Are things getting tough? Are you starting to worry or be anxious about it? Is it triggering fear? Is the fear making you do something that is untrue?
Let’s start today’s reading in Genesis 26 with Isaac.
‘A severe famine now struck the land, as had happened before in Abraham’s time. So Isaac moved to Gerar, where Abimelech, king of the Philistines, lived. The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt, but do as I tell you. Live here as a foreigner in this land, and I will be with you and bless you. I hereby confirm that I will give all these lands to you and your descendants, just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father. I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars of the sky, and I will give them all these lands. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed. I will do this because Abraham listened to me and obeyed all my requirements, commands, decrees, and instructions.” So Isaac stayed in Gerar. When the men who lived there asked Isaac about his wife, Rebekah, he said, “She is my sister.” He was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “They will kill me to get her, because she is so beautiful.” But some time later, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out his window and saw Isaac caressing Rebekah. Immediately, Abimelech called for Isaac and exclaimed, “She is obviously your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” “Because I was afraid someone would kill me to get her from me,” Isaac replied. “How could you do this to us?” Abimelech exclaimed. “One of my people might easily have taken your wife and slept with her, and you would have made us guilty of great sin.” Then Abimelech issued a public proclamation: “Anyone who touches this man or his wife will be put to death!”
When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the Lord blessed him. He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow. He acquired so many flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and servants that the Philistines became jealous of him. So the Philistines filled up all of Isaac’s wells with dirt. These were the wells that had been dug by the servants of his father, Abraham. Finally, Abimelech ordered Isaac to leave the country. “Go somewhere else,” he said, “for you have become too powerful for us.” So Isaac moved away to the Gerar Valley, where he set up their tents and settled down. He reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham’s death. Isaac also restored the names Abraham had given them. Isaac’s servants also dug in the Gerar Valley and discovered a well of fresh water. But then the shepherds from Gerar came and claimed the spring. “This is our water,” they said, and they argued over it with Isaac’s herdsmen. So Isaac named the well Esek (which means “argument”). Isaac’s men then dug another well, but again there was a dispute over it. So Isaac named it Sitnah (which means “hostility”). Abandoning that one, Isaac moved on and dug another well. This time there was no dispute over it, so Isaac named the place Rehoboth (which means “open space”), for he said, “At last the Lord has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.” From there Isaac moved to Beersheba, where the Lord appeared to him on the night of his arrival. “I am the God of your father, Abraham,” he said. “Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you. I will multiply your descendants, and they will become a great nation. I will do this because of my promise to Abraham, my servant.” Then Isaac built an altar there and worshiped the Lord . He set up his camp at that place, and his servants dug another well.
One day King Abimelech came from Gerar with his adviser, Ahuzzath, and also Phicol, his army commander. “Why have you come here?” Isaac asked. “You obviously hate me, since you kicked me off your land.” They replied, “We can plainly see that the Lord is with you. So we want to enter into a sworn treaty with you. Let’s make a covenant. Swear that you will not harm us, just as we have never troubled you. We have always treated you well, and we sent you away from us in peace. And now look how the Lord has blessed you!” So Isaac prepared a covenant feast to celebrate the treaty, and they ate and drank together. Early the next morning, they each took a solemn oath not to interfere with each other. Then Isaac sent them home again, and they left him in peace. That very day Isaac’s servants came and told him about a new well they had dug. “We’ve found water!” they exclaimed. So Isaac named the well Shibah (which means “oath”). And to this day the town that grew up there is called Beersheba (which means “well of the oath”). At the age of forty, Esau married two Hittite wives: Judith, the daughter of Beeri, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon. But Esau’s wives made life miserable for Isaac and Rebekah.’—Genesis 26
Do you realize that you lies and deception triggered out of worry and fear has the chance to actually cause other to do wrong? Do you realize that you are setting others up to fall into a trap or pit? Trust God! Take hold of the golden rule to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. We have each been created on purpose, with purpose, for a purpose. Let’s continue to read from our devotional into 1 Chronicles 23.
‘When David was an old man, he appointed his son Solomon to be king over Israel. David summoned all the leaders of Israel, together with the priests and Levites. All the Levites who were thirty years old or older were counted, and the total came to 38,000. Then David said, “From all the Levites, 24,000 will supervise the work at the Temple of the Lord . Another 6,000 will serve as officials and judges. Another 4,000 will work as gatekeepers, and 4,000 will praise the Lord with the musical instruments I have made.” Then David divided the Levites into divisions named after the clans descended from the three sons of Levi—Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
The Gershonite family units were defined by their lines of descent from Libni and Shimei, the sons of Gershon. Three of the descendants of Libni were Jehiel (the family leader), Zetham, and Joel. These were the leaders of the family of Libni. Three of the descendants of Shimei were Shelomoth, Haziel, and Haran. Four other descendants of Shimei were Jahath, Ziza, Jeush, and Beriah. Jahath was the family leader, and Ziza was next. Jeush and Beriah were counted as a single family because neither had many sons.
Four of the descendants of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. The sons of Amram were Aaron and Moses. Aaron and his descendants were set apart to dedicate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices in the Lord ’s presence, to serve the Lord , and to pronounce blessings in his name forever. As for Moses, the man of God, his sons were included with the tribe of Levi. The sons of Moses were Gershom and Eliezer. The descendants of Gershom included Shebuel, the family leader. Eliezer had only one son, Rehabiah, the family leader. Rehabiah had numerous descendants. The descendants of Izhar included Shelomith, the family leader. The descendants of Hebron included Jeriah (the family leader), Amariah (the second), Jahaziel (the third), and Jekameam (the fourth). The descendants of Uzziel included Micah (the family leader) and Isshiah (the second).
