Jacob’s Free fall

We know why Jacob was frightened to meet up again with his broth Esau (*hint: he was responsible for stealing his birthright, thereby changing the coures of Esau’s history as well as his own).

We know what Jacob did to prepare his family for that meeting between Esau and his 400 men and his family: he divided his people, servants, wives, flocks into 2 groups, thinking to himself, “If Esau attacks one group, surely he won’t attack the other.”

And we know who Jacob trusted in while his hands still shook at the prospect of meeting with his brother, who had every reason to exact revenge upon him. Jacob spoke to God, saying, “You have blessed me with more than I could imagine and he you are instructing me to go back to the land of my forefathers, with the promise in mind that you will make me prosper and my descendants too numerous to count {knee tremble}. Please protect me and my family.”

After this prayer, jacob selected the follwoing gifts for his brother Esau:
-200 female goats
-20 male goats
-200 ewes
-20 rams
-30 female camels and their young
-40 cows
-10 bulls
-20 female donkeys
-10 male donkeys

Putting these things in the care of his servants, he instructed them to go ahead of him, keeping some space between the herds, he told the servant at the front of the procession that when he is approched by Esau, that he is to explain that they are Jacob’s and that they are being sent ahead as a gift for Esau.

Jacob stayed in camp that night and got up with his 2 wives, 2 maidservants and 11 sons to cross the ford of the Jabbok. He sent them over the stream, as well as all of his possessions and Scripture says, “So Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled him till daybreak.”

We see that Jacob spent this night wrestling and clinging with this angel of the Lord and upon daybreak received a blessing and a name change.

I want to hone in here, though, on a point that may get overlooked: he sent his family and his possessions ahead of him and he was alone. One of the only things that he could call his own–his family–the very part of the gift that God himself had promised to him. There was absolutely nothing for Jacob to fall back on if this thing with Esau and now here with the angel didn’t go well.

This is an incredible example for me. God has been stripping me down, so to speak over the last 2 years, tangible things I once possessed are gone, family is far, but I don’t want it any other way. Those things I used to fall back on are just that: things. But when I do my free fall into the arms of my Savior, I can see big things happen, I can see my faith grow, my reliance upon Him grow and His gifts in me grow. I don’t dare decline to cross that stream in front of me.

Have you been stripped of anything lately and can you see God filling in the gaps? It may not happen without some wrestling first…

Hated Hagar

Imagine being the second in command, the other-wife substitute, the baby-making machine for someone who’s supposed to be the father of many nations. Imagine again the elevations of your status when you are able to bare a boy-child for your master–a boy-child wo really was the most coveted gift a woman could give her husband–a future, a hope and a way of continuing the family line. This is what Hagar was able to grant for Abraham—the proported father of many nations, a man promised descendents like the sand.
Imagine, then, when your head-momma status in then usurped by a screaming, flailing little baby named Isaac. Uh-oh, things from her perspective aren’t looking particularly good—and they go from bad to worse when Isaac baby is weaned three years later. There is some name-calling, some poking fun of and then, quicker than you can say gone, she was. There was selfishness and jealousy

Tools As an Object Lesson

I’m back. Yes, indeed, it’s been a busy last few weeks, but I’ve moved and I’m in one piece!

As I was cleaning out the last few things from the house, still bummed and slightly frustrated that my tool set had been stolen by one of the movers, when I came upon a small tool kit, still unopened, that my father had given me on a recent Christmas. I almost started crying #1 because I was relieved to have something that I knew I would need #2 his thoughtfulness. You see my dad is and always has been a very practical individual, and solid and loving, etc. Therefore gifts from him are also very pragmatic and I’m sure when I opened the gift I didn’t really know if and when I would use it, but he saw beyond that (thanks to him I have a portable air compressor in my car that is so handy for inflating the tires on our running stroller).

Then I got to thinking about how I am equipping my daughter–and how we should all be training our children:

To love God
To trust God
To honor God

In our time
In our conduct
In our resources

What “tools” are we giving our children to get the job done? How are we equipping them to handle situations that are way, way out of their parameters, because that will happen some day. What examples are we setting in order to face people and situations and that are completely out of their control?

Are we teaching them good stewardship by the way we handle our finances?

Are we teaching them compassion by the way we support those in dire situations?

Are we living out what we talk about on Sundays?

Are we loving them as Christ loved us? Without condition, with patience, kindness and gentleness and are we reinforcing the things that we teach them with appropriate discipline?

I want to challenge you today to do one thing for your child that will have an everlasting impact.

If you accept the challenge, I’d love to hear about it!

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
Dueteronomy 6: 6-9

What’s History Got to do with it?

I just finished reading this article in the Dec. 2010 issue of National Geographic (thank you doctor’s office waiting room). The cover caught my eye, particularly because I’ve spent the last several weeks studying a contemplating the life of David.

I’ve always found those specials on 20/20, Dateline, etc. on proving biblical phenomena like the parting of the Red Sea, or finding evidence Noah’s ark on Mt. Ararat to be slightly annoying. After spending a ridiculous amount of time sitting through commercials and about 15 minutes of actual commentary, an hour later, I’m sitting on the couch with more questions in my head. So, when I saw the cover of a National Geographic with the title “The Search for King David: New Discoveries in the Holy Land” I hesitated only briefly because so much of my time these last few weeks has been spent studying the life of this guy.

The article centered around

While reading it, I began to wonder if God just looks down on us, digging in the ground, holding press conferences, getting our underclothes in a bunch over things like this and just laughs. He’s got to. I don’t say all of this to discount highly educated individuals life’s work, because when is the last time my name appeared in magazine with a 3.5M circulation? I do say this to revel in the amazing mystery of God, in history and in the concept, of whether or not we found David’s very throne if our faith would be that much stronger. What I’ve come to find is that God created things to have mystery, like the human heart, and what I mean by that is the soul, for example. Yes, we’ve been able to break down the most foundational building block our our bodies, DNA, in order to solve crimes, determine paternity, track people groups throughout history, but there remains this enigma of why people make the decisions they do, what makes us tick and that’s what brings me back again to David. As I discussed in earlier posts, David and God were thick as thieves as well, that may not be the best use of terms, but you understand what I’m getting at: they were intimate. They had to be intimate. God delivered David out of so many physically dangerous situations but just as many heart-rending dilemas as well: the death of his best friend, the death of 3 of his sons, yet God was right there, he saw David’s heart ache. What other man could pen the words as beautiful as:

It was a discussion of th

reputation Jockeying, some issues of funding and even

I think the most poingnant piece of the whole article was a caption that came under a picture of a broken piece of stone, with the caption, “Until the 1993 discover of a ninth-century B.C. stela inscribed with “House of David,” there was no nonbiblical evidence that David actually existed. Few dispute it now.” What does that mean for us? For those of who doubt, who have been brought up to know this God, but when personal tragedy strikes, He feels as distant as an artifact burried under the rubble of thousands of years of change. How do we make the God real to us.

The truth is, science isn’t necessarily going to bring us to a great understanding of God, but rather the great mysteries of God. The God who gave us individual fingerprints,