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In this Issue

The Patriarchs


In Other News

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THE PATRIARCHS

Noah was a sign man.
Noah built an ark and in so doing saved his house.
His demonstrated obedience condemned the world.
He planted a vineyard got drunk and in the eyes of his son Ham eyes was lewd.
God cursed Canaan although it was Ham who uncovered his father’s nakedness to his brethren Gen 9:22.
Why did the God curse Canaan and not Ham his father? I suggest you find out. It wasn’t a very promising start by the only survivors of the “old world” wouldn’t you agree?

Abraham was the friend of God.
I would never have thought that God desired a friend had I not read it in the word. Furthermore I am amazed when I hear God refer to a mere mortal as His friend.
All men by nature have a prejudice toward selfishness, envy and jealousy. Equally are we blind to our own faults, and because this is true each of us needs a faithful friend in whom Jesus resides. I need counsel, companionship, and adjustment. I need loving rebuke even though it may smart for a season. I need someone that will stand beside me when I have stumbled; or feel forsaken when I have been fallible in judgment and hurt those that were nearest and dearest to me.

Abraham and Sarah were barren.
Abraham listened to faithless Sarai and took Hagar and had a son by her. Don’t ever think badly of Hagar or her son Ishmael. Hagar raised young Isaac with Ishmael his older brother; and undoubtedly they loved each other. Together these boys loved the same father; and Abraham in turn loved both his sons. Genesis 17:18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!

Isaac and Rebekah were barren.
Genesis 25:21.Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife Rebekah. Like so many marriages theirs started with such promise. It seemed like a match made in heaven, as romantic a love story as you could ever imagine; but it was to end in such tragic circumstances. Their dysfunctional home was full of hostility. Read about it. There is much that we can learn from the lives of all the patriarchs.

Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons Esau and Jacob. Isaac loved Esau because he did eat of his venison, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Rebekah received a prophecy that the birthright would go to Jacob the second born while giving birth to twins. By deception and cunning she made certain the rights of the first born would go to Jacob, and not Esau Gen 25:23. Isaac eventually discovered the plot Rebekah hatched to ensure Jacob got it, but by then it was too late for Isaac and Esau. If God has spoken, He doesn’t need your help or mine to bring it about. Proverbs 20: 21 an inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed. This was proved to be true in this case.

Isaac believing he was soon to die passed the birthright to Jacob, and then went on to live another 42 years which were worrisome to his soul Gen 35:27-29.
Bitterness and grief were the constant companions of the occupants of this deceitful home.
I am weary of my life said Rebekah to Isaac after Esau took to wife two Hittite maidens.
Fearing Jacob would do likewise Rebekah entreated Isaac to send him to their kindred to find a wife lest he marry a stranger. Rebekah’s reward for all her scheming was to never see her beloved Jacob again.

A warning to all couples:
The terrible gulf between Isaac's marriage-bed and his death-bed is seen in this single sentence; “Isaac loved Esau because he did eat of his venison; but Rebecca loved Jacob.” Standing back those of us that have eyes to see and ears to hear will find little apart from misery in the marriage that Isaac and Rebecca dug for themselves and their two sons as it engulfed their home. It shocks us to stand here and see the life-long sorrow that transpired after such a promising start. Long, long years of alienation and bitterness are hidden in that little verse. There were heart-aches and heart-breaks; hidden hatreds, open quarrels and deceits enough to make Isaac old, blind, and half dead before his time. When the twin brothers were brought up day after day in an atmosphere of favouritism and partiality, indulgence and injustice, surely no parent needs to have it pointed out to them what evil the future will bring to their house. As moving as the words, “Isaac loved Esau, but Rebecca loved Jacob” are, they will make little impression on us unless we read on to see the fruit of that divided house.

One of the first things to capture our attention is the two heathen marriages that Esau made and brought home which brought such grief to Isaac and Rebecca. This was about the only thing those two had in common. Esau’s marriages were a bitter pill for them to swallow.

Esau is blamed by many preachers for his heathen marriages but is this fair? Much talk went on about Grandfather Abraham’s covenant, but the boys saw little evidence of it in their home. All that Esau observed was the disrespect his mother had for his father and the deceit that she and his younger brother Jacob colluded in. Is it any wonder that Esau chose his own wife and was in no way influenced by his carnal parents? How we need to ensure that our children see less strife and more covenant love in our homes, than simply to hear about it.

Isaac and Rebecca’s betrothal and marriage had much covenant promise yet it was to become a sorry saga of betrayal and deceit. One thing certain about a bride is that the result is often a far cry from her expectations. Age, illness, wilful children, household tasks and cares, privation, lack, isolation, incompatibility, prejudices, quarrels, all these things tell on a wife more than on a husband, and they weigh heavily over the ensuing years and make her change more rapidly into that which she often thought “this will never happen to me”.

There will never be real union without self-sacrifice where each is bent on loving the other.
To most men and women this is not easy; for with much optimism and ignorance they enter marriage with a forgone conclusion that it’s all going to work out just the way they always believed it would. Unless they give way to each other, and both are softened by the influence of the Holy Spirit selfish expectations will always be a stumbling block to contentment and peace.

Ephesians 5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband says Paul with Rebecca in mind.
Yes, but what if she can’t? What if there is so little left that can be reverenced about her husband? The best bond in a marriage is a husband that can be looked up too; one that is kind and wise and loving; and for him to praise his wife for her virtue and wisdom, and enjoy the love of all her children.

