June 10, 2019

Voice of God

By: Larry Shaffer

This is Buster Mikesell carrying a fellow recruit during training. He is the son of Michelle, one of my work associates and follower of my blog. On the 75th anniversary of D-Day last week, Buster completed Marine-Recruit training and became a Marine! We are forever grateful for his service and for all our military who serve to protect our freedom!

Voice of God 

Genesis 46 

Joseph, lesson 32 

Then Israel said, ‘It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.’ 

So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, ‘Jacob, Jacob.’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes. 46:1-4 

God Speaks 

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the voice of God. He speaks and He affirms that ‘I am God; do not be afraid; I am in control; you can trust Me; I will keep My promises.’ 

Jacob had a life of struggles, heartaches and difficulties. He came into the world contending with his brother as he grasped the heel of his twin brother during birth. In his youth, Jacob was a con artist, liar and deceiver. His name means deceiver or grabber (of his brother’s heal). He lived in conflict with his brother. He lived in conflict with his sons. His life was an ebb and flow of highs and lows, with more lows than highs. 

You may or may not know me personally. I consider myself a rather ordinary guy. However, I have committed to meeting with God daily in His Word to read, reflect and write. The writings that I post three days a week are a reflection of my seven days of personal devotions. I approach God in various manners depending upon the time at hand. Sometimes I have thirty minutes or less and other days a couple of hours. What you see is my refined and finished writings, (which are not really refined at all and not without grammatically errors. At this point, I do all my own writing and editing myself). It’s not at all perfect and it’s not at all consistent. I’m simply sharing my journey of discovery with you. 

Some days I write from a state of exhilaration when my heart and soul soars in the realization of God’s great glory. His abundance of grace and kindness toward me is rich and strong. Others times, I write out of my lows of fatigue, stress, maybe even some depression. Other times, somewhere in between. So, I have emotional and spiritual highs, mediums and lows. Jacob’s were more extreme highs and lows in his life, but like you, I have victories to speak of and I have struggles. Such is our lives here on this earth. 

This is why my Bible studies are so important to me. Just like Jacob, the stories of God’s people remind me and give me hope. Our lives, similar to those in the Bible, are filled with a combination of failures and successes. 

  • Like Peter, sometimes I deny Christ out of cowardice and fatigue.  Other times, I stand for God like a lion of courage and resolve. But Peter, taking his stand with eleven, raised his voice and declared to them…Acts 2:14 
  • Like David, sometimes in private, I whine and moan that God has deserted me. I feel as if I am all alone and despair takes hold of my soul. Other times, I am filled with the Spirit and feel empowered to take on any challenge for the glory of God. Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. I Samuel 17:45 
  • Like Jacob, I sometimes fall into human strategies and efforts to achieve my goals, succumbing to fears and testing the boundaries of pride and arrogance. Other times, I wrestle with God, and with great determination, I prevail and receive the most amazing blessings of the God. When Jacob was at the end of his rope, He strives with God and he is blessed. So He said to him, ‘what is your name?’ And he said to Him, ‘Jacob’. He said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed. Genesis 32:27,28 

In today’s text, Jacob is on his way to Egypt to be reunited with his long, lost son. He stops to worship in the same place his father and grandfather worshipped. God speaks to him. God reaffirms what Jacob has always known deep in his heart but often neglects. God speaks to him and says,  

I am God; do not be afraid; I am in control; you can trust Me; I will keep My promises. 

Father, I needed to hear those words from You today. You spoke them to Jacob many years ago, and You have spoken them to me today as well! You have promised to never desert me or forsake me. I believe You, and I trust You to do Your work of providence within my life and the lives of my loved ones. Amen.

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