Exodus Bible Study

I AM Sent Me

One of my favorite new movies is Moana. It’s beautifully done, with captivating scenery, an inspiring plot, and just enough humor.  In it, Moana is chosen to find the demi-god Maui, and with his help, restore the heart of Te Fiti (too simply, Mother Earth).

She has never gone past the reef of her island because of the fear all of her people carry about what is beyond.  As she goes along, she recites this chant, over and over to give her strength to keep to the task, even when she is afraid:

“I am Moana of Motunui. You will board my boat and restore the heart to Te Fiti.”

I won’t go in to any more of the story, you need to go watch for yourselves.  But as I read the beginning chapters of Exodus, God starts putting his plans into motion.  He calls on a man who feels insignificant to the task.  God gives him a battle cry, if you will.  It’s one that we can use when we face circumstances of impossible difficulty.  Read on, friends.

20170827_110202_resizedS – Scripture: Exodus 1-3

  • 1:8-12 – “Eventually, a new king came to power in Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done. He said to his people, ‘Look, the people of Israel now outnumber us and are stronger than we are. We must make a plan to keep them from growing even more. If we don’t, and if war breaks out, they will join our enemies and fight against us. Then they will escape from the country.’ So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves. They appointed brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down with crushing labor. They forced them to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses as supply centers for the king. But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became.”
  • 1:16-17 – “‘When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.’ But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, too.”
  • 1:22 – “Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: ‘Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live.'”
  • 2:3 – “But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River.”
  • 2:9-10 – “‘Take this baby and nurse him for me,’ the princess told the baby’s mother. ‘I will pay you for your help.’ So the woman took her baby home and nursed him. Later, when the boy was older, his mother brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. The princess named him Moses, for she explained, ‘I lifted him out of the water.'” 
  • 2:15 – “And sure enough, Pharaoh heard what had happened, and he tried to kill 20170827_112442_resizedMoses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian. When Moses arrived in Midian, he sat down beside a well.”
  • 2:23-25 – “Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.”
  • 3:2 – “There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up.”
  • 3:4-6 – “When the LORD saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ ‘Here I am!’ Moses replied. ‘Do not come any closer,’ the LORD warned. ‘Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.”
  • 3:10-12 – “‘Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.’ But Moses protested to God, ‘Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?’ God answered, ‘I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.'”
  • 3:14 – “God replied to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel: I AM has sent me to you.'”
  • 3:19 – “‘But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand forces him. So I will raise my hand and strike the Egyptians, performing all kinds of miracles among them. Then at last he will let you go.'”

O – Observation:

  • A new king came to power and didn’t know anything about the Israelites or how they came to be in Egypt. They were great in number and appeared to be a threat.  No matter how much the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites, they still grew in number.
  • They became so great, that Pharaoh had all of the boys that were born killed. So the story of Moses begins with his mother keeping him in secret and then sending him down a river in a basket.
  • The basket makes its way to Pharaoh’s daughter, who takes Moses as her own.  Due to the quick thinking of his older sister, Moses is taken back to their mother to be nursed.  She gets the early years of his life, what a blessing.
  • Moses kills an Egyptian man and flees the wrath of Pharaoh to Midian.  He becomes a shepherd and meets his wife and starts a family there.
  • The King of Egypt dies, but the oppression of the Israelites continues and they cry out the God.  He sees and hears their suffering and starts to act.
  • He introduces himself personally to Moses by way of a burning bush and commissions Moses to go and rescue his people.
  • Moses questions, “Who am I” to lead these people and do this task? God assures that he will be with him and do amazing miracles through him. He also warns him that it won’t be an easy task.  The new Pharaoh will be resistant.  But in the end, the Israelites will be released from their slavery and worship God on the very mountain that they are meeting at now.
  • “I Am who I Am” is also translated into “I will Be what I will Be.” It’s like he is saying that he does exist.  He will make himself known again in a powerful way. He isn’t just some god who the Israelites ancestors believed in.  He is real.  He listens and sees what is happening.

