A Treacherous King

Bible:

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” Matthew 2:3-8 ESV

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 25:1-5 ESV

Reflection:

The Grinch hated Christmas, and everything about Christmas, so one year he decided to do something about it. Late at night before Christmas morning, while everyone in the village was asleep, he sneaked into all the houses and started stealing everything that the people would use to celebrate Christmas. He stole decorations and gifts and food, and in one house he was starting to stuff the Christmas tree up the chimney when a little girl named Cindy Lou woke up and came out of her bedroom. The Grinch was dressed up as Santa Claus, and Cindy Lou asked, “Santy Clause, why? Why are you taking our Christmas tree? Why?” Then the Grinch told a lie. He said that there was a light on the tree that wasn’t working right, and so he was taking it to his shop to fix it and would return it after that. His lie fooled Cindy Lou and hid the real truth, that he was stealing the tree and all the Christmas things from the village.

King Herod was a little like the Grinch. When he heard that the King of the Jews had been born, he was jealous and angry, and the whole city of Jerusalem, where he was ruling, was worried and upset because they knew that the king was very cruel when he got angry. The king asked the religious leaders of the people where the Messiah was to be born, and they told him about the prophecy of Micah, that said that the promised Savior would be born in Bethlehem. But then King Herod told the wise men a lie. He said that he wanted to worship the new king, and he told them to come back and tell him after they had found the baby. The king actually wanted to kill the baby Jesus and get rid of the threat to his throne, but he hid this horrible plan behind a lie.

We all hide our bad thoughts and actions behind lies sometimes. We pretend to be good and righteous, but really inside we’re often mean and jealous and selfish. We might fool other people, and sometimes even ourselves, but we can’t fool God. He knows all the evil thoughts in our hearts, and that’s why he sent Jesus. Jesus came to die on the cross to pay for all of our sins, including the ones no one else knows about. Because of what Jesus has done, we are forgiven every day. Jesus covers our sins with his goodness and holiness, and helps us to live as his people.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to cover our sins. Help us to follow your ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Dr. Seuss, Irv Spector, and Bob Ogle (Writers) & Chuck Jones and Ben Washam (Directors). (1966). How the Grinch Stole Christmas! [Television short]. Chuck Jones and Ted Geisel (Producers). New York: Columbia Broadcasting System.

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Lying to the King

Bible:

And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the Lord.” Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall we go to battle against Ramoth-gilead, or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for God will give it into the hand of the king.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the Lord of whom we may inquire?” II Chronicles 18:4-6 ESV

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. II Timothy 4:3-4 ESV

Reflection:

Barbara was a very popular girl in the school, but she wasn’t good at math. Annie wasn’t very popular, and she wanted Barbara to be her friend. She told Barbara she would help her with math. However, when Barbara got any practice problems wrong, Annie didn’t want her to feel bad or maybe not like her. So Annie always told her that she had gotten all the answers right. When Barbara had to take a test at school, she got a low grade. Annie had told her what she wanted to hear instead of the truth, and that didn’t really help Barbara at all!

Ahab’s prophets were doing the same thing. He wanted to go into battle, but Jehoshaphat wanted to check with the Lord first and see what his word to them was. Ahab called all his prophets, and they all told Ahab what he wanted to hear. They didn’t tell him the truth, but instead they told him that God would give him victory. They wanted to please the king and keep their jobs as his prophets. Jehoshaphat felt like something was wrong, and he asked if there was another prophet who could speak to them.

Even today, people often speak in God’s name but tell others what they want to hear instead of the truth. We don’t want to hear that we are sinful and that God calls on us to change our behavior, so sometimes these speakers say that certain sinful actions are actually not a problem for God. We also want to hear that we can be rich and healthy and happy and won’t have any problems, so sometimes people will say that if we follow some easy rules, God will make everything in our lives wonderful. These are things we like to hear, but they are lies.

How can we tell if people are lying to us in God’s name? We have to look at what the Bible teaches and see how their words line up with the Bible. It can seem wonderful to hear only the things we want to hear, but then we miss out on the truth. God has some wonderful truths for us. We are sinful, but he sent Jesus to die for our sins. We have his forgiveness and love every day because of Jesus. We will have problems and sadness in this world, but God promises that he will be with us always to help and comfort us. God’s truth for us is much better than any lie!

