Home thoughts from

Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


May 2018

Daily Bible thoughts 1684: Thursday 31st May 2018: Genesis 24:50,51: Get on with it.

Genesis 24:50-51: Get on with it.

“50 Laban and Bethuel answered, ‘This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. 51 Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed.’ ” NIV UK

As I opened my Bible this morning, my eye fell on a quote from George Mueller. I had written it inside the front cover many years ago:

‘I have joyfully dedicated my whole life to the object of exemplifying how much may be accomplished by prayer and faith.’

To my mind, George Mueller’s life story is a form of apologetics. How can we explain what happened, consistently, to him – the many remarkable answers to prayer he received – if God is not real? He took God seriously, and God took him seriously, and, it seems to me that this still happens to people today. (I appreciate someone reading this may need to go and bone up on George Mueller. Apologies, but in this short thought I don’t have time or space to provide the details).

Abraham’s servant showed a similar confidence in God. The Lord did not let him down.

I know we are fallible. We sometimes get things wrong. We are not always clear about guidance. But there are those times when it appears God has so remarkably guided; a ‘door’ has so obviously opened, that we just need to get on with it and go through it.

Daily Bible thoughts 1683: Wednesday 30th May 2018: Genesis 24:22-50: The Master’s business.

Genesis 24:22-50: The Master’s business.

“22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took out a gold nose ring weighing a beka  and two gold bracelets weighing ten shekels.23 Then he asked, ‘Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?’ 24 She answered him, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milkah bore to Nahor.’ 25 And she added, ‘We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.’  Then the man bowed down and worshipped the Lord, 27 saying, ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.’ 28 The young woman ran and told her mother’s household about these things. 29 Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, and he hurried out to the man at the spring. 30 As soon as he had seen the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man said to her, he went out to the man and found him standing by the camels near the spring. 31 ‘Come, you who are blessed by the Lord,’ he said. ‘Why are you standing out here? I have prepared the house and a place for the camels.’ 32 So the man went to the house, and the camels were unloaded. Straw and fodder were brought for the camels, and water for him and his men to wash their feet. 33 Then food was set before him, but he said, ‘I will not eat until I have told you what I have to say.’ ‘Then tell us,’ Laban said. 34 So he said, ‘I am Abraham’s servant. 35 The Lord has blessed my master abundantly, and he has become wealthy. He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 36 My master’s wife Sarah has borne him a son in her old age, and he has given him everything he owns. 37 And my master made me swear an oath, and said, “You must not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live, 38 but go to my father’s family and to my own clan, and get a wife for my son.” 39 ‘Then I asked my master, “What if the woman will not come back with me?” 40 ‘He replied, “The Lord, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success, so that you can get a wife for my son from my own clan and from my father’s family. 41 You will be released from my oath if, when you go to my clan, they refuse to give her to you – then you will be released from my oath.’ 42 ‘When I came to the spring today, I said, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come. 43 See, I am standing beside this spring. If a young woman comes out to draw water and I say to her, ‘Please let me drink a little water from your jar,’ 44 and if she says to me, ‘Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too,’ let her be the one the Lord has chosen for my master’s son.” 45 ‘Before I finished praying in my heart, Rebekah came out, with her jar on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water, and I said to her, “Please give me a drink.” 46 ‘She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, “Drink, and I’ll water your camels too.” So I drank, and she watered the camels also. 47 ‘I asked her, “Whose daughter are you?” ‘She said, “The daughter of Bethuel son of Nahor, whom Milkah bore to him.” ‘Then I put the ring in her nose and the bracelets on her arms, 48 and I bowed down and worshipped the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me on the right road to get the granddaughter of my master’s brother for his son. 49 Now if you will show kindness and faithfulness to my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so I may know which way to turn.’ 50 Laban and Bethuel answered, ‘This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other.” NIV UK

‘Count the number of times in which he contrives to introduce the two words, ‘’my Master’’…This identification of his thought and speech with his master’s interests is full of teaching for us all. He could talk of nothing else, was only anxious not to fail for Abraham’s sake, and took the favourable reply as kindness shown to him whom he represented.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.23.

