When Liars Meet The Truth

Scripture Focus: Genesis 28.16-17

16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

Reflection: When Liars Meet The Truth
By John Tillman

Rebekah is sometimes overlooked in the story of Jacob and Esau.

Early in her pregnancy, a disturbed Rebekah consulted God, who revealed to her the prophesied destinies of her sons. (Genesis 25.21-26) Perhaps, this is why she subverts the process of inheritance to fulfill what she heard from God. Her dishonest methods are used by God to overturn the cultural traditions. 

After the con, to save Jacob’s life, Rebekah masterfully uses an unrelated family crisis to invent a reason to send Jacob away to Laban. His trip has a cover story, but Jacob is undeniably fleeing for his life.

Perhaps Rebekah learned deception from her brother, Laban, the master con-artist of the Bible. After all, they both pass off one sibling as another. (Genesis 29.21-28)

Jacob’s flight to Laban would save his life, but was also used by God to humble him. Jacob was suffering for his sins through the consequences of his actions. On the run, as an outcast, Jacob is rich on paper, but penniless by practical means. He’s promised the land he is laying on, but possessed only the dust adhered to his clothes and skin. 

With Laban, Jacob would be schooled in what it feels like to be tricked, cheated, and deceived by family. Yet, even on the run, Jacob finds God is with him. The liar meets the truth. As alone as Jacob was, and as outcast and alone as we may feel, “God is in this place” even if we don’t realize it.

Jacob is an example of our position in this world. We are children of the promise now, but we do not hold the promise yet. Jacob’s life shows us that even sinful, insecure, fearful people can be used by God. 

Jacob shows us that God does not always pick the mighty, overly-masculine Esaus of the world. Those considered “less manly” or just “less than” by their culture are still called and used by God. 

Whatever situation we find ourselves in or however the world views us, we can be assured that God’s presence is near. The distance we may feel from God is usually one of our own making. 

When we humble ourselves and come to him, he will show himself to us and enter our lives to make us into a blessing for others. Even those rightly called “Jacob” can be changed to be called “Israel.”

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Let us make a vow to the Lord our God and keep it; let all around him bring gifts to him who is worthy to be feared. — Psalm 76.11

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Genesis 28 (Listen – 3:17)
Matthew 27 (Listen – 8:45)

Read more about The Predicament of Self-Obsession
We are supposed to find ourselves in Jacob’s story—anxious and myopic, insecure in our blessing—but we are not supposed to be content with this.

https://theparkforum.org/843-acres/the-predicament-of-self-obsession/

Read more about Faith of the Flawed
We do not have the time or space to recount all the shortcomings of these very human and flawed “heroes” of faith.

https://theparkforum.org/843-acres/faith-of-the-flawed/

A Trinity of Neglect :: A Guided Prayer

Matthew 25.37-40
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

1 Timothy 4.13-15
Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.

Reflection: A Trinity of Neglect :: A Guided Prayer
By John Tillman

Matthew 25 is famous for the sheep and the goats parable. But really, the entire chapter is about people who shirked their responsibilities to themselves, to their master, and to others. The foolish virgins, the wicked servant, and the goats are a trinity of spiritual neglect.

Pray this weekend through the three stories. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you warning signs if you are following the path of one of these neglectful souls.

May we avoid the neglect of The Foolish Virgins…
We need not stumble into extravagant sin to endanger our relationship with you, Lord.

The virgins excluded from the banquet were not lascivious, or lustful. They were not greedy or cruel. They simply were irresponsible and unthoughtful.

May we never fall into the dim thoughtlessness of complacency, and may we regularly refresh ourselves with the oil of your Holy Spirit to brighten our lamps when called on.

May we avoid the lazy apathy of The Wicked Servant…
We need not squander your blessings to use them unworthily, oh Lord.

The servant given one bag of gold didn’t lose it, or gamble it away. He didn’t try to steal it. He just didn’t try to use it. The servant failed to understand, and so do we, that the king wasn’t investing his money with people. He was investing in people with his money. The king expected growth in the servant. Growth of the gold would only be a side effect. He would have found more mercy in the master had he tried and failed, than in failing to even try.

May we dare to step out with whatever seemingly insignificant gift he has given us. You, oh Lord, do not despise small beginnings or small gifts well and truly used in faith.

May we avoid the careless denial of responsibility of the goats…
We need not be ignorant of you, Lord, to miss heaven. We need only be uninvolved and unconcerned for others.

The goats didn’t actively cause hunger, or thirst, or homelessness, or refugees. They didn’t cause nakedness, or crime, or unjust punishment, or oppression, or sickness. They just didn’t do anything about it. This was enough to show that Christ had no place in their lives and they had no place with Christ in his eternal life.

Dwell with the Holy Spirit this weekend, asking him to enlighten you about areas in which you may be prone to following in the missteps of the virgins, the servant, or the goats.

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  — 2 Corinthians 4.6

– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
Genesis 26 (Listen – 4:31) 
Matthew 25 (Listen – 6:04)

This Weekend’s Readings
Genesis 27 (Listen – 6:25) Matthew 26 (Listen – 10:01)
Genesis 28 (Listen – 3:17) Matthew 27 (Listen – 8:45)

Join Our New Facebook Group:
This weekend, in our new Facebook group for email subscribers, we will begin with the first of a series of short live videos discussing some simple, practical tools of spiritual practice using modern technology. Join the group to discuss them with us.

Follow this link to find the group. When you request to join, you will be prompted to answer questions about the email that you have used to subscribe to The Park Forum. Once we check that you are a subscriber, we will approve you to join the group.

Read more about Cultivation Leads to Harvest
We are responsible for the care of our communities, spiritually and physically. This requires a financial and a spiritual harvest.

Read more about Beyond Selfish Thankfulness
We too often, like Jonah, feel responsible that those who have wronged us should not “get away with it.” But in God’s timing, nothing goes unpunished.

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