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to always listen to and know the truth so that we never lose sight of Jesus. In His Name, Amen.

Lies and Bad Feelings

Bible:

When David had passed a little beyond the summit, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of donkeys saddled, bearing two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred of summer fruits, and a skin of wine. And the king said to Ziba, “Why have you brought these?” Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine for those who faint in the wilderness to drink.” And the king said, “And where is your master’s son?” Ziba said to the king, “Behold, he remains in Jerusalem, for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will give me back the kingdom of my father.’” Then the king said to Ziba, “Behold, all that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.” And Ziba said, “I pay homage; let me ever find favor in your sight, my lord the king.” II Samuel 16:1-4 ESV

A dishonest man spreads strife,
and a whisperer separates close friends. Proverbs 16:28 ESV

A lying tongue hates its victims,
and a flattering mouth works ruin. Proverbs 26:28 ESV

Reflection:

Karen’s class was electing a class president, and Karen wanted to win. But she knew she could never win against Betty. Betty was very popular and friendly, and everyone liked her. So Karen told some lies about Betty. She said Betty had stolen money from her, and also that she had seen Betty shoplifting at the store. Karen also did some nice things for the other kids in her class. She bought some candy and gave it out, and she also let some people take her turn on the swings on the playground. Karen was able to turn the kids in the class against Betty and have them vote for her instead.

That’s the kind of thing Ziba did to Mephibosheth. He wanted to get some favors from David, so he told lies about Mephibosheth. He said that Mephibosheth had stayed in Jerusalem because he wanted to be the king. It was a really silly lie, and it’s surprising that David believed it. Absalom was fighting to be the king. Why would he get all kinds of people together to fight against his own father and then give the kingdom to someone else? But David believed Ziba. He was also fooled by the nice thing Ziba did, bringing bread and fruit and wine for all the people who were with David. Ziba turned David against Mephibosheth, and David gave all Mephibosheth’s land to Ziba.

Telling lies like that causes sadness and anger and other bad feelings, and it can also do damage to people’s lives. God commands his people to be truthful and loving when they talk about others. But the worst kind of lie is a lie that tries to separate us from God. There are many lies that come from the sinful world and our own sinful hearts, and there are also the lies the devil tells God’s people. Sometimes we hear lies that say we don’t need God, and can get along without him. Or we might hear a lie that says our sins aren’t so bad, and don’t need to be forgiven, or that we can work out God’s forgiveness for ourselves. But God always tells us the truth. He tells us that he loves us and cares for us, and also that we need his forgiveness. We could never win that forgiveness for ourselves, but Jesus won it for us on the cross. The love Jesus showed on the cross is the truth that ends all the lies that hurt us, and gives us life with God now and forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for telling us the truth about ourselves and for giving us your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

An Amalekite Tells a Story

Bible:

After the death of Saul, when David had returned from striking down the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag. And on the third day, behold, a man came from Saul’s camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. And when he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage. David said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” And David said to him, “How did it go? Tell me.” And he answered, “The people fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.” Then David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” And the young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear, and behold, the chariots and the horsemen were close upon him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called to me. And I answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ And he said to me, ‘Stand beside me and kill me, for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.’ So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.” II Samuel 1:1-10 ESV

Give ear to my words, O Lord;
consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you do I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
in the fear of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me. Psalm 5:1-8 ESV

Reflection:

Albert was always telling stories. If a stray dog barked at him on the way home from school, he would tell his parents that there had been a coyote loose in the streets chasing him and howling. If he saw two cars bump into each other on the way to school, he would tell the kids at school that there had been a deathly car crash, but that he had pulled a passenger from the burning car and saved his life. People who knew Albert didn’t pay much attention to his stories. But when Albert waved down a passing patrol car and told the police officer that he had seen a robbery at the bank and that the thief was getting away, he got into serious trouble when the police found out that the bank robber was just Mr. Nelson running to catch his bus on his way out of the bank.

The Amalekite had probably found Saul’s dead body and had been able to guess that Saul had killed himself. Perhaps he even saw it happen. But when he ran to tell David the story, he changed it to give himself a more important role in Saul’s death. Instead of Saul asking his armor-bearer to kill him, he said that Saul had asked him to do it, and that he bravely and kindly had done what Saul asked. Then, so he said, at great risk he escaped and came to tell David what had happened. He knew that David was a powerful man and might be the next king. He thought David would reward him for what he said he had done.

