Scripture tells us that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years after escaping captivity in Egypt. Scripture also informs us that this was not what they wanted to do but God saw that it was what they needed to do. Their travels had an objective, the Promised Land, but God knew that they were not ready to claim it.
We are not unlike those Israelites in that we can find ourselves wandering just as they did. For some, this wandering may last a life time as they search for something, perhaps not even knowing what it might be. They wander from job-to-job or relationship-to-relationship in search of something that eludes them.
God knew what the Israelites needed even though they did not. Their priorities needed to be reordered. They had lost sight of what should have been second-nature to them. He kept them wandering until they solved their problem. Perhaps God does the same thing with us – keeping us moving until we finally listen to Him regarding the ordering of our priorities.
If you find yourself wandering, stop and reread Ecclesiastes. There you will hear Solomon reminding you that if God is not central in your life, everything else there will just be meaningless. Not much has changed since the time of these Israelites, has it?
Scripture: Genesis 2:24; Ecclesiastes
DON’T SELL GOD SHORT!
There are those times when we sell God short. We tell Him, and ourselves, that we are so dirty that He would not want us around. Or, we say that we are in so much trouble that not even God can help us. When we assume that not even God can help us we underestimate His desire, His willingness and His ability to do so.
The story of Abraham and Sarah’s encounter with God illustrates this beautifully. They are camped, resting in the heat of the day when Abraham looks up and sees three men standing before him. As custom dictates, he opens the hospitality of his house, seeing to their needs.
During the visit, they tell Abraham that Sarah will bear a son in her old age. She, overhearing this, scoffs at this promise recognizing that she is well beyond her child bearing years. Yet, the promise is fulfilled and Isaac is born.
Do you do the same thing that Sarah did when she heard God’s promise to her? Do you doubt because you think that His promise is foolish given your situation? Given that He has never failed to fulfill a promise, can you afford to doubt Him?
Scripture: Genesis 18:1-15
A few years back, there was a popular movement that went by the name – “What Would Jesus Do?”. We don’t hear this phrase anymore, as like all popular movements, it has run its course. However, it did ask this question: is my action consistent with what Jesus taught, i.e. is it consistent with God’s will for me and those whom my action will touch?
While the movement no longer exists to the degree that it once did, the question that it asked is still pertinent. Are our actions, and those of our leaders, consistent with God’s will?
There are two separate events told in Genesis that illustrate this point.
Jacob and Esau were two brothers with widely differing talents and gifts. The elder, Esau, literally went to war with his brother. Yet, they eventually managed to reconcile their differences and move forward with their lives.
The interaction of Joseph and his brothers tells a similar story. Jealous of their brother Joseph, the older brothers sold him into slavery. Yet, Joseph who eventually obtained great power over his brothers chose not revenge, but love in addressing the wrongdoing done by them to him.
The point? It’s simple. We must learn to both listen and forgive. Jacob and Esau were able to do this as was Joseph. Perhaps we should be the example to our leaders and show forgiveness for those with whom we differ.
Scripture: Genesis 25 and following
We live in a time when living together without the benefit of marriage has become more the norm than the exception that it once was. Why is that?
One argument that is often heard is that we need to “test drive” the relationship to see if we’re compatible before we commit to marriage. Data shows that this “testing” does not improve the relationship in the long-run and in fact, can actually harm it.
The more important argument against living together before marriage, however, is that it is not what God envisioned for you. God calls for one man to be wed to one woman in a public setting with a public commitment to each other to remain in the relationship until death separates them.
Scripture: Genesis 3:24; John 4:16-18