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Powers Road Field of Flowers

A field of wild flowers is splendid. It encourages my innermost. If uncultivated soil can support such magnificence how much more encouraged I should be by him who cultivates my heart?  Matthew 6:28-34

Field of Wild Flowers by Powers Road

Gogebic County, MI
Notes: 8 images stitched and cropped.

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“I Will Believe It A Good Comfortable Road”

Over 10 years ago during vacation bible school a friend shared this passage with the students she was teaching. The passage was from a book about the travels of Lewis and Clark.

May 26, 1805 – The camp was in Fergus County, Montana, two miles below the mouth of Windsor Creek. The men used the tow lines to pull the boats up the river. Lewis saw the Rocky Mountains for the first time and left a lengthy description of the countryside: “In the after part of the day I also walked out and ascended the river hills which I found sufficiently fortiegueing. on arriving to the summit one of the highest points in the neighbourhood I thought myself well repaid for any labour; as from this point I beheld the Rocky Mountains for the first time these points of the Rocky Mountains were covered with snow and the sun shone on it in such manner as to give me the most plain and satisfactory view. while I viewed these mountains I felt a secret plaesure in finding myself so near the head of the heretofore conceived boundless Missouri; but when I reflected on the difficulties which this snowy barrier would most probably throw in my way to the Pacific, and the sufferings and hardships of myself and party in them, it in some measure counterbalanced the joy I felt in the 1st moments in which I gazed on them; but as I have always held it a crime to anticipate evils I will believe it a good comfortable road untill I am compelled to believe differently.” -Meriwether Lewis

Adapted from the Lewis and Clark timeline. Emphasis added.

The quote may have been misplaced in my mind for almost 10 years but recent events in my life knocked it lose from the back of my mind and brought it to my memory. There may be 200 years between Mr. Lewis and myself but the words so succinctly describe my feelings on the adventure that was awaiting me.

Protected: Jacob and Esau

Genesis 25

19 This is the account of Abraham’s son Isaac.
Abraham became the father of Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram [d] and sister of Laban the Aramean.

Family tree.

21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.

23 The LORD said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”

24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 25 The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. [e] 26 After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. [f] Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.

27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

According to Jewish tradition Jacob, as a quiet man, was a student in the Torah. Where as Esau was a rugged man and prone to violence. Since it isn’t part of scripture I don’t want to focus on the folklore but it reminds us there was more to the story than was written and that they were very opposite people. Supposedly Esau slew Nimrod which added to the reason why Esau shouldn’t inherit the birthright. This could affirm why Rebekah loved Jacob.

Regardless, we will see in the next section that Esau doesn’t hold his birthright with proper respect.

29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom. [g] )

31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”

32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
So Esau despised his birt

Before discussing the sales of the birthright it is interesting to note this article from the Jewish encyclopedia.

it is said (B. B. 16b; comp. Gen. R. lxiii. 14) that lentils form a suitable dish for mourners because they have no “mouth” (i.e., “slit”), like the mourner who in his anguish is struck dumb, and by their round form they symbolize the going around of trouble and loss in this world.

Read more:

Where a green bean has a seam to open up and get the seeds out, apparently, a lentil does not. It is a very common soup that holds no special value. Not much of a trade for the birthright.

Esau doesn’t have a proper perspective or reverence for the covenant that he was in the line of. His birthright as first born held no importance to him and we see his perception of it’s value become evident.  What was right of the first born?

Deuteronomy 21:15-17 (New International Version)

The Right of the Firstborn

15 If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love, 16 when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love. 17 He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father’s strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him.

Why was the right of firstborn importance? According to a Jewish encyclopedia:

It is apparent from the preceding regulations that both in the Old Testament and in the rabbinical law the prerogative of primogeniture was not conceived as an inalienable right inherent in thefirst-born, but rather as a gift by the Law, prompted by economic considerations. The eldest son, who was to take the father’s position, was to be placed economically in a condition to be able to preside with dignity over the family—something like the right of majorat. It is, moreover, probable that thefirst-born had the obligation of maintaining the female members of the family who remained in the household. For the Talmudic regulation of the status and maintenance of the unmarried daughters after the father’s death see Ket. 68a, b.

Read more:

Just a few verses later we see Esaus’ continued disregard for his parents, family, and covenent his grandfather made with God.  He took wives that God had otherwise forbidden Abraham and Isaac to marry from.

Genesis 26

34 When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.

Genesis 27

Jacob Gets Isaac’s Blessing

1 When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.”
“Here I am,” he answered.2 Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. 3 Now then, get your weapons—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. 4 Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.”

5 Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the LORD before I die.’ 8 Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: 9 Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. 10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.”

11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I’m a man with smooth skin.12 What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.”

13 His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.”

We see Rebekah take a very active role in the future line of Abraham. Isaac seems to ignore the prophecy about the older serving the younger and the sale of Esau’s birthright while Rebekah correctly deal with the situation.

14 So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. 15 Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. 16 She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. 17 Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made.

18 He went to his father and said, “My father.”
“Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?”

19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game so that you may give me your blessing.”

20 Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”
“The LORD your God gave me success,” he replied.

21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.”

22 Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he blessed him. 24 “Are you really my son Esau?” he asked.
“I am,” he replied.

25 Then he said, “My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing.”
Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here, my son, and kiss me.”

