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bible reading feb 3

Usually, what I post on the blog site is automatically emailed out later that day around midnight. But not always, you may have noted.  I don't know what's with that, but since I'm using Google's free services (email widget), I can't complain!  If you miss getting an email from myburg, please just check the website to see if the post is there.  Thanks for your patience in following these posts!

Bible reading for Feb 3:  Genesis 35-36; Mark 6. 

"Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone." (Gen 35:2-3)

Back to Bethel (Gen 35). Jacob's faithfulness to God is being seen more and more. He recognizes that God's covenant presence and blessing upon his family deserves a strong faithfulness in return.  The days of the "pocket gods" (Gen 31) and pagan ornaments is put behind them. Though all jewelry is not condemned in the Bible (Song 2:10-11; Lu 15:22), an undue concern for outward beauty reflects a heart of pride and worldliness (Ex 33:5; 1 Pet 3:3). God renews his covenant with Jacob, now called Israel. Benjamin, the last of the 12 sons, is born, but Rachel dies in childbirth. Isaac dies and is buried by his sons Jacob and Esau.    
Roster recap (Gen 36). Now the lineage of Esau is recounted, showing that God has indeed blessed him with a land and many descendants.  These will become the tribes of Edom, or the Edomites, which Israel will encounter through the rest of the OT and even into the NT -- the Herodian family was of mixed Jewish and Idumean (Edomite) ancestry. 


"...when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, 'Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.'"  (Mark 6:49-50)

Unbelief. The people of Jesus' hometown Nazareth respond in unbelief, rejecting him (6:1-6). They did not get to see the miracles they were expecting. It was not that their unbelief somehow limited or restricted Jesus -- as some prosperity preachers maintain -- but that the people's unbelief was judged by the Father, who limited his own Son's ministry there: "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise." (John 5:19) Jesus sends out the Twelve, and warns them of the similar rejection they will faceSometimes we think that if we were just nicer, more understanding, more kind, less judgmental... then more people would respond positively to the message of Christ.  Perhaps, but we should remember that Jesus was perfect and his own hometown rejected him.  

Walking on water.  Toward the end of the chapter we see that it is not only the people of Nazareth who are uncomprehending, but the disciples themselves have "hard hearts", that is, they were not yet comprehending who their Master was.  Christ's authority extends to all of nature. And it is God alone, the Creator, who has complete mastery over the sea (Ps 77:19; Rev 4:6).  Yet, Jesus is merciful to his frightened disciples"Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid."  Those are words we should speak to our hearts whenever we are afraid!  

Christ's power and compassion.  As in Matthew's account, we see that the compassion and care of King Jesus is contrasted with the cruelty and worldly power of King Herod.  Herod had a dictator's heart, but Jesus has a shepherd's heart: "When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things."  (Mark 6:34)  Where Herod ruled, and where his imitators rule today, there is death and depravity.  But where Jesus rules, there is healing and hope: "And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well." (6:56) Well may we sing with Isaac Watts the hymn-writer... 

Behold, the blind their sight receive!
Behold, the dead awake and live!
The dumb speak wonders, and the lame
Leap like the hart, and bless His name.

Hence, and forever, from my heart
I bid my doubts and fears depart;
And to those hands my soul resign,
Which bear credentials so divine.

(Isaac Watts)

Image credit: "The disciples see Christ walking on the water", by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1907). Public domain.  

We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.  A PDF copy is available 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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