Sowing & Reaping

I don’t know if you were any good at history when you were in school, but history can teach us a lot of things. Especially things we shouldn’t do and even if we choose not to listen, we often have already read some of what to expect. (Obadiah 1:12-13) This is true for the Edomites, who are descendants of Esau, Isaac’s firstborn. And though he was not blessed like Jacob, who both bought and stole his blessing, we can see how hate migrates through the life of one individual into the next generation. 

In the year 47 BC, Julius Caesar promotes Antipater after he rescues Caesar in Alexandria. As a reward, Caesar makes Antipater chief minister of Judea. His son, Herod will become king over Samaria, Galilee, and Judea in 37 BC. His bloodline is that of Esau’s making him an Edomite. Understand our Christian history. It’s an Edomite who kills all the Jewish babies attempting to destroy Christ. No Christ, no Messiah, no Messiah, no salvation. It was another Edomite, same bloodline, Herod, who will murder John the Baptist, and still another Herod, the same family bloodline that will kill James the brother of John. 

So when the Edomites went to war against the Israelites they’d gloat in the victory won by plundering their own family, Israel. Ever gloat over-breathing your brother or sister? That does not sound like a family I want to be in. God was sick of this and sent Obadiah 1:12-13~You shouldn’t gloat over your brother’s…misfortune, nor rejoice over…their destruction…nor seize their wealth…(ESV) God says shouldn’t have done this. What you should have done was you should have had compassion and shown mercy.

So, What are you sowing in your garden of life? What we sow is what we will reap. For the Edomites, they sowed struggle and discord and it cost them great pain. Paul reminds us in Galatians 6:7 that we will reap what we sow. Church if we want love, then sow love in your garden of life. If we desire mercy, sow mercy, and know that God will show us mercy. In fact, it was God’s only Son, Jesus, who said in Matthew 5:7~ Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (NIV) He was reiterating the principle of reaping and sowing. (Matthew18:23-25) As you head out into the wide world about you, Go in the richness of God’s love. Know that God is long in mercy and He will help you sow good seed, to bear good fruit for His Kingdom.

Don’t Bet On It

Do you seek God’s unity? (Obadiah 1:6-10) I want you to know what God has promised to those who love Him. Romans 8:28 says He works out all things for our good. As part of God’s good promises, He blesses Abe’s descendants with offspring. (Genesis 22:17-18) Through Jesus, we are part of Abe’s family. Isn’t that just great news? As we walk with God and study His Word, we get the opportunity to learn from others who have made both great and poor choices. In fact, you may remember the story of the trapper’s tale of deceit. AKA the heal grabber who steals his brother’s blessing, with a mother’s help and a goatskin. Intrigued? This deceit will make the first last and the last first. (Matthew 20:16) 

But what happened to Esau, Jacob’s brother? Why don’t we read about him in the scripture? Well, we do on occasion. Esau fathered a people called the Edomites. Who, learned a poor lesson of love likely stemming from his own vitriol nature and the events of losing his birthright blessing, which was sold for some soup. (Genesis 25:29-34) I know, truly short-sided, and well his people will typically take sides against Israel’s children. I can see Father Abe standing at the cusp of heaven saying, don’t make me come down there, I will turn this world around, and bring you the pain. Father Talk!

Suffusive to say the children of Jacob and Esau don’t get along. Did you get along with all your cousins or did your grandparents play favorites? It still happens today. Yet God still has compassion for them because of Father Abe. Deuteronomy 2 calls them brethren, later in Deuteronomy 23:7~Do not despise an Edomite, for the Edomites are related to you…(NIV) These are words of mercy linked to Abe’s promise. However, some people just can’t get over their past. Do you know someone like that? Maybe it’s you and your past hurts own you and you just can’t go forward. 

This is part of the freeing work of Jesus, whom the Son sets free, is free. (John 8:36) The Edomites could have been set free by God, instead, they lived in perpetual hostility towards their brother Israel. (2 Chronicles 28:16-21) And their relationship reveals something, How God hates injustice. Psalm 133:1~How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! (NIV) God loves unity. People at peace, living in His harmony performing acts of righteousness. However, the Edomites hate family.

