Sometimes the devil doesn't tempt us with evil; sometimes he allures us with good, distracts us with obligations, confuses us with compromise, or hinders us with business to keep us from that which is best- service to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Remember, the devil always offers his best, before Christ will offer His will for your life.
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Genesis 25:20-21- And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
Isaac and Rebekah wanted to have children. But, just like Sarah, it didn't seem like it was happening. So, Isaac went to ask God. Isaac knew that his relationship with God was good enough to be able to ask him for things that he wanted. When our relationship is good with God, we know that we are able to ask God for our wants and needs.
God answered Isaac's request and allowed Rebekah to get pregnant. But something was up!
Genesis 25:22- And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
Rebekah had a lot of movement. Now, pregnant women can feel the baby moving in their tummy. Have you ever had your hand on a pregnant woman's belly and felt the baby kick? Well, Rebekah's baby was kicking a lot! And she wondered about it. So guess what she did?
She went to ask God. It's not good enough for just a husband to have a relationship with God. A wife needs her own personal friendship with God. God wants to hear from boys and girls all about their problems, and their needs, and their wants.
Genesis 25:23- And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
Guess what? God answered Rebekah, too! Both Isaac and Rebekah had a good enough relationship with God that they could not only talk to God, but also hear God answer them.
Did you understand God's answer? God told Rebekah that there were 2 nations in her tummy.
Genesis 25:24- And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
Twins! That's why there was so much movement! Boy, they must have been fighting a lot! You see, these boys would both have a lot of children, and those children would become nations- 2 nations were born that day.
Genesis 25:25-26- And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.
So, one was all hairy with red hair. He must've looked like a Scotsman! And they named him Esau.
The other was also a boy and they named him Jacob. And guess what he did? He grabbed his brother's heel. They were just born and they were fighting! Do you think they fought a lot growing up? I bet they did!
Genesis 25:27- And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
Two brothers were never so different. Esau was an outdoors person. He liked to hunt and run through the fields. He probably had clothes that were worn out and ripped. But, Jacob was an indoors person. He learned to cook, and I bet his clothes were always nice because he could probably fix them.
Genesis 25:28- And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Uh oh! These two brothers kinda made a split in the family. Isaac loved Esau. They were probably out in the fields together a lot. And whenever Esau hunted for food, he shared some with his father. But, Rebekah loved Jacob. He was always around her in the house. He probably helped out a lot, and I'm sure she appreciated that very much.
Not only were these boys different in their likes and dislikes. But they were different in what they valued. Esau liked the outdoors. He could go where he pleased. He didn't really have to answer to anyone. If he wanted to hunt, he could. If he wanted to lay in the field and look at the clouds roll by, he could. Perhaps, Esau didn't like responsibility.
Jacob, on the other hand, liked to be inside. He probably liked order and took responsibility for keeping things just so.
These differences were about to play out in a life changing way. We don't know how old the boys were, but they were about to make a deal!
Genesis 25:29-30- And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
Jacob was at home, as usual, making a pottage. Esau had been out somewhere and I guess he wasn't successful that day in catching something. So, he comes home very hungry! He sees Jacob cooking and asks for some food.
Jacob knew that Esau was going to get everything that their father had. Esau was the firstborn, and by the laws back then, everything went to him! But, Jacob knew Esau really didn't want that responsibility. Jacob wanted it, so he proposed a deal.
Genesis 25:31- And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
I can just see Esau now! He's smelling that pottage and he's feeling the grumbling in his tummy and he's thinking, "I can't eat my birthright!"
Genesis 25:32-34- And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.
Do you know what lentils are? It's kinda like a small bean. Esau just sold his house and all his possessions for bean soup! Do you think that was a smart deal?
The Bible tells us that God was not very happy with Esau.
Hebrews 12:15-17- . Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
God says to be diligent. Do you know what that means? It means to be responsible for your actions by doing things right and in a timely way. Esau wasn't diligent. If he had been, he wouldn't have sold his birthright for bean soup!
But, what else does God say about this? He says he wanted it back and he even cried about it, but he couldn't change what he had done. You see, sometimes the consequences of our actions are so bad, that even though we cry and beg we can't change them!
Esau could never get his birthright back. We need to make sure that we are diligent with the blessings that God gives us. For we never know when we'll be tempted to throw those blessings away for bean soup!
