Genesis 22-25 (What’s it like to read the entire bible? How about we find out?)

“35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.” (Jeremiah 32:35)

Genesis 22

  • The Sacrifice of Isaac
    • The account raises so many questions. Why would God ask that? Would Abraham have followed through? How close was Abraham to following through when the angel interrupted him? Why does it seem Isaac didn’t put up a fight? Are all three actors in this story crazy? How far was far enough into the sacrifice to prove his faith to God? Would God really require human sacrifice? Maybe God would follow through with it in another time and place? What does it say about God’s character that He would think such a thing, let alone ask it?
    • It’s a powerful story and incredible with the fact that Abraham apparently would do as God asked. I can’t imagine going through with it if I were the one asked. Then again, it was a different time, place and culture. Perhaps the whole thinking pattern was different then.
    • Later on we’re going to see that God commands Israel to destroy nations for their consistently abhorrent cultures. One of the things God highlighted was child sacrifice, He says:
      • “35 They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.” (Jeremiah 32:35)
      • If it never entered His mind then why did he ask it here?
      • I think it’s safe to say He always was going to provide the sacrificial lamb.
      • …He always was going to provide Jesus.
        • “15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
        • I should’ve highlighted this at the time, but this is a foreshadowing of Jesus taking final victory over Satan.
        • I don’t know about you but it’s all these connections and internal references that make me look in awe at God’s Word.

Genesis 23

  • Sarah’s Burial
    • There’s tremendous detail here about Sarah’s burial which boils down to Abraham purchasing some land.
    • Be aware of tracts of text that provide whole bunches of detail for no apparent reason.
    • I’ve said it a few times already but text like this will be critical for constructing the truth out of some issue either in another verse or book or in our study of God’s Word today.

Genesis 24

  • A Wife for Isaac
    • A lovely little story about Abraham sending his servant to get a wife for his son.
    • All through the text it’s clear Abraham and his servant want God to provide the right wife. They don’t just want to find any wife.
    • Even better is when they do find the right girl and seeing how the girl responds.
    • Rebekah, Isaac’s wife to-be, presents herself admirably. Kind, willing to serve, decisive, modest.

Genesis 25

  • Abraham’s Other Wife and Sons
    • After Sarah’s death, Abraham takes a new wife and has more children.
    • He sends these children east, it is written, gives them many gifts.
    • But to Isaac, he gives everything of his own.
    • Abraham lives 175 years.

Genesis 2-21 (What’s it like to read the entire bible? How about we find out?)

What’s it like to read the entire bible? How about we find out?

I have to apologize once again for reading but not posting. I’m finding it sometimes easy and sometimes difficult to write.

