January 12

Genesis 26:17-27:46

At this point in his life, Isaac is doing “well.” In this section we read about four wells Isaac dug. The first two, are wells that are disputed, but the third and fourth seemed to work out peacefully.  

As you probably know, water is a precious commodity and Bible teachers tell us that claiming a well was the equivalent of claiming ownership of the land. Isaac was being bullied, but Isaac was passive by nature (Genesis 25:27; Romans 12:18). Eventually they were able to work out a covenant and the reasoning should be an inspiration for us as believers:

Genesis 26:28 (NKJV) “But they said, ‘We have certainly seen that the LORD is with you. So we said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, between you and us; and let us make a covenant with you.’’”

Is it evident to others (even non-believers) that the LORD is with me?

Not only was Isaac digging wells, he also began to build altars. The LORD appeared to him and reaffirmed His promise to Israel (Genesis 26:4-5).

The whole account of Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing is a bit bizarre (from my perspective) but it’s only because I lack the grace that our amazing God gives. God gave grace to Jacob.

Isn’t it sad what we read back in:

Genesis 25:28 (NKJV) “And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.”

Parents should never have favorites…but God gave grace.

It was wrong for Jacob to steal his brother’s blessing – and the way he and his mother did it, lie after lie, after lie, how could it merit God’s blessing? God gave grace.

God had revealed to Rebekah that the older would serve the younger back in Genesis 25:23, but she should have allowed God to work it out; we are not to deceptively help God out…but He gave grace upon grace.

As we continue our journey in the Scriptures we will see THROUGHOUT the Bible the many, many failures of God’s chosen people (the Bible doesn’t hide them) it records it all, etched in history – how could God use and choose them? There’s only one explanation, God’s amazing grace.

The same is true for my life and yours, take heart…and be strong in His grace. Use, but don’t abuse it.

At least Jacob believed in the blessing of God! Do I? Do you believe in the blessing of your birthright as a child of God?

Esau may have been going through the motions of believing in the blessing, but did he really have God’s promise in his heart? Why did he marry pagan women who were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:34) sapping Rebekah even of her very life? (Genesis 27:46). If a believer marries a non-believer they also marry many heartaches, and will lose many of the blessings of life.

Be careful!

One last thing before we leave this section; some believe Esau was doomed from the get-go because the Bible tells us that God loved Jacob and hated Esau (Malachi 1:3; Romans 9:13). The simple explanation for this is that Jacob was a believer in the LORD; he was saved and favored by God who saw his faith…even before time began (1 Peter 1:2). There is a difference when comparing my children, to all others, not that I “hate” others in the English sense of the word, but the Hebrew idiom means my love is greater for my children, for my bride, for my family when compared to all others.

Matthew 9:1-17

This account of friends bringing their friend to Jesus is one of my favorites in the Bible. When they arrived at the house where Jesus was, there was no room to get in, but they didn’t give up. They carried their friend up on the roof, bored a hole, and let him down in the presence of Jesus.

Talk about resilient faith!

They wanted their friend to be healed physically, but Jesus first healed him spiritually, eternally, for that is far more important. The religious leaders doubted in their hearts, but Jesus, who knows our hearts and all our thoughts, proved it to them and reveals to us all the power that He has to forgive sins – His gracious deity.

How awesome that Jesus would call a Tax-Collector to follow Him! Tax Collectors were hated by the Jews, and were considered to be the worst of all sinners, but this opened doors for Jesus to eat with sinners in His loving attempt to reach them. Legalistic people don’t do such things, neither do they understand God’s heart to reach the lost and heal the hurting. It makes me check my life. When was the last time I reached out or hung out with someone who wasn’t saved? God help us to care, to love, and to go fishing.

Psalm 10:16-18

I know the LORD has never relinquished His throne, even in this crazy world of chaos we live in…but my heart aches and longs for the day our King literally, physically, actually, eternally reigns from Jerusalem.

Don’t you look forward to that day?

The Lord is King and the King will come. The ungodly nations will all fall in that day. Keep praying. God hears our cry, the cry of the humble – and He will vindicate – He will help the helpless.

Psalm 10:16 (NKJV) “The LORD is King forever and ever; the nations have perished out of His land.”

Proverbs 3:9-10

Proverbs 3:9-10 (NKJV) “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10So your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

I agree with David Guzik who wrote, “When we truly trust God, we can honor Him with generosity that realizes He is the great provider and God has inexhaustible resources.”

When Solomon speaks of our possessions, he’s speaking of the things entrusted to us – the money and material things, but we don’t own them, we’re only stewards of that “stuff,” God is the true owner! The truth is, it ALL belongs to Him, and so we give to God the firstfruits of all our increase.

That word “first” is very important.

Exodus 13:1-2, “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine.’”

Leviticus 23:9-10, “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.”

That’s why my conviction is, when I get any type of increase, any type of income, the firstfruits, the first check should go to the Lord. I like to tell people to give God the fat of the firstborn, the best of the best, to give from the top, at least a tenth. (tithe)

Jesus said:

Luke 11:42, “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”

I’m saddened that some saints don’t give to God at all, and many people who do give, only give God the leftovers.

They budget in the houses and cars, and clothes, and cable, and coffee, and phones and fancy food and then they check the balance, is there anything left to give to God? If so, they give to God the leftovers.

Let me just say that’s not honoring the Lord with our possessions and that’s definitely not offering the firstfruits.

There may be some out there who think that Manny’s trying to get money for the church. No, not at all. I’m blown away by how blessed we are as a church. I just want you to be blessed. When you give to God what belongs to God, you show that you’re a good steward, and then you’ll find that you can be entrusted with more. That’s the general principle.

Some people say the reason they give is because they have so much, when in all reality the reason they have so much…is because they give. (see Malachi 3:8-10)

But it has to be in your heart.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

(see also Luke 6:38; Philippians 4:19)

Give to God off the top, the fat of the firstborn, the best of what you have. If at all possible, budget your life so you can give to God 10% (it’s a great place to start), add to that the offerings, and you watch how God will bless your life (Malachi 3:8-10).

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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