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nChrist
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« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2006, 07:32:21 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 27:30-37 Galatians 6:8 2 Timothy 3:1-2

The Effects of Selfishness

Genesis 27:30-37

Isaac is suddenly awakened to his failure to heed God's plan.

When Isaac learned that the last son to appear to him was actually Esau, he "trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed" (Gen. 27:33).

The key to Isaac's faith is that after he realized what he had done, he emphasized that the blessing would remain Jacob's--"and he shall be blessed."

Although we can never thwart God's plan, we can reap bitter results by sowing to the flesh. God's Word says that "he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption" (Gal. 6:8).

Although Isaac did not upset the plan of God, he reaped serious results from what he had sown. Jacob had to flee from home as a result of his conniving. Rebekah never saw Jacob again because she died before he returned.

Even though Isaac lived another 43 years after the incident of the blessing, nothing else is recorded about him except his death. After sending Jacob away, Isaac disappeared from the biblical scene.

About 30 years later Jacob saw his father again, but his mother had already died. The entire family was affected because they had sown to the flesh. They had sought their selfish desires rather than seeking to please God.

"In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves" (2 Tim. 3:1,2).

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« Reply #46 on: March 01, 2006, 12:23:56 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 25:28-29 Lamentations 3:27 Romans 5:3

The Blessing of Difficulties

Genesis 35:28,29

In review of Isaac's life of 180 years, there are some special lessons we should learn. It was not easy for Isaac to follow in the footsteps of his great father.

In a sense, Isaac's life was made too easy because he occupied his father's position without having had his father's experiences. He passed into his inheritance without having passed through the various means of discipline that Abraham experienced.

There is the expression "Practice makes perfect." In an even more real sense it can be said, "Experience makes perfect." The suffering we experience in our lives brings about personal discipline.

Jeremiah wrote: "It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth" (Lam. 3:27).

Our youth today are experiencing what Isaac experienced. They find themselves living in an advanced age with advanced positions in life without having passed through the experiences of those who made these things possible.

Although the younger generation does not need to experience everything we did, some extremely difficult experiences are essential for the kind of maturity God wants to produce. This is the blessing of difficulties!

"But we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience" (Rom. 5:3).

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« Reply #47 on: March 01, 2006, 12:25:53 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Exodus 3:6 Psalm 51:5-10 Hebrews 8:12 1 John 1:9 Isaiah 43:25

When God Forgives, He Forgets

Exodus 3:6; Psalm 51:5-10

Even though Isaac lacked the experience for occupying his father's position, God chose to refer to Himself as "the God of Isaac."

The common, everyday life of a person is precious to God. Because Isaac had faith in God and walked humbly before Him, God blotted out Isaac's mistakes and weaknesses.

Those who walk humbly before God and confess their sins to Him are promised: "I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Heb. 8:12).

When God forgives, He forgets. This was seen in Isaac's case, for when God referred to him in the New Testament, He did not mention his weaknesses--only his faith.

Isaac's great mistake of seeking to pass the blessing on to Esau rather than to Jacob is completely passed by in the New Testament. That sin had been covered over and removed through Christ's shed blood for the sins of the world.

God will also do the same for you. His Word promises: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins" (Isa. 43:25).

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« Reply #48 on: March 01, 2006, 12:27:22 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Numbers 12:3 Galatians 5:22-23 Colossians 3:12 Philippians 4:5 Isaiah 30:15

Meekness:Strength Under Control

Numbers 12:3; Galatians 5:22,23; Colossians 3:12

In reviewing Isaac's life, we should also take special note of his spirit of meekness. All through his life his temperament was of a passive nature rather than of an active or aggressive nature.

In childhood he was subjected to the insults of Ishmael, but there is no record that he became angry about them. As a young man he was taken to Mount Moriah to be offered as a sacrifice, and in meekness he surrendered and made himself available.

He did not even choose his own wife, as she was chosen for him through his father's arrangements and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Isaac also accepted the rebuke of Abimelech in meekness. There were no reprisals. He and his men yielded whenever they were wrongly driven away from the wells they had redug.

Isaac's meek spirit brought forth praise from even his enemies. They testified concerning his great power and might and their realization that the Lord was with him.

The world thinks little of meekness, yet it is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:23). The Apostle Paul urged all Christians: "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand" (Phil. 4:5).

