Ge 27 to 29: Isaac and Rebekah were praying parents, yet they seemed to have become impatient in their old age. Much like Sara and Abraham, they decided that God wasn’t doing things on “their” timetable, or surely God had forgotten the “plan.” Jacob is to receive the blessing according to the prophecy yet the seeds of deception which began in the Garden are still alive and well. “Isaac loved Esau…but Rebekah loved Jacob.” [Gen 25:28]That set the stage for the enemy to continue his web of deception and lies; hoodwinking us into thinking this is really what we should do. “Is it really true that God said…” [Gen 3:1] And so, Isaac and Rebekah took matters into their own hands. Surely God must remember that the firstborns are to receive the family and covenantal blessing, right? There is a warning here: God’s plans are higher than ours. [Is 55:9] Isaac’s plan to deceive will soon be circumvented by Rebekah’s, and the pattern will continue for years to come. What a tangled web we weave when we first set out to deceive.
How often are you and I, like Isaac and Rebekah, saying yes to God but later thinking God needs our help to complete the plan. How easily Satan can deceive us to follow his plan and not God’s. Isaiah reminds us that God’s plans are superior to ours. He tests us to see if we will wholly trust both the timetable and the plan! [Is 55:9-12]
Asa may not have been the perfect king, but it seems he did
one thing right; he raised a godly son Jehoshaphat, who took his place. Each of
us is responsible for following God or not but our parents have much to do with
our path. Asa’s son cleansed the land and brought about many godly reforms. We aren’t
told about his heart but we “know” him by his fruit. [Matt 12]
However, Jehoshaphat had one glaring fault: he allied with
King Ahab, who was a narcissist to the core.
When Ahab wanted to fight a war, he urged Jehoshaphat to go to war with
him. To his credit, Jehoshaphat wanted advice from a prophet before he went.
Ahab, the ever-present fool, called in his false prophets who would agree with
him whether right or wrong. Jehoshaphat was discerning enough to ask for a
godly prophet to give his advice, which turned out to be accurate to the last
jot and tittle while the false prophets’ words fell to the ground. Ahab was
killed in battle even after disguising himself. Galatians 6 reminds us God will
not be made a fool.
Jehoshaphat, to his credit, called for godly advice before
he set out. We should do the same. “But if anyone is deficient in wisdom,
he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it
will be given to him.” [James 1:5]
After Paul left Galatia, grievous wolves had entered and
taken captive their hearts. Paul said to them, “I am astonished that you are so
quickly deserting…” The author of 1Kings has recorded the story of the
disobedient unnamed prophet sent to the wicked king Jeroboam. Before we judge
this prophet harshly, we need to stop and see ourselves in this tale.
The prophet had stood tall and strong in the face of
Jeroboam to warn him! God had sent a sign by Jeroboam’s shriveled hand and the
broken altar. He had refused Jeroboam’s gracious gift of a meal and rest. YET—on
his way home, he stopped to rest. God had said not to eat or drink or return
the same way, but not about resting. An old man approached him, saying he too
was a prophet with an angelic message. Was the old man a true prophet? This is
when we let our guard down! We wonder why the prophet did not ask God for confirmation.
But…why do we not ask God when we hear someone say, God has told me to tell you
this or that? Beware of contradicting messages; if it sounds too good to be
true, it probably isn’t. God is not a man that changes his mind. If we want to
know, pray and ask for discernment. Be forewarned; the adversary can use even
what seems like righteous words.
Stay alert! Be on your guard. Check the source; be like the Bereans in Acts 17. Check to see if it is true.
Some stories in God’s word are so painful to read that we want to skip them, but God has left them in there as a teaching tool for each of us. This chapter falls into the x-rated material, but we want to focus on what we can learn from the sordid tale of the rape of Tamar. One is that as much as Tamar loved her brothers, she was not discerning. Truth point: often, when we love someone strongly, we are blind to their faults. Secondly, when someone says no, they mean no. A third lesson is what Dr. Constable noted:
Christians have probably memorized 1 John 1:9, which says: “If we confess our
sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness” than Romans 6:12-13. “Therefore do not let sin reign
in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, do not go on presenting the
members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present
yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments
of righteousness to God.
John 1:9 deals with how to handle sin after we have committed it; it is corrective
theology. Romans 6:12-13 deals with how to handle sin before we commit it; it is preventive theology. We
need to pay more attention to Romans 6:12-13.
of the purposes of 2 Samuel 13 is to help the reader prevent this type of sin
rather than help us recover from it having fallen. It is a strong warning
against letting our passions lead us because of the consequences that will
How often do we, like the Galatians, fall under the spell of smooth teaching of others when we fail to be a Berean to search the scriptures to see if what is taught is true? The Galatians had been, as we say today, “hoodwinked” by unscrupulous teachers. To get them back on track, Paul asks 4 basic questions. We might ask these of ourselves as well.
(1) How did you receive the Holy Spirit? Was it by keeping the Law? If so we might as well disregard Eph 2 ‘it is by faith you are saved, not of works lest any man should boast.’ The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us so that we might be sealed until the day of redemption; so that we might be indwelt by His presence teaching and illuminating us with truth; (2) How is God sanctifying you? Is it by works? If so then we have to disregard the example of Abraham who was counted as righteous not by works but by faith alone. Luther wrote regarding Abraham: “I believe what you say God.” (3)How do you explain your suffering; was it for nothing? Or is it to glorify God? (4) How do you explain the miracles amongst you? Do you give credit to man or God for these?
Paul ends with this truth: God justifies so that we might walk by faith alone. Is this you?