27 So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said,
“Ah, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a field
that the LORD has blessed.

28 May God give you of heaven’s dew
and of earth’s richness—
an abundance of grain and new wine.

29 May nations serve you
and peoples bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed
and those who bless you be blessed.”

Often times you might hear a Christian pray for the blessing and peace of Isreal. The reason behind their motivation is found in verse 29. The statement is opened ended but it isn’t directly spoken by God. However, it is affirmed by God in Number 24:9. The Isrealites are traveling from Egypt to the promise land when of of the kings of the land they were to pass through wishes to see them destroyed. So he paid Balaam, the sorcerer, to curse the Isrealites. However, it ends up the Spirit of the Lord comes upon Balaam and he is unable to curse  them – only bless. He reiterates – as spoken by the Spirit of God – those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed.

30 After Isaac finished blessing him and Jacob had scarcely left his father’s presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting.31 He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, “My father, sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”

32 His father Isaac asked him, “Who are you?”
“I am your son,” he answered, “your firstborn, Esau.”

33 Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!”

34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, my father!”

35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.”

36 Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob [a] ? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”

37 Isaac answered Esau, “I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?”

38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!” Then Esau wept aloud.

39 His father Isaac answered him,
“Your dwelling will be
away from the earth’s richness,
away from the dew of heaven above.

40 You will live by the sword
and you will serve your brother.
But when you grow restless,
you will throw his yoke
from off your neck.”

As it was declared by God before the birth:

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”

Esau doesn’t repent for his selfish and narrow minded ways. He could have wept and humbled himself before the Lord to acknowledge his rebellion against God by taking wives from a foreign country, not holding to the responsibility of first born and selling birthright. Instead, he takes the brotherly action – gets upset and wants to beat or kill his brother. He did have some tact as we see he waited for the death of Isaac to pass before making a movie against Jacob.

Jacob Flees to Laban

41 Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is consoling himself with the thought of killing you. 43 Now then, my son, do what I say: Flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran. 44 Stay with him for a while until your brother’s fury subsides. 45 When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I’ll send word for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”

46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.”

Genesis 28

1 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed [a] him and commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman. 2Go at once to Paddan Aram, [b] to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 3 May God Almighty [c] bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. 4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien, the land God gave to Abraham.” 5 Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

Isaac comes to realization and accepts the situation that is present. The blessing to Jacob is re-affirmed to him. We also see Esau continue in his self interest by taking a wife from his step brother Ishmael

6 Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman,” 7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. 8 Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; 9 so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.


God is perfect in keeping his covenants but just because we are entitled to something doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels and demand anything of God. Even though Esau was the first born his attitude and actions removed him from the blessing of first born. It parallels with our lives today. We have the gift of salvation and assurance but we cannot rest on that alone and do as we please. We should continually follow God who provided the wonderful gift instead of just accepting it and treating it as a cheap fact.

Why Only One Adam?

In the tropical wilderness of Costa Rica I randomly came across the most interesting book, A Treasury of Jewish Folklore. The book was discretely tucked away in the midst of a coffee shop library. For a week I found myself skipping about the book reading thought provoking and comical stories from Jewish Folklore.

A fitting posting for Valentines day, the story below is from the book and has remained in my memory.

Why did God create only one Adam and not many at a time?

He did this to demonstrate that one man in himself is an entire universe. Also He wished to teach mankind that he who kills one human being is as guilty as if he had destroyed the entire world. Similarly, he who saves the life of one single human being is as worthy as if he had saved all humanity.

God created only one man so that people should not try to feel superior to one another and boast of their lineage in this wise: “I am descended from a more distinguished Adam than you.”

He also did this so that the heathen should not be able to say that, since many men had been created at the same time, it was conclusive proof that there was more than one God.

Lastly, He did this in order to establish His Own power and glory. When a maker of coins does his work he uses only one mould and then all the coins emerge alike. But the King of Kings, blessed be His name, has created all mankind in the mould of Adam, and even so no man is identical to another. For this reason each person must respect himself and say with dignity: “God created the world on my account. Therefore let me not lose eternal life because of some vain passion!”

An excerpt from A Treasury of Jewish Folklore. Copyright 1948 by Crown Publishers. “Why Only One Adam”, page 6. Adapted from the Agada in the Talmud.

The article provides a thought provoking reason each person is unique. While I don’t completely agree with the philosophy of all the points it is worth extending the article to include an additional thought.

Adam was created in God’s perfect image and we share in Adam’s fallen image, not God’s perfect image. How amazing the love of God that Jesus the Messiah should come to redeem the children of Adam, which are but a poor reflection of the perfect image of Adam.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16 NIV

Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing by Charles Wesley

Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my god and King,
The triumphs of his grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of your name.

The name of Jesus charms our fears
And bids our sorrows cease,
Sings music in the sinner’s ears,
Brings life and health and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin;
He sets the prisoner free.
His blood can make the foulest clean;
His blood avails for me.

Look to the Lord, who did atone
For sin, O fallen race.
Look and be saved through faith alone,
Be justified by grace.

See all our sins on Jesus laid;
The Lamb has made us whole.
His soul was once an offering made
For every human soul.

To God all glory, praise, and love
Be now and ever given
By saints below and saints above
The Church in earth and heaven.