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Genesis 25:1- Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.
Abraham was lonely after Sarah's death, so he remarried. We don't know if he asked the Lord about this or not. We don't know where his new wife was from. We only know that he had more children.
Genesis 25:5- And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.
Abraham knew that God's promise was through Isaac. So, Abraham left everything to Isaac. This wasn't how it was done back then. Everything always went to the firstborn. Ishmael was the firstborn, Isaac was the second. But we see that many times in human history, God doesn't choose the first because the first usually is what the world offers. God chooses His way.
Genesis 25:7-8- And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
Abraham was 175 when he died. That's really old! No one today lives to be that old!
Genesis 25:9-10- And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.
Abraham had other children, but the Bible only mentions 2 of them showing up for his funeral- Isaac and Ishmael. They bury Abraham in the cave of Machpelah, where Sarah was buried.
Now, Isaac and Rebekah were alone. They had to rely on their own personal relationship with the Lord to know what to do and where to go. If we don't have a relationship with God, then we are going to mess up. We can't call our parents up and ask "What should I do now?" We need to be able to ask God ourselves.
Isaac was about to be tested.
Genesis 26:1-6- And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. And Isaac dwelt in Gerar:
Here, we see that God speaks directly to Isaac. I'm sure that Isaac heard the story many times from his father about how God promised to make a great nation of them. But, perhaps, this is the first time that Isaac heard the promise from God himself!
God warns Isaac to stay in the land of Canaan. I'm certain it's because God didn't want Isaac making the same mistake in Egypt that Abraham made. But the funny thing is, that we usually make the same mistakes our parents made.
Remember what Abraham did in Egypt? He told the people of the land that Sarah was his sister because he was afraid they would kill him. I guess Isaac heard that story, too, because he is going to make the same mistake!
Genesis 26:7- And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.
God had spoken to Isaac and promised to make a great nation of him, yet Isaac wasn't willing to trust God to protect him. He was going to give in to his flesh and lie!
Genesis 26:8-9- And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife. And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her.
Uh oh! The thing about lying is you will always eventually get found out! Isaac was tickling Rebekah and the king realized that she wasn't his sister at all!
Genesis 26:11- And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.
Isaac was in a nation who didn't believe in the God of heaven, and yet these people knew what was right and wrong! Even when we are among people who don't serve God, God can still protect us. God's power can follow us wherever we go, and His protection will care for us!
We need to make sure that we stay in God's will. Many times we put consequences upon ourselves that we shouldn't have to bear because we did what we wanted to do. Adam did it! Abraham did it! And even Isaac did it!
We must always pray and ask God to direct us. Then, we should always obey the answer God gives us, even when we don't like it. It's the only way to avoid the consequences of sin.
Friday, August 18, 2017
Sarah had died, and Abraham was now really old! Abraham wanted to make sure that Isaac was taken care of. He wanted Isaac to get a good wife.
Isaac is now 37 years old, much older than most people today when they get married. We can learn a good bit about how to find a good spouse when we look at Isaac's example!
First off, Abraham is the one who works out finding a wife for Isaac. We should let our Heavenly Father bring our spouse to us. Many times, Christians get impatient with waiting on God to bring their spouse and they decide to "help" him out. The problem is that the devil will put his will for a spouse in our path- this may not be a bad person, but it will hinder you from fulfilling God's will for your life.
Genesis 24:1-4, 7- And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.
Abraham asked his servant to go find a wife for his son in his homeland. The Bible says in II Corinthians 6:14- Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Abraham knew that the women in Canaan didn't believe in the God of Heaven. He wanted to make sure that the wife Isaac got was willing to follow God.
Many times, people pretend to be Christians so they can get a good spouse, but they don't really want to serve Christ. That's why you must pray and let God choose, because God knows the heart.
So, the servant got ready and went to find Isaac a good wife.
Genesis 24:10-12- And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.
Here, we learn something very important. The servant also had faith in God. He was praying that God would lead him to the right person for Isaac. He asked God to show him who she was.
Genesis 24:13-14- Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
You know what God wants? He wants you to pray for His will! When you are willing to do His will, He will guide you!
Genesis 24:15,17- And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.
Remember, the servant was a stranger! He was speaking to someone who didn't know him. But, he had a God who knew everthing!
Genesis 24:18-20- And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.
