Feb 3, 2022

(Genesis 35-36, Mark 6; Optional Psalm 26, Proverbs 7:4-9, 21-23)

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GENESIS 35-36 – In a section filled with crisis, pain, and sadness (Gen 34:30-31, 35:1, 3, 7-8, 19, 22, 29), God reminds Jacob that He had been with Jacob through previous pain and crisis (Gen 33:1). God calls Jacob to turn aside from the crisis and pause to worship Him – God Almighty (Gen 35:11). Jacob calls his family to purify themselves, setting aside the false gods they still had among them. What would God have YOU set aside?

Gen 35:3 – “the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” This one true God is worth setting aside any distractions and worshiping Him alone!

Gen 35:5 – In Gen 34:30, Jacob is terrified that the people of the land will destroy them, because his sons destroyed an entire village in unrestrained anger at one man’s sexual sin against their sister. Beside Gen 35:3 I’ve written “S!”, because it’s such a powerful reminder of the sovereignty of Almighty God who is in control even of feelings / thoughts / will (also see * Ex 34:24 *, Prov 16:7, Dan 1:9, Gen 39:21 , Prov 21:1). We do NOT need to be controlled by fear – NOTHING can touch us apart from God’s plan.

Gen 35:9-15 – God reaffirms Jacob’s new name Israel (see Gen 32:28), reaffirms that Jacob / Israel is the one chosen by God to continue the covenant He made with Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob responds in worship.

Gen 35:8, 19, 29 – Even though nothing can touch us apart from God’s plan, life in this fallen world IS still filled with death and sorrow. But God is with those that are His, and we need to pause to remember and worship Him.

Gen 36 – I’d skim this on your first few reading-through-the-Bible…  We see a contrast of Jacob/Israel’s line (the next generation focused on in Gen 37ff) with twin brother Esau, who intermarried with the pagan women of the land (v 2). We see that Esau (aka Edom) settled in Seir (Gen 36:8). Through the OT, we’ll see Edom (sometimes just referred to by the place Seir) as continual enemies to Israel.

MARK 6 – We see Jesus sending out apostles (“apostle” means “one that is sent” implying a mission) to do miracles and teach the same message of repentance that John the baptizer and Jesus preached. And even with all the miracles, we find that MOST responded with indifference, offense, or open hostility. And even the disciples THEMSELVES, fresh from a mission trip and just after the amazing miracle of Jesus filling thousands with food (from only five loaves and two fish), needed to examine where THEY were spiritually (see Mk 6:52). Especially in light of God calling Jacob to take time to worship and examine himself in Gen 35, take some time to reflect: “How am I responding to Jesus right now? Where is MY heart hardened?”

Mk 6:30-46 – The life of following God is a constant BALANCE. After all the busy-ness of the mission trip and the pain of John’s death, Jesus prioritized time away to rest (Mk 6:30-31). But when the crowds surrounded them, Jesus was moved with compassion and extensively taught them (v 34), then fed them physically (v 37-44). But then Jesus DID make time alone to pray (v 45-46).

Optional Psalm 26 – Four prayer requests (v 1, 2, 9, 11) and evidence of a well-examined life that really is built around trusting Yahweh. NOT sinless perfection, though… The confident David here in Ps 26 puts is the same David who is VERY aware of his sin in Ps 25:6-8, 11, 16-18. But in Ps 25 he prayed that God would teach him (Ps 25:4-5) and cause him to walk in integrity (Ps 25:21). Well, in Ps 26 we see that God answered those prayers (see Ps 26:1, 11 about integrity)! And this is what a well-taught life looks like – confidence in God, hating evil (Ps 26:5) and loving good and being with God’s people (Ps 26:8).

Optional Proverbs 7:4-9, 21-23 – In the whole theme of examining your life that runs through all the Bible readings today, examine how you’re dealing with temptations. The sin that looks so enticing in v 4-9 ends in destruction – “he does not know that it will cost him his life.” (Pr 7:23)