Home thoughts from

Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson

Daily Bible thoughts 1634: Thursday 22nd March 2018: Genesis 13:5-8: Meekness of spirit.

Genesis 13:5-8: Meekness of spirit.

“5 Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarrelling arose between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time. So Abram said to Lot, ‘Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are close relatives.” NIV UK

‘While in Egypt, Lot acquired wealth and a taste for the world, and his temporal interests were partly Abram’s fault. God forgave Abram’s sin, but He did not prevent the sad consequences. We reap what we sow, even after we are forgiven. Abram’s first test of faith came from a famine; his second test came from his own family. Family tests are the hardest of all.’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘With the Word,’ p.24.

How many family rows there are about money! Sadly, how many family members fall out over a will!! ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a queue!!!,’ someone quipped. Attitudes towards money and possessions are great revealers of the heart. In this story, Abram exhibited a different, and better, spirit than Lot

‘’Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herdsmen and mine, for we are brothers’’ (8). It seems to me that this should be the attitude of Christians towards one another. Prize unity in Christ and work hard to kept it (Ephesians 4:3). This dispute did not start with Abram and his nephew, but when believers quarrel, there is a danger of leaders inadvertently, often unwillingly, getting sucked in. It’s hard for people to ‘fight’ without the spat affecting others in some way. Wiersbe points out too that this was happening before a watching world (7). When believers are divided this can hurt our testimony. It can tarnish our witness

Abram was a peacemaker. For him, harmony between the two camps mattered more than having the pick of the land. His attitude was right. His heart was good, and God wonderfully blessed him – as we will see.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for Abram’s example. Help me to value people and relationships above things.


Daily Bible thoughts 1633: Wednesday 21st March 2018: Genesis 13:1-4: The road back.

Genesis 13:1-4: The road back.

 “So Abram left Egypt and went back to the Negev, he and his wife and everything he owned, and Lot still with him. By now Abram was very rich, loaded with cattle and silver and gold. 3-4 He moved on from the Negev, camping along the way, to Bethel, the place he had first set up his tent between Bethel and Ai and built his first altar. Abram prayed there to God.”   The Message

If you find you’ve come off the motorway at the wrong exit, the best thing to do is to get back on right where you came off. In effect, that’s what Abraham did. He got back to where he once belonged. He returned to the tent and the altar and the life of a pilgrim. If you have a sensitive conscience, your internal ‘Satnav’ will be telling you to make a        u-turn as soon as possible. You know the way back. Don’t delay. The further you get from the ‘M1’, it is all the more likely that you will end up lost.

Let this be an encouragement to you today if you have strayed; if you have got off the beaten track. Come back to God. Repent of the sin that took you away from the main carriageway, and trust in Jesus’ blood for forgiveness. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be a winner where previously you became a loser. Make sure He’s in the driving seat. There is a way back on to the main highway.

There are also vital lessons to be learned.

‘The practical lesson from all of this is simply never abandon your altar. Stay in fellowship with the Lord no matter what the circumstances may be…Remember: ‘’The victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings.’’ That is not an excuse for sin, but it is an encouragement for repentance.’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘The Wiersbe Bible Commentary (OT)’, p.61.

Daily Bible thoughts 1632: Tuesday 20th March 2018: Genesis 12:17-20: The sanctity of marriage.

 Genesis 12:17-20: The sanctity of marriage.

“17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai. 18 So Pharaoh summoned Abram. ‘What have you done to me?’ he said. ‘Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, “She is my sister,” so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!’ 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had. ” NIV

It is a serious thing to violate the sanctity of a marriage. It’s not surprising, then, that major consequences were visited on Pharaoh’s household (17). You may say, ‘But Pharaoh didn’t know what he was doing.’ That’s true, but this was, in part, God’s way of alerting him to the fact that something was awry.It was an alarm bell ringing loudly in his palace. God was merciful to Abram and Sarai (and Pharaoh), enabling them to get out of this sinful situation. Abram and Sarai were also able to escape Egypt with their lives.

