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Living as an outsider in the land

One of the wonderful things about reading through the Bible is that the more you read it, the more things you find within its pages. No matter how many times you read a verse or a series of verses, because the Bible is a living document, there will always be more to learn, more to see, and more to understand in ever deeper ways.

With this in mind, when I begin my daily Bible reading, I ask G-D to open my heart and my mind to the words of the text that would speak to me on that particular day. I believe that each day as we read, G-D can and will provide encouragement and instruction specific to us every day through His word.

Like most of the people reading this article, I look around the world we live in perplexed and puzzled by what I see happening. The news media is filled with stories and reports of what can only be viewed as a global effort at self-destruction. The amount of compromise of Biblical values is shocking as we read about more people accepting pop-culture’s definitions and views over the Biblical views passed down generationally. Like most people, I sit back with my head in my hands wondering how people can accept the unacceptable and allow the unallowable and still believe that they are walking in the ways of the Bible.

While reading in Genesis this morning, I came upon a verse which I had read many times, but without ever actually allowing it to speak into my soul.

Live as an outsider in this land and I will be with you and bless you—for to you and to your seed I give all these lands—and I will confirm my pledge that I swore to Abraham your father. – Genesis 26:3

In the verse, Isaac is having a conversation with G-D. The conversation is taking place because there is a famine in the land and Isaac is receiving instructions on what to do to survive the famine. He is told not to go to Egypt, but to dwell where G-D tells him to dwell.

Amos 8:11-12 tells us about a time which I believe describes the days we live in.

“Behold, days are coming” —declares my Lord Adonai— “when I will send a famine on the land —not a famine of bread nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Adonai. So people will wander from sea to sea and roam from north to east, searching for the word of Adonai, but they will not find it.

I believe that G-D’s instructions to Isaac provided so long ago speak directly to us in the days we live. I believe the key to living a blessed life in the middle of the turmoil and swirl of sin in our world is found in the first seven words spoken in Genesis 26:3, “Live as an outsider in this land.”

If we want G-D to be with us and to bless us, then we must live our lives as outsiders in the land. It is only when our hearts change and we forget that this world is not our home that we end up making excuses for sin so that we will fit in and be accepted. When we listen to the voices of justification providing excuses for the acceptance of sinful lifestyles, every one of those voices is spoken from a position of one who no longer dwells as an outsider in this land.

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Eric Tokajer
Eric Tokajer is author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, #ManWisdom, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, and Jesus is to Christianity as Pasta is to Italians.

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