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Days of Praise


phkrause
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  January 13, 2022
Abram's Endurance Test
“And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.” (Genesis 15:3-4)

Right after Abram’s meeting with Melchizedek, God verified and amplified His promise to him with the added insights that God would be Abram’s “shield” and “reward” (Genesis 15:1). The preceding years had been somewhat difficult for Abram, and he needed assurance that the One he believed in was both his Savior and Provider.

The Lord walked Abram through an elaborate covenant ceremony (Genesis 15:9-21) in which He told Abram much of the future and reiterated the promise that God would give the land to Abram and his descendants. Given the personal visit, Abram would have been expectant of some indication of the fulfilment of the promise of an heir and the coming “nations,” but it would be a total of 25 years before Abram saw the fulfilment of that promise.

Nothing. No visible evidence of God’s promise was forthcoming. Others failed (Lot most noticeably), and Sarai herself gave up after 11 years and insisted that Abram bear her a child through Hagar, her handmaid (Genesis 16:15).

Finally, when Abram was 99, God appeared before him again and issued the command: “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Genesis 17:1). Isaac would be born the next year, but the complete fulfillment of that promise is yet to be realized (John 11:25-26; Mark 13:13). HMM III
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  January 14, 2022
Abraham's Intercession Test
“I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.” (Genesis 18:21-22)

Three “men” stood before Abraham’s tent, two of whom were later revealed to be angels (Genesis 18:2; 19:1). One of them, however, was none other than the Creator Himself (as the visible Word of God), who told Abraham of the beginning of the fulfillment of His earlier promise of a son (Genesis 18:10, 14).

As the Lord reiterated the promise (now nearly 25 years dormant), the confrontation with Sarah began (Genesis 18:9- 15). She “laughs” at the repeated promise, citing her old and “worn out” body as an excuse. Most noteworthy here is the immediate response of God: “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14). Although Sarah mocked the Lord’s promise, Abraham reacted with the laughter of joy and anticipation. His faith was now firm and confident (Genesis 18:16-22).

As God told him of His immediate plan to judge Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham began his intercession on behalf of any righteous residents there (Genesis 18:23-32). Yet, even though the Lord yielded each time to Abraham’s limiting request, it was clear that the wickedness of those cities would come under the righteous judgment of a holy God.

Abraham “returned unto his place” (Genesis 18:33), knowing that while he had prayed for God’s grace, he was satisfied that God’s judgment was “righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9). The contrast of attitude toward God’s Word is on display in this section of Scripture. “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3). HMM III
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January 15, 2022
Abraham's Separation Test
“Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.” (Genesis 21:10-11)

After Isaac had been weaned, Sarah noticed Ishmael mocking her and Isaac (Genesis 21:9). During the years since Hagar had given birth to Ishmael (at the insistence of Sarah), Abraham had grown to love Ishmael and had no doubt treated him and Hagar with respect. Now this sudden banishment was demanded under terms that were both harsh and apparently arbitrary.

Nonetheless, God approved because Hagar and Ishmael had become the specific illustration of a distinction between the “flesh” and the “heir” (Genesis 21:12). Although God would take care of Ishmael for Abraham’s sake, Abraham must separate himself and his family from that which would never become part of the Messianic line (Galatians 4:23-31).

The contrast of the two sons is a major teaching in Scripture. Galatians 3:16-29 provides most of the main biblical information. The promise was made to “the seed” (as singular) and the focus is on Christ, not Isaac. All people are under sin and are given the promise by faith. When we believe, we become children of God, in vivid contrast to the “son of the bondwoman.”

That faith is outside of physical relationships, and we become heirs according to the promise. That sacred relationship has been verified by God Himself (Hebrews 6:17-20), making us nothing less than joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17-21). Thus, all who are heirs can never be connected to the “bondwoman” (Galatians 4:30-31). HMM III

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January 16, 2022
Lot's Fateful Choice
“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere....Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.” (Genesis 13:10-11)

Some otherwise righteous folks are unable to handle wealth. Lot and Abram had become so wealthy “that they could not dwell together” (Genesis 13:6), and Lot fell into the classic temptation—loving “all that is in the world” (1 John 2:16).

Beginning by pitching “his tent toward Sodom” (Genesis 13:12), Lot later “dwelt in Sodom, and his goods” (Genesis 14:12). And even though he was “vexed” by the “filthy” behavior of those with whom he was living (2 Peter 2:7-8), Lot finally “sat in the gate of Sodom”—a Hebrew idiom for holding a political place of power in the city (Genesis 19:1).

We are told that Lot was a just and righteous man (2 Peter 2:7-8). But ungodly choices always produce tragic results. When the angels arrived to bring God’s judgment, his children had intermarried with Sodomites and had been lost (Genesis 19:12-14). His wife wouldn’t leave (Genesis 19:26), and his wealth was destroyed with the destruction of the cities.

Lot’s reputation and eternal place in Kingdom history are equally tragic. Although rescued by the angels, his legacy is “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). Although granted his wish to live in a “little” city (Genesis 19:20), his daughters corrupted themselves with him, and the pagan nations of Moab and Ammon were the result (Genesis 19:30-38). Although we will see Lot in heaven, he became the epitome of one whose works are “burned,” and he is saved, “yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). Even small ungodly choices can cause us to lose “a full reward” (2 John 1:8). HMM III

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January 17, 2022
Eliezer's Faithful Service
“And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had...go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.” (Genesis 24:2, 4)

Abraham required a most sacred vow from Eliezer (Genesis 15:2) to secure a bride for Isaac from the line of Shem rather than from the Canaanites (Genesis 24:3-4, 9). Eliezer had Abraham’s complete trust, with access and permission to all of his wealth (Genesis 24:10).

