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Today we read in Matthew 10:34, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

This is a good example of a hard saying of Jesus; that is a statement that on first blush seems to contradict other teachings of Jesus. An interesting website in this regard is http://www.carm.org/bible_difficulties.htm (If you like it, you might want to bookmark it as one of your favorites, as I have). Their page related to Matthew 10:34 is:

http://www.carm.org/diff/Matt10_34.htm

I especially like what they say about interpreting Jesus' sayings "in context".

By the way, there is a great book in our church library (It is titled something like "Hard Sayings of Jesus", or "Hard Sayings of the Bible", or "Difficult Sayings..."). If it was as great as I say it is then wouldn't you think that I could remember the title?

So anyway, I guess it's a good idea for us to continue to Pass the Peace with each other after all!

Wow...an oath between Jacob and Laban with God as the arbitrator! I wish more of our family tensions, squabbles, or outright battles were turned over in this way. Granted, 20 years of scheming and scrambling led the 2 men to this point. After warily watching each other's actions and reactions for many years, Jacob stands up a stone at Laban's request, calls his relatives to add to the "stone heap", and he and Laban agree that God will be the witness between them. No more pointing fingers as to "what belongs to me and what belongs to you". Now that's God's power and wisdom being depended upon!

One of the things that constantly amazes me in Genesis is how God chooses messy people and that his choosing begins to make them his people. In this process of becoming there are some very surprising sidetracks: Abraham and Isaac lying about their wives, Rebekah lying, Jacob lying... amazing. Yet, God's gracious choice stands; he chooses his people and he chooses to do his work though people. When his people mess up--sometimes royally--he still accomplishes his will using their broken, messy pile of stuff. Amazing.

"Do you ever have those moments when you look back on a day, or a week, or even a year and realize that God's grace was so there - and yet... you didn't realize it at the time?" I think this happens when we go through trails sometimes we get so wrapped up we dont realise God is standing right there beside us.

God is faithful and loves us unconditionally we have to remember that no matter what.

Yes we must face hard times but the difference is that we have hope - Praise the Lord for that!!

Wisdom comes from following our Lord

Sarah,Rachel, and Leah

Gen 1-38 has a Mesopotamian flavor in the background. It was the custom and OBLIGATION of a barren wife to supply sons through a servant girl.

"The Nuzi tablets (see chart, p. xxiii), though a few centuries later than the patriarchal period, shed light on patriarchal customs, which tended to survive virtually intact for many centuries. The inheritance right of an adopted household member or slave (see 15:1–4), the obligation of a barren wife to furnish her husband with sons through a servant girl (see 16:2–4), strictures against expelling such a servant girl and her son (see 21:10–11), the authority of oral statements in ancient Near Eastern law, such as the deathbed bequest (see 27:1–4,22–23,33)—these and other legal customs, social contracts and provisions are graphically illustrated in Mesopotamian documents."
http://www.ibs.org/niv/studybible/genesis.php

This does not explain Leah's actions - see Bob Deffingbaugh's thoughts at:
"Leah Learns a Lesson"
(30:9-13)
http://www.bible.org/page.php?page_id=109
======================================================
Why was Rachel so desparate for the mandrake plants - to exchange them for a right to a night with Jacob???

"the yellow berries of the mandrake about of the size of a nutmeg. The Hebrew knows them as duda’im, which according to its root signifies ‘love apples.’ The ancients and perhaps, the early Hebrews, too, regarded this fruit as an aphrodisiac and as promoting fertility.” H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1942), II, p. 811.

Although Rachel mentions God a lot, I am not sure how much she trusted in Him. Seems here she is going about and looking for her own solutions to "sterility".

It is not said, but it seems that when Rachel stopped trying to compete with Leah, that God remembers her and grants her a child. It is unspoken, but I wonder if Rachel had a mind shift, and just trusted in the Lord?????