Their hatred becomes systemically bred into them. Does that sound familiar today? When I was in school our country was described as a melting pot. Now we teach kids that we are a tossed salad. A metaphor for the way a multicultural society can integrate different cultures while maintaining their separate identities. That just doesn’t work. Who loves pizza, BBQ, fried rice, tacos, and sushi. Not all at once, but our collective taste buds reflect a culinary appreciation that has blended into just-food. They, whoever they are, say, just don’t blend the culture. 

What? That means we are training people to hate, to not move past the woes of a hurtful time, and to not get over our junk. When what God desires is unity and what He hates is discord. There are 6 things the Lord hates, 7 that are detestable to him. One of those things is found in Proverbs 6:19~…and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. (NIV) Church we are to live at peace as much as depends on us. (Romans 12:18) However, if we don’t change the course, we are on we will be training our children to live like the Edomites with a chip on their shoulders. 

You don’t have a chip on your shoulder, do you? Because God wants to remove all of the hindrances to our spiritual growth. He doesn’t want our past to own us and so He totally and completely covers them with the blood of Jesus and removes them forever. I tell you that right there is worth walking with the Lord, not having to be bound to our past. Praise God for hope and a future. Why not ask Him today how you can seek to bring more of His unity into our community. I know that the Lord loves to utilize His people to build relationships and setting people free. Becomes a divine agent of God’s amazing grace.

The Meaningless & Mundane — Worship — Ecclesiastes 5.1-7…Handout

For many, worship is the missing jewel in a crown prepared by Christ. Worship is so much more than just singing, it is a weapon. (2 Corinthians 10:4) Worship helps us fight the good fight of faith. (1 Timothy 6:11) As believers, there is a spiritual life worth fighting for, and worship can change our perspective and shape our attitudes. Do you know God’s favorite number?____ Israel marched around the city for 6 days. They did this worshiping the Lord. Then on day___they did it___times and___priests blew___trumpets. (Joshua 6) Worship: Before, ‘___’s’, After.
1) Before________(5:1a) Solomon says we must guard, be prepared, ready in heart and mind for worship. Ever just show up for church like you’re running late to the airport? Yes / No. When we arrive at the house of God, we are to be ready to worship Him. Who knows what type of worshiper God is seeking? __________ (John 4:23) Soly says here are____ ways we can prepare to worship in spirit & truth. Preparation #1—Saturate With ________. (John 16:24) Preparation #2—__________(Matthew 18:19-20) Preparation #3—Cultivate________. (Psalm 19:14)
2) The 4 ‘B’s’ of_______(Ecclesiastes 5:1b-4) According to Soly the wise when we arrive at a worship service, we should do or Be___ things. What to do in worship—#1 Be________. (Hebrews 4:12) What to do in worship—#2 Be________. (Isaiah 40:28) What to do in worship—#3 Be_______. Ecclesiastes 5:3~For a dream comes. with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. (ESV) Think of this as daydreaming or mental drooling. Do you drool often? Yes / No. Psalm 46:10~Be still, and know that I am God! (NIV) What to do in worship—# Be_________. Ecclesiastes 5:4~When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. (ESV) The key here is don’t delay, especially when it comes to God. When we accept Christ, He is our Savior, He is also our Lord. In Acts, Jesus is referred to as Savior only twice (5:31 & 13:23). However, He is called Lord over___times. In the entire New Testament, Jesus is called Savior about____times, but He is called Lord over_____ times. With this emphasis the Bible couldn’t be any more clear, Jesus cannot be Savior unless He is our Lord. Psalm 116:18~I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, (NIV) Think King David was a man of his word? Yes / No. The Bible says he was. 
3) After________5:5-7) Ecclesiastes 5:5~It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. (ESV) Ever been in a pinch and made a promise? Yes /No. Then pay God what you owe Him. For better understanding, here’s a paraphrase for Ecclesiastes 5:6 ~Don’t try to weasel out of your vows to God. Know that it is just a sin, and God will get you. Some might think, well, the best thing is not to make commitments to God. Right? Yes / No. Without continued commitments to God, we will stop growing spiritually. Psalm 76:11~Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them…(NIV)  Take your relationship with the Lord seriously and prove this to be so by fulfilling your commitments to Him.