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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Don't Eat Snow Ice Cream

Don't Eat Snow Ice Cream
Image Credit:  marcruiz - CCO Public Domain Image via Pixabay

We don't get much snow here in the south.  We might accumulate a few inches every few years or so.  Once in a while, we have a measurable amount, maybe even enough to build a snowman.  Snow days were RARE so when we got one, it was AWESOME!  I remember getting up early for school and watching flurries fall.  This was way back before the electronic age.  We had no email, no computer, no cell phone, no social media - nothing but a television news crew to let us know what counties, if any, would be out of school for the day.  We would watch that never-ending scroll, the one at the bottom of the screen that listed the county school systems and the private schools which had called off school for the day.  They listed the school systems in alphabetical order.  We would watch the counties scroll by time after time after time.  A new county or private school would be added with each scroll.  I couldn't wait for the crawl to scroll by again, praying that our county would be added with the next round.  Finally!  There it was.  We hooped and hollered - so excited to get a snow day.  Every time it snowed, which wasn't that often, my mother would make snow ice cream.  We loved it.  My brother and I would go out and gather up a big stash of fluffy white snow (if it wasn't iced over) and bring it inside for my mother to use to make snow ice cream.  We never thought about what might be in that snow.  It was clean, right?  It was nice white fluffy clean snow.  Well, back then we were kids so we didn't really care.  Well, this past weekend, a few inches of snow fell over our area.  Someone. on social media had completed an experiment that resulted in her telling us, "Don't eat snow ice cream!"

Don't Eat Snow Ice Cream
The Berenstain Bears Snowbears

My children are all grown up now but when they wee younger, I made snow ice cream for them a few times.  Here we are in the middle of another rare snow storm.  As I looked outside to gaze at the beautiful new fallen white stuff that covered our porches, our deck, and hills and mountains beyond our home, I wondered what might be in the snow.  What had I eaten as a child?  What had I fed my kids when they were children?  Discussing this issue with my adult daughters, we decided that since the experiment the  TV lady had done was completed in the city - the city of Atlanta - that must be the reason for the dirty snow.  Surely out here in the county where the air is cleaner, it's safe to enjoy snow ice cream.  But we still wondered so we decided to complete our own experiment. 

Parents and teachers,  do this experiment with your kids.  Show them that pollutants get into our air.  As the snow falls, the pollutants in the air come down with it.  We might not see it when it is mixed in with the snow, but we can see it after the snow melts.

If your kids like doing science experiments, consider getting them a science experiment kit.

Don't Eat Snow Ice Cream
Science Experiment Kit for Kids

I headed for the cabinet to grab a clear glass mug.  Then I stepped outside to gather a hand full of clean snow.  This snow was gathered just outside my deck door where no person or animal had yet touched, disturbed, or tainted the snow.  It was a white and fluffy.  It appeared as clean as could be.  As soon as I packed it into the mug and brought it inside, I noticed a few black spots.  Do you see the spots?

Don't Eat Snow Ice Cream
Clean White Snow Inside A Clear Glass Mug

Now, we waited.  We waited for the snow to melt so we could see anything left inside the mug except for clear water from the melted snow.

A while late, the snow had melted.  At first glance, I thought, "Oh, see?  The water is clear so our nice clean air up here away from the city isn't so bad."  

Then I looked more closely from the top of the mug.  Eeeeewwwwwww

Don't Eat Snow Ice Cream
Dirty Yuck Left Behind After the Snow Melted

Don't Eat Snow Ice Cream

Yuck!  All those black spots - dirt or whatever it is - was mixed into the snow.  That is what we would have eaten if I had made snow ice cream from it.  Actually we would have eaten a bigger helping of yuck because I would have needed a lot more snow for a good batch of snow ice cream.  

Y'all . . . don't eat snow ice cream!

I'm glad I enjoyed snow ice cream in the past.  It helped create some great memories but I will never make it or eat it again.  


Don't Eat Snow Ice Cream

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Image Credit:  Free Bible Images

In Genesis 25, we learned how Esau traded his birthright to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of soup.  Now, we are going learn how Jacob takes Esau's blessing before his father's death.  We will find this story in Genesis 27.  

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing

Isaac is now an old man whose eyes have grown weak so that he can no longer see.  Isaac believes he will not live much longer so he calls his oldest son, Esau, to him so that he can give Esau his blessing.  Isaac instructs Esau to go hunting to bring back food to prepare it the way he likes it.  Then when he has eaten the food he likes, he will give Esau his blessing.

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Image Credit:  Free Bible Images

Rebekah, upon hearing the conversation between Isaac and Esau, waits for Esau to leave for the hunt.  Then she tells Jacob about the conversation.  She send Jacob after two goats so that she can prepare a meal as Isaac likes it.  She tells Jacob to take the food she cooks to Esau before Esau returns so that Isaac will offer Jacob the blessing instead.

