I’m so hungry!

Genesis 25:29-34 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom. ) Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright. ” “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.

hungerHave you ever been really hungry?  In America, most of us don’t actually know what that feels like.  Yet we say things like, “I’m starving!”  No, you are not.  I can agree that we certainly feel the pains of hunger.  Blood sugars drop, we get a little woozy, we become irrational.  Sometimes I get really grumpy when I am hungry.  Hunger changes things.  Our flesh cries out, “feed me!”

Hunger changed things for Esau, too.  He was so hungry that he made a very irrational decision.  His stomach gave away his birthright!  Can you just picture Esau?  There he is after a long day of hunting (it may have even been days) and smells that heavenly stew Jacob was cooking.  His salivary glands kick into overdrive as his eyes lock in on the warm bread.  “Jacob, help a brother out!”  That’s when Jacob sees the opportunity and makes a deal.  He could have just taken the time to make his own meal, but he wanted food now! Esau’s appetite did him in.

We, too, have appetites that cause us to give away what God has for us. We crave after things that give us gratification in the moment.  We feed our flesh on the things of this world.  We want satisfaction now.  However, God doesn’t always work that way.  He calls us to be steadfast, to be holy, to pursue Him.  He has an inheritance for us that is long lasting.  If we are going to receive all that He has for us, we must quiet our hungry stomachs and ignore our fleshly cravings.  Don’t make the same mistake Esau did.

*Are you led by the hunger of your flesh? What can you do today to quiet that craving?



Genesis 24:56 But he said to them, “Do not detain me, now that the LORD has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master.”

persistentSometimes you just have to  be persistent.  There is, however, a difference between between pushy and persistent.  A pushy person demands his way at the cost of others.  Pushy is defined as obnoxiously self-assertive.  On the other hand, persistence is defined as persevering in spite of obstacles, discouragement, or opposition.  Pushiness is about me.  Persistence is about the cause. 

Abraham’s servant was persistent.  He had traveled a long distance in search for the wife that God had for Isaac.  When he arrived at his location, he sought the Lord and asked Him for divine intervention.  This was his cause – his holy cause – to be a servant of both God and Abraham in order to fulfill the purposes of God.  So he prayed and God answered.  It was so clear that Rebekah was the chosen one, there was no doubt.  But when it was time to go, her family tried to put on the brakes.  That’s when he had to be persistent.  “I know that this is what God has ordained!”  So he pushed back, “Don’t slow me down. It’s time for us to go, folks!”

When God speaks to us clearly, we need to get moving.  But understand that when you begin to walk it out, you will have people and things along the way that will try to detain you.  They will tell you it won’t work, that you are a dreamer, that you are foolish.  Like Abraham’s servant, you must be persistent.  Don’t be discouraged, don’t slow down, don’t give up.  The Lord has called you to a great purpose and you must persevere in spite of obstacles, discouragement, or opposition.  He will sustain you and He will be faithful to get you through!

*Have you given up on what God has called you to?  Are you discouraged when you see the opposition?  Persist today!

Bad negotiation

Genesis 23:10-13 Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city. “No, my lord,” he said. “Listen to me; I give  you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.” Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land and he said to Ephron in their hearing, “Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so I can bury my dead there.”

NegotiationHave you ever negotiated something before?  I have, plenty of times.  I have negotiated cars, musical instruments, and random stuff in Mexico.  Here’s how a negotiation is supposed to work: the buyer looks at the seller’s price and offers less.  The seller counters with a higher price and the buyer counters again with a lower price.  Generally you meet in the middle somewhere.  Recently, I was negotiating on something and the seller actually ended up coming in below my starting price.  Holla!

This negotiation in Genesis 23 is just plain odd.  Abraham asks if he can buy some land to bury his wife who has passed away.  A guy named Ephron says, “You can have the land, Abe.  We really like and respect you, so just have it.  It’s all yours.”  Now any rational human being would simply say something like, “Thanks Ephron.  That’s very generous of you.”  But instead Abraham says, “No. I want to pay for it.”  I don’t think Abraham passed his Negotiation 101 class at community college.

So why would Abraham insist on paying for something that he could have had for free?  I think it was because Abraham knew that something of value costs something.  He knew that someday when Ephron wanted to change his mind on the land, he would be able to hold up the receipt and say, “I paid for this, you can’t take it back.”  Yes, things of value are worth paying for.

Jesus paid for something of value, too.  He paid for you.  It was a bad negotiation, really.  You had nothing to give in exchange, nothing to offer.  But He knew that you were worth everything, so He laid down His life for you.  He purchased your life and your freedom.  You are like that land that Abraham bought – you have value.  And like Abraham, Jesus wants to hang on to you forever.  You were worth a bad negotiation.

*What goes through your mind when you think about what Jesus did to pay for your life?

Mountain Climbing

Genesis 22:13-14 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ramcaught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

mountain_climbingMountain climbing: something that I’m not all that good at.  Well, actually, I haven’t tried it, but the thought of it isn’t appealing to me.  All I can think of is high altitudes, sore muscles, and steep cliffs.  Danger!  Climbing the mountain is hard work.  Climbing the mountain without all the supplies is even harder.  Imagine going on a multi-day mountain trek with no food or no tent or the wrong shoes.  Imagine climbing the mountain with no water. I am getting thirsty just thinking about it.

Abraham climbed a mountain.  He climbed a mountain to offer a sacrifice, but had no sacrifice.  He was willing to give his son to the Lord as a sacrifice, although God had another plan the whole time.  He found Abraham to be faithful and provided a ram.  Abraham didn’t know that, however; he just climbed the mountain in faith.  He knew that somehow, someway, God would be faithful.  Provision was at the top of the mountain.

We have mountains to climb, too.  We get ourselves all packed up and ready to go, but God says to leave the providing up to Him.  So off we go without water, only to find a spring at the top of the mountain.  This is the faithfulness of God.  He will provide.  It says in Genesis 22:14, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”  So if it is provision you seek, climb the mountain of the Lord.  Go on a hike toward His presence.  Spend time climbing to the highest heights with Him.  On His mountain, it will be provided.  Now set out toward Him and find all that you need.

*Need provision today? Keep on climbing toward your God… He will provide!

That’s a weird name for a tree

Genesis 21:33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the Eternal God.

tamarisk treeI have some trees in my back yard, or are they shrubs?  All I know is that this one variety has three different names.  Pyramidalis, thuja, and something else I can’t think of.  All I know is that when I bought them I was told they are low maintenance.  They have proven to live up to that promise, so I quite enjoy them.  I think permadalis is a strange name for a tree.  But there are trees with even weirder names.  Names like: elderberry, bladdernut, harlequin glorybower (it’s real, I promise), devil’s stick, and tree of heaven.

Then there’s the tree that Abraham planted.  It was a tamarisk tree.  Exciting isn’t it?  I mean this is big time biblical stuff!  Abraham planted a tree everyone – woohoo!  I’m off to read some more genealogies!  Now before you think I’m crazy for blogging about a tree, stick with me for a minute.  The tamarisk tree took a really long time to grow… like several generations.  For hundreds of years, it isn’t any good to anyone.  But when it is good and old, it gets really big and provides shade.  That may not sound like much to you, but in the desert, that is a big deal.  So Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in a desert that didn’t belong to him. What’s the point?

That seedling was a statement of faith.  You see, someday hundreds of years later, Abraham’s descendants would own that land.  How did he know that?  Because God promised Him.  And all those years later his great, great, great grandchildren would find refuge under a tree that someone from a previous generation had planted.  I wonder sometimes if we only plant spiritual trees that will give us shade for today.  Like Abraham, we are invited by God to plant trees that we will never see fully grow.  We are invited to plant trees that will be a legacy for future generations.  Abraham planted a tamarisk tree. Will you?

*Are you planting any tamarisk trees in your own life?

Dude’s got issues

Genesis 20:1-2  ​Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelech king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.

issuesNot again! Okay, apparently Abraham has some issues.  This is now the second time he has been afraid to tell people that Sarah is his wife.  So instead he tells them that she is his sister, so they won’t kill him, I guess.  (Now he does reveal in this chapter that she is actually his half-sister, which is another whole issue that I won’t comment on here.)  What is Abraham’s deal?  Why does he keep on denying that she is his wife?  Well, apparently dude’s got issues.

You have probably met someone with issues. They get caught up in drama.  They have major self confidence insecurities.  They are always late, often lie, judge others, tell people that their wife is their sister to avoid death… the list goes on.  Yes, “those people” have issues.  That guy is messed up.  But sometimes “that guy” looks right back at you in the mirror.  Because the truth is, we’ve all got issues.

The problem with Abraham isn’t that he had issues;  it’s just that he didn’t deal with them.  He’s been here before; he has tried this lie.  Here he is, this great man of faith – afraid.  It doesn’t make sense to me, but it also doesn’t make sense that I have issues.  I have been accepted and perfected through Christ, but I often live below that calling.  I let my personal issues, my sin issues, my confidence issues all get in the way of being that man of God He has made me to be.  But I won’t be that all that He has made me to be unless I let go.  If I don’t surrender these things to him, I will be just another dude with issues.

*Do you have issues that you need to let God work out in you?

Dragging our feet

Genesis 19:15-16 At dawn the next morning the angels became insistent. “Hurry,” they said to Lot. “Take your wife and your two daughters who are here. Get out right now, or you will be swept away in the destruction of the city!” When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the Lord was merciful.

dragging feetI’ll admit it: sometimes I have a hard time making a decision.  The little decisions aren’t so hard, but the big ones are another story.  It’s likely that I am a perfectionist and don’t want to make the wrong decision.  But that often leads me to make no decision at all.  This has caused me to miss out on great deals and great adventures.  I just over think it sometimes; I drag my feet.  By the time I make up my mind, it’s too late.  Can anyone relate?

 There are certain times, however, when dragging your feet is an even bigger deal: when God has told you to do something.  He calls us out to a great purpose, but we aren’t sure if the water is safe.  He calls us out of places of danger, but we refuse to leave the burning house.  Why is that?  Do we fear the unknown more than we fear the danger of the present? Because if God is IN the unknown, that’s actually a pretty safe place to be. 

There’s some good news for all of us in this feet dragging conundrum: God is gracious.  Lot was in a dangerous situation and hesitated leaving it.  But the angels of the Lord grabbed his hand and brought him to safety.  The Lord does the same with us today.  When we are dragging our feet, He grabs our hand and leads us to safe places.  Hesitation happens, but when you feel Him nudging you on to safety, that’s when the feet need to stop dragging and start moving.  Trust that where He is leading you is far better than where you are. 

*Are you dragging your feet?