Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Read Ex. 4:18-23 Moses had his marching orders from the Lord. So he had to get his father-in-law’s blessing before he left. Jethro gave it and God spoke once more to Moses assuring him that he was not walking into a death trap. All the men who had wanted to kill him were now dead. So Moses took his family and set out for Egypt with the rod of God in his hand. Once again God reminded him to do the miracles he had given him but that God would harden the Pharaoh’s heart and he wouldn’t let him go. When he does this you are to tell him that if he refuses to let his firstborn, Israel go, that God will kill his firstborn child. This is the age-old battle. Satan is out to kill, steal, and destroy God’s people and in return God will kill his people. It is not a very much taught principle, but there are evil people on the earth that will never accept Jesus and aren’t made to. God told his people to go in and kill all the people that were inhabiting their land. He didn’t tell them to try to introduce them to Him, he told them to not associate with them and not to marry their women and breed with them. They carry evil in their DNA. God raised up evil kings to punish his people all through the Old Testament. Hitler was raised up by God to wake up his people and draw them back to him. It seems cruel and mean that God would go to such drastic measures to awaken a people, but then he went to gory measures to crucify his son. It is hard for us to fathom that a man’s life is like a blade of grass, here today, gone tomorrow. It is not our life here that needs to be long, it is our purpose that needs to be established. Sometimes, a person’s purpose is done in a few hours and they are taken back to heaven, and others are to live 100 years. It is all in God’s plan and it is beyond our comprehension. Lord, I do know that you are in control, the All-mighty, All-powerful God who created the heavens and the earth and will one day create a new heaven and a new earth.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Read Ex. 4:1-17 It seems silly to argue with God, but Moses did and we do too. God gave him this commission to go deliver the people and told him exactly what would happen and that God would bring the success. You don’t get it much better than that, but Moses still argued because all Moses could see was himself. His first argument was: “what if they don’t believe me and do what I say?” So God gave Moses a hands-on lesson. He asked him what was in his hand and he said a rod. So God told him to throw it down and when he did it became a serpent. Moses ran. Then God told him to take the snake by the tail and when it did, it became a rod again. Then he told him to put his hand into his chest and when he took it out it was leprous. He told him to put it back again and when he took it out again it was restored. So these would be his 2 signs that he could perform to prove he had heard from God. But if these didn’t work then he was to take water from the river and pour it on dry ground and it would become blood. I wonder if these signs weren’t addressing Moses’ greatest fears: snakes, leprosy, and lack of water. But Moses had an even greater fear - the fear of speaking publicly. God reminded him that he made Moses the way he was and he knew his weaknesses. God would make Moses’ weakness his strength if he would let him. When Moses still wasn’t sure, God got angry with Moses’ lack of faith and he told him he could use Aaron, his birth brother to speak for him. I don’t know if Moses and Aaron had kept up with each other over the years, but Aaron would be prompted to go try to find Moses. God will never send us to do something that he doesn’t first equip us with what we will need. He loves to work through our weaknesses to show us His strength. He will many times put us in situations where only He can deliver us. It is our training exercises to strengthen us for the next test. In the process he will make us face our greatest fears. God took the natural: rod and hand and turned it into the supernatural. All God needs is what we already have. His touch makes it supernatural! Lord, get us to the place that we skip the argument and go straight to the test. Promotion comes from you. Read Ex. 4:1-17 It seems silly to argue with God, but Moses did and we do too. God gave him this commission to go deliver the people and told him exactly what would happen and that God would bring the success. You don’t get it much better than that, but Moses still argued because all Moses could see was himself. His first argument was: “what if they don’t believe me and do what I say?” So God gave Moses a hands-on lesson. He asked him what was in his hand and he said a rod. So God told him to throw it down and when he did it became a serpent. Moses ran. Then God told him to take the snake by the tail and when it did, it became a rod again. Then he told him to put his hand into his chest and when he took it out it was leprous. He told him to put it back again and when he took it out again it was restored. So these would be his 2 signs that he could perform to prove he had heard from God. But if these didn’t work then he was to take water from the river and pour it on dry ground and it would become blood. I wonder if these signs weren’t addressing Moses’ greatest fears: snakes, leprosy, and lack of water. But Moses had an even greater fear - the fear of speaking publicly. God reminded him that he made Moses the way he was and he knew his weaknesses. God would make Moses’ weakness his strength if he would let him. When Moses still wasn’t sure, God got angry with Moses’ lack of faith and he told him he could use Aaron, his birth brother to speak for him. I don’t know if Moses and Aaron had kept up with each other over the years, but Aaron would be prompted to go try to find Moses. God will never send us to do something that he doesn’t first equip us with what we will need. He loves to work through our weaknesses to show us His strength. He will many times put us in situations where only He can deliver us. It is our training exercises to strengthen us for the next test. In the process he will make us face our greatest fears. God took the natural: rod and hand and turned it into the supernatural. All God needs is what we already have. His touch makes it supernatural! Lord, get us to the place that we skip the argument and go straight to the test. Promotion comes from you.
