Genesis 18:16-19:38 ~ Matthew 6:25-7:14 ~ Psalm 8:1-9 ~ Proverbs 2:6-15
Today is the 8th day of January. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It is awesome to be here with you as we greet a brand new week. Usually this is the week around the world in our lives where we kind of settle into the new year, the holidays are kind of behind us now and we’re moving forward into the year. We’ve set sail. And that’s what’s we’ve done in the Bible. We have set sail. A lot happens in the first week. There is a lot to contemplate. All of a sudden we realize, “oh, the Bible, not such a stagnant thing like I thought. It is very much alive and speaking into my life and touching places inside of me that are true.”
So here we go, launching into the new week. We’ll read from The Common English Bible this week and picking up where we left off. We’re traveling on the journey, getting to know this man named Abraham. Genesis chapter 18, verse 16 through 19:38 today.
Jesus says some riveting things today that are disruptive when they are juxtaposed against the way we live our lives and we’ll talk about that in a minute, but we can’t pass over the book of Genesis today because the passage in Genesis today is difficult. It’s difficult, what all happens. It starts out so interestingly.
Yesterday the promise of Isaac is given. Specifically, the Lord says, “about this time next year…” And we talked about that yesterday. Immediately after that, that is when they are heading down toward Sodom and Gomorrah. And we see something beautiful, this collaborative nature of God, this relational nature where he says, “how can I keep what I’m planning to do from Abraham?”
The plan is that God is going to go look at Sodom and Gomorrah and see if the evil that he is aware of is actually as bad as it seems. He tells Abraham and is so patient with Abraham, letting Abraham speak his mind. “Surely you wouldn’t do this if there were righteous people down there, if there are 50 people. What if you go down there and you find 50 people that are righteous, are you going to destroy the place?”
And God is like, “no,” and then it’s 45 and then its 40 and then its 30, then its 20, then its 10 and God is just patiently saying, “no, that’s not really how this works. I’m not going down there just for the sake of destruction. If it is completely evil, if it is completely irredeemable, then it is going to go away. But if there are righteous people there, that is not what I’m trying to do.”
I don’t have to retell the story. We just read the story. They go down. They find Lot. There is this strange scene that takes place. Lot takes the men into his house. The house is surrounded and they want to rape these guys. Lot is in this predicament and we see this kind of patriarchal society that they are living in at the time where Lot’s daughters, they don’t have the value of the guests and so Lot is offering his daughters to the mob. Yeah, that is just… I don’t live in that kind of society, so I can’t imagine that. But we are getting a look into the society, the culture of that part of the world at that particular time, but what ends up happening is that Lot’s guests pull Lot back in, they do not throw his daughters out, they seal the door, they blind the people, and they put the plan into action. The place is evil. So they get Lot out with his family, those that would go with them, and the place is destroyed. Lot’s wife, she looks back. There is plenty to contemplate right there because sometimes when God is leading us on and rescuing us, which he is constantly doing, we need to not be looking back. But anyway, Lot is like, “I can’t go to the mountains. I need to go to this little village of Zoar. Can I go there?”
And they are like, “Yeah, you can go there.” And he does. Then Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed, but the next thing we find is that Lot and his daughters are hiding in the mountains. The place that he said he couldn’t go is the place he ended up. We don’t know exactly why, but they end up hiding in the mountains.
So here are two daughters and a father hiding in the mountains. Everything that they’ve had is destroyed. The life as they knew it is gone. Lot was prosperous. He lost it all and he lost his wife. So we can see that they have fallen into some serious hard times and the daughters have this conversation among themselves. And without a little context, it is confusing because what they are contemplating is having sex with their father, trying to get pregnant by their father, so all of a sudden we have this incest story in the Bible, a great way to begin week two. But let’s move into the story here.
These are young women. These are teenage women who had been betrothed to be married. Life as they knew it is gone. Their mom is gone. They’ve been offered up to a mob of men. They are in a pretty precarious situation. Their father, who had some means and had some respect because he was sitting in the city gate, has fallen on circumstances that changed everything. So now they are hiding in a cave with their dad. Their mom is gone. They are not going to be getting married to the men they were planning to be married to because they are gone as well. The city that they grew up in is gone and they are hiding. So what are their options? Their father is getting old. He is the only one in this patriarchal society that can speak up and defend them, but he doesn’t really have what he had before. They are all destitute, homeless, on the run. So they come up with this plan. If they can have male children, then those male children can take care of them as they age as mothers. There is a man to claim them and carry on the family story. But Lot is not going to last forever and the options aren’t what they used to be so they decide what they have to do is try to get pregnant.
So it is not like there was some crazy, weird lusty thing going on. It was more practical for them. A horrible option, but the best of the worst of the options. That is how this all happened. What we have to look at is our own heart when we read a story like this.
At least for me, I read this story for years and thought, “I just don’t get it. Why is God involved in incest? Why? What is going on here?” And it wasn’t until I really read and read and read the story that I began to realize, “Hang on, God’s role in this story was to rescue Lot and his family from the destruction of the evil that he was doing away with. That’s it. Everything that came next was all decisions that were made by the people who had been rescued in the first place.” So we don’t have this narrative of them crying out to God. Why didn’t they flee to Hebron and find Abraham, their uncle?
We can see pretty clearly our own stories overlaid here. People get to make choices and those choices get to matter. Every choice is a decision to walk down a certain path and that path is going to lead somewhere. It may lead to other forks in the road and it always does, but the choices that we make become the roadmap of the life that we live. It’s not right or true to blame God for every choice that we make that we have not consulted him in or walked with him on.
At the end of our New Testament reading today Jesus says there is a narrow path and that path leads to life, but it is a narrow gate and it’s a difficult road and few people find it. There is a wide highway that leads to destruction, but there is a narrow path that leads to life. And we walk that path when we walk with God. Blaming God that we get off that narrow path and on the wide road that leads to destruction when he didn’t do it and it’s not his fault, yeah, that’s not the kind of relationship that we’re looking for when we talk about a relationship with God. Have you ever been in a relationship where you got blamed all the time for things that you didn’t do? Or things were aimed at you and nuanced in a way that weren’t true? That’s horrible. It’s not a life-giving relationship. We have to understand we can’t have that posture of heart toward God and have a true intimate relationship. You can’t truly love somebody you don’t really actually trust. And we watch this play out in the book of Genesis.
In the New Testament, Jesus gives us such a gift today. He shows us what life is supposed to look like. You don’t have to worry, is what he says. You don’t have to worry about your life. You don’t have to worry about what you’re going to eat or what you’re going to drink, what you’re going to wear. Life is more than all of that. Life is bigger than the exterior things we focus most on.
What Jesus says is essentially you’ve got it backwards. You’re trying to live from the outside in and it’s the reverse. Life comes from the inside outward, so if you’re foremost desire is God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, then all this other stuff that you need and want will be given to you. So stop worrying about tomorrow and focus on God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness right now and continue to do that. Make that choice every day. Follow that narrow path every day and you’ll have all of the rest, but you will be living as you were created to live, intertwined with God. Just ask. Just seek. Just knock. It’s all here for you. It’s all available to you. Just most people won’t.
Most people won’t walk through the narrow gate. Most people won’t live from inside out. Most people are just distracted by what is exterior, things like judging each other, which Jesus talks about. And he simply says the same kinds of things he does about forgiveness. If you’re going to judge, it’s your prerogative, but you’re going to be judged using the measuring stick that you judge others. So if you’re going to be harsh that way, that’s how it is going to come back to you. Stop paying attention to the speck that is in your brother or sister’s eye when you have a log in your own. Focus on what is going on inside of you. Walk with God on the narrow path. Walk in intimacy. Stop blaming him for what he hasn’t done. Own your stuff. If we would just listen, we would have so much margin in our lives. Things would become spacious because we’re living from within. We’re not looking at our lack on the exterior. We’re looking at abundance from within that then spills out into everything.
