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 it’s great to be here with you. And we’ve gone a full seven days into the new year, right? This is day eight. So, we’re really in this new year and have…have navigated a week of this new decade and hopefully we’re…we’re getting moved into the new year. Hopefully we’re, you know, getting comfortable with our surroundings and the new rhythms of our lives as we take steps forward every day and allow God’s word to speak into those steps through his word. So, let’s get to it. We’re reading from the New International Version this week. Today Genesis chapter 18 verse 16 through 19 verse 38.
Okay. There’s so much for us to talk about. We encountered so many things to be considered today, pretty much in every section of our reading.
Let’s just start with Genesis because this is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. And, so, God and some of His divine family, some of these angelic beings, beings that are embodied and can be seen by human beings but are about the work of doing God’s will, upon this earth, they come to visit Abraham and they are on their way down to the plane where Lot, Abraham’s nephew was living, down to these city’s called Sodom and Gomorrah because they…well…because…because the wickedness of the region had reached God and…and He said He was going to take a look. This story has so many disruptive really unsettling things in it that we can read it and then close the Bible and could set it down and go like, “I don’t know what is going on here. I don’t know how to read this book. I don’t want to understand. I’m just gonna set this over here. That’s what happens a lot because we don’t like any time we get disrupted. Like, if…if we’re in the Psalms today and we’re talking about the wonder of it all and that God would even pay any attention to us whatsoever, like, we like that quite a bit, it’s comforting, it’s reassuring, it gives us stability, but then if we’re disrupted or we’re shaken or we’re knocked off kilter or we’ve lost our balance in some way, we don’t like that. But this is a good time to tell you something. You need to get really used to being disrupted at times because there are times that that is the point that the Bible is trying to make. It’s what the Bible is trying to do, is shake you awake until you say, “wait, what’s the deeper meaning, like what’s in this story?” So, like we got to an incestuous relationship between father and daughters today. That’s disruptive across-the-board all the way across the generations until today. So, you can go like, “eww, I don’t like that. This is…I…I don’t know why this is in the Bible and I’m gonna set it aside” or we can go like, “what is going on here? Why is this shaking me up inside? What…what? Let me dig deeper here. What is below the surface?” And, so, what we see in this story is that Abraham and God are together, and God makes a decision. “I have entered into a covenant with this man. I’m not gonna keep any secrets from him. I’m gonna tell him what I’m gonna do even though this may affect his nephew.” And, so, the Lord says, “I’m gonna go check this out.” And we have this really interesting story - a human being negotiating with the most-high God over the righteous people that might be down in the valley. Certainly…and I mean Abraham is talking audaciously, “You wouldn’t do that. Certainly, You wouldn’t do that. If there were 50 people down there who are righteous, are You gonna wipe the whole plane out including the 50 righteous people? I know you are just…You would not do that?” And the Lord confirms what Abraham already knows. “No…of course…I wouldn’t do that. If there are 50 down there that are righteous, they will save them all.” And, so, Abraham’s like, “what about 45”, right? “what about 40, what about 35?” He keeps working his way down and God keeps saying, “look. the point is, if there are righteous people down there, that’s what I’m going to find out. If the place has nothing but wickedness in it then I’m here to destroy the evil and the wickedness in this world that is destroying my people. And if there are people that get wrapped up into that, that will not…that have determined to reject God and remain evil then they have made their own choice about what will happen.” And believe me, we see this story in Genesis, but we’ll see this story throughout the rest of the Bible all the way into the final pages of the book of Revelation. So, God goes down to have a look and it’s an evil situation. And, so, God gets lot out of there before the destruction happens. Lot goes to this little village called Zoar and he’s a little bit freaked out to live there, so he ends up in the mountains where the angelic beings told him to go in the first place. He’s living in a cave with his daughters. He had his wife. She looked back. God told him to flee and don’t look back, and she did, and we can pause there and go look at the metaphors for our own lives in that alone. Nevertheless, here’s two daughters who had been betrothed who were engaged to be married. These men, these beings who had come to the city, their father took them in and was trying to protect them and was gonna throw these daughters out to the mob. So, they have sort of a sense of where they fit into the whole picture. Their mom is dead. Their father is in a cave freaking out. These girls. Now, we remember the story, God called Abram to a land that he did not know that he was going to be given, but he needed to follow God and Lot came with him. So, Lot and his daughters are foreigners in a foreign land, and they have lost everything that would defend and protect them. They are hiding in a cave. The daughters know that their father is not going to live forever, and if there is no child then they have no one to speak for them. This is the culture of the time. So, if something happens to him and something is likely to happen to him at some point because it’s just two young women and…and their father. And, so, they would…if they’re wandering