Let’s do a mile-a-minute overview…

  • Genesis 1
    • God declares the Sabbath Holy and purposed it for rest.
      • Never forget that Sunday was purposed for rest. As this year goes by, try to remember the number of Sundays where you truly relaxed.
    • An account is given again of the six-day creation, this time including a few more details, like where the garden was, how God created animals in Adam’s sight, and how Eve came to be.
      • A somewhat popular “contradiction” is brought up concerning why Genesis 1 and 2 differ in the order. Google around for the apologetics regarding the purpose of each chapter.
      • Details are important in the bible. Unlike many historical documents, the bible contains detail, and sometimes goes on at length, that you might consider useless. But, thousands of years later, they turn out to be very pivotal in proving the accuracy and truth of God’s Word. Genesis 2 includes details about the surrounding lands, the borders of Eden, some special characteristics about each area.
      • It’s a subtle point, but one that is probably important. If God had not shown Adam that He created the animals, Adam might have had reason to doubt God, who walked with Adam and Eve if the garden, had really created all of this. Perhaps He was just taking credit? The bible is incredibly fascinating when you look at it in this level of detail.
    • Genesis 3
      • How Adam and Eve were tempted and broke the first and only rule to that point.
        • Apt: “When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws.” – G.K. Chesterton
    • Genesis 4
      • The first murder. Cain murders Abel.
        • Cain’s judgement was to be an outcast. The first murder didn’t result in death as a punishment. Selah.
    • Genesis 5
      • Genealogies!
        • “Enoch walked with God, and he was not there, because God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) How many can claim to have escaped this life without death?
        • “So Methuselah’s life lasted 969 years; then he died.” (Genesis 5:27) Oldest man who ever lived.
        • “Lamech was 182 years old when he fathered a son. And he named him Noah, saying, ‘This one will bring us relief from the agonizing labor of our hands, caused by the ground the LORD has cursed.'” Five chapters into the bible and we already have Noah foreshadowing the destruction of all created life.
    • Genesis 6
      • Fascinating chapter because it seems to hint at something beyond what we would consider normal man living with human-kind.
      • “When mankind began to multiply on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were beautiful, and they took any they chose as wives for themselves.” (Genesis 6:1-2)
      • “The Nephilim were on the earth both in those days and afterwards, when the sons of God came to the daughters of man, who bore children to them. They were powerful men of old, the famous men.” (Genesis 6:4)
      • God sees that all mankind has evil intent in their hearts, except Noah. Noah is told to build a boat to survive a flood that will wipe out all life.
    • Genesis 7-9
      • Noah and his family enter their boat, the ark, and the flood strikes the earth.
      • The flood recedes, Noah and his family and all the animals get out and start the earth anew.
      • Noah sacrificed offerings to God and God promised never to wipe out the earth again.
      • God put the rainbow in the sky as a testament to this.
    • Genesis 10
      • Family records!
        • Immensely boring, but remember those details that have survived thousands of years are of use, even if we don’t see it. They will, if they don’t already, lend credibility and historical accuracy to the bible and more people will trust in God as He has done something amazing with His Word.
    • Genesis 11
      • The Tower of Babel / Babylon
        • This one is interesting because God indicates that mankind can achieve anything if we were but united.
        • That sounds great, but would corrupt hearts really do what is right in that situation?
        • Clearly our own governments should be example enough of what damage small groups of people in unison can do
      • More genealogies!
        • Trust me, these things that seem useless are critical.
        • When you realize you can trace Jesus’s lineage all the way back to King David and before, and when you realize how many things needed to go right for that to happen, you should be amazed.
    • Genesis 12-21
      • God’s master plan is begun with Abraham
      • God calls out to Abraham and Abraham follows even though he is told he won’t live to see what God is promising. Selah.
      • Little things come up, like white lies (Abraham tells everybody his wife is his sister so he won’t be harmed), and two brothers needing to separate to keep the peace (Abraham and Lot).
        • These things are interesting because they’re all the things you would think a Holy Bible, God’s Own Word, wouldn’t have because they seem unimportant. But this is God’s Word, He sees the end from the beginning, and He has chosen these things for a reason.
        • Abraham has a son by one of his slaves and, wouldn’t you know it, two significant women in his life just isn’t going to end well. Take heed in the twenty-first century folks.
        • Abraham’s wife is old and barren and has not been able to have a child, but God promises that she will. And she does, though neither can believe that she will.
        • God introduces circumcision for Abraham and all his descendents to confirm His convenant with Abraham.
          • Even today, you will randomly hear a study indicating circumcision is a practical step in cleanliness, even to the level of reducing the chance of catching certain diseases. This kinda stuff that we only now understand as having practical benefits just keeps coming up in the bible. It’s truly awesome when you’ve gone through the entire thing.
      • Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed for their wickedness.
        • Abraham makes a plea to save Sodom if some there are found righeous.
        • Lot and his family are saved from the destruction
          • It is interesting to note that Abraham asked God if He would destroy the towns if only 10 righteous people were found. God said He would not destroy the town if that were the case.
          • The account is told whereby it appears angels meet Abraham and continue on to Sodom. They are invited in to Lot’s abode. Wicked men of the city ask for the guests so that they can rape them. Lot offers his virgin daughters (who may actually have already been engaged to be married; Genesis 19:14) to the men outside.
          • The angels end up destroying the town.
          • Lot’s family was large (large enough to cause problems just for sheer size with his brother earlier), so no doubt him and his family would have been considered a righteous group of people if they actually had been.
          • But Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.
          • Meaning, Lot and his family were not considered righteous (would you consider them to be if he offered his daughters up to evil men?).
          • So, God certainly would have spared the town if 10 had been found, and I believe even if one had been found, but it seems that none were found.
          • Were the righteous destroyed with the wicked? In this case, it appears no, they were not, and even some wicked ones were spared on account of Abraham.
          • God’s mercy is ever-present, ever waiting to show itself.
            • Keep this in the back of your mind for later books when you’re wondering where God’s mercy is.