Meekness involves the self-sacrifice of our own desires and interests. Because Isaac gladly gave up his own personal desires, it pleased God to refer to Himself as "the God of Isaac."

"For thus saith the Lord God,... In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength" (Isa. 30:15).

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« Reply #49 on: March 01, 2006, 12:30:46 PM »

Title: Two Children Become Two Nations
Author: Theodore Epp
Devotion: Theodore Epp
Scripture References:
Genesis 25:21-26
1 John 4:20
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Title: Two Children Become Two Nations

Genesis 25:21-26

Jacob was a miracle child. Abraham and Sarah had waited 25 years for Isaac to be born, and Isaac and Rebekah waited 20 years for the birth of Jacob.

Genesis 25:21,22 says, "Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus?  And she went to enquire of the Lord."

Rebekah did not know she was going to give birth to twins, and she could not understand what the trouble was.  God allowed this to happen to her so He could reveal His plan for the children she would bear.

God explained to Rebekah, "Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger" (v. 23 ).

Those nations would be in conflict, just as the two babies were in conflict in her womb.  Because the firstborn was hairy, he was called "Esau," which means "hairy."  The second son was named "Jacob," which means "supplanter."

When Jacob came out of the womb, he took hold of Esau's heel.  This was symbolic of his life, for Jacob went through life taking advantage of others--tripping them up so he could get ahead.

"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" (1 John 4:20 ).

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« Reply #50 on: March 02, 2006, 09:14:46 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 25:27-34 Hebrews 10:35-36 Psalm 106:15

Running Ahead of God

Genesis 25:27-34

Jacob had been waiting for an opportunity to get the birthright from Esau. Jacob could have rightfully expected the birthright since God had promised that the elder would serve the younger, but Jacob's methods of obtaining it were entirely wrong.

Jacob sought the right thing in the wrong way. Using carnal methods to attain spiritual goals is never acceptable to God. Jacob felt that the end justified the means.

In this incident we see the value of waiting for God. The birthright was Jacob's by God's determinate will, and, in due time, He would have given it to Jacob.

Although Jacob connived to get the birthright, it was 30 years later before he actually benefited from it. Jacob knew the importance of believing God, but he did not know the importance of waiting on God.

We also need to learn the discipline of patiently waiting on God to fulfill His will in His own time.

God's Word says, "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise" (Heb. 10:35,36).

"And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul" (Ps. 106:15).

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« Reply #51 on: March 04, 2006, 10:15:59 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 25:34 Hebrews 12:14-17 Psalm 106:24-26 Romans 2:4

Despising God's Provisions

Genesis 25:34; Hebrews 12:14-17

After Esau had sold the birthright to Jacob and had finished eating and drinking, he "rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright" (Gen. 25:34).

The word "despise" means "to look down on with contempt or aversion." It also means "to regard as negligible, worthless or distasteful." The Scriptures refer to others besides Esau who despised God's provisions for them.

The Israelites were promised the land of Canaan, but God's Word says, "Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: but murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD. Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness" (Pa. 106:24-26).

The Israelites were more concerned about the things of the flesh than about the things of the Spirit.

What are you doing with the privileges you have as a result of being united with Christ? Do you regard as nothing and treat with contempt the blessings you have because you are a joint-heir with Christ?

Part of the responsibility of this birthright is our ministry--taking the Gospel to all the world. It is our responsibility because we are in Christ--it is not an optional ministry.

"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" (Rom. 2:4).

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« Reply #52 on: March 04, 2006, 10:17:29 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 27:1-17 Psalm 37:34

Impatient to Wait on God

Genesis 27:1-17

One faithless act leads to another. Having schemed to secure the birthright, Jacob deceived his father in order to secure the blessing, which was a vital part of the birthright.

Jacob needed not only the birthright from Esau but also the blessing from his father. One was of no value without the other.

Although Esau was the favorite son of his father, Jacob was the favorite son of his mother.

Isaac was making plans to pass the blessing on to his favorite son, but Rebekah was not about to have Jacob left out--especially since God had indicated the blessing was to be Jacob's. Rebekah devised a counterplot.

Rebekah's sin was that she lacked faith in God's ability. She felt she had to help God accomplish His will.

While the intended goal was legitimate, the means she used to accomplish it were not honoring to God. She thought God must be frustrated concerning His plan and, therefore, needed her help.

