Saturday, August 25, 2012

Don't Be a Hittite

Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.” (Gen 27:46)

I’ve always found this verse amusing. There’s more than a hint of cattiness to it. But there’s a serious side also. God’s will was for Abraham’s descendants not to intermarry with the pagan Canaanites. Yet Esau had married two local Hittite women. Gen 26:35 says “They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.” How, exactly? The Bible does not say. No doubt it was partly their pagan religion. But I think this verse hints at more than that.

How do we treat our in-laws? Do we love them like our own flesh and blood? When Ruth went to live with her mother-in-law Naomi she said, “Your people will be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16) The words of Rebekah suggest that this was not the attitude of Esau’s wives. How might they have grieved her and Isaac? Were they critical, disrespectful, rude or selfish? We don’t know. But we do know that God expects us to love our in-laws, to graciously accept them and to honor them by deferring to them. Lord, I don’t want to be a Hittite! Help me be like Ruth. Teach me to be loving and gracious to my whole family, whether by blood or marriage. Let your light shine in me and through me. Amen.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Give Him Your Heart

The lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being. (Pro 20:27) 

When we say that we have “given our hearts to Christ” these are not idle words. He is going to move in and take ownership, and the first order of business is spring cleaning. Sanctification is not always a pleasant process. If we continue to walk with him, drinking in his Word and seeking his will, he is going to shine the light of his truth on the dark corners of our hearts. Lord, sanctify me by your truth! (Jn 17:17) I know I often resist you, but my heart of hearts truly desires to be conformed to your image. (Rom 8:29) Forgive me when I pull back. I have given my heart to you, and it is yours forever. Amen.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Great Wives Need Great Husbands

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord. (Pro 18:22)

What a blessing my wife has been to me! Thank you, Lord, for your favor. I cannot imagine what our lives would be like without each other. In this day when marriage is under attack and good marriages seem so rare, how blessed have I been to have such a wonderful wife! I think about how many people give up on marriage – men and women who are disappointed in the person they married. Especially, I am saddened by men who grow bored or disillusioned with their wives and leave them for what they think will be greener pastures. It seems to me a lot of men get the wife they deserve – one might even say the wife they have created by their mistreatment of her. If he is selfish she will be resentful. If he is lazy she will be a nag. If he is distant she will be cold. If he has a wandering eye she will be jealous. If he is not affectionate she will be emotionally needy. If he is irresponsible she will be insecure.

Lord, so much hurt and sorrow can be avoided if we are obedient to your commands! Forgive me for my failings as a husband. Thank you that I have a wife who is so much better than I deserve. Thank you for teaching us how to love each other. I pray that the men in our society, especially the Christians, will step up to the challenge of being loving and faithful husbands as well as wise and loving fathers. Comfort and encourage those women whose husbands have not fulfilled their vows. I pray that the church will lead the way in restoration of marriage to your God-given design. Amen.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Teachable Spirit

Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. (Pro 19:27)

One of the most important attributes of a humble Christ follower is a teachable spirit. At one level, it should be obvious that when you stop listening you stop learning. But the danger is deeper than that. The real danger is letting pride overtake my heart. If I think I have nothing to learn from others, I will soon find that I am not listening to God, either. “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Rom 1:22 NASB) is how Paul described such men. My knowledge is always incomplete and imperfect in this life. I must continue to study God’s Word and to learn. And I must continue to read and listen to the teaching of godly men, as an important check against my own errors of interpretation. Lord, I want to have a teachable spirit. Convict me when pride raises its ugly head. Sanctify me by your Word – both to know it and to obey it. Amen.