Re: Verse reading–Genesis 24 (day three)
“He will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there.” Too a great degree, “romance” is a modern notion which sees desire as the component of humanity which must be satisfied–else marriage, employment, or life in general leave a person “unfulfilled.” Whatever their flaws–and they had them–Abraham, Isaac, the servant, Rebekah, and her father Bethuel understood the concept of a people. They knew much more rested on this impending marriage than the couple’s happiness. They were building families, a people, and a nation in the midst of a hostile world whose only light was the Lord. Personal desire was simply too untrustworthy to pilot such a large enterprise. When a society knows that, its best days lie ahead.
RE Verse Reading–Genesis 24:34-67 (day two)
“’Will you go with this man?’ She replied, ‘I will go.’” (Genesis 24:58-59). A marriage vow is either a preposterous assumption about what the future holds or a powerful declaration of faith in the One who holds the future. For Rebekah, it was the latter. Marriage in any age is an act of faith. Consider the promises: to remain faithful to someone whom you’ve only known for a limited time and in limited conditions, to care for someone who may not be willing or able to return care to you and to join your life to someone who may act foolishly or not at all. Despite the romantic declarations of an engaged couple, it is not faith in their future spouse that justifies a lifelong vow. It is faith in the one who answers prayers prayed only “in the heart” (Genesis 24:45). Is marriage to be avoided because of the certain uncertainty that accompanies it? No! It is a cowardly, selfish and unbelieving generation who avoids marriage. While not to be entered “unadvisedly,” marriage ought to be entered…and entered faith-full-ly.
Re: Verse Reading–Genesis 24:34-67 (day one)
“The Lord, before whom I walk will send His angel with you and make your way successful. You shall get a wife for my son. . . from my father’s house.” (v 40) By this point in the story, Abraham has walked with God for many years. He was, in fact, still walking with God, still trusting for each step. Confident that a new nation was God’s promise, Abraham knew that it was necessary to find Isaac a wife. He also knew that God would not leave this important step to chance or choice or human wisdom. He was absolutely certain of God’s help. Scripture speaks of God’s call (and provision) for some to be single. It also says that ”He made a woman. . .and brought her to him” (Genesis 2:22) People who walk with God can be sure that He will ”send His angel” with us as well. When God is involved, we call it “holy” matrimony.
RE Verse reading–Genesis 37:2-28; 29:1-12 (day seven) “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered. . .(the Lord) gave him success in everything he did.” (29:2-3) There are two ways to live. Only two. One is oriented toward the world. Our focus and hope is in people and things. The other is oriented toward God. Focus and hope is on Him. Joseph was one. His brothers were the other. Joseph learned this life-attitude from his father. Explains why Jacob loved him more than his other sons, why he didn’t reject off-hand Joseph’s dream of being the leader of his family. See 37:5ff. Jacob learned this lesson late in life. Certainly he would have taught it to his sons, those who would listen. 39:2 (see above) describes the impact on Joseph’s life. Life was unfair but God blessed him! ”The eyes of the Lord search over the earth. . .to prove himself strong in behalf of the man whose heart is perfectly His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 Two ways to live. One much better than the other!
Re: Verse reading–Genesis 37:2-14, 18-28 (day six)
“When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” (v 4) He was his father’s favorite and it drove his brothers crazy (angry)! Not a recommended pattern for positive family life. Even so, the Joseph story reminds me of Jesus. The Bible says that the Lord was crucified because the Jewish leaders were envious. (Mark 15:10) Are we ever the same? When God chooses someone for a special task and gives them special gifts for the accomplishment of same, do we ever second-guess? Wonder why it wasn’t us? Unwise. The Bible says that God works all things after the counsel of His own will. He is immensely wise and magnificently good. Better for us to trust the “gifts and calling” that He puts on every life without envy or anger. No favorites here, just the unrepentant wisdom of God.
Re: Verse reading–Genesis 37:2-14, 18-28, Genesis 39:1-12 (day four)
Isaiah 55:11 says, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” God had a plan for Joseph. He shared it with Joseph when he was just a young man…he would be in a position of authority. There was no way for Joseph to understand all that would occur in order for God’s plan to come about in his life. Even the jealousy of his brothers and their desire to kill him could not thwart God’s plan. If fact, it was used to accomplish His plan. Potipher’s wife could not sidetrack God’s plan either. Joseph stayed true to the God who loved him and kept himself pure for the work God had planned in his life. For us to remain usable to God, we, like Joseph, must consecrate our lives for His service. What God plans, He accomplishes!
Re: Verse reading–Genesis 37-39 (day three)
“When he told [the dream] to his brothers, they hated him all the more.” It’s easy to expect too much of Joseph. He is, after all, in the Bible. But here, he is a seventeen-year-old kid. To be foolish and seventeen is not the same as to be foolish and thirty. Life’s hostilities can set the stage for the transformation of the heart. It doesn’t always happen that way, but in Joseph’s story, we see that not all is lost when dreams fade. If God shows a little bit of what the future could hold, he also stands ready to help the heart do the hard work of growing to make that dream a reality. As Joseph discovered, paying attention to the life that is will help get a long-neglected dream ready for the real world.
Re: Verse reading–Genesis 37:2-14, 18-28, Genesis 39:1-12 (day two)
“Then they took him and threw him into the pit” (Genesis 37:24). The pit. The darkness was blinding. The jagged walls tore at his flesh. The dust choked his breathing and caked inside his mouth. The isolation gave birth to a loneliness he had never known. The futility of escape let in the first creeping shadow of hopelessness. Escaping the pit and going home was his first priority. But God had another first priority. The pit was the safe haven preserving his life from the murderous intentions of his brothers. The pit was the purifying fire out of which would emerge the pure gold of moral integrity. The pit was the pathway to humility and clarity of insight that would lead a nation. The pit was the servant of God who would rescue His people from starvation and keep the promise to Abraham. Accomplishing salvation for the world was God’s first priority, and He would do it through the pit. God’s priority hasn’t changed, so what is He accomplishing in your pit?
Re: Verse reading–Genesis 37:2-14, 18-28, Genesis 39:1-12 (day one)
“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” (Declaration of Independence) I don’t want to be politically incorrect but Thomas Jefferson was wrong. We are NOT equal in gifts and opportunities. In worth and dignity, yes, but not in privilege and calling. The Scriptures declare a different “self-evident” truth–that God is sovereign and rules over people who have vastly different assignments. Some have much, others less. Some are destined for leadership (cf Joseph’s dream) and others for lives more hidden. Some will have their Father’s favor. Others will experience their brother’s hatred. (Some will know both). From a Christian perspective, it is a waste of breath to protest, “Life is not fair”. We agree. This week as we study the life of Joseph we will mark his progress toward a different discovery. Life is not fair, but God is good! At the point of His grace we ARE all equal.
Re: Verse reading–Judges 16:4-30 (day seven)
“The Lords of the Philistines came to her and said, ‘Coax him, and find out what makes his strength so great.’ ” (v 5) I do not blame the Philistines for wanting to know. I’m not surprised they were clueless about spiritual power. I do blame Samson for not remembering. In Philippians 4:13, Paul says that he can do all things “through HIM who gives me STRENGTH”. The word used is a form of our word dynamite. And how do ordinary people find great power for living? Moses knew. “If YOUR PRESENCE does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless YOU GO WITH US? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?“ (Exodus 33:15-16) Question–what makes his (our) strength so great? Answer–The presence of God in our lives!