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Image Credit:  Free Bible Images

Jacob brings up the obvious differences between the two brothers.  Esau is a hairy man while Jacob has smooth skin.  He knows that if Isaac touches him, his father will know that he is Jacob and not Esau.  This would bring a curse on him rather than a blessing.

Rebekah tells Jacob to let the curse fall on her.  He is to do what she tells him.

Jacob brings back the goats.  Rebekah cooks the meat the way Isaac likes it.  Then she takes Esau's best clothes and gives them to Jacob to wear.  She covers Jacob's hands and his neck with goat skins so that he will appear as if he is Esau.

Jacob takes the food Rebekah has cooked to his father, Isaac.  He tells his father that he is Esau.  He tells Issac that he has brought him the food he asked for.  He tells Issac to eat the food and then to give him his father's blessing.

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Image Credit:  Free Bible Images

Isaac wants to know how he found the food and cooked it so quickly.  Jacob tells him that God provided it.

Isaac asked Jacob to come closer so that he can touch him to make sure he is actually Esau.  Isaac notices that Jacob's hands are hairy like Esau but he hears the voice of Jacob. 

Isaac obviously has his doubts but he asks, "Are you really my son, Esau?"

Jacob lies again with is response, "I am."

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
NASB Life Application Study Bible

In spite of Isaac's doubts, Jacob manages to successfully trick his father into believing he is Esau.  Isaac asks Jacob to bring him the food so that he may eat it and then give his blessing.  After eating, Isaac asked Jacob to come kiss him.  When Jacob kisses his father, his father smells Esau's clothing so he offers Jacob the blessing that would have been Esau's blessing.

"Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed.  

May God give you Heaven's due and earth's richness and abundance of grain and new wine.  

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."

When Isaac finishes his blessing, Jacob barely has time to leave when Esau comes in.  Esau had prepared food for Isaac as he had been asked to do and brought it to his father.  Like his brother had just done, Esau asks Isaac to sit up and eat the food he has prepared for him so that he will then offer his blessing.

Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Image Credit:  Free Bible Images

Isaac asks, "Who are you?"

Esau tells Isaac that he is his son, Esau.

In Genesis 27:33, we are told that Isaac trembled violently asking, "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."

Esau does not take the news well.  He cries for Isaac to bless him as well.  Isaac tells Esau that his brother, Jacob, had come in and deceitfully taken Esau's blessing. Esau tells Isaac that this is the second time Jacob has taken advantage of him.  He first took Esau's birthright and now he has taken Esau's blessing.  Esau again asks Issac if there is any blessing he has reserved for him?

Isaac tells Esau about the blessing he had unknowingly given to his bother, Jacob.

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?
Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Genesis 12-33 The Father of Israel

Esau cries aloud, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too!"

Isaac answers:

Your dwelling will be away from the earth's richness, away from the dew of Heaven above.  

You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother.

But when you grow restless, you will throw his yolk from off your back. 

Esau holds a grudge against Jacob.  He plans to kill Jacob after Isaac dies.  

Someone tells Rebekah what Esau had said.  Rebekah sends Jacob to her brother, Laban.  She tells Jacob to stay there until Esau is no longer angry.  She tells Jacob that she will send for him when it is safe for him to come back.  Rebekah expresses to Jacob that she doesn't want to lose both of her sons in one day.

Rebekah tells Isaac that she is disgusted with Esau's Hittite wives.  She tells her husband that if her son, Jacob, takes a wife from the Hittite women, her life won't be worth living. 

Issac sends for Jacob, blesses him, and then tells him to go to his mother's father's land (where her brother, Laban, still lives.) He instructs Jacob to take a wife from his mother's brother's daughters.

Before sending Jacob on his way, he tells him:

"May God almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.  May He give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham so that you make take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham."

Esau somehow learns how his parents feel about his wives, that they displease Isaac and Rebekah so he goes to Ishmael (Isaac's half brother who was born to Hagar) and marries Mahalath, one of Ishmael's daughters.

You might be wondering, as I did, why Isaac did not somehow void his blessing to Jacob due to deception and give it to his older son, Esau.  You have to consider the culture of the times.  Also, these Old Testament men spoke from divine inspiration.  The Believer's Bible Commentary explains it this way.

When Esau returned and learned of the deception, he sought the blessing tearfully. But the blessing had been granted to Jacob and it couldn’t be retracted (Heb. 12:1617). However, Isaac did have a word for Esau, as follows:

Far from rich soil on earth shall you live, far from the dew of heaven on high; you shall live by the sword and serve your brother; but when you grow restive, his yoke you shall break (vv. 39, 40—Moffatt).

