DAY SIXTEEN : Genesis 32 v. 1 – 33 v. 20; Matthew 12 v. 22 – 45; Proverbs 2 v. 1 – 11
Today has been an exhillerating day.
8.40a.m. short interview on Radio Lancashire promoting our new worship experiment at Leyland Methodist Church.
10.30a.m. we launch ‘two congregations worshipping at the same time’, the new one built around the discipleship programme we have been developing with our young people. Great time of worship, thanks to Matt, Jon and “God Knows Who” band members, great dance to start us off….It will be very interesting to watch how this plan unfolds over the next few months.
It’s good to try new things….love it !
Had a great response, and looking forward to future weeks.
GENESIS – It’s been more than 20 years since Jacob fled from Esau. He gears up for a difficult reunion, and decides to stack up a load of gifts to win him round.
200 female goats and 20 male goats;
200 ewes and 20 rams;
30 female camels and their young,
40 cows and ten bulls;
20 female donkeys and ten male donkeys.
Impressive list of gifts…..
JACOB WRESTLES WITH GOD – a night of wrestling before meeting his brother; all sorts of things going through his mind, a huge build-up in Jacob (how often is the fear in the build-up much worse than the event itself ?); and now he has a limp after his wrestle.
“I will not let you go unless you bless me” : the importance of clinging to God, and seeking His blessing, no matter what.
(Jacob’s name is changed to Israel)
THE REUNION – “Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.”
The exuberance of this reunion reminds me of the Father’s reaction on the reappearance of the prodigal son. How God longs for people to return to His exuberant loving embrace. May we know the depth of His love for us, daily.
JESUS – Oh, the Pharisees, moaning about Jesus’s healing of the demon-possessed, spreading rumours of Jesus, himself, being demon-possessed. Jesus says, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” Interesting thought that we must decide each day to be ‘gathering with Christ’, or we may find ourselves ‘scattering against Him’.
BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE SPIRIT / SPEAKING AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT BEYOND FORGIVENESS – I have always understood this to mean those who have encountered God’s grace and the power of His Spirit, and then deny any of that experience. Here, of course, Jesus is head to head with the Pharisees, who have even credited Satan, rather than the Spirit, with the healing of the demon-possessed man. Could there be a greater block to God’s work than such denial ?
Words and actions reveal the condition of the heart, says Jesus. Look at the fruit in your life.
May we “bring good things out of the good stored up in us….”, seeking the fulness of the Spirit, and leaving no room within us for demons to return (v. 43 – 45).
PROVERBS - “store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom….”
God has so much protection to give, and guidance to offer, if we search as if for hidden treasure,
“then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God”.
My re-created thoughts :
Nights of wrestling, a gripping fear of what’s next
a limping faith betraying the struggle,
but there’s an exuberant embrace
awaiting the life which seeks God,
desiring to store up His good,
and allowing the Spirit to do His work;
Lord, keep me ‘with you’ not ‘apart from you’;
‘for you’ not ‘against you’;
‘gathering’ not ‘scattering’,
today and forever.