Rebekah was a hard worker. She was kind and thoughtful! God had led the servant to the very person He had in mind for Isaac.
Genesis 24:26-28- And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren. And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother's house these things.
The servant thanked God! That should always be our response to answered prayer. We should remember that it's God who answered.
Now, the servant has found the woman that God wanted for Isaac. But there was one little thing left. The woman must be willing!
The servant went back to Rebekah's house and explained everything that had happened with Abraham. He told about Sarah's death, and about Isaac's need for a wife.
Genesis 24:56-58- And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master. And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.
Rebekah was willing to go to a strange country to marry a man that she had never met. When God shows you His will for your life, it may be something that you have never done before. But, you will have complete peace about it. If you don't have peace about something, then God doesn't want you to do it! It's that simple.
Psalms 119:165- Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
So, Rebekah and the servant made the long journey back to Canaan.
But, what was Isaac doing while all this was going on?
Genesis 24:63- And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
He was praying for God's will and doing his father's work. That's what we should do. When we do what God wants first; He will send us the desires of our hearts.
Matthew 6:33- But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
When we do our will first; the devil will send us the desires of our hearts. The question is, do you want God's will or your own?
Genesis 24:66-67- And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done. And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.
Isaac loved her. She was what he needed for a help meet. She was God's will for his life, and because he waited for God's will he found all his desires were met.
How long did he have to wait? Well, he was 37 when Sarah died. Remember?
Genesis 25:20- And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
He was 40 when he married Rebekah. That's 3 years! For 3 years he waited for God's will.
Are you willing to wait for God's will? Or do you want your way NOW! God's way takes time. He has to prepare you and your spouse for His will. The devil's way is quick and will keep you from God's will. Which will you choose?
Friday, August 11, 2017
THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE
(Preached at Bible Baptist Church, Martin, TN, 2007, by James Melton)
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” (John 10:28-29)
In our text, the Lord Jesus said that eternal life is something that He gives to people. It isn’t something that one earns, nor is it something for which God awaits a repayment. Eternal life in Jesus Christ is a gift of God to all who will receive it.
John chapter ten is not the only passage that speaks of eternal life as a gift. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:18 says, “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” In Ephesians 2:8, we find the familiar words, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Then, in II Corinthians 9:15, Paul says, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” Of course, there are others.
So, one thing is crystal clear in the Bible: salvation is a gift. It is not a reward or a continuing process, as the cults teach. Salvation is a gift to men from God, plain and simple. Having established that basic fact with Scripture, let’s consider a few points about how salvation is like a gift.
I. IT’S A SPECIAL OCCASION WHEN YOU RECEIVE A GIFT
Every married lady you know can well remember the moment that she was given her engagement ring. That was a very special occasion. Of all the ladies in the world that this man could have taken an interest in, he chose her. That was special, a very special occasion, and she’ll never forget it. The day before might not have been a bad day, and the day after was probably a good one, now that she was engaged, but none can compare to that day, not until the wedding day.
So it is with Christ and His bride. One day he asked you to be His bride, and you said, “Yes.” Then, instead of sealing the agreement with a ring on your finger, He made a more certain claim by sealing His spirit in your heart until the day of the wedding (Eph. 4:30; II Cor. 1:22).
It’s a special occasion when you receive a gift, be it an engagement, a wedding, an anniversary, a birthday, Christmas, or something else. So, it’s a special occasion when a sinner receives the gift of eternal life. Even the angels of heaven rejoice over it (Luke 15:10).
I’m very skeptical about people who say things like, “My wife is the best thing that’s ever happened to me” or “The day my child was born was the greatest day of my life.” For some reason, they never speak of their spiritual birthday as being special! There’s something strange about that!
I received an e-mail this past week from Brother Knox. He said that he had just celebrated his thirtieth spiritual birthday. Amen to that! Every Christian ought to think that way. If not for your spiritual birthday, you’d be living a wasted life and on your way to hell. Thank God for that special day on which you received His gift of eternal life. It was unlike any other day you’ll ever have.
II. YOU DON’T FULLY COMPREHEND AND APPRECIATE A GIFT UNTIL YOU OPEN IT
Sure, it’s nice to be handed a pretty present all wrapped up just for you, but are you really going to like the contents?
