- the scribes and Pharisees of Jerusalem were overly concerned about tradition
- Jesus pointed out that they cared more about their traditions than about the commandment of God
- Jesus told how Isaiah's prophesy about fake righteousness applied to them
- getting dirty, Spiritually, works inside out
- the blind Pharisees were headed for a fall
- beware of evil speech
[Shall] not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs [be] ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.Jacob's sons, (Dinah's brothers), Simeon and Levi, had come up with a plot against the people of Shalem, the city of Shechem. Hamor and his son Shechem used greed to lure the people of the city into consenting to Simeon and Levi's plan, because none of them know that it was a plot for their destruction. This is a good lesson to beware of covetousness and the destruction that it lures us into.
Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took [it].Jacob had worked hard for what he had (6 years for the livestock, freezing at night, etc., remember?) And, it seemed like maybe he could get away with keeping all of it, but he insisted on giving a gift to his brother. We should be willing to freely let go of, and generously give up many of the good things we have, for our pursuit of the Lord.
I think that part of what enabled Jacob to do that was his good perspective on his possessions: v5
And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who [are] those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.Jacob saw and acknowledged that what he had was just a gracious gift from the Lord. He was very grateful and willing to be content (
...because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.)
We should keep this good perspective of gratefulness to the Lord, acknowledging that everything we have is just a gracious gift from Him. Then we should be satisfied, and willing to generously give up many of the good things we have, for pursuing the Lord in our lives.
Genesis 32When we are afraid and distressed, we should pray to the Lord like Jacob did here. First of all, Jacob was doing what the Lord had said, and he remembered the Lord's promise:
And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:Secondly, Jacob humbly remembered the great things that the Lord had done for him, and mentioned them in praise to the Lord:
I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.Finally, Jacob direct and to the point with asking the Lord for what he wanted, and he was open and honest with the Lord about how he felt.
Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, [and] the mother with the children.When we are
greatly afraid and distressed(v7), this is how we should lay our burdens before the Lord in prayer.
For Mordecai [was] great in the king's house, and his fame went out throughout all the provinces: for this man Mordecai waxed greater and greater.Thinking of what Mordecai went through, risking death before he got to this point, reminds me of Christ (See Philippians 2:5-11).
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:If we want to be exalted, then we need to be humble like Mordecai and Christ were.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:Like Mordecai, and like Christ, I need to patiently keep doing what is right, even when it is not pleasant. I'll be more diligent with my schoolwork; then the Lord can lift me up the way He wants to, at the right time.
But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.This is a great verse, but I do not have much in particular to say about it this time. It was a troubling situation, but the Lord was there.
ApplicationWhen we are in trouble, we can find encouragement in our relationship with the Lord. For believers, He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.
- the Lord turned around the terrible situation from the enemy, into a wonderful victory for His people
- the Jews killed Haman's 10 sons and got permission to hang them on the gallows
- the Jews had permission for a second day of significant victory over many enemies
- the Jews made their victory date into a holiday
- Mordecai sent letters to establish the holiday
- Esther confirmed the holiday
- being bold enough to tell other people that what they are doing is wrong, can lead to very uncomfortable situations for you, but that does not necessarily mean it is the wrong thing for you to do
- even after Jesus had just heard some bad news, and went somewhere that he could be alone, when crowds came He still had compassion on them and served them
- the situation seemed terrifying, but Jesus was there
- Jesus can make people perfectly whole
And the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.We should be waiting for the Lord's Word to us, and ready to listen and do new things that He shows us. If we are His people, He has promised to never leave us or forsake us; And, if we faithfully serve Him with all our strength in whatever place He has us, He will see and take care of us.
But when the cattle were feeble, he put [them] not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.
Laban tried to take advantage of Jacob and treat him unjustly, but the Lord showed Jacob how to turn the situation around so that he actually ended up getting the better end of the deal. When things seem to go well with the wicked, and, especially, when things seem to go badly for us as we pursue righteousness, we need to have patience and faith in the Lord.