Friday, July 27, 2012
Read Ex. 3:13-22 Egypt was a powerful place with many gods with different powers and different names. No doubt, the Israelites had assimilated into this society and needed to be reminded who their God was. Moses was hoping for a great name that would convince the people that this god was worthy of following. So he asked God what his name was. He responded, “I AM THAT I AM. Tell them that I AM has sent you.” What does that mean? 1. That he is self- existent: he has his being of himself. 2. That he is eternal and unchangeable, and always the same, yesterday, today, and for ever. 3. That he is incomprehensible; we cannot by searching find him out 4. That he is faithful and true to all his promises, unchangeable in his word as well as in his nature. I am, and there is none else besides me. Then he went on to tell him that he was the god of their fathers: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and that he wants to be their God also. Then he gave Moses the plan: go gather all the elders together and tell them that I have appeared to you and I have seen how they are being treated in Egypt. I will bring them out of all the bondage and send them to the land of their enemies and give them their land which is rich and flowing with milk and honey. Then the elders will go with you to tell the king of Egypt that I have called you out of Egypt into the wilderness to sacrifice to Me. And by the way, he won’t let you go. Then I will lift up my hand and strike Egypt with such severe blows that they will finally let you go. When you leave, don’t leave empty-handed. Borrow your neighbors silver and gold jewelry and nice clothes and leave with the spoils of Egypt. What a recipe for spiritual warfare: meet with God and get his plan, join with other mature believers, go straight to the principality that is in control and declare to him what you are there for. Then, don’t give up when he refuses to let go. Keep standing and let God bring your victory to pass. And when you leave, take all the things that the enemy has stolen from you or that you want. Lord, you are our I AM and you have not changed. May we spoil the enemy and dwell in you.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Read Ex. 2:23-3:12 According to the timeline I found, the children of Israel were in Egypt 215 years, mostly in bondage. The king of Egypt dies and it is time for a new rule. It is also time for God to move in behalf of Israel. The people had learned that only God, their king could help them. He was their only hope. God had made a covenant with each of Abraham’s descendants that he would establish them in their own land and be their God and God did not forget that. Meanwhile back in Midian, Moses is keeping his father-in-laws flocks. He has led them to the back side of the desert where Mount Horeb is… the mountain of God. Horeb is a whole mountain range and is also known as Mt. Sinai where Moses would return and meet God again and he would give him the law. This time he sees a bush that appears to be on fire but instead of burning up it just stood unconsumed by the fire. Moses marveled at it and came closer. But as he grew closer he heard God speak his name. He answered and God told him to take off his shoes because the ground he was standing on was holy. God introduced himself to Moses as the God of his father, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob and Moses hid his face. God told him that he had watched and knew of all the afflictions the Israelites were going through. He was coming down to deliver them and bring them to the land he had promised long ago: a good, large land, flowing with milk and honey - where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jubusites now lived. This was to be their land. And by the way…. I am sending you, Moses to deliver them. I’m sure Moses was excited till he heard the last part. He responded like I would have, “Who am I, that I should got to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” But God wasn’t giving Moses an out. He promised that he would not go alone. God, himself would go with him and bring him back to this very mountain. Only then, instead of a small bush on fire it would be a whole mountaintop. Sometimes it seems like God asks us to do impossible things but he never expects us to do it alone. He just needs our willingness to let him use our bodies to move through. Nothing could be more exciting and fulfilling. Lord, help us to comprehend your greatness and willingness to work through us. Thank you that you always have a plan of deliverance when things get unbearable. We put our trust in You.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Read Ex. 2:11-22 Moses grew up in the palace, but at heart, he was still a Hebrew. One day he went out to see how his people were being oppressed. He saw an Egyptian killing a Hebrew and after looking around to see if anyone was looking, he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. The next day he came back and saw two Hebrews fighting among themselves and went to them to ask why two brothers would fight. They became indignant and one of them replied, “Who made you a prince and judge over us? Do you intend to kill me like you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses realized that his secret was very public. It made it all the way back to the Pharaoh who sought to kill Moses. Moses escaped to the land of Midian which means “contention and strife”. (I thought that was what he was running from. Funny, how we can never run from our problems they just resurface until we deal with them.) Anyway, he sat down by a well which is a recipe for a new wife in the Old Testament. The priest of Midian had 7 daughters who happened to come to that well to draw water for their father’s animals. But, every time they tried to approach the well the other shepherds would run them off… until today. (If Moses couldn’t save his own brethren, maybe he could