People who tell stories like this want to feel important. They want others to look up to them and admire the things they’ve done. Not everyone exaggerates and lies like this, but we all want to be important and admired. The problem is that we are sinners and deserve shame and punishment. We can’t work our way out of this situation, but God sent Jesus to save us and help us. Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Through Jesus, we can see that God loves us very much and chose us to be his people. We don’t have to make ourselves important by pretending or lying. We are important to God through what Jesus has done for us.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us so much that you sent Jesus to save us. In His Name, Amen.

Stuck in the Middle

Bible:

And David lived with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow.

Now David and his men went up and made raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites, for these were the inhabitants of the land from of old, as far as Shur, to the land of Egypt. And David would strike the land and would leave neither man nor woman alive, but would take away the sheep, the oxen, the donkeys, the camels, and the garments, and come back to Achish. When Achish asked, “Where have you made a raid today?” David would say, “Against the Negeb of Judah,” or, “Against the Negeb of the Jerahmeelites,” or, “Against the Negeb of the Kenites.” And David would leave neither man nor woman alive to bring news to Gath, thinking, “lest they should tell about us and say, ‘So David has done.’” Such was his custom all the while he lived in the country of the Philistines. And Achish trusted David, thinking, “He has made himself an utter stench to his people Israel; therefore he shall always be my servant.”

In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, “Understand that you and your men are to go out with me in the army.” David said to Achish, “Very well, you shall know what your servant can do.” And Achish said to David, “Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life.” I Samuel 27:3, 8-12, 28:1-2 ESV

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.

Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory! Psalm 24:3-4, 7-10 ESV

Reflection:

Archie had a serious problem. He had two girlfriends, Betty and Veronica. He liked both of them, and they were very jealous of each other. One day he made a mistake and made a date with both of them at the same time! He didn’t want either one to get mad at him for canceling a date, so he tried to spend time with both of them, running back and forth from one to the other. First he was with Veronica, then he said he had to go check his car for something. But instead he ran to be with Betty. After he was with Betty for a little while, he made some excuse and then ran back to Veronica. He really wasn’t being fair or loyal to either of his girlfriends with his dishonesty!

David got himself into a similar situation, but much worse. He had run away from Saul and gone to live in the land of the Philistines, and made friends with a king of one of the cities. David and his men went on raiding parties against the enemies of Israel, but David always lied to King Achish about what he had been doing. He actually said that he had been raiding his own people of Israel! Achish thought he could trust David to be on his side. When the Philistines mustered their forces against Israel, Achish told David he expected him and his men to join the Philistines in the battle. David promised to do that. How could he promise to fight against his own people? How could he be expected to join the enemies of his people? David’s dishonesty had gotten him into serious trouble.

God expects his people to be fair and honest and pure in heart. Only those who are pure can come into his presence. But we are sometimes like David. We are dishonest or do things to take care of ourselves, even if what we do hurts others. We tell lies to stay out of trouble. We don’t deserve to come into God’s presence any more than David did. There’s only one who is pure enough to come into God’s presence, and that’s Jesus. He is the King of Glory, and he came to pay the price for our sins. After he died for us and rose again from the dead, God received him back into his presence. Jesus is at God’s right hand to plead for us, and because of him we can come into the presence of our Heavenly Father.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for dying and rising for us so that we can come into God’s presence through you. Amen.

Source:

Gladir, George (w), Fernando Ruiz (p), Rudy Lapick (i) “Role Model” Jughead with Archie Digest Magazine #145, December 1998.

No Excuses!

Bible:

And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” And Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.” Exodus 32:21-24 ESV

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my pleas for mercy!
In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
Enter not into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.
 Psalm 143:1-2 ESV

Reflection:

The sink in the bathroom of Calvin’s house was leaking, and Calvin thought it would be a good idea to fix it. He got some of his dad’s tools and went to work. But Calvin really didn’t know anything about fixing a sink, and he ended up with a huge mess of water spraying everywhere and flooding the bathroom. His angry father soon came into the bathroom. Calvin tried to lie to his father. First he said that the spraying water had started all by itself. Then he said that his stuffed tiger, Hobbes, had done it. Finally he said that big, bug-eyed aliens with tentacles had come and caused the problem. Each of these reasons was sillier than the one before. None of them got him out of trouble with his dad.

