GENESIS 35-36, MARK 6, JOB 2, ROMANS 6

Genesis 35:1-6
I cannot imagine the position within which Israel found himself.  His daughter, Dinah was raped; his sons took revenge, not just on the man who raped her, but by killing all the males in the city and taking their wives, children, and possessions.  Jacob knew the Canaanites, and the Perizzites could destroy him and his family for what his sons had done to Shechem.  What would El-Elohe-Israel tell Israel to do?

God instructed Jacob to get up and come to His House.  Bethel means "House of God."  Jacob told his family to get rid of their idols, purify themselves and put on clean clothes as preparation to come before God.  What do you think; acts of repentance?

Psalm 91:14-15 says, “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.  When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him."  Israel knew the Name upon which to call.

Almighty God, I must confess I do not understand all Your ways, but I acknowledge that Your ways and thoughts are higher than mine.  Thank You for being my deliverer and protector when I, too, am undeserving.

Mark 6:45-50
I remember this event when things are going south.  The disciples were in the middle of the storm because Jesus made them get in the boat.  The word "made" means forced or compelled.  It was Jesus' will for them to be in the boat, not their own.  When God has called me to something, and it does not seem to be going well, this passage encourages me.  Just the fact that Jesus "saw" the disciples three or four miles offshore (John 6:19) somewhere between 3 and 6 AM, strengthens my resolve in the middle of my storm.  Hagar was right in Genesis 16:13, "You are a God of seeing."   

Jesus, You are the all-seeing, all-knowing God.  Thank You for putting me in situations beyond my capacity.  Thank You for seeing and coming to me in my distress.

Job 2:3
"And the LORD said to Satan, 'Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?  He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.'" 

Three times (Job 1:1, 1:8, 2:3), God has described Job in the same way.  His perspective of Job is settled.  Understanding the fear of God is not a topic that gets as much attention today as loving God, even though we are commanded to do both.  The Bible makes a big deal out of fearing God.  Proverbs 1:7 provides excellent insight into why this is important:  "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction."  Since the beginning, the foundation of knowledge is the fear of God; there must be more God wants to teach us.  Obviously, He would want us to follow His instructions.  So is fear the beginning of obedience? 

I am a blessed man because God gave me an earthly father whom I both loved and feared.  He provided a great example of my heavenly Father.  He, too, loved me enough to correct me when I needed correction. 

My God and Father, thank You for the gift of Jack Stokes.  He was exceptional at pointing me to You,  both in word and deed.

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