Daily D – Genesis 16:6-10
Howdy! And Happy New Year!
The Bible reading plan I am using this year is the YouVersion plan Bible Project: The Bible. I invite you to join me. You can learn more about the Bible Project here: https://bibleproject.com/
The Bible translation I will use this year is the New Living Translation. I will use the New International Version, the English Standard Version, the Christian Standard Bible, and The Message for comparison.
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Genesis 16:6-10 “Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away. The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied. The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.” (NLT)
What’s your word of the year? This is something new to me after hearing others talk about it for several years now. What one word or short phrase best describes your life’s focus for the year ahead?
Since God is better at redirecting your steps than you are in picking out a path, how about Redirection?
What if we gave God permission to redirect us as often as necessary without complaint and with expectation? It’s not as if God needs our permission to redirect us, but what if we decided not to go with the flow, and determined to go with the Spirit’s direction?
Think with me here:
- Adam and Eve walked with God, until they didn’t (Genesis 3:8-10).
- “Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him,” (5:23, 24).
- “Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God,” (6:9). But he had to be told to walk off of the boat (8:15). Then he planted a vineyard which led to a staggering, swaying, unrefined collapse in his tent.
- Abraham was told, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless,” (17:1 New International Version).
Adam and Eve were redirected.
Enoch’s direction took him completely off the map.
Noah had to be told to get off the boat.
Abraham was directed to a particular place (Genesis 12) which he entered and left. He was then redirected after a humiliating episode in Egypt. God’s refined redirection is found in 13:17.
Then we come to Lot’s story in chapters 14 and 19, and Hagar’s story in chapter 16. Lot took the easy way to the good life. It wasn’t as good as he expected. He was redirected.
Hagar ran away from a bad situation. God heard her and saw her and redirected her.
Course corrections are about the most normal things in our lives.
What if we had a spiritual GPS so that we didn’t have to be redirected so often? What if, in our walk with God, we knew which way to go and what to do in each circumstance? What if redirection was simply another word for living in step with God’s purpose for our lives?
This is what Galatians 5:16 is all about.
I say, then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh.
(Galatians 5:16 Christian Standard Bible)
We could write a few volumes of theology explaining what it means to walk by the Spirit, but let’s not overcomplicate it. At the beginning of the day, ask God to give you clear direction. As you go through the day, seek his continuing direction. When you get stuck at some point, ask again for his direction. And when you prepare to lie down and rest, write down how he directed, and redirected, your steps throughout the day.
Give thanks for the blessed redirections. Notice how, over time, patterns emerge. Pay attention to what you are sensing as you note how he regularly redirects you. Is he leading you to create new and better habits? Is he leading you into a new lifestyle? Is he leading you to join him in new places and experiences?
The most important thing we can do at the beginning of each day is to seek God and his direction.
The most important thing we can do at the end of the day is to reflect on how he led us and what he led us to and through.
I will seek God’s direction in the morning and throughout the day, and I will reflect on his direction each evening.
Our Father, my morning prayer is, “Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul,” (Psalm 143:8). With King David I also pray, “Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly,” (Psalm 5:3). Throughout the day, I pray in the spirit of Psalm 139:5: “You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” When I prepare to lie down and rest, Psalm 139:23, 24 will guide my reflection: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Redirect me as often as necessary to keep me in step with you. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”