Genesis 18:16-19:38, Matthew 6:25-7:14, Psalms 8:1-9, Proverbs 2:6-15
Today is the 8th day of January. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and, of course, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today, we are past the week threshold, of course we’re in the middle of a week, but we’re a full week now into this year and we’re sailing strong and out into the deep and we should be all getting kind of moved in and understanding what’s going on. And about another week and we’ll be like locked in and sailing strong with our daily rhythm in the Bible and in the year. So, let’s go ahead and take that next step. We’re reading from the New International Version this week and we’re working our way through the first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis and today we’ll read chapter 18 verse 16 through 19 verse 38.
Okay. So, there’s so much to talk about in our reading today and that’s the case often where it’s like, wow, that was one days reading, but, wow, there’s a lot going on there for me to contemplate and consider. In the book of Genesis today, the first book of the Bible, we have finally reached a point where we enter into a story and we’re like…wait…wait…what is going on here? We have cities being destroyed, we have daughters having sex with their father, and this is the first book of the Bible, and I’m halfway through it, and what is going on? And this is a good time to point out the fact that we will encounter stories in the Bible this year that will make you scratch your head and say, what is going on here? And what you need to notice, what you need to notice when we encounter those stories is the subtle judgment that comes up in our heart toward God. That might sound odd but it’s what happens, especially if we’re on our first trip through the whole Bible, like this is the first time going, like where we’ve made a commitment and we’re like, okay, I place my faith in this in this book, but I’ve never read it and now I’m gonna read every word and now I’m gonna understand what’s in this book. We begin to realize that if we’ve never been on the trip, on the journey through the Bible, that we have sort of these prejudices. We think that there is an angry God who’s vengeful and wants to smite humanity. And we more we need to meet him and find out how to fear him properly. And then we have a dichotomy, we have Jesus showing another way of actually being in the world altogether and we’re trying to mash those together because father, son and Holy Spirit, these are the same being. And, so, how does this all equate? And we get this angry God thing going on and we fear the Lord because He’s gonna be so angry. And, so, this is the first time today, we come up against one of those notions, we see a story in the Bible that just rings all the wrong bells. So, let’s just go back and look for the story real quick and try to find a place where it is that our hearts have turned toward judgment at God or maybe we’re looking at a story that tells us something completely different. So, let’s begin with the fact that God comes to meet the person that He’s in covenant with, Abraham, and they have this meal and then God is leaving to go see what’s going on in Sodom and Gomorrah down in the valley. And God’s tops, according to the story in Genesis, and thinks to Himself, should I keep this from Abraham, should I keep this from the one that I’m in covenant with. And He decides that he shouldn’t keep it from the one that He’s in covenant with. And, so, He tells Abraham what his intentions are. And then what do we see? A man, a human being, Abraham approaches God, the Creator of all things, the All Powerful One and begins a negotiation, right? Would you go down there and wipe that city, those cities out if there are 50 righteous people? And the Lord reveals His heart. No, I wouldn’t do that. Well, what about 45? No, I wouldn’t do that. What about 40? How about 30? How about 20? How about 10? And we see that God is revealing His heart in the story because this is where God is speaking for Himself in the story. I’m not about the business of destroying people, I’m about the business of eradicating evil and wickedness. And as the story progresses we get a sense of the wickedness that he’s talking about. I think that, like no matter what else we might say, that we would probably all agree that if you’re going into a village and the outcome is that you are going to be gang raped by the men of the city that that’s, you know, like, that’s evil. And, so, we just read the stories, so we know how the story goes. And we have this, you know, Lot trying to protect the Angels who he know are beings sent from God, but the only thing that he thinks he can barter with is to throw his virgin daughters out the door and let them endure the gang rape, which makes you go, “hold on a second…hold…what in the world is something like this doing in the Bible? Like, this isn’t the right way to live. Why would Lot do something like that?” And then the story goes on, right? The girls as it turns out are betrothed, they’re engaged to be married. And, so, Lot’s trying to get everyone that is connected to him out of the city, but the guys, they won’t go, they don’t believe him, they think he’s joking. And, so, it ends up that Lot and his wife and his two daughters are the only ones that escape the city and their running and then, of course, this story is famous, so Lot’s wife looked back, she turned into a pillar of salt and so there’s only Lot and his two daughters fleeing for their lives and everything that they had, all of their possessions, all of their wealth, all of their standing, everything is wiped from the face of the earth along with their home and everyone that they knew. So, they are completely on their own in this valley and they end up in a cave in the mountains, right? We know the story. The two daughters decide that the best course of action is to have sex with dad and see if they get pregnant. So, it’s a pretty disturbing story that we can go, “why is this in the Bible? And, you know, where is God in all of this?” Well, God was in the beginning of the story speaking to Abraham, telling Abraham that he wasn’t going down to Sodom and Gomorrah to destroy righteous people. In fact, had there been 10 righteous people the story would be like that, the destruction wouldn’t have happened. And, so, it was. There weren’t the people who could maybe be considered righteous. Lot and his two daughters and his wife, they got out. Of course, mom isn’t there anymore. And, so, the daughters are thinking, “what are we supposed to do?” And if we kind of get contextual here we can understand the dilemma that they were in. This family that had been reduced to poverty, like everything was destroyed. They were foreigners, these two daughters were foreigners and Lot was the only family member that could protect them, especially in the culture of that time and he’s getting older. So, there’s no one for them and if a Lot were to perish, and they were obviously in a pretty precarious situation, they had lost everything and were hiding in a cave in the mountains. So, things were pretty bad. And, so, they’re thinking to themselves, “this isn’t the desirable choice, this is the only choice. We need another male heir. We need someone that can speak for us and can have property.” And, yeah, we get into patriarchy, we can get into all that stuff, but why don’t we just say, “this is what was going on then, this is how they understood the world to be. This is how it was to live at this time in the book of Genesis, which is a long time ago.” And, so, the outlook for the daughters was to either have a male heir somewhere or what was gonna happen is their Father would be killed or would die and they would be taken and probably live a life of prostitution. So, they did what they did. And, yeah, we can look at what they did and say, “that’s just that’s not how it’s supposed to go. And yes, it’s not, but we need to look at a story like this and say, “why am I judging God about this story? Why am I saying there, I told, you see, this kind of stuff is in the Bible?” I mean, when Lot fled and only had his daughters why didn’t they finish climbing up the mountain that they were hiding in to get to the top where their uncle Abraham was living? Why didn’t they go back to the family that they had? We don’t have the answer to that question. But why would we blame God for the choices that they made? Remember back earlier in the story when Lot and Abraham got together because they had grown too wealthy to stay together and everybody was kind of fighting and so they decided to part ways so that there would be room enough for them both. It was Lot who picked what he thought was the best option for himself. He picked the best of the land and went and lived in it and this is what happened. Why is it God’s fault? Was God anything but a Redeemer in this story. He told Abraham what He was going to do and then He went and did it. And why would Abraham being…why would Abraham ask these questions of the Lord if its not to protect his own family? So, what God did was go down into the midst of this debauchery and rescue Abraham’s family and get them out. What we don’t see in the story is how they fell down and worshiped the Lord and asked for counsel on what to do and were led on the path that they should go, right? They went their own way and what happened happened. Which brings us to a little touchy point where we’re gonna have to realize as we continue to take this journey that it is absolutely going to touch all of the soft spots of our lives. And this is a good time to realize how much blame we place on God for things that He hasn’t done. It’s incredible, the trash heap of things that we throw upon the Lord that He had nothing to do with. And we can say He is Sovereign and He knows all and so He could like preempt things, and yet there was that story back at the very, very beginning, the second day together where Adam and Eve were in the garden staring at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and they were instructed not to eat from it and then they did and they were allowed to make that choice and that choice was allowed to matter. We are each created in the image of God and God is a Creator and He creates things and because we are created in His image and it is hardwired into who we are, so do we. And every day we are writing that story and creating what our destiny is going to look like. We get to make choices and they get to matter. And this story that we just read in the book of Genesis shows us once again this reality. Not everything’s God’s fault and when we just throw everything that we get ourselves into onto God like it’s his fault, then how is it that we can have a trusting loving relationship with Him? How is it that we will walk through this year with a God that we do not trust and do not know?
On the other hand, we zoom forward into the book of Matthew and we have Jesus, who is God in the flesh here in a relatable way that we can understand speaking the heart of God to us by inviting us to understand specific realities, that all of the worry and the chaos and the stress that we carry around with us is not going to get us anywhere. In fact, Jesus is bold enough to say, I’m telling you not to worry about your life. The choices that you gotta make about eating and drinking, what you’re gonna wear, there’s way more going on, it’s a bigger story and can anyone of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life? And we can stop right there and say, “okay, okay, enough for today, there’s a lot going on”, but Jesus’s isn’t done, He’s saying, look, the way to do this right is to not estrange yourself from the Father. What you need to do if you want to do this right is to seek the kingdom of God first and seek His righteousness and then everything else that you are trying to arrange for will be given to you. You don’t have to worry about it. You don’t have to worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself. What you should worry about, what you should think about, according to Jesus, is how you are judging things, right? And, so, we just talked about how we can subtly begin to judge God but we are doing this constantly to each other. And Jesus has some very clear, very choice words that we need to get into our minds before we get out of sight of shore, right? We’re one week into this journey and we’re getting absolute, pivotal, foundational instruction about how to navigate this world and our life upon this earth. Jesus says, “do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you.” So, get 2 tablespoons of that and stir that into your coffee and drink that one down because that’s a big one, especially if you just love to fight on the Internet about what every leading Christian may or may not be doing or saying or how they may be conducting their walk. How we judge others is how we are going to be judged. So, if we can’t be merciful, we will not experience mercy. If we learn nothing else from the Bible this whole year, which will not be the case, but if we learn nothing else from the Bible this year but this one thing, if we stop living in judgment continually and instead see what is a right about a person and what is right about a situation as opposed to only what is wrong and needs to be judged, that’ll change our whole year right there. That one thing right there will change the way we interact with everybody. So, there’s plenty to think about today. And we could go on. I mean, there’s more, but go back and read it again. I mean there’s plenty to meditate on. Jesus leaves us with some thoughts. “Enter through the narrow gate. Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through that. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find that.” So, what’s it going to be? I want the narrow path that leads to life and I admit there are times that I feel like I’m walking on that narrow path and there are others that I feel like I’ve run down onto the main highway that leads to destruction and we all probably have those seasons and days, but the path that leads to life is narrow and there aren’t going to be a lot of people on that path. This is from God in the flesh. These are the words of Jesus. And if we’re gonna live judge mental lives then we can pretty much be assured about which path we are on. How much in judgment in your life has ever brought you inner peace and tranquility and an overwhelming sense of the presence of the Lord, right? When you’re tithing those nasty things out on social media and being in a war with somebody over some kind of theological point like some hill to die on or you’re saying things out of your mouth to the people that you love that you shouldn't…that are wounding them because you don’t like how they’ve done something and your judging them, how much…even if you are right and you pound them into mortar on the floor and they are absolutely destroyed because you have a powerful vocabulary and you’ve just…you’ve just torn them down…like what…what do you get out of that? You leave the room feeling overjoyed you were right? You got to judge them appropriately and they got what was coming to them? Jesus is saying this is not the way it’s done. For one to navigate humanity like we were intended we have to become like Christ. Christ-like. And when we watch Jesus in the Gospels we need to watch close because this is the example of not only what humans are supposed to be like, but exactly what it is that Jesus offers to us. This is the good news of the gospel, that we can be fully human like Christ revealing His kingdom on this earth and enter into a relationship with the Father that will never, ever, ever end.
Father, you have given us plenty to think about today. There are…on the number of levels you have you’ve touched some things within us and now we are seeing, now we are seeing just how deep this can all go and we can already feel you shifting things inside of us and in some cases it’s very uncomfortable because we have all the reasons for why we do what we do. And yet we are still confronted with the fact that there is a narrow road that leads to life and only a few find it. May we be one of the few Lord. Come Holy Spirit, we surrender our rights and our wrongs in our judgments and all the things that we are carrying around. We begin to release that, and we begin to become aware that what the Bible is going to do is invite us to release a lot of things. And, so, we start here with judgment. We release our judgments against you, we release our judgments against everyone who has ever wronged us, we begin to move toward a posture of forgiveness. Come Holy Spirit we pray. In Jesus’ name we ask. Amen.
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And we’ve been talking a little bit each day about different things that are going on around here. And, so, one thing that I’ll mention today is the Daily Audio Bible transcripts. For many years now, there’ve been volunteers that have transcribed, posted what gets said here on the Daily Audio Bible. And, obviously, if you’re using the Daily Audio Bible web player or the app, you can favorite it, an episode, so that you can go back and re-listen to what was said or even write some notes that you want to remember. So, that is certainly a way to go back because a lot…I mean we’re going through the whole Bible. So, we’re trying to unpack a lot of things this year and some of those things we need to remember because they’re life-changing things. So that’s one way to go back. But the transcripts are in written form, what got said. And, so there may be a day where you’re like, “okay, I want to go back and read that. I want to listen to that, I want to read that to consider that a little bit more deeply. So, you can get to the Daily Audio Bible transcripts by going to dailyaudiobible.tumbler.com. That’s just kind of a blogging platform that makes it easy enough for us to offer this. So, dailyaudiobible.tumbler.com. If you can’t remember that, just go to dailyaudiobible.com and click the Community section. It’s like in the navigation at the top and then click the Social Media button, which will show you all of the different places where we’re on social media so that we can, well, so you can stay connected. But one of the links is to the transcripts. So, there’s a valuable resource for you as we continue this journey.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Hi family, this is His Little Cherrie in Canada. Happy new year. I’m calling with another creative way to pray from the banqueting table of prayer. And this one is one of the most hopeful things that I personally do every day, and that’s to use a prayer binder. And it simply is a normal binder that I put pages in, divided into either five days or seven days depending on how many you’d like to have, and each day I use as a reminder to pray for certain people. So, for instance, I have my binder divided into five days for the five days of the week. And the first day, on Monday, I have pictures of people that I’m praying for their salvation. Tuesday are couples, I’m praying for their marriages. Wednesday is family and friends and Thursday is people in ministry. And it’s just a reminder to me to pray for certain people because I think we’ve all been in the situation where someone has shared a concern or a prayer request with us and we’ve told them, “oh I’ll be praying for you”, with every intention of praying for them but life happens and we forget and then the next time we see them, they say, “oh thank you so much for praying”, and we smile and nod and realize we haven’t prayed for them because we’ve forgotten. Well, a prayer binder makes sure that doesn’t happen. When you tell someone, “I’ll be praying for you”, you put the picture or even just their name in your prayer binder and as you go through it day by day you remember to pray for them. So, that has been really helpful for me and I wanted to let you know about it in case you’d like to try it this year. Prayer binders, a creative way to pray from the banqueting table of prayer. Thank you, family. Bye for now.