20170827_112205_resizedA – Application:

What I get from this text is that God has been working behind the scenes in Israel, Egypt, and Moses.  Now is the time to act! The Israelites have been under Egyptian oppression for a long time and it’s only gotten worse. There cries have reached God. Egypt is a powerful nation and will take any measure (even killing baby boys) to maintain that power.  Moses, a Hebrew, grew up in Pharaoh’s court.  He has ties to both, which God can work with to make his plans about.

God has been in the works, waiting for just the right circumstances to bring his people out of Egypt.  It’s time to introduce himself personally to Moses, the vessel he is going to use to save the Israelites.

I believe this introduction is extremely important.  It is setting the stage for, not only the task immediately ahead, but a lifelong journey of leadership that Moses is being called to.  God immediately makes his holiness and awesomeness known by the burning bush and stating that Moses was on “holy ground.” He was in the presence of someone to be feared and respected.

Would Moses submit to power of God?  Would he surrender for God to work through him and do amazing and impossible things?  Like rescuing millions of people from the bondage or a mighty king and leading them to a Promised Land.

Moses responds, “Here I am.” Intrigued, Moses stays. God continues by introducing himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  The One his ancestors talked about and his family cries out to.  At this, Moses becomes afraid.  He may remember the stories told to him by his mother about this awesome God who was great and mighty.

God reveals his plan of extraction and we see Moses has his doubts by asking, “who am I?” Why would you choose me? What skills do I possibly have that are capable for this mission?  I am content with life here. I am just a lowly shepherd, cast out from the family of Pharaoh. But God reassures Moses that he will do all of the heavy work.  Moses only needs to go.

20170827_112346_resizedHow often do we say:

I have failed too many times, who am I?

I am so broken from these hurts, who am I?

My life is such a mess right now, who am I?

Someone else is better, strong, or smarter than I am, who am I?

I don’t have all of the pieces together, I’m not ready, who am I?

I’m too shy, quiet, or reserved, who am I?

I am too old or too young, who am I?

I don’t have enough influence, who am I?

And so the list can go on! Who am I that God would choose me?  But God says,

“I AM who I AM!” 

And that is what matters.  It’s not about we can do, but what he can do.  He has been working a lot longer to prepare you for this moment than you have.  The things he has brought together can be trusted to work, even when we don’t trust ourselves to be able to fulfill what he is asking.

20170827_111221_resizedHe IS and he will BE all that we need him to be to work out the purposes he has asked us to accomplish. He will fill all of the gaps we think we have in order to do what needs to be done.  God is more than we can imagine.  His being is beyond what we can comprehend.  We limit his power and the power he can give us when we try to cram him into our little box of thinking.

He also won’t leave us because our purpose (when we are in connection with him) are his purposes too! God will never stop until the mission is over.  We can trust that he is all that he says he is and is faithful to do all that he says he will do.

What if, when you come to an seemingly impossible situation you said, “I AM sent me!” It’s an internal posture of surrender that you may not have it all together, but the God you serve does.  But it is also a battle cry of power! You have the backing of the most powerful being in all of the universe! The Creator of the universe!

I am going to start saying that. No longer will I back down from what God is calling me to do. I can’t sit back anymore and wallow in my excuses of “who am I.”

I am the child of I AM! I am the one God has called and he has given me great power to overcome.

Who’s with me?!

P – Prayer:

I AM, thank you for who you are! Thank you for constantly working behind the scenes to prepare the way for my desires and your purpose to collide.  Keep preparing me for what you need me to do.  Give me the courage to say, “I AM sent me!” when I feel like I’m facing the impossible.  You fill in all of my weak places. You are my source. Amen.

 

*I’d love to hear how this changes your attitude in the future.  Please share!