aid 7 helpless women trying to get water.) With Moses help their flocks were watered in record time and they returned home. When their father wondered how they returned so soon, they told him about the man they met at the well who chased the shepherds away and watered their flocks for them. Their father told them to go get Moses and invite him to stay with them. He gave Moses his daughter, Zipporah for his wife. Her name means “a sparrow”. Together they had a son named Gershom meaning “a stranger there” because Moses felt like a stranger in a land that was not his own. Ps 84:3 says that the sparrow has found a house - even the altars of the Lord of hosts. A sparrow is the offering of the poor of which Jesus said that one sparrow is important enough that God notes if it dies. I think that Zipporah saw herself as insignificant but God chose her to give her a house of faith and a family of renown. Most of us are like Zipporah who feel as important as a sparrow but it is because we, like Gershom, are a stranger living in a place that is not our home. In truth, we are important enough that God fashioned us out of his heavenly clay and set us in this alien land to sojourn and learn to abide in Him. Lord, help us to realize that we are only passing through but we can bring the kingdom of God down here.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Read Ex. 2:1-10 The Hebrews are under severe bondage and now the Pharaoh has ordered the death of all Hebrew boys. (Sounds like the times when Jesus was born.) When the devil smells destiny on a person he will go to great lengths to kill it, but God always out-smarts him. A baby boy was born to a couple both from the tribe of Levi. Something about this baby let her know that he was no ordinary boy and he needed to be rescued from the law. So she put him in self-made ark and took him to the river and let him go to float to his destiny. What faith! His older sister hid to watch what would happen. I guess his mother couldn’t stand to watch. As God would have it, the daughter of Pharaoh came down to the river at the same time to wash, saw the basket floating in the river and sent her maid to get it. When she opened it she saw the baby and he cried. She was instantly knit to this baby and recognized it to be a Hebrew baby. His sister jumped from her hiding and offered to get a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for her. Pharaoh’s daughter agreed and the sister ran and brought back the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter agreed to pay her to nurse the baby till it was weened, then she would take him. So, the baby went back with his mother till he was weened. At this time he was given to the Pharaoh’s daughter to live in the palace. She named him Moses which means “drawn out” because he was drawn out of the water. Moses is a type of the church now and in the last days. As Christians in a hostel world, we are hidden in Christ like Moses was hidden in that basket. We are preserved for our destiny like Moses was in that ark, and drawn out just in time to walk in our ministry. In the end, when the world is going through great tribulation and unrest., we will be raptured out to live with God in his palace.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Read Ex. 1:1-22 It just seems right that we continue into Exodus. We start with a list of Jacob’s sons that came into Egypt: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. Joseph was already there. While in Egypt, the children of Israel become very prosperous and mighty. Joseph and all the brothers die- a whole generation. The next king of Egypt never knew Joseph but he notices that the children of Israel are multiplying and gaining in strength so much that they have become a threat to his kingdom. He decides the answer is to make them slaves and sentence them with hard labor. They were put under severe circumstances and were made to carry huge bricks and build cities to put the pharaoh’s treasures in. So they built Pithom and Raamses. Pithom means “the mouth of a monster” and Raamses means “thunder of the standard”. I would say that they described this Pharaoh’s heart pretty well. Jesus said that where your treasure is, your heart is also. (Luke 12:34) The Pharaoh thought this would diminish the tribes, but instead, they grew in number and strength. In desperation, the Pharaoh called in all the midwives and told them to kill the Hebrew boys at the birth, but let the girls live. The two midwives were Shiphrah which means “fairness” and Puah which means “to glitter in brilliance”. They were both fair and brilliant and feared God so they disobeyed the king’s orders and allowed the Hebrew boys to live. When they were called back in to the king they explained that the Hebrew women were so healthy that they delivered their babies before they could get there. Because the midwives refused to abort these babies, God blessed them and gave them houses. So, since the Pharaoh’s plan didn’t work covertly, he decided to try one overtly. He ordered all the Hebrew boys to be cast into the river. Notice the way Satan works. He is afraid of God’s people and his plan is to steal, kill, and destroy. This is one reason why bad things happen to good people and many times, unfortunately, God gets the blame. Lord, help us to see how we are a threat to the enemy and the object of his revenge. Let us be strong and courageous and fight with the weapons you have given us and win.