January 10, 2021

Genesis 23:1-24:51

The account of Sarah’s death and burial in Genesis 23 should capture our attention. 

Warren Wiersbe said, “Sarah is the only woman named in the Bible whose age is given and burial described. It was the death of a princess, a woman of faith (see Hebrews 11:11–13).”

In 1 Peter 3:1-6 Sarah is given to the ladies as an exemplary  wife. 

Understandably Abraham was hurting deeply at the passing of his lifelong companion, we read in:

Genesis 23:2b, “…and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.” 

I’m sure most of you have noticed by now that this present planet is not actually the land of the living, it’s more like the land of the dying. And although we who are believers will see our loved ones in Christ again, we still mourn deeply. Christians still cry, and even Jesus wept (John 11:35), but we don’t sorrow as those without hope.

Abraham purchased a place to bury his beloved wife, and even though the entire land had been promised to him – this grave would be the only land he would own on this side of time. Again, some insightful words from Warren Wiersbe, “He paid a high price for what became one of the most famous tombs in Bible history, and eventually six people were buried there (Genesis 49:31–32). Abraham owned only one thing on earth: a grave. Genesis ends with a full tomb, but the gospel story ends with an empty tomb! And because Jesus Christ lives, we who trust in Him never need fear death.”

In Genesis 24 we have a beautiful story of Abraham doing all that he can to make sure that his son marries a good and Godly woman. The providence of God in putting two people together as husband and wife is never mundane, but this story is especially special. The servant sets a fleece before the Lord, and God answered His him before even before he finished speaking/praying (Genesis 24:15). Rebekah simply did a good deed for a stranger, but you never know when God is measuring you for something great – this good deed on her part would lead to Rebekah’s place in the family tree of the Messiah.

This story is also a beautiful picture of God the Father gathering a bride for His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Did you notice that the servant’s name is not mentioned? The reason for that is because the servant who gathers a bride for the son, is a picture of the Holy Spirit, who is gathering a bride (the church) for Christ. The Holy Spirit never draws attention to Himself. We’ll see next time how Rebekah is shown the treasures of a life far away, she hears the words of the servant, and is then asked to make a personal decision on whether or not she will commit to this relationship. It pictures the proposal we’ve been given from Jesus, God’s Son, as presented to us by the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 8:1-17

In this section, Jesus heals a leper with a touch, a Centurion’s servant from a distance, and Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever. With each healing we are reminded that there is no one like Jesus – who demonstrates His deity and majesty and even does so personally.

In those days NO ONE would dare to touch a leper. Pastor Chuck Smith shared this, “No one touched lepers. If a leper came within 150 feet of anyone, he was required to cry out, ‘Unclean!’ (so that other stayed away) But Jesus reached out to touch this man with compassion, love, and concern. Jesus was always interested in those who needed Him most.” When you have a moment, check out this song by Terry Clark (an oldie but goodie – one of my all-time favorite songs).

“The Leper,” by Terry Clark

Don’t you just love the way nothing is too big for the Lord? Even leprosy! And at the same time, nothing is too small for the Lord (like a fever)? Over the years we’ve prayed for everything, from lost kids, to lost keys, temporary parking places, to permanent homes, we’ve prayed over those with cancer, and yes, fevers, and we’ve seen the Lord answer in the affirmative many of those prayers. I’ll never forget one time Shelly and I were praying for healing for our friend Gloria’s who had a fever, and God instantly took it away. He is able.

Matthew quotes from Isaiah 53:4 applying it to the healings of Jesus and teaching us that this was included in the redemption of Christ. Now, does that mean that every illness is guaranteed to be taken away on this side of time? No. It’s all according to God’s will (1 John 5:14). God’s people don’t always experience healing (1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20; 2 Corinthians 12:8-10) but it’s okay and even Biblical to ask (James 5:14). When our faith intersects with God’s will, we will see wonders (Matthew 8:13).

Psalm 9:13-20

We find the word “nations,” multiple times in this chapter (Psalm 9:5, 15, 17, 19, 20). How comforting it was to David (and should be to us) that even if the nations opposed us – it wouldn’t matter – after all, if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Please pray for the United States of America!

Psalm 9:17 (NKJV) “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”

Proverbs 3:1-6

Proverbs 3:5–6 (NKJV) “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

This was Kay Smith’s life verse. I have a hunch it’s a favorite for many of us. The Hebrew word translated “acknowledge” is yada. It means to know personally and even intimately.  If you ever need that special direction from God (like every day) please know it’s rooted in a deep and personal relationship with God – just draw near to hear.

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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