January 26, 2018
JOSEPH WOULD NOT TAKE THE PLACE OF GOD.
After Joseph’s father died, his brothers became afraid that he would seek revenge for the way they had treated him. As the second-in-command of Egypt, Joseph could have easily ordered their imprisonment or death. But Joseph recognized that it was God who had given him the position he had, so that he might rescue his brothers and their families, and not only theirs, but all the peoples of Egypt. No, he would not use his God-given position to sit in judgment of his brothers. Joseph knew that judgment belonged to the Lord. He would not take God’s place. For as the Lord has said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay” (Rom. 12:19).
Therefore, forgive one another. Live at peace with everyone.
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.
January 23, 2018
Although there is some apparent discrepancy in how Jacob’s family is numbered (Stephen said there were 75 in his speech in Acts 7:14.), the point is that the Lord took this small group and made of them a nation. As Moses said, “Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven” (Deut.10:22). The children of Jacob lived in Egypt 400 years. In the latter years, Joseph was forgotten and the Israelites lived as slaves. Yet, it was this time of travail that bonded them together, so that when the Lord delivered them, they came out a nation.
January 22, 2018
JACOB LEARNS HIS SON IS ALIVE!
Old Jacob had lived with the knowledge that his son, Joseph, was dead. He had grieved for him for years. But then, his sons gave him the good news that Joseph was not only alive, but was a powerful ruler in Egypt. He finally believed their good news and was determined to travel to Egypt to see him before he died.
This story reminds me of old Simeon, whom the Spirit had promised he wouldn’t die until he saw the Christ (Luke 2:25-35). It reminds me of the disciples response when the women who had visited the tomb, told them they had seen the risen Lord. Jacob’s son, who was dead, is alive!
January 21, 2018
JOSEPH’S BROTHERS BOW BEFORE HIM
Joseph had two similar dreams when he was young. In the first, he saw he and his brothers binding sheaves in a field when his sheave arose and stood up while theirs bowed down to his. In the second dream, he saw the sun, moon, and eleven stars bow down to him (Read Gen. 37:1-11). Now, his double-dream had come true. Here he stood, as the governor of Egypt, with all eleven of his brothers bowing before him.
Joseph is a foreshadowing of Jesus. For Jesus was rejected by His brethren and turned over to the Romans to be crucified. Yet, He arose and is coming again. When he does, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that “Jesus is Lord” (Phil. 2:10-11).
January 20, 2018
DID JOSEPH SIN BY TAKING A FOREIGN WIFE?
When Pharaoh promoted Joseph to be his second-in-command, he also gave him a new name, “Zaphenath-paneah” (“God speaks and lives”), and a new wife, “Asenath” (“Gift of the Sun-god”). The Egyptian king wanted Joseph to have an Egyptian name and an Egyptian wife from an influential Egyptian family, the priestly family of Potiphera, “priest of On” (“On,” also known as Heliopolis, “The City of the Sun,” was the center of worship of the sun-god, Ra, located 10 miles northeast of modern Cairo.). This new title, name, wife, and family were given to him by Pharaoh. But really… weren’t they actually given to him by God?
For it was God’s purpose to put Joseph in power in Egypt to preserve Israel and to show His great power and glory 400 years later when He brought them out with a strong hand. Two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, were born to Joseph and Asenath. They became equal with the 12 sons of Israel when Jacob blessed them as his own sons (Gen. 48:5). Therefore, when God chose the tribe of Levi to be His own possession, the addition of Manasseh and Ephraim maintained the number of Israel’s tribes at twelve.
No, Joseph didn’t sin. He lived before the Mosaic law and the New Testament warning (2 Cor. 6:14). Joseph was obedient to God’s purpose for his life, of which he had dreamed when he was a boy.
January 20, 2018
THE DREAMER GIVES GOD THE GLORY
Joseph had thoughtlessly shared his dreams with his older brothers, predicting how they would one day bow down to him. In their jealousy, they sold him into slavery. Yet after years in slavery and prison, Joseph had changed. He was humbled, giving God all the glory for any power lent to him for interpreting dreams. He stood before mighty Pharaoh, a worshiper of false gods and one who had the power of life and death over his subjects, yet Joseph responded by attributing true power and glory to God. For he knew that God was over all, even Pharaoh. And he trusted his future into God’s hands.
January 17, 2018
The Bible is primarily a book about God. Verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, the Bible is the story of how God has progressively revealed Himself to man, with its ultimate revelation found in Jesus Christ.
When Jacob returned to the place called Bethel, where God had first appeared to him, God once again appeared. This time the Lord revealed more about His own character by revealing one of His names, “El-Shaddai,” which means “God Almighty.” God wanted Jacob to know that His promises were sure because His power was complete. He is the omnipotent One, the all-powerful One, El-Shaddai, God Almighty. What God promises, He is more than able to do.
January 15, 2018
PRAYING THE PROMISES!
When Jacob heard that his brother Esau was approaching with 400 men, he was afraid. So, he prayed to the Lord for protection. In his prayer, he admitted his fear, yet clung to God’s promises, quoting them back to the Lord word for word.
Isn’t this how we should pray? When we are afraid, we can lean on the promises of God, repeating them word for word back to the Father. Where are you afraid? Where has anxiety stolen your joy? Search out the promises of God. Meditate on them. Stand on them. Pray them back to the Father. His Word never returns void.
January 14, 2018
Jacob already wanted to return to the land of his birth, but when the Lord instructed him to go, he began to make preparations. He told his wives what the Lord had said to him and they immediately were supportive, saying, “Go ahead and do whatever God has told you” (Gen. 31:16). It is a powerful thing when a husband hears and obeys the word of the Lord, and a wife is unified with him.
On a side note, I found it interesting in today’s reading that most of Jacob’s twelve sons were introduced by name in the OT reading and then the twelve disciples of Jesus were introduced by name in the NT reading.