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Read Gen. 50:1-14 I can’t believe we are on our last chapter of Genesis. Where should we go next? Maybe Exodus? When Jacob died Joseph greatly mourned for him and had his body embalmed. They did such a good job of embalming back then that they are finding these bodies today in caves in Egypt. Jacob’s body didn’t stay in Egypt but was carried to Machpelah and buried. The Egyptians mourned for Jacob’s body 70 days before getting permission from the Pharaoh to bury his father where he had requested. All the households of Joseph and his brother’s families traveled back to Canaan. When they got to the threshing floor of Atad they stopped and mourned 7 days. Atad means “to pierce or make fast a thorn tree”. One day a thorn tree would be twisted and made into a crown that would pierce the brow of the saviour of all Israel and the world. But now it was a place of mourning for Israel himself. When the Cannanites of the land saw how hard and long Joseph’s caravan mourned for Jacob, they knew he was an important man. They renamed the place Abel-mizraim to mean the “mourning of the Egyptians”. They continued on to Machpelah and buried him in their family burying place where the other patriarchs were buried. Then they returned to Egypt. The last of the patriarchs was dead. Abraham showed us the love of a father and became the father of many nations. Isaac, showed us the sacrifice Jesus would pay on the cross, and Joseph showed us how Jesus went ahead into heaven to prepare a place for us. Now they are gone and those remaining must carry on their example. Death has a way of sobering us to what is important in this life. It brings a depth that little else can. I got news this morning that my roommate in college lost her 23 year old son. It was her only son. I can’t imagine her grief and can only pray that God’s Holy Spirit will wrap her in his comfort and bring about his purposes in her life.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Read Gen. 49:27-33 Benjamin is called a “ravin wolf”. His tribe had a reputation for bravery and skill in war. They were famous for their left-handed slingers. (Judges 3:17: 20:16, 1 Ch. 8:40) Ehud, Saul, Esther, and Paul were all from the tribe of Benjamin. God loves to hide things in a mystery so that only those who are serious in seeking will find. I think Benjamin’s prophesy is one of those hidden things. It makes you think that Benjamin is a violent godless man but nothing could be more wrong. Benjamin whose name means “son of my right hand” is a picture of the bride. We are to be girded with truth, our feet shod to prepare the good news, our head covered with a helmet of salvation, a breastplate of righteousness over our hearts, and a sword that has two edges sharp enough to divide bone to the marrow. Of course, this is all figurative and talking about our stance in Christ but we are to be ready to fight. The prophecy says that “in the morning he shall devour the prey”. Jesus is known as the morning star that is given to us. In the morning, in Jesus, we will devour the devil and his plans. Night is a time usually associated with evil and the devil’s time to shine but as overcomers it will be a time when we will divide the spoil of what we have taken from him. God gave the children of Israel a fire to walk in during the night. This was light that dispelled darkness. God wants us to shine in the darkness and rule over the dark. We are to be children of the light who shine as lights in the darkest of times. After Jacob had given out his blessings he gave his burial instructions. He wanted to be buried in the cave of Machpelah where Abraham purchased to be a burying place for Sarah. So Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah and now Jacob would be buried there. This is where they would abide till Jesus died and took them to heaven - “gathered to his people”. The last verse gives us the impression that he commanded his sons, then commanded his body to die. There is so much about death that we don’t understand. I read 1 Thes. 4:13-18 this morning in my regular reading and as many times as I have read it I still have so many questions. We look at things and measure them by time when Jesus sees everything as right now, all happening simultaneously, which makes the wording hard for us to comprehend. All I know is that “our times are in the Lord’s hands”. Lord, may we comprehend the important things and leave the rest to you.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Read Gen. 49:20-26 Asher whose name means “happy” was prophecied prosperity and the riches of kings. The territory assigned to Asher was some of the richest land in the Promise Land. No heroes came from this tribe, only Anna who prophesied over Jesus at the temple after his birth. I think the Ashers are the wealthy Christians who give freely and anonymously of what God has entrusted to them. Naptali means “my wrestling”. It is described as an impetuous hind yet a giver of goodly words so I see the fight. The land of Naptali is primarily where Jesus walked while here on earth so it was full of spiritual wrestling. It was plagued with religious tradition and false teachings till Jesus came and preached truth which caused an outrage. The Naptali’s are those who wrestle for truth while surrounded by the world. Joseph is next. His name means “let him add”. The tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh are Joseph’s tribes. Joseph’s life was a type of Jesus: despised and hated by his own brothers; learned obedience by the things he suffered; sent ahead to prepare a place for his family. He died to birth the church. Joseph birthed Ephraim and Manasseh who were types of the body of Christ. He is prophesied to be fruitful, watered and overflowing. He will also be the target of the enemy’s darts and his hatred. But God has made him strong and a mighty warrior. He is blessed in heaven and death, blessed from the time of conception. He will be greater than all that have gone before. Jesus said that we, the Church, would do greater things than he did when he walked the earth. Lord, may we be worthy warriors who fight for truth and may we do the greater things that you talk about.