"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
July 24, 2019
Once upon a time, long, long ago, there lived a man named Abraham who married his half-sister, Sarah, who was an extraordinarily beautiful woman.
As Abraham and Sarah were traveling through foreign lands, twice (that we know of) he had her say that she was his sister instead of his wife, fearing that he would be killed if the men thought that he was her husband. Neither time had good results because both times the king, who had taken Sarah into his palace to become his wife, found out and confronted Abraham.
The first time was during the first part of their journey as they entered into Egypt. Abraham told Sarah, "Look, please, I know that you are an attractive woman. So when the Egyptians see you they'll see, 'This is his wife.' And they'll kill me; but you, they'll let live. Please say that you are my sister, so that I'll be treated well for your sake, and my life will be spared because of you."
Sure enough, that is what happened. Pharaoh's officials saw her and raved about her to Pharaoh, then she was taken into his house. And Abraham was treated well for her sake and was given sheep, cattle, make donkeys, male and female slaves, female donkeys and camels.
But God struck Pharaoh and his household with great plagues because of Sarah. Pharaoh called Abraham in and said, "What's this that you did to me? Why didn't you tell me that she is your wife? Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her to be my wife? Now, here is your wife. Take her and go!"
The second time happened when Sarah was 90 years old and Abraham was 100.... for real! This happened after the three angels appeared to Abraham and told him by that time the following year he and Sarah would have a son. She must have had some really good genes, that she retained her beauty all of those years.
They traveled to Gerar and once again Abraham told the people that Sarah was his sister, so King Abimelech sent for and took Sarah. God appeared to the king during a dream and told him, "Behold, you are as good as dead, because of the woman whom you have taken -- since she is a married woman." The king questioned God if the nation was going to be slayed, even though he was innocent. God replied, "Yes, I myself knew that you did this with integrity of your heart, so I, yes I Myself, prevented you from sinning against Me. That is why I did not allow you to touch her."
King Abimelech rose in the morning and told his servants about his dream, and they were frightened. They confronted Abraham and asked, "What motivated you to do this thing?"
Abraham said, "Because I thought, 'There is certainly no fear of God in this place, so they'll kill me, because of my wife.' And besides, she really is my sister. She's my father's daughter, though not my mother's daughter. Then she became my wife. So when God made me wander away from my father's house, I said to her, 'This is your loyalty that you must show me; in every place we go, say of me, 'This is my brother.'"
Abimelech gave Abraham sheep, cattle, male and female slaves, and returned Sarah to him.
Fast forward 80 years or so. Sarah birthed Isaac, then she died when he was around 36-37 years old. Shortly thereafter, Isaac married Rebekah; then when Isaac was 60 years old, he fathered twin boys, Esau and Jacob. The boys grew up and Esau became an outdoorsman and Jacob was a mild man, remaining in tents.
A famine took place in the land, and God told Isaac not to go to Egypt, but to stay in Gerar. The men of the place asked about his wife. So he said, "She is my sister," because he was afraid to say, "my wife" or else the men of the place would kill him on account of Rebekah, because she of her being good looking. Sound familiar?!
After they had been there for a long time, the king peered down through the window and saw Isaac caressing his wife. So the king called Isaac and said, "So in fact she's your wife! Now how could you say, 'She's my sister?'" Isaac told him it was because he thought he might die because of her.
The king asked, "What is it that you've done to us? One of the people could have easily slept with your wife and you would have brought guilt upon us." So he commanded all the people, "Whoever touches this man or his wife will surely die!"
Why would Isaac think that lying to the king about his wife being his sister would bring about different results than when his father had done the same years earlier?
Generation after generation we see similar happening. One generation will do something that brings about negative results, yet the generation after will do the same thing, expecting different results. They seem to think that they are much wiser or sneakier or know things that their parents and grandparents didn't know.
Technically, Abraham didn't lie when he had introduced his wife as his sister; because she was his half-sister. But Rebekah was a cousin to Isaac on his father's side of the family, so when he said it, it really was a lie. And he had no better results with lying about his true relationship with his wife than his father did.
With both generations, it was revealed to the king, one way or another, that the men were actually married to these women and they weren't living as brother and sister.
Over and over again, generations hear stories about stupid things that their parents, grandparents, uncles or aunts did; then they choose to do the same, instead of learning and making wiser choices. They find out the hard way that they're not so very different after all.
We read about sins that were committed from men and women in the bible, and the consequences, but somehow don't think that the results will be the same for us. We seem to think that we are smarter, more educated, more sophisticated; so surely we can indulge in the same type of behavior and have a different outcome. But we find out that God isn't pleased with sin and it never ends well when we choose to indulge in ungodly behavior.
Every young person, at one time or another, views the older generation as "not understanding", "not knowing how things are in the world nowadays", "being behind the times", "being set in their ways", "being an old fogey or old fashioned", etc. They have no idea what that generation has been through; the hardships, difficulties, heartbreaks, repercussions for sinful choices, or trauma; but neither do they understand the wisdom that has been gained due to those things. They don't want to listen to advice or hear wisdom from the experience of those who are older. They think they have surpassed their elders in maturity and have no need to really hear what is being spoken into their lives. So they end up making similar choices and mistakes; expecting different results.
This is nothing new; we have the example of Abraham and Isaac in the example I gave.
In Deuteronomy 4:9 Moses is speaking to the Israelites and says, "Only be watchful and watch over your soul closely, so you do not forget the things your eyes have seen and they slip from your heart all the days of your life. You are to make them known to your children and grandchildren's children."
Then in chapter 32 and verse 7, Moses says, "Remember the days of old. Consider the years of all generations. Ask your father, and he will inform you. Your elders, and they will tell you."
Psalms 145:4 says, "One generation will praise Your works to another and declare Your might acts."
Each generation can learn much from one another. It's easy to pass down, "Don't do this... or don't do that!" We share the negative, thinking we'll prevent those who are younger from making the same mistakes.
Truly our greatest responsibility is to share what God has done in our lives, prayers He has answered, miracles we've experienced, and declare His mighty acts from one generation to another. The younger can learn from their elders and be encouraged; and the older can listen and rejoice with what God is doing in the younger generation. We remember the days of old and what God did, and don't forget.
We each have a responsibility. The younger generation are to ask their father and elders and listen to their stories of God's goodness. And the older generation is supposed to tell their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of all that God has done. In this way, one generation (both the young and old) will praise God's works and declare His mighty acts to another!
I overheard a boy trying to convince his mother that he didn't have any homework. When that didn't work, he tried to convince her he had already finished it. That didn't work, either. In frustration, he asked, "Why doesn't that ever work for me?" Without hesitation, I answered, "Because she's smarter than you." He looked at me like that was the most absurd notion in the world.
I've heard many, many times teens telling their parents, "You just wouldn't understand." Honestly, I've probably said or thought that myself. Now that I'm older than most parents, and quite a few grandparents, I see that most of the time, that's almost never right. But it is so hard for kids to imagine their parents as being teens at one time. It is hard to imagine that they could have ever been dumped, or rejected, or madly in love. It's hard to see that their parents might have made the same mistake they are about to make themselves. And it's hard for most teens to believe they might get themselves into a bad or dangerous situation. So, they think the parents who try to warn them are just being oppressive and distrustful.
I'm sure I wouldn't want to tell kids (especially if they were my own) some of the stupid things I did. But it would be worth it if it helps them to know the miracles God worked to keep me alive. And I wish they would learn to trust Him and His wisdom, and to be obedient to God first and parents second.
1 pound hamburger, browned and drained
1 can pork and beans
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
onion, chopped (optional)
1 can lima beans
1 cup ketchup
1 can butter beans
1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 can kidney beans
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Put all ingredients together in crockpot and cook 3-4 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low until thoroughly heated.
Church Bulletin Bloopers:
The peace-making meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.
The agenda was adopted.... the minutes were approved.... the financial secretary gave a grief report.
The "Over 60's Choir" will be disbanded for the summer with the thanks of the entire church.
A new loudspeaker system has been installed in the church. It was given by one of our members in honor of his wife.
Although the threads of my life have often seemed knotted, I know, by faith,
that on the other side of the embroidery.... there is a crown. - Corrie ten Boom
We love you!
Loretta & Jon