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August 27, 2018

Amish farm in Lancaster County, PA 8/25/18
Harvest scene on a Lancaster County Amish farm

"A Lesson From Lentil Stew"

Message summary: May today's story reinforce in our lives the much greater value of long-term rewards over short-term gain.

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"So Esau despised his birthright" (Genesis 25:34).

We had a special time Saturday evening on the Old Windmill Farm. Our friends Jesse and Anna Ruth give farm tours of their authentic Amish farm and are meeting many, many people from all over the world. A family from India (now living in Maryland) took a farm tour months ago and have been back several times, befriending the Lapp family. They have a strong Christian witness, becoming believers, while living in India prior to coming to the USA.

They brought an Indian meal to share with the Lapp family and we were also invited. It was a wonderful evening and we sure enjoyed the food and fellowship. The meal included several types of seasoned lentil stews. My previous experience with lentils is the sample tables at Costco and I normally refrained from that sample since there are usually many other samples available I tend to enjoy more! But the seasoning and broths (probably lots of cumin seasoning) really added a lot of tasty flavor to the lentils.

Lentil soups

While we were commenting on the tasty food Jesse asked where in the Bible lentils are mentioned and Brooksyne correctly recalled today's text. Lentils are an edible legume and a dietary staple throughout regions of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. But interestingly the majority of world production comes from Canada.

When studying the Bible and the stories from history there are at least two types of value:
  • These stories provide the historical background for later events as part of the one story of the Bible.
  • These stories contain lessons that are applicable to any age and culture. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10, in regard to events recorded in the Old Testament, "Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction" (v.11).
Jacob and EsauToday's story is found in Genesis 25:27-34. Esau and Jacob, the twin boys of Isaac and Rebekah, had grown up and each demonstrated different interests. Jacob who had a pattern of deception cunningly used his own brother's weakness to his own advantage, in stealing his birthright.

Here's the context: "When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; and Esau said to Jacob, 'Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.' Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, 'First sell me your birthright.' Esau said, 'Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?' And Jacob said, 'First swear to me'; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright" (Genesis 25: 29-34).

There's so much to learn in this story.
  • Jacob's cunning plan to get his own way is an example of people manipulating, showing warts and all. Exposing the real motives behind one's actions reveals a person's true character. It's easier to read about another's manipulative ways, such as Jacob, than to examine our own motives and strategy when seeking to have our own way.
  • The parents demonstrable favoritism. "Now Isaac loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob" (v. 28). It seems they missed one of the "Focus On The Family" programs!
  • Esau's overstatement of being "famished" and "about to die". Now I am sure he was very hungry after being out in the field but was he really "about to die"? I don't think so! Yet how often do we tend to overstate a matter to advance our agenda?
But today let us just consider the phrase this account ends with: "So Esau despised his birthright"

The birthright had to do with both inheritance of goods and position. Esau acted impulsively. He did not value his birthright over a bowl of lentil stew. By his actions, Esau demonstrated that he did not deserve to be the one who continues Abraham's responsibilities and rewards under God's covenant, since he did not have the steady, thoughtful qualities which were required.

Like Esau, in many ways we all face many tests in life between the short-term gain and the long-term reward.

A great example of one who passed this test was Moses who, "By faith, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward" (Hebrews 11:24-26).

On the other hand the Scriptures demonstrate their integrity by showing not only the positive qualities of great characters but also the negative. It records the story of David and his dalliance with Bathsheba. What a costly sin David experienced for the passing pleasures of sin. So many were adversely affected.

How often in our own lives do we foolishly rob ourselves of a future blessing in favor of instant gratification? May today's story reinforce in our lives the much greater value of long-term rewards over short-term gain.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, it's a fact that others judge us by our actions, but You judge us by our motives. You know the very intent of our heart so we cannot deceive You by our words or actions. Purify our hearts, let us be as gold and precious silver, so that we are of great worth in the kingdom of God. When impurities are removed our motives are pure and guide our actions which brings about a powerful witness for the sake of the gospel. It also keeps us out of the kind of trouble that is of our own doing so that we more steadily build a firm foundation based upon the Word of God. Keep us on the righteous path all our days, we pray. Amen.

Twins 8/26/18
Today's account describes one of two sets of twins in the Bible (the others are Perez and Zerah found in Genesis 38.) Yesterday afternoon we attended a "remake" of the "Old-Fashioned Revival Hour" broadcast (we'll share more about that tomorrow). We met these two sets of twins who have been longtime friends. Richard and Robert Mellinger were born one week after Brooksyne in 1955. Verna and Viola Mueller we born in 1933. Each year they travel out with a third set of twins to the Twinsburg Ohio Twin Days Festival recorded as the largest annual gathering of twins in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. (I know Richard and Robert as they run a business where I buy coal.)

Indian families on Old Windmill Farm 8/25/18
Indian families on the Old Windmill Farm. Interestingly, in light of today's text, these children are also twins!

Indian meal on the Old Windmill Farm 8/25/18
Tasty Indian meal on the Old Windmill Farm and great fellowship!

Pig slide on the Old Windmill Farm 8/25/18
Jesse and Anna Ruth had an outstanding day of agri-tourism on Saturday, their best ever. When we arrived the last tour came, a family from New Jersey. A highlight for each tour is watching the pig slide but Jesse had to remind them that these pigs had been going down the slide all day and were tired!

Strasburg scooters on the Old Windmill Farm 8/25/18
The Strasburg scooters bring additional color to the already colorful Old Windmill Farm! Many tourists rent them while exploring Strasburg and the surrounding rural area.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Guy Penrod 8/26/18 Last night we attended an outdoor concert in Lebanon, PA to hear Guy Penrod who sang for many years with the Gaither Vocal Band.

It was a beautiful evening with a huge crowd and we were blessed by the music and his preaching between songs.

Here are several songs we enjoyed last night:

"Revelation Song"  Video  Guy Penrod

"You Reign"  Video  Guy Penrod

"Victory In Jesus"  Video  Guy Penrod

"If You Knew Him"  Video  The Perrys  We met two Indian men Saturday night, Raj and his wife's uncle, Samson. Both shared their testimony as Christians for several generations. Samson shared of a method he used In India to present the truth claims of Christ by focusing on the empty tomb. That brought to mind this song, "If You Knew Him"!

Finally today:
John and Bonita Watts 5/28/10
In 2010 John and Bonita Watts from Tulsa, OK stopped by to meet us. Tulsa is a large city but as we got acquainted we learned that they both worked for a number of years at Bama with Brooksyne's Aunt Ramona.  Bonita served as director of development for many years, creating some of their recipes. You may never have heard of Bama but you've probably eaten their delicious food. They make the biscuits and fruit pies sold at McDonalds and pizza crust at Pizza Hut - makes me hungry just to write about it. We've stayed in touch with this couple via Daily Encouragement. We were so saddened to learn that they were killed in an automobile accident near their home early this month. We had just corresponded via email only days earlier.

Moving silo on Amish farm in Lancaster County, PA 8/25/18
We see a lot of interesting scenes driving through rural Lancaster County such as the harvest we have at the top today. One of the great benefits of digital photography is just snapping away not worrying about film and development costs. So we often take them on the fly. After getting home I noticed that that this photo gives the appearance that the silo is being moved on the hay wagon! (Sorry about the blurriness of this photo but as I said we take many on the fly.)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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