When Moses asked his brother Aaron how he could have allowed the people of Israel to get so out of control in singing and dancing to an idol, and how he could have made the golden calf for them to worship, Aaron told a lie that was just as foolish as Calvin’s lies. He said that he had taken the gold and thrown it into the fire, and that the calf had come out of the fire all by itself. How silly! It was an excuse that wouldn’t fool anyone.

Sometimes when we are afraid of getting into trouble, we might tell lies like Calvin and Aaron did. We do this because we don’t want to be punished for what we did wrong. Most of the time parents and teachers know when we are lying, and we get into worse trouble than we would have otherwise. It’s always better to tell the truth. When we talk to God, it’s especially silly to lie. God knows everything, and there’s nothing we can hide from him. But there’s another reason it’s really foolish to lie to God. We don’t have to be afraid that he will punish us for our sins. He sent Jesus, who took the punishment for our sins onto himself at the cross. When we know we have done something wrong, we can go to God and tell him the truth. Because of Jesus, we can always be sure that he will forgive us and help us.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Please forgive us our sins for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Source:

Watterson, Bill Weirdos from Another Planet! Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1990. p.81.

Lying Words, Loving Words

Bible:

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Exodus 20:16 ESV

A worthless person, a wicked man,
goes about with crooked speech,
winks with his eyes, signals with his feet,
points with his finger,
with perverted heart devises evil,
continually sowing discord;
therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:12-19 ESV

Reflection:

William Shakespeare tells a story about a man named Iago who hated another man named Othello. Iago wanted to hurt Othello, and he found a very clever way to do it. He told lies about Othello’s wife, which made Othello jealous. Because of Iago’s lies Othello thought his wife loved another man instead of him. Eventually Othello became so jealous that he killed his wife. After that he learned that what Iago had told him was all lies, and he killed himself.

Telling lies about other people doesn’t always end in such a terrible way as this, but something terrible does happen when people tell lies. It kills people’s love, good feelings, and respect for each other. When Jan and Kurt told their friends at school that Sophie cheated on tests, some other kids believed it and started telling more friends. Suddenly Sophie found that the other kids didn’t like her or want to play with her. She felt sad and lonely when she heard other kids say mean things to her. Her teacher even wondered about the lies and watched her carefully when there was a test. Jan and Kurt’s lies killed all kinds of good feelings and respect and made things miserable for Sophie.

God wants us to speak to and about each other with kindness. We are to use our words to spread good feelings and love. God speaks words of incredible love to us in Jesus. Through Jesus and what he did for us on the cross, God calls us his children. We are sinners, but God calls us his friends and tells us that he loves us. The Holy Spirit will help us have loving and good things to say when we speak about others, just as God has loving and good things to say to us.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your loving words to us. Please give us loving words for others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Shakespeare, William Othello

Thrown in Jail!

Bible:

But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house, she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.” Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home, and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh at me. But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house.”

As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. Genesis 39:11-20 ESV

Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.

More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
mighty are those who would destroy me,
those who attack me with lies.
What I did not steal
must I now restore?

Deliver me
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
Let not the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the pit close its mouth over me.

Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
Hide not your face from your servant;
for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
Draw near to my soul, redeem me;
ransom me because of my enemies! Psalm 69 1-4, 14-18 ESV

Reflection:

Andrea, the most popular girl in the class, wrote some bad words on the whiteboard when the teacher was out of the room. When the teacher came back, she asked who had written the words. Andrea said that Janet had done it, and all of Andrea’s friends agreed with her. The teacher made Janet stay in for recess, even though she hadn’t done anything wrong. Teachers usually try to be fair, but this teacher made a mistake and did something unfair because she believed a lie.

The same kind of thing happened to Joseph. Potiphar’s wife falsely accused of doing something wrong, and his master believed the lie rather than the truth. Joseph was taken away from his high position in Potiphar’s house and thrown into jail.

How could God let something like that happen to Joseph? God still was working in Joseph’s life. God’s plans were not going to fail, even though it must have seemed hard for Joseph to understand what God was doing. When God lets trouble come into our lives, we also might have a very hard time understanding what he is doing. But we can be sure that God hasn’t left us and is working for good in his own way and time.

The worst time an innocent person suffered as if he were guilty was when Jesus, who never did anything wrong, died on the cross. It was horribly wrong and unfair, but God used that to pay for the sins of the whole world. Because of what happened to Jesus, our sins are forgiven and we are at peace with God forever. We can always look to Jesus’ cross as a reminder that God always brings good things out of bad things for his people.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, help me to trust in you even when life seems to be unfair. Remind me that you always bring good things out of bad things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

God’s Purposes

Bible:

When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” He said, “Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.”

Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, ‘Bring me game and prepare for me delicious food, that I may eat it and bless you before the Lord before I die.’ Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you. Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves. And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.” But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing.” His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me.”

So he went and took them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared delicious food, such as his father loved. Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. And the skins of the young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. And she put the delicious food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. Genesis 27:1-17 ESV

 Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
 but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21 ESV

Reflection:

Mr. Jeffers heard a crash downstairs while he was asleep at night. He hurried down to see what was the matter. When he got downstairs he saw that a man had broken into his house. The man was stealing food from the kitchen and money from a jar on the kitchen counter. Mr. Jeffers was a big, strong man, and when the robber saw him, he was afraid. The robber said, “Please! I’m hungry! I only want food for my family!” Mr. Jeffers answered, “Why did you break into my house? If you had knocked on my door and asked me, I would have given you as much food as you needed!”

Rebekah and Jacob acted like this robber. Isaac was planning to give his blessing to his son Esau, but Rebekah knew it was God’s plan for Jacob to get the blessing. Rebekah and Jacob didn’t trust God to take care of things. They decided to cheat and lie instead. But God doesn’t need his people to cheat or lie. God’s purposes will always work out. God had chosen Jacob, and he would have made sure Jacob got the blessing.

God will always work out his purposes for his people. His purpose for choosing Jacob was to continue the line that would bring the promised Savior into the world. Jesus came to completely fulfill God’s purposes. He died on the cross to win the forgiveness of sins for us, and rose again from the dead to defeat the power of death and the devil. Nothing could keep Jesus from going to the cross, and nothing could keep him in the grave. We can trust God to be at work, even when things don’t seem to be going the way we think they should. We don’t ever have to worry that God can’t love us or help us.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive us for when we don’t trust you, and help us to see you at work in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

A Disgrace to God

Bible:

So Isaac settled in Gerar. When the men of the place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he feared to say, “My wife,” thinking, “lest the men of the place should kill me because of Rebekah,” because she was attractive in appearance. When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife. So Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought, ‘Lest I die because of her.’” . . . So Abimelech warned all the people, saying, “Whoever touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.” Genesis 26:6-9, 11 ESV

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations. Isaiah 61:10-11 ESV

Reflection:

Joe, Dave, Monty, and Eric were wearing their school jackets. They were very proud of the bright red jackets with their nickname “Jets” across the back. The boys were on their way home from school, and as they passed Mrs. Hudson’s house, they saw some beautiful apples growing on a tree in her yard. They climbed over her fence and up the tree. Dave broke a branch with his weight, and all the boys stole several apples to put in their pockets. When Mrs. Hudson caught them, she was very angry. She saw their jackets and said, “Those Jets are bad kids!” The boys had disgraced their school with their behavior.

Isaac did something like that. God had promised to be with him and bless him, and told him to stay in the land of Canaan. The people who lived in the land knew about his faith in the true God. Yet Isaac told a lie about his wife–just like the lie his father Abraham had told in the past! He showed that he didn’t trust God’s protection, and disgraced God among the people of Canaan.

We sometimes do that, too. Maybe we are unkind to our friends, or cheat, or lie, or get into fights. When people know that we are Christians, but we do things like that, we disgrace the God who loves us.

Jesus came to die for us so that all our sins could be forgiven. Jesus’ righteousness–his perfect standing with the Heavenly Father–covers us like a robe. God the Holy Spirit helps us to be more like Jesus. With God’s help, when other people look at us, they will more and more see Jesus. But all the time, when God looks at us, he doesn’t see our bad behavior. God only sees Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive us for the times we disgrace you with our behavior. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for us. In His Name, Amen.