 

 

 

Genesis Bible Study

Puzzle Pieces

I don’t do puzzles often, but when I do, I’m amazed at how relaxed I feel.  There is a certain quiet and peace that transcends when finding which pieces go together and form a picture.  I am oddly fulfilled by the process though it is sometimes arduous. So many trial and errors have to occur before reaching the finished product.  It takes time to complete. When it is finished, it’s there to gaze upon and enjoy.

Joseph’s story continues and we start seeing all of the puzzle pieces fit together.  The purpose of the challenges and griefs begins to unfold as he is granted an opportunity to utilize the skills that have been lying in wait.  This is an exciting part of the story!

S – Scripture: Genesis 41-42

  • 41:8 – “The next morning Pharaoh was very disturbed by the dreams. So he called for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. When Pharaoh told them his dreams, not one of them could tell him what they meant.”
  • 41:16 – “‘It is beyond my power to do this,’ Joseph replied. ‘But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.'”
  • 41:26-27 – “‘The seven healthy cows and the seven healthy heads of grain both represent seven years of prosperity. The seven thin, scrawny cows that came up later and the seven thin heads of grain, withered by the east wind, represent seven years of famine.'”20170824_065726
  • 41:32-36 – “‘As for having two similar dreams, it means that these events have been decreed by God, and he will soon make them happen. Therefore, Pharaoh should find an intelligent and wise man and put him in charge of the entire land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh should appoint supervisors over the land and let them collect one-fifth of all the crops during the seven good years. Have them gather all the food produced in the good years that are just ahead and bring it to Pharaoh’s storehouses. Store it away, and guard it so there will be food in the cities. That way there will be enough to eat when the seven years of famine come to the land of Egypt. Otherwise this famine will destroy the land.'” 
  • 41:38-41 – “So Pharaoh asked his officials, ‘Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.’ Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.'”
  • 41:46 – “He was thirty years old when he began serving in the court of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.”
  • 41:57 – “And people from all around came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph because the famine was severe throughout the world.”
  • 42:7-9 – “Joseph recognized his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. ‘Where are you from?’ he demanded. ‘From the land of Canaan,’ they replied. ‘We have come to buy food.’ Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize him. And he remembered the dreams he’d had about them many years before. He said to them, ‘You are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.'”
  • 41:24 – “Now he turned away from them and began to weep. When he regained his composure, he spoke to them again.”

20170824_182148O – Observation:

  • Joseph is finally remembered by the cupbearer to Pharaoh when no one is able to interpret his dreams of the cows and of the wheat.
  • Joseph let’s Pharaoh know where his wisdom and skill come from first, and then goes on to hear the dreams and reveal their meaning. God is the source.
  • Pharaoh sees that Joseph is filled with God’s Spirit, is wise and skilled, and appoints him second in command, in charge of all of Egypt during the years of plenty and famine.
  • The dreams came to pass and Joseph had prepared the people for what was to come. He rationed out food to everyone in need.
  • His ten brothers come up from Canaan to purchase food but don’t recognize Joseph.  It’s been 13 years and Joseph remembers them and the dreams he had of them bowing down to him.  It all makes sense now.
  • God reveals things in his time when we need to know it.  He makes all of the things work together for his purpose.

A – Application:

 

In the previous blogpost, “Grow Where Planted,” I wrote:

“He served and managed the highest ranking officers with unlimited resources. Then, in prison, he managed the lowest of society with, probably, limited resources. He had to adapt to both.”

As Pharaoh’s dreams are interpreted as seven years of plenty and seven years of famine, I start to see the puzzle pieces falling into place in Joseph’s journey. Throughout his 13 years of service and imprisonment, Joseph grew in skill and knowledge in working with many resources and with few.  He managed in feast and in famine which prepared him for his next big task when put in charge of all of Egypt to handle this crisis.

Looking further back into his history, Joseph’s own dreams of his family bowing down to him have come into fruition. He is unable to interpret, at the time, what his early dreams mean.  When he is sold into slavery and then cast into prison, I’m sure those dreams fell deeper into doubt of ever happening.

