Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 26 January 2022:
Genesis 24:3, 4 – “… you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell….”
Most important to Abraham was that his son marry within the people of God; this was non-negotiable as it must be today. See Deuteronomy 7:3, and 2 Chronicles 6:14-15.
Genesis 24:27 – As for me, the LORD has led me
“We have to be so one with God that we do not continually need to ask for guidance. Sanctification means that we are made the children of God, and the natural life of a child is obedience — until he wishes to be disobedient, then instantly there is the intuitive jar. In the spiritual domain the intuitive jar is the monition of the Spirit of God. When He gives the check, we have to stop at once and be renewed in the spirit of our mind in order to make out what God’s will is. If we are born again of the Spirit of God, it is the abortion of piety to ask God to guide us here and there. “The Lord led me,” and on looking back we see the presence of an amazing design, which, if we are born of God, we will credit to God.
We can all see God in exceptional things, but it requires the culture of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail. Never allow that the haphazard is anything less than God’s appointed order, and be ready to discover the Divine designs anywhere. Beware of making a fetish of consistency to your convictions instead of being devoted to God. “I shall never do that” — in all probability you will have to, if you are a saint. There never was a more inconsistent Being on this earth than Our Lord, but He was never inconsistent to His Father. The one consistency of the saint is not to a principle, but to the Divine life. It is the Divine life which continually makes more and more discoveries about the Divine mind. It is easier to be a fanatic than a faithful soul, because there is something amazingly humbling, particularly to our religious conceit, in being loyal to God.” (Oswald Chambers)
Genesis 24:12 – “Please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.”
The faithful and obedient servant wanted blessing for his master. Note also that the servant realized that success could only come from God. As faithful servants, our goal should only be what God wants, and we should recognize that only He can accomplish that goal through us; we cannot do it ourselves. God-sized goals always require God-sized power. God is always asking you to do what is impossible for you so that His power and glory may be revealed rather than yours.
Genesis 24:12-14 – The servant had a test of character for Isaac’s future wife, not a test of personality, beauty, or family connections.
Genesis 24:15, 16 – God arranged circumstances and put everything in place to ensure that Rebekah met Isaac. Nothing is random to God who ordains all things.
Genesis 24:16 – Rebekah had saved herself for marriage, just as God commands.
Genesis 24:19, 20 — “When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, ‘I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.’ So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels.”
Watering camels was a huge task, but Rebekah offered to do it for a complete stranger without being asked. Note also that she did it quickly, with great zeal, and not begrudgingly. What does this say about her character? Who do you know who lives this way?
Genesis 24:50, 51 – No man can thwart the plans of God. God blesses those who abide by His plans.
Genesis 24:52-54 – The servant paid the bride price. You too were bought at a price which you will soon learn all about in your daily Bible readings.
Genesis 24:55-58 – It is easy to say you will follow God (vs 50, 51), but delay indicates doubt, self-centeredness, and disobedience. Willing obedience is always instant obedience.
Matthew 18:3 – “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
“These words of Our Lord are true of our initial conversion, but we have to be continuously converted all the days of our lives, continually to turn to God as children. If we trust to our wits instead of to God, we produce consequences for which God will hold us responsible. Immediately our bodies are brought into new conditions by the providence of God, we have to see that our natural life obeys the dictates of the Spirit of God. Because we have done it once is no proof that we shall do it again. The relation of the natural to the spiritual is one of continuous conversion, and it is the one thing we object to. In every setting in which we are put, the Spirit of God remains unchanged and His salvation unaltered but we have to “put on the new man.” God holds us responsible every time we refuse to convert ourselves, our reason for refusing is willful obstinacy. Our natural life must not rule, God must rule in us.
The hindrance in our spiritual life is that we will not be continually converted, there are “wadges” of obstinacy where our pride spits at the throne of God and says — “I won’t.” We deify independence and willfulness and call them by the wrong name. What God looks on as obstinate weakness, we call strength. There are whole tracts of our lives which have not yet been brought into subjection, and it can only be done by this continuous conversion. Slowly but surely we can claim the whole territory for the Spirit of God.” (Oswald Chambers)
Matthew 18:33 — And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?
“Mercy is a gift. It is undeserved. Punishment and consequences are sin’s just reward, but the merciful person does not demand justice for the guilty person. If it were not for God’s mercy, we all would have faced His terrible judgment long ago. If not for His mercy, He would have condemned us after our first offense. If not for His mercy, He would punish us each time we sin. But rather than letting us bear the full punishment for our sin, God demonstrated His mercy when He paid the penalty for our sin Himself.
Do you find it hard to show mercy? It may be that you do not comprehend the mercy that God has shown to you. Jesus commanded His disciples to extend the same mercy to others that they had received from God. When they considered the incredible, undeserved mercy they had been granted, how could they refuse to extend the same unconditional mercy to others?
Could anyone sin against us to the same degree that we have sinned against God? Could any offense committed against us be as undeserved as the abuse hurled against the sinless Son of God? How quickly we forget the mercy that God graciously bestowed on us, only to focus on the injustices we endure from others! If you find it difficult to forgive others, you may need to meditate on the mercy of God that prevents you from experiencing God’s justifiable wrath. Scripture describes God as “Ready to pardon, / Gracious and merciful, / Slow to anger, / Abundant in lovingkindness” (Nehemiah 9:17b).” (Henry T. Blackaby)
Matthew 18:1-4 – Jesus will challenge your pride. If you are seeking to “get ahead” of others or to be #1, you don’t understand love yet. If you are always talking about yourself, you don’t understand love yet.
Matthew 18:10-14 – Jesus first sought His lost sheep, those who were already in the fold but had gone astray. These are those who say that they are Christians but do not really follow Jesus. This is the first focus of the church. How concerned are you about the “carnal Christian”?
Matthew 18:15-20 – Jesus gives very specific steps for conflict resolution. Make sure you always follow these steps.
Matthew 18:23-35 – Jesus Christ accepts no excuse for your un-forgiveness of those who have sinned against you. If you accepted His forgiveness, you have absolutely no right to hold forgiveness from anyone else for any reason. If you are having a hard time forgiving, you don’t really understand the gift you have received through the blood of Jesus Christ. How much you are willing to forgive others reveals how much you truly value Jesus’ sacrifice for you. Have you gone to the cross in your relationships?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) — 26 Jan 22: Meditate on how you forgive: Is there someone you haven’t really forgiven? Have you said the words but still harbor resentment? Do you feel the urge to keep bringing it up? Are you holding back just a bit of love from that person as an unspoken, unacknowledged punishment? Are you harboring some sort of expectation for the other person to make it up to you? Or, have you truly ‘cancelled the debt’ of the person who has taken something (usually emotionally) from you? Are you willing to pay the price for their sin as Jesus did for you? Seek to settle your forgiveness issues today. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone or see someone today if you need to in order to settle a matter. Don’t hesitate to apologize to someone who offended you if you did not forgive the way Jesus expects you to, unconditionally. (Gen 47:20, 21; Matthew 18:23-35)