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January 24

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“But no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah” (Matthew 16:4 HCSB).

From: January 24, 2021

THE SIGN OF JONAH

The Pharisees and the Sadducees came to Jesus asking for a sign. He told them that they could read the signs in the sky to predict weather, but were not able to read the signs of the times. In other words, they could tell when it was going to rain, but couldn’t see that He was the Messiah that would reign. They didn’t recognize that His time had come. He had already given them more than sufficient evidence of His identity, yet they refused to believe. He told them that an evil and adulterous generation demands a sign. But the only one that would be given was the “sign of Jonah.”
 
What was this “sign of Jonah?” Jesus explained it at another time, saying, “For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights” (Matt.12:40). The sign of Jonah was that Jesus would be raised from the dead after three days in the tomb.
 
Jesus did many signs and wonders to prove His identity as the Son of God, yet the ultimate sign is His resurrection. Do you believe this sign? As the apostle Paul wrote, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9).
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for the sign of Jonah. For Jesus fulfilled it when You raised Him from the dead. And just as He was raised, so too will we be raised one day. For we have believed in Him. Until that day, strengthen us to proclaim the Good News of Jesus to the whole world. In Jesus’ name, amen.
 

“And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine” (Genesis 48:5 NKJV).

From: January 24, 2020

THE ORIGIN OF THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL

Jacob, who was called Israel, spoke a word over each of his sons from his death bed. He bestowed a double portion to Joseph, giving his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, equal standing to his own sons. And so, when the twelve tribes of Israel move out of Egypt 400 years later, two of the tribes are called Ephraim and Manasseh.
 
Yet, how can 12 + 2 = 12?
 
Here’s how: First, there is no Israelite tribe called Joseph. Joseph became two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh. However, when Israel is in the Promised Land, and the kingdom splits into two, the Scripture sometimes refers to the Northern Kingdom as the “House of Joseph” (2 Sam. 19:20). Why? Because Ephraim and especially Manasseh, had become so large and dominant in the North that the ten tribes of the North were sometimes called the “House of Joseph.”
 
Second, the tribe of Levi was no longer included in the twelve after God claimed them as His own. God instructed Moses not to give them an inheritance in the Promised Land for the “Lord would be their inheritance” (Deut. 18:2). Levi would become the priestly tribe of Israel.
 
Therefore the math works as follows: 12 – 2 (Joseph & Levi) + 2 (Ephraim & Manasseh) = 12.
 
The last words of Jacob are explanatory and prophetic. They explain the origin of the twelve tribes of Israel, and they predict the coming of the Messiah to the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:8-12). Genesis is a book of beginnings. It describes the creation and the fall of humanity. It begins the story of God’s rescue through Jesus Christ, His Son.
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, we are amazed at Your plan of redemption for us. How from the beginning You set in motion Your plan to redeem us back from sin and death by giving Your only begotten Son, Jesus. We are in awe of You. Forgive us that we are often anxious about tomorrow. For You have all of our days from beginning to the end in Your plans. You have saved us. You will keep us. We are Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23 NLT).

From: January 24, 2019

HOW DO WE GUARD OUR HEARTS?

Solomon instructed his son to guard his heart. In other words, he wanted his son to be careful about where his passions and desires led him. Certainly Solomon was an example of a man who ultimately let his heart overrule his head. He started out well with God, leading his people with wisdom. But in his later years succumbed to the lust of the heart for foreign women and their false gods.
 
How do we guard our hearts? What our hearts love and go after seem almost too powerful for our minds to control. Yet, we can give our hearts to the Lord. Loving and pursuing Him with all our heart, our passions are brought into alignment with His passion. We love as He loves. We desire what He desires.
 
PRAYER: Dear Lord, help us to guard our hearts today, so that we only want what You want. Fill us with Your Spirit and let us walk under the Spirit’s leading today. Help us to love what You love and hate what You hate. Our hearts are Yours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

“I will scatter them among the descendants of Jacob; I will disperse them throughout Israel” (Genesis 49:7 NLT).

From: January 24, 2018

Jacob spoke a word over each of his sons as he lay on his deathbed. Over Simeon and Levi, he spoke a word that may have been heard as a curse, yet there was grace in it. For the tribe of Simeon would come to have land within the boundaries of Judah, which actually lengthened their days. Levi would become the Lord’s priestly tribe and be given cities scattered throughout Israel. So, both Simeon and Levi were “dispersed throughout Israel” as Jacob said.
 
Sometimes what appears to be a curse is actually a blessing.

“And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine” (Genesis 48:5 NKJV).

From: January 24, 2017

Jacob, who was called Israel, spoke a word over each of his sons from his death bed. He bestowed a double portion to Joseph, giving his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, equal standing to his other sons. And so, when the twelve tribes of Israel move out of Egypt 400 years later, two of the twelve tribes are called Ephraim and Manasseh. The last words of Jacob are explanatory and prophetic. They explain the origin of the twelve tribes of Israel, and they predict the coming of the Messiah to the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:8-12). Genesis is a book of beginnings. It describes the creation and the fall of humanity. It begins the story of God’s rescue.

‘Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees”‘ (Matthew 16:6 ESV)

From: January 24, 2016

“Leaven” is the yeast that is added to bread dough to make it rise. It only takes a little to affect the whole. Although the disciples at first took the Lord literally and thought he spoke of bread, they finally realized he was warning against the teaching of the “Pharisees and Sadducees.” The teaching of the Pharisees was to be avoided because, although they believed the whole Hebrew Bible, they added to the law layer upon layer of tradition, until no one could keep it. Their “leaven” would lead to legalism. The Sadducees, on the other hand, denied much of the Hebrew Bible, affirming only the books of Moses. They were more interested in political power than in God’s power. Their “leaven” would lead to liberalism. Jesus warned his disciples to avoid both extremes.

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes” (Genesis 49:10 NKJV)

From: January 24, 2015

On his deathbed, Israel (Jacob) blesses (prophesies over) each of his sons. This blessing over Judah is one of the clearest Messianic prophecies that the Christ would be born to the line of Judah. From that day forward the tribe of Judah took the image of the lion as its symbol, flying it on a banner above their camp. The “scepter” indeed came to the tribe of Judah when David became king. Yet, the description that it “shall not depart” speaks of an eternal king. “Shiloh” (Hebrew for “He whose it is”) is Jesus, the Lion of Judah, the Messiah, the Christ, Son of Man, Son of God and King over all, “and to him shall be the obedience of the people.”

“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor” (Genesis 49:10)

From: January 24, 2014

On his deathbed, Jacob (Israel) spoke a prophetic word over each of his sons. Over Judah he spoke a Messianic prophecy that described the eternal kingship and honor of the coming Christ. Centuries later David was born into the tribe of Judah and became the king of all Israel. And still more centuries later, Jesus was born to the house of David, the tribe of Judah. He is the Promised One that old Jacob saw coming.

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet” (Genesis 49:10)

From: January 24, 2013

On his deathbed, Israel (Jacob) blesses (prophesies over) each of his sons. This blessing over Judah is one of the clearest Messianic prophecies that the Christ would be born to the line of Judah. From that day forward the tribe of Judah takes the image of the lion as its symbol, flying it on a banner above their camp. The lion is the king of the jungle. And the Lion of Judah is Jesus the Christ, Son of Man, Son of God and King over all, “and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”

“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor” (Genesis 49:10)

From: January 24, 2012

Jacob’s prophecy over Judah is Messianic, pointing to the Lion of Judah, the Son of David, the Christ. Jesus fulfilled this prophecy and over 300 others in the OT.