Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)

Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)
From September 26 to November 10, 2017, my husband, daughter and I will be on a ministry trip in Australia and New Zealand. The places we will be visiting are shown on the map above - along with the dates in which we'll be in these places (and what we'll be doing while there). Please keep this ministry trip and all of us in your prayers! Blogs will appear daily throughout this time, as I have written them and scheduled them in advance. I welcome your comments - and enjoy them! Just know I will not have Internet access for much of this time. So, I will look forward to reading your responses upon my return. Thank you for your understanding! And please keep reading to complete the "Reading the Bible in a Year" challenge and blessing! I am very grateful to Claire for her faithful blog comments (please everyone - join her in sharing each day as a discussion blesses everyone so much more!) And I am thankful that Claire has graciously agreed to add a bit more into her daily comments during my time of absence. Please direct special comments or questions which require immediate responses to her (on this blog). Blessings as you continue your journey through God's Word this year!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - January 25, 2017

Today's Reading:

Luke 19:1-27

Genesis 32-33

Psalm 25

Listen to the Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

Today I'd like to share something from our reading in Genesis. Jacob sent a series of animal droves to his brother, Esau, as gifts, hoping to appease him and prevent bloodshed.  Since owning many animals was one of the greatest expressions of wealth, in those days, it is obvious that Jacob's gifts to Esau were a blessing to his estate. But there was much more to it than that. Jacob was speaking to Esau through the gifts. His messages would have been clearly understood by Esau. And I thought it would be fun to be able to "read" Jacob's Message to Esau, remarkably communicated in the animal droves.
In Bible times numbers had meaning. (This is because Hebrew letters also have numeric values.) Also, different animals had different meanings. In fact, there was so much meaning in both the kind of animal that Jacob sent and the number of that kind of animal that Jacob's gifts would have been as meaningful as a written letter. This shouldn't be too strange a concept for us today, for in more recent times - in the Victorian era - whole letters were "written" with flower arrangements. Today, we call it the "Victorian Flower Language" or floriography (which literally means "flower writing").

Similarly, Jacob "wrote" a message to Esau in fauniography (okay, so I made that word up...  "Fauna" is animals and "graphy" is a suffix meaning "writing" - so "fauniography" would be "animal writing"). Let's go through Jacob's Message, gift-by-gift, to see what he was saying to Esau (Genesis 32:14-15).

200 Ewes and 200 Female Goats

In Hebrew, the number 200 is also the Hebrew letter "R", which is the Reysh (also spelled resh). Reysh means “HEAD”, “CHIEF”, “MASTER”, “PRINCE”, “COMMANDER”. But it also more specific. By sending 200 ewes and 200 female goats, Jacob was underscoring the Message of the Reysh, plainly telling his brother that God (Yahweh) was Jacob's "Master, Head," and "Commander". 

The fact that Jacob sent two animal droves, both with 200 animals, meant that Jacob was confirming the reality that Yahweh was his Master, for it is a Heaven-ordained principle that in the mouth of "two or three witnesses everything is established." (Genesis 41:32, Deuteronomy 17:6, 2 Corinthians 13:1). In other words, Jacob and Esau both understood that anything ordained of God needed two witnesses to demonstrate this ordination.

Now let's look at Jacob's message in the choice of animals. The Bible tells us that Jacob gifted Esau a drove of 200 ewes and another of 200 female goats. Both ewes (female sheep) and goats are sacrificial animals (meaning they are animals which God chose to represent some aspect of Messiah, Who was the ultimate Lamb of God). Of the sacrificial animals, you couldn't pick more opposite messages than sheep and goats. 

Sheep represent purity and innocence. Our Saviour was pure and undefiled. To demonstrate this, a sheep was offered, showing Messiah's Purity and Fitness to serve as our substitutionary Sacrifice, taking away our sin.
John 1:29  "The next day John seeth Jesus (Yahshua) coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
Sheep also represent God's people. A sheep cannot represent a worldly person. For only those whose sins have been washed away through the Sacrifice of Messiah can be called Sheep. Of course, Jacob was claiming Messiah's Blood and forgiveness over his life and past sins by faith (since Christ had not yet died at the time of Jacob's life).
Psalm 95:7 "For He is our God; and we are the people of His Pasture, and the sheep of His hand. To day if ye will hear His Voice."

By sending a drove of 200 sheep, Jacob was giving Esau this message:

Direct message: I am servant of the Most High. God is my Commander and Chief. In Him, I am now blood-bought, washed, and made-clean from my past sins. 

Implied message: However you choose to deal with me, remember, God is my Chief. It is He Who decides what happens to me. 

