Abram’s father (at this point God hadn’t changed his name to Abraham) took his family and planned to move them to the land of Canaan. On the way, he stopped in Haran.
Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there. Genesis 11:31, emphasis mine
Later we learn that God tells Abram his descendants will own the land of Canaan: the Promised Land. Terah had the chance to live in the Promised Land, the land his descendants would live on and enjoy, but he never saw it. He never experienced the land of milk and honey because he settled. He was SO CLOSE. When Abram moved, the next sentence says he reached Canaan. I know it wasn’t as fast as reading the next sentence, but it doesn’t say that it took him a long time to get there.
The Bible doesn’t say why Terah gave up. Maybe the journey had taken a toll on him and he rested a bit in Haran and never left. Maybe he felt like, “This is good enough,” and never pursued anything better. Don’t do that! There are better things for you!
“I know the thoughts I think toward you,” says the LORD, “thoughts of good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
This is a direct quote from God. There’s a future and a hope for you. You have a Promised Land of your own. I don’t know what that is, but you may. Don’t settle. Keep going until you reach it. Then praise God for bringing you there, and enjoy the blessings of your Promise.
God is so awesome.
I have been privileged enough to have access to the Bible for my entire life. And I am able to read it. I have to admit that I am spoiled in that area. I have had access and ability to read God’s Word daily for the entirety of my life, and I haven’t. I haven’t. It makes me sad to think of all the blessings and comfort I could have received but did not because I did not read my Bible. But I’m making up for it. I’m not going to let a day go by without meditating on some part of God’s Word. Even if it is a single word.
Noah and his ark are not new to me. I can spiel the whole thing to you… Or at least, I thought I could. God showed something to me that I had never noticed before.
Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark. Genesis 8:19
They went in as couples and came out with families.
Family is so important to God that He not only kept Noah and his family safe and secure in the ark, He gave the animals families.
It reminds me of what becoming a follower of Jesus Christ is like. You go into it alone. You pray to God and admit that you are a sinner, you believe that Jesus paid the price for your sins with His life, and you confess Him as your savior. All alone. But then something wonderful happens. You know who your Father is – God. You have a Brother – Christ, AND you join a family full of brothers and sisters. All ages, all races, all nations in one family. It is amazing.
Having a family of your own can be rough. Sometimes I think, God why did you give me a family? I don’t know what I’m doing. Being single was so much easier. These people are driving me CRAZY! But these are the people God entrusted to me. They are special to Him and He blessed me with them. Yes, I wish I could get a moment’s peace more often than once every eight months, but it is an honor to have them in my life.
Take a moment to thank God for the family He gave you and the heavenly family He adopted you into.
For Project Positivity, I am meditating on Bible scripture daily. I’m starting in Genesis and reading until something strikes me and then I meditate on it. I would like to share what I meditated on the other day:
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day… Genesis 3:8a
I’m pretty blessed to be one of those people who has heard the Bible and been able to read it from childhood. But I have never really thought about this. I always think about Jesus walking on the earth. He’s the God Man. He was baptized in the Jordan River. When I think about God the Father on the earth, I think about His presence: the burning bush, passing light to make a covenant, and lighting Moses’s face. I don’t think about Him physically walking on the earth.
But He did.
And it made a sound.
Close your eyes and imagine what sound that could have been.
What did you hear? Did you hear the rustling of leaves? Did you hear something musical?
This also makes me think about listening for God’s voice. Elijah went out to hear God’s voice:
.. a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire, the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. 1 Kings 19: 11b – 13a
Maybe the sound He made in Eden was a quieter sound. Maybe it was a sound that you can’t hear with your ears, but you hear in your soul. Maybe.
Reading through the story of Jacob, I came across two practically unknown women: Bilhah and Zilpah. Have you ever heard anyone talk about these women? I haven’t. When I think about Jacob and his family, I think about Rachel, Leah, and the twelve tribes of Israel (And I think about Joseph because he’s my favorite). Something about these women struck me, so I thought I’d investigate. Maybe I could do a character study about these women. But they are never quoted in the Bible. There are very few facts listed about these women. Here’s what we know for sure:
- They were originally Laban’s servants. He gave them to his daughters when they married Jacob.
- They were given by Rachel and Leah to Jacob as wives when Rachel couldn’t bare children and Leah had stopped bearing children.
- Their children were named by their mistresses, Rachel and Leah.
- Jacob never talks about them as his wives. They are even described as his “female servants” in Genesis 32:22.
Let’s put aside the fact that they weren’t able to chose a husband for themselves and they didn’t even get to name the children they had. The most outrageous story about these women is this: Jacob’s brother Esau is about to meet him in the country. Jacob fears that Esau has come for revenge and will slaughter him and his entire family. Jacob decides to butter up his older by two minutes brother by sending him presents of cattle and servants. His messengers tell him that Esau is still coming and he’s bringing 400 men with him. Jacob gets really scared. So he divides up his people and cattle into two camps. Jacob figures one will die and one will manage to get away. Then Jacob has his personal servants and cattle meet Esau with gifts a second time. Esau is still coming with all those men! Jacob divides up his family to meet his brother. He sends Zilpah and Bilhah and their kids first. Then he sends Leah and her children. Rachel and Joseph are the very last. Maybe by then Esau and his bandits will be too tired by all they slaying that Rachel and Joseph will be spared.
Can you imagine being married to someone and they place you ahead of the family they consider their “real” family to be a human shield for them? That’s what Jacob did. To Bilhah, Zilpah, and even Leah. He didn’t want to be married to Leah in the first place, but that’s another story for another time.
So what’s the deal? What can we learn from Bilhah and Zilpah? Except for the cruel conditions with which Jacob treated them, they are a lot like us. Followers of Christ are called to lay down our lives to follow Him.
im. We learn that this earth is not our home and nothing we have really belongs to us. Our children belong to God. Our money belongs to God. Our families belong to God. Our friends belong to God. Our time on earth no matter how short or long is His. Everything we see is His. We are to be good stewards of the people and things He has given us.
Rachel and Leah claimed Bilhah and Zilpah’s children as their own. They even named them. Did you know that Jesus is going to give us names when we get to heaven? He’s going to bestow names to us that only the recipient knows.
I think Bilhah and Zilpah are good examples to us. There is no account of them complaining, which we aren’t to do either. Even when Jacob sent them to be human shields. There is no account of them not loving or taking good care of the children that were only considered theirs by Jacob.
My hunny and I decided that we are reading through the Bible together this year. I’m pretty excited about it. I can honestly say I’ve never done it before, and I am pretty sure there are some books in the Old Testament that I haven’t read.
The person who I relate to most in Genesis is Joseph. God gives him a vision for his life in the form of two dreams. God reveals to him that he will be in a position of power and his family will bow to him. Then Joseph shares both dreams with his family. That didn’t go over well. His brothers, who already hated his guts, wanted to kill him. His father scolded him. Joseph was his father’s favorite, so Jacob had to be pretty displeased to scold his favorite son! (Read about it in Genesis 37:1-11)
God has a plan for your life too, and He will reveal that vision to you. “For I know the thoughts that I have toward you, says the LORD, plans of good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11. Don’t be alarmed when other people look down on your vision or reject it. Joseph’s closest family member, his father, rejected God’s plan for Joseph. It doesn’t matter what other people say and think. What matters is what you do with the vision God gives you. You can follow it or reject it. The decision is yours.