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Read Gen. 49:13-19 Next we have Zebulun which means “a habitation or dwelling”. He will be a haven of the sea and a haven for ships. His border will be to Zidon. The Zebulun’s are those who are a shelter to the sea of humanity and for the ship (the church). Zidon means a “fishery that catches fish”. The Zebuluns are soul-winners and safe places to grow. Issachar means “he will bring a reward”. It says of Issachar that he was like a strong ass that was made to rest between two burdens and he saw that the rest was good and a good place to lie so he bowed himself and submitted to the forced labor. The Issachar’s are the ones who are strong in themselves but learned to find rest under submission. Later in scripture it tells us that Isachar’s knew the signs of the times and that they were some of the wisest members of the Sanhedrin. We need more Issachar’s. Dan means “judge”. Samson was from the tribe of Dan. Dan is omitted from the list of tripes in Revelation 7:5-8. Some believe that this is so because they believe the antichrist will come from Dan which makes sense since the antichrist will bring judgment on the whole earth. (Jer. 8:16) If the antichrist is to come from Dan then he is that serpent that strikes the heel and his riders fall backward. When the antichrist comes we will be praying verse 18. Gad means “a troop” and it says of Gad that a troop would overcome him but he will overcome it in the end. I wonder if the fact that his name means the same as his enemies tells us that he was his own enemy. In the end he overcame himself. I know many times I am my worst enemy. Lord, help us to be a haven for new believers, wise in understanding the future, victorious over sin, and may we leave judgment to you.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Read Gen 49:1-12 Jacob gave a special blessing to Joseph and his sons privately then invited all his sons in for their blessings. He wasn’t blessing them as much as he was prophesying over them, and it wasn’t even for now… it was for the last days. For us. He started with Reuben, the first born and worked down. Rueben was rebuked and cursed for dishonoring him and sleeping with his concubine. He called him unstable and told him he would not excel. Rueben stands for the entitled group of people that think because they call themselves Christians they are can live their lives for themselves and rely on a gracious Father to forgive them. They will be unstable and not be able to hold down a job because they despise authority. They dishonor God with their testimony and think it is O.K. Simeon and Levi were called “instruments of cruelty”. They had killed a man out of rage and tore down someone’s wall. In the last days they would be scattered and divided. The Simeons and Levi’s are the people who live their lives with a chip on their shoulder and revenge in their hearts. They tear down other people’s walls and expose their sins instead of covering them with love. They will walk divided and not in unity with the body. Judah would be praised by all and choke the enemy. Generations would bow before them. He was referring to Jesus who would be born of this tribe. He likened him to a lion. Jesus was called the lion of the tribe of Judah. He went on to say that Judah’s rule would never depart and until they enter into peace, then they will gather before him. Jesus reign is eternal and when we enter the millennial peace we will gather and worship around the throne. Verse 11 says that the foal will be bound to the vine and the blood of this vine would wash their garments. His eyes would be red with wine and his teeth white with milk. Jesus was bound to his father and his own blood washed him and the world of sin. Everything he sees is from the perspective of the blood and wisdom would be the milk of the word of God. This is a good description of the body that looks like the head. This is the bride. Lord, may we hail from the tribe of Judah.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Read Gen. 48:8-22 Jacob now turns his attention to Joseph’s two sons and though he can not see well he knows exactly what he is doing… or maybe God knew exactly what he was doing. He kissed and hugged them then proceeded to bless them. Since Manasseh was the older Joseph put him in front of Joseph so that his right hand would be on him. But Jacob crossed his arms and put his left hand on Manasseh. This went against the custom of the right hand being on the first born signifying that he would be the stronger and the leader. When Joseph noticed what his father had done, he tried to correct him explaining why. But Jacob refused to change saying that they would both be great but Ephraim would be greater than Manasseh. Ephraim and Manasseh did become a tribe of Israel making the number of the tribes 13. Levi is sometimes omitted in the counting since they are the priestly tribe and are treated differently. Ephraim means “double fruit” which described its future. The boundaries of the portion of the land assigned to Ephraim are given in Josh 16: 1-10. It included most of what was afterwards called Samaria. It was the centre of all traffic, from north to south, and from Jordan to the sea, and was about 55 miles long and 30 miles wide. It became a very prosperous and prideful tribe. The tabernacle and the ark were placed within its boundaries at Shiloh, where it remained for four hundred years. Joshua was from the tribe of Ephraim. Both Ephraim and Manasseh had territory on both sides of the Jordan. Manasseh means “God has caused me to forget”. Half of the tribe wanted to stay on the other side of the Jordan and the other half wanted to cross it. So one side was in the promised land and the other not. The west side was the promised land which was some of the most valuable land in the promise land. It was where Palestine was and springs of water. They were on the west arm of the promised land. It think they are indicative of the church now. Some Christians want to stay on the comfortable side of life and not cross over to the promises of God. To cross over Jordan is to die to self and give everything to God. Lord, may our