Prayer Request Update

I need to clarify some things from last post:

1) Only God and I could know, but I believe this trip is in the will of God. I don't know why or what I am to do, but I believe I need to be in N.C. In his own way God has made this very clear to me.
2) I said I need to ask forgiveness of mother and love and honor her for a period of time in her presence, but that is what I think. This trip may not be about my mother, it may be about my brother and sister. I won't know until it unfolds.
======================================================
Update

My sister has approved visit.
My brother although disapproving will not stop it, but has a caveat - I must write and ask permission from my mother. In a lucid moment the request will be presented to her.

It is always interesting to see God's hand at work. My phone conversation with my brother was a bit tense, but by the end of conversation the tone was extremely amicable. I credit that to the calmness and compassion voiced by the Holy Spirit through me in my conversations. Hard to explain, but it is true - my manner on the phone was atypical for me in these kind of stressful conversations (pre-salvation).

Probably the thought is - my mother will get the card and turn me down. I am not so sure. However, if that is the case, I plan on spending time with my sister and her family and continue restoring that relationship. Sent the card Saturday, and it should be up there by Wednesday.

In addition, my sister was supposed to be out of town that weekend as my nephew was in a band competition. The day after we talked - the trip was cancelled by the school. My sister will be in town the whole time I am there :)

I also made plans with my brother for a trip to California to visit and attempt to reconcile our relationship. Like with my mother, we have not seen each other in ten years.

Jacob

Is this a fair assessment?

"if we were to summarize Jacob's life experience growing up in his family, we could say that he was duped by his uncle, dominated by his mother, threatened by his brother, and rejected by his father." - Steve Zeisler

Seems pretty harsh, but Jacob does not seem to take a stand on anything until today's readings after Laban's search for his missing idols. up to this point Jacob just seems to go with the flow, and try to work himself out of his situation(s).

Did he really trust God? Originally after the ladder dream, Jacob was not awed with God, but was awed with the place. He made a vow to God that was uneccesary. God had already told Jacob what he would do - and while Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son - Jacob offered God a tenth of what God would provide????, if only God would provide????

He makes deals with Laban to acquire wives and animal stock, and is duped? but in the battle of "deceivers" - Jacob wins. Or did he? Was it not God providing for him like He said He would all along?

Did it take twenty years before Jacob had the first real inkling to "trust in God"? God told Jacob he provided the animals-not Jacob's genetic experiments - and He told Jacob to return to his land, and for the first time Jacob seems to obey God at his Word. He was sneaky and fearful, but he obeyed.

Now in confronting Laban, Jacob seems to be getting a backbone and knows God is with him. It is not a fully developed backbone as we will see with the upcoming meeting with Esau, but the transformation of Jacob is beginning to unfold.

It seems God is in the business of restoring relationships....Jacob ran away from his brother and uncle,in the end,God made them meet.Even though Laban had other gods,God still spoke to him and in the end,Laban and Jacob parted amicably.
I believe Jesus came not to judge but to save us....but when He returns,it won't be to save but to judge.When I look in my life and see how patient,how merciful,how loving God is...it only testifies I guess to the fact that we're still under a LOT of grace.
There are times I really don't feel like waking up early to study or pray,times I feel that I didn't learn anything from my study in a particular day but I believe God wants us all to know Him,find Him while He can still be found.
God bless you all

Pursuing (Godly) Wisdom can be done in lots of ways for me. But I believe reading, studying and meditating on God's Word is most important! I really enjoy this One Year Bible journey! God is really revealing things to me in a different light. I think also we can pursue wisdom by listening to the things of God. Sermons (not just from our hime church), praise and worship music....there have been several occasions that I would get a certain song stuck in my head - then read my bible one day and the words from the song are there! This is exciting for me because music is a big part of my life so I really can memorize scripture by listening to it in song. Wisdom is something that we need to pray for. I believe the closer in relationship we are to God, the more wisdom He will reveal to us, the better we will be at making decisions based on God's Word.

Ooooo....Matthew is good today! "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me." That is huge....especially for my friends who are afraid to leave the religion of their childhood because it will "dissappoint" their parents!! I have a friend who when I showed her this verse, it was the final straw for her....she got saved the next day! It has been a crazy ride for her and her parents, but they have seen the change in her and her parents have even come to church with her a few times. Now, I still have other friends, like the one I mentioned a few days ago, who won't budge. Dissappointing their parents is too big for them...but don't they realize they are dissappointing their Heavenly Father!!! *sigh*

Verse 49 in Genesis stood out for me in a personal way..."May the Lord keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other"....My husband was home for the weekend....a very short weekend at that! He is gone again for 2 more weeks. We are still praying for another job soon! He does have one that we are waiting to hear back on...we know God is in control! But this verse...I am going to send it to him today...just a little prayer that God will keep us strong during this time apart.

