Daily Light – April 19, 2019

Continuing with David Niednagel’s daily S.O.A.P in Genesis (study, observe, apply, pray)

Genesis 14:17-24  God at work in “bad news”

17 After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him …  18 And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. 19 Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.

21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.”

22 Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I solemnly swear to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.”   NLT

Melchizedek means “King of Righteousness”, and he was the actual King of Salem (which was later called Jerusalem, and he was also a priest of the Most High God who is also the Creator of heaven and earth, and the God who defeated the coalition of kings. Whew! Hebrews 5-8 speaks much of Melchizedek, who was either a manifestation of God-the-Son or a “type” of Christ in the OT.

Abram probably did not see God at work when he first heard that Lot had been captured. He probably only thought of it as really bad news, but he was courageous and chased and attacked those four large and powerful armies. But here we see there was much more going on than met the eye, more than battles and plunder. By this point he realized God was doing so much more than he imagined. Yahweh, the Creator of everything not only won the battle for Abram, but now pronounced a blessing on him. This was a bigger and more significant spiritual battle than it was a physical battle.

Lord God, You are Creator of the universe, so nothing is too difficult for You. But if I forget or doubt You are the Creator, I will not have the faith in You that will honor You or allow You to show Your greatness. And I praise You that You are more than just the Creator, but the Living God who now can work and accomplish more than I can imagine. Help me look for You at work when I hear something that sounds like bad news. You have blessed me more than You blessed Abram, for we have all spiritual blessings in Christ, AND, you are also our great High Priest who always lives to make intercession for us. So, instead of getting upset when “things go wrong” may I always worship You with my whole heart!!! Amen.

Daily Light – April 18, 2019

Continuing with David Niednagel’s daily S.O.A.P in Genesis (study, observe, apply, pray)

Genesis 14:1-16  Covenant loyalty

14:1 About this time war broke out in the region … 8 Then the rebel kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (also called Zoar) prepared for battle in the valley of the Dead Sea. 9 They fought against King Kedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Babylonia, and King Arioch of Ellasar—four kings against five … 11 The victorious invaders then plundered Sodom and Gomorrah and headed for home, taking with them all the spoils of war and the food supplies. 12 They also captured Lot—Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom—and carried off everything he owned. 13 But one of Lot’s men escaped and reported everything to Abram the Hebrew, who was living near the oak grove belonging to Mamre the Amorite. Mamre and his relatives, Eshcol and Aner, were Abram’s allies. 14 When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan. 15 There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and hebrought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives.   NLT

Abram was wealthy, but no match at all for the powerful kings of the East. Yet with only 318 men he went after them, 140 miles to Dan where he attacked them at night, then another 100 miles North of Damascus where he finally defeated the last of them and recovered all the people and possessions taken in the battles. Why? What motivated him to such a foolhardy action? Loyalty. Covenants.

Even though Lot cared more about his own wealth than his Uncle Abram, Abram felt a family obligation to rescue Lot. Also, Mamre, Eshcol and Aner are called Abram’s “allies” – the word is actually “covenant”. Abram had made mutual defense covenants with his neighbors, so they went with him to pursue the powerful kings. Covenants were serious, and they were binding. We don’t have anything in our culture like that. We make contracts, but we get good lawyers to help us break them when we want out of the obligations.

But Yahweh made a covenant with Abram and his descendants to be their God, and He made a New Covenant with us, the church. He wants us to count on Him, and wants us to keep our loyalty to Him, and to “His Body”, the Church– the others who are also a part of the same covenant. Sadly, in our culture we just don’t have that mindset. We are independent and value our own freedom and comfort above obligations to Christ or His church.

LORD, Thank You for Your faithfulness to us! Even to the point of dying on the Cross to make this New Covenant. At the core, I am selfish and do not want to be obligated to others, but I see the blessings of You and others being loyal to me and I am convicted of my sin. As I was awake in the night You spoke to me about a particular commitment You want me to make, and I will do it. Let me demonstrate Your nature in the way I live out a life of loyalty to You and people around me. Amen

Daily Light – April 17, 2019

Continuing with David Niednagel’s daily S.O.A.P in Genesis (study, observe, apply, pray)

Genesis 13  Learning from every event

13:1  So Abram left Egypt and traveled north into the Negev, along with his wife and Lot and all that they owned. 2(Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold.) 3 From the Negev, they continued traveling by stages toward Bethel, and they pitched their tents between Bethel and Ai, where they had camped before. 4 This was the same place where Abram had built the altar, and there he worshiped the Lord again.   NLT

I wonder if his worship was more mature this time? Not just for the “blessings” but also for the sovereignty He experienced in Egypt. I hope he had more “fear of the Lord” this time.

5 Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents. 6 But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. 7 So disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. … 8 Finally Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! 9 The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.”

