GENESIS 31, MARK 2, ESTHER 7, ROMANS 2

Genesis 31:42
'If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed."

This verse is the first usage of the Hebrew word translated "Fear" in Scripture.  Obviously, from the capital letter F in Fear of Isaac and the reference to "the God of Abraham," the "Fear of Isaac," is a reference to YHWH, God Almighty.  Isaac definitely had a unique experience with God when his father, Abraham, tied him up and placed him on the altar.  Does this name for the LORD come from that experience?  One translation renders the phrase "the One whom Isaac fears." This same word "fear" is used in tomorrow's reading (Esther 8:17) to describe the state of the people when the King issued a new edict.

Psalm 36:1 uses the same Hebrew word “There is no fear of God before his eyes."  In Romans 3:9-18, Paul uses this quote as a summary of the condition of mankind in bondage to sin.   

Oh Fear of Isaac, I desire that my response to You is proper.  I know I am commanded to love You with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.  It is also obvious fear is to be a component of my response.  Please teach me how to love You and fear You correctly.  

Mark 2:1-11
For quite some time, this event in Jesus' life was a puzzle to me.  Jesus' proclamation of the Gospel began with "The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:15)  So the puzzle to me was "How is this man forgiven without any evidence of repentance?"  It seems the man and his friends were primarily interested in him being able to walk, not to have his sins forgiven.  Yet Jesus forgives his sins before healing him.

Mark 2:8 struck me as the answer.  Just as Jesus knew what was in the hearts of the scribes, He also knew what was in the heart of the paralytic.  Additionally, Scripture tells us repentance is a gift. (Acts 5:31, 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25)  Surely the Giver would know to whom He had given the gift.

Thank You, Jesus, for the gift of repentance.  Thank You for knowing my heart when my words fail.

Romans 2:4
"Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?"

What a grave mistake to presume on the riches of God's kindness, forbearance, and patience!  Isn't it common today for people to assume God does not care about sin and rebellion against Him since there is no immediate punishment?  Peter addresses this in 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."

LORD, You are a merciful God who is slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.  May I never be presumptuous in my relationship with You.  Thank You for Your kindness, forbearance, and patience with me.  Once again, thank You for the gift of repentance. 

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