Oh and YES! JESUS IS THE MESSIAH! :0)

Genesis 31:49 stood out for me, the second part of the verse "May the Lord keep watch between us to make sure that we keep this covenant when we are out of each other’s sight". The Dutch translation is a bit different, it only sais "May the Lord keep watch between us when we are out of eachother's sight". I wrote this down when my grandfather died a long time ago. I kept reading it over and over again ...

Matthew was (again) very powerful, especially verses 10:32 and 11:6:
"Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven".
"And tell him, ‘God blesses those who do not turn away because of Me".
I feel touched by 10:32, because I went on the streets to let the Holy Spirit in my speak to the people. I sang in public, I supported the ones that preached and share their testimony in public. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm going public cause I want the acknowlegdement (is that a word?) before our heavenly Father. I mean, yes ... I know He sees me doing it and I know He's happy that I'm going public. But besides that, it's wonderful to go on the streets and spread the Word! I was talking to somebody from "Stop Aids Now", funny thing: he approached me! LOL He was done talking and I asked him "Okay, you did your story ... can I tell you my story now? I'm here for a reason to". So we shared our differences, yes ... there we basicly differences. Then his collegue joined our conversation and asked me "Are you a Christian?" and I told him that I was and he said "Okay, well, then I think I'm going to stop this conversation". So I told him that I found that very sad and that I would pray for him. He kept staring at me and watched me walking away, I saw in the windows from the shops that he did that for a loooooooooong time. Somehow I just knew that he was thinking about the thing I said, that I would pray for him. I HAD to say it, I didn't want the conversation to be over before I said something to him that came from the heart ... from my Christian heart! Because I'm a Christian and a very proud one!!!

I love Psalm 13:6 "But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me". Yes, I trust the Lord completely! When something happens, that shocks me I will be concerned about it for only a couple of minutes and then I think "God will take care of this!". I used to be a real drama-queen and could be depressed for days - if not for weeks - over something so small!!! Now I know God is there to give me wisdom, to give me comfort and even if things will seem to go wrong - in my eyes wrong - I know that that's for a good reason. Something good will come out of it!

I find it interesting how Jesus said take up your cross and follow me. Most often I recall being asked what my cross is, however it seems that maybe what Jesus was saying is that take up your cross or follow me until death. In a sense the cross was a form of death and by saying take up your cross and follow me Jesus was saying Follow me until you experience death to this earth. Just a comment.
Thanks.

Matt 10

Names of the Apostles

Occur in: Matthew 10, Mark 3, Luke 6, and Acts 1.

Peter is always first, and when Judas is mentioned - he is last. The word first here is Gk. "protos" meaning chief or foremost. Peter was the leader. In the gospels Peter asks more questions than all the other apostles combined. Peter was a man of action - sometimes too quick :) Peter had a lot of raw material for leadership, but he had to be refined through the lessons the Lord taught him while on earth.

The order is not always the same when listing the apostles - but the groupings (by four) are the same. Most seem to think it indicates the order of calling, and the subsequent intimacy with the Lord by groups.

Peter, Philip and James are always listed first in each group - perhaps indicating leaders in the sub-groups.

All the apostles were important and special to the Lord, but perhaps this is all indicating that there needs to be structure, especially in the work of the Lord.
======================================================
Mission

First was to "preach" - secondly to perform miracles (signs and wonders). The priority is spreading God's Word. The signs and wonders are to authenticate the person preaching as God being with them. (John 3:2)

They were to preach to Israel - not the Gentiles. Jesus was initially here to provide salvation to the lost sheep of Israel.

Is 53:6 "We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

There seems to be a transition in verse 17 to the future. Most of the subject matter frmm verses 17-30 did not happen to the apostles. I suppose one can say these verses would apply to the apostles after Pentecost. Except for this:

Matt 10:23
"When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes." NIV

The Son of Man reference makes me think of Dan 7:13. Perhaps this is a message to the 144,000 and other believers in the Tribulation period in Revelation - but I will think about it and get back to it in Revelation.

Teachings

Matt 10:34
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

I like the "carm.org" link in first post. I often go there for a quick look, but I do not think this answer goes deep enough.

Anka mentioned it before. Jesus came before for salvation, the next time for judgment. After the judgment - that is when there will be peace on earth (that John the Baptist, apostles, and Israel were expecting from their King).

So he did not bring peace that was expected, but the sword. I believe ths sword here represents the "Word of God".

Eph 6:16b "...and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." NIV

Heb 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." NIV

Rev 2:16b "Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth." NIV (and other places you can search in Rev.)

Jesus was the Word, and He brought the final pieces of God's plan to earth. The Word of God (sword) divides. It is so interesting that you can talk about God, spirituality, angels, etc. in a public forum and people will ponder and reflect and give you your time - but mention Jesus Christ and the message of the Gospel - and all heck breaks loose.

"There is peace in the heart of one who believes, but in the world there is nothing but division....The gospel of peace is divisive. It is a refiner's fire, a separating of sheep and goats, and a winnowing of grain. If Christ had never come, the earth would have gone on in unity to hell, doomed for all eternity. The paradox of the Prince of Peace is that when He came a war broke out." - John MacArthur
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Matt 10:38
"and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me." NIV

I do not believe this is talking about the burdens one might bear as a Christian. In context of what Jesus was saying in previous verses - I believe He is talking about commitment, and now here even unto the point of death. The apostles, who were Jews, would understand this not in terms of Jesus' death (yet to occur) but because of recent history.

"When Jesus said to take up your cross, His disciples knew immediately what He was talking about. He was talking about dying. Those men, with the exception of Judas Iscariot, were from Galilee. When Jesus was about ten years old, Judas of Galilee and his followers revolted against the Romans and lost (Josephus, Wars of the Jews 2.8.1). To make an example that would not be forgotten, the Romans crucified over two thousand Jews, placing crosses along the roads of Galilee. Everywhere people went they saw men dying on crosses along the roadside. And every Jew that was crucified carried the crossbeam for his own execution on his back as he marched to the cross. It was a lesson that was not forgotten." - John MacArthur
http://www.biblebb.com/files/mac/sg2284.htm

Matthew 10:24-11:6


And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. (Daniel 11:32 KJVR)


I believe that verses 24 – 40 is a message to Believers to NOT deal in fear our out of fear. As a follower of Jesus Christ, we are also following God; what is being said about God and His Christ will be said about Believers. What was done to Christ, will be done to His Believers. On the other end, God is the only voice or opinion that matters. The choice is ours; do we desire the fickle and shifting approval of men or do we desire to please Him who created us?

"But don't be afraid of those who threaten you. … "Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:26-28 NLT)

Jesus is making a statement that all of those who follow Him must take by faith; we are no good to anyone, including Him, if we take the “talents” given to us because we are His and bury them. (Mat. 25:25) In the Parable of the talents, the man who buried what was given to Him gave all kinds of excuses why he did what he did but the “Master” said he was just lazy (wicked and slothful—Mat.25:26—King James). Too many of us are undercover Christians pretending we are working for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency—USA). We have hidden agendas while operating with made-up identities not to get secret information but to hide out from being identified with Christ.

To be a Christian means to be a follower of Christ, to be identified with Christ 24/7. Do people know I belong to Christ? Do they have to undertake an undercover assignment to find out the truth?

Regarding John the Baptist question: Although people may have questioned Jesus’s role as the foretold Messiah, I think John was questioning Jesus because of a personal issue, he was in jail. I can imagine that the best jail in the United States is not the best place to be how much more that John was in a prison under the rule of Herod. The accommodations could not have been nice. I think John was questioning Jesus because he wanted to get out of jail. After all wasn’t he doing what he was purposed to do preparing the Jews to receive their Christ? If Jesus was the one foretold by the prophets what was he still doing in jail, and to top it all off, John was Jesus’ cousin. What’s up Cuz!

Grace and peace,
Ramona

O my, Rachel.

I used to feel sad for you, being barren so long. I used to think Leah was really homely and cross-eyed, and God was just pitying her for not being the one Jacob REALLY wanted.

Then I see that after all this time: 7 years Jabob worked for your father and ended up with your older, homely sister, and 7 more years because he really only wanted you (you must have been such "eye-candy!"), and another 6 years after Leah and her handmaid and your handmaiden bore children--all this, and to find that "water seeks its own level." Yup, you and Jacob were two peas on a bod; the lid fits the pot! YOU STOLE your father's idols and then put everyone in jeopardy and lied to your father! What did you plan to do with those idols anyway, Rachel?

How many times have I been deceived by a pretty face and pretty words?

My favorite verse today was, "May the Lord watch between me and thee, while we are absent one from the other." (Gen 31:49) This is actually a prayer that I used to say to friends before I would leave them :-) I was happy to see that it touched so many others!

I'm glad that you brought up Matthew 11:3; when I saw the movie "The Nativity Story," I was confused about why King Herod was so concerned about Jesus; I didn't realize that people back then actually did expect someone to come and save them with physical actions by taking over the Roman government. I believe Jesus is the Messiah, because like you said, the people thought He was "only" giving them preaching, teaching, and healing; only words. But what they didn't realize was that these weren't "only words" - by following them, we are brought closer to God and to heaven.

One delightful path that wisdom has led me down is this one, reading the Bible in a year! Thank you so much for these blogs! I have always wondered exactly how to begin studying the Bible and have found the perfect solution, so I am very blessed to have found this website :-)

God bless you all, and have a delightful day :-)

I think many times we are going through life, hard times, we just dont see what God is doing behind the scenes...but if we are in Him, He is ALWAYS doing something, doing good in our life, working things out for His eternal purpose. When we feel God is doing nothing in our lives, where is He? thats when He is doing a lot! We just have to have faith in that. It may be a while before we see pieces of the puzzle start to take shape. Sometimes things will happen, or not happen in my life and I wonder why...I come to see a bit later God was using that hardship to work on another area, something totally different in my life, something I never wouldve guessed and never would have learned a different way. See, the Christian life is so exciting! We never know what He will do next! whats His plan? we cant figure it out, its a mystery...His ways are so above and beyond ours its amazing!!! Learning to depend on and trust God...fully, truely, deeply, is an exciting experience. Our lives are like giant mystey books really (i'm a mystery book fan, haha). The idea that Christianity is boring, who ever said that doesnt know what they are talking about! however, living for myself, my gain and having no true purpose, always wondering why i'm here...that was boring!!! the life Christ has for us is awesome!!

For matthew, I grabbed my study BIble and thought I might share some of the notes in it:

Matt 10:34, 'not peace...but a sword'..."Though the ultimate end of the gospel is peace with God, the immediate result of the gospel is often conflict. Conversion to Christ can often result in strained family relationships, persacution, even martyrdom. Following Christ presupposes a willingness to endure such hardships. Though He is called the "Prince of Peace", Christ will have no one deluded into thinking that He calls believers to a life devoid of all conflict."

Matt 10:38 'take his cross'...."Here is Jesus' first mention of the term 'cross' to His disciples. To them it would have evoked a picture of a violent, degrading death. He was demanding total commitment from them-even unto physical death-and making this call to a full surrender a part of the message they were to proclaim to others. Those who come to Christ with self-denouncing faith, there will be true and eternal life."

