Monday: Genesis 36
Tuesday: Mark 8
Wednesday: Psalm 3
Thursday: Romans 7
Friday: Genesis 36, Mark 8, Psalm 3, Romans 7
Monday, Genesis 36
At first glance, this is simply another list of names that we might be tempted to skip over. But spend a few minutes in this scripture and we will realize some greater truths about God and His character. We have seen from previous passages in Genesis that Esau or “Edom” as he is called here, is not the chosen brother, he is not the son through whom the lineage of the Messiah will go forward. In fact, the Edomites will become enemies of Israel, refusing them passage through their territory on their way to the promised land and coming against them with an army. We see Esau has chosen to marry unbelieving women, something the Lord and Esau’s own father commanded him not to do. And yet, the Lord still sees fit that Esau’s family line is recorded, that his name and the names of his family members are written down for many to read for years to come. Our Father deeply cares about every single person He created, even those stuck in sin and walking away from Him. He knows our names. He knows their names. The names of those seeking after Him and the names of those turning their backs. And He purposes to use every single one of us to accomplish His purposes.
Are there people in your life who you have deemed as unworthy of Gospel love?
What would it look like to believe God knows their names and they are precious to Him?
Do you ever find yourself feeling insignificant and unworthy?
Spend some time today reminding yourself of your preciousness to God. Rest in knowing that He sees you and He knows your name. He has it recorded in the book of Life for all eternity!
Tuesday, Mark 8
Again and again and again, the Lord has compassion on His people. When He is surrounded by a hungry crowd, He gives thanks and breaks bread. They do not know, but later He will give thanks and let His body be broken for us, our Bread of Life. He breaks the bread for the crowd and the text says they were satisfied. His body breaks for us and we can be most satisfied in Him. It is so easy to shift our eyes and look to other things to satisfy, but none of them will. He alone is enough to satisfy our souls. And even as He satisfies us, He calls us to lay down our lives for Him. So minute by minute, little tiny decision by little tiny decision, each time we surrender our desires and choose Him instead, our satisfaction grows and our joy increases.
How are you finding your satisfaction in Him?
What does it look like in your life today, even in the small, to lay down your life for His sake?
Wednesday, Psalm 3
I read Psalm 3 several times before I noticed the little note under the title, “A Psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom.” Wow, I think I have problems. David’s son is literally trying to kill him. I cannot even imagine how painful that would be. And yet in the midst of it all, David turns his eyes to praise God. He remembers who God is and he sings it aloud for all to hear, “You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord and He answers me from His Holy mountain.” God is the lifter of our heads even in the darkest valleys, even in the most unthinkable circumstances. When we call out to Him, He always answers us.
Can you praise Him today even in the midst of your own heartache?
Remember who He is, dear one! The lifter of your head, the God who answers you!
Thursday, Romans 7
Some of Paul’s language here can be a little hard for me to understand. But as I have mulled over it this week, I think what it boils down to is this – God’s law is not the problem. Our sin is the problem! And God’s perfect law makes it very clear to us just how sinful we are. And I SO relate to what Paul says later in the chapter – the good he wants to do he finds himself incapable of, and the evil he wants to flee from he finds himself drawn to. “What a wretched man that I am!” But we can recognize our sinful nature without despair because this is exactly what Christ came for. He knew exactly just how wretched we were and exactly how much we needed Him. Relying on Him is the only way to the good we long to do, the only way to abundant life!
How are you actively battling sin and temptation in your own life?
Spend some time today repenting for your sin and then praising Jesus who took it all on the cross!
I smiled with pride as I watched my kids walk into new schools this week. But at the same time I felt so proud of them in their new adventures, so in awe of their courage to do something so new and unknown, I felt anxious for them, probably even more anxious than they were feeling for themselves.
For the last five years, they’ve attended a school where everyone not only knows their names, but their parents’ and siblings’ names, their birthdays, and often even the most intimate details of their lives. They’ve been in classes with their sisters and a small handful of other children that they have basically grown up with. Their dad’s close friend is their Chemistry teacher. Their good friend’s mom is their math teacher. We have thrived for years in a tiny, intentional, intimate community.
So my breath catches in my throat a bit as I watch one bob away from me down the sidewalk of the crowded college campus. My eyes fill with tears as the high schoolers push their way toward me through the hallway after a long first day. I shake my head and try not to let the thought that has been nagging me all day take root, “We don’t know anyone here.”
But as I read through this list of names in Genesis one, as I think of Jesus having compassion on and distributing food to thousands upon thousands of individuals, wanting each one of them to be safe and well fed, I am reminded that God knows my name and the names of each of my children. He knows their parents and their siblings, their birthdays and the very most intimate details of their lives. He knows what we are walking into and why He has us here, even when we are still a bit uncertain.
I am tempted to shake my head a bit at the disciples in Mark 8. It’s nearly the exact same scenario that they lived through weeks or months before, with different numbers of people and a different number of fish. They had seen Jesus do this before. And yet, when Jesus suggests to the disciples that the people need something to eat, their response is the same.
“Where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”
Seriously? How can they ask Jesus this? They had just watched Jesus feed a crowd even larger than this, basically conjuring up a feast from just a few bites. A feast with twelve baskets left over, abundance, far more than they started with. Don’t the disciples know that Jesus will do this again? And He does. Once again, He takes nothing and makes it something, He takes lack and makes it abundance, He takes the starving and He satisfies.
Jesus, who knows our names, will satisfy the starving again. He will take our lack and make it abundant again. This is who He is. This is what He does.
So we walk through a town full of people we have never seen before. We smile at strangers. We don’t know the names of the baristas or the grocers, and they don’t know our coffee orders or let us pay later like they do at home. But a waitress chases me down the street out of the restaurant with the water bottle and toy truck that we left behind and I feel like God is reminding me – we will be known again. We will find intentional and intimate community because this is what He designed us for. But in the meantime, He knows our names and He knows us more intimately than anyone on this earth ever will.
I don’t know where you are today? I don’t know if you are surrounded by your people and praising God for them or if you are more like us, feeling displaced and lonely. It’s easy to feel like the disciples looking at a couple loaves of bread and thinking, “How are you going to do this, Lord?” God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever is going to keep working now like He did before. God who has taken our nothing and made it into something before is going to do that again. And here in our lonely seasons, He knows our names. He knows each hair on our heads and every ache and dream in our hearts.
He sees you, love. I pray you hear Him call your name today.