I hate receiving gifts from people that don’t know me very well because I know I’m not going to like it. It’s not that I covet a gift of any kind. It’s just that I hate having to act all nice and pretend that I like something stupid, like a book by Billy Graham or Rick Warren. People think that anything religious will be just perfect for me, and most of that stuff is just junk, yet I have to pretend that I like it. I hate doing that! Someone once gave me a book by that Schuller guy out in California. Man, it was just terrible! Yet, I had to act all thankful and excited about it. I hate those awkward moments!
But you don’t have to worry about the Lord doing that to you. He knows you better than you know yourself! His gift for you is a perfect gift! His robe of righteousness is a perfect fit, and you’re going to love wearing it!
But, if you’ve never received His gift, then you don’t know that. You’re still having your doubts, wondering if this is the best thing for you or not. Friend, why would a good and holy God give you anything less?
You know, kids learn who gives the best gifts at Christmas and at birthdays. They know that grandma Myrtle always gives something corny and way out of style. They know that grandpa Fred always reaches into his wallet and gives out cash, which they always enjoy. The gifts from mom and dad are usually pretty good as well, but the main attraction is when wealthy grandpa John arrives. Now, he knows how to give a gift! It might be a trip to Disney World or the Super Bowl, or maybe even a new four wheeler or a new truck, but it is never a disappointment. Grandpa John knows how to give a gift!
Friend, God knows how to give a gift! He’s never out of touch or out of step with the times. God knows exactly what you need! You can’t fully comprehend and appreciate the gift of eternal life through Christ until you receive it and open it, but you can trust that God the Father knows how to give the best gift and will do so.
III. IT’S AN INSULT TO REJECT A GIFT
Imagine someone going through the effort of shopping and purchasing a gift just for you. They bring it home and wrap it, thinking the whole time of how you’re going to like the gift. Then when they present it to you, you reject it and hand it back to them! That would be an insult to the giver!
Well, that’s what people do with God’s gift every day. There isn’t a day that goes by when someone isn’t convicted by the Holy Ghost of their sinful condition and their need for Christ, yet they push Him away and continue on in their trespasses.
And don’t you know that God went through far more trouble to bring the gift of eternal life to you than you ever go through to purchase any gift. When I grow tired of shopping, I quit and go home, yet God never quits.
In Genesis 3:15, God made the original promise of a redeemer for you and I when He promised that the seed of the woman would defeat the seed of the serpent. That was a promise of the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the Old Testament Satan tried to destroy that promise, but he never succeeded . . .
By Genesis chapter 6, all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. All but Noah’s family, that is. God preserved the seed up until then, then He preserved it through the great flood.
Then Satan used Ham in an effort to destroy that promised seed, but God was faithful and kept His promise.
Don’t you know that Satan had high hopes in seeing the seed destroyed when God told Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering on Mount Moriah! Yet, God was faithful in providing Himself a sacrifice so that Isaac, the carrier of the promised seed, might go on living.
Satan tried destroying the seed in Egypt, in the wilderness wanderings, with David and Bathsheba, and in the idolatrous practices of apostate Israel and Judah, yet God remained faithful and preserved the seed of the woman.
Then, at last, the Lord Jesus was born. Did Satan give up? No, he commanded that all children under two years old be killed. The seed of the woman had appeared, and Satan wanted Him dead. God saw to it that the plan failed and the child grew.
When Satan tempted Jesus, one of the temptations was for Him to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, an obvious attempt to kill Him, yet Jesus was all-wise and didn’t fall for the scheme.
The efforts to kill Jesus continue right on up until Calvary, when, finally, He chooses to GIVE His life. He said, “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:18) Ah, how marvelous! The only way that the life of Jesus Christ could come to an end was under the condition that He be able to raise Himself back up again—before His flesh could see any corruption. “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Psa. 16:10) The whole thing was planned and carried out by God so that He might offer to YOU the gift of eternal life, the perfect gift that only God can give!
Yet, after all that effort, after God’s incredible labour of love, you look at Jesus Christ, the Son that is GIVEN unto us (Isa. 9:6), then you push Him away and reject Him. You know, that just might cause God to withdraw Himself and never offer salvation to you again. Proverbs 1:24-26 says, “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.”
Friend, don’t be a fool and reject Jesus Christ. Don’t insult your Creator Who had done all that He could possibly do to save you from eternal damnation. Be humble, be thankful, and receive His gift with great gladness.