Genesis 16:1-18:15, Matthew 6:1-24, Psalms 7:1-17, Proverbs 2:1-5
Today is the 7th day of January, welcome to the daily Bible I’m Brian and it is a joy, every day it is a joy to come around this Global Campfire that…that we all share, where the fire is burning and no matter what time of day or night it is we can kinda come…come out of the cold, come out of the heat even and just come to this place, this space that overtime just kinda becomes an oasis. It’s like this one space, this once period of time a day that we kinda step out of all of the chaos that’s swirling around and just simply allow God’s word to wash over us and then we go back out into it. It’ll still be there, but we may go back out into it with some perspective and some transformation in our lives, And, so it’s a beautiful thing to be here with you today for the next step forward. And we have been reading from the New International Version this week. And we have, in the book of Genesis, been reading about this guy named Abram who has entered into a covenant with God and God has given him a promise for lots…like an innumerable amount of offspring, but he doesn’t have any kids at all. And he has followed this God into a land that is not his homeland, a land that God has said will become his ancestral homeland, but that hasn’t happened either and God has just told him yesterday that it’s gonna be like for centuries of mistreatment before that stuff starts to happen. And all of a sudden, we see, “oh… the stories in the Bible are full of ups…ups and downs just like my life is. There’s no straight line to anywhere. It goes through all of the issues of life” and where we arrive is how we respond to those things. And, so, we continue with that journey. Today we’ll read Genesis chapter 16 verse 1 through 18 verse 15.
Alright. There are a few things we should touch base on in our reading today. I’m trying to think of the fastest way to go about this. So, let’s go into Genesis. And we read within the last couple of days of Lot and Abram separating. Like, they’re close relatives, but their…their households have grown too big to sustain them in one place. So, they go in separate directions and subsequently Lot is captured in sort of a nine-king battle and Abram goes and reclaims Lot and retakes all of the things that have been stolen and those get divvied up and Abram takes nothing. He won’t let anybody claim that they made him rich, it was only God. And then we have up person, like right after that battle a person kind of comes in and his name is Melchizedek. Okay. So, pause for a second. Some of the things that we’re doing in our time going to the Bible this year is to try to look below the surface, not to find hidden Bible codes or secret messages and stuff like that, but because we need to be below the surface at the level of our hearts to allow the Bible to begin to speak to us deeply. And, so, every time one of these little, strange kind of references show up, and it’s happened several times in the book of Genesis so far, where we get a peek into the spiritual realm, most of time we just kinda move past, go like, “that’s weird. That’s something. That’s something spiritual but it’s weird. I don’t understand it.” And we just kinda move on trying to find the things that would apply to our lives today, which is okay. But since we’re realizing that as we follow Jesus and as we look at Jesus in the Gospels we’re looking at a whole person who is their Spirit and their soul and their body integrated and they’re working through the world and realizing that we are spiritual beings and there is a spiritual realm. I guess we should look at that when it peaks up. So, Melchizedek shows up. This strange figure who is the first named priest of the most-high God. I’m gonna go into all kinds of things about Melchizedek right now because he will show back up for us later when we…when we wind our way into the book of Hebrews, but to connect it to the story that we’re in in Genesis, Melchizedek blesses Abram. And this incident that we witnessed at the Tower of Babel a couple of days ago where the…the earth’s languages were confused and people went off into their language groups, that actually has significance because we’re moving one story to the next, to the next, to the next and it can seem like, “well, maybe that was a thousand years, or maybe…who knows how long that was” but there does seem to be a cohesive story being told underneath it all. And we are most definitely watching apparent spiritual beings communicating and being seen on the earth by humans. We see that in today’s reading alone. So, we see that a flood happened on the earth because everyone on the earth had only evil in their hearts and the Bible talks about them essentially kind of a devolving into animals, which I guess is a really decent way of describing what happens to us when we are separated from God. And, so the flood goes away, but the evil in the hearts of people is still there. And then we move right into God calling Abram who has today become Abraham and has today entered into covenant with God and the outward representation of that covenant is circumcision. This idea of circumcision is gonna carry us because it’s from a Hebrew perspective through the rest of the Bible, but now God’s saying, “okay. There is a mark, a very intimate mark, one that will be observed in the most private