On the other hand, goats represent sinfulness, and ultimately Satan. The goat demonstrates our wayward and rebellious ways. On the Day of Atonement there were two goats chosen for the offering. Yahweh's goat was selected (by lots) and was sacrificed. This was to show that the Saviour would become sin for us. He would take our sins upon Himself. The second goat (also selected by casting lots) was the devil's goat, called the Azazel Goat. While Yahweh's goat would die as the Atonement for Israel's sins, the Azazel Goat would be taken out into the wilderness as a judgment for Satan's role in tempting Israel. Since the devil is the one who tempts us into sin, the Azazel Goat would be taken out and left to die in the wilderness.

Goats also represent people. By Christ's Sacrifice and in-dwelling Grace, all goats must become sheep. Any goats remaining at the end of the world will be lost.
Matthew 25:32-33, 41  "And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on His right Hand, but the goats on the left...  Then shall He say also unto them on the left Hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into Everlasting Fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."

By sending a drove of 200 female goats, Jacob was giving Esau this message:

Direct message: I do not try to hide my sins from you. I freely admit that I have been a rebellious goat. However, I am repentant for my past. Yahweh is my Captain now. I am a changed man.

Implied message: However you choose to deal with me, remember, God is my Chief. It is He Who decides what happens to me. 

40 Kine (Cattle)

Jacob also sent Esau 40 kine (or a small herd of cattle). In Bible times, kine were a symbol of "fruitfulness". In Hebrew, the number 40 is also the Hebrew letter "M", which is the mem. Mem means “WATERS”, "SPRING" or "PEOPLE/NATIONS". By sending 40 kine to Esau, Jacob was conveying that God (Yahweh) had abundantly blessed Jacob and made him fruitful. God had made Jacob the well-spring and producer of a great many people.

By sending a drove of 40 kine, Jacob was giving Esau this message:

Direct message: God has blessed me and made me fruitful. I am now the father of a large tribe.

Implied message: God has promised to make a great nation out of me. I am to be the source of many "waters". If you attack me and reduce my numbers, you will be going against the Will of God.

30 Nursing Camels and 30 Camel Colts

In addition, Jacob sent Esau 30 mother camels, who were nursing young and 30 camel colts (the nursing baby camels). The word "camel", in Hebrew, means "to repay" and "requite". The camel was an animal symbolizing wealth, as a camel train was the "semi truck" of the ancient world. The fact that the camels were nursing mothers and their babies lent another suggestion of abundance. Milk is a symbol of richness and prosperity. Remember, Canaan was referred to as "the land flowing with milk and honey".

In Hebrew, the number 30 is also the Hebrew letter "L", which is the lamed (lah-med). Lamed means “TEACHING” or "LEARNING". By sending 30 mother camels with their babies, Jacob was verifying the Message of the Lamed, plainly telling his brother that God (Yahweh) was Jacob's "Teacher" and that he had "Learned" his lesson.


By sending a drove of 30 camels with their young, Jacob was giving Esau this message:

Direct message: I desire to repay you. Please allow me to do so, as an agreement between us will be prosperous for us both.

Implied message: God has been teaching me. And I have learned my lesson. I am no longer the same guy that I was when I wronged you.

20 Rams, 20 Female Donkeys and 20 Male Goats

Besides these Jacob also sent Esau 20 rams and 20 male goats. the word "ram", in Hebrew, means "exalted" and "strength". The ram is the protector of the flock. And, as such, it is a symbol of God, Who was Jacob's Protector. 

In Hebrew, the number 20 is also the Hebrew letter "K", which is the khaf. Khaf means “COVER” or "COVERING" of Yahweh. By sending 20 rams and 20 male goats, Jacob was underscoring the Message of the Kaph, plainly telling his brother that God (Yahweh) was Jacob's "Protector" and "Covering".



The ancient Kaph was drawn as “a wing”.  The “wing” of the Almighty, is our protective covering –



Psalm 91:4  “He shall cover thee with His Feathers, and under His Wings (Kanaph) shalt thou trust…”
 

By sending a drove of 20 rams, Jacob was giving Esau this message:

Direct message: The Almighty God is my Protector.

Implied message: Since Yahweh is my Protector, if you choose to attack or harm me, He will deal with you.

Jacob's more direct message in the 20 rams was tempered by his humble message of the 20 goats. The goats were an acknowledgment of his past wrongs, and a suggested apology

By sending a drove of 20 male goats, Jacob was giving Esau this message:

Direct message: I recognize that I am a sinner. I am sorry for my past and am now fully covered under the Wings of the Almighty and authorized under His Authority.

Implied message: Since Yahweh is my Covering, I am no longer the same as I was before.

So why did Jacob send a drove of 20 donkeys to Esau? In Bible times, a donkey was a symbol of peace. Kings typically rode donkeys in times of peace. But a horse was ridden in times of war. Jacob's gift of donkeys to Esau was an offering of peace - it was a proverbial olive branch.

