The Sabbath may be one of the most misunderstood gifts of God. He has made it available as a gift to be opened and enjoyed. It is a special place in time–a sanctuary where time can be spent with him, delighting in his pleasure.
“… and I bowed down and worshiped the LORD. I praised the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who led me on the right road to get the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son.” Genesis 24:48
What an incredible recounting of the miraculous working of the LORD. All through the Bible, we see again and again how God is working His plan for His purpose. This servant is shown the mighty power of God. I wonder what he thought as he traveled. Abraham had been very clear in his instructions. Was the servant fearful of coming back without a wife? He had great riches with him. Was he concerned about getting it there? All the while he traveled, was he praying? Then he arrives and God is so gracious to answer the prayer even before it was finished. I don’t want to miss the fact that the prayer was offered in and came from the servant’s heart (24:45). God is ready to answer my prayers—even before I finish them. Am I careful to bow down and worship Him when He shows His miraculous hand?
Dear Lord, help me learn from the response of the servant. Help my heart to be a heart of prayer. Help me not try to solve my own problems and find my own solutions, but rather, to pray to You and wait for You to show Your mighty hand. Then, Lord, call me to fall down and worship You and to praise Your name. Amen.
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” and the two of them went on together. Genesis 22:8.
God will provide. Many times, as I read this account, I place myself into the story and try to imagine how Isaac, or Abraham, or even Sarah must have felt. But what about God. YAHWEH-JIREH: The LORD will provide. In this account, God is quite certainly making it clear that He will provide the sacrifice for Abraham that would look forward to Christ. Of course, as I look back on this account and the account of the cross, I see that I am able to say with Abraham to my son, “God himself will provide the lamb for the offering, my son.” While in this case it was a ram, eventually it would be the Lamb of God, none other than the only beloved Son of God. While a substitute was provided for Abraham, there was not a substitute for our Father in Heaven. Only the sacrifice of His own Son could pay the penalty my sin earned.
And so, I thank God that He is Yahweh-Jireh and that He has provided the sacrifice of His Son to pay the penalty for my sin.
Dear God, thank You for providing the sacrifice for my sin. I do not deserve, nor have I earned this in any way, and yet, You provide. You demonstrate Your love through Your provision. Thank You. Let me never take it for granted and please make me bold to proclaim that Your provision is available for all who believe! Amen.
When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, and the LORD was merciful to them. Genesis 19:16
The account of Lot and his family causes me to really consider the mercy of God. Here is a man who apparently had become so settled in a city of wickedness that it had distorted his response to God’s love. It had also impacted his family in a very negative way. So much so that it caused his wife to look back and die and his daughters to be moved to improper relations with him. What was it about Lot that caused God to act in mercy? I think we find the answer in 19:29. God remembered Abraham. Abraham had interceded for Lot and God responded to Abraham’s prayers. He brought Lot out of the catastrophe, even though, apparently, Lot was unaware.
I am moved to consider the people I know who are standing in opposition to God—people who claim the name of Jesus and yet are making choices contrary to His will. They stand in pride, which places them in opposition to God. How do I pray for them? I need to pray that God will show them His mercy, drawing them to repentance. And then, I need to keep myself pure in this generation. I must see if, in any way, I would need God to drag me away from the world.
Dear LORD, please help me see the danger of living in a world that is moving rapidly away from You. Keep me holy. Help me see Your will and follow it! Amen.
The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. Then Abraham approached him and said, “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” Genesis 18:22
I have tried repeatedly to imagine this scene. The LORD (a pre-incarnate visit from Jesus) is engaged with Abraham in a special way. Abraham has just finished serving the LORD—literally! He has served Him a meal and had a time of sweet fellowship with Him and now, they enter into a face-to face conversation. It is a discussion that allows Abraham to know God even more. Abraham is talking to God in the interest of others. This is intercessory prayer. It is mediating for others. It is an example for me. Abraham could have been ambivalent toward a city that had become defiled beyond hope. He could have stood in judgment and told God that it was about time the city was destroyed, but instead, he interceded. He was not asking God to change His mind; rather, he was asking God to act according to His changeless nature. God assured him that He was. I want to be an intercessor. I long to pray for those who seem most lost—even those with whom I may be at odds. As I understand that God must judge the wicked, I need to plead for them. I also need to pray for the righteous. I long to be in intimate conversation with my LORD, asking Him to have my heart align with His.
Lord, help me become an intercessor. Help me search Your heart and have my heart align fully with Yours. Please help me plead for others. Amen.
She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13
God sees Hagar in her moment of deep despair. She gives Him a name that has brought comfort to countless people since then. EL-ROI: God of seeing. The God who sees me. God sees me. God sees the circumstances in Hagar’s life. She is a maidservant—a slave. She is one who must obey what she is told. I cannot even begin to imagine all the emotions in the lives of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar. I try to imagine all that was happening (beyond the obvious) that would have caused Hagar to despise Sarai. Eventually, all began to feel hopeless. Decisions had been made that caused angst and conflict and there was no apparent resolution. Hagar fled in despair.
God saw the entire situation as it unfolded. He saw every tear, every thought, every inclination of every heart involved, and He saw how it would fit into His plan. God revealed Himself to Hagar and let her know that He had seen what was happening. He did not “fix” the issue. He just let her know that He saw it, and told her that He was sovereign over it. That brought her peace. I must learn to rest in the fact that God sees everything that is happening in my life and He is working it out for His good. He sees me even when I feel as though I am unseen.
