March 9, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 49:1 – 50:24

God’s purpose: to bring life

Wow! What a ride it has been through the book of Genesis! But we are not done yet; these last two chapters (49 and 50) are absolutely staggering! There is so much to see here.

We start off by seeing the blessings of Jacob for his sons, blessings that would be carried on through their legacy. It is interesting to note that much of the future blessing of each son is seemingly based on his character up to that point; surely there are some life principles there!

Most of the author’s attention in this passage falls on Judah and Joseph. Judah is referred to as “the lion’s cub”, and this is fitting because the tribe of Judah would bring forth David, Solomon, and the One who is called the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah”. Can you guess who that is? It is our mighty Savior, Jesus Christ!
From there, we see the powerful legacy that Jacob left and what a godly leader he was! A huge gathering of followers accompanied his body as it is taken to be buried; he was greatly respected.

At the end of chapter 50, Joseph’s brothers doubt the genuineness of his forgiveness, but Joseph reassures them, and in verse 20, we read the famous statement regarding God’s sovereignty: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today”. This verse is what I want to highlight today.

Today’s “Walk-Away”:

Jacob’s sons’ previous actions—out of personal bitterness toward Joseph—had been used by God to save lives. This includes the life of the Israelites, the Egyptians and all the nations that came to Egypt to buy food during the famine. Maybe Joseph couldn’t see it at first, but through all the difficulties, God showed that his purpose for the nations is life, and that purpose would be affected through the descendants of Abraham.

What is our application here? Trust God. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

So here it is…
Whatever is going on in your life, whatever your situation is—even if it hurts, even it seems unfair, even if you don’t understand, even if it is scary—remember that God’s purpose is to bring life. He has good intentions for you: to bring life to you, to your family, to your friends. Someone once said, “If you can’t see God’s hand, trust God’s heart”. Know that His purpose in your situation is to bring life. The most wonderful example of this is the life He brought to the world through Jesus Christ.

Posted by: (Sam Cirrincione)

March 8, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 48:1-22

The Israelites are now living prosperously in Egypt. Jacob is about to die and Joseph is called to come see him along with his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. When they arrive, Jacob tells Joseph of God’s promise to him, his father, and his grandfather concerning the land of Canaan. How great it is to see someone in his old age, who never saw God’s promise fulfilled in his lifetime, still trust that it will come to pass. I pray that I will have that kind of faith and trust in God when I am older.

Jacob tells Joseph that he is claiming his two boys as his own sons and that he wants to bless them. Jacob sees the two boys and thanks God that not only did he get his son Joseph back, but he has now seen Joseph’s sons also. What a blessing it must be to see your children’s children, to see your lifetime of investment, prayer, and love spring forth a new life and begin all over again! I hope to leave a legacy through my children that I will be proud of and that honors God so that they too will pass it on to their children.

Joseph places the boys in front of Jacob with the older on the right and younger on the left so that the older will receive the blessing he is due. Jacob, however, does the ol’ switcharoo: he crosses his arms and gives the boys opposite blessings. How ironic this is to see Jacob do, himself being a younger son who stole the blessing of his older brother, Esau! After Jacob blesses the boys, he gives an extra portion of inheritance to Joseph from the land of Canaan.

So here are few take-aways:

– Leave a legacy to your children that honors God and will help them to raise their own children.
– Trust God even when it doesn’t seem like what is supposed to happen actually will. This is true faith.

Posted by Robbie Byrd

March 7, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 47:1-31

Joseph is the real deal! His actions before others show his faith in God – consistently!

Joseph honored his father… v.7
“Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise.” Ephesians 6:2

Joseph cared for his family… v.11-12
“But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith.” Such people are worse than unbelievers.” 1 Timothy 5:8

Joseph worked hard for his employer… v.13-24
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23

May this be said of us – may others see Jesus in us in all we say and do. This reminds me of a poem that my mom used to quote to me while I was young…

The Greatest Test
Help me to walk so close to Thee, that those who know me best can see, I live as godly as I pray, and Christ is real from day to day.

I see some once a day, or year, to them I blameless might appear, ’tis easy to be kind and sweet, to people whom we seldom meet.

But in my home are those who see , too many times the worst of me. My hymns of praise were best unsung, if He does not control my tongue.

When I am vexed and sorely tried, and my impatience cannot hide, may no one stumble over me, because Thy love they failed to see.

But give me Lord, thru calm and strife, a gracious and unselfish life. Help me with those who know me best, for Jesus sake, to stand the test.
– Barbara Ryberg –

Posted by: Tim Parsons

March 5, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 46

I love my wife and I deeply care for my family. It’s hard to imagine life without them. After today’s reading, it’s really hard to imagine the sorrow Jacob went through when he lost Joseph many years earlier.

Jacob probably couldn’t fathom the idea that Joseph was alive. But when he learned of his son’s life and success, he was overjoyed. All he longed for was one more chance to see him. Today, it made me emotional just thinking about it especially when I read verse 30:

Finally, Jacob said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen your face again and know you are still alive.”

The love and affection that this father had for his son is both inspiring and convicting. It fostered some questions in my mind:

1) Do I long to see Jesus in this way?
2) Do I treasure my walk with God with this kind of passion?
3) Do I invest in my family in a God-honoring way?

I was also gripped by verses 1-5. Jacob (1-2) listened for God’s voice, (3-4) heard God’s voice, and (5) obeyed God’s voice. What a great blueprint for our lives!

I want to close today by looking at the bigger picture. Do you see the Gospel’s reflection in the narrative of Jacob and Joseph? There is remarkable foreshadowing in this story: Jacob, a loving father, lost his son. Joseph, the son, was sold out by his brothers and was imprisoned because of a woman’s jealous and sinful heart. What would be the outcome? The preservation and salvation of Israel.

Fast-forward to the earthly life of Christ. God the Father, in His immeasurable love, sent His Son to us so that we might be saved. All of humanity turned against Him, and the sin of the world – wickedness, evil, malice – was poured onto Jesus’ shoulders. The outcome? Our salvation.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Posted by: Todd Thomas