Genesis 16-27 Highlights
- Abram and Sarai neglect God’s promise of a son and Abram has a child with his wife’s servant Hagar
- Sarai becomes bitter and jealous, and they send Hagar away
- God doesn’t forsake Hagar, and she has a son named Ishmael
- Abram’s name is changed to Abraham and God again makes a covenant with Abraham, that he would be the father of a multitude of nations and again promises him a son
- Abraham speaks with God and intercedes for Sodom, asking God not to wipe away the righteous with the wicked after God says he will destroy that area for its sin
- God rescues Lot out of Sodom and Gomorrah before he destroys it, keeping his promise to Abraham
- Isaac, the promised son to Abraham, is born
- God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, testing to see Abraham’s trust for God
- As Abraham is about to sacrifice his son, God stops him through an angel, and God provides a ram for him to sacrifice instead
- Sarah, Abraham’s wife dies, and the Genesis narrative moves to follow Abraham’s son Isaac
- Isaac marries Rebekah and they have two sons, Esau and Jacob
- God tells Rebekah that the older son Esau would actually serve the younger son, Jacob
- Esau sells his birthright to Jacob
- God promises to Isaac what he promised to his father Abraham, that He would give him the land promised to his father and that through his offspring all the nations of the earth would be blessed
- Jacob again tricks his brother and father, and steals the blessing due the oldest son Esau for himself
- Jacob flees his brother, fearing for his life
Psalm 1, 107, 4
- Psalm one speaks to the differences in the way of life for the righteous and the wicked
- The righteous, or blessed man, doesn’t walk with the wicked, stand with sinners, or sit with scoffers
- Rather he delights in the law of the Lord (God’s Word), and on that law he meditates day and night
- The result is that he is like a tree yielding good fruit in due season, and his leaf doesn’t wither. Whatever he does, he prospers in.
- The wicked, on the other hand, are like chaff (the refuse of corn that has been winnowed) that the wind can simply blow away. They are not stable and do not prosper.
- God knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish
- Psalm 107 speaks to the steadfast love of the Lord, its enduring forever, and how he redeems all his children from trouble; he satisfies the longing soul; The LORD is good, and his love is steadfast (never wavers)
- Psalm 4 speaks to the Lord and His hearing when we call to Him, how He is faithful to hear us each and every time we call to Him
Mark 6-10 Highlights
- Jesus is rejected in his hometown of Nazareth and commissions his 12 disciples
- Death of John the Baptist
- Jesus feeds the five thousand and walks on water
- Jesus condemns the Pharisees for their holding their traditions over and above the Word of God
- Jesus feeds four thousand
- Jesus warns against following false teaching and being able to spot it
- Peter confesses Jesus to be the Christ and Jesus foretells (as he would many times to his disciples) his death and resurrection
- Jesus is transfigured and his glory fully shown on earth
- Jesus heals a boy with an unclean spirit
- In God’s kingdom, those who would be first must serve
- Jesus teaches on divorce and speaks to the rich young man
- Jesus foretells his death a third time
- Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus
Genesis continues with the story of God, and His dealings with Abraham. God has promised Abraham that he would be the father of a multitude of nations, and that through Abraham, all of the families of the earth would be blessed (that the seed promised in Genesis 3 would come through his family). He has promised Abraham a son to continue his line, but Abraham and Sarah are now very old and still don’t have a son. So, they (unwisely) choose to take matters into their own hands and Abraham enters into a relationship with Sarah’s servant, Hagar, to try and gain a son by her. He does, but Sarah become jealous and sends her away. God protects Hagar, and she bears a son Ishamael.
God is not pleased with Abraham and Sarah and their lack of trust, but again makes a covenant with Abraham, with the symbol of circumcision as its promise, that he will indeed have a son and that his name will be Isaac.
God’s plan comes to pass, as it always does. His will and His ways are perfect, even if we cannot see them (and we often will not)! God is a promise keeping God. His promises are good, right, and true. Genesis shows us consistently the faithfulness of God. We see that clearly in his dealings with Abraham, and the son that does come just as God promised, in Isaac.
God gives Abraham a difficult test of faith in chapter 22. He asks him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Abraham does as the Lord asks. He makes a statement in verse 5: “Then Abraham said to his young men, Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” Abraham knew what God had asked him to do, but he also had great faith that God would protect his son, even if it meant raising him from the dead.
They go up the mountain, Abraham builds an alter and lays his son on it, and just before Abraham sacrifices him, an angel of God comes and says to stop. Abraham has feared God, and God knows Abraham does. Abraham looks up and sees a ram caught in the thicket by his horns near him. They sacrifice that to the Lord instead.
So many parallels are here for us to see. God desires total devotion to Himself. Not out of arrogance, but rather worship of God is where he gets the most glory AND we get the most good. It is what is best for us and will bring us the most lasting and eternal joy. It is also clearly a picture of here of God providing the sacrifice for us. This ram is a beautiful picture of God also providing for us the ultimate sacrifice, when He sent His Son Jesus to live the life we couldn’t live, die the death in our place we deserved to die for our sin, and rose again three days later defeating death forever. God loves His people, and showed that most fully in His giving up His Son for us to be the sacrificial, spotless lamb that would die for us in our place.
Towards the end of this week’s reading, our focus is shifted to Isaac, and God’s dealings with him. Isaac marries Rebekah, and they have two sons, Jacob and Esau. Esau is the older, but God tells Rebekah that Jacob will be greater even though he is younger. They are born, and then Esau ends up selling his birthright to Jacob because of hunger, and God’s promise begins to hold true about the two sons.
God promises Isaac the same thing He promised his father Abraham, that through Isaac’s line and family would all the families of the earth be blessed.
Mark continues its fast-paced account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus performs an amazing miracle in chapter 6, feeding 5,000 men (probably around 12,000 people total) from 5 loaves and 2 fish. Jesus is again showing his power here, power over hunger. Jesus has all authority, because he is God come in the flesh.
In chapter seven, Jesus condemns the Pharisees for their biggest error – that they are outwardly religious, but inwardly lost and far from God. They keep their traditions, which are man-made, and in so doing often reject the Word of God. The Pharisees are asking Jesus why his disciples don’t wash their hands before eating (man-made Pharisaical rule) and Jesus turns the tables to them and says they neglect and reject God’s Word to keep their man-made traditions.
This is a strong saying, and one we shouldn’t miss today. It is very easy for us to fall into religious habits and rituals which have nothing to do with God’s Word. Not only can we do this, but we will start to worry more about following our traditions and how things ‘have always been done’, rather than looking at God’s Word to see if what we are doing first and foremost lines up with that. May it never be that we follow man’s traditions and fear man at the expense of God’s Word and his calling on our lives.
In chapter nine we find an incredible passage on Jesus’ transfiguration. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with him on a mountain and was transfigured before them. His clothes became intensely radiant. Elijah and Moses appeared with him on the mountain, and God spoke directly through a cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
This passage is clearly showing the divinity of Jesus, that he truly is God come in the flesh, the one and only son of God. This gave Peter, James, and John (Jesus’ closest three disciples) a clear picture of who he really was, and also us reading it. Jesus was transfigured, and the Father spoke telling these men exactly who Jesus was, his beloved son. This passage is pleading with us to see who Jesus was; he was fully man and fully God, the beloved and only son of God, who came in the flesh to die for our sin, rise from the dead, and that by believing in him we will have eternal life!