prayer be the prayer that Joshua prayed, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Read Gen. 47:28-48:7 Jacob lived in Egypt 17 years which is the exact amount of time he had with Joseph before he was taken from him as a boy. He was 147 years old which means the full reward of his reign on earth was complete. (One hundred means “full reward”; forty means “reign tested”; and seven means “complete”). When he was about to die he called in Joseph so he could be with him one more time before he passed. He made Joseph promise to bury him in the burying place where Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah and his forefathers were buried (Machpelah). Burying places were very important to people in the Old Testament. He didn’t want to be buried in Egypt. Joseph made a similar request when he died. He made his sons promise they would take his bones with them when they left Egypt. One day Joseph was summoned to his father’s bedside because the time had come to pass. He took Manasseh and Ephraim with him to see their grandfather once more and receive his blessing. Jacob rallied strength to sit up and speak to them. He reminded them of the promise of God to multiply his seed and give them the land. He then adopted Ephraim and Manasseh as his own children. But their children would be Joseph’s. He went on to talk about Rachel’s death. Rachel which means “an ewe” died in Bethlehem giving birth to Benjamin which means “so of my right hand”. (Jesus sits at the right hand of God.) That was the same place where another lamb - the Lamb of God would be born whose death would bring life to the whole earth. Lord, you have planned everything. Truly our times are in your hand.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Read Gen. 47:12-27 Today’s scripture blesses me in a very personal way. My husband came home last night with concerns about his future at the place he works. They are restructuring and looking for ways to cut and it may greatly affect us. When I read today’s reading I saw it in a brand new way. The famine has been going on for years and the people have run out of money to buy grain so they come to Joseph who is the only one with grain. Joseph tells them to give him their cattle and he will give them grain. God reminded me that Israel kept the kings cattle, so Israel and all his sons got all the cattle of the land. So not only did God provide for Israel and his family but they prospered and multiplied during the time of famine. Everyone else lost their money, land, and cattle. Israel received free land, abundant grain, and now everyone’s cattle. Verse 27 sums it up, “Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.” As for the people, they felt blessed too because they gave everything they had to Joseph and he in turn gave them land and seed to plant and the ability to make their own way during this hard time. He only required one-fifth of their increase. The priests were exempt like Israel. So the ones that prosper during hard times are the ones who “draw near” and the priests whose business is the Lord’s. I’m sure that his priests were not godly priests but they were a type of God’s priests. We are to be a part of God’s priesthood who dwell in the presence of the Lord and we are called to live in the land of Goshen (“drawing near”) so that the famine of the world doesn’t affect our production and our prospering. I feel much better about our future! Lord, thank you for bringing a word in due season. Your truths are like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Prov. 25:11)
Monday, July 9, 2012
Read Gen 47:1-11 Joseph moved his family to Goshen then took 5 of the men to meet Pharaoh. (I would love to know which 5.) Joseph had already schooled them in how to answer the Pharaoh when he asked their occupation. Shepards were an abomination to Egyptians so they were to explain to him that it was a family business that had been going on for generations. Somehow that knowledge should explain to him why they were living in Goshen and not in Egypt. In Egypt, it would have been harder to keep their Jewish traditions and laws without causing the contempt of the Egyptians. Also, their children would be bombarded with false teaching, idolatry, and perversion. This answer pleased the Pharaoh so much that he gave them the potential job of watching his own sheep. Joseph brought Jacob before Pharaoh and he blessed the Pharaoh. (I would have loved to have the words of that blessing.) When Pharaoh asked Jacob about himself, Jacob told the Pharaoh that he had been living in this life for 130 years and he boiled his whole life down to two words: few and evil. What a terrible description of a life! He felt he hadn’t done nearly what his forefathers had done and his life wasn’t near as long. He was right about that. Abraham died at 175 and Isaac at 180. Jacob must have felt he was near and he was only 130. When he left, Jacob blessed the Pharaoh again. Pharaoh gave him the best land in Egypt, in the land of Rameses. “Rameses” means “thunder”. When Jacob left he blessed Pharaoh again. Two things stood out to me as I read this: 1. Jacob blessed an unrighteous king in an unholy land (twice). 2. Pharaoh gave them the best he had. This same thing happened to Joseph. When we are in an ungodly situation and we are wondering whether to stay, this might be your answer. Sometimes we are to flee and sometimes we are to stay. If we are called to stay then we should bless the unrighteous leader and watch what happens. He might give you the best that he has. God wants a people that he can exalt in these last days, who will stay humble and just, so he can pour the riches of the unrighteous on them. Proverbs says that the wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous. (Prov. 13:22) Lord, I pray that we will not sum our lives up in the words of “few and evil”. May our epitaph read “a destiny fulfilled in righteousness”. And may we learn to bless our authority.
