Gen 32 Jacob feels like he is at the end of his rope. He is fearful when he hears Esau knows he is on his way home. Just as we do sometimes, Jacob conjured up pictures in his mind of what that encounter would entail. The element of fear, both real and imaginary, often causes us to think of what lay ahead before we face it. The what if’s and whatever’s are part of Satan’s strategy to keep us from trusting God. How do we put that to rest is what God was teaching Jacob and now centuries later he is teaching us.
And so Jacob makes a plan to divide up his family as well as sending huge gifts ahead to Esau because “Jacob was afraid and upset.” [Gen 32:7] Jacob is covering his tracks. Alone, God now has Jacob’s attention and that is what God does with us. When He gets our attention, then He can work until we are ready to submit to His way and His plan. In the end, Jacob now becomes Israel (God prevails).
Where are you and God wrestling about your fears? Will you trust Him?
Exodus 1 to 4 Today’s world is focused on women rising in the workforce, in politics, and in a matriarchal society while men abandon their role. How ironic it is then that God elevates women in the first part of this historical record of preserving His people until the appointed time for the “deliverer” is needed to lead them. God has a Plan A and even a Plan B and so on when the usurper seeks to destroy His chosen people.
Take for example the two midwives under Pharaoh who disobey and save the male babies and God blesses them. They cleverly came up with an excuse as to why they saved these children; the Hebrew women give birth faster. It seems that the Pharaoh, although incensed that his Plan A failed, accepted their excuse and God blessed them because they feared Him more than the earthly king.
Then there is the mother of Moses who also feared God and designed a reed basket to hide her son in the bulrushes. Her instincts were right, the daughter of Pharaoh’s heart would be touched by an infant’s cry and thus Moses was saved, raised and educated in an Egyptian palace. Not only was Moses saved but his mother was paid out of the royal treasury to care for him.
And then there is Zipporah, the wife of Moses who was used by God to circumcise his sons when he failed.
Moses, as the author of Exodus, includes these three women to show us that real people in real circumstances can live a godly life in the midst of an evil and perverse nation. God protects, provides and blesses those who fear Him: “The fear of man is a snare but he whoever trusts in the Lord will be safe.” [Prov 29:25] God has placed people—both men and women to be a part of his plan to raise His people. God wants to use you. Are you open to His plan A or B or C or ????
Abraham, what were you thinking when you told Abimelech that Sarah was your sister? Did you not learn from your foray into Egypt? If you have forgotten what Abraham did there you can find that story in the last half of Genesis 12. How often do we find ourselves doing another lap around the wilderness like the Israelites because we fail to learn from the first mistake and just keep repeating it? It is no wonder unbelievers call us hypocrites! Our walk and talk do not match. Maybe that is why God had the Israelites come to the Tabernacle at least 3 times a year to offer sacrifices. Those were visual reminders of men’s failure to walk circumspectly. We too need constant reminding to keep short accounts with God.
Abraham presumed that of which he only surmised when he said: “surely I thought no one fears God in this place.” Without firsthand knowledge he presumed. Because David saw that as his weakness he wrote: [Ps 19:13] “keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me;” There is a warning here that Abraham should have known but his fear for self-preservation was greater than his fear of God! Lesson learned: do not assume without facts. Fear God more than what man can do to you. Jesus reminded the disciples of this:“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more they can do.[Luk 12:4] Abraham said he believed God but his life revealed that he feared men more than God. Beware of this sin! The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted. [Prov 29:25]
God was gracious to both Abraham and Abimelech but think of what could have been avoided had Abraham just trusted God! Fear God and trust Him only. God’s grace is getting good things we don’t deserve and that is what happened to Abraham. He deserved a scathing rebuke and more from Abimelech but instead, Abimelech merely scolded Abraham. How gracious was Abimelech to him! How gracious is our God to us!