would come because Abraham knew God. Jesus was right there: John 8.58: Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Jesus has been God, has been with God (and with the Holy Spirit) for eternity past, and will be for eternity future.

I get immeasurable comfort and peace from God, from knowing God, from reading His Word. And that’s what God wants for us – it’s why He offers it to us. Do you, too, delight to abide in the truth of God’s presence, His Word, His Trinity?

A few more Trinity verses (of the many that God gives us):

Hebrews 9.14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Ephesians 2.18 (speaking of Christ) For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

John 14.16 (Jesus is speaking) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

John 14.26 (Jesus is speaking) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you.

John 15.26 (Jesus is speaking) But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Matthew 28.18, 19 (Jesus, after His resurrection) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

2 Corinthians 13.14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

1 John 3.21-24 Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God, and we will receive from Him whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and we should love one another just as He commanded us. Whoever keeps His commandments remains in God, and God in him. And by this we know that He remains in us: by the Spirit He has given us.

1 John 4.2 By this you will know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God

Days of Praise Shared

I really enjoy the devotions / Bible meditations I receive from Institute for Creation Research. This is shared directly from their thoughts for today at https://www.icr.org/article/13165/

  January 19, 2022
Jacob’s Plain Life
“Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.” (Genesis 25:27)

Jacob has often been given a bad reputation for his deception of Isaac. He is branded a liar and worse, while the Scriptures describe him very differently. To begin with, the Hebrew word translated “plain” in our text is tam, everywhere else rendered as “perfect” or “upright.”

The same word is used most often by God Himself of Job—a “perfect” and “upright” man (Job 1:8). All other references in the Bible where tam is used verify this upright and undefiled character. The deception is not rebuked by God, and Jacob is honored by God far more than Isaac. In fact, Jacob is renamed “Israel” by God—hardly a punishment for a bad life, but rather a recognition of a great life (Genesis 32:28).

The sin of Isaac and Esau is infinitely greater. Esau has “sold” and “despised” the birthright (Genesis 25:33-34). Isaac would have given that blessing to Esau (Genesis 27:1-4) in spite of God’s plan (Genesis 25:23). The intention of Jacob and Rebecca was to prevent a horrible disobedience and catastrophe.

Jacob’s action gave him no temporal advantage and was taken at great personal risk. Jacob spent 20 years in exile and servitude to his wicked uncle Laban, 14 of them for Rachel and Leah (Genesis 29:20-29). While there, he endured the awful trickery of Laban, but God gave him 12 sons and at least one daughter (Genesis 29:31–30:24).

God’s intervention and Jacob’s careful attention to detail brought wealth and a growing confidence that God had turned his life around, providing the leadership his family needed to leave suddenly and go with confidence back to the land of Abraham (Genesis 31), having received personal assurance from God (Genesis 32:24-30).

May we all have the reputation of a “plain” life. HMM III

Zechariah Chapter 7

I am in Zechariah as I continue my reading through the minor prophets.  I am daily amazed and blessed at what God gives us through all the books of His Word – and at what He gives me, personally.

In Zechariah chapter 7, God reminds His people of their hard, selfish hearts, the reason they were carried away captive. Even in their captivity, as they walked through the rituals, their hearts were not bowed in humble adoration before their great God. He renews His call to heed His prophets, to walk in His ways with His heart (v 9, 10). But they would not hear.

It is the same with us, with all people: we cannot have a heart for God unless we have God’s heart – His Holy Spirit within us to love as He loves.

1 John 4.19 We love Him, because He first loved us.