Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 16, 2014 Devotional - Genesis 27 & 28, and Matthew 14

Genesis 27 - Jacob Swindles Esau's Blessing
When Isaac was old his eyes were weak so he couldn't see he called Esau to him and asked him to make him a meal for him and he would bless him before he died. Rebekah overheard, so she plotted to get Jacob Esau's blessing. She said, "your curse be on me, my son," and proceeded to cover Jacob with goat hair, Esau's clothes and made Jacob the food he loved. Jacob came to Isaac. He asked if he was his son, Jacob said, "I am some of my game so that you may bless me...the Lord God has worked it out for me." Isaac touched Jacob and asked if he was really Esau. He recognized that it was the voice of Jacob, but he was hairy, and didn't recognize him. Jacob served him. He came close, and when Isaac smelled Esau he blessed him: "May God give you dew from the sky, richness of the land, abundance of grain and new wine. May peoples serve you and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brothers. Those who curse you will be cursed, and those who bless you will be blessed. As soon as Jacob left Esau came. Asking for his blessing. Isaac trembled uncontrollably, Isaac refused to bless Esau also, "Look I have made him master over you, have given him all of his relatives as his servants, and have sustained him with grain and new wine. What then can I do for you, my son?" Isaac said to Esau, "Your dwelling place will be away from the richness of the land, and the dew of the sky above. You will live by the sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you rebel, you will break his yoke from your neck." Esau held grudge against Jacob because of Isaac's blessing on Jacob, and he determined to kill Jacob. Rebekah heard and sent him away to Laban, her brother in Haran, and stay a few days until Esau's anger subsides. Esau's Hittite wives made Rebekah sick of her life, saying that if Jacob marries a Hittite woman, "what good is my life?"

Genesis 28 - The Covenant Reaffirmed with Jacob, Stairway to Heaven Dream
Isaac summoned Jacob and told him not to take a Canaanite wife, but to get one from the house of Rebekah's maternal grandfather, a daughter of Laban. Then he prayed for him, "May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you so that you become an assembly of peoples. May God give you and your offspring the blessing of Abraham so that you may possess the land where you live as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham." Isaac sent him off. Esau noticed this, and married Mahalath, daughter of Ishmael (sister of Nebaioth). On the way Jacob spent the night at a certain place. He lay his head on a stone and dreamed of a stairway to heaven that God's angels were going up and down on. Yahweh was standing there beside himself saying, "I am Yahweh, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your offspring the land that you are now sleeping on. Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth...all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land, I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Jacob awoke and said, "What an awesome place this is! This is none other than the house of God. This is the gate of heaven." Early in the morning he took the stone that was near his head and set it up as a marker, poured oil on it and named the place Bethel (it was previously the city of Luz). Jacob made a vow, "If God will be with me, if he provides food and clothes, if I return safely, then the Lord will be my God. This stone will be God's house and I will give You a tenth of all that You give me."

Matthew 14 - Death of John the Baptist, Feeding 5,000, Walking on Water, Healing the Sick
Herod heard of Jesus and he told his servants it was John the Baptist, they thought he was raised from the dead. For, he had arrested John because Herod unlawfully took his brother (Philip's) wife, Herodias. Because John was a prophet and the people liked him he couldn't kill him, so he put him in jail. Herodias' daughter pleased Herod before the people at His birthday celebration and he said she could have whatever she wanted. At the urging of her mother, she asked for John's head on a platter. Herod did this. John's disciples buried him and reported to Jesus. When Jesus heard He withdrew to a remote place to be alone. The crowds heard and followed on foot. As He stepped ashore he saw a huge crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Evening came, the disciples asked Jesus to send the people away, Jesus said no, and to give them food. The disciples said, "But we only have 5 loaves and 2 fish." Jesus had the crowds sit on the grass. He took the bread and fish, and blessed them and everyone was filled, and they picked up 12 baskets full of leftover pieces! Those who ate were 5,000 men (not including women and children). Jesus immediately made the disciples get in a boat to go ahead of Him to the other side while He dismissed the crowds. After dismissing the crowds, he went on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. The boat was over a mile from land, battered by the waves (the wind was against them). At about 3:00am he came toward them walking on the sea. The disciples were terrified, saying, "It's a ghost!" The cried out in fear. Jesus said, "Have courage! Don't be afraid." Peter asked Jesus to prove it was Him by commanding him to walk on water. Jesus said, "Come!" Peter started walking on water to Jesus, but he became afraid and began to sink and cried, "Lord, save me!" Jesus caught him saying, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" The wind ceased when they got in the boat, and those in the boat worshiped Him saying, "Truly You are the Son of God!" Once they crossed the sea they came to Gennesaret. They brought all who were sick to Jesus and they were begging to touch the tassel on His robe. Those who touched it were made perfectly well.

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