Daily Bible Reading Notes Day 8-14

Day Eight Genesis 12 v 14-16

Bible Reading

10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.”14When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman. 15And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels.

Notes

Nearly all our decisions have an impact upon others, for better or for worse. If we don’t pray into them, our decisions can become very selfish and consequently have a very negative impact upon others. Even the most godly of us, when left to our own devises are still capable of acts of incredible thoughtlessness even to those we love.What Abram did wouldn’t have necessarily been seen as wrong at the time, and in deed things did go well for him personally in Egypt. However the mere fact that what we do is accepted by our society and culture, and that it seems to be blessed doesn’t make it right! For us, the test of what would Jesus do and want us to do is the only one which applies to our lives.Sarai had little choice but to go to the harem. Once there however it was very possible to let the truth of her relationship with Abram slip! She didn’t. We don’t though know of her feelings at this time, whether for instance she felt betrayed or let down. She was after all only human, and the probability is that she felt angry and somewhat bitter about it all.

Reflections and prayer

Have others been hurt through your decisions? Have you sought the forgiveness of God and where appropriate those you’ve hurt? Similarly where you have been hurt, have you sought to forgive, or does bitterness dominate your thoughts? Your Father can set you free.

Going Deeper

• Abraham gained huge wealth through what happened. Camels in particular would have been a tremendous acquisition. This sort of wealth though is often bought at the expense of our relationships

• Sarai was elderly by this stage but was obviously still strikingly beautiful. What was the nature of that beauty, and what does this tell us about true beauty?

 


Day Nine Genesis 12 v 17-20

Bible Reading

14When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that she was a very beautiful woman. 15And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels. 17But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife, Sarai. 18So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me,” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

Notes

Whether in or out of the will of God, He still goes with us. Because of His grace and love, He protects us. There are though still consequences when we make poor decisions: particularly in terms of our relationship with Him, with those close to us and in deed with all those with whom we come into contact. Abram’s call was to be a blessing to all peoples on earth. However in this instance he was the cause of serious diseases! We too are called to be a blessing to all we meet, and yet if we are honest we have little or no impact on most, and are a real pain to some. 

It is time to take responsibility for our lives. Instead of living to please ourselves and trusting God’s love and grace to bail us out when our decisions reek havoc; we need to live to please God and bless others, trusting Him to fulfil the hope of our calling.Reflections and prayer Am I a blessing, a pain or an irrelevance to those I meet? Why? How can my Father use me to be more of a blessing? What would it take on my part to allow this to happen?

Going Deeper

• Our Father does have His way and works His purposes out. The Bible records many ways He does this, including inflicting disease or defeat and causing barrenness. Lying and manipulating our way may appear expedient but ultimately the Lord’s way will prevail. This should both encourage and challenge us.

• The Bible always tells things as they are. Despite what Abram may have said of Sarai, the Bible reiterates she was his wife! V17

 


Day Ten Genesis 13v1-4

Bible Reading

17But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife, Sarai. 18So Pharaoh summoned Abram. “What have you done to me,” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had. 13v1So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. 2Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. 3From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier 4and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord. 

Notes

In returning to Canaan, Abram had to retrace his steps. It must have been a sobering journey as he thought about all that had happened in each place he went. Taking time to reflect upon our lives -what has happened and who we have become, for better and for worse- are important and fruitful exercises. There will be things to give thanks for, questions to be asked, times to laugh and probably times to cry. We don’t give enough time and space to such reflection, but without it, we will find it hard to understand ourselves and appreciate all our Father has done. We will also fail to learn the lessons from the past with which to face the future. Abram returned to the place of worship and was then ready to face the challenges which lay ahead.A word of warning: wealth as Abram was soon to discover brings its own problems and often distracts us from reflection and clarity of perspective!

Reflections and prayer

Take time to reflect upon your life so far. Ask the Lord to show you those significant moments, both good and bad, their causes and their outcomes. Then come to a place where you can lay all the past, both good and bad, before Him, and declare Him Lord of the whole of your life, past, present and future.

Going Deeper

• Abram left Egypt a very wealthy man. But wealth isn’t necessarily a sign of God’s approval, merely of His grace! 

• Abram returned not because the famine had ended but because he was expelled from Egypt. It is doubtful whether the conditions to which he returned were any different from those which he left. He did though call on the name of the Lord again.

 


Day Eleven Genesis 13v5-7

Bible Reading

131So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. 2Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. 3From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier 4and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord. 5Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6But the land couldn’t support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great they were not able to stay together. 7And quarrelling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at the time.

Notes

Having faced challenges from outside his household, Abram now has to face up to challenges from within. These challenges are a fact of life. As they were there for Abram, so they are for us too. We can deny them but they won’t go away. They come from all quarters, but the ones from within tend to hurt us the most. We don’t expect them and aren’t prepared for them. Particularly as Christians we tend to believe that everything about church will be good, because we all love God and one another. Sadly though we aren’t perfect. Sin and hurt is as evident in the church as it is outside of the church. The temptation is to deny them, and not deal with them. 

Alternatively we are scared of them, and let them be, hoping they will go away. They won’t! If we deny them or don’t deal with them properly, it all ends pretty messily. Remember the world watches us as much as the Canaanites and Perizzites could have been watching the quarrelling in Abram’s camp.

Reflections and prayer

What challenges are there among those you love: family, church, friends? Don’t deny them, or delay! Lay them before our Father and ask Him to show you how to deal with them.

