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

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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

March 4, 2011

Today you should read: Genesis 45:1-28

If you go back a few days in the Jumpstart blog, you can re-read my commentary of Joseph’s imprisonment for holding fast to his integrity and doing the right thing by fleeing from Potiphar’s wife.

Verse 8 leaps off the page when I read it: “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.” Joseph not only talked about the providence of God, but he believed it to be true in all circumstances. For many, the word “providence” is just another big Bible word that is hard to understand and easy to dismiss. But please do not miss this: Joseph believed that it was God who allowed all the horrific circumstances (slavery, being wrongly accused of adultery, imprisonment) to take place in order to move Joseph closer to the Lord.

When Adam Dixon preached several months ago he said, “With every painful blow, God was moving Joseph closer to the throne through which he would save a remnant of people from famine.” What a mighty God we serve! In the midst of Joseph’s pain, God was working out all things according to His good and perfect plan.

My question to you is this: how does this change the way you view God? Once you allow this to increase your awe of God’s sovereignty, how does this impact the way you live? How does it affect your faith and trust in God?

Verses 4 through 7 blow my mind. Joseph could have easily exploded with anger and killed all of his brothers, but instead he looks upon them with intense compassion. Man, if I had been Pharaoh at this point in history, I would have sent Chad Wiles boot kickin’ on them! However, Joseph has the opposite reaction; he responds with grace and mercy. He shows them favor and even encourages them not to feel guilty for what they did, assuring them that it was God’s plan to save a nation!

The beautiful picture of God’s providence runs all throughout Genesis, illuminating how God wills to bring Himself glory. Remember Jacob? By God’s providence he obtained the birthright from Esau. Jacob becomes the father of the chosen people, and we see again God’s sovereignty as we compare this to Joseph’s rule in Egypt to save a remnant.

Flip to Matthew chapter 1. Whose names do we see? Matthew 1:1-2 says, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers…” Here is an incredible picture of God’s grace in bringing forth the Messiah through the sinful and broken man, Judah. If we read Genesis in the light of the Bible as a whole, we see God’s work in bringing us His only Son through His divine providence – even putting Judah in the lineage of Christ!

The take-away for today? God is simply worthy of our whole lives!

Posted by: Zach Monroe