Genesis 6 … Consider His Sorrow

Oh this chapter…where do we begin? There is so much to consider; but this morning I was struck with these words, “The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart,” (6:6).

Consider His Sorrow

God Himself repeated this thought in the first Person, “…for I am sorry that I have made them,” (6:7). And I was reminded of Isaiah’s prophetic description of the Messiah, the Christ, Who was to come.

He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him, (Isaiah 53:3).

“A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…”

And the thought came; Jesus’ sorrow did not begin during the time He walked on the earth as a man. It began in the garden, when He walked in sweet fellowship with His creation; yet they chose to forsake Him, hid their faces, despised Him by choosing their own way, and esteemed Him not as LORD God Creator, but rather chose to esteem self.

And now, here in Genesis 6, this corruption of self-esteem is pandemic. And it grieved His heart. To think of God’s heart breaking… Judgment is not pleasurable.

How can we respond as we Consider His Sorrow?

We can look to Noah. In the midst of all the violence and corruption there was one. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD,” (6:8). How did Noah come to this place of favor? “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God,” (6:9).

This is a clear description of faith. In the midst of a world who had turned their backs on God, by God’s grace (favor) Noah walked with Him. And how was Noah declared righteous and blameless? We know Scripture teaches, “There is no one righteous not even one,” (Romans 3:10). But the righteousness of man has always been imparted by faith, “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness,” (Romans 4:3).

Because Noah was a man of faith, he walked with God, trusted God, and “did, according to all that God commanded him, so he did,” (6:22). And because of Noah’s close fellowship with God, he too must have experienced grief and sorrow over the condition of man. How Noah’s heart must have ached with every act of obedience in the ark’s construction.

Oh that we would respond as Noah:

  • It must begin with faith. Have we trusted God alone for our standing in His righteousness?
  • Do we walk with the LORD as Noah did, in faith, obedience, humility and reverence?
  • Sin grieves the heart of God…do we grieve over sin, our own as well as the world’s?
  • Are we ready and willing to obey and serve Him whenever and however He calls, “according to all that God had commanded…” (6:22)?

Let’s Grow Together!

Consider Him Who Hears and Sees in Genesis 16

“And you shall call his name Ishmael [“God hears”], because the LORD has given heed to your affliction,” (16:11).

Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees [El-Roi] … Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi” [“the well of the Living One who sees me”] (16:13).

Click on the link to read the devotion: Genesis 16 … Consider Him Who Hears and Sees

Let’s Grow Together!

Genesis 46 … Consider Him Who Fortifies

Fortify: “to make strong; impart strength or vigor to; to increase the effectiveness of, as by additional ingredients; to strengthen mentally or morally; to protect or strengthen against attack.”

God never ceases to amaze me! He is All-Powerful, Sovereign, Lord and King. He is worthy that all should bow at His feet. And by all rights, He could be allusive and disinterested in His lowly subjects.

But oh, His lavish love steals my breath away! He has chosen to be actively involved, to invite us from His feet to His lap; He is our loving Father. He faithfully Fortifies His own with all that is needed, and here in Genesis 46, we see the Creator of all the universe, Majestic and Exalted One, stoop to place His chosen one in the perfect place of provision; to be Fortified in faith and hope, protected and sanctified.

Consider Him Who Fortifies

  • He Fortifies by His Company. God Personally visits Israel to impart strength and vigor through His promise to “go down with you.” All that would be needed for the days ahead was now in Israel’s possession, for he would “go down” in the great Company of Almighty God.
    • God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” 3 He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes,” (46:2-4).
  • He Fortifies by His Calling. He calls, by name, each of Jacob’s family to move them toward their ultimate destiny of becoming a great nation.
    • Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, Jacob and his sons, who went to Egypt… (46:8).
  • He Fortifies by His Consolation. In his old age, Israel experiences consolation from God through the miraculous reunion with his son.
    • Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; as soon as he appeared before him, he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a long time. 30 Then Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive,” (46:29-30).
  • He Fortifies by His Consecration. God’s people are intentionally set apart so as to be wholly dedicated to their God. The distinctiveness of His chosen people would be sustained. They were shepherds, and this, being detestable to the Egyptians, would safeguard them from the cultural and religious traditions of the land. Their occupation as shepherds would also provide for their livelihood, allowing them to further maintain their independence and separateness.
    • When Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34  you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ that you may live in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians,” (46:33-34).

How do we respond to Him Who Fortifies?

