This is the account of Shem’s family line.
Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad. And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.
When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah. And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber. And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg. And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.
When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu. And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.
When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.
When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor. And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.
When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah. And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.
After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.
There are 10 generations mentioned in this passage but only one person’s life story is recorded in detail. Think about this a minute. Have you ever heard the name Arphaxad kicked around in conversation? Have you ever heard or read anything about Reu? Neither have I.
It’s Abram (later renamed Abraham) who we read about, who we hear about, and who we talk about. I believe there are two reasons for this. 1) Abram/Abraham had faith in God. 2) God blessed Abram with a life that was filled with adventure.
A famous comedian once said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.” This speaks toward how you and I perceive adventure and stress. The great difficulties we see in the lives of others we tend to perceive as adventure but the same or even lesser events in our own lives we tend to perceive as stress.
Stress is a terrible thing, we think. Something to be avoided we say. We’re always looking for ways to reduce it.
We’re always seeking ways to make life,
Living like this just makes sense, right?
To the degree that we can, let’s take a look from God’s perspective. What does He think of stress? What were the lives like of those who’s stories He tells in His scriptures? People like Abram, David, Joshua, Joseph, Noah, Moses, Samson, Paul, and Jesus.
Let’s take just one of these men and examine his life a bit. Let’s talk about David, the man who the Bible says was a man after God’s own heart. (1 Samuel 13:14) Other than Jesus Himself, who might God want to give a better life to than David, the man after His own heart? Let’s see what God sent David’s way.
Apparently God had in mind for David’s flock to be attacked by bears and lions while providing David with only a sling for defense. (1 Samuel 17:34) David’s people were attacked by the giant Goliath and God chose David as the one to defeat him — again God, and David’s, weapon of choice was a simple sling. (1 Samuel Ch 17) David’s king, who David loved, pursued him with resources from the king’s army in a relentless attempt to end David’s life. (1 Samuel Chapters 18-26) A band of raiders kidnapped the families of David and his men and stole everything they had at Ziklag. (1 Samuel Ch 30) And there’s plenty more beyond these adventures — read 1 and 2 Samuel if you’re interested in hearing more.
There’s no disputing that God loved David dearly, yet He sent a myriad of adventures David’s way. And He recorded David’s story in detail.
Now here’s a bit of news for you: God has the same thing in mind for you and for me.
He’s writing His story of your life and of my life as He allows us to go through difficulties and trials. It’s not a matter of if you’ll go through trials, it’s just a matter of when. We’ll all experience failure, we’ll all be touched by serious health problems, we’ll all experience the death of people we love. All of us. It’s when not if. And keep in mind that this is just a partial list.
Knowing this, how are we to handle our adventures? A couple of thoughts:
1) Your Perception
G.K. Chesterton said, “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.” When we perceive something as a negative we reduce our capacity to handle it. Recognize that problems and challenges in life are part of God’s design. God has it in His mind to send you adventures. So in your own thinking and speaking, call them what they are: adventures.
2) Your Sabbath
God tells us to practice the principle of the Sabbath for a reason. Adventures won’t break you but failing to create sufficient waves of recovery can. High levels of adventure without recovery can be lethal but high adventure with relief is not only manageable but will actually strengthen you and your faith in the Lord. Had David’s flocks not been attacked by bears and lions it’s doubtful that he would have had the strength to defeat Goliath.
“You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”
But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
(1 Samuel 17:33-37)
3) Your Physicality
The young man sought from his dad an opportunity to borrow the car. The young man’s dad saw an opportunity for his son to get a hair cut.
“Tell you what,” the dad said. “I’ll loan you the car if you get your hair cut.”
“But what about Jesus,” the son countered. “He had long hair.”
“Jesus walked everywhere He went,” the dad replied wryly.
Paul tells us that physical training is of some value. (1 Timothy 4:8)
I once heard Woodburn Fire Chief Kevin Hendricks tell the story of his involvement in the response to the tragic December, 2008 terrorist bombing incident that “killed Senior Trooper William Hakim, who worked as a bomb squad technician for Oregon State Police, and Capt. Tom Tennant of the Woodburn Police Department.” http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/12/police_identify_colleagues_kil.html When Chief Hendricks arrived efforts were being made to set up a command post across the street from the bank that was now in ruins as a result of the bomb. Hendricks was horrified because he knew the victims personally. In spite of his depression and stress he managed to think clearly enough to realize that no one had taken into consideration that there might be a secondary explosive device. Chief Hendricks directed emergency personnel to move the command post to the Woodburn Fire Station, a twenty minute walk, up the street. Only problem was, in his effort to get everyone out of the hot zone, Hendricks missed his ride so he had to walk. Hendricks recalled, “I’ll tell you what, that twenty minute walk did my head more good than I would have imagined.”
While experiencing an adventure it’s important to take time to do something physical. God designed us to be physical. We weren’t designed to be sedentary.
4) Your Refuge
Instead of succumbing to your anxiety, come to God. Surround yourself with the body of Christ — your brothers in Christ if you’re a man, your sisters in Christ if you’re a woman. Fellowship with Jesus at church. Read His word. Pray. Know where to go when things get tough.
Resist the urge to succumb to your emotions, or even worse, alcohol or drugs. In Matthew 6:27 Jesus asks, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?”
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 4:6-7)
Say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2)
5) Your Actions
Of course it’s essential that we pray for God’s direction in everything, however also notice that in every one of David’s adventures, David took action. With God’s help, David fought the bear, the lion, and Goliath. With God’s help David encouraged himself at Ziklag, rallied his men, and recovered their families and belongings. Notice also that these actions often involved helping others. David was defending the flock when he fought the bear and the lion. David was rescuing his family and friends at Ziklag. And David defended all of Israel when he defeated Goliath. Wherever you can, make your actions count on behalf of others.
Without God you can’t, but without you God won’t.
After prayerfully considering your adventure, it may be time to take action.
6) Your Thanksgiving
…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Give thanks for your adventure. Find the blessings that God has wrought from the adventure that you’re experiencing. I’ve never experienced or heard of a life challenge that wasn’t also lined with blessings from God.
What a difference thanksgiving makes.
7) Your Story
Keep in mind that people are watching. As you go through the trials and challenges that God allows in your life, people are watching to see how you handle it. It’s essential to remember that your story and my story are for God’s glory. God in His sovereignty has decided to allow the various trials in your life so He can provide a testimony of His greatness to those around us.
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.