Welcome to our daily “Bible in a Year” devotional. I hope you’ll join us every day. Scroll down for more commentaries or click on “Bible in a Year.” Don’t worry if you’re behind, each day’s devotion stands on it’s own. Anytime we read God’s Word, it’s profitable (2 Tim. 3.16).
On to our reading …
Genesis 35 & 36
What is the unpardonable sin?
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
There’s often a great deal of concern about verses 31 and 32 where Matthew talked about the unforgivable or unpardonable sin:
31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
Jesus described it as “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”
Notice Jesus was talking to a group of Pharisees who knew the prophesies about the Messiah, witnessed His miracles first hand, knew the truth of His claims, and still blasphemed the Holy Spirit: They watched God work and then attributed those works to Satan for their own evil purposes. And Jesus knew their hearts.
Charles Ryrie in his book Basic Theology says, “… theirs was a sin committed to His face. To commit this particular sin required the personal and visible presence of Christ on earth; to commit it today, therefore, would be impossible.”
To blaspheme is to lie about God, something of which the Apostle Paul was certainly guilty before he was converted on the road to Damascus. But it wasn’t unforgivable. So, as far as rejecting God, making fun of believers, denying the truth, and many things that you and I may have done, none of those things are unforgivable. So what is the only sin which will keep up out of heaven today?
Only the sin of not accepting Christ, if we were to die in that state. But as long as we have breath, we can repent (admit we’re sinners and turn from our sin), accept the Lord and His forgiveness, and be saved. That’s good news, indeed!
Swept & Clean
In verses 43-45, the house that was swept and clean is a picture of a person who tries to live a good life, to somehow clean up her act without the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. The house is “empty”—the Holy Spirit is not there. This person is not saved, not regenerated, and eventually something unsavory will come back in.
Jesus’ Half-Brothers & Sisters
In verses 46 and 47 we read about Jesus’ half-brothers. They are mentioned in all of the Gospels. Four of them are named. Sisters also are mentioned in other passages. Mary did not remain a virgin after the birth of Jesus. She was just a woman, though obviously a very godly woman. But she was a woman who needed a Savior just like us. She isn’t interceding for anyone. She is busy worshiping her Savior!
Today’s Other Readings:
In chapter 35 Jacob’s father, Isaac, was dying and Jacob was about to become the patriarch of this family that had been chosen by God. God began to prepare him, in part, by showing him he needed to get his household in order.
Next God reminded him of the covenant promises. His twelve sons would be the heads of twelve families who would become the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. And through one of them, Judah, the Messiah would one day come.
In the midst of all this, Rachel had her second son and died in childbirth. What a temptation it must have been for Jacob to get discouraged—to lose his beloved Rachel in the midst of preparing for God’s purpose in his life!
Have you ever been tempted to question God’s timing in your life? Jacob had to make a decision—was he going to continue trusting God or was he going to follow what must have been some pretty intense feelings?
We are sometimes faced with that same challenge. Maybe we have prayed and we don’t see the answer we expected. Or maybe we have suffered a setback or a devastating loss as Jacob did. At times like that it is vitally important to know God, to know His character, and to understand His sovereignty.
Before we leave these two chapters, notice in chapter 36 that, while God had chosen Jacob for His purposes, He didn’t forget Esau. In fact, He blessed him so much that the land couldn’t contain them both with all their people and animals.
Those Who Know His Name
Verse 10 begins, “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You …”
God’s name represents His character. The more intimately we know God, the more able we are to put our faith and trust in Him. So if you are struggling to trust Him, get to know Him better. You might read a book like A.W. Pink’s The Attributes of God or Wayne Mack’s It’s Not Fair!. Or use a concordance to look up verses about God’s goodness, His faithfulness, and His sovereignty. (For a good online concordance check out Bible Gateway. It’s free and easy to use.)
Like Jacob who had met God, wrestled with Him, and was learning to trust and obey His commands, we, too, can continue to trust, follow, and obey Him in the midst of difficult circumstances and in spite of feelings to the contrary!
Verses 27 and 28 remind us to take care of our debts and responsibilities without procrastination.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due.”
“It is due”—it is expected. We are not only to pay our debts, but God has called us to a lifestyle of giving. We should not be stingy, hating to let go of our money, but eager to help others and support kingdom work!
What is God saying to you personally this morning? Do you need to get to know Him better so you can trust Him more? Is He clarifying something? Asking you to change something? To rethink something you’ve always believed? If He’s asking you to change or do something different, sit down and make a plan. How will you do it? What will the change look like?
Lord, help us come to know You better and better. Give us a desire to change and grow and help us to step out in faith, in Jesus name, amen.
The Attributes of God
The foundation of our knowledge of God rests upon knowing what he is like. Without understanding God’s attributes, we have a skewed perception of him–often one cast in our own image. We need more than just a theoretical knowledge of God in order to worship him as he desires. This classic work of Arthur W. Pink invites readers to discover the truth about seventeen attributes of God, including his sovereignty, immutability, patience, love, faithfulness, and much more. Pink shows readers a God who is alive, all-powerful, and active in his creation. The perfect introductory text, The Attributes of God also has enough depth and meat to satisfy the more experienced reader.
It’s Not Fair!: Finding Hope When Times Are Tough
When people complain about their lot in life, thinking God is not treating them as He should, they need to read this book. “It’s Not Fair!” comes alongside each person where they are, and moves them to a place where they can finally rest in God’s attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, love, and justice through the use of sound biblical encouragement.
You might also like:
I would love to have you join me on this journey through the Bible. Just sign up for the BIBLE IN A YEAR daily posts so you don’t miss a single one!
Sign up now and receive a copy of “Prayer for Busy, Imperfect Pray-ers: 5 Strategies to Jumpstart Your Prayer Life.”
You can also SIGN UP FOR SPECIAL “CHRISTIAN LIVING” posts, including the new series “A Marriage Make in Heaven?”
I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:
Mondays Making Your Home Sing Musing Mondays Darling Downs Diaries The Modest Mom The Art of Homemaking
Tuesdays Testimony Tuesdays Purposeful Faith Tuesday Talk
Wednesdays Messy Marriage Christian Blogger Linkup A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Seeking God in All I Do Coffee for Your Heart Women of Intention
Thursdays Frog’s Lily Pad Booknificent Thursdays 3-D Lessons for Life
Fridays Missional Women Grace & Truth Faith & Friends
Sundays Spiritual Sundays
This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!
“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.