Like my study BIble suggests, the cross is denying self....it may sound easy, but its not, especially at first, its a struggle. it took me years and i still need to do it daily. If we dont deny ourselves (ie, forsake our will, our pride, our plans, our wants) and surrender, we are not worthy to follow Him. It took me a long time to come to a place of full surrender. first, tho i wanted to, i dudnt know how. then when God gave me His power to do it, i got scared...so, i'm giving my life away? i wasnt sure wat to expect, i thought some weird power would overtake me n i'd turn into one of those weird ppl u see on so-called 'christian' tv. haha, its not like that at all...it the very best place to be...but resistance is so strong because the enemy is fighting for control over us, he doesnt want to lose us...he wants to drag us all into the pit with him. Anything we do in the flesh is of satan. Like when Jesus was telling the disciples (in matt 16 and in mark) about His upcoming death, Peter rebuked Jesus, 'dont say such things!'. Jesus said to him: "get behind me satan!"
Our flesh deceives us, we need to submit to the control of the spirit, its certainly not scary like i once thought, its the most freeing experience!

i agree with Mike and that song: better is one day in Your courts, better is one day in Your house. better is one day in Your courts then thousands elsewhere!!

Haha, in genesis we see the first account of a woman using her time of the month as an excuse for something. 'I cant get up, i'm on my period' haha. Jacob was a deceiver, his wife was and wait'll his children decieve him! We dont get away with things, we reap what we sow.
good readings! cant wait to read about jacob meeting up with esau...Genisis is such an exciting book! Also love Psalms and Proverbs, as always.

[The following response includes some references from my Nelson KJV Study Bible.]

Genesis 31:17-32:12
Vs. 49: "And Mizpah; for he said, The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another."

"Mizpah" means watch. I once received a card from a girl friend that contained this verse. She gave it to me before I left for a long Summer visit with my mother. She hoped that God would keep our hearts entwined and meant this verse as a prayer. My Bible states that though this verse is not meant as a "benediction", but rather, as an imprecation--'May God destroy you if you cross this boundary!"

Laban is not praying for God to watch over and protect Jacob. This makes sense because we know that Laban was not particularly faithful to God--Laban cherished his idols. Rather, Laban was making sure that the boundary between them would remain so that Jacob would not kill him for the wrongs Laban committed against him (as I interpret this passage).

Matthew 10:24-11:6
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven."

My study-Bible says that, 'In reality, secret discipleship is a practical impossibility.'

discipleship : a disciple is one who undertakes the discipline of his/her teacher. Thus, discipleship is about learning what that discipline is, learning how to follow, to listen to the Story. It's part education, part mentoring, part apprenticeship, but it goes a step beyond all of those. Disciples not only take in what they are taught and what they learn from being with the teacher, they take it into their core identity, so that it defines who they are. The Church has a duty before God, a call to "make disciples of all nations". Evangelism is the beckoning, the calling in, and the opened door. Discipleship is the hallways inside.
http://www.spirithome.com/definit.html

To be a disciple of Jesus Christ, I must embody and employ the teachings of Jesus Christ as much as I can. I must live as Jesus Christ tells people to live throughout the New Testament, and learn how the Old Testament relates to Godly living in these 'modern times' also.

Psalm 13:1-6
David asks God four times: "How long...?" David feels forgotten, like God has hidden Himself, sorrowful daily, and defeated by his enemies.

So, David prays, "Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved."

David trusts in God's "mercy". He says, "My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation." David remembers that God is his deliverer from the bondage of sin and condemnation. I wondered here whether David (who lived prior to Jesus Christ and the New Covenant) believed that salvation equated going to heaven [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvation].

"The Old Testament teaches life after death, and that all people went to a place of conscious existence called Sheol. The wicked were there (Psalm 9:17; 31:17; 49:14; Isaiah 5:14), and so were the righteous (Genesis 37:35; Job 14:13; Psalm 6:5; 16:10; 88:3; Isaiah 38:10).
The New Testament equivalent of Sheol is Hades. Prior to Christ’s resurrection, Luke 16:19-31 shows Hades to be divided into two realms: a place of comfort where Lazarus was, and a place of torment where the rich man was. The word hell in verse 23 is not “Gehenna” (place of eternal torment) but “Hades” (place of the dead). Lazarus’s place of comfort is elsewhere called Paradise (Luke 23:43). Between these two districts of Hades is “a great gulf fixed” (Luke 16:26)."
http://www.gotquestions.org/Old-Testament-believers.html

The Lord has "dealt bountifully" with David. David says that he will sing to the LORD because God has given him so much.

