10 January: Genesis 24, John 6:1-24, Psalm 10
- This is closest thing to a "dating relationship" or a courtship in the Bible. Some things to note:
- Abraham's servant prays for godly success and guidance on his quest to find Isaac a suitable bride according to the criteria established by his master, a prophet. The chief criterion focused on avoiding Canaanite women while finding a bride from among "my own relatives."
- The servant asks God for success as indicated by a woman who will also offer the servant a drink and offer to water his camels. "By this I will know."
- "Before he had finished praying" Rebekah suddenly arrives to do exactly that — offer him water and offer to water his camels! Plus, she is beautiful and a virgin.
- Abraham's servant does NOT yet consider his prayer "answered" (which he will later indicate in v. 26 by bowing down and worshiping the Lord) despite the fantastic attesting signs.
- Only AFTER he discerns that Rebekah is not Canaanite and that she is a relative does he praise the Lord in v. 27 for guiding him into success.
- Here are some principles that help in determining God's will in the delicate matters of the heart:
- Never forget the prime directive! In this case, it was an avoidance of godless women. In the NT, it's the charge to withhold one's affections from an unbeliever, that is avoid a yoke with unbelievers (2Cor 6:11-14). Plus, he (or she) "must belong to the Lord" (1Cor 7:39).
- Pray for God's guidance. See Gen 24:12
- Don't allow "signs" to trump the prime directive. Notice how the servant remains discerning after the fulfillment of his own requested signs. See v. 21
- Don't allow emotions to the cloud judgment on important matters. Notice that it's not Isaac on the quest; rather it's a trusted servant of the family who can remain dispassionate about the vital decision. It's a very recent and a very western convention to pursue one's spouse through the "Rom Com" American approach. Most of the world and throughout most of recorded history, family played a major role in the decision making process. In fact, if recorded history were a twenty-four hour day, our American method of romantic dating as a means to find a spouse would not be introduced until 11:35pm! Such an eleventh hour introduction should not now be such a sense of entitlement. Get advice on dating. Any spiritually mature disciple will be of infinite value, because he or she does not suffer from your emotional filter.
- Feeding of the 5,000 and walking on water! After the crowd was fed, they were ready to make Jesus king by force (gr: Agonizomai). It's no wonder that Jesus often withdrew from fickle crowds to focus both on the Father and his disciples.
- The crowds even pursued Jesus across the Sea of Galilee as "Free Bread Day" proved to be more a hit than anyone imagined. Of course, in the next section of John 6 we'll see Jesus reframe their appetite for bread.
- David wrestles with God over the arrogance of the wicked. This is such a contrast to the two previous Psalms. Does my prayer life reflect this range? I think I too easily slide into familiar patterns of prayer.
- This Psalm is filled with sobering self justifications:
- In his pride the wicked man doesn't seek him, in all his thoughts there is no room for God
- He says to himself, God will never notice.
- He won't call me to account
- There's is great fodder for conviction in the Scripture Bank here.