Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 29 January 2022:
Genesis 27:18 – “Who are you, my son?”
Jesus once asked, “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:25) Jacob forfeited himself, his integrity, to steal what, ironically, God intended to give him anyway. (Romans 9:11-13) In so doing, Jacob brought much needless sorrow upon himself and upon his family – “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22) “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.” (Proverbs 20:17) Now in our readings, Jacob is on the run with a very hard road ahead of him; his self-induced struggle will result in much needless pain and sorrow.
Who are you? Who do you say you are? Are you still struggling needlessly to gain or claim something when Christ has already given you everything, immeasurable riches beyond imagination?
– 1 John 3:1-3 — See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
– John 1:12-13 — But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
– 2 Corinthians 5:17 — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
– Galatians 3:26-29 — For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
– Galatians 2:20 — I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
– 1 Peter 2:9 — But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
– Romans 8:1, 14-15 — There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
– Romans 8:31-34 — What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
– Ephesians 1:11 — In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will….
If you are a Christian, “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9) You are a new creation, and your identity is glorious and secure in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20) Don’t pretend to be something you’re not, and don’t disguise your identity before the world in an attempt to gain or protect something only God can give you and ensure. Don’t try to steal or earn an inheritance already guaranteed to you through Jesus. Don’t live the lie of self-justification, self-sufficiency, and self-righteousness and suffer needless pain and heartache. Rest in the Lord, trust in the Lord, wait upon the Lord, and glorify Him. Abide in His love and be fruitful. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
– Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
– Colossians 3:1-4 — If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
– Ephesians 5:8-10 — For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
– Matthew 6:25-33 — “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Psalm 10:2, 3 – “In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised. For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.”
How many businesses and business practices take advantage of the poor and ignorant? How many get rich, not from producing anything new, but from taking advantage or exploiting the weaknesses, insecurities, and temptations of others? God knows. A Christian should never work in an industry that exploits. By the way, for those of you who support the lottery systems, consider that “households making less than $28,000 a year are dishing out $600 a year on lotteries.” Lotteries are an example of a business that exploits the ignorant and the poor.
Psalm 10:4 – “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, ‘There is no God.’”
Unbelievers have a pride and arrogance problem. Those who sin (ignoring God at the moment) have a pride and arrogance problem too which exposes itself in certain circumstance but may otherwise be hidden. What is at the root of your sin?
Psalm 10:6 – “He says in his heart, ‘I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.’”
The prideful are blind to the truth and cannot see the inevitable consequences of their decisions. The prideful have an inability to admit their faults and will intentionally, though often subconsciously, filter out any information that does not validate their position, beliefs, and behavior. They often respond emotionally to critique in order to avoid reasoned contemplation.
Psalm 10:16 – “The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.”
Be careful not to lose your perspective in patriotism. God is King, nations come and go. You are an ambassador of The Kingdom of God, representing Jesus in a foreign land. Your message to the nation is the Gospel. While others are pointing to certain leaders or political parties for national ‘salvation’, make sure you are point to Jesus. The Christian is the most faithful citizen and true patriot.
Proverbs 29:9 — “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.”
You cannot reason with a fool, so don’t waste your time. Speak the truth, if it is not received, move on, but continue in prayer. There is no sense in arguing with a fool. It only brings needless friction.
Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.”