Hi everybody this is Tony the Painter, really really happy to be starting this new year with you all. Brian, I just want to thank you for this opportunity and say that we love you too and thank you for doing what you do and China too. I’ve started listening to Chronological and congratulations on your engagement. That’s awesome news. Diane Olive Brown, we love you so much, you have no idea and your message from Christmas Day brought…I actually flapped my hands __ but it’s true. I was like oh, “you sound so happy.” So, yeah just so you know that I’m still praying for you. Also, Prodigal, yeah brother, I’ve recently gone through divorce this year and I’ve been suicidal myself. I love you, I empathize with you, I understand what…some of what you’re going though, and I just want to just let you know that I’m praying for you and that we’re all praying for you in this time. And everybody is bringing over baggage from last year and that’s fine, but I noticed in everybody’s voice who was speaking today on the 2nd January, everybody it is that little bit hopeful. You know, so, we’re gonna maintain this year. We’re gonna, you know, that’s my job, its maintenance. So, I go and repair stuff. So, yeah, just keeping that…letting you all know that I’m praying for you all. You all have my love and God bless you. Dial back soon.
Hi this is Tito Ramirez calling from Southern California. I want to reach out to Prodigal. You know, I feel your pain so much because my life mirrors so much of what you’re going through. You know, I’ve been through divorce and business has just been terrible, it’s been so tough and I’ve fallen behind on so many important things - taxes and child support and trying to get health insurance for the kids and trying to make sure we have money to eat and just pay rent - and it’s just so, so, stressful and it feels like just a gigantic failure and you just…I’d never thought it could happen to me because I’m an educated individual, I should have a good job, like this shouldn’t be happening but I just keep trusting in the Lord. And prodigal, I’m reaching out to you because I need you, I need somebody that’s gonna be praying that’s in the same space that I’m in. And I can’t afford to lose somebody like that and I’m gonna pray for are you and you pray for me and the Lord’s gonna do wonderful things in our lives for us. I look in Romans, in Romans 7 and in Romans 8, I look about how sin trips us up and I looked about us just trusting in the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit changing us. And I look in Proverbs 3 and it gives me so much hope, you know, that these old dry bones, these messed up bones would come back to life, you know? And I look in Psalms 51 when things don’t go bad or a when I feel like I’ve made a mistake again or when I feel like I’ve blown it again and I look at David crying out to the Lord and I think, you know, I did something, but it wasn’t what he did. I mean, what he did was so much worse, but I use that Psalm 51 as a prayer of confession sometimes and I love in that Psalm when David asks for a new clean heart and that’s something that I can’t do for myself and it mirrors so much what is being spoken about in Romans, that we can’t…we can try to change ourselves and do it. God has to do it for us…
Happy new year daily audio Bible, this is Isabel from Australia in Melbourne. Just want to wish is all a happy new year. May God’s blessing be upon you and your family. Just wanted to wish China and Ben a happy engagement and congratulations to the Hardin family. There’s a new addition in the family, soon to be married, so happy for you guys. Let this be a year of blessing to all of you. Thank you, Brian once again for all the amazing, you know, readings of the word and just for your teaching on the word of God and just thank you…I’m growing a lot through it and I know a lot of us are too in the Daily Audio Bible. I just want to say hello to all the families just may this year be a year of blessings to all of you. Please call in and just say hello and I’d love to hear from all of you. Blessings. Love you all. Bye.