Some people say, "The Lord helps those who help themselves." This is not true. The truth is that God helps those who come to the end of themselves.

What we need is patience to wait on God. He is able to do everything He has said He will do, and He will always do it on time.

"Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land" (Ps. 37:34).

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« Reply #53 on: March 05, 2006, 05:49:34 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference

Deceived by a Kiss

Genesis 27:18-29

One lie always leads to another lie. Jacob kept adding sins to his previous ones. First, he impersonated his brother. Second, he lied to his father when he said, "I am Esau."

Finally, he even went so far as to bring the name of the Lord into his deceit, for he said, "Because the LORD thy God brought it to me" (Gen. 27:20).

Jacob most probably did not anticipate all of his father's questions; therefore, he had to have quick answers, which caused him to get into deeper and deeper trouble with his lies.

Jacob must have thought the scheme had worked. No doubt Rebekah was carefully listening to what was going on and also thought the plan had worked! The flesh prides itself on its achievements. But there were to be many sad results from the works of the flesh.

A kiss was part of Jacob's deception of Isaac, even as a kiss was part of Judas's betrayal of Christ. Isaac was deceived, and he pronounced the blessing on Jacob, but it was a long time before the blessing was fulfilled in Jacob's life.

Because he had to reap what he had sown before he was ready to receive the benefits, 30 years passed before Jacob realized the benefits of the blessing.

How much we blame the Lord for things that are nothing but acts of the flesh--the reaping of what we have sown. How tragic it is when we blame the Lord for the works of the flesh.

"He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight" (Ps. 101:7).

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« Reply #54 on: March 10, 2006, 12:03:47 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Hebrews 12:15 Hebrews 12:17 Genesis 27:30-40

Bad Attitude Brings Spiritual Loss

Genesis 27:30-40

Esau was bitter toward his brother because he had taken advantage of him twice. Desperate to have something, Esau asked his father, "Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?" (Gen. 27:36).

Isaac answered, "Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?" (v. 37).

Esau became more desperate and said to 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" (v. 38).

Esau did not weep because he was concerned about spiritual values but because he could not change his father's mind.

Hebrews 12:17 says of Esau, "For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it [the blessing] carefully with tears."

Esau was not repenting of his sin. He was trying to get his father to repent, or change his mind, of having given the blessing to Jacob.

Esau was as much to blame for the loss of the birthright as Jacob was in securing it through deceit and cleverness. Had it not been for Esau's attitude toward his birthright, it would not have been so easy for Jacob to take it from him.

Let us be careful about our attitude toward spiritual truths.

"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Heb. 12:15).

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« Reply #55 on: March 10, 2006, 12:05:21 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 27:41-46 Galatians 6:7

Sowing and Reaping

Genesis 27:41-46

Rebekah urged Jacob to flee to her brother and stay there until Esau forgot about the stolen blessing. Notice that Rebekah said to Jacob, "That which thou hast done to him" (Gen. 27:45).

Jacob was guilty of stealing the blessing from Esau, but Rebekah had devised the plan. Rebekah schemed again and decided it would be best for Jacob to go to her brother's home to live until Esau forgot about his plot against Jacob.

Rebekah did not expect that Jacob would have to stay long with Laban, for she instructed Jacob, "Tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away" (v. 44).

Esau was apparently very temperamental, and Rebekah assumed that, even though he was so angry at the time, he would soon forget about the entire matter.

Assuming that Esau would soon forget, Rebekah told Jacob, "Then I will send, and fetch thee from thence" (v. 45).

Rebekah did not realize all the sorrow that was to be reaped because of what she and Jacob had sown. After she sent Jacob away, she never saw him again. She died before he was able to return.

Rebekah did not realize all the calamity that would come on her because of her disobedience to God. Like Rebekah, we sometimes think we can escape reaping what we have sown--but we may be sure that our sins will find us out.

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7).

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« Reply #56 on: March 10, 2006, 12:06:50 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 28:1-5 Psalm 37:4

Bringing Out the Best

Genesis 28:1-5

After Rebekah's plea to Isaac that Jacob not be allowed to marry a Hittite woman, Jacob was sent away with Isaac's blessing.

Isaac probably did not know that Esau had sworn to kill Jacob after Isaac's death. However, Isaac lived several years after this time, and nothing ever came of Esau's treacherous plot.