There are so many little points that could be written. Entire sermon series are written on only a few of the verses found in these chapters.

Every time I pick up the bible these days I think to how amazing it is that God kept a history like this.

I find it amazing how little details come back thousands of years later and give us even better confidence than we had before in the legitimacy and accuracy of the Word.

I think it’s incredible to see how the character of God is revealed in His Word. His love, mercy, generosity, commitment, and more, everything that isn’t explicitly attributed to God in word is here for those who would simply read it and see how God dealt with situations in history.

You might have a thousand songs and poems say “God is,” but having the bible say “God did” paints a picture worth a thousand words holding more authority than anything written by man.

Chicago coach rips officiating

I have no respect for the NHL anymore, as a business. You bunch of money-grubbing suits.

Check out the article on tsn. There’s a tonne of debate online about this.

I can’t talk about this particular case but I’ve thought all year, and last year, officiating has been bad. Not because the officials are throwing games, but because they’re being told to call in a certain way by the NHL business side.

I have no respect for the NHL anymore, as a business. The goals allowed these days are ridiculous. A player can run a goalie into the net and score?

You bunch of money-grubbing suits.

Reality check: You’ve made the game a pale comparison to what it was a few years ago.

I’ll call it right now. The NHL won’t do well until it makes the game better.

How a spouse swap affected two families

Friends, family and acquantances will fail you because no man or woman is perfect, so look ahead and consider God, your heavenly father, who has been calling us for all eternity

I randomly fell onto this article, entitled “How a spouse swap affected two families”, while waking up my computer and checking out one of my homepages, NewsX.org.

I knew how it would turn out but reading it was titillating enough to continue to the end.

Take away?

For those on the outside looking in, beware of being enamored by clever new ideas draped in pleasant terms that give the outward impression of sophistication, of an intellectual level your forebears must have been too clouded to consider.

For those on the inside looking out, friends, family and acquantances will fail you because no man or woman is perfect, so look ahead and consider God, your heavenly father, who has been calling us for all eternity.

Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The epic blog over at Pick Fretz’s Brain has got my ol’ noggin churning. Jamie’s post, God of Justice, got me thinking. Jesus taught us how to live. He went to tabernacles. He taught there and he also taught outside in the open air. He invited, lived among and befriended the sinners, outcasts, rejects, poor, depressed, maimed and general unlikeables in society.

There is a problem with the church today – and it is the church.

What we have created in the past two thousand years Jesus once tore down in three days and rebuilt.

We have somehow created a religion of structure visitors. We visit the structure every Sunday.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the prayers, praise, love, adoration, worship and servanthood given in that building are not real. Much of it certainly is and there is absolutely a place for what Sundays, and countless other activities surrounding the church building, represent. Christians need each other. We need teaching. We need to praise together and support together.

But the church as a physical entity and as a thing that we “do” is a misconstruction. It is something man-made, developed, just as the Jewish elite had created their system, before Jesus came on the scene, we have created our own system. And it’s an efficient, well-oiled system for what it does. But for all that it does, it has only the fraction of the impact that the true body of Christ is capable of.

