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January 9 - Evening

"Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, 'The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.' Abram agreed to what Sarai said." - Genesis 16:1-2

Sarai and Cultural Pressure and Practice

In the preceding chapter, Genesis 15, the Lord had told Abram four times that he would have a descendant:
  • 15:4 - “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.”
  • 15:5 - “Look up at the heavens and count the stars...So shall your offspring be.”
  • 15:13 - "Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years."
  • 15:18 -  “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates."
Ancient documents from around this time period, 2000 BC, attest to the reality of the accepted practice of using a slave to bear children in the case of barrenness. Four common sources of this practice are cited in Hammurabi's Code (go here and scroll to #146), an Assyrian marriage contract, a Nuzi text, and a Neo-Assyrian text.
One of the records mentioned above, the Old Assyrian marriage contract, sets the limit for time allowed for waiting for a wife to get pregnant was two years. After two years the woman was expected to buy a maid-servant to bear a child. Abram and Sarah have been in the land of Canaan now for ten years. Sarai's actions may actually have been up to eight or more years late. The rabbi's taught that ten years of barrenness was reason enough for a man to divorce his wife, thus the rabbi's taught, Sari was avoiding a divorce or being forced to share her favored position of "wife" with another woman. It seems from the ancient records and from Sarai's own words that the woman initiated this process.
The literal reading of the Hebrew says "he obeyed Sarai's voice." The wording is similar to Adam obeying Eve in Genesis 3:17. In this case God is not going to recognize Hagar's son as an option and, definitely, not the fulfillment of God's promise. Hagar, Sarai and Abram will all have to pay the price for having followed the culturally accepted ways and assuming that social accepted practices are the same as obedience to the promises of God's word.
Diakrino (Gr) - Discern (Eng) - diakrino is a Greek word that literally means “to make a distinction.” Diakrino speaks of the ability to make a judgment or practice discernment. Diakrino is what is done to the words of prophets in the New Testament church: “Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully (diakrino) what is said." - 1 Corinthians 14:29 
Do I know the difference between God's accepted behavior and culture's accepted behavior?
When there is a distinction, I will act in accordance with what God considers acceptable behavior.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text


Ask Holy Spirit to move through you


Confront liberalism
Illegal aliens
Power of international crime

The remains of Temples and Shrines at the "Gates of Hades" at the large rock formation at Banias, or Caesarea Philippi.
Some of the nations of Ham from Genesis 10.

Someone to Quote

"Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man that can comprehend the triune God." - John Wesley

Something to Ponder

The Jerusalem Bible was published in 1966. It is unique because it translates YHWH, the Hebrew name for God, not as "The LORD," but as "Yahweh". It is an accurate translation done by Catholic scholars, and so it includes the Apocrypha.

Here’s a Fact

Sir William Ramsay (1851-1939) was a Scottish archaeologist who rejected the accuracy of the writting of Luke in the New Testament. After 15 years of study and archaeological research Ramsay found these things that he had previously questioned to be true:
1- Rome had a census every fourteen years which agrees with Luke 2:1.
2- Quirinius was governor of Syria around 7 BC just as Luke 2:2 says.
3. An ancient Egyptian papyrus gives directions for conducting a census. It is clearly stated that people had to return to their home city just like Luke 2:3 says.
4. Ramsay discovered an inscription naming Gallio as pro-consul of Achaia just like Luke records in Acts 18:12
5. Ramsay also discovered the Erastus, a city official in Corinth, which is also what Paul says about Erastus in Romans 16:23.


"The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord." - Proverbs 16:33

Coach’s Corner

You still have to do what is right even when someone else is doing things wrong.

Luke 2:1
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
The Birth of Jesus
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
Luke 2:2
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
Luke 2:3
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
And everyone went to his own town to register.
Acts 18:12
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court.
Romans 16:23
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
23 Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings.
Erastus, who is the city’s director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.
Genesis 18
New International Version (NIV)
The Three Visitors
18 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”
“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”
So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”
Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he said.
10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.
11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”
But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
Abraham Pleads for Sodom
16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”
“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”
He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”
He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”
He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
33 When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
Job 23-24
New International Version (NIV)
23 Then Job replied:

“Even today my complaint is bitter;     his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning.

If only I knew where to find him;     if only I could go to his dwelling!

I would state my case before him     and fill my mouth with arguments.

I would find out what he would answer me,     and consider what he would say to me.

Would he vigorously oppose me?     No, he would not press charges against me.

There the upright can establish their innocence before him,     and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.

“But if I go to the east, he is not there;     if I go to the west, I do not find him.

When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;     when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
But he knows the way that I take;     when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
My feet have closely followed his steps;     I have kept to his way without turning aside.
I have not departed from the commands of his lips;     I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
“But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?     He does whatever he pleases.
He carries out his decree against me,     and many such plans he still has in store.
That is why I am terrified before him;     when I think of all this, I fear him.
God has made my heart faint;     the Almighty has terrified me.
Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,     by the thick darkness that covers my face.
“Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment?     Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?

There are those who move boundary stones;     they pasture flocks they have stolen.

They drive away the orphan’s donkey     and take the widow’s ox in pledge.

They thrust the needy from the path     and force all the poor of the land into hiding.

Like wild donkeys in the desert,     the poor go about their labor of foraging food;     the wasteland provides food for their children.

They gather fodder in the fields     and glean in the vineyards of the wicked.

Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked;     they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold.

They are drenched by mountain rains     and hug the rocks for lack of shelter.

The fatherless child is snatched from the breast;     the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.
Lacking clothes, they go about naked;     they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry.
They crush olives among the terraces;     they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst.
The groans of the dying rise from the city,     and the souls of the wounded cry out for help.     But God charges no one with wrongdoing.
“There are those who rebel against the light,     who do not know its ways     or stay in its paths.
When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up,     kills the poor and needy,     and in the night steals forth like a thief.
The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk;     he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’     and he keeps his face concealed.
In the dark, thieves break into houses,     but by day they shut themselves in;     they want nothing to do with the light.
For all of them, midnight is their morning;     they make friends with the terrors of darkness.
“Yet they are foam on the surface of the water;     their portion of the land is cursed,     so that no one goes to the vineyards.
As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow,     so the grave snatches away those who have sinned.
The womb forgets them,     the worm feasts on them; the wicked are no longer remembered     but are broken like a tree.
They prey on the barren and childless woman,     and to the widow they show no kindness.
But God drags away the mighty by his power;     though they become established, they have no assurance of life.
He may let them rest in a feeling of security,     but his eyes are on their ways.
For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;     they are brought low and gathered up like all others;     they are cut off like heads of grain.
“If this is not so, who can prove me false     and reduce my words to nothing?”

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