  • Let us be fortified by His Company. Jacob moved out in faith and made himself available to God. “So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac,” (46:1). Let us be resolved to do the same, and by faith not allow anything to compete with our time in His Holy Presence; that we would fully grasp the privilege we have to hear His voice through our time in His Word. He will speak to our hearts as well, to strengthen us for whatever lies ahead.
    • I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken, (Psalm 16:7-8).
  • Let us be fortified by His Calling.  May we be strengthened to live with uncompromising hope! He has called us to a great destiny! He has called us to be His for eternity, to a sure hope, to full assurance that we need not fear our future; for He holds it all is in His capable and loving hands.
    • Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope. 50 This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life, (Psalm 119:49-50).
  • Let us be fortified by His Consolation. When life is difficult, and it will be, let us look to Him for hope and strength. When time seems to be against us, let us find consolation in His perfect timetable. When we suffer loss, let us find comfort in Him Who holds all the universe in His hand. When we are confused, let us find encouragement in the provision of His Word.
    • For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope, (Romans 15:4).
  • Let us be fortified by His Consecration. Are there corners in your life He is calling you to set apart and consecrate for Him alone? Let us take time today to evaluate any areas being influenced by our surrounding culture, perhaps through our relationships, entertainment, social media or hobbies. What things are we allowing to shape our hearts and minds so that we look more like the world than Him? Consecration comes at a cost. If we are hated by the world, found loathsome in their sight, let us remember the words of our Savior,
    • “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19  If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you,” (John 15:18-19).

Let’s Grow Together!

Genesis 36 … Consider His Story

An entire chapter recording the genealogy of Esau… Did a question flood your thoughts that went something like this, “How do we possibly see You, Lord, in this mind-numbing list of names?” I confess that was my initial thought. But this is His inspired Word; therefore every bit must be relevant.

So why did God inspire Moses, the man of God, to chronicle the records of the generations of Esau? Why a lengthy list of names with no substantial details, no elaboration of events unfolding, no stories? God’s Word describes countless stories within its pages, but not here. Within the absence of human stories is this unmistakable reality; there is only one story that matters… His.

Consider His Story

1) His Story communicates the fulfillment of His Word. In a chapter containing little more than a list of names, we see the LORD repeating Himself; and we know when He repeats Himself…pay attention! Five times God conveys that Esau is Edom, or the father of the Edomites.

Now these are the records of the generations of Esau (that is, Edom), (36:1); So Esau lived in the hill country of Seir; Esau is Edom, (36:8); These then are the records of the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir, (36:9); These are the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these are their chiefs, (36:19); These are the chiefs of Edom (that is, Esau, the father of the Edomites), according to their habitations in the land of their possession, (36:43).

Five times! Why? This fact has tremendous significance; for in this genealogy we see the fulfillment of His Word spoken to Rebekah regarding the twins she carried. “The Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger,’” (Genesis 25:23).

It is His Story, and what He desires will be accomplished. “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it,” (Isaiah 55:11).

2) His Story communicates the destiny of man. As God had foretold in Genesis 25, Esau’s ancestors become the nation Edom. “These then are the records of the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites,” (36:4). Man’s destiny is in His Hands, it is His Story, “and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,” (Acts 17:26).

3) His Story is about Him, not us. We read name after name, but no accounts of individual stories. The Edomites do become a nation, a nation of pagans who ultimately become brutal enemies of God and His chosen people “They have said, Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.’ For they have conspired together with one mind; against You they make a covenant: The tents of Edom and…,” (Psalm 83:4-6). There is nothing in the Edomites to record, for the stories of men must always magnify and glorify His Story.

How do we respond to His Story?

  • Let us stand strong in the reality that He will accomplish what He has decreed. No man, no organization, no demon will rewrite His Story; it is His Story to fulfill. Do we believe He will accomplish all He has promised? When we struggle to believe, let us ask Him to strengthen us through our time in His Word, by the power of His Holy Spirit; in desperate sincerity we too can cry out,
    • “I do believe; help my unbelief,” (Mark 9:24).
  • Let us examine ourselves: in whose story are we trusting for our eternal destiny? Jesus left no room for doubt, it is only our belief in Him that securely and infinitely establishes our eternity. It is only His Story that brings eternal life.
    • “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).
  • Let us learn to live sacrificially for the sake of others, and to grow in boldness to share the Gospel, so that many others may share in His Story. There is coming a day when another list, an eternally consequential list of names will be revealed.
    • “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire,” (Revelation 20:15).

May we be intentional and purposeful in sharing the good news of the gospel, praying that many would become part of His Story and find themselves included in His Book of Life!

Let’s Grow Together!

Genesis 26 … Consider Him, the God of Abraham

Abraham has died, and the patriarchal mantle has been passed on to Isaac. What a tremendous responsibility! The LORD had been preparing him; surely, Isaac had heard from his father copious details of the LORD’s numerous appearances to make Himself and His covenant known. Isaac was there, after all, when the LORD called to Abraham and said, Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me,” (Genesis 22:12).