I believe it’s Matthew 16:16-20, specifically verse 18, that many would point to supporting the idea of the church as a physical thing or something that we do. But always remember God’s Word is a cohesive document where all parts of scripture support and clarify all other parts. So I look for clarification on the “church” and find Paul, the main man setting up physical churches, speaking on other issues but clarifying the church:

17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:17-20

Not even Paul considered the church as something built of the physical and something done by people. Ephesians 5:22-24 is also helpful.

Note how both portions of scripture clarify what the church is. The church is the body of Christ. The body of Christ consists of all those that believe on Jesus’s name.

The church upon the rock, against which the gates of hell will not prevail, is not the thing we have made the physical cornerstone of our faith.

Perhaps we have placed too much emphasis on the church as a physical thing and not enough on how Jesus taught us to live outside the walls of our tabernacles.

I love the Old Testament and it ties in perfectly. Read Isaiah 58. The great thing about God’s Word is that it is His Word and He has been saying the same thing for six thousand years. If only we would listen.

9 He said, “Go and tell this people:
” ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Isaiah 6:9

We shouldn’t be like this. We can not let history repeat itself.

Many Christians have lived their lives and served in the way Jesus taught and they have gone unnoticed. Maybe that’s why we don’t get it. They’re not loud enough while others are loud enough for both.

I think I’ll just end with the entirety of Isaiah 58. God always could speak better than me.

True Fasting
1 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the house of Jacob their sins.

2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.

3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.

4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.

5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.Isaiah 58

Genesis 1 (What’s it like to read the entire bible? How about we find out?)

Trust God’s Word. Trust God’s Word not because it says so, but because it says so and because it welcomes any and all skepticism with a voracious appetite.

I’m a few chapters into Genesis already but I’ve been finding it difficult to write about what I’ve already read. I had read Genesis 1 and actually had a huge piece written up but it wasn’t really what I wanted it to be. I went real long and in-depth about the importance of the first verse, about cosmologies, creation and evolution, and about approaching Genesis from another angle (which has produced some novel ideas from others). It didn’t feel right, though.

If I’m going to write about reading the bible, I don’t want to get caught up in detailed explanations, theories, wild-goose chases or other tangents. I really want to show readers the best parts, the parts that most show the bible as the solid truth that it is and that most reflect glory upon God.

So let me just get this whole ball rolling…

  1. Genesis 1:1 Is there any more simple, pragmatic way the book could open than this? “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It’s the perfect introduction to history. There was a beginning to all of this and God was there creating all of it and us.
  2. Origins of the Universe. Look up Russel Humphreys and read up on Starlight and Time. His theory may not stand the test of time but others will take inspiration from his novel approach to the text of Genesis 1.
  3. Creation/Evolution. It may seem to you like there’s no evidence for creation. Mainstream media will rarely report anything to do with creationism, less still in a flattering light, so how would we know? It’s up to every believer to be familiar with the massive field of creationism. Many thousands of believers have spent their lives understanding the Genesis account of creation and going about showing that it is true. Answers in Genesis is an organization which I find provides solid, well-reasoned, rational answers to many of the questions we have about what mainstream science is telling us and what the bible is telling us. Their Get Answers section may help you if you, like many, ask why a biblical creation even matters.
  4. God created you and I, male and female, to have not only amazing relationships with each other, but to know our creator personally. God wants to know you and He wants you to know Him. You just wait. You’re going to learn incredible details about the character of God just by reading His Word.

The bible is jam-packed with goodness but I feel I would detract from it by writing too much so I’ll stop here and give you these points and links to ponder. Let me just say one more thing that came up just now.

As we begin reading the bible I do want to give you one bit of advice. Google is your friend. Wikipedia is your friend. Firefox is your friend. Googlepedia is your friend. Neither of these things has a Christian bent. In fact, Wikipedia can easily lead a weak Christian astray. But let me tell you what just happened while I googled the wiki article for Answers in Genesis, where I knew I was likely to find not only positive views but also criticisms.