Jesus, we thank you for the gift that we don’t have to worry. It’s a gift. It’s also a choice. And we can ignore it. We can continue to live the way that we’re living, but it is erratic and it is close to the edge and it has no margin in it. Or we can realize we don’t have as much control as we think we do. Ttrying to control every eventuality and every person in our lives, including you, isn’t working. It doesn’t work. It can’t work. You’re giving us permission to relax and rest in you and be obedient to you. So come Holy Spirit in this and forgive us, Lord, for the ways that we’ve blamed you for things you had nothing to do with that were our own choice and they have landed us where we’ve landed. But here you are. Here you are wherever we’ve landed. You haven’t abandoned us. You’ve simply allowed us to have the fruit of our own choices. You’ve always done this because you’ve desired true intimacy and true love. You have loved us unconditionally but we have not loved you unconditionally. We’ve blamed you for all kinds of things. Forgive us for that. We’re sorry for that. That stops now, right here at the beginning of the year. That stops now. You are good and you love us and we believe that. So we’re sorry for the ways we’ve built walls around ourselves to protect ourselves that have only brought us destruction. Come Holy Spirit, help us see things as they really are, from the inside out. We ask in Jesus’ name who makes this possible, amen.
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And that is it for today. I’m Brian. I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports
Good morning DAB family. I’m Carol from the UK and I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Today I felt I needed to share my testimony with you. I became a Christian believer in 1984 when my brother-in-law phoned us up one Friday evening and told us he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and had to have an operation the following Tuesday. Although I wasn’t a believer, I knew to pray for this kind of thing but I didn’t feel I had authority enough. I didn’t think God would answer an unbeliever, so I phoned a family friend who happened to be a local Baptist minister and asked him to pray for him, which he did over the phone. Monday evening we received a call from my brother-in-law and he told us he had to go to the hospital that morning for further x-rays for the operation in order to see if the cancer had spread. After a while, his consultant called him into his consulting room and there were about four or five other cancer specialists there studying x-rays. They told him the tumor had gone and that there was no sign of cancer in his body at all. He asked them to explain what had happened and one of them told him that he was an atheist and didn’t believe in religious stuff. And then he said that medically speaking what they were looking at was absolutely impossible, medically absolutely impossible and that someone must have been praying for him over the weekend. They immediately discharged him. It was then that I realized that Jesus really existed today and is still performing miracles. I just gave my life to him there and then. I want to encourage everyone that when you pray God hears you. So never give up hope. Sometimes it doesn’t always work the way you want it to, but you must trust and open your heart to Jesus and let him in. There will always be a room for you in one of his mansions. God bless you all. Bye-bye.
Good morning Dabbers. Good morning new Dabbers, DABers. My name is Walta. I started as Liberian Walta because I’m from Liberia and now I go as the burning bush that will not be devoured for the glory of our Lord and King. And hopefully in time you understand why. But I’m just calling to say welcome! Welcome, welcome, welcome! I’m so glad you started. I invited a few of my friends. I hope you guys are listening. Love you guys so much and you will never regret it. Every single day is brand new, so it is unlike any other audio Bible you’ve ever listened to and you’re listening with hundreds of thousands of people. I listened in Liberia. I listened in Europe. All over the world people are listening and just to remember that. This is a global campfire and a glimpse into what heaven looks like, all nations, all peoples, all ages. Welcome! I’m just going to say a little prayer. Father God, we thank and praise you, Lord, for everyone listening today. God, I pray that you will bless their families, bless them, and just bless this audio Bible reading for this year. God, I pray for Brian and family. I pray you keep them, sustain them, and continue to provide for them. I pray that every single day we listen to your word, we pray that you will speak through your word into our hearts and into our daily lives. We love you. We love you. We love you and we trust you. In Jesus’ name. Love you guys. Have fun!
Good morning Daily Audio Bible. This is Sandy from New Hampshire. It is the 2nd of January. Happy New Year! I’m starting my second year with Daily Audio Bible and I’m grateful for all the hard work that everybody put in toward it. Thank you. I am calling this morning because I’m listening as I’m doing my quilting and what-not to the prayer requests and Lana from Canada, hello friend. Hello Sister. And I’m so sorry for your loss of your mom. You asked to hear your name. Even if nobody else says your name, Jesus knows. I know that you just need a hug, so I hope that my call is your hug from Jesus. Father God, in the name of Jesus, I lift up Lana. I thank you, Lord, that your word says that you are the comforter, that you alone, Lord, can comfort and heal and restore. I ask that you would just touch Lana’s heart and help her, Lord, through this holiday season. Help her as she mourns her mom but also trusts in you. I give you thanks and praise for Lana. I thank you for people, Lord, that are grieving, mourning, and their hearts are wounded. I ask you, Lord, to touch and heal them. Move in the midst of the grief, Lord God. Help us to trust you when we can’t see, feel, or know you. In the midst of it all you are there. God bless you, Lana. I’m praying for you and I’ll continue to pray for you, Sister. God bless you, friends. This is Sandy in New Hampshire. Have a great rest of your day. Bye.
