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Its Most Important to Know Jesus

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January 2013
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cropped-2411789740_e6e18b664c_o.jpgToday’s Bible reading: Genesis 24:52-67, 25, 26:1-16; Matthew 8:18-34; Psalms 10:1-15; Proverbs 3:7-8

We get to know Rebekah a little better in Genesis 24. Even though her family wanted her to spend 10 more days with them, she was ready and willing to go to her husband. When God calls there is no reason to hesitate. Hesitating only creates the possibility for distractions that will only cause delay or even prevent us from doing what God asks. Rebekah’s eagerness to leave indicates her trust and faith in God.

We learn that Abraham married after Sarah’s death and had more children. Abraham was about 137 years old when he married the second time. Amazingly, he fathered 6 more children after that age! And this was before Viagra.

Notice how Abraham takes cares of all his children. The first child he had with Hagar, Sarah’s servant, as well as these 6 other children, are all provided for during Abraham’s lifetime. He loved them and therefore provided for all them before he died to make sure they were well taken care of.  Certainly we’ve all heard of disputes that break out among relatives over the estate of a deceased person. Abraham wanted to avoid that.

In Genesis 26:18 we that Ishamel’s descendants lived to the east and became hostile towards their other relatives, including Isaac and his descendants. That hostility continues to this day. It should not go unnoticed that this hostility was born out of Abraham’s impatience with God when he made the conscious decision to sin and have a child through Hagar, who was not his wife. Mistakes that we make can last for many generations and can affect many, many people.

Isaac makes the very same mistake that his father did (Genesis 26:7) when he lies about his wife (saying that she is his sister). So many of our traits are passed down to our children. Not only good ones, but bad ones. Addictions. Anger. Laziness. None of us will ever be perfect, but we need to do what we can to improve ourselves and to raise children who won’t become what we are.

Following Jesus has a cost, as we see today in Matthew 8. Two men seem willing to follow Christ. But He explains the cost involved is great – giving up all that you have and are. That is not to say that we must live in poverty to follow Christ. But what He is saying is that there is nothing more important and the time is now. The second man asks to be able to go home and bury his father. His father hadn’t died yet. This phrase (“bury my father”) meant to take care of ones parents in their old age and receive their inheritance. This man didn’t want to follow Jesus yet because he would lose out on whatever he was going to inherit from his parents. Bad mistake. Famous missionary Jim Elliot once said “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to obtain what he cannot lose”. How true. All the riches this man in Matthew 8 would have received would only be temporary. But Jesus was offering something eternal. Matthew doesn’t tell us how the story ends. Did the man go home? Did he go with Jesus? Someday I hope to find out.

We saw Jesus miraculously heal people of diseases and infirmities previously. Now we see him miraculously control the weather. The disciples didn’t yet understand that Jesus was God. Contrast this with the demons in Matthew 8:29. They knew exactly who Jesus was and what His mission was (“appointed time”). Never underestimate that Satan knows more about God than you do.

Sadly the people of the town ask Jesus to leave. Maybe they were afraid. Maybe they were upset that they had lost some pigs (and, hence, some income). But they make the tragic mistake of distancing themselves from Jesus for short-term gain, just like the two men at the beginning of the chapter.

I really like Psalms 10:1-15 today. Its so easy to assume that God is not near us when we face troubling times in our life. But that is just our human way of thinking. God is close to us 100% of the time. It is us that is not close to Him 100% of the time. How true verse 4 is. Pride will keep a person from God. Pride will make someone think they are “okay” without God or “good enough” to get to heaven. But that is not what God teaches us. And the more successful a person is (verse 5) the more likely they will not seek God. I understand completely. But it is still sad. Do you see a theme emerging today? People give up eternal security for temporary things.

I often wonder the same thing as Psalms 10:13 today. I see so many people speaking out against God. This includes many famous people on TV (I won’t mention any names) who claim God doesn’t exist or who pass along their opinions on God (which are formed out of ignorance). I often wonder why God doesn’t do something about it. But He loves everyone, even those who hate him. Not a human trait, for sure. God is just giving these people a lot of time to come to Him. I hope they do.

Finally, great advice in Proverbs 3:7 today. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. A thousand years from now all the learning on earth won’t matter at all if you are not in heaven with Jesus. Its great to be smart and to know a lot. But its most important to know Jesus.

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