The descendants of Merari included Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli were Eleazar and Kish. Eleazar died with no sons, only daughters. His daughters married their cousins, the sons of Kish. Three of the descendants of Mushi were Mahli, Eder, and Jerimoth. These were the descendants of Levi by clans, the leaders of their family groups, registered carefully by name. Each had to be twenty years old or older to qualify for service in the house of the Lord . For David said, “The Lord , the God of Israel, has given us peace, and he will always live in Jerusalem. Now the Levites will no longer need to carry the Tabernacle and its furnishings from place to place.” In accordance with David’s final instructions, all the Levites twenty years old or older were registered for service. The work of the Levites was to assist the priests, the descendants of Aaron, as they served at the house of the Lord . They also took care of the courtyards and side rooms, helped perform the ceremonies of purification, and served in many other ways in the house of God. They were in charge of the sacred bread that was set out on the table, the choice flour for the grain offerings, the wafers made without yeast, the cakes cooked in olive oil, and the other mixed breads. They were also responsible to check all the weights and measures. And each morning and evening they stood before the Lord to sing songs of thanks and praise to him. They assisted with the burnt offerings that were presented to the Lord on Sabbath days, at new moon celebrations, and at all the appointed festivals. The required number of Levites served in the Lord ’s presence at all times, following all the procedures they had been given. And so, under the supervision of the priests, the Levites watched over the Tabernacle and the Temple and faithfully carried out their duties of service at the house of the Lord .’—1 Chronicles 23
We each a have a purpose and should pursue it. We shouldn’t be comparing our purpose to others because we have each been given a purpose that was set in place with purpose and for a purpose. So let’s take hold of God’s purpose and plan for our lives. Let’s do what God leads us to do through His Word and His Spirit so that in and through it all He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory. Today’s reading continues into John 7.
‘Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. The people were surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked. So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies. Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.” The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?” Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed. But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”’—John 7:14-24
So we need to get to the heart of the matter. We need to consider the motives behind the things we do and avoid doing. We need to take hold of the leading and directing of the Spirit and walk by faith rather than allowing the lies of the enemy of our soul to rob us of the incredible joy and peace that comes from God. Let’s look beneath the surface in order to better understand. Let’s look beneath the surface so that we can take that understanding do live out our lives by faith giving God all the praise, the honor, and the glory. Today’s reading continues into Galatians 3.
‘Dear brothers and sisters, here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case. God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children, ” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ. This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise. Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement. But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to Abraham. Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.
Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.’—Galatians 3:15-29
So let’s not go it alone. Let’s receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Let’s invite Jesus into our hearts so that we can be saved and born again. Let’s live our lives by faith in Jesus – new creations, the old is gone and the new has come. Let’s live our lives by faith demonstrating how we are lead by the Spirit and saved by grace through faith so that none of us can boast because it is not us but Christ in us that is making the difference. Let’s take hold of the promises of God and live out our today by the strength and courage and boldness that comes by faith in Jesus and allowing the joy of the Lord to strengthen us each and every step of the way. Jesus made a way when there wasn’t a way. Jesus came to break the power of sin and death over us. So we no longer need to fear but rather we can live in belief of God and allow Jesus working in and through us to lead us and guide through this life and into eternity where we will get to see Him face to face in heaven.
As we close, let’s meditate on today’s Psalm from Psalms 18.
‘I love you, Lord ; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the Lord , who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies. The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me. The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord ; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears. Then the earth quaked and trembled. The foundations of the mountains shook; they quaked because of his anger. Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth. Glowing coals blazed forth from him. He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet. Mounted on a mighty angelic being, he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind. He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dark rain clouds. Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him and rained down hail and burning coals. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded amid the hail and burning coals. He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies; great bolts of lightning flashed, and they were confused. Then at your command, O Lord , at the blast of your breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare. He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me. The Lord rewarded me for doing right; he restored me because of my innocence. For I have kept the ways of the Lord ; I have not turned from my God to follow evil. I have followed all his regulations; I have never abandoned his decrees. I am blameless before God; I have kept myself from sin. The Lord rewarded me for doing right. He has seen my innocence. To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud. You light a lamp for me. The Lord , my God, lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall. God’s way is perfect. All the Lord ’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord ? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping. I chased my enemies and caught them; I did not stop until they were conquered. I struck them down so they could not get up; they fell beneath my feet. You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet. You placed my foot on their necks. I have destroyed all who hated me. They called for help, but no one came to their rescue. They even cried to the Lord , but he refused to answer. I ground them as fine as dust in the wind. I swept them into the gutter like dirt. You gave me victory over my accusers. You appointed me ruler over nations; people I don’t even know now serve me. As soon as they hear of me, they submit; foreign nations cringe before me. They all lose their courage and come trembling from their strongholds. The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted! He is the God who pays back those who harm me; he subdues the nations under me and rescues me from my enemies. You hold me safe beyond the reach of my enemies; you save me from violent opponents. For this, O Lord , I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name. You give great victories to your king; you show unfailing love to your anointed, to David and all his descendants forever.’—Psalms 18