Genesis 16-17

Genesis 17:1-2

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“When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may multiply you greatly.”

Abram sinned against God by taking matters into his own hands and trying to produce an heir through his slave, Hagar. Despite his sin, the Lord still appears to Abram and fulfills the promises He made.

How reassuring it is to know that no matter what mistakes we have made, no matter how many times we have stopped waiting on the Lord, He still speaks to us. He is forever faithful to His word. If is difficult in our human frailty to comprehend the unwavering nature of the Lord’s character, but this story shows His manifold mercies and unconditional love.

Thank You for showing me a glimpse of Your power through Your patience and love. You have declared Yourself to be our God and urge us to walk righteously before You. Help me to walk accordingly.

Next Week’s Reading Schedule:

1/23: Genesis 18-19

1/24: Genesis 20-21

1/25: Genesis 22

1/26: Genesis 24

1/27: Genesis 25:19-34; 26

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Genesis 15

Genesis 15:5-6

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“And he brought him outside and said, ‘look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘so shall your offspring be.’ And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”

When Abram expresses his concern about producing an heir, the Lord takes him aside to present a visualization of His promise. Most people would be frustrated with Abram for doubting, but not the Lord; He understands Abram’s reservations and  takes the time to encourage him. As a result, Abram’s faith grows.

The Lord understands human nature’s tendency to doubt and to be unable to see beyond our circumstances. We may believe in God and His power, but we may doubt that He will follow through on His promises for us. Our comfort is that when we lose faith, we can remember who God is from these verses- He is slow to anger and constant in love. When we do doubt, He will remind us of His constancy.

Lord, thank You for showing me who You are- Your patience and love for me. Thank You that I can trust You with my future.

 

This Week’s Reading Schedule:

1/16: Job 38-39

1/17: Job 40-42

1/18: Genesis 11-12

1/19: Genesis 15

1/20: Genesis 16-17

Genesis 11-12

Genesis 12:7

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“Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.”

Despite the fact that Abram has not been able to have children, he builds an altar to praise the LORD in anticipation that His promise will be fulfilled.

It can be difficult to trust the Lord in light of our current circumstances. By all appearances, Abram shouldn’t expect his wife to suddenly bear him children after years of barrenness. But when the Lord appears, Abram trusts His promise, and his response is to praise the Lord for what He is going to do. We can trust that when the Lord promises something, He will follow through. Our circumstances  never dictate God’s power.

Lord, thank You for Your communion with us. Thank You for loving me even when my faith is weak. Help me to trust You as Abram did- not only to trust, but to praise You in anticipation of what You’re going to do.

This Week’s Reading Schedule:

1/16: Job 38-39

1/17: Job 40-42

1/18: Genesis 11-12

1/19: Genesis 15

1/20: Genesis 16-17

Job 40-42

Job 41:9-11

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“Behold, the hope of a man is false: he is laid low even at the sight of him. No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. Who then is he who can stand before me? Who has first given to me, that I should repay him Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.”

After Job’s friends persuade him that he did something wrong to warrant God’s wrath, God retorts with a scathing reminder of His power. He uses an eloquent description of one of His most fearsome creations to assert authority over all aspects of His creation.

For those of us who grew up in the church or experienced faith in God early in life, it can be easy to diminish God’s power with familiarity. We get so used to saying how powerful God is without thinking about what that means. These chapters in Job give us a terrifying glimpse of the power and scope of God’s dominion. If one of His creations can make us cower in dread, how much more should we fear, respect, and humble ourselves before the Creator of everything?

Father, You are our majestic, magnanimous Creator. There is no limit to the scope of Your control or capabilities, and yet You have mercy on us. Let us worship You with due fear and respect, realizing that we haven’t begun to comprehend the magnitude of who You Are.

This Week’s Reading Schedule:

1/16: Job 38-39

1/17: Job 40-42

1/18: Genesis 11-12

1/19: Genesis 15

1/20: Genesis 16-17

Job 38-39

Job 38:1

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“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind.”

The Lord was present in the midst of Job’s suffering. Even though he was overwhelmed by his circumstances and overcome with grief, Job was never alone.

Sometimes we focus too much on our situation rather than focusing on who the Lord is. He is sovereign over everything, beginning to end, top to bottom, yesterday, today, and forever. Even more amazing, He cares for us individually as His children. Whatever we go through in life is filtered by His love, and it is all for one purpose: to know Him and to live light of His love. If we could focus on that truth rather than our temporal and often petty issues, our perspectives-and even our attitude toward our circumstances-would change.

Thank You, Lord, for Your presence. Thank You that I can rely on You, that You care for me, and that You hear me. Sometimes I limit You in my simple understanding and focus on my own ability or helplessness rather than Your power and continued provision. Help me to trust You, and help me to recognize Your sovereignty.

This Week’s Reading Schedule

1/16: Job 38-39

1/17: Job 40-42

1/18: Genesis 11-12

1/19: Genesis 15

1/20: Genesis 16-17

Job 1-2

Job 1:21

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“And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.'”

In the midst of great loss and suffering, Job recognized that all of the good things in his life, which he had just lost, were all gifts from God; he didn’t deserve any of them. Understanding this enabled Job to worship God for the blessings he still had in life and those which he had lost.

Our response to loss is often self-pity and a lapse of faith. It is easy to question how God could take away when we view ourselves as blameless bystanders, not realizing that we’ve done nothing (and can do nothing) to merit the initial blessing. From there, we question how a good God would allow such things to happen. Instead, our focus needs to be on God’s goodness. When we see God as good, we realize, like Job, how everything we have is a gift and how God has provided for us in so many tangible ways. We are not entitled to anything that we possess in this life.

Lord, create in me a heart of gratitude. Help me to recognize the blessings You’ve given to me and to praise You for who You are- not what my circumstances suggest or how they make me feel.

What stuck out to you in these first chapters of Job? How does this story challenge your understanding of God’s character and His involvement in our lives? Please comment below!

Next Week’s Reading Schedule:

1/16: Job 38-39

1/17: Job 40-42

1/18: Genesis 11-12

1/19: Genesis 15

1/20: Genesis 16-17

Genesis 8-9

Genesis 8:20

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“Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.”

After God told Noah to go out of the ark with his family to multiply the earth, Noah’s first response was to build an altar and to make a sacrifice to the Lord. Noah’s actions not only showed gratitude, but they also exhibited faith; he gave some of every animal and bird which would have been a source to populate the earth. He had to trust that God would supply for every need.

After a difficult season, it isn’t often our response to give thanks. We are usually to focused on the things that went wrong rather than using God’s perspective to see what went right and how God provided. Gratitude is oftentimes a result of seeking perspective, which is a gift of the Spirit.

Lord, create in me a heart of gratitude. Help me to recognize, acknowledge, and respond to Your provision over my life and to give You praise. Even when circumstances are difficult, help me to trust, by Your Holy Spirit, that You are working all things for my good and Your glory.

What did you walk away thinking about after this reading? What did you learn about the Lord from reading this passage? Please comment below and share your thoughts!

This Week’s Reading Schedule:

1/9: Genesis 1-2

1/10: Genesis 3-4

1/11: Genesis 6-7

1/12: Genesis 8-9

1/13: Job 1-2