around at some point it’s gonna be really easy to…to kill Lot, to steal the two daughters and probably prostitution is in their future. So, like, this is not a good situation. They’ve lost everything. They have no way to protect themselves. And, so, they devise this plan in the cave - “let’s get dad drunk. We’ll…we’ll go have sex with him and see if we can have a child. And if we can have a male child, either one of us, if we’re successful then we have our family line, like we’re protected. And, so, that’s what they do. And both the…both the daughters end up of having sons who then…who’s offspring then becomes the Moabites and the Ammonites. So, you’ve got to wonder, like when Lot and his daughters are in the cave and they’re like trying to figure out what to do, why they don’t even have a conversation about going back to Abraham. Like they’ve lost everything. It’s just the three of them. Like why don’t they just go back to the household of Abraham? We don’t know. Maybe that wasn't…we don’t know. But we read a story like this and it’s very easy for us to go, “why is this in the Bible, number one and why do I feel so strange about God now that I’m reading a story like this in the Bible.” Go with that. Like, instead of being freaked out about it, enter into the disruption. What’s going on here? And what does God have to do with this story. Like, we read the whole story and what God was going to do was to go check out the evil and eradicate it unless there were righteous people to preserve it. And he went down and…and got Lot and his family out of the situation. He redeemed them. He rescued them out of the situation. And it was a pretty difficult situation to say the least, but everything that they did next, all of their fear and all of the choices that they made, they made themselves. God didn’t make them make those choices and God didn’t instruct them to follow that path. And then all of a sudden, we’re like, “okay. Yeah, I mean, it’s a disruptive story because it contains incest and all this kinda stuff in it. But Hold on a second. I have been in very, very strange situations where I’ve felt like I was in a cave about to make decisions that were not good decisions and that were not gonna lead me on a good path but I was like the only thing I could…like the only choice I could think of that I could to make and so I made it. And, yeah, it was not a good choice.” We can find ourselves in these stories. And then we have to look back and go, “where was God in this?” God came for them. He sent angels and rescued them and sent them on their way and said, “you’ve got go fast because we can’t even do what we’ve been sent to do until your safe.” So, why did they lose that threat? Why did they find themselves in a cave making these decisions? We don’t know. Why do we do that? Now we could just stop there. That…there’s plenty to think about right there, but the Bible continued to speak to us when we moved into the Gospels in the book of Matthew, in Matthew chapter 6.
And Jesus is talking about worrying and it’s a pretty famous passage. He’s pretty explicitly telling us not to worry, that God already knows what we need and all we have to do is look around to see that He cares for…for his creation. And, so, that's…that’s a great lesson, it’s a famous lesson, we take it to heart, we comfort ourselves with it when we’re…when we’re kind of enduring stressful situations, but let’s look deeper into what Jesus is saying here. Because what Jesus is ultimately inviting us to do is to be present in our lives right now instead of skipping our lives in order to try to arrange for whatever might happen in our future, thereby never being actually here now, only being a shell that exists in this moment because we’re out there in the future living somewhere else that’s not happening. So, let’s just look at this again. And this is Jesus. So, we’re just…we’re just quoting Jesus in what we’re saying. “I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food? Isn’t the body about more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air. They don’t sow or reap. They don’t store away in barns.” In other words, they don’t have a retirement plan. They’re not stressed out about that promotion. They’re not burning the candle at both ends trying to figure out how to get the ends to meet because of the over obligations of life. Jesus is saying, “look at em’. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t ya more valuable than they are? Can you add a single hour to your future by worrying about it?” Why would you worry about clothes? Look at the flowers. Even Solomon didn’t have clothes like that. And if God’s gonna care about the grass that’s here today and gone tomorrow and clothe it with such splendor, you don’t think He can handle you? Oh, you of little faith.” There’s actually something important that Jesus is doing here. Certainly, certainly giving a different view of the world. Like, I mean, we would look at what Jesus is saying, and we would agree because He’s our Savior, but if we didn't…if they were just words by somebody we might look at em’ and go, “that would be nice, but that’s not the world I live…like that’s not how things work. That would be nice if I could do that but that's…that’s not how it works.” And Jesus is like, “no. This is how it’s supposed to work. This is how your life is supposed to be lived. You’re supposed to actually live it right here right now and allow God to take care of the moments that are yet to come and allow Him to bring them to you moment by moment after the same fashion that the birds don’t freak out about anything. And there’s a reason that He’s trying to slow the world down.” And we would say, you know that, “the world is moving much faster than it did in Christ’s time because of our technology.” But what we begin to realize is the heart of man hasn’t changed, it’s just the tools that he uses and the clothes that he wears in pursuit of the same…of filling the same void. So, one of the first things that we can underneath the surface of what Jesus is teaching is now, what’s happening right now matters because it it’s the only thing that’s actually happening right now. And if you’re gonna be in your past or in your future then you are not here, and if you’re not here you’re gonna miss something really, really pivotal, the kingdom of God, which is what Jesus is leading us toward. So, He’s like, “don’t worry saying what am I gonna eat, what am I gonna drink, what am I gonna wear? That’s what the pagans do. They run around. Everybody’s looking for those things. Your Father who created you already knows that you need them. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. So, don’t worry about tomorrow,” right, “the future, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” So, isn’t Jesus saying, “stay here. Be present.” And He’s starting to talk about the kingdom and He’s never gonna stop. Like we’re gonna follow His kingdom language all the way through the Gospels because He’s trying to expose the kingdom and He’s trying to expose it as not something that’s in the future, not something that will be coming but something that already is happening now. Like, if you never…never heard this before, like if you’ve never considered this before, this is not like…this is not my philosophy. This…this is what Jesus says. As we continue through the Gospels., we’ll see…see it all the time. Jesus will say, “how do I describe the kingdom? It’s like this. It’s like that.” And He will invariably come around to saying, explicitly, “the kingdom is within you, the kingdom is among you, the kingdom is now. It has not reached its fullness. It is not complete, but it has begun. It is happening. It is not something that has yet to begin in the future. It’s now. So, don’t skip it. Don’t skip your life trying to prepare for what might happen to you in the future. If you do that then you won’t have eyes to see and ears to hear.” Okay, so that’s kinda what’s going on in Matthew and that can be disruptive too. We may need to pause. We may need to consider this because I know I grew up thinking that the kingdom was coming. I grew up…I didn’t know how to quantify even what that meant, other than the Jesus would come back on a horse in the sky, and all these things could happen. But it’s so esoteric that like how do…you how…do you live toward something that…like how do you do that only to find out like that’s what the people of Jesus time were thinking too. They’re waiting for this Savior, this Messiah, this figurehead to come and rally the troops, basically to stir up the hearts of people and restore them to God and lead a charge that would restore a kingdom. And here we have Jesus going, “yeah, there is a kingdom, but you are not seeing and the way you are going about this will not get you where you want to go. You’re living backward. And just watch. Watch as we continue. Watch as we find Jesus in confrontation with the religious leaders over and over and over and how they are blinded and how they cannot see and how they will eventually plot to destroy Jesus. And that…that…that can be deeply convicting because we know the stories about Jesus and so we look at the, you know, we look at the religious leaders and the Roman soldiers, “they’re the bad guys and they hurt Jesus.” And, “why would anybody hurt this beautiful Savior?” But as we go through the stories and we begin to just look underneath the surface at what Jesus is saying and how it is impacting the people’s understanding of the world that they live in and how they reject it. To put it in the vernacular of Jesus, “the light came into the darkness and the darkness rejected it.”
Okay. So, what can we…what can we take away from today?
In Genesis, we can take away that there’s a lot more going on than we understand, and we can’t blame the choices that we make on somebody else including God.
In the book of Matthew, we hear the rumblings of a kingdom that Jesus is talking about, one that should stir some kind of awakening inside of us, because Jesus, the Savior, is saying that this is the first priority, to seek it first. And, so, we need to know and understand what we’re seeking, and we will as we continue through the stories of Jesus. But we need to understand that this is first. Everything else follows that. “All these things will be added unto you” is the way that Jesus put it. All the things that you’re striving and looking for and trying to arrange for and to protect yourself from. All this stuff that you’re doing and calling it life, that’s not life. You can actually live by seeking the kingdom of becoming aware, having eyes to see and ears to hear. And all of the things that you’re struggling to get will just be added to you. That is different than the lives most of us are living and that should give us pause. And that doesn’t mean we have to make all these changes and reorganize our entire lives today. We need to understand that somethings already happening, even though we are only eight days into the Bible. The Bible is already doing its work. It’s already challenging. It’s already moving, and massaging. It’s already beginning to shift things inside of us and we find ourselves disrupted. We just need to sit with it. This is a journey we are on. Whatever is going to happen in our lives is going to happen over the course of a year. We can relax and not worry and allow God to lead us on this journey as Jesus is suggesting in the book of Matthew chapter 6 today.
Jesus, we thank You. We thank…there’s so much here, this is for sure gonna consume our thoughts for the rest of the day, just what You’ve spoken to us in Your word today. So, we invite Your Holy Spirit to…to do…to do what You promised in the Scriptures, to lead us into all truth. That’s what we seek. That’s what we’re after. And, so, we open ourselves to receive from You. Come Holy Spirit we pray into all that we’ve heard today from the Scriptures. We pray this in the name of Jesus. 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.