20170822_192709So many pieces had to fall into place for Joseph to reach his ultimate purpose.  God shaped and molded him along the way and put the right people into the right places in order for it all to work out.  All Joseph could do was weep.

Have you ever been so caught up in the moment when it all works out, that you just can’t handle it?  The emotions just come over you and you lose it.  All you can do is just cry or laugh uncontrollably.  There is such a profound release in those moments when we allow ourselves to do that.

We find Joseph weeping  when his brothers arrive in Egypt, bow down to him, and ask him for food.  All that he has been through has been for this moment. The trials and challenges have all prepared him for this time. Why he looked the way he did, why he was gifted with certain skills and not with others, why there were specific circumstances he had to go through, were all perfectly orchestrated together.

As I have gotten older, I’ve learned how important it is to love, accept, and find out how to use the unique personality traits and natural gifts God has given me. I’m talking about when you peel away all of the layers and are left with who you really are, who God sees and created.  The more I explore why I do and think certain ways, or have certain abilities, the more amazed I am with God and excited to be just me.  This isn’t to say that we cannot change certain aspects, break bad habits, or desire to be better.  I think it actually allows me to do those things better because I can see how God designed me and can more easily shed off what is not supposed to be there.

This also allows me to see the beauty in others.  As I become more confident in how God created me differently and will use me differently than others, I can appreciate rather than compare.

20170824_184807Each of us is on a Joseph Journey.  We’ve been created and gifted with certain traits and molded into others as we grow.  We all have struggles and trials to overcome.  Our God is so amazing that he is able to work in ALL of our lives simultaneously.  He is able to bring beauty into our darkest of places and use all of our personality quirks for his glory and good.

Why do I get a rush in the school supply section at Meijer? Why does my husband have to eat peanut butter and mayo on a BLT or not eat it at all? Why do I love the feel of the breeze and crisp smell of fall?  Why do I feel energized when I lift weights or play volleyball? Why do I hate doing the dishes or dusting my house so much? Why can’t I get into gardening?

Why do I struggle with pride and jealousy and comparison?  Why can’t I get over certain things of the past more easily?  Why can’t I be more patient and trusting when waiting on the Lord? Why do I have to wrestle with these things everyday?  Will I ever be better?

Quirky or common, you were created exactly the way God intended. There is a specific reason you are the way you are.  You may have to take some time and grieve the things you are not.  But don’t let that take up the space for you to explore the wonderful things you are.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” Psalm 139:13-18

God used every bit of how he created Joseph for his Kingdom Purpose. He placed all of the puzzle pieces exactly where they should go. He is going to do the same with you.  Take some time and sit with that today.  Maybe you will find yourself like Joseph, overcome with how sovereignly God has worked in your life.  Maybe you will find peace in other areas.  That’s my prayer for you.

20170824_183100P – Prayer:

God, thank you for Joseph’s story.  Thank you for the example of how you orchestrate everything together for a purpose.  You have created each and every person perfectly and uniquely and give them a reason to be on this earth.  Forgive me for the times I haven’t loved the person you have created in me or in someone else.  Thank you for your grace and for never giving up on me.

God, I lift up those who are struggling with who you made them to be and where they are at in life.  There is so much pain and hurt.  God, I pray that you would be near those people today.  Help them to see the beauty that you created in them.  That you love them and have a purpose for them.  Give them hope. Amen.

Link to a Bible Study Blog Post #25 - Puzzle Pieces

Inspirational Quote Image
There is a specific reason you are the way you are.
Genesis Bible Study

Boxes and Babel

I feel as though I am an independent person.  When I was young I did a lot of things without asking advice from my parents or grandparents.  I just did it.  Some things were simple, like how to shave your legs properly.  Others dealt with more difficult problems with relationships and self-image.  Right or wrong, I wanted to be the one to figure it out and make the decision.  My way, after all, was probably the best way.

