Worship – Genesis 13

So after his failure in Egypt, God still provided for him, and… 
He returned to the place where he had pitched his tent 
at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai.
This was the place where he had first built the altar,
and there Abram worshiped the Lord.

I really appreciate that Abram went back to where he had known God, where God has spoken to him, where he had worshipped him. Unlike Adam who hid after his sin, when Abram was confronted, he moved towards God. That’s a great lesson to me – that no matter how humbled I am, how ashamed I may feel, I can approach God by going back to him and recapture relationship.

But there were still problems. Abram, now reconnected with God in worship, realized continuing with Lot was problematic. While he was the elder with all the power, he humbled himself and gave Lot first choice of the land. Lot looked over the land and took what he thought was best for himself.

But God’s ways are not our ways, and Lot overlooked the power of sin which would someday undo his family and fortune. 

Abram was the peacemaker in this situation, giving of himself and his desires for the free choice of another. Right or wrong, he let Lot make his own decision.

Abram’s reward was God reaffirming his covenant with him, giving him and generations to come the land: Get up and walk throughout the land, for I will give it to you.”

And, Abram’s response once again, was to worship God: “So Abram moved his tents and went to live by the oaks of Mamre in Hebron, and he built an altar to the Lord there.” (remember this location…it will comeback again!)

When we make bad decisions, its a reason to worship. And when we make good decisions, that’s a reason to worship. 

There is always a reason to worship. 

Job – God’s Response


Poor Job. We just saw him trounced upon once more by a lad half his age (my uneducated guess). Job is out of words, and probably out of will. Dejected, he sits by the side of the road, suffering physically, mentally, emotionally distant from all he loved and lost, feeling far from God…

 Then God answers in a whirlwind!

First, the whirlwind. God could have come in any number of ways, as even rocks cry out his glory. But after all the “hot air” used to rebuke Job, God decided to out “wind” them all. He made his presence undeniable, his power unquestionable. 

And then the voice. What did it sound like? Imagine sitting there with Job through all those boring days of heat, nights of cold, and then lectures ending in silence — only to experience a mini-tornado — with a voice, the very voice of God!

And God addresses Job, not his friends. He speaks directly, asking questions of his own. He focuses on “Who am I?” as well as “Who are you?” Different than Job’s friends who made the case of who God is in order to bring Job to repentance, God uses it to show the differences in their relationship. It’s not about what we do or don’t do, or even the specifics of sin. 

It’s all about relationship.

It’s about the trust and faith we can have in a God who is all powerful AND all loving. Even when things are hard, and we suffer, can we trust in him?

And God does not owe us blessings —

Who then is he who can stand before me?
Who has first given to me, that I should repay him?
Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.

Just as salvation is unjust in that we don’t deserve it, suffering may also be unjust. We have done nothing to deserve salvation. We may have done nothing to deserve suffering.

This goes against so much of what we, like Job and his friends, so falsely believe. It’s the focus of the book of Job. It’s not about worshipping blessing and refuting suffering – it’s about making God what we worship. It’s not about what we earn, good or bad. It’s about understanding our relationship with God and his grace, and placing our trust/faith in him.

God does not owe us anything.

It’s purely by his grace we can be saved.

Job – And Then It Happened…

This book is so hard!

God allowes “all hell to break loose” in Job’s life. Foreign enemies capture his herds and servants, his wealth.  Then fire from heaven, lightening, starts a fire, burning up other herds. That would be equivalent of losing your business or job, your bank accounts and investments, all in one moment.

Other enemies capture his camels, his mode of transportation if he needs to flee, and another signs of wealth. It’s as if your car, bike, bus, boat, air travel, everything material is now gone!

Then a tornado hit the building his children are in, killing them all. There are no future generations…no future.

How did Job respond?

First, he felt the pain. Don’t let anyone brush this off as if God spares Christians pain. There are no pat answers. There is just pain, waves and waves of gut-wrenching pain. Let anyone who has known deep grief tell you about the pain that rocked them.

Secondly, he expressed the pain. He didn’t hide it. He did what people in his culture did to let the pain out of himself and on display for all to see. He couldn’t sit with the pain inside of him, so he arose. He tore the clothes covering his body, emotions and pain screaming. He shaved his head because he couldn’t bear to even have his hair cover his pain. And he fell to the ground with no personal strength to endure the overwhelming suffering.

Third, he worshipped. 

That was not what I was expecting, nor what I would see myself doing if I had gotten the news Jeb had. But he said,”

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord.”

 Job knew all the blessings he had been given. The ability to have children and wealth and power were not of his own. They were blessings from God he never felt he deserved in the first place. And even when they were taken away — 

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

There are no “whys?” There is no defense. There are no accusations from Job that he didn’t deserve such awful suffering. He didn’t tell God it was unfair, or that his enemy deserved it more than he did. 

Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

I think of myself, in my meager sufferings. I’m often tempted to compare myself to others, to feel I’m getting the raw end of the stick. Or I’m tempted to say, “If you don’t care, I don’t either” and push God away. 

Can I have the same response as Job?