Beth Moore -The Present
I want to teach you, if you don't already know it, what a homograph is. A homograph is one of two or more words that are spelled alike but are different in meaning, or derivation, or pronunciation like to bow, this would be to bow. But if you could see Anna Beth, wherever she is right now my seven-year-old granddaughter, she has got a huge bow in her hair. They looked the same, but they are not said the same. And it may be, they may or may not sound alike, but they have the same spelling and different meaning. If I told you that you could tear a page out of your booklet and write on it, or that somebody might shed a tear this weekend, I would be using words that are spelled, that look exactly the same on the page, but they mean two different things and in these two cases, they are pronounced two different ways.
So, God put a word on my heart, this is where this all comes from. He began stirring up current circumstances and in this current season and with these current hurts, what in the world means the most to me right now? And so, I'm just sitting before him and I'm just taking all this down. I'm just thinking this through and kind of scratching my head. And I say out loud to him that, "You are present, your presence. At the end of it all, Lord, at the end of every situation and at the end of every day if I were to think, what is it that means more to me than anything in this world right now in this moment, it is that no matter who else is with me or not, my God is present". Anybody know what I'm talking about? Well, that word dropped in heart "present" I mean, just like, you know what I'm talking about. You'll know, you'll know, you'll know when you're under with the full conviction of the Scriptures, when you're feeling the power of the Holy Spirit. When you're in a church service and your pastor is bringing that word and I mean you're responding, you're responding, you're responding and suddenly a word hits you down in the bottom of your heart that nearly jars you in your chair, that's your word, girl. That's your word and that word "present" dropped on me.
And so, I wrote it down in my journal P-R-E-S-E-N-T, and I thought okay, what kind of present? And off we went. In English if you were to look up the word P-R-E-S-E-N-T, you would find four different words. I don't just mean four different meanings because you know how you can look up one word it's gonna have like 1 A-B-C-D, 2 A-B-C. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about four completely different times, entries that P-R-E-S-E-N-T shows up in your Miriam Websters and most of your Oxford College Dictionaries. Here are the forms of the word. There is present, meaning a gift. Then we have P-R-E-S-E-N-T that means the now. We are not in our past and we are not in our future, we are in our what, girls? We are in the present, in the present. Now, we have the same spelling, but this time we got the accent on the second syllable and it is present, and it means to give formally or officially. It means to give.
For the ESV the spelling of a word P-R-E-S-E-N-T turns up 160 times in the Scripture. Here's where it links to what we're doing because all four, all four of those entries are found in the Scriptures. And so, what I've decided to do so it won't be confusing is that I'm gonna give you a series of seven points that are gonna build on this connection this weekend and build around and circle around words that are spelled P-R-E-S-E-N-T this weekend in the Scriptures. But I've decided from the very top to give you point number one to make it very clear how all of it clicks together. So, this is gonna go up on the board, and I want you to hear it first. It says this, "God is present to present the perfect present for the present".
Here is what I hope to be able to prove to you. I don't just think this, I know this and I'm gonna show you this in the Scripture. I want you to understand with me that tomorrow when we get up, it will be a different present than right now's present. Right now we're present here, but we can't have this tomorrow morning. We will have now had a new present. But this I promise you, if you live to be 89, if you live to be 96, every single present, God has a present for you. I'mma be able to prove to you what it is at the very baseline. What he does above that, what he does as a result of that is up to God, but this I can tell you, every present has a present. Listen to me again, every here and now, what... listen, I'm saying whatever you are going through, and I'm gonna prove that to you in the Scripture that despite our circumstances, despite the difficulty of the season, you cannot live in any present where God would not have you any present. Oh, I need to say that to somebody else. There is no present you are ever going to live, you cannot exist in any present moment that there is not some kind of present God has for you in that present.
And so, I've never taught this before, I've never studied this before, but what I hope I'm going to begin to do, because I've been training myself now for the last week to think this way. I want to be able to think from this point on that whatever I'm going through at that moment, and God only knows what my future holds, but that every single one of those moments, every present I ever had, Lord, was my present here 'cause you have something for me here. You have a gift for me here and you have gifts that are coming from that gift to me here, Lord, and you know what? I want it, I want it because life is stinkin' hard. I want my present. I need to look at somebody that knows what I'm talking about. I said, life is stinkin' hard and I want my present! And the devil doesn't get to steal my present. He does not, he does not because God doesn't throw it to me like a football. God doesn't throw the present like a baseball. He takes his hand and he hands it to me and so it doesn't get to be stolen and highjacked. The only way it gets to be highjacked is if we're not standing there receiving it. Anybody know what I'm talking about? I want my present. Somebody say, "I want my present".
Okay, this is where we land in Genesis 32. This is the first time in the ESV that the word "present" is used and it is used as a gift. Now, let me give you a little bit of background here because this is Jacob's life here about to bounce in the middle of and Jacob, of course, has been a liar, and a cheater, and a thief, with his twin brother. He has stolen his blessing and his birthright and Esau, of course, let him do it right under his own nose. They have not seen each other in many years, around 20 at this point, and they are about to see one another because Jacob and his very large family are on the move going to a new place God is sending them and he has been told by some of his people, "Esau is on his way to you".
I want you to watch what happened here. I want you to pick up with me Genesis 32, verse 9, "And Jacob said, 'O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, 'Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,' I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan.'" Now, that doesn't mean like his assistant and his... I mean, he was talking about like his staff in his hand. "And now I have become two camps". He says, "Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. But you said, 'I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.'"
Now, Jacob has done exactly the right thing. He finds out that he is about to meet up with someone that has every single ground possible to have something against him and to have vengeance against him, so he's done exactly the right thing. He has taken it immediately to God and this is a glorious thing. The psalmist does this over and over and you'll see many other servants of God do it. Moses does it. Jacob is going to remind God what he promised him, beautiful, beautiful. And he said, "You told me to go and you told me you were gonna be good to me". But then Jacob what is our tendency to do across the board when we don't do it it is because, honestly, we've let the Spirit of God and the Word of God so get to us that we are fighting our natural inclination. We're prone to do the same as him which is, "I have asked God "for this but I am going to have a backup plan in case God does not come through". Or this, "I'm gonna help God".
So, this is exactly what... look what he's done. He's brought it all. He's told him, "I'm scared of him. I'm frightened of him. I have the mothers of my children, my children with me". And here's where we are and so he brings us before the Lord who has promised him, "I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude". So verse 13, "So he stayed there that night..." There's just nothing like the night is there? Like in the day we're all like, "Jesus, come on now. You're gonna do it. Yeah, you're gonna do it". And then we get in the bed, something happens, something happens. We start flipping to this side and flipping to that side and kicking, and we have like restless limbs and all and we start all of a sudden thinking, what can we do here? What can we do? Because we are at the core of our human nature manipulators.
And so, how can we turn this? Because something about the darkness that befalls us at night here rise the doubts, and we start responding with how I can work the thing in case God doesn't work. "So he stayed there that night, and from what he had with him he took a present for his brother Esau". First time in ESV you would see the word P-R-E-S-E-N-T and it means gift. "For his brother Esau". Now please look, this is a present. I want you to look at this one present, talk about a Christmas stocking. Verse 14, "Two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, "two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milking camels..." You know, I just really, I stopped at that today because I thought, I never think of milk and camels. Camel milk, would you, you want your coffee black or...? Have you ever smelled a camel? I'll have my coffee black.
Okay, "Their calves, forty cows and ten bulls..." See, that's the thing that where Jacob is concerned, there's always bull, always. You're gonna find some bull. "Twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys". I did a little bit of math. That's 550 animals. Now, I'm gonna tell you something, if you've got a present for me, I do not want 550 animals. There's no world in which I want 550 animals. And it says, "These he handed over to his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants," I love this, "Pass on ahead of me and put a space between drove and drove". Talk about a presentation. So now, he's gonna send him first 'cause he's gonna need them to warm his brother up. So, go in droves where the presents, the gifts just keep on coming, just keep on coming. You got to love this guy. "He instructed the first, 'When Esau my brother meets you and asks you, To whom do you belong? Where are you going? And whose are these ahead of you? Then you shall say, They belong to your servant Jacob.'"
Notice how he's talking. You tell him when he says this, he's gonna ask you what are you doing coming through here? You're gonna say, "These belong to your servant, your servant Jacob". "They are a present sent to my lord Esau". I mean, is this some bull or what? That's the 11th bull right there. That's the 11th bull. It says then, "'And moreover, he is behind us. He likewise instructed the second and the third and all who followed the droves, 'You shall say the same thing to Esau when you find him, and you shall say, 'Moreover, your servant Jacob is behind us'. For he thought, 'I may appease him with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterwards I shall see his face. Perhaps he will accept me.' So the present passed on ahead of him, and he himself stayed that night in the camp".
Isn't it interesting that we can do a whole lot of giving with a whole lot of selfish motive? And I wonder, now don't put this shoe on if it does not fit you. But I wonder if we're never prone to it more than when we know good and well we took something from somebody, and so we keep trying to give them something else. Anybody know what I'm talking about? That somehow we withheld something and now we're trying to make up for it by giving them something else. You ever given somebody a gift you didn't even like? That would be Jacob and Esau, whole lot of motives for giving presents. We don't always recognize something after a present right away. We're gonna study together how often it takes a while for that present to get unwrapped where we realize it really was a gift. How often have we been able to look on the other side of something, a very unwelcome gift, a very unexpected gift, but we come to a place where we realize it was a gift.
I gotta tell you something, I've gotta be careful the way I tell this because I don't want it to be really easy to figure out. This is the conundrum of every single public teacher is how you can be really, really personal in stories without giving away too much information. And I was in a situation a of couple months ago when I was introduced to somebody at a party that I never had seen face to face, and I didn't realize that I was going to meet them. I had no preparation for it. I just suddenly somebody said, "This is so and so," and I met this person and immediately, I realized who it was and it was someone who had done me some harm. Anybody know what I'm talking about? And it was such a moment and what was so strange about it that she knew, but I didn't know. So, she had already gotten herself ready for the awkwardness but I was completely caught off guard, completely caught off guard. And I could barely... I had a pair of sunglasses on and I never took them off because I was just like, I said, this is just exactly like God.
Honestly the whole time I chatted with her... see, we had to see each other as human beings with ups and downs, with, you know, some scars on us from getting hurt along the way, just being battered on planet earth, come face to face with somebody and suddenly maybe they are no monster at all. They're just a regular person trying to do their job even if you don't like their job. And the whole time I was sitting there and I thought, "This is just like you, just like you, just like you". Because he is a God that loves reconciliation and he will bring that thing around. He will bring that thing around. He will bring that thing around and cause us to come face to face with somebody we were just absolutely sure we knew how we felt about and suddenly maybe they aren't that bad after all. Maybe they're a regular person that has hurts just like we do, that has reason for doing what they did even if we don't think it was a good one. Maybe it's just like him to circle it all the way around so, why? So your heart and my heart can be made whole where that person is concerned, isn't that a gift? Isn't that a gift?
I laid in bed that night absolutely bug-eyed thinking, "You set me up". I felt like he wanted to go like, "Would you come if I'd have told you"? "No, you set me up". He did not set me up for failure, he set me up for healing. He set me up for healing. You come back around to that person, do not attack them. That's not what that meeting is about. That's not what coming back into contact with somebody from your past that you did not like, it is not an opportunity to say what you wanted to say way back then, what you have rehearsed over and over again. Thought, "If I ever get a chance, if I ever, ever get a chance to see them again, this is what I'm gonna say". No, it's not that time because if you belong to God, a full-circle moment is meant to bring us around to healing, to bring us around to victory. That's our chance to get it right, our chance to get it right, and we're gonna get it right and we're gonna sit back and be able to go, "That was a gift". You're not gonna believe what I'm gonna tell you but I'll be dad-blasted if she didn't become a friend. We don't bring it up. It's not like I want to talk about it and say, "Why did you do that"? This has all passed way, behold the new has come.