Rebekah and Isaac had one plan for Jacob, but God had quite another. God's ways are higher than our ways.

While people are prone to point out another person's failures, God is concerned about bringing out what is beat in him. God is able to discern the true yearning of the heart and to bring about its realization.

Basically, Jacob's desires were for the things of God--he wanted spiritual blessing. God knew this, and He worked to bring out the best in Jacob, even though Jacob often ran ahead and used carnal methods to attain spiritual blessing.

Having blessed him, "Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother" (Gen. 28:5).

Jacob had some great surprises in store for him. While he believed God and had a deep-seated faith, he knew little about the ways of God for his life. Jacob had a restless faith, and it was very difficult for him to wait on God to work out His will.

"Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart" (Ps. 37:4).

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« Reply #57 on: March 10, 2006, 01:17:08 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Ephesians 1:11 Genesis 29:1-12

Nothing by Chance

Genesis 29:1-12

His experiences at Bethel began a new life for Jacob. After he had established a memorial to God, "Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people of the east" (Gen. 29:1).

The phrase "Jacob went on his journey" is literally "Jacob lifted up his feet." Jacob probably traveled quickly--as if walking on clouds.

Remember the day you received Christ as Saviour? Or the day when you met God in a special way? Perhaps you made a great decision or had a great victory. Didn't it seem as if you were walking on a cloud?

No doubt that is how Jacob felt with his new outlook. The revelation of God's presence and the assurance of blessing brought light and encouragement to his heart.

Jacob came to a well where some men were watering sheep. When he asked if they knew Laban, they replied that they did. They assured him that Laban was well and said, "Behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep" (v. 6).

What a unique meeting! God had promised Jacob He would be with him, and this meeting with Rachel was not by chance or accident. This is the way God also works in our lives.

We may go a certain direction, but we never get out of God's sight. All that happened to Jacob was by divine appointment--there is no such thing as chance as far as God is concerned.

"Being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11).

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« Reply #58 on: March 12, 2006, 01:11:25 AM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 29:13-15 Proverbs 13:15 Galatians 6:7 Proverbs 27:17

God Teaches Us Through Others

Genesis 29:13-15

Laban invited Jacob to stay with him, and thus began 20 years of grueling discipline that eventually led to Jacob's complete transformation. Jacob had experienced an inner spiritual change, but his outward life also needed to be transformed.

During the 20 years, God subjected Jacob to hard discipline so that He could make him a worthy instrument. His life reminds us of Proverbs 13:15: "The way of transgressors is hard."

In Jacob's life we also see the truth of Galatians 6:7: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." God purposed to train Jacob by having him live with Laban.

These men were similar in many ways, but there was also a great difference between them. Jacob believed in God, whereas Laban apparently did not, as evidenced by the fact that we are later told of his idols.

However, God did not allow Laban to bring harm to Jacob. Laban would have sent Jacob away with nothing, but God was in control of the situation, and He saw to it that Jacob received proper payment for his diligent work.

Jacob must have been a hard worker, and God even blessed Laban because of Jacob. God wanted Jacob to have plenty, and He allowed Laban to have plenty also. When God undertakes for us, He always does the right thing.

"Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" (Prov. 27:17).

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« Reply #59 on: March 12, 2006, 10:22:31 PM »

Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference Genesis 29:16-28 Genesis 25:23 Isaiah 40:31

The Cost of Refusing to Wait

Genesis 29:16-28

Earlier, Jacob had not respected the rights of the firstborn, for he had schemed to get the birthright and the blessing away from Esau. Now, because of Laban's deceit, Jacob had to submit to the rights of the firstborn.

By being required to marry Leah, the firstborn, before he could marry Rachel, Jacob learned his lesson the hard way.

Jacob also learned the lesson about waiting on God. He had refused to wait on God's fulfillment of His promise that "the elder shall serve the younger" (Gen. 25:23).

Because he refused to wait for God to fulfill this promise in His own time, Jacob had to leave home to save his life. Because Jacob had such difficulty waiting on God, He taught him, through the incident with Leah and Rachel, the importance of waiting.

He had to wait seven years for Rachel, and this in itself taught him many lessons in waiting.

Although he most likely married Rachel a week after he married Leah, he still had to work another seven years for Rachel before he could receive any wages for himself--14 years of waiting before he began to accumulate possessions for himself.

God has ways of teaching people how to wait.

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isa. 40:31).

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