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bible reading jan 24--25

Bible reading for Jan 24:  Genesis 25; Matthew 24.
Bible reading for Jan 25:  Genesis 26; Matthew 25. 

Pray for the March for Life this Friday in Washington, D.C., that many in our nation's capital and the nation's media would pay attention to this call for repentance.  "Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."  (Amos 5:23-24 ESV) 

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"Jacob said, 'Swear to me now.' So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright."  (Genesis 25:33-34)

Abraham dies (Gen 25).  Abraham dies, and is buried by Isaac and Ishmael.  The first generation of Ishmael's lineage is recorded.  Remember, Genesis is a book of "beginnings", and Ishmael has been blessed, his sons becoming tribes which will interact with Israel in the future.  Rebekah, at first barren, is now granted twin boys, who struggle together in her womb.  The Lord tells her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger" (25:23).  This struggle soon becomes very evident.

Blessing upon Isaac (Gen 26).  It seems that deception runs in the family, as we see an anxious Isaac lying about his relation to Rebekah (26:1-11). By the way, Abimelech ("abi-melek" = my father the king) is probably not a personal name but a title, so the Abimelech of chapters 20-21 is likely not the same person in chapter 26.  Nevertheless, God continues his covenant with Isaac and blesses him greatly. The Lord causes his enemies to be at peace with him.     

Jacob v. Esau (Gen 25-26).  When we first read this story we may feel that a) Esau is not really such a bad guy, and b) Jacob, the supposed covenant heir, is not really such a good guy, after all. But what's not to like about Esau?  He's an outdoors-man who loves nature (he would probably do well on "Survivor"), provides food and game, and he is close to his father, Isaac.  And he gets tricked by Jacob.  Not once but twice.   

The birthright.  Jacob cannot be excused for his deception and trickery.  He, like others in his family, is comfortable trying fulfill God's promise in his own way.  He likely knew God's word to Rebekah his mother (25:23) and perhaps feared that he would not receive the blessing of the birthright. (Father Isaac planned to give the blessing to Esau, his favorite.)  The birthright was more than receiving a large portion of the family inheritance, it was the position of leadership in the family and clan.  The lineage of Abraham and Isaac centered on the covenant relationship with God.  Therefore, the purity of allegiance to the Lord was paramount, with no admixture of idolatry.  Yet, Esau, much like Lamech in Genesis 4:19, takes two wives for himself (26:34), and these two women are from the Hittite / Canaanite culture (see Gen 24:3).  This is why the author of Hebrews says that no one should be "sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal" (Heb 12:16).  Esau was not a good candidate to be the spiritual head of Abraham's family line. In the end, however, we should believe, as the Apostle Paul wrote, that the choice between the twins, while they were yet in the womb, was a free, sovereign choice of God (Romans 9:10-12). 

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But he answered them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." (Matthew 24:2)

The second coming of Jesus (Matthew 24-25).  As I stood upon the temple mount in Jerusalem in 1997 I realized that Jesus's words, "there will not be left here one stone upon another..." has been completely and literally fulfilled. (24:2)  We may not understand all the details of Christ's return, that is, what's been fulfilled at the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 and what's yet to come.  But it is very clear that Jesus' second coming will be personal, visible, and glorious: "Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory"  (Matt 24:30) 

Amen, come Lord Jesus!  

The image above is a photo I took of a 3,000 year old olive tree on the Mount of Olives. Jesus taught about his return and the future of Jerusalem while staying with his disciples on this mount.  Hence, it is called "the Olivet Discourse".   

We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule found here.

Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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