Proverbs 3:16-18

Benefits of wisdom: 1. Long life 2. Riches 3. Honor 4. Pleasantness 5. Peace 6. Happiness

Source of wisdom: The Holy Bible

Benefits + Source = READ YOUR BIBLE!

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

Based on the reflection in Proverbs above on Wisdom, what are some ways that you pursue Wisdom in your life these days? Do you believe reading the Bible for 15 to 20 minutes a day is one way to pursue Wisdom? What are some "delightful paths" (per our Proverb above) that Wisdom has led you down in your life?

It reminds me of a book I once read by A.W. Tozer entitled ' The Pursuit of God '. If I am pursuing God then I am also pursuing wisdom. God is wisdom just as God is love. Reading the Bible is part of pursuing wisdom but it is also making life applications on what you read which isn’t always as easy. What good is wisdom if you are not using it? Wisdom increases as we grow spiritually and spending time in God’s Word is definitely conducive to that.

GENESIS 31:17-32:12

My wife and I once had one of those “Mizpah” ( 31:49 ) medals with the words “ The Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent from one another” engraved on it. It had two halves as if it had been cracked down the center. I wore the one half on a chain on my neck and she wore the other half. It symbolizes an emotional bond between two people who are separated. That certainly didn’t seem to be the case between Jacob and Laban though. Jacob obviously wanted to be separated from Laban and so they were, permanently. There is no record in Scripture that either Jacob, Rachel or Leah ever saw Laban again. I find it somewhat amusing that Laban seemed to be accusing Jacob of being capable of domestic violence and of not being a faithful husband to his daughters ( 31:50 ).

It seemed that Laban, in pursuing Jacob, had intended to do him harm ( 31:29 ). However, God had forewarned Laban in a dream not to even so much as make a verbal threat against Jacob ( 31:24, 29 ). Immediately after Laban departed to go back home Jacob was met by a company of angels ( 32:1-2 ). If Laban had tried to do harm to Jacob there no doubt would have been angelic intervention. These angels were there to protect Jacob. I believe that we can trust God to do the same for us when we are in danger of being hurt by violence.

“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”

- Psalm 34:7 ( KJV )

MATTHEW 10:24-11:6

In Matthew 10 it seems the Lord is preparing His disciples to face persectution for their faith in Him. Persecution is what Jesus meant when He said he was sending them as lambs among wolves ( 10:10 ).

Jesus warned of beatings ( 10:17 ), trials before both religious and secular courts ( 10:17-18 ), betrayal by one’s own family ( 10: 21, 35-36 ) and that persecution of believers would be worldwide ( 10:22 ) not just localized in Israel.

When persecution arises because of the faith Jesus said Jesus said that we should not be fearful ( 10:26-31 ). He said that if we are put on trial for our faith we should depend on the Holy Spirit to speak through us to answer our persecutors ( 10:19-20 ). He also said to “flee” ( 10:29 ). There are times when it may be God’s will for us to leave our homes and everything behind in order to save our lives and the lives of our families. Christians have been fleeing persecution in other lands for centuries. America was founded by Christians who fled England to escape persecution and to seek religious freedom. There is no shame or cowardice in leaving if we see persecution coming beforehand. Not only is it biblical ( Proverbs 22:3 ) but it is also common sense. There is only shame and cowardice if we deny the Name of the Lord ( 10:33 ) when undergoing persecution. There is a time to flee but there is also a time to take up the cross ( 10:38-39 ) and follow Christ unto death if God calls us to do that.

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

- 2 Timothy 3:12 ( KJV)

PSALM 13:1-6

I find Verse 5 to be especially inspiring: “But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.” Not only does this apply to sin, judgment and our saving faith in Christ but also to the promise of deliverance from our enemies. God’s mercy and salvation is manifested to us also when our enemies do not prevail over us even though they are stronger than we are.

PROVERBS 3:16-18

Interestingly, verse 18 calls wisdom “ a tree of life.“ When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden they were partaking of the wisdom of God. Their sin in eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was that they, in effect, were choosing the wisdom of the world in its place which was offered to them by Satan in the form of the serpent. As a result they were driven from their happy paradise into a world of sorrow and tears.

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