Abe seems to have a mature trust in the Yahweh for all his needs, and was therefore non-threatened and generous in offering Lot first choice.

10 Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the LORD or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them. He went there with his flocks and servants and parted company with his uncle Abram. 12 So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain. 13 But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the Lord.

Lot’s land was better for his flocks, but not his family. Location. Location. Location.

14 After Lot had gone, the LORD said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. 15 I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. 16 And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! 17Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” 18 So Abram moved his camp to Hebron and settled near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. There he built another altar to the LORD.

Yahweh told more about His covenant. He would give all that land to Abe. Abe would not have to purchase it or fight for it. So Abe worshiped again, and (I think) he worshiped better.

Lord, help me learn and reflect on each event in Abram’s life, and then reflect on every event in my life whether itseems good or bad. May that reflection result in more genuine and trusting worship, and may my life show worship long after the songs are over. You have been faithful to provide all my needs, so help me be generous in giving to others, and be an instrument of Yours just like You have used others to provide for me. Help me think about future consequences of all my decisions, so I don’t choose immediate benefits and forfeit eternal ones. Amen

Daily Light – April 16, 2019

Continuing with David Niednagel’s daily S.O.A.P in Genesis (study, observe, apply, pray)

Genesis 12:10-20  Tell them you are my sister

12:10 At that time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner. 11 As he was approaching the border of Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ 13 So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.”

14 And sure enough, when Abram arrived in Egypt, everyone noticed Sarai’s beauty. 15 When the palace officials saw her, they sang her praises to Pharaoh, their king, and Sarai was taken into his palace. 16 Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her—sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. 17 But the LORD sent terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18So Pharaoh summoned Abram and accused him sharply. “What have you done to me?” he demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ and allow me to take her as my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and get out of here!” 20 Pharaoh ordered some of his men to escort them, and he sent Abram out of the country, along with his wife and all his possessions.   NLT

At that time a severe famine …” Terrible! They cut back on their food, their cattle began to die, they spent extra money trying to survive. Finally they decided to risk a difficult journey and try to live as foreigners (which brought a whole new set of problems) in Egypt. Had Yahweh deserted Abram? He sure wasn’t answering prayers!

On top of that, Abram had heard enough about Egypt to have legitimate fears that Pharaoh would want to take beautiful Sarai into his harem. It was not an easy decision to go to Egypt. They probably stayed in Canaan as long as possible, finally leaving in a weakened, fearful condition.

The paragraph before this one showed how Abram built altars and worshiped Yahweh, but this one shows his failure to trust the God he worshiped. There is no record of Abram praying about this. Was it because God had “allowed” this terrible famine? True, Sarai was his half-sister, so maybe technically he didn’t lie, but he was seriously afraid! He couldn’t think of any good options. Either he could be killed or she could be taken by Pharaoh. Abram did what he considered the lesser of two evils.

Pharaoh did take her, but he gave Abram much wealth! So there was something positive in this terrible situation.THEN, a terrible plague fell on Pharaoh. And then another one! And another!! And they were so bad and so frequent it became evident that they were not all by chance. Pharaoh certainly would have tried to appease his Egyptian gods, but it didn’t work. Finally somebody made the connection with Sarai, and that it was her God who was behind this. Pharaoh believed Yahweh was at work even if Abram didn’t! ! Pharaoh was furious when he called Abram in and wanted to know why he had lied about her being his sister. Abram must have been more afraid then ever, realizing he could be instantly killed – there was nothing he could say. But – Pharaoh did not kill him, he sent him, and Sarai, all their people and possessions out of the country.

Lord, I wonder how long it took for Abram to figure out what happened. That maybe that famine did not “just happen”. That You wanted him to trust the God he said he worshiped, even if at some times You didn’t show Yourself the way he was expecting. That You can bring famines and plagues, You can turn the hearts of kings, You can protect, provide and bless in spite of his weak faith and fears. Lord, even though that was 4000 years ago and thousands of miles away from me, I want to learn everything possible from that situation and trust You in everything. Help me have my eyes open and trust that You are sovereign over everything, and that in nothing should I give in to fear. Help me never lie because I think You are absent, but help me declare confidence in You at the very time I feel the most fear. Amen.

Daily Light – April 15, 2019

Continuing with David Niednagel’s daily S.O.A.P in Genesis (study, observe, apply, pray)

Genesis 12:4-9   He built an altar   

12:4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. 9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.   NIV

After his time in Harran, Abraham and all his people and livestock went to the land of the Canaanites, descendants of Ham, who were living in gross sin. God (Yahweh) told Abe He would give this land to his descendants, but not till another 400 years. (15:13) Abraham believed Him, as shown by building altars to worship Him/Yahweh. No one made Abraham do this. He believed Yahweh would do what He promised.

