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God and Goggles

Psalm 16 begins with a cry for divine help: “Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge” (16:1). Yet the bulk of the psalm does not focus on that from which the psalmist needs refuge. Rather, Psalm 16 celebrates God’s help in difficult times, his presence that keeps us safe and gladdens our hearts.

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An image of Melchizedek painted onto the altar side near the Royal Doors at Libotin wooden church, Maramureş County, Romania

One of the Strangest Passages in the Bible

Every now and then we come across passages in the Bible that confound us. Even if we can figure out the basic sense of the text, still we are filled with questions, most of which will remain unanswered.

Genesis 14:18-20 is such a passage. I would contend that it is one of the strangest texts in the Bible . . .

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God’s Amazing Grace for Leaders: One More Example

Before we leave the story of Abram’s gracious and faithful leadership in Genesis 13, I want to share one more example with you. But first, let me review the story in Genesis.

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God’s Amazing Grace for Leaders: A Personal Example

In Genesis 13, Abram chose to be gracious to Lot, his nephew, allowing Lot to have the land that was apparently better for livestock. Abram took the land that was less obviously beneficial, though it was the land of Canaan, the land God had promised to Abram. Immediately after Abram’s decision to be gracious to Lot and to trust God, God spoke to Abram, graciously affirming him and reassuring him.

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How God Forms Us as Leaders

God forms us as leaders in a wide variety of ways. Through Scripture and the Spirit, through challenges and community, through suffering and blessing, God shapes our hearts, minds, and behaviors so that our leadership might be both effective and honoring to him.

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Photograph of a chocolate bar divided into a large piece labeled "Mine" and a smaller piece labeled "Yours"

Gracious, Faithful Leadership

In the second half of Genesis 12, we watched Abram in one of his poorer moments as a leader. He risked the honor and even the life of his wife in order to save his own skin. Not a banner moment for Abram!

By contrast, in Genesis 13 we see a completely different side of Abram. We see him lead in a tricky situation that could easily have brought out Abram’s selfishness. Yet, in fact, he led with grace and faithfulness, and thus he offers a fitting example for us.

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When You Lead Poorly, Your Followers Will Suffer

Genesis 12:10-20 tells the story of Abram and Sarai in Egpyt. As we saw in last Saturday’s devotion, Abram’s fear of personal harm caused him to tell Sarai to hide the fact that she was his wife. The narrative implies that Sarai went along with this scheme as, indeed, would have been expected of a wife in that cultural context. She was to follow her husband’s leadership without question.

Indeed, things did go well for Abram because of Sarai his “sister.”

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article image for Where Have You Fixed Your Attention?

Where Have You Fixed Your Attention?

Psalm 16 begins with a cry for divine help: “Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge” (16:1). Yet the bulk of the psalm does not focus on that from which the psalmist needs refuge. Rather, Psalm 16 celebrates God’s help in difficult times, his presence that keeps us safe and gladdens our hearts.

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When Fear Takes Over

One of the things I love about the Bible is its realistic portrayal of its heroes. We see them in their glory and in their shortcomings. They both inspire us and model for us behavior that we ought to avoid. The realism of Scripture underscores its trustworthiness even as it teaches how we ought and ought not to live.

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Where Is Your Altar?

When God told Abram to leave Haran and go “to the land that I will show you” (12:1), Abram went in obedience and faith (12:4). Finally, after a journey of about 400 miles, Abram and his entourage arrived at Shechem in the land of Canaan (12:6). When the Lord told Abram that he would give this land to Abram’s offspring, Abram “built there an altar to the LORD” (12:7).

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It’s Never Too Late

Without fanfare, Genesis 12:4 announces that “Abram was 75 years old when he departed from Haran.” At 75, Abram began the greatest adventure of his life. At 75, he left all that was familiar to explore the utterly unfamiliar world beyond Haran. At the ripe age of 75, Abram started a new life.

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The Obedient Leader

When we think of leadership, we picture someone who is in charge, someone with authority, someone who influences others and perhaps even tells them what to do. Indeed, leaders are often (though not always) given authority over others. A general in the army, for example, exercises leadership partly through giving orders, orders that are to be followed exactly as given.

Yet, leaders also know when to obey.

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