Wednesday, 27 May 2015

"Do exactly as I command you..."

“Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you.”  Genesis 27:8, New King James Version.

         In a previous post I wrote that I would share my journey in studying obedience.  Here is another scripture from the list I compiled.  In the verse above, these are Rebekah’s words to Jacob.  I found myself asking: “Is this verse relevant to my study?  Why do I need to stop and meditate on this one?”

          In context these words are:
a)    A parent speaking to a child / offspring;  and the “child” is actually a young man.  A young man who is old enough to think for himself.
b)    One person speaking to another person—not God speaking to an individual.

The intention of this study is to study of my obedience to God.  And because this conversation does not start: “Thus says the Lord to you…” I could justify skipping or overlooking it.  But, if I do purposely miss it out, there is a good probably I will miss something God may have for me. 

     As I pondered this verse, I wrote down my thoughts on what appears obvious to me (or the reader) and see where it takes me.

Observation #1:  This conversation is between two people who have a relationship—family relationship.  This relationship is governed by the eastern cultural standard of respecting and honouring a parent/an elder.  Rebekah has overheard a conversation between Isaac and her older son, Esau.  Isaac is old, and asks Esau to hunt for some wild game, cook it and bring it to him.  After Isaac has eaten it, he promises to give Esau the blessing for the firstborn.  After Esau has gone, Rebekah finds Jacob, and says, “Do exactly as I command you.”  She gives Jacob instructions to bring two suitable young goats, which she will cook, to take to Isaac.  But Jacob questions Rebekah, as Esau is hairy and an out-of-doors worker.  Jacob is smooth-skinned, and a tent dweller.  He is afraid of being found out by Isaac, and will incur a curse from him father.  Through carefully following all of Rebekah’s instructions—wearing Esau’s clothing and covering his hands with the fur from the goats—Jacob does deceive Isaac in order to obtain God’s blessing from Isaac. 

Observation #2:   The relationship is based upon the foundation honour, which produces trust.  When Jacob speaks his doubts and concerns, he respectfully questions Rebekah.  He isn’t defiant or rude.  He states the obvious—“Esau is hairy and smells of the earth.  I am smooth and hang about tents.”  His mother does not reason with him, but rather defers his fear and reassures him; based upon respect and trust, Jacob does exactly as his mother tells him.  

Observation #3:  In my own life I have found myself believing that others who are older than myself will tell me: “Just do this (whatever action that he/she might prescribe) and trust God to sort out the rest."
     Because I am familiar with the story, I know that Jacob did obey his mother’s instructions, so that Jacob received God’s blessing from Isaac—even though it was obtained through deception. 
     However, God had foretold Rebekah that Jacob would be a ruler over Esau.  Is it possible that God allowed Rebekah to hear Isaac ask for a roast meal from Esau, with the result that God’s purposes were eventually accomplished?  

     Rebekah knew two things:

1)    While she was still pregnant with Esau and Jacob, God spoke to Rebekah concerning the twins; Jacob would rule over the elder, Esau.
2)    Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, when Esau was hungry and thought he was dying.  For the simple price of a bowl of red lentils, Esau showed he counted his birthright as nothing. 

I ask again—how does this passage of scripture apply to my life?  As a Christian, God will send a person or people to me who will give me instruction.  The words my parents spoke to me provided guidance, revealed discernment, and enriched me with encouragement because God spoke through them.   I still have many of those precious insights in my memory, even though my parents have passed on to heaven. 
It hasn’t been just my parents who have provided insight and direction.  There have been times when my prayers and seeking have been answered by my pastor, or church elder, a counsellor or a mature Christian friend.  Sometimes the advice I’ve been given sounds contradictory to reason—and it is okay to count the cost of following the advice given.  Yet, in the end, when I’ve obeyed the directions given, it is not the person I’ve heeded.  In reality, it is the heavenly Father speaking, saying, “So now, my child, do exactly as I command you.” Genesis 27:8, Amplified Bible.

Dearest Heavenly Father,
I’m listening.  Today I am listening to Your voice
·       Through the Bible verses I’m reading…
·       Through a worship song I hear on the radio…
·       Through an overheard conversation…
·       Through those around me who know and serve You.  To hear them is to hear Your voice.
Thank you.  I love You.  Amen.

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
"Lady Helene"

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Starting a Journey

I want to draw near to God;  spending time focusing on Him, reading the Bible and studying it provides the opportunities of knowing God.  Another way I renew my mind and guard my heart is by listening  to Christian music.  I have four favourite on-line resources to listen to:  United Christian Broadcasters (UCB), All Worship, Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), and Premier Christian Radio.  I’ve listed them in order of my favourite first to last.  I like each one for different reasons.   
All Worship:
Christian Broadcasting Network: CBN Radio stations 
Premier Christian Radio:  Premier Christian Communications 
To have them as options to listen to thirty years ago would not have been possible, because I listen to them over the internet.  In the early and mid 1970’s it was only on Sunday mornings that I could hear a two-hour radio show with contemporary Christian music.  I’d use a small tape recorder sitting next to the radio to record the programme in order to listen to it during the week.  All other Christian Radio stations played preaching and teaching programmes.  It was in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that a local radio station tried using a music station format to play only Christian music.  Today there are many local radio stations that provide access to Christian music. 
In the 1990’s ministries began using the internet to share the gospel around the world.  One of those ministries is Joyce Meyers.  Her programme is now televised on TBN Europe.  Last week I became aware of Joyce Meyer’s 3030 Challenge—studying the Word for 30 minutes a day over 30 days.  I had been lacking self-disciple and focus when it came to Bible Reading and Bible study.  I signed up for the challenge, began getting the e-mails on Friday, 15th May.  But it is a battle to avoid the distractions—like television, playing on-line games or desk-top solitaire.  And of course, there are interruptions—phone calls, taking Maisy out, eating lunch. 
I am determined to persevere.  On Monday, 18th May I made some quality decisions about what I want to study from the Word.  Studying is different from just reading the Bible.  To study is to read the verse several times, look up words in a regular dictionary as well as in a Bible concordance.  I’ve done this in years past.  I am always inspired, encouraged and surprised by what I learn.
I know about obedience.  But I am not good at obedience—the kind of immediate obedience that shows the Lord that I am serious about making Him known to others.  So, I want to understand what it really means to obey, and then get better at being obedient. 
      * provides a search function for key words or scriptures.  Using the New King James Version options, I found that “obey” is listed 157 times in the Bible.  (Other versions have different numbers of listings.  For example, New International Version has 207.)  I took the time to write the list down in a stenographer’s notebook, so I could easily look them up in my Amplified Bible. 
                I read a few of the verses as I looked at the list and observed two things very clearly:  consequences for not obeying and consequences for obeying. 
                In the year 2000 I began a study of the words “obey” and “obedience”.  I wanted to study these words in relationship to the fear of the Lord.  Because I need more fear of the Lord.  Following are some points that I made back then.
  • Obedience is an act of love.
  • Obedience is an act of worship.
  • Obedience positions me for blessing.
  • Obedience breaks the yokes of bondage
  • Obedience brings anointing
  • Obedience brings joy and joy becomes our strength.
Yesterday morning, (19th May), as I was out walking Maisy, I was thinking about Joshua.  He was anointed and appointed to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.  Because other tribes were living in Canaan, the Israelites had to fight to take possession of it.  Obedience had taken them into the position to battle. 
The first verse I looked up on the list was Genesis 22:18:  “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
At first glance I thought about Isaac, because he was the son that God promised Abram.  Isaac was the promise, the seed.  In Romans it is written that Isaac was the seed of Abraham, and that it was Abraham’s faith that was counted as righteousness.  In Galatians 3 Paul writes “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
My heart pondered the question:  “What is MY seed that will bless the nations?”  I had no children, gave birth to no child.  “What application does Genesis 22:18 have to me, to my life?”
In my heart came an answer:  “Your ‘seed’ is the gift of your talent.  A promise that God gave you is your ‘seed’.  Ideas that you invest your time in is your ‘seed’. 
I began to understand that the ‘seed’ that God planted in my life is the talent that leads to ideas that will pre-occupy my mind, my imagination, to the point I long to and purpose to obey God’s call on my life.
So, I have begun a journey of study.  In the coming days I will share what I learn here on my blog.  Maybe it will help someone else.  Mostly, I want to strengthen my self-disciple in regards to obeying those nudges, following those ideas that my Loving Heavenly Father places in my mind and heart.
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
“Lady Helene”

*Bible Gateway :