Isaac witnessed the substitute offering provided on the Mount of Provision (Genesis 22:13). And again Isaac heard the LORD confirm His promise to Abraham, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,17 indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice,” (Genesis 22:16-18).

But a second-hand encounter with the God of Abraham is not sufficient. Isaac needed to experience the LORD himself.

Consider Him, the God of Abraham

The God of Abraham appeared to confirm His covenant.

The Lord appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you.Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws,” (26:2-5).

The God of Abraham appeared to encourage Isaac’s faith.

The Lord appeared to him the same night and said,
“I am the God of your father Abraham;

Do not fear, for I am with you.
I will bless you, and multiply your descendants,
For the sake of My servant Abraham.”
25  So he built an altar there and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there;
(26:24-25).

How are we to respond to the God of Abraham?

The God of Abraham alone establishes and keeps His covenant; His covenant, not ours. He is encountered and experienced through faith in His truth; His truth, not ours. His New Covenant is established through the sacrificial spilling of Jesus’ blood on the cross,

And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood,” (Luke 22:20).

  • When we place our faith in His finished work on the cross for our sins, we enter into that New Covenant by faith; His work, not ours. It is His amazing gift!
    • For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8).
  • Faith must become our own, not our parents. Each of us must come into relationship with the God of Abraham on His terms, not ours. Let us be diligent to know and study His truth, so as not to be deceived by the godless and poisonous objections of man.
    • Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene… (2 Timothy 2:15-17).

The God of Abraham is to be the source of our strength and courage. Lets us be encouraged from the manner in which the God of Abraham dealt with Abraham’s son, Isaac. Unfortunately, Isaac followed his earthly father’s example and chose the path of trickery and deception to counter his fears, (26:7, 9). Some things absorbed through our upbringing are difficult to unlearn, even when blessed with parents of faith. And though God had already appeared to Isaac to confirm His covenant, (26:2-5), the LORD still came again with encouraging grace-filled words,

“Do not fear, for I am with you,” (26:24).

  • Isaac built an altar and called on His name, because he himself encountered the LORD. When we fear and fail, let us be quick to seek Him through confession and the receiving of His forgiveness and cleansing.
    • If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, (1 John 1:9).
  • With hearts cleansed, we are enabled to encounter Him by faith and embrace His grace-filled presence and provision for strength and courage.
    • Behold, God is my salvation,
      I will trust and not be afraid;
      For the Lord God is my strength and song,
      And He has become my salvation,
      (Isaiah 12:2).

Let’s Grow Together!

Genesis 16 … Consider Him Who Hears and Sees

“And you shall call his name Ishmael [“God hears”], because the LORD has given heed to your affliction,” (16:11).

Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees [El-Roi] … Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi,” [“the well of the Living One who sees me”] (16:13-14).

Today let us Consider Him Who Hears and Sees

Remember consider means “to think carefully about, especially in order to make a decision.”

He hears us. “Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it all,” (Psalm 139:4).

He sees us. “The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; From His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth,” (Psalm 33:13-14).

He finds us. The LORD finds Hagar in the middle of nowhere, in the midst of her despair and hopelessness, in a place without purpose or direction. “Now the angel of the LORD found her…(16:7). Don’t miss this! The LORD finds her! He went looking for her! It was His initiative, His compassion that moved Him to take action.

He commands us. He shows up in order to give direction to a wayward and needy Hagar. He commands so she will know her next step, and He fully expects her to obey, “Return…submit…” (16:9).

He promises. He promises what only He can do. “Moreover, the angel of the LORD said to her, ‘I will greatly multiply your descendants…because the LORD has given heed to your affliction.’ “ (16:10-11).

How do we decidedly respond to Him Who Hears and Sees?

Determine to go to Him with our cries and requests in every situation; He hears. “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears,” (Psalm 18:6). In full confidence we can take all our concerns to Him in faith.

Place ourselves humbly under His command. Resolve to obey Him as He directs and submit to His authority alone. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,” (1 Peter 5:6).

Decide to be honest before Him; He sees. “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). Ask Him to enable us to tear down our makeshift facades. Be quick to confess, for He already knows. Confess sin of course, but also confess our fears, our hopes, our desires, fully persuaded that He cares. …casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7).

Fix our faith on Him; expect His compassion to find us. “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you…,” (Isaiah 30:18).

Receive His promises with unwavering faith. Trust that He Who Hears and Sees will respond in His proper time. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him,” (Hebrews 11:6).

What greater reward than to know Him Who Hears and Sees, and to know He rewards us with what He alone can give…His very Presence!

Let’s Grow Together!