By sending a drove of 20 donkeys, Jacob was giving Esau this message:

Direct message: I, who am covered under the Wings of the Almighty (the meaning of 20), am wishing to make peace with you (the meaning of the donkeys).

Implied message: Since Yahweh is my Protector, if you choose to attack or harm me, He will deal with you. Considering this, I would think you would also want to make peace with me.

10 Bulls and 10 Foals

The smallest drove of animals which Jacob sent to Esau was 10 bulls. In Scripture, a bull is a symbol of "strength" (Proverbs 14:4) and "power in judgment" (Deuteronomy 33:17).  This gift to Esau signified that Judgment should be meted out. But the number of bulls (10) signified that God - not Esau - should be the One to judge Jacob.

In addition to the 10 bulls, Jacob also sent Esau 10 foals. The word "foal" from Genesis 32:15 is translated from the Hebrew word "bane". Bane is usually a word which is used for human children - sons.

Bane (usually rendered into English as "ben"), is found over 4,700 times in the Hebrew Scriptures. The word literally means son or children. In the Bible, it was translated nearly 3,000 times as "son" and 1,500 times as "children." The same word is also (but rarely) used to refer to the young of animals, as it does in Genesis 32:15. Here are a few examples in Scripture showing the primary meaning of bane:

"3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children [bane]; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." (Genesis 3:16 KJV)
"4:17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son [bane], Enoch." (Genesis 4:17 KJV)

Now let's look at the message in the number of animals - 10. In Hebrew, the number 10 is also the Hebrew letter "Y", which is the yod. Yod means “HAND” of Yahweh or "WORKS" of Yahweh. Now let's put the full message together which Jacob sent to Esau in the gift of the 10 bulls and 10 foals.

By sending a drove of 10 bulls, Jacob was giving Esau this message:

Direct message: I know that you believe I am deserving of Judgment (the meaning of the bull. And you are right. But the Work of Judging me belongs to God (the meaning of the 10) and God Alone.

Implied message: If you take God's Work upon yourself, you are putting yourself at unnecessary risk. God is perfectly able - and strong enough - to do Judgment without your help.

By sending a drove of 10 foals, Jacob was giving Esau this message:

Direct message: We are brothers, children of the same physical father and spiritual Father. God designed it so that we would be sons of the same father - brothers.

Implied message: Brothers shouldn't fight, nor resist the Work of God in causing Jacob and Esau to be created as brothers.

 When you break it all down and put the meaning of all the droves together, Jacob's appeasement fauniography read as follows:

 

I am servant of the Most High. God is my Commander and Chief. In Him, I am now blood-bought, washed, and made-clean from my past sins. (However you choose to deal with me, remember, God is my Chief. It is He Who decides what happens to me.)  

I do not try to hide my sins from you. I freely admit that I have been a rebellious goat. However, I am repentant for my past. Yahweh is my Captain now. I am a changed man. (However you choose to deal with me, remember, God is my Chief. It is He Who decides what happens to me.)  

God has blessed me and made me fruitful. I am now the father of a large tribe. (God has promised to make a great nation out of me. I am to be the source of many "waters". If you attack me and reduce my numbers, you will be going against the Will of God.)

I desire to repay you. Please allow me to do so, as an agreement between us will be prosperous for us both. (God has been teaching me. And I have learned my lesson. I am no longer the same guy that I was when I wronged you.)

The Almighty God is my Protector. (Since Yahweh is my Protector, if you choose to attack or harm me, He will deal with you.)

I recognize that I am a sinner. I am sorry for my past and am now fully covered under the Wings of the Almighty and authorized under His Authority. (Since Yahweh is my Covering, I am no longer the same as I was before.)

I, who am covered under the Wings of the Almighty, am wishing to make peace with you.

I know that you believe I am deserving of Judgment. But the Work of Judging me belongs to God and God Alone. (If you take God's Work upon yourself, you are putting yourself at unnecessary risk. God is perfectly able - and strong enough - to do Judgment without your help.)

We are brothers, children of the same physical father and spiritual Father. God designed it so that we would be sons of the same father - brothers. (Brothers shouldn't fight, nor resist the Work of God in causing us to be created as sons of the same father.)

What a "letter"! Jacob was truly a Spirit-led negotiator. And Esau heard Jacob's message, and received him with a brother's welcome.

I am thankful that the same wonderful God Who was Jacob's Protector and Covering also covers and protects all the seed of Israel as well! 

Be sure to add a COMMENT on this blog, sharing with us anything you found meaningful in your reading of today's Scripture passages. We will all love to hear from you (please keep the Comment relevant to today's reading - Thx!)