Help me, O God, and I will be satisfied (Psalm 17)
David faces enemies who are after his life and asks for God’s help from a place where he is confident in his motives and actions before God. People who do what is right will have enemies, and they will face persecution. These are the facts of following Jesus. So it isn’t only the result of our personal sin that we encounter suffering. But God has promised us that those who follow Him, who act in obedience towards Him, will be vindicated either now or at the resurrection. This psalm could very well be the prayer of Christian brothers and sisters around the world who right now face persecution, imprisonment and death because of the relationship with Jesus. May we pray along with them that God would “rise up” and bring down those who oppress and bring freedom for the captives. Let’s also pray that the Holy Spirit would bring the truth of Jesus into those situations in a way that would not be able to be discounted or argued away.
Genesis 31-33: Rachel tricks her father, Jacob overcomes, and God brings relational restoration.
The people that God chooses to follow Him are never perfect. We often are greedy, self-seeking and act for our benefit before thinking of anyone else. Rachel, although she had seen the faithfulness of God, decided that she would try to ensure the blessing she might have gotten from her father Laban by stealing his household idols. Jacob didn’t have any clue that she had done this, but I can’t help but wonder what the outcome might have been if Jacob had set the precedent of trusting God in his family. Maybe Rachel would have been more inclined to trust God too.
Whatever the possibilities, Jacob finally came to a place where he was willing to pursue God’s blessing from God rather than from some other source, and because of his willingness God blessed him. I love the picture of Jacob and Esau reuniting, which is a direct result of Jacob’s trust in the God he had come to know: Jacob is rightfully worried that the brother whose blessing and rights he had stolen might kill him but he is willing to follow God regardless of the outcome. Meanwhile, Esau’s feelings towards his brother appear to have changed and his greeting of his brother Jacob is a lot like the father in the parable of the lost son (Luke 15:20). Esau runs to him, hugs him and kisses him on the cheek. Jacob didn’t deserve this greeting, but God is good to those who are willing to obey Him even when they don’t deserve it.
I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of the past contributors to this blog. I learned a lot about what it means to put together a writing team, and I think we accomplished a lot of what I’d wanted to do with this space. From here on out I will be re-focusing the blog towards Christian mission.