and intimate times of life, and for that matter, one that will constantly be a reminder of the covenant and who you belong to, and who you are submitted to.” And what God is doing with all of the language of Abram whose name is turned to Abraham is to tell him, “a new people will be raised up and they will be my people. There are lots of people that are in absolute rebellion and disobedience. These people I’m raising up through you, Abraham, my covenant partner to be my people.” And that’s gonna become more and more important as we go on and that is actually gonna cause problems that need to be worked out when we get into the letters of the New Testament’s early church era. Okay, so we know Hagar, you know, Sarai gave Hagar to Abram. And, of course, Abram agreed. And, so, a child was born. His name was Ishmael. And we read of the tension that happened between Sarai and Hagar and that’s pretty understandable, but Hagar was mistreated to the point that she ran away and she had an encounter with a spiritual being upon the earth that she could see, the angel of the Lord. And often among biblical scholars, the angel of the Lord means the Lord. This is like a physical visible representation, but God. So anyway, after they have this conversation, she says something really, really profound. It's…it’s fairly famous, but it’s pretty profound, “you are, the God who sees me. I have now seen the one who sees me.” This is actually quite beautiful, because we will remember back in Genesis chapter 3, that as soon and Adam and he realized the separateness from God that rebellion had made them aware of this and even caused this, that they realized they could be seen, and they hid. And that has really been a fundamental reality of a fallen mankind existing until today. We still struggle. We don’t want to be exposed. We don’t even want to be exposed before God. The thing is, people, like when you’re in a relationship with somebody, they only know of you what you’re willing to reveal to them. They can only know of you, what you will let them see. So, if we understand that we understand how much we are hiding and how pretty much nobody really sees us, no one really knows us. And here is Hagar in ultimate distress, a really difficult situation and what we’ll find in the Bible and what we’ll find in our lives is that this is where God dwells a lot of the time, when we…when we have unraveled ourselves to the point that we, in our own strength cannot move forward. So, she’s in distress but she is also saying that she is seen. And if we could all just understand that the more we are willing to reveal…we could say, “well, God knows everything about me. I don’t…like…He sees it all” but that’s different than opening your heart and revealing it all. We can be seen. We can be seen by one another. We can be seen by God. It’s all really hinging on how vulnerable we’re willing to be.
And man, I feel like I…I…I should…I could stop there, but there’s more and can’t really skip this because Jesus gave us the Lord’s prayer today. Maybe we even recited it as we were reading it. And, so, the Lord’s prayer is certainly very, very famous. But Jesus kinda comments on portions of the Lord’s prayer as soon as He ends the prayer, right? So, like, “forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors.” This isn’t just debt, like you owe somebody some money. Like this…this is a transgression against you or a transgression that like you are indebted to somebody because you’ve done them wrong and it needs to be made right. So, we get through the Lord’s prayer and then immediately Jesus says, “if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Okay that is certainly a posture of heart. But if we’re looking at what Jesus says and we’re looking below the surface then we begin to realize that the underlying truth is that when you set someone free you are being set free. And when this is the way you live then…then you live in freedom.
Then we get into the Psalms today and we read, “whoever is pregnant with evil”, right? And I mean, let’s just like stop there. “Pregnant with the evil.” How do you get pregnant with evil? So, the language is out of the Bible, pregnant. Pregnant is that you’re incubating something within you that has been put…put their very intimately. “Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.” We can say a ton of stuff about it, but there is one of those sentences that we can ponder and invite God into as we meditate upon it.
Father there’s…like there’s plenty of other things that we could…we could maybe talk about just from today’s reading alone, but it feels like this is…this is where we’ll land today. And, so we thank You for all the many facets in today alone that…that gives us pause and gives us a chance to reflect, gives us the opportunity to invite Your Holy Spirit, gives us an opportunity to…to just observe ourselves and the past that our lives are on, understanding now that it doesn’t all have to be pure confusion, it doesn’t all have to be a mystery. There is a way. There is a way that leads to life. And as we interact with Your word every day it is revealing that path. And, so, come Holy Spirit and lead us into all truth we pray. In the name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
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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.