How terrible it is when we tarnish our testimony by compromised behaviour and fall under the rebuke of ungodly people. Pharaoh comes out of this looking better than Abram. God called Abram to be a blessing to the nations (12:1-3), but because Abram was disobedient, judgment came upon Pharaoh and his family. This was contradictory to the call on Abram’s life. It was not why God had raised him up. Some sins cling tightly to us. We don’t easily shake them off. (Certain ones even seem to run in family lines). There was to be a repeat of this particular failing in chapter 20, and later in the life of Abram and Sarai’s boy, Isaac. Even great men and women of God can have potentially fatal character flaws, and be slow to learn. Thank God for His mercy shown to us in Jesus. There can be forgiveness and mercy as we trust in Him. Someone said ‘the victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings.’ However there may also be unwanted consequences that cannot be avoided. Everything Abram got in Egypt was to cause him problems at a future date.

‘If you want to be a blessing to others, then stay in the will of God. Jonah ran from God’s will and caused a storm that almost sank the ship. Like Jonah, Abraham lost his testimony before unbelievers and had to face embarrassment and rebuke…If Sarah had become one of Pharaoh’s wives, what would have happened to the promise of the Redeemer? When we don’t let God rule, He overrules and accomplishes His purposes, but we pay dearly for our disobedience.’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘The Wiersbe Bible Commentary (OT)’, p.61.

PRAYER: I see, Lord, that there is much at stake in the way I live from day to day. Apart from your grace and mercy I would be lost. Please help me to so live that I bring honour to your Name and not disgrace.

Daily Bible thoughts 1631: Monday 19th March 2018: Genesis 12:11-16: Looking after number one!

Genesis 12:11-16: Looking after number one!

“11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, ‘I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, “This is his wife.” Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.’  14 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. 15 And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.” NIV

‘’Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives…’’ (1 Peter 3:7).

At this point in his life, Abram was not a shining example of the above principle. In order to save his skin, he asked his wife to sacrifice her virtue. It must have hurt him too, but he was prepared to do it for safety’s sake. ‘Faith is living without scheming.’ But Abram was prepared to manipulate and deceive so that he could stay alive. It seems his trust in God had burst like a fragile bubble.

When a husband, a dad, is not walking with God, he can bring great harm upon his family. He is likely to lead them astray. How we live as husbands (and as wives) is a spiritual matter. It is of interest to God. It’s not a secondary issue.

The fact that Abram prospered materially at this time (16) did not make it right. Furthermore, as you trace the story through, you will see that the riches he acquired in these circumstances were to cause him problems in future days.

Daily Bible thoughts 1630: Friday 16th March 2018: Genesis 12:10-13: Little white lies.

Genesis 12:10-13: Little white lies.

“10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. 11 As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, ‘I know what a beautiful woman you are. 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, “This is his wife.” Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.’ ” NIV

Fear can make you a coward, and cowardice can propel you towards dishonesty. I think that’s what happened to Abram in this story. We sometimes try to justify half-truths, or partial truths as ‘just little white lies.’ But a lie is a lie, and ‘truth will out.’ You will almost certainly end up wishing you hadn’t shaded the truth. Even so, it is best to be honest for the reason you should be – because it’s how God wants us to live – and not merely because you’re afraid of being found out.  This was a half-truth. Sarai was Abram’s half-sister. Warren Wiersbe writes: ‘Abraham and Sarah brought this ‘’half-truth’’ with them from Ur (Gen.20:13), used it in Egypt and Gerar, (Gen.20), and their son Isaac adopted it (Gen 26).’ ‘Wiersbe Bible Commentary (OT)’, p.61.

Fear is an enemy of faith, but fears can also be dispelled by faith: ‘Fear knocked at the door; faith answered, and there was nobody there.’ As Wiersbe says, the fear of God is the fear that overcomes every other fear (Psalm 112; Isaiah 8:13), but ‘’the fear of man brings a snare’’ (Proverbs 29:25).

In Egypt, Abram got away from the altar. There is no record of him calling on God for guidance and help. It seems he took his eyes off the Lord. God had repeatedly said to Abram ‘’I will’’ (2,3), but Abram started saying, ‘’They will’’ (12). We are moving in the wrong direction when we fear people more than our God. Moreover, you can be sure that the sin of lying will find you out.