What if he unwise? What if he is a fool? What if a wife wakes up one morning to find herself joined to a lazy ignoramus? To a man whose God is his belly or his money, one that is mean and selfish?
To be in a miserable marriage must be the worst kind of life imaginable. What is a woman so ensnared to do? She will need to be an absolute saint if she is to do what is right, yet do it she must. It can be done and has been done, and is being done by hundreds of saintly sisters, God bless them.

Jacob and Rachael were barren.
Let us remember that He who is omniscient and omnipotent identified Himself with these three impotent couples when He said “I am the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob”.
The lives of the Patriarchs, Judges and Prophets of Israel have been laid bare for our instruction to ensure that we don’t make the same mistakes, but rather learn from their falls and rises. Let’s go a little deeper and see what we can learn to bring Godly order into the centre of life in our homes.

The iniquity of the Fathers:
Exodus 20: I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.

The iniquities of the Fathers, (not the mothers) are visited upon the children unto the 3rd and 4th generation of them that hate me. What devastation there is in every direction that we look at today? It is not just limited to those who have obviously rejected God; but it clearly resides among those who claim to belong to Him, yet continually refuse to answer when He calls, or open when He knocks.
Proverbs 26:2 as the bird by wandering as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.
Proverbs 3:33 the curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked but he blesses the habitation of the just.

It does not say the iniquity of the mothers for the following reasons. Adam was the fountainhead, and seed-bearer without whom there could be no reproduction. He was the moral, spiritual, legal and representative head for the whole human race. All mankind were in his loins when he was innocent and afterward when he committed sin. When he sinned he was responsible for sin passing on to all men. He never acted as a private individual but for the whole human race male and female. Sin has always been reckoned as passing from the fathers to the children not through the mothers.

Lev 26:39-40; Num 14:18; Deut 5:9. Scripture recognises the woman as the womb of man for the purpose of the reproduction of mankind, but without sinful responsibility as far as passing sin from parent to offspring is concerned. She is the womb-man.
God is the head of Christ.
Christ is the head of the man.
The charge given by God to every male is the most challenging and serious of all responsibilities.
To exclude the following would only be half the truth, so what follows must be said because the word declares it.
The man is the head of the woman.
If you have a higher authority than God Almighty pray tell me who it is?
The domestic life of believers is as follows. Ephesians 5: 22-24.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of His body: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing”. That is everything which is lawful and right, not in things criminally wrong. Only if he is sinful is she under no obligation to obey him.

WANTED JEALOUS FATHERS

I am jealous over you with godly jealousy. Paul lived and moved in the concern of the great shepherd Jesus Christ. If we are true to our calling we will literally feel what Christ feels. “I am afraid that your minds will be corrupted, and that you will abandon your full and pure devotion to Christ; in the same way that Eve was deceived by the serpent’s clever lies.” Paul is warning them, showing concern that they don’t corrupt the life of their families by becoming corrupt themselves. If we are to influence our families for good then our lives must be exemplary and fit to be imitated. This applies to our homes as well as our ministry gifts. The Father is the seed bearer and life giver, as such his position as the leader in his home is unique. There have to be fathers with hearts that are as jealous for their family as God is for His. That unlike Adam and Eve they will be able to make right choices in the decisions that affect the life of their home. We have to diagnose problems to treat them properly. Many a doctor’s remedy has killed a patient because the diagnosis was wrong. As shepherds of our homes we need to be skilful in the Word of life. We are concerned with more than just temporal issues. Our task is to prepare them for not only this life but eternal life also.

James 3:16 “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
We are not told to stand against his power, but against the wiles and deceit of Satan. For this we need the whole armour of God.
2 Corinthians 11:1-3 “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Beguiled through subtlety Complications come from violating the obviously simple. Deception is the enemy’s greatest tool. In TV Soaps and romantic novels where sexual indecency is the selling point, a favourite phrase of the unfaithful is, “This thing is bigger than us”; making excuses; unwilling to accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Whenever we begin to rationalize the straightforward simple scriptural solutions to spiritual problems we end in confusion, then we compromise and sin. Thou shall not commit adultery is uncomplicated and clear. If you’re overwhelmed then make yourself accountable to someone before the dirt hits the fan and pollutes the house. God wants his His people to be transparent in every way.

There is no hope for any of us apart from Christ the second man; the last Adam; the quickening Spirit.
Just as the iniquities of the father’s are visited upon the children of them that hate me; thank God so also is the righteousness of the new creation man in Christ visited upon his children.

The Grandmother of my wife Anne was a Godly woman. Throughout her life she transmitted her faith in God to her granddaughter. Anne is the fruit of a Granny’s prayers which God heard and answered. She is a Jewel in my earthly crown.
2 Tim 1:1-5 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.

Before we proceed let’s search our hearts that His blessing may come upon us and ours.
Like the Cherubim before the tree of life, the warning regarding our participation in the Lord’s Supper must be taken seriously.
1 Corinthians 11:27-28 wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
The results of partaking of the Lord’s Supper unworthily are legion.
Vs 29-30 he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks judgment on himself not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. How many is many?

How to avoid chastening:
Vs 31-32 for if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Final admonition to those that love to come and observe this remembrance feast; and everyone should.
Therefore my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another vs. 33. Remember His throne is a throne of Grace where we can come and find help in times of need.
He is the God who ever seeks to wipe away all tears and restore the lost years the locust has eaten.
Watch out for the next instalment on Fatherhood.

 
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Shaun Kearney
en engape!