Whose Birthright is Whose?
I’m the oldest of 3 brothers. I know the negotiating that can happen between siblings. Sometimes it’s fair, sometimes it’s not. The story of Jacob & Esau is an interesting story of brotherly negotiation. There was a clear winner & loser. Esau made a bad trade. He gave up his birthright for a bowl of soup. That’s doesn’t seem like a big deal to us, but I read the following explanation that gives us some clarity.
A birthright was a special privilege given to the oldest son. The child who had the birthright received the blessing of the father as well as all the father had built and accomplished. In the case of Esau and Jacob, it was more than gaining dad’s money, it was about receiving God’s special blessing.
Today you have the opportunity to receive the birthright that God intended for Jesus. Jesus is both the only Son of God and the firstborn of God. By having a relationship with Jesus, you can share in the blessings intended for Him. The Bible says: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. … Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:14,17). Congratulations!
— Seth Ross
What is Your Highest Priority?
In Genesis 22, God tested Abraham’s faith in a serious way by asking him to sacrifice his own son. It’s a story that foreshadows what God did for us by sacrificing His son for us. It’s a powerful image, even if it’s difficult to comprehend. While none of us will likely be asked to make that same choice, God does call us to make sacrifices for him. I like how this author asked the question…
God tested Abraham’s faith and in doing so pushed him into an uncomfortable situation. What is something or someone you love more than anything else? Mentally insert the answer in the blank space below.
“For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld __________ from Me.”
Would this be true of you if God asked you to make a sacrifice? Yes or No? If no, what might you need to consider in order for God to have the highest priority in your life?
— Seth Ross
Trust – and Obey!
Today’s chapters contain 3 really odd stories… the covenant of circumcision, a 90-year old woman being told she’d have a child, and Sodom & Gomorrah. While the details of the stories are very different, an important theme emerges. God expects obedience, and obedience results in blessing. Disobedience comes with consequences, either immediate or delayed.
That’s probably not new information. The part we often overlook is what makes obedience possible. Think about people in your life that your expected to obey. I’d guess you feel some are easier to obey than others. What’s the difference? I suggest the key is TRUST. When you trust someone, it’s easier to obey them. Why? You know they have your best interest in mind.
God loves you more than anyone on this planet will ever love you. And so he has your best interest in mind… all the time. Every time. Even when He asks us to do things that seem out of step with our culture, that seem old-fashioned, that seem archaic. It can be difficult to obey God in our sexuality, relationships, language, behavior, ethics, morality. Why? Probably because we don’t really trust God. We might think He doesn’t really know what He’s talking about. But he does, and internally we all know that. Even if we don’t like it.
So… do you trust God? Do you believe He wants the best for you? If that’s true, then obeying Him is easier (even if it’s not easy). And if you’ve had a difficult time obeying… maybe the best place to begin is learning to trust God.
— Seth Ross
Are you ready?
When I think about Abraham, I often think about God’s promises (covenant) to him. But Abraham is worth considering as a person too. I read the following thoughts written about him…
ABRAHAM is one of the most popular people in the Bible. He is known as the “Father of the faithful.” Like Noah, Abraham was a faithful person who put God first in his life. His faith was tested when he had to leave his country and family and travel to an unknown land, He had so much confidence in God that he was willing to offer his only child, Isaac, as a sacrifice to prove this faithfulness. Thankfully, God rewarded his faithfulness and Isaac was spared.
As you read about Abraham, think about how your life reveals faithfulness. God has a vision for your life. Are you ready? Available? Faithful? Willing? How about today?
— Seth Ross
Confident in His Covenants
Following the flood, God made a promise to Noah that he would never again destroy the world with water. This promise is referred to as a covenant. A covenant is an oath or a promise made by God that He will keep regardless of our actions or belief. He’s made several significant promises (or covenants) through history. He made a covenant with Abraham that he would be the father of a nation. Abraham’s descendants became known as the nation of Israel. Later he made a covenant with King David that the Messiah would be born from his lineage. When Jesus was born, New Testament writers make sure to point out that his family line could be traced back to David.
As you read the Bible, you can always look to God’s covenants with confidence that He will keep His promises. He always has. He always will. God can be trusted to do what He says.
— Seth Ross
Are you shining brightly?
The first few chapters of Genesis sure create a lot of discussion & debate related to how the world began. But beyond the science, there are some profound spiritual truths that are worth considering. Here are just two to get you started.
1. God created you in His image. That means you are no random accident of the universe. God knows you & loves you. That truth is found throughout the Scriptures. Spend a minute thinking about that & thank God for your uniqueness.
2. God created light out of the darkness. We find that “light” is also symbolic for truth and purity on many occasions in the Bible. Jesus used the imagery of “light” to challenge his followers to live in such a way that they “shine” in a dark world. Light pierces darkness every time. And yet it can be challenging to live that way both at home and on campus (high school or college). So, here’s a question…are you “shining brightly” as a light? If not, what needs to change for you to become a brighter light for God?
Thank you so much to Pastor Seth Ross who volunteered to write our first week of devotions! If you didn’t get a chance to meet Seth you might be interested in knowing . . .
Seth Ross has been working with students for 25 years. He’s been a youth leader, served on staff at the event we know as FUEL, been on our national Youth Advisory Committee, and has been our National Youth Coordinator (Turning Point Youth Ministries) for the past several years. He & his wife Stacey have 3 boys, Isaac, Jacob, & Luke, who often make appearances on Facebook. Seth loves students & wants desperately to help them see the world as God sees it, not as culture wants them to see it.