LORD, You have given me a heart that is quick to express thanks, but help me also be quick to worship You like Abraham did, whether You give me specific promises of blessing or not. And even if it is “400 years” till my eyes see those answers/blessings, may my love and allegiance to You be unwavering. Amen

Daily Light – April 9, 2019

Friends:  I will be away from access to a computer until next Monday morning, April 15.  Daily Light will resume at that time, blessings to you.  dh

(Con’t with David Niednagel in Genesis…S.O.A.P….study, observe, apply, pray)

Genesis 11:10 – 12:3  The most important passage in the OT

11:10 -32 This is the account of Shem’s family line. ….

This is the 5th Toledoth – the account of Shem’s family line, from after the Flood to the time of Abraham. It shows the shortened life spans of each generation because of the effect of the genetic bottleneck after the Flood, including the close marriages clear down to Abraham’s time.

12:1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”    NLT

This has been called the most important passage in the OT. Of course, the account of Creation and Sin come first, and God had promised the “Seed of the woman” would destroy the Serpent in 3:15. And in the Flood and the Ark God showed that He could/would show judgment on wickedness while showing mercy to some. But here God explains the beginning of His plan for the rest of world history.Everything else in the OT and NT is the outworking of this passage.

God called one man and made a covenant with him that would affect all future humans who would ever live. (The covenant is renewed in Ch 15 and 17, and them with Abraham’s descendants later.) God made covenants with humans. He did not have to do that, but he wanted to communicate the seriousness of His plan, the reason for humans to take it seriously, and the incredible love that He would obligate Himself to humans.

Abraham’s father, Terah, was in idol worshiper, so Abraham almost certainly did not have much knowledge or loyalty for Yahweh. But God promised to bless him and use him to be a blessing to all the peoples of the world. When God blesses anyone, it is for the purpose of them being a blessing to others.

When God said if anyone cursed Abraham He would curse them, He did not mean that everything Abraham or his descendants would do would be right. Some Christians today think we should support Israel in everything no matter what they do, but that is not correct. Abraham lied to Abimelech and his descendants become idol worshipers. God brought other nations to judge Israel throughout the OT. God did not “support” them in everything then, and we don’t need to do so today. However, God did decide to use Abraham and his descendants to fulfill His plan of redemption and He promised to bless those who support His plan and curse those who try to hinder His plan.

Lord, I thank and praise You that You were (and still are) willing to provide forgiveness and redemption to wicked and idol worshiping humans. Thank You for Your plan and Your covenant which show us how important this is to You. Thank You that we have received the blessings from this covenant You made with Abraham 4000 years ago, and thank You that Your Messiah will rule forever. Help me still take this covenant seriously and proclaim Your plan, Your Messiah, Your Savior to the world today. There are so many who have never heard of Your plan or Your Savior, and our world desperately needs to know of Him. He is the ONLY hope for peace on earth. Amen

Daily Light – April 8, 2019

More S.O.A.P. from ‘Genesis’ (study, observe, apply, pray)… by David Niednagel

Genesis 10 -11     Nations and Languages

10:1 This is the account of the families of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the three sons of Noah. Many children were born to them after the great flood. … (rest of chapter lists 70 names)

This is the 4th Toledoth, (account) of a family line, this time the sons of Noah. There are 16 grandsons and (I guess) 54 great-grandsons, that don’t mean much to us today. But to anyone in the ancient world they were very famous! The names of cities and countries were almost all from this list. These were real people who became the ancestors of the famous people groups throughout the world.

11:1 At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. 2 As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. 3 They began saying to each other, … “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”
5 But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. 6 “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! 7 Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.” 8 In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.   NLT

Ch 11 explains how and why these tribes became distinct nations. In 9:1 God told Noah and his descendants to “fill the earth”, not to stay in one region. But the people wanted to be “famous and keep from being scattered”. The tower was an act of rebellion against the living God, and seems to show worship of their own concept of a god. V 6 is amazing – God Himself acknowledged that if people “are united and all speak the same language, nothing will be impossible for them”. God made humans with great abilities and there is a synergistic effect when we are united – for good or for evil. BTW, based on the meanings of the names of those 70 people, the language they spoke was either Hebrew of something very similar to it.

So God did another miracle, and confused their ability to understand one another. There are about 6000 languages in the world today, and most of them are identifiable as language families that probably go back to Babel.

Lord, You know every person and all their families. You made us with amazing capacities for inventions and accomplishing great tasks. You also know our “secret” thoughts whether good or terrible. Help me always walk “in the Light” before You. These early chapters of Genesis are indispensable to understanding human nature and relationships. Help me teach the foolishness and danger of sin, but also use my life to help get the gospel to people who have never heard about You in their own language yet. Amen