Genesis 31, Mark 2, Esther 7, Romans 2

Genesis 31:42

This is the first time this Hebrew word translated "Fear" is used 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.  Is that where this name comes from?  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.

This Hebrew word is also used in Psalm 36:1, “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 under sin.   

Oh Fear of Isaac, I desire to respond appropriately to You.  I know I am commanded to love You with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength.  Also, it is obvious fear is to be a component of my response to You.  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

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 presumptious in my relationship with You.  Thank You for Your kindness, forbearance and patience with me.  One again, thank You for the gift of repentance.