The Lord is real, living, and active, and He has a reason and a plan. In the end of the story, it will become undeniably obvious to everyone that faithfully serving the Lord is well worth it.
And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him [but] a few days, for the love he had to her.This is interesting because it is backward from the way I usually think about things. If I have to wait a while for something that I really want, then it seems like a lot longer time for me. I wonder why Jacob's love made the time he had to wait seem shorter instead of longer? I think it is because he was serving in love.
When we have to wait for something that we want in our lives, we shouldn't wait in idleness. We should get busy working hard, and pursuing the Lord's will that we do know in our lives: repenting from sin and following Him. If we spend our time sitting idly by, wishing we had something that we love, then it will seem to take forever to get there. But, if we spend our time in love, serving in pursuit of the Lord, that will make the time fly.
And, behold, I [am] with thee, and will keep thee in all [places] whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done [that] which I have spoken to thee of.
The Lord has given us, His children, a sure promise that He is preparing a place for us in heaven. As we serve Him faithfully today, we can have confidence that it is not in vain. Let's take comfort in the assurance of the Lord's everlasting presence with us, and let's store up durable treasures in heaven as we follow the Lord.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
I have been looking for a car to buy lately, and I think that, in some ways, the things are God can be compared to buying a car. Often, buying a particularly valuable car is worth sacrificing many other things that the buyer could have bought with that money, because having a car can enable the buyer to make even more money then he could without the car.
In the same way, the things of the Lord are so much more valuable than anything else, that it would be worth sacrificing everything else in our lives to
invest in the Lord's kingdom. From having Christ, we will also find everything else we need, and more.
And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, [even] me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.We are tempted to think, that as the computer science pioneer Grace Hopper said,
It's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission.The story of Esau clearly demonstrates that is not the case. If we want to be living happy and satisfied lives, then we need to realize that when we are tempted to sin, it will end up being so much easier for us in the long run if we make the right decision in the first place. It would be much more difficult (if not impossible) to try to fix the situation afterward.
Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.It is encouraging to me to read how the Lord blessed Isaac in the Bible, and to remember how the Lord has blessed me, myself. Isaac received a hundred times as much from what he planted.
But it says that
Isaac sowed in that land.If we want the Lord's blessings, we need to be willing to step out, take risks that may be necessary, and work hard to serve the Lord.
And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red [pottage]; for I [am] faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
We should watch out for the trap of merely going for what looks good to us, and valuing pleasure in the things in this present physical world above the things of God.
Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this [fellow] hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that [pertained] unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good.
Sometimes we might feel like we have been cheated because other people treat us unfairly; and we might feel like it was in vain that we have tried so hard to do what was right throughout the situation, because other people return evil for good. The problem with that perspective is that we should do good to be seen by and rewarded by the Lord, not just other people. If we believe that the Lord is real and faithful, then we can trust that He will see and reward us.
Application1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
If we can know that our labor is in the Lord, then we can be sure that it certainly will not be in vain. Next time I feel upset about my labor seeming to be in vain, I'll be patient and forgiving to people, remembering that the Lord will work things out.
- all Israel lamented the death of Samuel
- introduction to Nabal, a rich man who was evil, and Abigail, a beautiful woman who had good understanding
- David sent his servants to Nabal with peace, when Nabal had prosperity, to humbly request a reward for their hard work for him
- Nabal arrogantly presumed evil accusations about David that were not true, and selfishly refused to give him anything
- David and his men put on their swords and headed out
- someone told Abigail what was going on, and how Nabal had railed on David's messengers
- Abigail hurried, prepared a generous gift, and went and met David's men
- David was about to utterly destroy every male who belonged to Nabal
- Abigail humbly interceded with David for her husband
- Abigail spoke of the good that the Lord would do for David, and entreated him not to kill and take revenge at this time
- David blessed Abigail and told her how she prevented a massacre
- Nabal was scared stiff, then the Lord took his life
- After Nabal was dead, David married Abigail
- David also married Ahinoam, but Saul had given David's wife Michal to someone else
And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.It says that
Esther spake yet again before the king.This reminds me of something I noticed when studying 1 Samuel 23 with my friends:
1 Samuel 23:4
Then David enquired of the LORD yet again. And the LORD answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thine hand.After David had already asked the Lord about going down to that town, it says that
David enquired of the LORD yet again.
