GENESIS 24, MATTHEW 23, NEHEMIAH 13, ACTS 23

Genesis 24:1–8
What a grand statement: “The LORD had blessed Abraham in all things."  Abraham spent his life following God and now as the end drew near, he trusted God to fulfill the promise to the next generation.  Scripture describes Abraham as a friend of God (2 Chronicles 20:7, James 2:23).

Isn't it interesting that Abraham determined Isaac should not return to the land of his ancestors but should have a wife from among his kinsmen, rather than from the Canaanites?  After reading in Ezra of all the problems created by marrying foreign women, Abraham was wise in his decision.  The provision of Rebekah as a wife for Isaac is a magnificent example of the providential care of a loving and faithful God.

Father, thank You for all the examples in Scripture of Your sovereign control of events.  What a beautiful picture of Your care for those who trust in You. 

Matthew 23:37
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!  How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!"

What an incredible heart and attitude!  In Matthew 23:34, Jesus says he is the One sending these prophets whom Jerusalem kills.  He desires to protect them like a hen protects her chicks, but, they were not willing.

Lord Jesus, forgive me for not having this attitude toward those who offend me.  I desire to love as You love.  I am in awe of Your ability to speak the truth in love.  You are bold as You truthfully describe the people in this chapter.  But Your heart is a heart of love, desiring to draw them to Yourself even though they were unwilling.

Nehemiah 13:1–31
Oh my, how zealous Nehemiah was for God and His ways.  In his absence, the people went back to their old way of life.  He confronted everyone from the priests to the foreign merchants about how the people of God were to be obedient to God's instruction.  He had experienced the consequences of his father’s sins by his captivity in Babylon.  He had also seen God's gracious hand in restoring the people to the promised land.  Nehemiah did not want the people to return to their rebellion against God, knowing it would again bring God’s discipline upon the nation of Israel just as He promised.

Father, thank You for those who faithfully call us to repentance and Your instruction.

Acts 23:6
“Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.”

When Paul speaks of the hope and the resurrection of the dead, he was standing on solid ground.  In Mark 12:26–27, Jesus makes the resurrection of the dead very clear.  Using Exodus 3:6, when the LORD appeared to Moses in the burning bush, Jesus makes the point that God in this present time is the father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  The LORD does not say, "I was the God of your father, The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob."  He says "I am the God" of these men.  In Mark 12:27, Jesus emphasizes this by saying "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.  You are quite wrong."

Like Paul’s hope, Jesus, my hope is in You, the firstborn from the dead.

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