Lord, Servant and Grace

As Jacob is on his way to the land of his birth, following the command of God, he comes to the land of Seir, in the country of Edom, where his brother Esau, whom he had wronged, lived. In an attempt to reconcile with his brother, Jacob sends messengers with gifts of cattle (oxen, asses, flocks) and people (men and women servants) to Esau (Genesis 32:4-6).

He had subtly tricked Esau into selling his birthday and deceived their father, Isaac, to rob Esau’s blessings (Genesis 27:36) making him lord (master) and Esau his servant (Genesis 27:37). Now notice that in his attempt to reconcile, he recognized his place and refers to Esau as lord (or master) and himself as Esau’s servant (Genesis 32:4) and requested that he finds grace in Esau’s sight.

Points to ponder:
From this account, first, we can learn a lesson on seeking forgiveness from other men and women whom we have wronged. We ought to recognize our position and place and seek to find grace in their sight. And second, the key words used in this situation are lord, servant and grace. In order to be reconciled with God, we need to accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ and accept and allow him to be our Master for he is Lord and Master (John 13:14) and just as he came to serve, we ought to serve (Matthew 28:20). Before accepting Jesus as Lord and Master, sin reigns over all people unto death (Romans 5:21), but when sin abounded the grace (of God) became more abundant (Romans 5:20) so grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:21).

Have you accepted Jesus to be your Lord?
Have you allowed him to be your Master?
Jesus’ grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9)!

Genesis 32:3-5 (KJV)
And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:
And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.

Romans 5:19-21 (KJV)
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Deception brings with it death

While Esau was deprived of his blessing from his father Isaac, for his younger brother Jacob had deceived him and taken the blessing, he starts to hate his brother, with so much hate that he sought to kill (slay) his brother after his father’s death. The deception of Jacob brought with it hate from his brother which in turn brought the threat of death. As you can see hate in the heart turns brother against brother.

Points to ponder:
Deception brings with it death. The deception to disobey God, by the ancient deceiver, the devil (Revelation 12:9), brings with it the threat of death, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), but the gift of God is eternal life to all who chose to obey God and keep his commandments to love God above all and love mankind as themselves (Matthew 22:36-40).

When love trumps hate, deception and death have no place. If a man says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (1 John 4:20).

Even when it is hard to love someone, we are asked to do so, just as God did, and not hate in our hearts. It comes down to loving God, loving man, lest we be deceived. Be ye not deceived.

Genesis 27:41 (KJV)
41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.

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.

The Ark rested upon a mountain top

Genesis 8:4 reads that after it had stopped raining for a hundred and fifty days, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. We do not know for sure if it was on mount Ararat or upon one of the mountains in that region, where the ark rested. However, that detail is not as significant as recognizing that the ark did rest upon a mountain top and from within it, came out life to worship God first (Genesis 8:20) and be entered into a new covenant relationship with God (Genesis 8:21-22).

Jesus was crucified upon a hill (mountain top) called Calvary, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha (Luke 23:33; John 19:17) and on the Cross, he commended his spirit into the hands of God the Father (Luke 23:46) and rested in the Father’s hands. From him came out life for all who believe in him, shall not die but have passed over from death to life (John 5:24), a life that is not only abundant (John 10:10) but eternal as well, to worship God (Matthew 4:10) and be restored into a new covenant relationship with God. Jesus is The Ark who rested upon a mountain top!

Points to ponder:
Has Jesus Christ, The Ark of God, rested upon your life and soul? In other words, have you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, to find rest, upon the mountain top of your heart/life?

Genesis 8:4, 20-22 (KJV)
4 And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.

20 And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Jesus Christ – The Ark :: God’s Window

This article is part of the series, Jesus Christ – The Ark, where in we learn of Noah’s ark as a pre-type of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, as The One and Only Ark to save mankind.

God told Noah to build the ark with gopher wood and make rooms in it, pitch it inside and out and then explicitly gave Noah the fashion (dimensions) in which Noah was to build the ark. Additionally, God told Noah that he was to make ‘A’ window. The dictionary defines a window as “an opening in the wall of a building, the side of a vehicle, etc., for the admission of air or light“. This window that God was asking Noah to make in the ark was to be a cubit in dimension and it was to be finished above (on top). Notice, not only the singularity of the window, but also its position and its completeness (finished). There was to be ‘A’ window and it was to be finished on top, implying that there was only one window, that was finished (complete) and it was made in a place above which would require Noah and his family (and the other creatures in the ark) to have to look up for their source of light and life (air). I also believe that God was making sure that Noah and his family (and the other creatures in the ark) looked up to him and not focus on the stormy situation around them during the flood.

Points to ponder:
Jesus said, if you have seen me, you have seen God the Father (John 14:9). He is the portal – the Window – the Only Window – through whom, we can see God. We should not focus on the stormy situations of our lives, but instead, we must look up at Jesus and through him to light our life and redeem it from all darkness (sin). We must look at Jesus for the very breath of life, for only in Jesus, is found life – not just abundantly (John 10:10), but everlasting as well (John 3:16). As the writer to the Hebrews state, we must be constantly “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (note: A window was to be finished above), who for the joy that was set before him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and is set down (seated) at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus is God’s Window! Is Jesus on top of your life and mine?

Genesis 6:16 (KJV)
16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

John 14:9 (KJV)
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?

John 10:10 (KJV)
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

John 3:16-17 (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Professional Speaking :: Jesus The Bookkeeper

The “book of life” is mentioned eight times in the New Testament, once in the epistle to the Philippian Church (Philippians 4:3) and seven times in Revelation (Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12; 20:15; 21:27; and 22:19). Twice, it is specifically referred to as the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 13:8; and 21:27). Jesus Christ is the Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). So the book of life belonging to the Lamb is infact Jesus’ book of life. Whosoever’s name is not written in the book of life is cast into the lake of fire, which is second death (Revelation 20:14-15), but those who have believed in Jesus Christ have eternal life (John 3:16), and he that overcomes, because the Son of God, Jesus comes over them, when they believe, will not be hurt by second death and his/her name will not be erased from the book of life (Revelation 3:5); Jesus’ book of life, of which He is The Bookkeeper.

Points to ponder:
When Jesus is The Bookkeeper, there is no possibility of any man cooking the books to gain his salvation by any of his works. Salvation and eternal life (getting your name recorded in the Lamb’s book of life) is only possible when we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and allow him to be our Lord. Jesus said, rejoice for your names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Can you rejoice, with Jesus The Bookkeeper? You can, if he has recorded your name in his book. Has he?

Revelation 21:27 (KJV)
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Luke 10:20 (KJV)
20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

The Ant and the Grasshopper – Gospel

I have shared this story given below several times in my preaching and teaching engagements. The original Author remains unknown. I am not sure if this is a true account or not, but each time I read or hear this story, it warms my heart and evokes a response to love God even more with all my heart, my soul, my strength and my mind. I pray that it is the same response that you are led to as well …

A mother of a 9 year old boy, Mark, received a phone call in the middle of the afternoon. It was the teacher from her son’s school.
“Mrs. Smith, something unusual happened today in your son’s third grade class. Your son did something that surprised me so much that I thought you should know about it immediately.”
Mother’s seldom want to hear from their child’s teacher in the middle of the day. The mother was uneasy and nervous by such a beginning to a phone call. “What now?” the mother wondered.
The teacher continued, “I have been teaching for many years and nothing like this has happened until now. This morning I was teaching a lesson on creative writing. And as I always do, I tell the story of the ant and the grasshopper. The ant works hard all summer and stores up plenty of food. But the grasshopper plays all summer and does no work.
Then winter comes. The grasshopper begins to starve because he has no food. So he hops to the ants house and begins to beg. ‘Please Mr. Ant, you have much food please let me eat, too.’ Now boys and girls your job is to write the ending to the story.
Your son, Mark, raised his hand. “Teacher, may I draw a picture?”
“Well, yes, Mark, if you like, you may draw a picture. But first you must write the ending to the story.”
The papers came in. As in all the years past, most of the students said that the ant shared his food through the winter and both the ant and the grasshopper lived.
As always, a few children said, ‘The ant said, “No, Mr. Grasshopper. You should have worked in the summer and not played. Now, I have just enough food for myself.” So the ant lived and the grasshopper died.
But your son ended the story in a way different from any other child, ever. He wrote, “So the ant gave all of his food to the grasshopper; the grasshopper lived through the winter. But the ant died.
“And the picture?
At the bottom of the page, Mark had drawn three crosses. “Jesus gave up his life so that we might live eternally”

Matthew 20:28 (KJV)
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

For a related image, see God’s sacrifice, our substitute (Check out where I and U are placed in relation to the crosses)