“The world operates on vision. God’s people live by revelation. The world seeks grand and noble purposes and goals to achieve. People dream up the greatest and most satisfying things in which they can invest their lives. Institutions establish goals and objectives and then organize themselves to achieve them. God’s people function in a radically different way. Christians arrange their lives based on the revelation of God, regardless of whether it makes sense to them. God does not ask for our opinion about what is best for our future, our family, our church, or our country. He already knows! What God wants is to get the attention of His people and reveal to us what is on His heart and what is His will, for God’s ways are not our ways! (Isa. 55:8-9). Whenever people do not base their lives on God’s revelation, they “cast off restraint.” That is, they do what is right in their own eyes. They set their goals, arrange their agendas, and then pray for God’s blessings. Some Christians are living far outside the will of God, yet they have the audacity to pray and ask God to bless their efforts! The only way for you to know God’s will is for Him to reveal it to you. You will never discover it on your own. When you hear from the Father, you have an immediate agenda for your life: obedience. As the writer of Proverbs observed: ‘Happy is he who keeps the law.’” (Henry T. Blackaby)
“There is a difference between holding on to a principle and having a vision. A principle does not come from moral inspiration, but a vision does. People who are totally consumed with idealistic principles rarely do anything. A person’s own idea of God and His attributes may actually be used to justify and rationalize his deliberate neglect of his duty. Jonah tried to excuse his disobedience by saying to God, “…I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm” (Jonah 4:2). I too may have the right idea of God and His attributes, but that may be the very reason why I do not do my duty. But wherever there is vision, there is also a life of honesty and integrity, because the vision gives me the moral incentive. Our own idealistic principles may actually lull us into ruin. Examine yourself spiritually to see if you have vision, or only principles. Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for? ‘Where there is no revelation [or prophetic vision]….’ Once we lose sight of God, we begin to be reckless. We cast off certain restraints from activities we know are wrong. We set prayer aside as well and cease having God’s vision in the little things of life. We simply begin to act on our own initiative. If we are eating only out of our own hand, and doing things solely on our own initiative without expecting God to come in, we are on a downward path. We have lost the vision. Is our attitude today an attitude that flows from our vision of God? Are we expecting God to do greater things than He has ever done before? Is there a freshness and a vitality in our spiritual outlook?” (From Oswald Chambers)
Proverbs 29:19 — “By mere words a servant is not disciplined, for though he understands, he will not respond.”
Those who lack internal discipline require external discipline. Choose for yourself internal discipline by continuing in obedience to God’s word through the power of the Holy Spirit.
A servant responds to discipline in a relationship based on fear and duty. Jesus says, “I no longer call you servants…. I have called you friends (John 15:15) — This is a relationship of love. Seek to obey God not merely out of fear or a sense of duty but out of love. Without love as the motivator, it is impossible to please God. Like children who obey their parents, we usually first obey out of fear or duty, but the mark of maturity is obeying because we have a heart to do so. At that point, rules or the law are no longer required.
Proverbs 29:23 – “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”
“Pride is the great enemy of the Christian. Pride is an overly high opinion of yourself. It motivates you to do things that you know are not Christlike, and it hinders you from doing what brings glory to God. Pride influenced Adam and Eve to try to become like God (Gen. 3:5). Pride motivated Cain to murder his brother (Gen. 4:5). Pride provoked Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery (Gen. 37:8). Pride caused King Saul to resent David so deeply that he tried to murder him (1 Sam. 18:8). Pride led King Hezekiah to foolishly reveal his nation’s wealth to his enemies (Isa. 39:2). Pride was at the root of the Pharisees’ anger toward Jesus. Pride was the reason the disciples argued over rank in the kingdom (Luke 9:46). Pride is your relentless enemy. If you succumb to its influence, there will be consequences. You may know that you have offended someone, but pride holds you back from asking forgiveness. You may realize you need to reconcile a broken relationship, but pride will lead you to deny that need. The Spirit may convict you that you are living a sinful lifestyle, but pride will discourage your admitting it. Pride will convince you that you deserve better treatment. Pride will impede your serving others. Instead, pride will have you striving for places of prominence. Pride will have you listen to flatterers and ignore honest counselors. Pride will lead you to isolate yourself so that you are not accountable to others. Humility, on the other hand, is pleasing to God and places your life in a position where God will honor you. If pride has crept into some areas of your life, ask God to give you victory over it before it robs you of God’s will for you.” (Henry T. Blackaby) “Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) — 29 Jan 22: Claim your identity in Christ and rest upon His sufficiency. Abide in His love and enjoy Him.