Genesis 35:1-36:43, Matthew 12:1-21, Psalms 15:1-5, Proverbs 3:21-26
Today is the 17th day of January welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I am Brian it is fantastic to be here with you today as we gather and keep each other warm in these winter months. I know some of you are having summer in the southern hemisphere. It’s always a good time for a campfire and here we are around it gathering to take the next step forward. And our next step forward leads us back into the book of Genesis, first book of the Bible, a book that is introducing us to the people and the family that is the story of the rest of the Bible in large part, the children of Israel. And we now know why they’re called the children of Israel, because Jacob who we’ve met, who we’re traveling alongside with right now, his name has been changed to Israel, which makes his children Israel’s children the children of Israel. And yesterday Jacob and Esau the two brothers, twin brothers were reunited, and it was favorable, and there was no war and nobody died. And, so, they have been reunited. Esau has returned to his land. Jacob is taking his time. And we pick up the story with Jacob from there today. Genesis chapters 35 and 36.
Okay, let’s think about it for a second. Do we want our life to be kind of all over the place kind of vulnerable kind of unpredictable or would we prefer like that we have solid roots, we are rooted, we cannot be shaken, or would we prefer to be tripped up and ensnared or would we prefer that we don’t step into a trap and become ensnared? I suppose we can answer any way that we want but probably most of us want to be rooted and not shaken and most of us want to not be ensnared and tripped up and I mean especially spiritually. These things are addressed today in the Scriptures that we just read from the Psalms and from the Proverbs providing not just the suggestion that we should be immovable or steady or steadfast or not shaken or not ensnared, but we are provided with criteria that reveals the motivations of the heart in a person who is not shaken or who is not ensnared. So, let’s just kind of review and look back at what we read in Psalms and Proverbs today.
Psalms begins asking a couple questions. “Who Lord can dwell in your tent? Who can live on your holy mountain? In other words, who can be near, who can be intimate, who can be in your presence?” And we’d have to say like that's…that’s the goal. Like intimacy with God, deeper union with God, deeper awareness and clarity with the Lord in our relationship with God, this is what we’re seeking. Ans, so, the Psalm tells us, “the one who lives blamelessly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart, who does not slander with his tongue, who does not harm his friend or discredit his neighbor, who despises the one rejected by the Lord, but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his word whatever the cost, who does not lend his silver at interest or take a bribe against the innocent. The one who does these things will never be shaken.” And as we look at the psalm and kind of look at these characteristics that describe the person who isn’t shaken and describe the person who can dwell in the presence of the Lord, none of these things are ambiguous. There a way of living, a way of looking at the world, a way of responding to the world and the Bible is telling us that they provide a rootedness that we are looking for within ourselves.
And then we move into the Proverbs and in very eloquent simplicity we are told that we should maintain sound, like solid wisdom and discretion, we should maintain these things, right? So, maintenance requires taking care of things when they’re starting to break down, replacing parts, fixing, oiling, greasing. Like, maintenance, maintain solid sound wisdom and discretion. And then the proverb goes on as they, “don’t lose sight of them. They will be a life for you and adornment for your neck and you will go safely on your way. Your foot will not stumble. When you lie down you will not be afraid. When you lie down your sleep will be pleasant. Don’t fear sudden danger or the ruin of the wicked when it comes for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from a snare.” In both the Psalms and the Proverbs today we are…we’re given this picture of a posture of heart, a way of being, ways of looking at things, characteristics to espouse, learn, master, and maintain. Because the repercussions of us doing this are that we will become steadfast, that we will not be shaken, that we will have the confidence of the Lord and be kept from a snare, that our foot will not stumble. Like, friends, that’s what…I mean we’re doing everything in our lives to arrange for this. Like we’re doing everything that we can to get enough control over things that we can have some steady footing to stand on. It’s just that normally, life is flying at us so fast that we can never actually be balanced. We’re always standing on one foot while juggling. What if we had two foot…two feet firmly planted on the ground and nothing was flying at us? I mean things were flying at us, but we were able to just kinda see what was coming, and with a steadfast resolution know what’s going on. Like, we’re doing everything and being marketed like crazy to buy things that are gonna provide all of this for us when it’s going to come from within and it’s going to require that we pay attention to things like wisdom and discretion and discernment. And we’re going to have to pay attention to the way that we are treating one another. But again, here at the beginning of the year allowing these things to be actual categories, actual things that aren’t like esoteric concepts, but rather things that we are looking for and embracing and cultivating in our lives, then the Bible will prove true. We have been given some criteria to live into and the repercussions will be stability and awareness of what’s going on. And, so, maybe let's…let’s stick with this all day. Let’s kinda dwell on this today. Maybe go back and review Psalm 15 and Proverbs 3 that we’re reading from today verse 21 through 26. Look at these things. Imagine what they would look like in our lives. Some of them are in our lives to varying degrees. Some of these things we do and some of these things we don’t, and they have a tendency to cancel each other out so that we’re getting nowhere. But if we look at these things and say, okay, for real, for real I need to pay attention and incorporate these things. I want to feel surefooted. I don’t want to be tripped up. I don’t want to stumble. I don’t want to fall. I want to live my life in the presence of the Lord with the confidence that God is with me. This is available. The Bible has just given us a glimpse of what it looks like.
Holy Spirit, we invite you into this. None of these things can be mastered on our own. We have tried all kinds of ways to do everything from losing weight to breaking bad habits and we realize how much we lack self-control, how much we lack discipline, how much we lack orientation, how easy it is for us to be lost in the fog or the mist of life. We’re not capable of creating our own righteousness and our own stability. But in collaboration with you, this is what we were made for - to live with confidence, to live with clarity, to live with an outpouring of love that spills from you into the world through us. We desire these things. And, so, we acknowledge our need for your help badly. Come Holy Spirit lead us into all truth. Show us the shifts that need to take place for us to move toward stability, 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.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Coming soon. It’s day four of our missions trip to Nicaragua. Prayers and praise will be posted upon return…