Going Deeper

• God had called Abram to leave his father’s household, so the problem of tensions with Lot was probably caused by disobedience on Abram’s part. So many of our problems flow from disobedience!

• Wealth can cause as many problems as deprivation. Read Proverbs 30 v8-9. 

 


Day Twelve Genesis 13v8-9

Bible Reading

5Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6But the land couldn’t support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great they were not able to stay together. 7And quarrelling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and the herdsmen of Lot. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at the time.8So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. 9Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

Notes

Conflict in close relationships is of course nothing new. Four thousand years ago family quarrelling led to a split. Three thousand years ago we read of it in David’s family, and two thousand years ago even Jesus’ family struggled to understand and at times accept Him. The Bible gives models of response to the pain of conflict. Jesus said: Blessed are the peace maker while Paul encourages us to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Abraham and David both submitted to others in their family even though they had every right not to. Both then trusted their Father, and found an opportunity to prove His faithfulness. These are though models of response and not rules. Submission isn’t always right, not just for our sakes, but also for the sake of others, and ultimately our Father Himself. The one thing we do need to do is submit to the heart and mind of our Father. 

Reflections and prayer

Where I am in conflict, am I submitting my will to the Lord’s? And am I prepared, if His Spirit prompts, to submit and yield to others out of reverence for Christ? Ephesians 5v21. Pray for grace and freedom to yield where you find it hard to do so. You will find Jesus there.

Going Deeper

• Abram takes responsibility and initiative. There is no attempt to apportion blame, pull rank or demand rights. Anything his herdsmen did was done in his name and he took full responsibility for it. He was courageous and unconditional in giving his “brother” first and absolute choice. This is probably the noblest act recorded in the first few chapters of Genesis.

 


Day Thirteen Genesis 13v10-13

Bible Reading

8So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers. 9Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” 10Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, towards Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out towards the east. The two men parted company; 12Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.

Notes

Lot looked, saw and chose. The decision was instant and totally his. What he saw reminded him of the garden of the Lord and ironically his decision was made in a similar way to Eve’s fatal decision in Eden. Genesis 3v6. How many of our decisions are made this way? Even the most godly of us can look, see and choose wrongly. David was a man after God’s heart but looked at a woman bathing, saw her beauty and desired her. The consequences of making our own decisions in this way can be catastrophic. 

It is tempting to think our Father isn’t interested in our small decisions. After all He has given us minds to make decisions. Our Father is interested in all our lives, including the minutia. It is true He has given us minds to make decisions but we should be untrusting of the motivation and judgment of our minds, unless we have also committed our ways and decisions to our Father and asked Him to direct our paths. Then He will open the eyes of our hearts by His Spirit so we can know Him and His mind, His call on our lives and purposes for us, His power and provision. Read Ephesians 1v18-23. 

Reflections and prayer

What decisions have you to make today and over the coming days? Commit them to your Father, and ask Him to enlighten your heart, that it may be in tune with His. Be aware though that seeing the world through the eyes of the Father can be a challenging, and even painful experience.

Going Deeper

• Going to Sodom wasn’t wrong in itself. The city was part of the land the Lord would give to Abraham. The problem was the heart with which Lot appears to have gone to region. In the same way, the mere fact a place is wicked doesn’t turn it into a no go area for people of faith. Far from it, we should be there! We aren’t called to opt out of the world. However we must go in faith, called by our Father and trusting in His protection. 

 


Day Fourteen Genesis 13v14-18 

Bible Reading

10Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, towards Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out towards the east. The two men parted company; 12Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13Now the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord. 14The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring for ever. 16I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” 18So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre near Hebron, where he built an altar to the Lord.

Notes

Lot looked for himself with eyes of lust. Abram looked when instructed by his Father, and saw with eyes of faith. The Lord’s command though was not simply to look but also to experience. To walk it. To get to know it. To claim it! The dream was to be lived and worked out. He was to understand the extent of what his Father was saying. He was to prepare for it, and believe it! How many of our dreams remain unfulfilled not because our Father is unable, unready or unwilling to fulfil them, but because we haven’t prepared for them, mentally, spiritually even practically? We don’t really understand them, can’t truly believe them, and aren’t ready for them. We wait for something to happen, when all the time our Father is saying: Go on, have a look, get down there and understand what I’m on about and prepare yourself for it. Perhaps for all our talk of our dreams, we fear them, and prefer to leave them as vague indeterminable concepts. We may even call this trusting and waiting on God! Abram looked and went. Then he worshipped. He didn’t hold back, nor did he rush ahead. He acted upon what he had been told, and even if the land wasn’t his, he declared it to be the Lord’s. In years to come the land nearby would be the first which was legally his. In fact it would be the place he and Sarah would be buried. It was a small beginning but he had made the first claim to the promise of his Father.

Reflections and prayer

What call or dreams, large or small, do you believe your Father has given you? How has it been worked out so far? What steps do you think you need to take at this stage? Is it time to research or seek to understand these dreams? Or am I happier to leave these dreams as abstracts where they are safe?

Going Deeper

• Trees are important in Abram’s life. We get three records of trees in his story and each time he builds an altar and worships. The beauty of creation inspires worship, if we have eyes to see. Take time and space today to study some aspect of creation, maybe a tree, and see how the Spirit can reveal the Creator through it. When we open our eyes like this on a daily basis, then worship of our Father becomes a habit.

• Abram probably didn’t realise it at the time, but Mamre and Hebron were to become places of huge significance to him and his family. When our ways are committed to the Lord, He directs our paths in ways we simply can’t imagine.