This blog exists as a simple guide to help those who desire to read through the One Year® Chronological Bible, NIV (Tyndale, 1995, 1984 NIV translation). Contents on this blog are copyrighted.
Go to for the blog that follows the One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV, NLT or 2011 NIV.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Hidden Idols of the Heart

Idolatry plays a role in the seminal days of the nation of Israel. Abraham’s father, Terah, worshiped idols (Joshua 24:2); it skips over Abraham and Isaacs’ generation, but rears its ugly head again in Jacob’s generation. 

Rachel takes the household gods of her father and hides them when Jacob gathers his family to flee from Laban.  
What was true of Rachel is true of many believers throughout history. She possessed an image of a god with which she was familiar and comfortable. A god she could carry around with her. A god who was smaller than she. A god hidden away among her possessions. A god who isn’t God at all. She also experienced the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who opened her womb, who instructed Jacob to return the land promised to Abraham. Hers was a syncretistic religion—a blending of Laban’s god with Jacob’s God—therefore, she operated out of a corrupt view of God. 
Westerners may not have carved images in their houses, but they’ve images of God they’ve created in their hearts. Images of God with a mouth that cannot speak. Images of God with ears that cannot hear. Images with hands that cannot help. Distant. Aloof. Unseeing. Images of God that do not interfere, confront, correct, lead or punish—one that is tolerant, passive, and Santa Claus-like. Imbalanced. Un-biblical. 
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob speaks, sees, hears, and acts. He is loving, patient, intimately involved, redemptive, firm, powerful, confrontational, wise, merciful, gracious, and jealous. 
A saint from the past diagnosed the problem of idolatry in the heart, “There is a god we want and a God who is; the turning point comes when we relinquish the god we want Him to be and embrace the God who is.”
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob doesn’t resemble the god of Laban and Rachel in any way. May God search our hearts and reveal the images we’ve entertained of Him that are corrupt and ignoble. May we replace these images with the view of Him revealed in the Scriptures—incorruptible, unchanging, and everlasting.

Older Posts
Wrestling With God

"So Jacob was alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak" (Genesis 32:24).

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines wrestling as "a sport or contest in which two unarmed individuals struggle hand-to-hand with each attempting to subdue or unbalance the other."

Jacob wrestles with God. An unequal match to be certain. God has no weakness to be exploited, but Jacob does.

Jacob's battle was never really with Esau or Laban (See Ephesians 6:12; 2 Cor. 10:3); it was spiritual in nature and it was between him and his God. God wrestles with Jacob to bring him to the end of himself. This "wrestler with God" has spent his entire life exploiting others instead of relying upon God to fulfill His promises for his life. This final wrestling with God has brought him to the end of himself where he can't go back and he can't go forward without God's intervention and protection. He truly is between a rock and a hard place. What a great place to be--where God shows up!

How do we "wrestle" with God today?
  • When we scheme to make things happen
  • When we make promises to God based upon our own ability rather than surrendering to God
  • When we take advantage of others
  • When we run away from our problems instead of taking our problems to God
We all have our Peniel's-places where we finally surrender our abilities and embrace God's promises and power.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Genesis 31:1-32:32
  • What are the two indicators that it is time for Jacob to return to Canaan?
  • What does God promise Jacob?
  • How does God come to Jacob's aid as he flees Leban?
  • What does this tell you about God?
  • Describe Jacob's emotional state as he prepares to face his brother?
  • Genesis 32:9 records the first time that Jacob actually seeks God. What is the basis of his prayer?
  • In spite of God's promises to Jacob what does he continue to do as he prepares to meet Esau?
  • What does Jacob learn about himself, about scheming, and about God at Peniel?
Turning truth into prayer
Is there something you are wrestling with God over? The sooner you surrender the less painful it will be. Offer a prayer of surrender to the Lord Jesus.