A Tangent (from the Psalms)!

WARNING: This is a long one!

Though my hope for this year is to study half of the Psalms, I’m also attempting to read the Bible through chronologically. I know reading should only take about 3-5 minutes per chapter, but things just capture my attention, and after that butterfly I follow.

All that to say…I may digress from time to time to jot down a few thoughts about the “reading” that I’ve done in the one-year-reading plan!

Abrams Nomadic Ways

Mapy of Israel in OT

Genesis 12-13

In Genesis 12, the Lord told Abram to get up and get moving…and that he did!

Abram came to the place of Shechem (12:6).

Historically, Biblically, Shechem was a place of decision-making (around the area of Mt. Gerezim and Mt. Ebal).

1) Who Will I Obey?
In Joshua 18 we have Joshua laying before seven of the tribes the choice of whether they were going to obey the Lord and claim their possessions, or if they were just going to forfeit it to their old tapes, er, I mean, their enemies.

Just because it “has always been that way. I don’t know any differently, etc.” Was that going to stop them from obeying the Lord and fighting for the Lord’s portion prepared just for them?

2) Who Will I Serve?
In Joshua 24 at the end of this great faithful leader’s life, Joshua takes it a step further. He gathers them around Shechem again, and this time gives them a pop quiz…

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.

And here is a hint at the best answer, says Joshua:

Serve the LORD!

3) Who Will I Worship?
John the Gospel writer records about Jesus in John 4,

He needs must go through Samaria (Shechem area). (KJV)

What?! What Jews “needs must” go anywhere near the hill country of Samaria? But here we see the Lord leading a woman of the town to a decision at noon day as to who she will worship. She choose wisely!

This decade, I want to choose wisely! Let this month of January be for me my own little Shechem, my own little valley of decision-making, my opportunity to resolve with the 7 tribes, the Israelites and Joshua, and the woman at the well, to obey, serve and worship the Lord whole heartedly!

All that for the 12:6, the first of Abram’s many hometowns, Shechem. You can see why I couldn’t quite fit this onto Facebook’s 420 character status update!

Speaking of Choices…
The next place we see Abraham moving to is called the Saddle of Benjamin, between Bethel (House of God) and Ai (Pile of Rubble). (Genesis 12:8) I can’t tell you the number of times I feel like I am between those two places in my own life! And reading it just now, it doesn’t look like that hard of a choice.

  • Will I spend time in the House of God or in a Pile of Rubble?
  • Will I invest in adding on to the House of God or adding to a Heap of Ruins?

Amazingly, even faithful Joshua had a difficulty with this choice. If you have the time, please read the story found in Joshua 7. He made four serious mistakes when confronted with this decision…

1) He underestimated the enemy.
I need to be equipped daily against the enemy of sin, temptation, and the tempter.

  • I need the sword of the Lord (His Word).
  • I need to take up the power of prayer that is directed to the Lord.
  • I need the fellowship and presence of other followers of Jesus Christ.

The second mistake they made was
2) The people were divided.

Because they underestimated the enemy, they thought “we only need some of us to go up.” For me, that looks like me rationalizing away my commitments to the Lord, or the full extent of it. “5 minutes is as good as 15. I’m tired, I’ll hook up with God tomorrow, etc.”

3) They asked not counsel of the Lord
Either they were comfortable with their spiritual life, and they already knew it all, that they could answer for God. Forge His signature, as it were.

Or, they didn’t think His counsel important enough to seek. “He’s so arachaic, and hard, and so out of touch. He’s given us brains to reason, afterall! Surely He doesn’t expect us to seek His opinion on every matter!”

4) There was unconfessed sin in the tent
O may we never learn to live unblessed and get comfortable with second best. Achan chose the rubble of gold rather than the obedience to God!

Mamre and Hebron, Abram’s other hometown, 13:18

Mamre means Fruitful and Hebron means Fellowship. They almost always go together.

I have often heard it said,

that we are who we truly are when we are by ourselves.

I despise that pithy statement.

  • I mean, was God mistaken when He declared “It is not good for (wo)man to be alone”?
  • Or was the wisest man of all the earth jesting when he said, “Two is better than one, and three is even better”?
  • Or was Jesus’ promise of a peculiarly special presence for when two or three people are gathered together in His name, just syrupy Hallmark words?

No, I am who I truly am, when I am with other followers of Christ, other sojourners on the pathway of Truth. I need Hebron if I want to be the least bit Mamre in my life! I’m so thankful to God for encouragers along life’s journey!

I was going to talk about how much it cost Abram to take his trip to Egypt and back, but that will be have to be a

To Be Continued…

Lord Jesus, I choose You! O come Holy Spirit. Amen.

I Want To Be More Like Jesus song

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