The re-telling of the story does not detract from it in any way. Rather, it reinforces its lessons. It impresses upon us the wonder and reality of God’s guidance. The servant repeatedly pointed to God’s activity in leading him to Rebekah (26, 40, 42-45, 48. It brought Laban and Bethuel to the point where they had to confess:

‘’This is from the LORD; we can say nothing to you one way or the other’’ (50).

In the light of the above, they were willing to act accordingly (51).

As we read this beautiful story, may it lead us to a renewed commitment to be praying people:

‘…it is good dealing with those who by prayer take God along with them in their dealings.’ Matthew Henry.

PRAYER: I pray that prayer will be woven into every moment and every part of the fabric of my life.

Daily Bible thoughts 1682: Tuesday 29th May 2018: Genesis 24:15-21: Watch and pray

Genesis 24:15-21: Watch and pray

“15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor. 16 The woman was very beautiful, a virgin; no man had ever slept with her. She went down to the spring, filled her jar and came up again. 17 The servant hurried to meet her and said, ‘Please give me a little water from your jar.’ 18 ‘Drink, my lord,’ she said, and quickly lowered the jar to her hands and gave him a drink. 19 After she had given him a drink, she said, ‘I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have had enough to drink.’ 20 So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough, ran back to the well to draw more water, and drew enough for all his camels. 21 Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the Lord had made his journey successful.” NIV UK

‘’Without saying a word, the man watched her closely to learn whether or not the LORD had made his journey successful’’ (21).

This is an example of someone ‘watching and praying’. If we are praying in faith to a God we believe to be real, we will want to look of for signs of His answers. We may not always see them. God is not obliged to work in visible ways. But the eye of faith will often discern the cloud the size of a man’s hand. This man had every reason to believe that God would guide him (7), and he was expectant. The answers to prayer may not always come in the form we expect, but let us always be full of expectation.

‘What a concentration of heaven -contrived circumstances gathered around this event! Abraham planning, the servant praying and waiting expectantly, the Angel of God leading, the very camels kneeling patiently beside the well as though they counted on the troughs being filled, the damsel coming at the precise hour! It is thus that all our daily life might be aglow with the presence and help of God. Such things take place, but, alas, our eyes are Holden!’ F.B.Meyer, ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.23.

Daily Bible thoughts 1681: Monday 28th May 2018: Genesis 24:10 -15: God of surprises.

Genesis 24:10 -15: God of surprises.

“10 Then the servant left, taking with him ten of his master’s camels loaded with all kinds of good things from his master. He set out for Aram Naharaim[a] and made his way to the town of Nahor. 11 He made the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was towards evening, the time the women go out to draw water.  12 Then he prayed, ‘Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, “Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,” and she says, “Drink, and I’ll water your camels too”– let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.’ 15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor.” NIV UK

Answers to prayer don’t always come so quickly, and they are not always so surprising (15). Nevertheless, God does amazing things, again and again, in answer to the prayers of His people. Oh yes He does! Be absolutely convinced of this.

Many church leaders are tempted to achieve ‘’success’’ (12) by working for it. Well, it’s not wrong to work. Abraham’s servant would not have fulfilled his mission by relaxing at home. There was work for him to do. But it can be easier to work than to pray. All true success is born of prayer. Prayer and work should be married – not divorced! Prayers do not have to be lengthy. It appears the servant shot up an ‘arrow’ prayer at this point. The important thing is that the prayer – whether it is long or short – must come from a true heart, eager to know God’s blessing and ways.

It has been said that nothing succeeds so terribly as success without God. It is possible for prayer-less work to appear impressive; but a day is coming when the true worth of each person’s work will be unveiled (1 Corinthians 3:10ff).

Another outstanding feature of these verses is the love and loyalty of the servant towards his master (12b, 14b). May our hearts be so devoted to the Lord Himself, that our deepest desires are for His good pleasure and will.

