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Free Daily Bible notes by Rev Stephen Thompson


June 2018

Daily Bible thoughts 1705: Friday 29th June 2018: Genesis 27:20-24: Your nose.

Genesis 27:20-24: Your nose.

“20 Isaac asked his son, ‘How did you find it so quickly, my son?’ ‘The Lord your God gave me success,’ he replied. 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, ‘Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.’ 22 Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, ‘The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.’ 23 He did not recognise him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he proceeded to bless him. 24 ‘Are you really my son Esau?’ he asked. ‘I am,’ he replied.” NIV UK

Some years ago, I was watching an episode of the TV crime drama, ‘A touch of Frost.’ Inspector Jack Frost, brilliantly played by David Jason, was asked how he could possibly know a certain piece of information. He tapped the side of one nostril and said, ‘Your nose!’ That ‘spoke’ to me, because, call it ‘discernment’ or something else, at times I have just known that something wasn’t quite right in a situation. I may not have been able to say precisely what it was, but it usually became clearer afterwards. Something didn’t smell right. It’s important to pay attention to your ‘nose.’ It will tell you things.

Isaac knew something wasn’t quite right here. But he pressed on regardless, and regretted it. Could it be correct to say that his sensual appetite overpowered his faculty for discernment? If so, we surely can learn from him, for we know how easily we can be tempted and led astray.

PRAYER: Lord, please keep me alert to all hidden dangers.

Daily Bible thoughts 1704: Thursday 28th June 2018: Genesis 27:1-19: Cheat.

Genesis 27:1-19: Cheat.

“When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for his elder son Esau and said to him, ‘My son.’ ‘Here I am,’ he answered. Isaac said, ‘I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. Now then, get your equipment – your quiver and bow – and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.’ Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, ‘Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, “Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the Lord before I die.” Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so that I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. 10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.’ 11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, ‘But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin. 12 What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.’ 13 His mother said to him, ‘My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.’ 14 So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. 15 Then Rebekah took the best clothes of her elder son Esau, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. 16 She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. 17 Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made. 18 He went to his father and said, ‘My father.’ ‘Yes, my son,’ he answered. ‘Who is it?’ 19 Jacob said to his father, ‘I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.’” NIV UK

This story makes for disturbing reading. It is sad to see the active deception in this dysfunctional family. We want to believe better things of these Bible characters. But Bible families are real families. They are flawed. ‘All human life is here’, in this Book.

Rebekah’s actions are breathtakingly bad. She encouraged one of her sons, Jacob, to cheat his brother and deceive her husband, his father. Jacob himself was happy enough to go with the plot. He just didn’t want to appear as a deceiver. It seems to me, as I read this, that he wasn’t bothered about sinning. He just didn’t want the consequences.

Integrity involves the integration of the inner and outer worlds. Lack of integrity leads people to just ‘keep up appearances’. They don’t care what they are like or do, so long as they can hide the truth and get away with stuff. May God keep each one of us from such a cavalier attitude towards truth.

‘The birthright had been already promised to Jacob, and there was no need for him to win it by fraud!’

PRAYER: Lord, keep me honest.

Daily Bible thoughts 1703: Wednesday 27th June 2018: Genesis 26:34,35: Domestic troubles.

Genesis 26:34-35: Domestic troubles.

“34 When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.” NIV UK


Being a believer doesn’t inoculate you against trouble. It certainly doesn’t provide you with a cast iron guarantee that all go smoothly at home. Many Christians carry deep wounds inflicted by their children. The deepest hurts, however, are felt if they betray the faith they were taught from infancy. In marrying ‘’Hittite’’ women, Esau was becoming ‘unequally yoked’. The Hittites were one of the Canaanite tribes (10:15). They were not known for their godliness, and the Lord did not want his covenant people to intermarry with them. When we reject God’s Word, we hurt Him, we hurt ourselves, and we often hurt those closest to us. Esau’s wives, we read: ‘’…were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.’’

A Christian should not marry a non-Christian. When someone does go astray in this area, occasionally, the unconverted spouse does become a Christian. Whilst thanking God for these rare exceptions, it has to be said that it usually works the other way, and the believer is pulled in a wrong direction.

Stay out of ‘Hittite’ territory!

Daily Bible thoughts 1702: Tuesday 26th June 2018: Genesis 26: 26-33: The blessing of God.

Genesis 26: 26-33: The blessing of God.

“26 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal advisor and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, ‘Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?’ 28 They answered, ‘We saw clearly that the Lord was with you; so we said, “There ought to be a sworn agreement between us”– between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the Lord.’ 30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully. 32 That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. They said, ‘We’ve found water!’ 33 He called it Shibah, and to this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.” NIV UK

As if to confirm God’s word of assurance (24), Abimelech turned up at Isaac’s door seeking to make a peace treaty. When God’s blessing is on a life, it is obvious:

‘’We saw clearly that the LORD was with you…’’ (28).

Tom Hale points out that by seeking a treaty with Isaac, Abimelech sought to share in his blessing. In this way, the promise that Abraham’s offspring would bring blessing to all nations was beginning to be fulfilled (22:18).

You may have people in your world who are opposed to you and your faith; who are difficult with you. Do not under-estimate God’s ability to change their attitude towards you. He can turn enemies into friends. Supremely, He has done this at the Cross, reconciling those who were previously hostile to Him, so that we are now His very own people. Through the Covenant of peace, ratified by Jesus’ blood, all may be saved.

Warren Wiersbe notes that Isaac went the extra mile, and entertained these men at a feast (Romans 12:18-21).

Daily Bible thoughts 1701: Monday 25th June 2018: Genesis 26:23-25: Responding to God.

Genesis 26:23-25: Responding to God.

“23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.’ 25 Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.” NIV UK

I like the thought that in Isaac’s conduct, recorded in (19-22), he was practising Romans 12:18 long before it was written. Often, we find that after a period of disturbance and trouble, we come into a place of fresh blessing. We meet with God anew and hear Him speak to us (24).When that happens, it is important that we don’t just enjoy the experience – soak in it, like a hot bath – but that we should make a worshipful response (25). There will nearly always be something to do.

 So, what is God saying to you at the moment? If you are aware of some special word of direction, get on with it. Don’t refuse the One who speaks from heaven.

‘’Whatever He says to you, do it.’’

Daily Bible thoughts 1700: Friday 22nd June 2018: Genesis 26: 19-22: Water wars.

Genesis 26: 19-22: Water wars.

“19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herdsmen of Gerar quarrelled with those of Isaac and said, ‘The water is ours!’ So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarrelled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarrelled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, ‘Now the Lordhas given us room and we will flourish in the land.’” NIV UK

Some years ago, a man I knew began to market a car cleaning product, designed to use less water than normal. He told me, in an extensive sales-pitch, that the next world war would be fought over water. I’ve heard that same scenario articulated more than once, by different people, through the years since then. It’s not difficult to imagine that in a hot, dry, dusty climate, people will quarrel over water. It’s such a precious resource. It is life. Often, we only come to feel its real value when it is in short supply.

What I love in this story is the picture of Isaac moving to a place beyond quarrelling. Obviously, that was a setting where he and his community could flourish, and live in peace. I believe there is an example for us all here: to aim to live beyond quarrelling.

‘’He will not quarrel or cry out…’’ Matthew 12:19a

 What is good enough for Jesus should be good enough for us. Living in Him, He makes it possible for us to live like Him. What a glorious thought

Daily Bible thoughts 1699: Thursday 21st June 2018: Genesis 26:17, 18: Re-opening wells.

Genesis 26:17-18: Re-opening wells.

“17 So Isaac moved away from there and camped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled. 18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.” NIV UK

We should read church history not just for information, but also for inspiration: to allow it to stir our hearts and pray that the best of the past may be experienced again in the present. Recently, I have been re-visiting some of the history of early Pentecostalism, as I have been reading a new biography of George Jeffreys, the founder of the ‘Elim’ Pentecostal denomination. He was a dynamic evangelist (and apostle, I believe). Thousands of people came to faith in Christ through his preaching; multitudes were miraculously healed; numerous new churches were ‘planted’ – many of which are still flourishing today. I have studied the history of Pentecostalism before, but reading this book has taught me things I didn’t know, as well as giving me reminders of what I already knew. God was powerfully at work through George Jeffreys, and many other people at that time. ’Wells’ of fresh water, you might say, were being dug. But it does not all make for edifying reading. The friend who kindly gave me the biography, warned me that I would feel sad about the end of the story. The book does demonstrate, sadly, that ‘the best of men are men at best.’ You could say that ‘’the Philistines’’ came and filled the wells with dirt. I mean to say that some very fine things got spoiled, in a way, and I can only feel that our diabolical opponent had an influence on what happened.

But more than anything, reading the story makes me want to re-dig those ancient wells our fathers drank from. No, I know we can’t pour out the Holy Spirit on ourselves. That is Jesus’ work alone. But I believe we can position ourselves to receive, as our Pentecostal forbears did, when they earnestly sought this outpouring. How hungry are we though? How thirsty?

One day I was praying in my little study at the bottom of the garden. Outside, it was pouring with rain. I suddenly thought, ‘If I wanted to become soaked, all I would need to do would be to stand outside with no protection. I would soon be saturated.’

If you want to have a soaking, spiritually-speaking, you can position yourself to do so. Will you?

‘We are, at this moment, as close to God as we really choose to be.’ J.O. Sanders.


Daily Bible thoughts 1698: Wednesday 20th June 2018: Genesis 26: 12-16: The green-eyed monster.

Genesis 26: 12-16: The green-eyed monster.

“12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth. 16 Then Abimelek said to Isaac, ‘Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.’” NIV UK

Jealousy! Who has not felt at some time or other? But it’s not an acceptable emotion for a Christian. It’s a sin – one of many sins for which Jesus died. Those of us who trust Him, and have a new nature because of him, must fight and resist every form of jealous, in the power of the Spirit God has given to us.. We must not enter into a tenancy agreement with it; not allow it to occupy one single room in the building of our life. Show it the door. Today’s reading shows something of the pettiness of jealousy. What peevish forms it can take. Have you ever looked back on feelings you had at one time, or certain ways of building, and felt ashamed? ‘How could I have been like that?’, you may wonder.

Apparently, this actually happened. Many years ago, during a time of scarcity (I think in the years of World War 2), a little boy won a box of chocolates at a Sunday School party. That would be quite something to take home to his mother. But his ‘friend’, who was sat next to him, was obviously unable to feel ‘blessed’ by this happening to someone else. He placed his hand under the box, and knocked it flying up into the air, so that the chocolates went everywhere.

Whether this story is correct in ever detail or not, we know it is true to how jealousy often acts. It produces malicious, and downright silly responses.

God kept His Word to Isaac (12, see also 3). It is a sad fact of life in a fallen world, that we don’t always act with joy when we see the evident blessing of God on another.

I am also reminded, in today’s story, of Paul’s words to the Galatians:

‘’So let’s not get tired of doing good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up’’ (Gal.6:9 New Living Translation).

Daily Bible thoughts 1697: Tuesday 19th June 2018: Genesis 26:7-11: History repeats.

Genesis 26:7-11: History repeats.

“7 When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, ‘She is my sister,’ because he was afraid to say, ‘She is my wife.’ He thought, ‘The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.’ When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, ‘She is really your wife! Why did you say, “She is my sister”?’ Isaac answered him, ‘Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.’ 10 Then Abimelek said, ‘What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.’ 11 So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: ‘Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.’” NIV UK

‘The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.’

Sadly, this is often true of personal histories. Isaac did what his father had done on two previous occasions. He sought to deceive. He lied about his wife. History repeated itself. A few days ago, I wrote about how Isaac made a good start. Indeed, he did. When God told him to stay put in Gerar, he did so. But then things went rapidly downhill from there. As was the case with his father, Isaac was exposed, and had to suffer the humiliation of being rebuked by a pagan king.

My wife, Jilly, and I were having a conversation recently about how ‘truth will out.’ It is common among worldly people to tell lies. Not everyone does, of course. Some non-Christians are more scrupulously honest than certain professing Christians. But many people lie as a matter of course. They may see it as being justifiable dishonest; perhaps explain it away as just ‘little white lies.’ But what this passage shows, and a lesson life teaches, is that you can’t keep all those lying plates spinning endlessly. Sooner or later they will come crashing down.

‘Truth will out.’

‘Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.’

In the New Testament the apostle Paul, both in Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3, calls for honesty as a definite mark of those who are ‘’in Christ’’ have a new nature. A truthful life, free from falsehood, is a sweet fruit of being rooted in Jesus.


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