Category Archives: Genesis

Genesis 37:3-4

Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe.But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.

Genesis 37:3-4

Dear God, if there is room in your plan for Jacob to be this bad of a father then there must be hope for the rest of us. Nobody’s perfect. Nobody’s the perfect parent. I’m not the perfect parent. I wasn’t when they were younger, and I’m not now that they are grown. Sometimes this weighs on me. It’s not that I didn’t do my best. I really did. I tried to do it well, but, at the end of the day, there was no way I was ever going to do it perfectly. I remember holding my oldest child for the first time and literally thinking, “Well, at least so far I haven’t screwed anything up.” I hadn’t had a chance to yet. But I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes since then.

One thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is the importance of giving grace to people who don’t live up to your expectations. Even now, there is a group of people in our community with whom I am at odds. Their actions really frustrate me, and I’m sure my actions have frustrated or offended them. I think the key for all of us is to recognize the motivations on each side and that they are not sinister. I might disagree with their conclusions. I might disagree with their tactics. But I also recognize that they don’t wake up in the morning thinking, “How can I be mean or do something bad today?” No, they are probably waking up with a passion and wondering how to bring it to life. I hope they recognize the same of me.

I link these two things together (the parenting angle and the community activism angle) because they both just require grace. They require people to look beyond what is perceived on the surface and realize that there is a loved child of God on the other side who is likely just doing their best to make the right decisions as they perceive them. That is true for parents and children as well as community members trying to solve problems.

Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, please give me grace. Give me grace for those who are frustrating me. Whether they be family, coworkers, friends, or just people I know either locally or through the media only. Even politicians. There is only so much influence my little life can have. Don’t let me waste it on something that doesn’t bring you glory and your kingdom coming to earth and your will being done on earth as it is in heaven.

It’s through the redemption of Jesus I pray to my Triune God,


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Posted by on March 10, 2023 in Genesis


“Vulnerable Conversation with Toby Mac about Grief and Loss”

“I started to learn to laugh, even in the first week a little bit, but not laugh as deeply, you know?” I don’t know if I’ll ever laugh as deeply. I don’t know if I’ll ever smile as big. But I can smile, and I can laugh. I don’t know if it will ever be–until eternity–if it will ever be fully.” (2:50 mark of video)

Dear God, I heard this interview yesterday and it struck a chord with me. Especially this quote. Especially as a parent, I think when we go through some sort of loss, whether it is a wayward child, a broken relationship, or the tragedy of death, when we are apart from them for any negative reason, I don’t think it’s ever possible to laugh as deeply or smile as big. There is always a cloud. Always an omnipresent pit in my stomach. I’m just grateful that you are omnipresent as well.

In the Bible in a Year podcast I’m listening to, they were covering the part of the Joseph story in Genesis where Judah is pleading with Joseph for Benjamin’s life (Genesis 44:18-34). Judah describes Jacob’s pain, and it reminds me of what Toby was saying in the video above. This brash, conniving, manipulating scoundrel was devastated by Joseph’s loss. Judah couldn’t bear to watch him lose Benjamin too.

I guess I had this sort of loss for about 10 years now. Neither of my children died, but I’ve been in some state of brokenness with one of both of them constantly over that time. And it’s true, what Toby said. I can laugh again, but it’s never been as deep. And I’ve smiled, but it’s never been as big. Mercifully, at least up to this point, the difference is that I have a hope that restoration is still possible. My time with them on this side of heaven is not sealed and lost forever. That’s why I pray for them. That’s why I hope. That’s why I burn candles. That’s why I worship. As Toby also said right before the quote above, you find us in the pit (or we find you there). If our pain is omnipresent, so are you.

Father, I pray for Toby and his wife. I pray for the rest of their family as well. I pray for my own family. Comfort and guide all of us. I am trusting that this is the path you need for all of us to walk to ultimately work your own wonder in each of our lives. Thank you for continuously sitting with me in this pain. Thank you for raising up people around me, including my wife, who are an encouragement and comfort to me. Thank you for loving me, my wife, and my children so completely.

In Jesus’s name I pray,



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“The cure for resentment. The cure for jealousy and envy is gratitude.” Fr. Mike Schmitz

Dear God, I was listening to the Bible in a year podcast from this priest this morning and after concluding the story in Genesis 37 about Joseph and his brothers he made the statement above. It struck my ears. It made me want to think about it a little. When am I jealous? When am I insecure? When do I make worse decisions as opposed to the better decisions? Is gratitude/ingratitude a common denominator?

I’ve certainly been jealous and irrational before. I’ve envied. I’ve resented. Would stopping and counting my blessings in those moments have helped? Maybe. Probably. Yeah, I’m sure they would have. But it can be hard in real time to do that because self-pity can be so persuasive and pervasive.

Today was an interesting day because, well, it was a tough day by a lot of measures. COVID is wreaking havoc on my staff and our ability to function. Every time my phone buzzed with a text, it was with bad news. But then I was able to remember some of these verses this morning and another verse came to mind. I had to look it up for the exact reference, but it was 2 Corinthians 4:8: “We are pressed on every side, by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.” Now, I’m a little out of context on that verse because Paul is talking about some persecution that I have never had to relate to. Verses 9 and 10 say, “We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”

Father, even in the midst of a hard day, I was able to count my blessings. I was able to repeat the words, “I am pressed but not crushed.” And I was able to share those words with others, including someone in leadership at our local hospital. So thank you for your Word. Thank you for your presence. Thank you for the gift and grace of Jesus. Thank you for your love.

In Jesus’s precious name I pray,


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Posted by on January 19, 2022 in Genesis


Genesis 33

33 Then Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his 400 men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and his two servant wives. He put the servant wives and their children at the front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother, he bowed to the ground seven times before him. Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept.

Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, “Who are these people with you?”

“These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,” Jacob replied. Then the servant wives came forward with their children and bowed before him. Next came Leah with her children, and they bowed before him. Finally, Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed before him.

“And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?” Esau asked.

Jacob replied, “They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.”

“My brother, I have plenty,” Esau answered. “Keep what you have for yourself.”

10 But Jacob insisted, “No, if I have found favor with you, please accept this gift from me. And what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God! 11 Please take this gift I have brought you, for God has been very gracious to me. I have more than enough.” And because Jacob insisted, Esau finally accepted the gift.

12 “Well,” Esau said, “let’s be going. I will lead the way.”

13 But Jacob replied, “You can see, my lord, that some of the children are very young, and the flocks and herds have their young, too. If they are driven too hard, even for one day, all the animals could die. 14 Please, my lord, go ahead of your servant. We will follow slowly, at a pace that is comfortable for the livestock and the children. I will meet you at Seir.”

15 “All right,” Esau said, “but at least let me assign some of my men to guide and protect you.”

Jacob responded, “That’s not necessary. It’s enough that you’ve received me warmly, my lord!”

16 So Esau turned around and started back to Seir that same day. 17 Jacob, on the other hand, traveled on to Succoth. There he built himself a house and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place was named Succoth (which means “shelters”).

18 Later, having traveled all the way from Paddan-aram, Jacob arrived safely at the town of Shechem, in the land of Canaan. There he set up camp outside the town. 19 Jacob bought the plot of land where he camped from the family of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for 100 pieces of silver. 20 And there he built an altar and named it El-Elohe-Israel.

Dear God, sometimes I wonder if it is ever possible to have a relationship with someone that is completely without manipulation. Well, let me change that. Yes, I believe it is possible for some people to have a relationship with others without any manipulation intended. But for someone like Jacob, his whole life is deception and self-preservation. I heard commentary on this passage and the next one in chapter 34 about is daughter Dinah that mentioned that Jacob didn’t want to deceive anymore. But that’s just not true. In this case, Jacob didn’t do what he told Esau he would do. He simply said what he had to say to survive the encounter, and then he didn’t follow Esau as he said he would, but set up camp somewhere else instead. Not that I disagree with Jacob’s decision to not put all of his people and belongings with Esau’s people, but he certainly wasn’t honest and forthright about it.

It’s funny because I have some people in my life who I simply do not trust to tell me the truth. Even when they come and tell me something that appears true, there is always part of me that guards against being manipulated. I’ve tried to give them benefit of the doubt to them before, but I’ve learned that they are simply like Jacob. They are out for self-preservation and will say anything they have to say to get away with whatever it is they want. It’s hard to have relationships with people like that. You can try to marginalize them and keep them at arm’s length, but then there comes a point where they cross a line I simply cannot tolerate.

Father, first, help me to not be like Jacob in these situations. Help me to be the man my family needs me to be. I understand that somehow Jacob got your blessing and ended up being the patriarch of your people, but I assume that is more about your plan washing through the generations and unfolding the way it did as opposed to anything that Jacob himself did. I don’t know that there is any part of me that wants to be like Jacob, but I do want you to use my life in any way that you see fit. Right now, I have some things that have cost me and some prices I have paid. I don’t know if they are my fault or, like Job, it’s simply the path you have for me and those I love to walk. But I do know that I earnestly want to follow you, worship you and give you glory for all that you are.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on January 17, 2022 in Genesis


Genesis 27:5-13

But Rebekah overheard what Isaac had said to his son Esau. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game, she said to her son Jacob, “Listen. I overheard your father say to Esau, ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare me a delicious meal. Then I will bless you in the Lord’s presence before I die.’ Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you. Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish. 10 Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.”

11 “But look,” Jacob replied to Rebekah, “my brother, Esau, is a hairy man, and my skin is smooth. 12 What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me.”

13 But his mother replied, “Then let the curse fall on me, my son! Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats for me!”

Genesis 27:5-13

Dear God, I’m sorry, but this story really irritated me this morning. My head’s not necessarily in a great place right now anyway, but this story of Rebekah being so manipulative and deceptive really rankled me. Maybe she was right after what you told her while she was still pregnant. Maybe she had no other choice because Isaac could only superficially see the masculine, manly son as the one who would be worthy of the blessing. As Rich Mullins said about what Rebekah’s brother Laban would later do to deceive Jacob: “Well, it’s right there in the Bible so it must not be a sin. But it sure does seem like an awful dirty trick.”

I guess the real take away from this is not that we should intentionally act like these people, but, when we do, we can know that your plan is still secure because you have allowed for our sinful humanness. Rebekah’s. Laban’s. Mine.

I guess the other lesson here is that it was okay for Esau to be upset about this because we was greatly wronged. But that didn’t justify his response. He didn’t have to go out and do things to intentionally upset his parents like going to Uncle Ishmael and getting wives from his daughters (Genesis 28:9). That was just throwing gasoline on a bad fire.

Father, help me to keep from sinning, and help me to keep from throwing more gasoline on the fires created by others. Make me an instrument of your peace. Do it for your plan, your glory, and my own peace.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on January 14, 2022 in Genesis


Genesis 26:7-11

When the men who lived there asked Isaac about his wife, Rebekah, he said, “She is my sister.” He was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “They will kill me to get her, because she is so beautiful.” But some time later, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out his window and saw Isaac caressing Rebekah. Immediately, Abimelech called for Isaac and exclaimed, “She is obviously your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?” “Because I was afraid someone would kill me to get her from me,” Isaac replied. “How could you do this to us?” Abimelech exclaimed. “One of my people might easily have taken your wife and slept with her, and you would have made us guilty of great sin.” Then Abimelech issued a public proclamation: “Anyone who touches this man or his wife will be put to death!”
Genesis 26:7-11

Dear God, I liked the commentary I heard this morning about this story regarding Isaac and Rebekah. As I was sitting in my typical judgment over Isaac for his weakness, lack of faith, etc., the commentator asked how many times we repeat either the mistakes of those who came before us or even the same mistakes we’ve already made? How many times do I lose my faith and fall into my own traps?

One of the biggest things I worry about is the mistake(s) I make unknowingly. The harm I do without realizing it.

Father, this is a short and easy prayer today. Help me to not do any harm today. Lead me not into temptation. Help me to see it and embrace you with all that I have. Deliver me from evil, please, Lord.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on January 13, 2022 in Genesis


Genesis 10:6-12

The descendants of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.

The descendants of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The descendants of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan.

Cush was also the ancestor of Nimrod, who was the first heroic warrior on earth. Since he was the greatest hunter in the world, his name became proverbial. People would say, “This man is like Nimrod, the greatest hunter in the world.” 10 He built his kingdom in the land of Babylonia, with the cities of Babylon, Erech, Akkad, and Calneh. 11 From there he expanded his territory to Assyria, building the cities of Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah, 12 and Resen (the great city located between Nineveh and Calah).

Genesis 10:6-12

Dear God, I wanted to follow up this morning on Noah’s curse of Ham and see how it ended up. I couldn’t remember. My assumption was that Moses, in recording all of this in writing, was using the curse story to explain the subjugation of Ham’s descendants over the millennia, but from going through this passage, it looks like Ham’s first several generations of descendants did just fine. In fact, they became quite powerful and influential.

I know that there is probably an interpretation of all of this that I don’t get. In fact, every passage I read is an English interpretation of a text written by someone in a different culture with different paradigms for life. Everything I process is an incomplete interpretation of the story because no one today can completely understand what it was like back then, why stories were handed down the way they were, or why Moses recorded them the way he recorded them.

Father, use the collected scripture you have provided to me to speak to me and teach me. Let your Holy Spirit whisper in my ear and guide me into submitting myself before you and knowing you better. Help me to be exactly the man you need me to be for the people in my life. Let your kingdom come into the world through me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on January 5, 2022 in Genesis


Genesis 9:20-27

After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard. One day he drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw that his father was naked and went outside and told his brothers. Then Shem and Japheth took a robe, held it over their shoulders, and backed into the tent to cover their father. As they did this, they looked the other way so they would not see him naked. When Noah woke up from his stupor, he learned what Ham, his youngest son, had done. Then he cursed Canaan, the son of Ham: “May Canaan be cursed! May he be the lowest of servants to his relatives.” Then Noah said, “May the Lord, the God of Shem, be blessed, and may Canaan be his servant! May God expand the territory of Japheth! May Japheth share the prosperity of Shem, and may Canaan be his servant.”
Genesis 9:20-27

Dear God, I was looking at this passage today and I came up with a controversial take on it. Is this a case where Noah was wrong in cursing Ham? Did he overreact out of shame? Was there more to their relationship than this story tells? Did Ham do the wrong thing? Sure. Was he disrespectful and mean? You bet. Did his actions deserve the curse of eternal slavery for him and his descendants? Well, that seems a little harsh.

I heard a teaching on this passage that I completely disagreed with. In fact, I’m not even going to repeat it here because I thought it was so ridiculous. But I think the person or people who came up with the theory were doing their best to justify Noah’s response to Ham instead of entertaining the idea that Noah made a mistake. The Bible’s forefathers made mistakes all of the time. Some of them were called out, but maybe all of them weren’t. Maybe some are just there for us to make our own judgment. Kind of like I’ve talked about with the disciples taking it upon themselves to appoint Mathias as Judas’s successor instead of waiting for you to bring Paul into the fold.

Father, I guess the point is that I make all of these mistakes too. I overreact. I make mistakes. Please keep my mistakes from reverberating too much through history. Help the dominoes that knock over because of my mistakes be few, and restore them to your original plan and design. And when I make the mistakes, make me quick to repent and redeem what I have done.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on January 4, 2022 in Genesis


Genesis 3:1-6, 16-19

3 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.

Genesis 3:1-6

Dear God, I was thinking about this story this morning and wondering about the oral tradition of it being handed down. Why is it told the way it is told? So I’m going to make some assumptions here. Two key ones, really. Assumption #1: Moses wrote this thousands of years after it happened. Assumption #2: It’s an accurate version of what Adam and Even first shared with Seth and their other children with nothing being changed over the millennia.

So what did Adam and Eve share about this experience? Why did they tell the story this way. I guess I really don’t know why they said what they said about it, but the apparently communicated that the serpent first approached Eve even though Adam was apparently standing right there. Was this significant? Was Eve perhaps a little more precocious than Adam? Could he have just as well have approached Adam first? We will never know. But the order of events does seem to play into the “curse” God gives later.

16 Then he said to the woman,

“I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy,
    and in pain you will give birth.
And you will desire to control your husband,
    but he will rule over you.[c]

17 And to the man he said,

“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
    whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
    All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
    though you will eat of its grains.

19 By the sweat of your brow
    will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
    from which you were made.

For you were made from dust,
    and to dust you will return.”

Genesis 3:16-19

Funny, but I just noticed something in this curse. For Adam, it was an indefinite curse of the ground. For Eve, however, you pointedly say that it is about her relationship with Adam. I suppose I would also point out (and I heard this point from Baylor professor Beth Allison Barr in her book The Making of Biblical Womanhood) that apparently women being subject to men was not part of the created order. You did not design my relationship with my wife to be a dominant/submissive one. Your perfect created order was for us to be truly partners and equal with each other. Isn’t it interesting that, as men (and some women), we have taken this passage of a curse as a justification for male dominance instead of seeing it for what it really is: against the created order.

Father, I don’t want to be domineering over my wife, and I don’t want her to dominate me. That’s a hard thing to pull off in any relationship because, more often than not, one spouse will be more dominant in personality than the other. Frankly, in our marriage, I have the more dominant personality. So it is up to me to submit to and strive to bring our marriage and relationship back to your perfect created order as much as possible. So help me to do that. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear. Help me to be exactly the husband and father you need me to be.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on January 2, 2022 in Genesis


Genesis 28:10-22

Meanwhile, Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran. At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord , the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!” The next morning Jacob got up very early. He took the stone he had rested his head against, and he set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it. He named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”), although it was previously called Luz. Then Jacob made this vow: “If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, and if I return safely to my father’s home, then the Lord will certainly be my God. And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.”
Genesis 28:10-2

Dear God, it is hard to make the decision to worship you as our father worships you. Well, that’s not quite right. Let me put it this way. At some point, each of us has to make a decision. In this case, Jacob had wanted his father’s blessing that came from you, the God his father served, but judging from the ultimatum Jacob laid out at the end of this passage, he really didn’t have any intention of serving you until this experience. You weren’t yet his God.

At some point, my grandfather had to make a decision about following you. He had to do it for himself. I wish I had asked him about his faith while he was alive. I went to church with him and my grandmother. I saw him sing in the choir. I went to a Bible study with both of them once when I was in college. I know they went to at least one retreat at a Christian retreat center. But I don’t know much about his personal relationship with you or his journey to being your child. I don’t know his testimony.

I do, however, know my dad’s testimony and how he had to wrestle with you before he submitted. And I know my own testimony. Mine wasn’t as much of a wrestling as a seeking. When someone would tel me about the fruits of the Spirit you offer through submitted relationship (along with the fire insurance from hell), I wanted it. I was willing to give up my will for yours. At least in the moment. It seems I continuously struggle to take back piece of self-indulgence that I’ve surrendered to you. But I’m still here, working out my faith day by day.

Now it’s my children’s turn to figure it out for themselves. They are grown. And I’ve seen them each respond to life and to you differently. I’m reminded of when my grandmother (father’s mother) used to tell me that she just wanted her three sons to be “fine Christian men.” I’m sure that’s what Abraham wanted for Isaac and Ishmael (well, maybe Godly since “Christian” didn’t exist yet). I’m sure that’s what Isaac wanted for Esau and Jacob. And now, this passage shows a step Jacob was taking in that journey.

Father, my grandfather has completed his journey. Help his sons on theirs. Help their children on theirs (including me on mine). And help the children of this next generation. Give visions. Beckon. Inspire. Convict. Whatever it takes. Do it for all of our sakes and for your glory.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on July 5, 2021 in Genesis