Sure, I ended up with more nicks on my legs and scars on my heart, but it is who I am.  I have since matured a little and use this independence more wisely.  It has been a humbling journey to know that I don’t know everything and that others have wisdom that I need.

psalm 139My greatest asset has become God and his Word.  There is power and freedom when I remember that he loves me so much and is in control of everything.  I can go to him in grace and know that he will guide me in the right direction.

When I realized that his wisdom and reach go beyond what I can imagine, impossible things seem possible.  Doubts drifted away.  Lies were silenced.  I flourished.  That is what this lesson is about today.

S – Scripture: Genesis 8-11

  • 8:16 – To Noah and his family, after 10.5 months on the ark, God says, “Leave the boat, all of you…”
  • 8:20 – “Then Noah built an alter to the Lord…and the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to him, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood.”
  • 9:12-13 – “Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.”
  • 9:19-28 – Noah’s family begins to populate the earth.  Noah gets drunk and naked one night and curses his grandson Canaan.
  • 10:5 – The tribes were divided by their own language, national identity, and clan.
  • 11:1-9 “At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.)  Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” But the LORD came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!  Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”  In that way, the LORD scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the LORD confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.”
20170530_182538
A rainbow captured in Alpena, MI

O – Observation:

  • God is in control and command of the whole story. He wants us to remember that it is by his power and control all things work.  He gives us visual reminders, like rainbows, to show that he keeps his promises, always.
  • God knows our weaknesses and can prompt us to prevent them from getting out of control for our own good.
  • Satan gets to work early, starting in childhood.  He knows our weaknesses too.
  • We can easily get wrapped up in our own power and abilities and forget God.  We need some laws and rules.
  • We are made in God’s image, but are bent towards sin as well.  The battle for our hearts starts early.

A – Application

I can see how I get wrapped up in my own thoughts and ideas and dreams and forget to listen to God. It is interesting that I am more likely to spiral down to fear, shame, or pride when I am thinking on my own terms. I get anxious and overwhelmed at circumstances that seem impossible. Or I try to do something on my own and fail, only to realize that that wasn’t the direction God wanted me to go.  Then I have to struggle through the consequences of that. Ugh!

But when I stop and listen to God, I am empowered and encouraged.  I can take a step of faith, knowing that God is there with his strong and mighty hand.  I can humbly, but confidently walk through life with God at my side.

The devil knows my weaknesses.  He knows my triggers.  But God knows them too and keeps me close. He made me in his image. Nothing can separate me from that.  He will protect and cover me.  His promises are true.

“For the choir director: A psalm of David. O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night–  but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.  How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers! They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name. O LORD, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you? Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139

boxes

P – Prayer:

God, I long for your strength and power to work through me.  I find that I put limits on myself and you.  And that is from Satan.  Help me to break down the sides of the boxes that I’ve put us in.  Lead me into how to do that and strengthen my resolve to actually make it happen.  You are the God of all creation – the God in control of everything.  Every detail, you know.  Thank you for loving and caring for me. Amen

*There is nothing to great for God.  Whatever situation you are in, God is in control, working behind the scenes.  He is making it right and good.  Press on! Cling to his word! Write out Psalm 139 and know that he created you and loves you.

**Please share what you learned either from this post or from your own journey through this scripture today.  I love hearing how God speaks to each of us individually through the same text.  Isn’t it amazing!!

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Link to a Bible Study Blog Post - Boxes and Babel
Finding Life and Grace through God’s Word.
Bible Verse Image
It is a sign.
Genesis Bible Study

Life Lessons from Old Men

When I was young I loved the story of Noah’s Ark.  I even wallpapered my room in that theme! I think it was just the animals that I liked, because when I read it now, it’s actually a terrifying story. God destroyed the whole world!

Starting in Genesis 4-7 we begin to see how sin affects our lives.  We see how it tears relationships apart, then families, then communities, then all that God created.  It’s like a disease that starts as a single cell and, over time, grows and devours everything in its path.

We see a world that God never intended for us.

floodwaters-2210270_960_720

S – Scripture: Genesis 4-7

  • 4:4 – “Abel also brought a gift – the best portion of his firstborn lambs from his flock.”
  • 4:7 – “You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”
  • 4:9 – “Afterward the LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?” “I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?” 
  • 4:16 – “So Cain left the Lord’s presence…”
  • 4:26 – “At that time people first began to worship the Lord by name.”
  • 5:23 – “Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God.  Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.”
  • 6:5-6 – “The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. “
  • 6:8 – “But Noah found favor with the Lord.”
  • 7:5 – “So Noah did everything as the LORD commanded him.”
  • 7:23 – “God wiped out every living thing on the earth–people, livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and the birds of the sky. All were destroyed. The only people who survived were Noah and those with him in the boat.”

O – Observation

  • Historical Events:
    • Cain and Abel are born.  Cain kills Abel out of anger and jealousy and is banished from the Lord’s presence.  This is the first act of violence.
    • Enoch, a descendent of Adam, is the only one mentioned as walking close with God.
    • Noah was born – the people multiplied, took many wives, and became wicked.
    • God couldn’t stand the evilness of his creation any longer and decides to destroy it with a flood.
    • Noah builds the ark to preserve his family and two of every kind of animal.
  • God is powerful and just. He is in control of the world and everything in it and about it. He wants us to do what is right and overcome sin.  He gives us the choice between himself and Satan. God desires fellowship with us.
  • Humans are angry, jealous, violent, defiant, sexual, and our first instinct is to hide from God and deflect his questions and convictions.  We must subdue our sin and be its master before it takes us over.  Overcoming sin can be difficult.
  • People began to worship God by name and walk in close fellowship with him.  There was always some good still left in the world.
  • Cain “left God’s presence.” I can’t even imagine.
  • Satan is waiting to make his move when we are weak, to draw us away from God and into sin.
    • The word “crouch” used here in Greek is “rabats” and means to lurk, or to make lie down with their feet under them.  Creepy!!

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A – Application

“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” James 4:7-8

Life Lessons from the text:

  • Give my best to God like Abel.
  • Worship the Lord by name like Enosh.
  • Walk in close fellowship with God like Enoch.
  • Do everything that the Lord commands and asks of me like Noah.
  • Know who my true enemy is and how he acts.
  • Do not allow anger and jealousy to rule me like Can.
  • Do not let sin become my master like the people in Noah’s day.

There are so many one-liner lessons here.  Quick, but not easy.  It may seem daunting and scary when I try to understand the devil and his schemes.  Sometimes I get wrapped up in the evil of this world and forget that God is Sovereign and has victory over Satan in the end.

Don’t lose sight of how big and powerful our God is! He will crush the devil.  You can overcome any temptation or sin with God’s help.  Press in to him.  Gather your strength from him.

“He is mighty to save! My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.” Psalm 62:7 

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P – Prayer 

Thank you God for your guidance through your Spirit and your Word.  I would be so lost without you.  Help me to act out James 4:7-8. Help me to resist temptation and draw near to you.  Remind me that our life is better than the one I plan up or the human desires that lead me to sin and death.  Break the chains of sin around me.  Strengthen my resolve to resist.  Keep me close to you.  Amen

*You can overcome sin; it is possible.  If you are dealing with something, please seek out trusted help from a family member, friend, or Pastor.  You are not alone. Please share your prayer request or any questions you may have here.

**Please share what you learned either from this post or from your own journey through this scripture today.  I love hearing how God speaks to each of us individually through the same text.  Isn’t it amazing!!

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Link to a Bible Study Blog Post #2 - Life Lessons from Old Men
Finding Life and Grace through God’s Word.
Bible Verse Image
They worshiped the Lord by name.