Friday, July 6, 2012
Read Gen. 46:18-34 Yesterdays devotion about Asher is a good description of our days. The next in line is Joseph whose name means “let him add”. His two son’s names mean “causing to forget” and “double fruit”. So, let’s just add the fact that Jesus will cause you to forget all your sins and bless you double to all the good things God promised through Asher. Benjamin’s names all have to do with the tribulation and rise of the antichrist. Dan’s name means to “judge” and he had one son whose name meant “the hasters” which is who God is going to judge (those who rushed carelessly through life with no thought of eternity) and Naptali has to do with God’s promise to his bride. I’ll leave those for you to look up and discover. Verse 26 says that all the souls that came from his loins were 66, then the next verse says that all the house of Jacob that came out were 70. So the extra 4 were the wives I guess. That is not many wives for 12 men! But I do know that there are 66 books in the Bible and the number 66 means that man has been tested and found pleasing to God or not pleasing to God. Seventy is a set time of judgment and represents the price of redemption. The number 70 means that man’s test is complete. So, Jacob and his sons had been tested for 70 years and God found them complete. He placed them in a good land called Goshen which means “drawing near”. Here they would be close to Joseph who would take care of them and provide for their families in the days of famine and testing in the world. That is God’s promise to us. We, who don’t deserve it, have been given a place in God where we can go that is full of provision and satisfaction in the midst of famine and uncertainty. Judah was sent to get Joseph and bring him to his family. It will be praise that will gain us audience with Jesus in days of uncertainty. When Jacob saw Joseph they had a very sweet reunion. Joseph wanted to go immediately before the pharaoh and present himself as a servant to him. Won’t that be our response when we get to heaven… just to go meet God and humbly present ourselves as his servant! Lord, provoke us to want to draw near and seek you provision in times of famine.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Read Gen. 46:12-17 I would love to take apart each of Jacob’s sons and explain them, but after studying this for a few days I just don’t feel confident enough to write about it. I do want to highlight a few of them like Asher. Asher means “happy”. There are a few scriptures that talk about what makes a person happy like the people saved by the Lord, those who listened to Solomon’s god-given wisdom, the man that God corrects, the man with many children, the people whose God is the Lord, the man that finds wisdom and gets understanding, the man who puts his trust in the Lord, the man that keeps the law, those who endure, and those that are persecuted for righteousness sake. Reading this list gives me a new perspective on happiness. Asher had 4 sons whose names mean: “prosperity”, “he will equalize”, “in trouble”, and “superfluity”. The son whose name means “in trouble” had two son’s whose names mean “community” and “my king is God”. God’s “happiness” means spiritual prosperity. You will only prosper as your soul prospers… all other prosperity is fake and surface. You can own all the money you could ever want and die miserable. On the other hand you can be dirt poor and feel like a million dollars because you have a relationship with God that fills all your needs. Or, you can have the riches of the world and the riches of the kingdom like Joseph, David, and Solomon. God’s Word has a way of equalizing all of us: it humbles the proud and exalts the poor in spirit. When you are in trouble God surrounds you with community and gives you a kingdom perspective. Superfluity means having more than you need; overabundance; excessive. That is what God wants to be able to pour on his body, especially in the end times. It all starts in finding your happiness in God. Lord, help us to desire you above all the world’s glitter and find our happiness in you presence.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Read Gen. 46:1-11
Jacob begins his journey to see Joseph who has gone ahead to prepare a place for them to live free of want and starvation. He comes to Beersheba, the place where they have buried some of the “greats” of the Old Testament. It is a portal to God also. As he is there God speaks to him and assures him that he is leading him into Egypt and he will be with him there. But one day, he will lead him back out. He tells him that it will be Joseph that will close his eyes when it is time for him to die. So Jacob believed God and took all of his off-spring with him and traveled to Egypt.