This suggests that the Edomites would live in desert places, would be warriors, would be subject to the Israelites, but would one day rebel against this rule. This latter prophecy was fulfilled in the reign of Joram, King of Judah (2 Kgs. 8:20–22). - Believer's Bible Commentary

Life Lesson From This Story:  Deception results in heartache.

Rebekah and Jacob's deception resulted heartache.

*Jacob's brother sought to kill him.

*Jacob had to leave his home and his parents to escape Esau's threat.

*Rebekah had to send her son (her favorite) away.

*Isaac trembled violently because his son had deceived him.

Teach the Kids

The best way to teach your children Biblical history is to read the stories to them straight from the Bible.  Make sure your kids know that these "stories" are not just stories like many other books they might read.  Be sure they know that these stories are actual events in Biblical history.
Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
The Adventure Bible for Kids

In addition to reading the Bible, your kids can do the following activities to enhance their learning experience. 

Cathy's Corner:  Jacob and Esau from Bible Fun for Kids

Activities for a Lesson On Jacob and Esau from Classroom


Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing
Jacob Takes Esau's Blessing

Friday, January 14, 2022

Isaac and the Wells: The Oath of Peace

Isaac and the Wells
Image Credit - Public Domain Image via Wikimedia Commons

Isaac and the Wells

In Genesis 26, we are brought to the story of Isaac and the wells, leading up to his oath of peace between himself and Abimelek.  

The story opens up with news of famine in the land, another famine besides the one during Abraham's time.  Due to the famine, Issac travels toward Gerar.  Gerar is present day south central Israel.  God appears to Isaac to tell him not to travel to Egypt.  God instructs Isaac to live in the land where God tells him to live.  God always keeps his promises.  Here He reminds Isaac of the oath He had sworn to his father, Abraham.

Do not go down to Egypt.  Live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while and I will be with you and will bless you.  For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father, Abraham.  I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping My commands, my decrees, and my instructions.  So Isaac stayed in Gerar. - Genesis 26:2-6

While there, Isaac tells Abimelek the same lie his father, Abraham had told. Just as Abraham had told Abimelek that Sarah was his sister, Isaac tells Abimelek that Rebekah is his sister, not his wife.  Isaac is afraid the men in the area will kill him for Rebekah because Rebekah is so beautiful.  As with Abraham, Abimelek, realizes that Isaac has lied.  Abimelek goes to Isaac with the same concern that he had encountered with Abraham.  

"What is this you have done to us?  One of the men might well have slept with your wife and you would have brought guilt upon us." - Genesis 26:10

Isaac explains that he lied because he was afraid for his life because of Rebekah's beauty.  Abimelek orders his people to not harm Isaac or Rebekah.  Anyone who harms either of them will be put to death.

Isaac stays and plants crops.  God blesses Isaac so that he reaps 100 times what he had planted.  Isaac becomes wealthy with many flocks, herds, and servants.  The Philistines grow jealous of Isaac so sent Isaac away.  Abimelek tells Isaac that he has become too powerful for them.

Isaac doesn't fight the situation.  He moves but he doesn't go far.  He remains in the Valley of Gerar.  After Abraham died, the Philistines stopped up the wells that Abraham had dug there so Isaac unstops them and renames them the same names that his father, Abraham, had named them.

Isaac's servants dig as well and discover a well of fresh water, but the herders in Gerar fight for the well, claiming the well belongs to them.

Isaac's servants dig another well, but the herders in Gerar claim that well also.

Isaac's servants dig a third well.  This time, the herders in Gerar leave him alone.  Isaac names the third well Rehoboth saying that the Lord has given them room so they will now flourish in the land.

From Gerar, Isaac goes to Beersheba.  The Lord appears to Isaac and says:

I Am the God of your father, Abraham.  Do not be afraid for I am with you.  I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of My servant, Abraham. - Genesis 26:24

Isaac does as his father, Abraham, had done.  He builds an alter and calls on the name of the Lord.  He pitches a tent there and his servants dig another well.

Now Abimelek comes to Isaac along with Ahuzzath, Abimelek's personal advisor and also Phicol, the commander of Abimelek's forces.  

Isaac asks them why they have come to him since they had sent him away.

They tell Isaac that they clearly see that the Lord is with Isaac so they want to make an oath of peace with Isaac.  

Isaac makes a feast for them.  Early the next morning, they swear an oath of peace.  Abimelek and his men go away in peace.

Isaac's servants report to them that the fourth well is a success.  They found water.

Teach the Kids

Here is a short video that is great for teaching this story to kids.


What lessons do we learn from Genesis 26?

1.  God always keeps his promises.  

2.  God blesses obedience and faithfulness.

3.  It is a good thing if we can settle our differences peacefully.

Isaac and the Wells
Isaac and the Wells

Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway