Monday: Genesis 32
Tuesday: Mark 5
Wednesday: Esther 9-10
Thursday: Romans 4
Friday: Genesis 32, Mark 5, Esther 9-10, Romans 4
Monday, Genesis 32
After decades of living apart, Jacob is about to meet the brother he deceived all those years ago. Shame wounds deep. Past mistakes can haunt us. And Jacob is afraid. But in great fear and distress he doesn’t run, instead he reminds himself of who God is and who He has been to him before.
He remembers who God is, and what God has instructed him: “God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives and I will make you prosper.’”
He remembers who he is in light of God’s majesty, that without God and before God he had nothing: “I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan.”
He asks God for help: “Save me, I pray.”
He reminds himself again of what God has promised him: “But you have said ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea.’”
And God comes to meet with Him.
Yes, they wrestle. Yes, there is struggle. But God does not leave Jacob in his shame and fear alone. He meets him there. He meets us here. And He does not not leave until He has blessed Jacob and Jacob can confidently say, “I have seen God face to face.”
What shame or guilt are you carrying into this week? What fear of the unknown or the future is filling your mind? Can we follow the example of Jesus and:
Remember who God is and the promises He has given you.
Remember who you are in light of God’s majesty (He has been merciful and kind to us!)
Ask God for help.
Trust in His promises – He has never broken them, not one!
Tuesday, Mark 5
I imagine the tenderness in Jesus’s eyes as He looks into the faces of each of these people that society has utterly given up on. First, there is the man with the impure spirit. Let’s take a minute to imagine this guy: he is so ostracized by his peers and community that he has chosen to live among the tombs. His community is clearly terrified of him because they have been binding his hands and feet with chains. He is cut-up, bruised, and bloody from breaking out of the chains and cutting himself with stones. He is a picture of complete hopelessness.
And Jesus asked him his name.
Then there is the woman with the issue of blood. The culture of the day would have deemed her “unclean” and therefore not allowed to be around other people. She was expected to separate herself from her peers and community until she got her issues under control, but she couldn’t. For 12 years she has been sick, isolated, and now she has nothing left after spending it all trying to find a solution. She is desperate, and her reach through the crowd proves it all the more.
And Jesus looks for her. And then He looks at her.
Last we have Jairus’s daughter. Beyond hopeless, beyond desperate, she is dead.
And Jesus takes her by the hand.
This is the Savior who wants to meet with us, who came for us. Who looks us in the eyes. He calls us by name – He knows us. He looks for us – He sees us. He takes us by the hand.
Where are you feeling hopeless? Jesus knows your name.
Where are you feeling desperate? Jesus sees you.
Where is your spirit feeling dead and defeated? Jesus takes you by the hand.
Wednesday, Esther 9-10
While it’s a bit of a gory picture at first glance, it is also such a clear and profound picture of how God protects His people. In the course of just a few days, the Jews have gone from victims to victors! From the brink of annihilation to honored and exalted. God’s chosen people triumph over their enemies, both then and now. If we are in Christ, no matter our circumstances, no matter who or what comes against us, we are not victims. We will be victorious, maybe now, definitely in eternity.
Verse 22 of chapter 9 says their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. This is what God promises to do for us, as well.
What is coming against you in this season?
What challenges seem insurmountable?
We are not victims of our circumstances and trials but victors in Christ Jesus. We can endure and overcome all things because our hope lies in Him and our eternity is secure.
Thursday, Romans 4
Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. I have just read this over and over because it jumps out at me that Abraham didn’t just believe in God, but he believed God. Believed what God said. Believed what God promised him. Believed God even when it didn’t make sense, even when he couldn’t see it yet. And with just that one line, I am so convicted that I often walk through my days believing in God, but forgetting to truly believe Him. Believe that even when I can’t see or understand, all things are working for my good. Believe that even when things don’t go according to my plan, they will go according to His plan. Believe that none of this life is beyond His reach, outside of His power and sovereignty.
When we believe God, like Abraham, our sins will never count against us. When we believe God, like Abraham, we will receive all of God’s promises. Not because of who we are or anything we have done but because we have a loving Father who gives life to the dead (that was us!) and calls things that were not (we are not righteous on our own) as though they were (now we are made righteous in Him!). Paul says that Abraham did not waver in unbelief regarding the promise of God – even when it looked impossible! Oh Lord, help us to not waver, help us to not simply believe in you but to believe you.
Where are you having trouble believing God this week?
Are there promises of God that you know to be true but they just don’t seem true right now?
Our word today says that Abraham was fully persuaded that God was able to do what He had promised. And friends, He is still able. Let us be fully persuaded of His goodness and Faithfulness toward us.
“I need to walk.” It’s a kind of SOS text message that I have been sending to my best friend for over a decade. When she lived down the street from me, it inevitably meant that she would show up at some point within the next thirty minutes, sneakers laced and stroller ready. These days she lives an ocean away but sometimes I still send the text, put on my shoes and pull out FaceTime. “I need to walk,” I text, but what I really mean is “I need to talk.” I need to share my heart with someone who knows me – all of me – and loves me anyway.
I got to spend time with my bestie this week. We got to walk and talk, laugh and cry. After a few really hard years, I don’t think I realized just how unlike myself I had been feeling until we were together and everything felt right again. It is amazing how even in the midst of the dark and the hard, someone who has truly known us can remind us of who we really are. We need this. I am deeply grateful to have a few amazing people in my life who do this for me.
And as I read through our Scriptures this week, I am reminded that our God wants to do this for each of us – for Jacob, for the demon possessed man, and the woman with the issue of blood, for Esther, and for each one of us today. The God who knows us more intimately than even our closest friend wants to meet with us, to remind us of who we really are, and who He made us to be. He makes it right again.
It is simple but true, when my mind is racing and my heart is thumping, I can send out that same SOS to my loving Father – I need to talk. As my head hits the pillow at the end of an over-full day or as I wake up in the morning already feeling overwhelmed, I call out to Him, “I need to meet with you.” And even quicker than the most loyal friend, here He is. He wants to meet with you. He wants to remind you who you are.
In great fear and distress, Jacob calls out to the Lord, “God, save me.” After being freed from his anguish, the demon possessed man begs Jesus for the chance to stay with Him. In his darkest moment, Jairus pleads earnestly with Jesus to come with him. In total desperation the woman with the issue of blood reaches out to Him.
And I can, too. In my darkest moments, in fear, distress, anguish and desperation, I can send up the SOS, “Jesus! I need to talk.” And my God, the God who came down and wrestled with Jacob. The God who wasn’t repulsed by a demon-possessed man or an “unclean” bleeding woman but looked them in the eyes and knew their names, the God who took the little girl’s hand in His own, will come to meet with me. He knows me well enough to remind me of the truth of who I am because of the truth of who He is.
How would it change the way we approached God if we truly believed He wanted to meet with us? If we began to call Him, speak to Him like a treasured friend and knew He cared to listen to every little detail? It might drastically alter our relationship, moving Him from someone we view as far-off and unavailable to a God who calls us by name, who desires both to listen to us and speak to us. We might say with Jacob, “I saw God face to face.”
So, friends, let’s try it. Next time you find yourself alone, even for a moment, can you pause and talk to the God who loves you, knows you, and wants to meet with you? Can you see Him looking into your eyes the way He did with the demon-possessed man, the woman with the issue of blood, the dead little girl? I pray that you would feel His tenderness toward you, His love for you, and that He would remind you of who He created you to be.