The Bible notes how Eliezer prepared for the success of the mission with adequate resources (employees, wealth, etc.), and went straight to his destination with no wasted time en route. Along the way he must have anticipated how to discern a proper wife and asked God for verification that He approved of the selection.

Eliezer’s request indicated he had in mind a lady who must be strong, healthy, and industrious, with no delusions of a life of ease. She must also be gracious, sensitive, and compassionate. Eliezer’s prayer did not presume. He knew the assignment and was asking for guidance on how to “see” the character of the potential wife (Genesis 24:12-14).

Eliezer was further aware of his being “in the way” (Genesis 24:27). That is, he was clearly aware that he was acting under godly authority and was seeking the leading of the Lord Himself. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD” (Psalm 37:23), and our paths are directed when we “acknowledge him” (Proverbs 3:6).

After Eliezer completed defining his task, he insisted that an immediate decision be made so that he could finish his assignment. Once the family and Rebecca agreed, Eliezer made sure that the mission was completed by bringing the new bride home to Isaac (Genesis 24:32-67). Would to God that all of us were as faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). HMM III

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  January 18, 2022
Isaac's Life of Contrast
“And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.” (Genesis 25:27-28)

Isaac’s early life became the biblical picture of Christ (Genesis 22:7-9). Not only did Isaac lay down his life voluntarily, but he continued to show great evidence of God’s presence and promise. He had personal instruction in faith from Abraham (Genesis 18:19) and had been given direct evidence of God’s sovereignty in his life (Genesis 24:67).

Even before the birth of his sons when he was 60 years old, Isaac interceded for Rebecca and the children (Genesis 25:21). It is certain that he had firsthand knowledge of God’s plan for the boys (Genesis 26:2-53; 28:1-4), yet in spite of his knowledge, Isaac “loved Esau” (our text).

He knew that God had chosen the younger child to rule (Genesis 25:23). He knew that Esau was an ungodly man (Genesis 27:46), and he knew that Esau had married pagan wives (Genesis 26:34) in spite of God’s command to the contrary. But Isaac was determined to give the birthright to Esau. The single reason Scripture cites for Isaac’s irrational behavior was that he loved Esau and the savory meat Esau brought in from hunting (Genesis 27:1-4).

Isaac finally gave the blessing to Jacob, but he would have blessed Esau; he would have gone against God’s command, and he “trembled exceedingly” when he knew that he had been overruled by God (Genesis 27:30-33). Ultimately, Isaac submitted to God and instructed Jacob in righteousness (Genesis 28:1-5). The pain in Jacob’s life, the agony of Rebecca’s separation from her son, and the torn testimony of Isaac were all caused by an incorrect “love.” HMM III
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  January 19, 2022
Jacob's Plain Life
“Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.” (Genesis 25:27)

Jacob has often been given a bad reputation for his deception of Isaac. He is branded a liar and worse, while the Scriptures describe him very differently. To begin with, the Hebrew word translated “plain” in our text is tam, everywhere else rendered as “perfect” or “upright.”

The same word is used most often by God Himself of Job—a “perfect” and “upright” man (Job 1:8). All other references in the Bible where tam is used verify this upright and undefiled character. The deception is not rebuked by God, and Jacob is honored by God far more than Isaac. In fact, Jacob is renamed “Israel” by God—hardly a punishment for a bad life, but rather a recognition of a great life (Genesis 32:28).

The sin of Isaac and Esau is infinitely greater. Esau has “sold” and “despised” the birthright (Genesis 25:33-34). Isaac would have given that blessing to Esau (Genesis 27:1-4) in spite of God’s plan (Genesis 25:23). The intention of Jacob and Rebecca was to prevent a horrible disobedience and catastrophe.

Jacob’s action gave him no temporal advantage and was taken at great personal risk. Jacob spent 20 years in exile and servitude to his wicked uncle Laban, 14 of them for Rachel and Leah (Genesis 29:20-29). While there, he endured the awful trickery of Laban, but God gave him 12 sons and at least one daughter (Genesis 29:31–30:24).

God’s intervention and Jacob’s careful attention to detail brought wealth and a growing confidence that God had turned his life around, providing the leadership his family needed to leave suddenly and go with confidence back to the land of Abraham (Genesis 31), having received personal assurance from God (Genesis 32:24-30).

May we all have the reputation of a “plain” life. HMM III
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  January 20, 2022
Jacob's Ladder Dream
“And Jacob went out from Beersheba....And he lighted upon a certain place...and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:10-12)

Prophetic dreams were uncommon even in ancient times (Hebrews 1:1) and were never for personal use (Jeremiah 23:16-32; Jude 1:8). Such dreams were rare until the book of Revelation.

Jacob had the most personal encounters with God recorded in Genesis, more than Abraham or any other patriarch. Jacob’s ladder was much more than a human construction. The Hebrew word cullam is used only this once. The root Hebrew word, culal, is similar, with the basic meaning of “highway” or “corridor” or “pathway.” The word carries the connotation of “lift up” (see Psalm 68:4).

Jacob’s “ladder” was probably a highway/causeway to and from the presence of God. Perhaps it was something like our science fiction ideas of a wormhole—a time warp in the fabric of space that permits nearly instantaneous movement from one spot in the universe to another.

The Creator would certainly be able to make a time warp channel for His messengers to get back and forth to Earth quickly. There may be many such channels. This cullam was “fastened” on the earth with its “source” in heaven. The angels of God were speeding up and down (through? on? in?) it.

At the source, Jacob saw none other than the Yahweh (the I AM) of eternity standing in His “official” glory (compare Revelation 1:10-16). This vision verified to Jacob that God was with him and that God Himself would secure the eternal promises made to Abraham. This dream is unique in all Scripture. Jacob was an unusual man. HMM III
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