Please Pass the Blessings
The story of Jacob sounds like a soap opera, yet God was in the midst of it. Jacob and Esau were the twin sons of Isaac and grandsons of Abraham. Before their birth, God told Rebekah,
“Two nations are in your womb … and the older shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23).
Jacob tried to be first from the beginning, grabbing Esau’s heel as he was born; thus his name means heel-grabber.
Jacob was also a good cook, and it was for a bowl of his stew that Esau traded away his birthright as the eldest son. Later, Esau took two Hittite wives who were a grief to his parents. Rebekah then helped Jacob trick Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau. When Esau planned to kill Jacob, Rebekah convinced Isaac to send Jacob away to find a wife among her relatives.
Genesis 28:10 tells us, Jacob went out from Beersheba. Often, when you take that first step of faith on a journey, God meets you there. Jacob dreamed of a ladder from earth to heaven—and there God spoke to him.
Although he fell in love with Rachel, Jacob the trickster was tricked by his Uncle Laban into marrying her older sister first. The two wives were bitter rivals, involving their servants in a race to have children—twelve sons total. When Jacob finally headed home with his family, he didn’t know if Esau still wanted him dead.
He wrestled all night with God, who said,
“Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed” (Genesis 32:28).
If life had been easy, would he have persevered and prevailed?
The key is that Isaac had blessed Jacob:
“May God Almighty bless you and give you many children. And may your descendants multiply and become many nations! May God pass on to you and your descendants the blessings he promised to Abraham” (Genesis 28:3-4 NLT).
This was God’s plan. The blessings God gave Abraham were passed to Isaac, who bestowed them on Jacob. Through him came the twelve tribes of Israel, then the Messiah.
So this Thanksgiving, give thanks for what God has done, then pray over your family and bless them all. Pass along the wonderful blessings that God has freely given to you. As Galatians 3:14 says,
“Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham” (NLT).
God bless you.
From: Today Devotions
SCRIPTURE READING — 1 THESSALONIANS 5:12-24
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
The Heidelberg Catechism says that belief in the providence of God makes it possible for us to be “thankful when things go well” and “patient when things go against us” (Q&A 28). So sometimes we are thankful, and sometimes we are patient. Paul sums things up this way. He says it is God’s will for us to be thankful “in all circumstances.” Really? Well, it may help to note that Paul is not saying we should be thankful for all circumstances but in them. When things seem to go against us, I think God expects us to be grateful that his hand holds us and helps us to endure under the strain. That’s a big challenge–to look for reasons to be thankful when the going is tough. Sometimes it can be equally difficult for us to be thankful when things are going well. We might not think it would be that way. After all, when things go well, we have so much to be grateful for. But the very nature of human beings, even if we are Christian, is to overlook the crowd of God’s good gifts to us every day. Let me suggest that today you sit still where you are and exercise the gift of noticing. Notice what you see, what you have, and who is with you. Notice the color, beauty, and variety around you. Keep noticing, and make a list of the gifts you notice. Then give thanks to God, the great giver!
O great Creator and Giver of all gifts, give us today the great gift of being able to notice all your gifts. Open our hearts to a spirit of thanksgiving, we pray. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.
From: Today Devotions
SCRIPTURE READING — PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7
In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
The great hymn “Amazing Grace” summarizes biblical faith well: “Grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” If grace reveals that joy is a gift, then prayer is the Lord’s gracious means through which he daily sustains that joy.
We sometimes believe we are independent, self-sufficient people. Our tired minds, aching backs, and callous hands that produced a successful career and a comfortable home seem to affirm that myth. But what if corporate restructuring takes away the paycheck, or terminal illness robs our strength and vitality? Anxiety, worry, and fear set in, taking the place of our pride.
Life comes from the Lord, and so does daily help. We come to the Lord through prayer, and the fruit of prayer is peace. Yet prayer is not a mantra, and we can’t use it to try to manipulate God. Prayer is a divine gift to strengthen the bonds of love between us and God. The act of prayer itself affirms our dependence on him for peace and joy.
Peace is knowing that death is overcome by resurrection, falsehood by truth, confusion by wisdom, hatred by love. This is the joyful fruit of believers who seek the Lord! Then, when all else has failed, we can still say, “I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:18).
Dear Lord, I rejoice in you. “I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Thank you for this gift of prayer, for listening to my heart, for speaking to me of your grace. In Jesus, Amen.
Streams In The Desert – November 24
- 202224 Nov
Be still, and know that I am God (Ps. 46:10).
Is there any note of music in all the chorus as mighty as the emphatic pause? Is there any word in all the Psalter more eloquent than that one word, Selah (Pause)? Is there anything more thrilling and awful than the hush that comes before the bursting of the tempest and the strange quiet that seems to fall upon all nature before some preternatural phenomenon or convulsion? Is there anything that can touch our hearts as the power of stillness?
There is for the heart that will cease from itself, “the peace of God that passeth all understanding,” a “quietness and confidence” which is the source of all strength, a sweet peace “which nothing can offend,” a deep rest which the world can neither give nor take away. There is in the deepest center of the soul a chamber of peace where God dwells, and where, if we will only enter in and hush every other sound, we can hear His still, small voice.
There is in the swiftest wheel that revolves upon its axis a place in the very center, where there is no movement at all; and so in the busiest life there may be a place where we dwell alone with God, in eternal stillness.
There is only one way to know God. “Be still, and know.” “God is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
“All-loving Father, sometimes we have walked under starless skies that dripped darkness like drenching rain. We despaired of starshine or moonlight or sunrise. The sullen blackness gloomed above us as if it would last forever. And out of the dark there spoke no soothing voice to mend our broken hearts. We would gladly have welcomed some wild thunder peal to break the torturing stillness of that over-brooding night.
“But Thy winsome whisper of eternal love spoke more sweetly to our bruised and bleeding souls than any winds that breathe across Aeolian harps. It was Thy ‘still small voice’ that spoke to us. We were listening and we heard. We looked and saw Thy face radiant with the light of love. And when we heard Thy voice and saw Thy face, new life came back to us as life comes back to withered blooms that drink the summer rain.”