What I found was a very unflattering portion of the wiki article entitled Controversy over interview with Richard Dawkins. It painted a very unsavoury picture of Answers in Genesis. Had I stopped right there, I would probably have dismissed Answers in Genesis forever after. But you know there’s always two sides to a story. And you know you have a brain for  a reason. So I went to the Answers in Genesis website and searched for “dawkins response” and their own search results gave me Skeptics choke on Frog, a response to critics about the controversy of the interview.

I hope the lesson is clear. You really need to have more than one side of a story before you can form your own positions.

What’s it like to read the entire bible?

What’s it like to read the entire bible? It is like sight to a once blind man.

It is like sight to a once blind man.

I have read the bible twice. Once with a side-by-side King James version and Amplified version, and once again with a Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Think you can’t commit to reading the entire bible? You might surprise yourself. Hey, I did it reading 4 pages per day. How much of a slacker am I?? But I did it. :)

Modern Christianity focuses on the Bible’s New Testament. Christianity’s history is in this section so, naturally, a lot of focus is put there. The Old Testament, on the other hand, is like hidden treasure. You will never fully appreciate what Christ did for you on the cross until you have read the OT. I really hope you consider reading the bible cover to cover.

When I was going through the bible, I didn’t commit to prayer before or after reading a particular section. I often found, though, that a given portion was so heart-rending, or so convicting, or so enlightening, or so beautiful, that I was compelled to give praise to God or to ask forgiveness or to ask for help – just from reading words on a page.

One thing you’ll begin to understand is what other Christians have recited time and again from scripture, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Words on a page, indeed.

I started this blog with a purpose in mind. It wasn’t to run off at the mouth about my fancies (although I reserve the right to do so!). Instead, it has been my purpose for some time to get myself back into the Word and to blog as I read my way through the bible again. Firstly, I think it will help me get back into the bible as I combine my faith side with my tech side. Secondly, I hope others read along with me and let me know what they think of what they’re reading (and I hope they kick my butt when I slack off).

So, I hope to begin a series of posts that will see us begin with Genesis and read through til Revelation. I’m still thinking of how to structure a post so there’s something constructive to read and to respond to.

Whatever happens, I know I’ll be delighted to be reading things I’ve forgotten, I’ll be learning new things, and hopefully I’ll be shedding new light for others as we go through.

So, what’s it really like to read the entire bible? How about we find out?

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Create in Me a Clean Heart is a song by Keith Green. I’ve always loved this song. It’s based off of Psalms 51:10-12. Here are the basic lyrics:

Create in me a clean heart, Oh God,
And renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away
From thy presence, oh Lord.
Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation
And renew a right spirit within me.

I liked it so much I wanted more to sing so I looked at the surrounding verses and used Psalms 51:13-17 in addition. Here’s the additional lyrics:

I will teach your ways
To see sinners come home.
Free me from blood-guilt, oh God.
Restore unto me, thou God of my salvation,
And I’ll sing of thy good and thy right.

Open thou my lips.
I will shew forth thy praise.
Thou desires not the things man has made,
But you, oh Lord, smile upon the broken hearted.
So renew a right spirit within me.

I don’t consider this final form. I’m irked by the “Thou desires” flow but the meaning will remain no matter what the words are. If you have any suggestions let me know.

Here are the guitar chords.

You may be interested to know that some translations indicate this particular Psalm was “To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David; when Nathan the prophet came to him after he had sinned with Bathsheba.”

Selah. Pause, and calmly think on that.

You may be wandering what’s up with my site name and what’s up with the tagline. Well, here’s some details while I test out this WordPress QuickPress feature…

Selah is a word used in the bible in the book of Psalms. It’s often used as an interjection between significant portions of songs. It’s used many times.

The “Pause, and calmly think on that.” comes from bracketed text following every occurence of “Selah” in the Amplified translation of the bible. Here’s an example:

O you sons of men, how long will you turn my honor and glory into shame? How long will you love vanity and futility and seek after lies? Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!
Psalms 4:2

The word and the Amplified idea of its meaning have always closely aligned with the way that I think. I really like the flow and texture of the word and phrase and so there you have it.

Selah.