PRAYER: Lord God, may your Name be honoured, your Kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. I pray that my whole life will be about pleasing you and serving your purposes, and that any ‘success’ I have will be God-given.

Daily Bible thoughts 1680: Friday 25th May 2018: Genesis 24:7: Sure of God’s guidance

Genesis 24:7: Sure of God’s guidance

“7 ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, “To your offspring[a] I will give this land”– he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there.” NIV UK

‘’The LORD, the God of heaven, who brought me out…he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there’’ (7).

We end this particular working week with a brief and simple thought: you can be sure of the reality of God’s guidance in the great choices of life – if you look to Him. In fact, there may be times when you are not consciously trusting Him at all, but He is still guiding your footsteps. But the Bible is filled with promises of God’s goodness in this area, to those put their confidence in Him. We are like travellers across an unknown sea, and we need a Pilot; we require a Captain. God will be this to us. Let us be sure of it. I believe we can be as confident as Abraham was when he made this affirmative statement to his servant.  This morning, I saw a clip from Archbishop John Sentamu on ‘Facebook’. He said that when he wakes up in the night, he takes it that the Holy Spirit wants to share something with him, and often in the quiet listening he finds answers to perplexing problems.

This reminds me of the wonderful words, spoken by God Himself, in Psalm 32:8: ‘’I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will counsel you and watch over you.’’ I seem to remember that one translation says something like, ‘I will guide you with my eye open you.’ Now there’s a thought to take into the week-end!

PRAYER: Thank you that ‘Somebody bigger than you or I’ watches over our days, our nights, and all our movements.  (Do you need guidance regarding any decisions today? Seek the Lord, remembering His lovely Word)



Daily Bible thoughts 1679: Thursday 24th May 2018: Genesis 24:5-9: Don’t go back!

Genesis 24:5-9: Don’t go back!

“5 The servant asked him, ‘What if the woman is unwilling to come back with me to this land? Shall I then take your son back to the country you came from?’ ‘Make sure that you do not take my son back there,’ Abraham said. ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, “To your offspring[a] I will give this land”– he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. If the woman is unwilling to come back with you, then you will be released from this oath of mine. Only do not take my son back there.’ So the servant put his hand under the thigh of his master Abraham and swore an oath to him concerning this matter.” NIV UK

Christian parents don’t want their children to marry a ‘Canaanite.’ Our desire is for them to find a wife or husband among the people of God. We understand something of the spiritual dangers involved with being unequally yoked, and the difficulty, and even misery, it can lead to when the first flush of love has worn off. That said, we can’t control our adult children; only try to guide them. If they do move in that direction, all is not lost. They are still in the orbit of our prayers, and held in the arms of God’s gracious care. Don’t despair mum or dad, if your heart is breaking today over some beloved prodigal. As long as you have breath you will love them, and you can pray for them, and those prayers will count.

But Jesus said. ‘’No-one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God’’ (Luke 9:62). Marrying an unbeliever, when you are a Christian, is a step in a back- ward direction; it is going into reverse gear. Abraham was adamant: ‘’Make sure that you do not take my son back there…Only do not take my son back there…’’ (6a, 8b). He knew that God had brought him ‘’out’’ (7), and there could be no going back. Every believer should take this to heart. There are many ways in which we can return to the old life, but we should consider those doors barred and bolted, and never try to break through them. Even if we still love the Lord, we are likely to have bitter regrets.

PRAYER: You might like to pray today for someone you know who has married a person who does not share their Christian faith, and they are finding life a struggle. That is not always the case, of course, but it so often is.

Daily Bible thoughts 1678: Wednesday 23rd May, 2018: Genesis 24:1-4: Stewardship

Genesis 24:1-4: Stewardship

“Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way. He said to the senior servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had, ‘Put your hand under my thigh. I want you to swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.’” NIV UK

‘’…the chief servant in his household, the one in charge of all that he had’’ (2).

Like Abraham’s servant in this marvellous story, we are stewards. The property we have is God’s property. We have the privilege of managing it under His authority. But all that we have is never really ours. It is always His. This is how we must learn to think about it; and ask Him to guide us in the use of it.

As we get older, I believe we begin to see more clearly how tenuous a link we have with our possessions. At least, we do if we allow ourselves to. If we really think about it, we know that someone else will soon live in that house; inherit those possessions. More than ever, this helps to impress upon our hearts that none of the ‘stuff’ is ours. It never was. But it is our privilege to wisely and faithfully manage the goods of our Master. May He be pleased with what we do.



Daily Bible thoughts 1677: Tuesday 22nd May 2018: Genesis 23:3-20: Respect.

Genesis 23:3-20: Respect.

“3 Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said, ‘I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so that I can bury my dead.’ The Hittites replied to Abraham, ‘Sir, listen to us. You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.’ Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites. He said to them, ‘If you are willing to let me bury my dead, then listen to me and intercede with Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf so that he will sell me the cave of Machpelah, which belongs to him and is at the end of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for the full price as a burial site among you.’10 Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city. 11 ‘No, my lord,’ he said. ‘Listen to me; I give  you the field, and I give[c] you the cave that is in it. I give  it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.’12 Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land 13 and he said to Ephron in their hearing, ‘Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so that I can bury my dead there.’14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 ‘Listen to me, my lord; the land is worth four hundred shekels  of silver, but what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.’16 Abraham agreed to Ephron’s terms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants.17 So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre – both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field – was legally made over 18 to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city. 19 Afterwards Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave in it were legally made over to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site.” NIV UK

‘’Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land…Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land…’’ (7 and 12).

As ‘’aliens and strangers in the world’’ (1 Peter 2:11), we should treat the people of the world with the greatest respect. Their beliefs, ways and customs will inevitably differ from ours, but it doesn’t meant that we can be discourteous towards them. Much influence for good may be had by handling people well.

Verses 17-20 cause me to reflect on the New Testament truth that the Holy Spirit has been given to us as a ‘’deposit.’’ He is the ‘downpayment’, the ‘first instalment’ of our inheritance. He is the ‘guarantee’ of what is to come. Tom Hale makes the point that with the purchase of this field, Abraham gained, we might say, a ‘toehold’ in the promised land. The final possession of the land was still some 500 years away.

This particular cave was to be the final resting place of Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah and Jacob.

‘Death is an ever constant reminder that the world is not our home. We rise up from before our dead to confess that we are only strangers and sojourner on the earth. Though the whole country, by God’s deed and gift, belonged to Abraham, it had not as yet been made over, hence the necessity for this deliberate purchase with all the stately formalities of the leisured East. Abraham’s insistence on buying this grave, and the care with which the negotiations were pursued, show that he realised that his descendants would come again into that land and possess it. It was as though he felt that he and Sarah should lie there awaiting the return of their children and their children’s children. See also Gen.49:29,30. In the same way, the graves of martyrs and of missionaries who have fallen at the post of duty are the silent outposts that hold those lands for Christ…’ F.B Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.23.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord that your promises are sure, and we can count on you to bring them to pass in your own good time.

Daily Bible thoughts 1676: Monday 21st May 2018: Genesis 23:1-3: Moving on

Genesis 23:1-3: Moving on

“Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her. Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites.He said,” NIV UK

‘’Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife…’’

Christians do not grieve like other people who don’t share the same hope. Paul writes along these lines in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica. But they do grieve. It is painful indeed to lose a loved one – especially a spouse. Abraham and Sarah had shared so much together during their long marriage; not least in the second half of their lives after leaving Ur. They had raised a son to maturity long after many people are in the grave. Losing Sarah must have been a bitter pill to swallow.

But it is true that life goes on. Sooner or later (and there is no specified time anyone can put on this) everyone has to move on too. Your loved one’s life on earth is over; yours isn’t. There is still work to be done. God has a plan for you.

A bereavement will bring you to tears, but it doesn’t have to bring you to a full stop. By the grace of God you can live again.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: