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January 13 - Morning

"Then Jacob made a vow, saying, 'If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear  so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.' "
- Genesis 28:20-22

The Covenant of Abraham Becomes Personal to Jacob

The practice of standing up stones was used in ancient Israel:
  • to make a memorial to an important event,
  • as a witness to the signing of a treaty,
  • to honor a god,
  • to represent a spirit being.
There are 142 sites with standing stones still in the Negev and in Eastern Sinai.  There are thirty-six standing stones left from the time of Jacob and the Old Testament. Jacob honored this event and this location since God had appeared and spoke to him near Bethel before he left the Land of Promise.
Notice the honoring of God with “a tenth,” or a tithe, was voluntary. The giving of “a tenth” to honor God was a principle also followed by Abraham (Genesis 14:17-24).
Jacob bargains, or offers God an agreement, based on four conditions. The Lord will be Jacob’s God if he can provide these things:
  1. Divine presence
  2. Divine protections
  3. Divine provision
  4. A safe return to the Promised Land
In return Jacob vowed to do these three things:
  1. the Lord would be his God
  2. this stone marker would become a location (altar, house, temple,  etc.) to meet with the Lord
  3. Jacob would give the Lord a tenth of everything
At Bethel Jacob personally bought into the covenant that the Lord had offered to Abraham and Isaac. God now offered it to Jacob and, based on Jacob's response, this covenant had just become a personal matter to Jacob.
‘Olam (Hb) - Everlasting (Eng) – ‘olam is the Hebrew word that means “long duration,” “antiquity,” “forever,” “everlasting,” “perpetual,” “old,” “ancient,” “continuous existence.” It is used 435 times in the Old Testament. Isaiah describes the government of the One who will come to sit on David’s throne and to rule over David’s kingdom in justice and righteousness “from then on and ‘olam.” (Isaiah 9:7)
Do I listen to advice? Do I listen to correction? Do I listen to a rebuke?
I will hear wisdom speak to me in advice, correction, and, even, in a rebuke.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


Complete Text

General Text


Guidance and direction in the roles you have in life


God's will be done
United States Air Force
Lingering power of traditional African religions

Map showing the locaiton of Hezekiah's wall in today's Old City of Jerusalem.

Someone to Quote

"The greatest proof of Christianity for others is not how far a man can logically analyze his reasons for believing, but how far in practice he will stake his life on his belief."
- T.S. Eliot

Something to Ponder

Sometime between 701-681 BC Isaiah wrote:
"He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers." - Isaiah 40:22
And, around 1400 BC Job is quoted as saying sometime around 2000 BC:
"He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing." - Job 26:7
It is interesting to note that it wasn't until the 1500's AD that common knowledge embraced the idea of a round earth. So, while the world of India was believed the earth was set on the backs of elephants and the Greeks were counting on the god Atlas to hold the earth steady on his shoulders, the scriptures recorded before these other legends and ignorance came about describe the earth as a sphere hanging on nothing in space.

Here’s a Fact

The Ketef Hinnom Amlets are two very small silver scrolls that were found in a burial cave with Hebrew lettering dated around 690 BC. The text is the priestly blessing from Numbers 6:23-27. This is the earliest fragments of biblical text discovered so far. (Details here and here. Photos here)


"A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke."
- Proverbs 13:1

Coach’s Corner

You are unique. Do not settle for being a mere imitation of somebody else.

Isaiah 9:7
New International Version (NIV)

Of the greatness of his government and peace     there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne     and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it     with justice and righteousness     from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty     will accomplish this.
Numbers 6:23-27
New International Version (NIV)
23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
“‘“The Lord bless you     and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you     and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you     and give you peace.”’
27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
Genesis 15
New International Version (NIV)
The Lord’s Covenant With Abram
15 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram.     I am your shield,[a]     your very great reward.[b]
But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”
Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”
But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”
So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”
10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi[e] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”
  1. Genesis 15:1 Or sovereign
  2. Genesis 15:1 Or shield; / your reward will be very great
  3. Genesis 15:2 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  4. Genesis 15:5 Or seed
  5. Genesis 15:18 Or river
Job 1
New International Version (NIV)
In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.
One day the angels[a] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,     and naked I will depart.[c] The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;     may the name of the Lord be praised.”
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
  1. Job 1:6 Hebrew the sons of God
  2. Job 1:6 Hebrew satan means adversary.
  3. Job 1:21 Or will return there
Job 35-36
New International Version (NIV)
35 Then Elihu said:

“Do you think this is just?     You say, ‘I am in the right, not God.’

Yet you ask him, ‘What profit is it to me,[a]     and what do I gain by not sinning?’

“I would like to reply to you     and to your friends with you.

Look up at the heavens and see;     gaze at the clouds so high above you.

If you sin, how does that affect him?     If your sins are many, what does that do to him?

If you are righteous, what do you give to him,     or what does he receive from your hand?

Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself,     and your righteousness only other people.

“People cry out under a load of oppression;     they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.
But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker,     who gives songs in the night,
who teaches us more than he teaches[b] the beasts of the earth     and makes us wiser than[c] the birds in the sky?’
He does not answer when people cry out     because of the arrogance of the wicked.
Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea;     the Almighty pays no attention to it.
How much less, then, will he listen     when you say that you do not see him, that your case is before him     and you must wait for him,
and further, that his anger never punishes     and he does not take the least notice of wickedness.[d]
So Job opens his mouth with empty talk;     without knowledge he multiplies words.”
36 Elihu continued:

“Bear with me a little longer and I will show you     that there is more to be said in God’s behalf.

I get my knowledge from afar;     I will ascribe justice to my Maker.

Be assured that my words are not false;     one who has perfect knowledge is with you.

“God is mighty, but despises no one;     he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.

He does not keep the wicked alive     but gives the afflicted their rights.

He does not take his eyes off the righteous;     he enthrones them with kings     and exalts them forever.

But if people are bound in chains,     held fast by cords of affliction,

he tells them what they have done—     that they have sinned arrogantly.
He makes them listen to correction     and commands them to repent of their evil.
If they obey and serve him,     they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity     and their years in contentment.
But if they do not listen,     they will perish by the sword[e]     and die without knowledge.
“The godless in heart harbor resentment;     even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.
They die in their youth,     among male prostitutes of the shrines.
But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering;     he speaks to them in their affliction.
“He is wooing you from the jaws of distress     to a spacious place free from restriction,     to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.
But now you are laden with the judgment due the wicked;     judgment and justice have taken hold of you.
Be careful that no one entices you by riches;     do not let a large bribe turn you aside.
Would your wealth or even all your mighty efforts     sustain you so you would not be in distress?
Do not long for the night,     to drag people away from their homes.[f]
Beware of turning to evil,     which you seem to prefer to affliction.
“God is exalted in his power.     Who is a teacher like him?
Who has prescribed his ways for him,     or said to him, ‘You have done wrong’?
Remember to extol his work,     which people have praised in song.
All humanity has seen it;     mortals gaze on it from afar.
How great is God—beyond our understanding!     The number of his years is past finding out.
“He draws up the drops of water,     which distill as rain to the streams[g];
the clouds pour down their moisture     and abundant showers fall on mankind.
Who can understand how he spreads out the clouds,     how he thunders from his pavilion?
See how he scatters his lightning about him,     bathing the depths of the sea.
This is the way he governs[h] the nations     and provides food in abundance.
He fills his hands with lightning     and commands it to strike its mark.
His thunder announces the coming storm;     even the cattle make known its approach.[i]
  1. Job 35:3 Or you
  2. Job 35:11 Or night, / 11 who teaches us by
  3. Job 35:11 Or us wise by
  4. Job 35:15 Symmachus, Theodotion and Vulgate; the meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  5. Job 36:12 Or will cross the river
  6. Job 36:20 The meaning of the Hebrew for verses 18-20 is uncertain.
  7. Job 36:27 Or distill from the mist as rain
  8. Job 36:31 Or nourishes
  9. Job 36:33 Or announces his coming— / the One zealous against evil

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