Genesis 28:1-29:35, Matthew 9:18-38, Psalms 11:1-7, Proverbs 3:11-12
Today is the 13th day of January, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian it’s great to be here with you as we get ready and come in and out of the cold and the chaos that life can bring and just come around the Global Campfire where everyone has a seat and we just let this fire burn and warm us and it’s this other place, this safe space we have, to allow God’s Word to speak into our day and into our week and for that matter into our lives, transforming us from within. So, we’ll pick up where we left off yesterday which will take us back into the book of Genesis. And there’s a bunch of drama going on in this third kinda generation. So, Abraham’s grandchildren, Jacob and Esau, brothers, they’ve had…well…there’s been some deception, some significant deception on the part of Jacob and his mom, Rebekah. So, Jacob took the blessing and the birth right from his brother Esau. His brother Esau is not happy. In fact, so upset about it that he’s willing to kill his brother Jacob. So, Jacobs got to go. And that’s where we pick up the story. Genesis chapters 28 and 29 and we’re reading from the Christian Standard Bible this week.
Okay. Oh…there’s a lot for us to…to look at today. Let’s go into the book of Genesis. There’s just a lot of things that are happening right now and they’re really important to the story that is unfolding. We can begin to read the Bible and read about different people’s lives like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and know that they’re important figures in the Bible, but not necessarily know how they’re all connected. And, yet, once we met Abram the story has been a cohesive story of Abram who became Abraham, his family, right? So, we are at the grandchildren level at this point, Jacob and Esau and we read the story of what happens. So, Jacob is on the run and he’s going back to Abraham’s family where he’s been sent. This is the same way that Abraham’s servant went and to the same people that Abraham’s servant went to get a wife for Isaac, right, Rebekah. So, this is where Jacob’s going and when he gets there, he meets Laban who is Rebekah’s brother. We already met him. He was much younger, when Abraham’s servant came but he would have been roughly the same general age as his sister Rebekah. So, now he’s grown up and in charge of things and Rebekah’s son Jacob comes to him and lives with him. But let’s not get ahead of the story. Jacob’s on the run and the sun sets so he finds place to sleep and it’s in this city that was known as Luz that became known as Bethel, which is biblical Bethel, a place that we’ll see many times on our journey through the Old Testament. And he is a dream and God appears to him. So, the third generation. God appeared to Abraham with a promise. God appeared to Isaac in Beersheba with a promise. And now He is communicating with Isaacs’s son and Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, reaffirming the promise. So, Esau gets up and says, surely God is here, and I was just unaware of it. Can I just tell you that that phrase out of the book of Genesis, that phrase right there much describes our whole lives? So often we live our lives as if we need to go through a certain set of rituals, kind of get ourselves into a certain state of organization or whatever within or without in order to approach God who is separate and apart from and distant and separated from us and then we can come into His presence and then…and then commune with Him and ask for the things that we need and offer our worship. When the truth is, as we are going to find out explicitly in the Bible that God is within us and never absent. We aren’t separated from Him. We have just become unaware of His presence. And, so, when we do become aware of His presence, which we can do at any point in time, we too, Like Jacob would say, “surely the Lord is here, and I was just unaware of it.” So, fold that up, put that in your purse or in your wallet and carry it around with you for the rest of this year. It can be a rescue when things get pretty crazy. And this place that Jacob spent the night, he’s got another night to spend in that place, but that is a story for another day. So, Jacob wakes up, you know, he’s realizing the presence of the Lord. And then he does something interesting and it’s something that we’ve already mentioned. So, he…he gets this rock and he…he stands it up and…and then he pours oil on top of it and he sets that stone as a standing stone. It's…it’s a marker the Bible says. And he does this, and we see this tradition throughout the Scriptures, he does this so that what happened there will not be forgotten. And one of the ways that we’ve brought that specific tradition into our rhythm of life in the Daily Audio Bible community is to encourage journaling. Write down the things that the Lord reveals to you in your heart as you move your way through His word. You don’t want to forget that. You want to be able to go back to that place and remember what happened there. So, then Jacob eventually does get to Laban as we mentioned a few minutes ago and he does become a part of Laban’s household and he begins to work as a shepherd because he’s fallen in love with Laban’s daughter Rachel. So, he does his work. He asks for his wife. He gets married. He has a wedding night he wakes up and finds out his bride is not the one he loves. It’s her sister. And, so, now he’s married to Leah but in love with Rachel. And a week goes by and then he marries Rachel. So, now he is the husband of two sisters and that, you just can’t imagine that’s gonna be a harmonious home, but I want to point out something here. Jacob had been a bit of a deceitful person all along. And in a very real way, the trickery that he used to deal with his father and his brother is the same kind of trickery that’s being used on him. And, so, we could say Jacob is one of the patriarchs, he is, you know, one of the pillars of the story that were telling and God used him, but the Bible goes to great lengths to show us the way that Jacob was a conniver. And we’ll see that it…it doesn’t ever really smooth out for Jacob until he learns that lesson and ceases that activity. And we will see that his…his trickery and deception, and his, you know, kind of trying to play the game, these things haunt him well into his adulthood, well into the establishment of his own household. So, we end our reading today with Jacob having married the two sisters and the sister that Jacob loves, Rachel, she’s not able to have children and meanwhile, the sister that Jacob doesn’t love, Leah, she has already given birth to four sons. Her firstborn was Ruben and then came Simeon and then Levi and then Judah. And those names, depending on how much you’ve ever been around the Bible, those names may sound familiar, and they should. These little children who are babies at the moment in our reading will one day grow up to have households of their own and we’ve met four of them, but there are more that we will meet. And these people will one day grow up and become tribes, 12 tribes making up one whole people called Israel. That’s the story we’re telling, the origin story of the Hebrew people who, for the most part populate the rest of the Bible
And then we get into the book of Matthew and we’re very, very quickly seeing the ministry of Jesus and the stories in the gospel of Jesus are just fantastic to read, but if we actually want to get to know Jesus and not just know the stories about Him then we need to look under the surface of these stories because we find such interesting things there, things that challenge…challenge what we think we know. So, we begin our reading today and one of the leaders of the village that Jesus was in, he comes and he’s like my…my daughter just died. So, you can only imagine that, He didn’t just come up to Jesus and wait his turn and kind of, you know, “my daughter just died but come and lay your hand on her and she will live.” Like, nobody does that if their daughter just died. So, you can imagine the situation but it’s an urgent situation. So, Jesus and the disciples they get up and they follow this guy and on their way…so Jesus is on His way to this urgent situation when He gets interrupted because there’s this woman who’s been kind of following Him around and she's…she’s been bleeding for 12 years, right? So…so…the thing is, as we will learn when we go through the Mosaic law, we will understand that this woman who is a Hebrew woman, she is ritually impure, okay, because of the bleeding for 12…so that means for 12 years she’s been ritually impure and kept outside of God’s presence. She thinks to herself, “if I can just get to Him. If I can just touch…touch his robe, I’ll be healed.” And, so, we know this super famous story and that happens, but what we…what we usually walk away from is that we look at this story as Jesus, the miracle worker, the proof we’re looking for to believe upon him. Ironically, it doesn’t appear that Jesus ever was angling to be perceived of as a miracle worker. Obviously, if miracles are being performed in your presence word is going to spread so He couldn’t keep a lid on that but that does not seem to be in any way what he was after. And if you don’t believe me, then just keep watching Jesus as we go through the Gospels over the next several months and watch what He does when the stuff happens. Let’s just take the story that we’re telling right now. This woman, she has touched Jesus and Jesus realized He was touched, and according to Matthew, Jesus turned and saw her and I’m quoting Jesus, “have courage daughter, your faith has saved you” and the woman was made well from that moment. So, unless Jesus has been misquoted here and that’s not what He meant to say at all then we would have to deduce from what He said that this woman’s healing was not simply something that happened to her, but rather something that she also collaborated in. “Have courage daughter, your faith has saved you.” And the woman was made well from that moment. That’s what the Bible says. Okay. So, then that scene gets over and Jesus does finally make it to this leader’s house whose daughter has just died, and there are a bunch of people there because he was a leader, and this was the common practice of the timHe ge. When there’s a loss of life then, you know, mourner’s friends and people…people will come to mourn. A lot of times outside, even…even they would be hired at times to come and professionally mourn just to let everyone know around that there’s been this loss. So, Jesus comes into that kind of situation where there’s a lot of crying and weeping and noise. And He says, “leave.” Like, that’s what the Bible says. Verse 24 “leave”, He said. Okay. Because the girl isn’t dead but she’s asleep. And all of a sudden, their mourning turned into laughing, which is something that is a rich metaphor in the Scriptures, but this is not the kind of joy that we’re talking about, they start laughing at Him sarcastically. They are unaware of the situation. They have accepted the reality, this person, this girl is dead. And, so, now they begin all of the rituals of death when a completely different reality is available, and Jesus gets everybody out and after they’re out he goes and gets the girl and she wakes up. So, in this scene we see Jesus describing, depicting, engaging with a reality or the opportunity of a reality that everybody else can’t see and has dismissed. And when they’re presented with this reality, the idea that the girl isn’t dead, they dismiss that. Like, hope doesn’t rise. They laugh at Him instead. Okay friends. We’re looking at ourselves here in the Scriptures because this is what’s intended to happen, that we look into these stories we feel all of the different elements of these stories and we find our heart in these stories. We locate where we are, and we find our orientation and the reality is that all too often the presence of Jesus is with us, just like Jacob, completely unaware of it and then we do become aware of it, but the situation seems impossible. We can’t wrap our minds around any other kind of reality besides what we seem to be crushed by and instead of reaching out, right, for the hem of His garment, instead of just reaching out we hear him say it doesn’t have to be this way son, it doesn’t have to be this way daughter and we laugh at him. And do you see the parallels here? So, you remember the story of the promise in the beginning with Abraham and Sarah, she laughed too. And we begin to realize, this is a pattern, this is a theme, these things keep happening over and over. They keep happening over and over in the Bible because they keep happening over and over in my life and they keep happening over and over in my life because they’re happening everywhere in the world. And then we become aware of the fact that maybe we are living blinded to the fact that there’s another way, that there’s a way to be in this world, continually in the presence of God because His presence is never taken from us. We are simply unaware of it. And we are watching a person when we watch Jesus. We are watching a person totally dialed in. Jesus is modeling for us who we are and how we’re supposed to be. So, this girl is raised up. Everyone obviously doesn’t laugh anymore. The news spreads all over the place and the next scene we see is two blind men asking for mercy. And Jesus gets them aside and he simply asks them a question…like He doesn’t heal them, He asks them a question, “do you believe that I can do this?” And they say, “yes. I do believe.” And then…and then…here's…and I’m quoting Jesus again, “let it be done for you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. Right? You see, again, this isn’t something that Jesus did to them, it’s something that was collaborative. Faith arose within them. Their awareness of the presence of God rose up and they experienced God. And then…and then the miracle worker, Jesus has some words. I’m quoting Jesus here, “be sure that no one finds out.” That’s what Jesus said after He opened the eyes of the blind. But according the Scriptures they didn’t listen to Jesus, they went and spread the news about Him everywhere. And then we are taken immediately to a scene in which Jesus is dealing with a person possessed by a demon and was mute because of it. And Jesus throws the demon out, the man begins to speak, the crowds are amazed. Alright. So, now we are about to encounter the two different reactions that happen and swirl around just about everything Jesus does. So, this person who couldn’t speak is now speaking and the crowds are amazed and they say, according to the Bible, “nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” So, they are effectively saying, “we are seeing a new thing.” God is doing a new thing and they believe that it’s God doing this thing because the Scriptures tell us that they are in awe and worshiping God about it. Jesus is definitely gaining momentum. But the Pharisees, right? So, the religious leaders, the people who are charged with guarding the souls of God’s people, their response isn’t, “nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” Their response is, “He drives out demons by the ruler of the demons.” Those are two very different reactions to the presence of God in these stories and they reveal the different ways that we respond when we find ourselves encountering God. On the one hand, we could say, “I don’t know how to explain this. I do not know how to put this into language or words, but something has shifted, an awareness in me has changed. Something…something that wasn’t here is now here”, right? Like, maybe “my anxiety has fled, and I feel a presence of comfort with in me.” I mean…if we just begin to describe examples, we could go all day, but we realize that as much as we try to articulate this doesn’t need to be articulated, it’s something deep, it’s something true, it’s something that has shifted in us, and no one can take it away from us because it has been real to us, right? So, then we could say, “nothing like this has ever happened before.” Or we can have the same kind of experience and then immediately lose our body and soul and just go into our mind trying to figure out what the theology of our experience might have been, go deeply into our religion and go like, “do the rules say that this can happen?” And then we can easily find ourselves in the seat of the Pharisees. “This is an of God, this is of the devil.” Stuff happens all the time and we need to know what we’re seeing in the New Testament when it comes to Jesus. It’s religion and the keepers of God’s rules that are attempting to diminish and denigrate God and eventually to kill Him. Yikes! Like, that’s scary stuff and disruptive stuff and, like I’ve said, we need to get used to disruption because the Bible’s gonna shake us. So, after this encounter with the Pharisees where they’re like, “He drives out demons by the ruler of demons” Jesus continues to just move on doing what He…He does. Quoting from Matthew, “Jesus continued going around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness”, right? That’s what we would expect to find Jesus doing and that’s what we actually continue to pray that Jesus will do in this world. But what’s interesting is that Jesus comments on it. When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them because they were distressed and dejected. They were like sheep without a shepherd.” So, He felt…He felt bad about that. In another words He sees the plight of humans trying to navigate life, and yet Jesus is operating and navigating in and among these people and awakening something in them. He’s telling them about a kingdom that is within them. They are awakening to this and He sees…He sees this happening, but he realizes it’s not gonna happen with just one person with just Him alone. So, He said to His disciples, “the harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.” So, Jesus was seeing a human harvest, and He was in the harvest reaping the harvest. And we can look at Jesus as a wisdom teacher and miracle worker and prophet, and yes, divine son of the living most-high God, who was operating as a human being in some sort of special other nonhuman way, when Jesus continually is just operating as a human should be operating. And when we get to the writings of the apostle Paul this will become explicit. And in our reading today Jesus is saying, “I need…I…pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest…I need help. So, brothers and sisters. The harvest is still ripe. It…it will never not be. Humanity is asleep. We are still living backward, and help is still needed and that’s you and we’re gonna find what we usually lack is awareness. And that’s what we see in the Old and New Testaments today, and that’s what we need to begin to live into.
Father, we invite Your Holy Spirit because on our own we are blind, and we can’t see and we are like sheep without a shepherd, and we are floundering in life. We know that. We’ve experienced that. It's…it’s not a theory, we’ve lived it. And, so we come to You, You’ve rescued us, You’ve changed everything but so often we fall back into the patterns that we know and we look at the world in the way that it seems like everybody else is looking at the world and so we find ourselves at times even at odds with You because we’ll consult all the rules and all the regulations and all the things we think that we know and we miss when You do something new. And yet the Scriptures tell us it is the same Spirit that raised You from the dead, the same Spirit that You were operating in on this planet, the same, not a similar, the same one that lives within us. And, so, this idea of being Christ like isn’t a metaphor. This idea of being one body, the hands and feet, the physical representation of Christ on earth inside of us, this isn’t a metaphor. This is something we’re supposed to collaborate in. And, so, as we continue this journey that has just begun this year, we invite Your Holy Spirit to fully transform us from within, day by day, step-by-step so that the person that we see in the mirror at the end of this voyage is a different person, so that we are awake and aware in our lives. Come Holy Spirit we pray. In the name of Jesus we ask. Amen.
dailyaudiobible.com is home base, its the website, its where you find out what’s going on around here. I have highlighted some different resources that are in the Daily Audio Bible shop because they are…well…they….they’ve been created for the journey that we’re on. And one…one resource that I haven’t mentioned yet this year, but this is a good day to mention it, is…is a DVD…double DVD and digital download series called “Promise Land.” And we spent, I think six seasons in Israel filming so many of the biblical archaeological locations in all their beauty in an attempt to bring the biblical places closer to home. So, like we we’re talking about Luz today, Bethel, right, Bethel and this place where…where Jacob spent the night and a place where he’s going to come back to. So, we’ve…we’ve filmed that. So, like to get an idea of what he saw, what that looks like, you can see this. And so many of the different places around Jesus ministry, these villages and these places we’re Jesus ministered, they’re all filmed. And, so, it makes a fantastic resource to just be able to look in and actually see. And before I ever went Israel I never even wanted to go. It was like not the thing I thought it would be. I just kinda…I don’t know what I thought. I thought it would maybe ruin the Bible for me but it didn’t, it actually made it a real, like these things happened in real places. And I realized while all I’ve been looking at is, you know, pictures like static photographs on the Internet of these places, what it would it be like to try to provide a 360° view, like a real honest look at a place from the air and we using drones and from the ground and all of this. So, that’s Promise Land and it will serve as a fantastic resource throughout the year to refer to. It’s like, there’s over 70 different locations that we’ve filmed and are just, they’re short, like only 2 to 3 minutes in a place. So, real easy to access. Like, “okay. We were reading about Bethel today. Let me see that.” And in just a couple minutes you can see it and find out the significance biblically of what happened there. So, that is a resource that is available in the Daily Audio Bible Shop. Check that out.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I will be waiting for you here tomorrow.