Next we have the list of the tribes of Israel and their offspring. If you look up the meanings of the names you will find a thumbnail sketch of history from the beginning of time. Since the Hebrews had little written down they remembered their history through songs and stories. God gave them names to help them remember things. It would take days to go through the whole list but I’ll highlight a few so you can see. The first son is Rueben. His name means “see a son”. His son’s names mean “initiated or dedicated”, “distinguished or wonderful”, “enclosed courtyard”, and “gardener/my vineyard”. Adam was God’s first son on earth. He was dedicated to him and truly wonderful in every way. He was placed in a garden and told to be the gardener. The next son is Simeon whose name means “hearing”. His son’s names’ mean “he will be made slumber of God”, “the right hand”, “to be united”, “he shouted”, “he will be established”, “whiteness”, and “asked for”. Adam met God everyday and walked with him. He listened as God talked to him and told him about life. God put him to sleep so he could bring him a wife that would be his “right hand”. They were to be united in spirit. When he saw her he shouted for joy and they were established as man and wife. They walked in righteousness. They had everything they could ask for. But Eve wanted more. The next son was Levi. His name means “attached”. His first son’s name means “outcast”, the next: “to ally oneself” and the last means “bitter”. Eve attached herself to the forbidden tree and just couldn’t seem to tear herself away. She needed to know what was so bad about that tree. The “outcast angel”, the devil, came to ally himself to her in the form of a beautiful serpent. Through his deception he brought bitterness and sin to the world.
Lord, you are so amazing beyond our comprehension and your ways are so beyond us. Teach us to understand you better and draw us.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Read Gen. 45:23-28
Joseph sent 10 donkeys loaded with corn and bread and 10 donkeys loaded with the riches of Egypt back to his father. He knew they would need some proof for him to believe their story. When Joseph’s brothers told Jacob that Joseph was not dead but the ruler of Egypt he was faint. I wonder if that is how the Jews are going to respond when they see Jesus coming back as the victor of the world... the one they thought was just a prophet who died like all the other prophets. I’m sure it is going to take them a while to process the whole scene. No doubt the extra donkeys helped convince Jacob. Verse 27 says that when Jacob saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him in his spirit revived. Joseph had sent his own wagons for his father to ride back in. Since Jacob was so old I wonder if it wasn’t like a handicap vehicle with anything he could possibly need!
As Christians, we sometimes have a hard time understanding wealth and how to enjoy it when their are such dire needs all around us. Prov. 13:22 says that the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. God desires that we prosper in proportion to the prospering of our soul so that when he showers down his blessings we will know what to do with them and how to use them for the kingdom. Joseph lived in lavish abundance but his surroundings didn’t snare his soul because he had been tested to be able to handle it rightly. Ps. 112 says that the man who fears the Lord will produce seed that will be great upon the earth. Riches and wealth will be in his house and he will be a light that shines in the dark times. He will be generous and lend to those in need and guide his affairs with discretion. He will not be afraid of bad news but he will set his heart to trust in God. He will give to the poor and his righteousness will honor God. The trick in riches is knowing how to hear from God and obey. The woman in the New Testament was reviled for waisting all that expensive perfume on Jesus feet when it could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus said she chose rightly because she was following her heart. She anointed Jesus for his death. What an honor!
Lord, may what we be like perfume that welcomes your coming.
Monday, July 2, 2012
Read Gen. 45:9-22
God sent Joseph to Egypt, a stronghold for the occult and a people that had many gods so that he could rule over it. God sent Jesus down to earth to a stronghold of Satan’s to a people that had many gods so that he could be lord over all Satan’s house. Eventually, God would send another saviour, Moses to deliver them out of this place. God sends us into godless situations so that we can take dominion over that place. We just need to keep in mind that greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world. Joseph told his brothers to go and tell his father what God had done through him and give him hope. If they and their families would move to Goshen and draw near to him, they would be taken care of. (How comforting in today’s times!) He told them to tell Jacob of all the glory that God has given him then he hugged Benjamin and wept again…. how Jesus loves the church. He kissed everyone, visited with them and sent them back to Canaan.
Word got out to Pharaoh’s household that Joseph had found his lost brothers and they were coming and they rejoiced with him. When God gives you favor, he causes even your enemies to be at peace with you. (Prov. 16:7) The Pharaoh provided everything they would need to get them home and back. He gave them all clothes but to Benjamin, Joseph gave 300 pieces of silver and 5 changes of clothes. God has a plan to provide abundantly for his children even in the midst of famine. The number 300 means “totally conforming” and 5 means “grace”. By God’s grace the church in the end is going to be completely transformed by God’s grace to look like Jesus.
Lord, you are so good to us. Let us see your provision in the midst of famine and may you conform us to look like you.