January 9, 2015

Genesis 21-23 - God visited Sarah exactly as he said he would.  She had become pregnant and gave Abraham a son.  Abraham named him Isaac and had him circumcised when he was 8 days old just as God had commanded.  Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born.  Sarah said, “God has blessed me with laughter and all who get the news will laugh with me!...

 One day Sarah saw the son of Hagar poking fun at her son Isaac.  She told Abraham, “Get rid of this slave woman and her son”... The matter gave great pain to Abraham....but God spoke to Abraham, “Don’t feel badly about the boy and your maid.  Do whatever Sarah tells you...Regarding your maid’s son, be assured that I’l also develop a great nation from him...."

The next morning, Abraham gave Hagar some food and water before sending her away with Ismael...When the water was gone, she left her child under a shrub and went off, fifty yards to melt down in sobs while stating that she cannot watch her son die...Meanwhile, God heard the boy crying and an angel called down to Hagar to not be afraid...just then, God opened her eyes.  She looked and saw a well of water...God was on the boy’s side as he grew up...he lived out in the desert and became a skilled archer...his mother got him a wife from Egypt....

 After all this, God tested Abraham by telling him to take your dear son Isaac who you love and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I’ll point out to you.”...As Isaac questioned his father along the way about not having any sheep for the offering, Abraham said, “Son, God will see to it that there’s a sheep for the burnt offering.” And they kept walking together....When they reached the place, he tied up Isaac, reached out and took a knife to kill him.  Just then an angel of God called out to him...Abraham responded, “Yes, I’m listening”  The angel continued, “Don’t lay a hand on that boy!  Don’t touch him!  Now I know how fearlessly you fear God, you didn’t hesitate to place your son, your dear son on the alter for me”...Because you have gone through with this, and have not refused to give me your son, your dear, dear son, I’ll bless you--oh how I’ll bless you!  Then Abraham got his son and things together and returned to Beersheba where he settle down.

 After this, Abraham got the news: “Your brother Nahor is a father.  Ur, his firstborn, followed by Buz, Kemuel, Kesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph and Bethuel (who was the father of Rebekah).  Sarah lived 127 years when she died.  Abraham mourned Sarah and wept...Then Abraham got up from mourning his dead wife.  Ephron, a Hittite, offered a field to Abraham as a gift in which to bury Sarah.  Abraham insisted on paying for the land (400 silver shekels) which Ephron accepted.  Abraham buried his wife in the cave in the field that was next to Mamre, present day Hebron, in the land of Canaan.

John 6:27-6:71 - "Don’t waste your energy striving for perishable food like that...throw your lot in with the One that God has sent.  That kind of a commitment gets you in on God’s work...In Moses time and now, the Bread of God came down out of heaven and is giving life to the world.....I am the Bread of Life...and once a person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go.  I came down from heaven not to follow my own whim but to accomplish the will of the One who sent me.  ...anyone who sees the Son and trusts who he is and what he does, and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life.  My part is to put them on their feet alive and whole at the completion of time...."

 At this, the Jews started arguing over him...

.”Don’t bicker amongst yourselves over me.  You’re not in charge here...anyone who has spent any time at all listening to the Father, really listening and therefore learning, comes to me taught personally--to see with his own eyes, hear it with his own ears, from  me, since I have it firsthand from the Father...I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now:  Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life.  I am the Bread of LIfe...the Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh and blood.” 

At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves again...But Jesus didn’t give an inch..."The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day.  My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter  into me and I into you." 

 Many of his disciples heard this and said, “This is tough teaching, too tough to swallow.”  Jesus sensed that his disciples were having a hard time with this and said, “Does this throw you completely?...The Spirit can make life.  Sheer muscle and willpower don’t make anything happen.  Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word and so it is life-making...that is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to me on his own.  You get to me only as a gift from the Father."

  After this a lot of his disciples left...Then Jesus gave the 12 their chance..."Do you want to leave?”