Monday: Genesis 27
Tuesday: Matthew 27 and 28
Wednesday: Esther 4
Thursday: Acts 27
Friday: Genesis 27, Matthew 27 and 28, Ester 4, Acts 27
Monday, Genesis 27:
It seems the very thing that Isaac and Rebekah prayed fervently for has become a cause of discord in their marriage. Isaac clearly doesn’t trust, or maybe has forgotten, the promise of the Lord that his older son would serve the younger and that the promise would continue through Jacob. Rebekah clearly doesn’t trust her husband’s leadership, either. This is such a clear example of the fall – man not trusting God, woman not trusting man (or ultimately God) – and is the cause of much hurt in marriages and other relationships today. Another possibility, also reminiscent of the fall, is that Isaac does remember the prophecy God gave, but so desires the indulgence of his favorite food that he ignores it completely.
Rather than speak to her husband in encouragement and remind him of the promise God had given them, Rebekah takes matters into her own hands, using deception to get her way. Yes, ultimately the will of God is achieved – it always is! But I wonder how much deep hurt could have been avoided, how much future family turmoil could have been prevented, if she had gone to her husband in humility and they had prayed fervently for God’s wisdom the way they had fervently prayed for children.
Here in this passage we see clearly that God’s purposes will always be accomplished, but our obedience can make the path a lot more joyful. Choosing to take matters into our own hands, or yielding to our own selfish desires, rather than trusting the promises of God, is sure to lead to hurt and dissension.
Isaac, much like Adam, chose to ignore the instruction of God and instead satisfy the desires of his flesh. While I’m not often tempted by “delicious game” I know that too often the desires of my flesh look shiny and appealing next to the commands of God.
Is there an area of life where your own desires are preventing obedience to God?
Rebekah on the other hand might be justified as wanting the things of God, but rather than trust Him, rather than approach her husband, she uses sin and deception to get her way.
Is there a situation in your life that you need to approach with humility and honesty, trusting God to reveal His will and His way?
Tuesday, Matthew 27 and 28:
They say it is the command Jesus spoke most often, and the most frequent command throughout the entire Bible – “Do not be afraid.” And yet the world around us, and my own heart, seem increasingly anxious. So how do we move this from a command on the pages of our Bible to a heart truth that truly changes the way we live? I’ll be honest. I am still working on this, wrestling to embody this, daily. I want to live unafraid. While it may seem simple, something that never fails to put my mind at ease is reciting, out loud or in my mind, memorized Scripture.
When I find myself scrolling haphazardly through my phone, my mind wandering to all the “what ifs” imaginable, when I wake up at 3 am and my mind begins racing with all that needs to be done in the morning, the Word of God is the only thing that can calm my anxious heart.
“Do not be afraid,” the angel said to the women at the tomb. “Do not be afraid,” our Savior whispers to us.
What are you afraid of?
This question, while simple, never fails to bring tears to my eyes. Because when I answer honestly, behind all my fears is a false belief that maybe God won’t be enough, maybe He won’t provide, maybe He won’t see us through this time.
Let’s memorize Psalm 91 together this week. It begins like this:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
My God in whom I trust.”
Wednesday, Esther 4:
“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” While God is not mentioned directly here, Esther and her people need His command more than ever – “Do not be afraid.” The Jews are facing complete annihilation and Esther is facing death if she doesn’t find favor with the King. I understand her pushback to her uncle – this is a monumental, seemingly impossible task.
And yet sometimes the impossible task before us – the difficult parenting, the relationship in need of restoration, the fight for the oppressed and marginalized, the sharing of the Gospel with an unbelieving friend – is the very Kingdom work that we are called to right here, right now. Here we are, for such a time as this.
What “impossible” task are you facing?
What fears are getting in the way of jumping into this task wholeheartedly?
Let’s follow Esther’s example. Are there some friends that you can call and invite to fast and pray with you as you do the next thing God is calling you to?
Thursday, Acts 27:
There it is again – Do not be afraid.
And did you see Paul’s response? I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.
And I wonder… Do I? Isn’t all my churning fear and worry just another way that my heart says that maybe it won’t be exactly as God has promised?
I am amazed at how long and arduous Paul’s journey has been. Both physically and literally he has been beaten down, crashed by the waves. And yet, he knows who God has been, and so he can rest assured of who God will be. Do I? Can I look back at all of life’s storms and see Him there with me? I can. And so, can I look at the storm ahead, though uncertain, and say with sure confidence that it will be exactly how God ordains it and that He will be with me every step of the way?
Paul breaks bread. He gives thanks. He believes in the God who will deliver them.
Think of some storms in your life that God has carried you through.
Give thanks for who He has been to you!
Now spend some time asking Him to remind you that He will deliver you through all of life’s storms, for He is the same yesterday, today and forever!
I can see the women with their eyes wide open as they tremble in front of the tomb.
They listen to the angel’s words – can it be? This, their greatest nightmare, the death of their friend and Savior, will be their greatest joy if what the angel says is true.
And I have always lingered long on those words in verse 8, “they hurried away from the tomb, terrified yet filled with joy.” Because so often this is me – definitely afraid of what is to come, and yet filled with awe to be in a position to have to trust Him in the first place.
I think of Esther as she calls for her friends and countrymen to pray and fast with her, and I imagine her trembling just like the women beholding the angel. Is it possible to be afraid of what obedience to God might bring and yet simultaneously giddy with anticipation because we remember all that God has done for us and believe that He will bring more good, even in the unknown, even in the storm?
Then, as they hurry away, they see Him. They see Him and they fall and grab ahold of His feet. And I imagine in that moment that all their fear disappeared and was replaced with only their joyful sobs as they clung to the real, live, tangible feet of Jesus. And He says it again, the angel’s command, His own, often-repeated command, “Do not be afraid; but go and tell my brothers… they will see me.”
Jesus doesn’t just take away our fear. He triumphs our fear with joy. He replaces our fear with purpose.
Just seconds after He reminds the women not to be afraid He gives them further instruction – go and tell my brothers they will see me. And isn’t it true for us, too, that often when we are most afraid, our eyes are most opened to see Him working? Often in the situations that feel the most like an earthquake or the eye of the storm we have to trust Him more than we have before, and thus experience His provision more than we have before.
We tremble. Because who wouldn’t tremble at the feet of the Savior? At just a glimpse of all He might have planned? But like Paul, we break bread – we remember what He has done for us. And we give thanks, because we can rest in His promises to us. As we trust, we are filled with joy and peace, we overflow with hope, just as it is promised. We know all He has done for us, and we know all that He has yet to do when He brings us into His kingdom.
Friend, whatever it is you are facing, do not be afraid. Whatever it is He is calling you to in obedience, rest assured – you will see Him! Go and tell the world of what He has done for us, for you! We can trust Him. And today, we REJOICE in Him!