Dear Lord, please bring peace into my life knowing that You see me—and every other person and situation and circumstance. Remind me often of Your sovereignty. Amen.
There Abram called on the name of the LORD. Genesis 13:4b
As Genesis continues to reveal the life of Abraham, we see his character develop. In times of great decision, where do I go? Abram shows us a great example of where to go for wisdom and guidance. He calls on the name of the LORD. As he returns to the land that God said would be his, he returns to the place he first worshiped and He once again seeks the LORD.
Abram’s faith and knowledge of God is growing. He is learning who God is. To call on the name of the LORD is to turn to Him for direction. It means I recognize all that God is and all that He stands for, and that I release my agenda to His. As I call on the name of the LORD, I am consciously submitting my will to His (remember Jesus in Luke 22:42). I am stopping to allow Him to lead and guide. There will be major events that happen in Abram’s life. He moves under God’s blessing (14:19) because he recognizes God as Most High (14:22). This moves me to find regular times and places to call on the name of the LORD Most High, and submit my will to His.
Dear Lord, please help me to call on Your name often and regularly. Take my will and make it fully Yours. Help me to surrender all that I am and all that I have to You and to watch for Your leading and guiding amidst the daily distractions of my life. Amen.
Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth. Genesis 11:4
So, here is the issue of worship at its core. God calls me to worship Him and my flesh wants only to worship myself. The tower was being built to directly oppose the command of God. He had said that the people should spread out. They were building the tower so they would not have to obey. They were worshiping their own thoughts and desires.
How will I worship God? How will I worship Him alone? How many times have I started building a tower of my own thoughts that are actually in opposition to God? What are my towers of disobedience? I must tear them down so that I can worship my sweet, precious God in spirit and in truth and in obedience.
Dear Lord, please show me all the areas in my life that place me in opposition to You. Show me the towers of disobedience in my life and lead me to the beautiful adoration of You for which I have been designed. You alone are worthy of my praise and my worship. Amen
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come. I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” Genesis 9:12-13
God made this covenant. It is a promise based upon His faithfulness that He will never again destroy the world by a flood. It is a reminder for Him—but also for me. When I see a rainbow, wherever that may be, I am reminded of the faithfulness of God. I am reminded that He has made a promise—initially to Noah, but all humanity is included. God will never again destroy all life by a flood. But also, I am reminded that God judges sin. God does not say that the rainbow is a reminder that He is no longer concerned about sin. Indeed, He is—so much so, that He sent His Son to take that penalty. God’s promise reminds me that He values His created ones. By His grace and mercy, He reaches out to us. By His righteousness, holiness and justice, He requires repentance and obedience. The rainbow reminds me of both. The rainbow also calls me to remember that there will come a final day of judgment that will purify all creation. It impacts how I live. It is not a license to sin, which would be a misunderstanding of God’s promise; rather, it is a reason for respect and awe.
Dear God, thank You for Your promise. Thank you for being a God who is trustworthy. Thank You for demanding holiness and for giving the means for that to happen. Amen
Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. Genesis 8:20-21
The sacrifices that Noah offered moved the heart of God. Perhaps it would be better to say that the heart with which Noah offered the sacrifices moved the heart of God. God judges motive. The first thing we are told that Noah did when he left the ark was to build an altar and offer sacrifices to the LORD.
Romans 12:1-2 calls me to be a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is the offering I am called to bring—myself on the altar. It allows me to demonstrate that I trust myself fully to God. I recognize that He is in control. My heart belongs to Him. I give it to Him freely and fully. This is the type of offering I can bring that will move the heart of God. This is true worship. That is why many times, as I contemplate the privilege of bringing this offering, I burst into song of praise to my Rock and my Redeemer. He is exalted, the King is exalted on high. I will praise Him with my offering.
Dear LORD, how I praise you for your unfailing and never-changing love for the creation You have made. Thank you for considering my offerings as a sweet aroma. I pray that You find my heart given over fully to You in my offering of praise. Amen.
Enoch walked with God; and then he was no more, because God took him away. Genesis 5:24
Enoch walked with God for 300 years. The Septuagint translates this as “well-pleasing.” For 300 years, Enoch was well-pleasing to God. The same is said of Noah in 6:9. Both of these men were recognized specially by God because they were well-pleasing to Him.
Enoch was so well-pleasing to God that God just took him away! We are given no indication whatsoever that Enoch or Noah had any sort of motive for being well-pleasing to God other than an understanding of who He is. They were well-pleasing to God in an era when that would require great faith. They stand as stellar examples for me. I long to be well-pleasing to God. I long to know Him well and to quickly serve Him when He leads. I want my life to be all about Him so that He is my every breath and thought. I want Him to know that He can count on me. If He needs me to stand for Him when no one else will, I will do everything just as God commands me (6:22). I wonder how many others have been “taken away” just because they were well-pleasing to God? Sometimes we have a hard time understanding the working of our mighty God, but I trust that He is caring deeply for each of His adopted children.
Lord, please help me live in such a way that I am well-pleasing to You. Please see the desire of my heart to be all that You have made me to be. Amen.