Good morning guys. This is Jen in SoCal, aka Prayer Warrior Princess. Happy New Year. Here is a prayer for all of us for the new year. Father, we thank you that you have been our dwelling place. We have found you faithful in the midst of uncertainty and trials and grief and suffering. You have been our refuge and our ever-present help in all of our struggles. You’ve been a shield about us in the face of persecution. You’ve been our strong tower. How glorious that we can be sheltered under your wings and be lifted on the wings of eagles above our challenges. Oh what mystery you hold in these truths, Father God. You have been our refuge in the valley of the shadow of death. You’ve prepared tables for us in the presence of our enemies. You’ve anointed us with grace to persevere and adore. You’ve made goodness and mercy follow us. You’ve secured for us the promise that we who sow in tears shall reap in joy, bringing the sheaves in with us. We rest in this and we rest in you. Oh Father, be our vision for 2017. Keep our eyes firmly fixed on you. Only you know what awaits us in this coming year. Fill us with faith to trust you as you pave the way. You are our glory and the lifter of our heads. Keep us in this mindset and daily encourage us in our endeavors to submit ourselves as living and holy sacrifices acceptable and pleasing to you. Only by your grace and tender mercies can we do this. Overflow us with your Spirit, your power and your grace that we might yield our hearts today, proclaiming that no matter what befalls us this year, that we align ourselves with the truth about you, hold us together and believe all truth about you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Hi, good morning Daily Audio Bible family. My name is Rosalea and I’m calling from the Los Angeles area. This is actually my first time calling ever, my first time actually starting the Daily Audio Bible for the entire year. Initially I began back in late August from a recommendation through a sister in Christ and I’m very thankful for that. So I’m very excited to start the new year with the readings from January 1st. More than anything, I feel very, very blessed to be in this new year with everyone. I want to ask for some prayers for my sisters in Christ. We have a group, a few sisters that listen to the Daily Audio Bible. They have finished the Daily Audio Bible throughout the year, so just prayers that we continue to keep this group alive. We will be meeting this weekend at one of the girl’s cabins, so I’m very excited for that as well. And just prayers for guidance throughout this year. It was a trying year for me this past year, but regardless I feel very blessed and very thankful that God has worked his way in my life and my family’s life. With that being said, I hope you guys have an amazing day. I’m not quite sure what else to ask for or what to do, but I’ve listened to everyone’s prayers and I will be praying for everyone who has prayer requests. Everyone have an amazing day and I hope to be calling more often with praise reports and praying for the people who ask for it. Have a great day. Bye.
Hi there. This is Beth B. in South Carolina and I’m calling to let China and Brian know how thrilled I am that China is going to read the Bible chronologically this year. I have been listening for eight years. Brian, you probably don’t remember. My husband and I went with you on the first trip to Israel and I am the woman with low vision. I’m probably the most blessed to be able to listen through the Bible. And of course the community is such a great bonus. I took a break a few years ago to listen through the Bible chronologically and it was so rich and I was so broken and I was so longing for the Messiah by the time he showed up in late August and I was considering doing it again this year, but didn’t want to take a break from the community, so it is such a blessing that I get to listen chronologically. I appreciate China’s wisdom already in the past two days and also remain part of the community. So China, I’ll be praying for your strength and wisdom and just direction from God as you go through the year. I’ll be praying for the requests that come in even though I’m an old lady, but I won’t be calling into your line myself. So thank you. And Brian, I’m just again so blessed and thankful and have grown so much through the wisdom of reading the Bible through or listening through every year so thank you very much. Bye.