Prayer: God of truth, help me to abhor dishonesty; enable me please to be scrupulously honest.

Daily Bible thoughts 1629: Thursday 15th March 2018: Genesis 12: 4-10: Detour

 Genesis 12: 4-10: Detour

“4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.  Abram travelled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.  From there he went on towards the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.  Then Abram set out and continued towards the Negev.  10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.” NIV

When Abram was at his best the ‘’tent’’ and the ‘’altar’’ featured significantly in his life. The former symbolised his life as a pilgrim, ready to move at God’s direction. The latter spoke of his life of worship and prayer. Abram, at his best, walked with God and moved in the will of God. But there is no record that God told him to go to Egypt. In the Bible, people go ‘up’ to Jerusalem, but ‘down’ to Egypt. Egypt symbolises the world system. We won’t find our answers there.

As we saw yesterday, there was a severe famine in the land God had told Abram to head for. Someone has pointed out that trials not only verify faith; they also purify it. Faith cannot grow if it does not have examinations to pass in life’s school. But Abram fell at this hurdle. It seems he just made up his own mind to go and live in Egypt for a time. He did not consult the Lord. A price was paid.

I like Warren Wiersbe’s comment that faith involves ‘living without scheming.’ Now there’s a thought to carry into the day.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to acknowledge you in all my ways that you may direct my paths.



Daily Bible thoughts 1628: Wednesday 14th March 2018: Genesis 12:10: The trials of faith.

Genesis 12:10: The trials of faith.

“10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.” NIV

The life of faith is not trouble free. God does not inoculate against all pain. So we see the early onset of trial during Abram and Sarai’s pilgrimage. It was not just the case that there was a ‘’famine’’ in the land. This famine was ‘’severe.’’ But it didn’t indicate that this couple were out of God’s will. They were very much in it. A time of trial is an opportunity to grow in faith and prove God. In this next story we are going to learn how not to handle a crisis.  For now, let us note that the presence of trouble does not indicate the absence of God. Nor does it mean that you are out of His will.

‘The God of glory, who had sent him forth, was responsible for his care in Canaan, even though famine prevailed. He ought to have stayed quietly in the position to which God had called him, leaving the Almighty to provide.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary,’ p. 19.

But he didn’t, as we will see.

Daily Bible thoughts 1627: Tuesday 13th March 2018: Genesis 12:4: ‘’So…’’

Genesis 12:4: ‘’So…’’

“So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.” NIV

This could have been a different story. What if Abram had put his hands over his ears – metaphorically or literally – and refused to hear? What if he had not obeyed? It doesn’t bare thinking about.  Whenever God speaks; when you hear his call (1), there has to be a ‘’So…’’ (4).

There needs to be a positive ‘’So…’’

For Abram this meant following the God he was just getting to know into the largely unknown. It entailed leaving behind a sophisticated culture for the life of a pilgrim.

When God calls He may only show you the next step. But that’s fine. Take that one, and then you’ll have light for the next.

What has God been saying to you? What is your ‘’So…’’ going to be?

PRAYER: Lord, teach me to know that I can trust you, and help me to follow wherever you lead. As daunting as it may seem when you call, I know I will never regret following you.

Daily Bible thoughts 1626: Monday 12th March 2018: Genesis 12:2,3: ‘Sea of Galilee Christian’?

Genesis 12:2-3: ‘Sea of Galilee Christian’?

“‘I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.’” NIV

Abraham was blessed that he might be a blessing.  This will always be true. God blesses His people, not that we may be containers of blessing, but conduits.

Somebody asked, ‘Do you know why the Dead Sea is dead, whereas the Sea of Galilee is teeming with life?’ The answer he gave was along these lines: ‘The Dead Sea only has an inlet, but Galilee has both an inlet and an outlet.’ What comes in goes out; there is a flow through.

God gives to us that we may share. As we have freely received, so let us freely give.

PRAYER: Make me a channel of blessing today

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: