Upon me be thy curse


As Rebekah deceitfully schemed to trick her husband, Isaac into blessing her favorite son, Jacob, her son realized that what his mother was asking him to do, could land him in a lot of trouble, should Isaac figure out their deceitfulness. He expresses to Rebekah that if his father detects that he is not Esau and is robbing Esau of his blessings as the firstborn son of Isaac, Isaac would curse him instead of blessing him. To this Rebecca responds by saying foolishly, “Upon me be thy curse, my son” urging him to play along in her scheme.

This mother-son scheme leads to discord and separation of Jacob and Esau, for Esau in his anger of being robbed of his blessings expresses that he would kill Jacob. Overhearing this, Rebekah sends Jacob away to her brother’s place and we learn that this was the last time she sees her favorite son, Jacob. She dies when Jacob is away and we can extrapolate that upon her was the curse laid, of being separated from her son for the rest of her life.

Points to ponder:
It is important to recognize that our actions, especially those of deceit, have serious consequences. We may be able to trick men and women, but we cannot trick the omniscient God over all. Though it was God’s plan for the elder Esau to serve the younger Jacob, Rebekah’s actions are not justifiable.

Taking a different perspective – Jesus willingly laid down his life for all of mankind (John 10:18). Jesus was a made a curse for us so that we could become the righteousness of God and not be separated from him (Galatians 3:13). Taking these facts into account, in a sense, you could say that when man was cursed (for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God), Jesus stepped in and said “Upon me be thy curse.”  Jesus Christ became a curse for you and me so that we will not be separated from the love of God, for the rest of this life and the life to come.

Genesis 27:11-13 (KJV)
11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man:
12 My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.
13 And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.

Nahum 3:19 – No healing of thy bruise


Nahum 3:19 reads “There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?” The prophetic reference here is primarily to the ruler and king of Assyria, who was vile and whose officials were wicked men, sparring no mercy but pervasively and perpetually spreading their wickedness on all the nations they invaded and conquered. Essentially, the prophet Nahum, here is stating that the vile Assyrian and his nobles shall be bruised and wounded grievously that whoever shall hear of his destruction, shall rejoice with a clapping of their hands for the comfort that the Lord God has brought upon them.

Points to ponder:
Though in the physical realm, the reference to the vile Assyrian king is most likely to Sennacherib who blasphemed against the Lord, in the spiritual realm, prophet Isaiah refers to the devil as the evil Assyrian ruler (Isaiah 14:25) and his wickedness has not only been perpetual from the very beginning (John 8:44; 1 John 3:8), but also pervasive, so much so that whole creation groans (Romans 8:22) and all have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Even though the devil tried to destroy Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind, all he could do, was merely bruise the heel of Jesus with the nails that pierced his feet (Genesis 3:15), but Jesus once and for all grievously destroyed the devil (1 John 3:8) bruising the head of the wicked (evil) one, for which there is no healing (Genesis 3:15; Nahum 3:19) and laying him out bare from head to toe (Habakkuk 3:13), so that all who hear of the total shameful defeat of the devil by Jesus Christ, can rejoice for their liberty found in Christ (Galatians 2:4; 5:1), and rejoice always in the Lord (Philippians 4:4), with the clapping of hands.

 Nahum 3:19 (KJV)
19 There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?

Genesis 3:14-15 (KJV)
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

1 John 3:8 (KJV)
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Habakkuk 3:13 (KJV)
13 Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah.

Aprons of fig leaves – FAIL


After Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, disobey God, they became aware (their eyes were opened) of their folly and they realized that they were exposed and unclothed. So they make a vain attempt to sew fig leaves together and made themselves the first aprons (clothes) to cover their shame. Then they hear the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God. (Genesis 3:6-8)

When this account is viewed cursorily, one tends to miss out certain key aspects of the consequences of sin and some characteristics of God. First, sin brings with it nakedness and shame when exposed. Can you even fathom telling  your closest friend or family member, all of the sins that you have committed or are still committing? It creates a shameful situation, doesn’t it? When we disobey God, we are naked before him for there can be no secret (hidden) sins (Psalm 90:8). Second, in their effort to cover their shame that resulted from their willful disobedience, Adam and his wife attempted to cover their sinful state, with their own human efforts – sewing themselves the first aprons from fig leaves. But when they hear the Lord God walking in the garden, they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God, implying that their efforts to cover their sin was insufficient (an epic FAILure) to cover their sinful state of shame. Third, we see that in the cool of the day, God came to visit man as a Father seeking his lost son, and his voice was heard.

Points to ponder:
First, when we sin we are naked before God – in a state of sinful shame that needs to be covered. Since all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), we are all exposed before God. Second, no human effort can cover sin. In fact, the very attempt of man to achieve salvation on his or her own efforts is cursed. Remember, how Jesus cursed the fig tree which had no fruit but just leaves (Matthew 21:19; Mark 11:13-14) – leaves that could be sewn to make aprons to cover sin (Genesis 3:7).  The remission of sin takes the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22; Matthew 26:28) and it takes a sacrifice to cover the shame of sin. God had to shed blood to cover man with a hide that could hide God’s wrath from man (Genesis 3:21).It takes the blood of Jesus alone to cover our sinful state. Third, no amount of sin can keep God away from us. His beckoning call as an eager father seeking his lost son, is ever present and his voice heard, asking us to repent, irrespective of our sinfulness. If we believe in Jesus Christ, whom God the Father gave out of his love for us, to be THE SACRIFICE to cover our sin and shame, we have no reason to hid ourselves from the presence of the Lord God. If we don’t believe, then we have absolutely no covering whatsoever, in heaven or earth or in it, to protect us from God’s holy judgment and wrath. Let us believe and not have the need to sew aprons, to hide ourselves from the presence of a loving God, I beseech you.

Genesis 3:6-8 (KJV)
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

 

Holy life not Holey life


As followers of God (Ephesians 6:1), God has called us to be Holy because he is Holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).

John Bunyan, Christian writer and preacher who is renowned for his acclaimed book, “The Pilgrim’s Progress” is attributed to have said “One leak will sink a ship: and one  sin will destroy a sinner.” True, it just takes one hole to sink a ship in the physical world. It is likewise in our spiritual life as well. God says through his prophet Ezekiel that the soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:4, 20) and all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). In other words, unless the Savior Jesus Christ, mends our holey (sinful) lives, we will sink in the miry pit of sin (Psalm 40:2) that will drown us in death (Romans 6:23).

Point to ponder:
While the grim message of God through the prophet Ezekiel was a proclamation of the death sentence on all mankind because that the soul that sins shall die, the sacrificial death of God’s Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, brings hope to this hopeless situation, for his death was for us, in our place. When we believe in Jesus Christ, God’s gift to us is eternal life (John 3:16).

God says, Repent and Remember and Return to me. Let us repent. In other words, let our message to Jesus Christ be SOS (Save Our Soul) for when we repent and confess with our mouths, he is faithful and just to cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). In other words, he is willing and will mend the holes in our life.

We are called to live a Holy life and not a Holey life. Let us live according to what God has called us to, for He is Holy.

1 Peter 1:14-16 (KJV)
14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Dead Jesus and Living Jesus


Since all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) and the soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:4,20) for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), each one of us as sinners NEED Jesus who died in our place – the dead Jesus.
And when we have acknowledged our need for the resurrected Jesus and when we believe in his Name as the only means to our salvation, our sins are remitted and we are transformed from sinners to saints, being sanctified by his blood, and as saints we NEED Jesus to live within us – the living Jesus.

It isPoints to ponder:
Sinners need the dying Jesus. Saints need the living Jesus.
Have you acknowledged your need for the Jesus who died in your place and believed in his Name? If not, delay no further.
If you have believed, can you say, truly say, that the resurrected and living Jesus lives within you? Can we say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ Jesus that lives in me?

Romans 3:23 (KJV)
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Ezekiel 18:20-24 (KJV)

20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

Romand 6:22-23 (KJV)
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The Cross, My Ballast


Medical missionary from Pittsburg to Africa, Dr. Thomas Alexander Lambie (1885- 14 April 1954), is noted for being one of the pioneering American missionaries to Ethiopia. In his missionary journeys, Dr. Lambie, had to cross several swift streams and he learned from the natives the best way to cross over hazardous waters. The danger in crossing a stream lies in being swept off one’s feet and carried downstream to deep water or being hurled to death against hidden rocks. A man can avoid this by finding a large stone – the heavier the better – lifting it to his shoulder, and carrying it across the stream, using the stone as a ballast. The extra weight of what was being carried kept the feet solid and gave the much needed stability to survive and tide over dangers that could cause death.

In our missionary journey on earth, we ought to carry the Cross and follow Christ, so that we are not swept off our feet and hurled into the danger of death (which is the wages of sin – and all have sinned (Romans 6:23; Romans 3:23)). As long as we carry the Rock of our Salvation (Psalm 95:1), Christ Jesus will be ballast and keep our feet from slipping (Psalm 121:3).

Matthew 16:24-27 (KJV)
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.