ApplicationSometimes there are things in our lives that we have already prayed about before, and it may seem like it will do no good to pray about it anymore because we have not received a complete answer yet. In those cases, I'll remember David and Esther, and I'll be persistent to speak
yet again before the king,and to enquire
of the LORD yet again.
He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
Whether it be our time, possessions, or activities,
the cares of this world can enter in and choke the spiritual fruitfulness of our lives.
I'll be working on putting the time, possessions, and activities in my life in order, so that I can make sure that I'm putting the fruit from following the Word before
the cares of this world.
- the king gave Haman's place to Mordecai
- "And Esther spake yet again before the king..."
- the law for the Jews to destroy their enemies
- the law was published so the Jews would be ready
- the result of a just law was a joyful city
- there was such a crowd that Jesus had to get out into a boat to talk to them
- Jesus told the parable of the sower
- why Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables
- the blessing of seeing the things of Christ
- Jesus explained what the parable of the sower meant
And there was set [meat] before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on.
We should make sure to put the things of the Lord before other things that we do, so that they are the things that get done if not everything does. For example, I should spend time in the Word before going about my daily business.
And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily.
The Lord had showed David that he would be king, but David was a good example of being patient and not jumping the gun.
So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on [his] way.
Even when I think I've been patient before, I'll be patient again. Like David did about Saul, I'll leave it in the Lord's hands to work out what He is going to do.
- Saul started hunting David again
- David had a chance to destroy Saul
- David did not kill Saul because Saul was the Lord's anointed
- David showed Saul that he had cut off the edge of his robe instead of killing him
- David left the judgement of Saul in the Lord's hands
- Saul was amazed that David returned good for evil
- even Saul had to admit that David would become king
- Saul had David swear that David would not kill all of Saul's descendants
And the king said again unto Esther on the second day at the banquet of wine, What [is] thy petition, queen Esther? and it shall be granted thee: and what [is] thy request? and it shall be performed, [even] to the half of the kingdom.
I think that the king asking Esther what her request was, and promising that it would be granted and performed, is like the Lord asks us to bring our requests to Him in prayer.
I'll boldly bring my burdens to the Lord in prayer, with faith that it will make a difference.
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
The Lord gave strong warnings about the serious problems of saying things that we shouldn't say. We're going to have to make up for or answer for every work spoken in carelessness.
Several times recently, I've fallen into saying little things about people that I probably shouldn't have said in that context. This week, I'll think twice before I say something.
- Jesus did a great thing, healing a possessed man
- the Pharisees even found something bad to say about that wonderful thing that Jesus had done
- Jesus used several analogies to explain that He must have been casting out demons by the Spirit of God
- Jesus strongly warned that speaking against the Holy Ghost would never be forgiven
- Jesus warned about evil speech
- the sign of Jonah
- Jesus was greater than Jonah and Solomon, so the people of Nineveh and the queen of the South would would condemn the generation who did not receive Jesus
- cleaning house without replacing anything else into the same space will just make the problems come back worse next time
- the introduction to Jesus' spiritual family instead of physical
And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,
Abraham's wife Sarah died in this chapter, and Abraham mourned and wept for her, but then he got up and did what he needed to do. When sad and depressing things invade our lives, after our time of taking them to the Lord, we need to be willing to stand up and move on.
inquired of the LORD yet again in 1 Samuel 23:4, we should pray for things continually.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
There are some things that I've been praying about for a long time and haven't seemed to get an answer to. I'll be patient and persistent to keep praying about those things anyway.