BSF Genesis: Week 31, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

11.
God will come to your aid and be true to promise ==> go home

12.
a.
God will come to aid, take my bones

b.
Ex 13:19 Moses took Joseph’s bones, Joshua 24:34 Joseph buried in the cave in Canaan

13.
God will come to your aid

My Daily Journal:

I know many people find comfort in the words of Genesis 50:24 that God will come to your aid.  But, as a husband, father and provider to my family, church and community I find special promise in these words and a comfort, a real lifting of a burden through these words.

I want to provide for those I love.  I want to protect them and care for them.  I want to serve them and model the love of God to them.  But how do you continue to do that after you die.  There is, obviously, financial planning that should take place and seeds that are planted throughout the years, but how can you possibly know if the best laid plans will be enough?

But, the reassurance that God will come to their aid is a huge relief.  And, as it was when the Holy Spirit was sent after Christ left, this verse tells me that there is actually a special outpouring of blessing that God will send to the ones I love and care for to specifically fill the void that would otherwise be present with my inevitable passing some day.  What a powerful and reassuring promise!

BSF Genesis: Week 31, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

8.
a.
Worried that with Jacob dead Joseph would turn and payback for the wrongs they did to him.  So, they sent word (lie?) that Jacob told him to forgive them – Joseph wept and told them to not be afraid, he would not judge them but instead would provide for them and their children.  He reassured them and spoke kindly to them

b.
Wept.  Received them.  Spoke reasuring words to them

c.
God works all to His good.  No matter what, God is in control

9.
a.
1 John 1:9, if we confess our sins he will forgive us & purify us, Eph 1:7 in him we have redemption… the forgiveness of sins John 6:1-14 Christ provides (feeding 5000) John 14:2, my Father’s house has many rooms. Luke 23:43 today paradise

b.
confession, repententance, grateful acceptance of the gift of grace

c.
As an earthly father and teacher I try to protect and provide for my family and those in my care.  I teach them through words and modeling biblical values, worship and confession.

10.
a.
To save Israel from itself, from its sinful past, from intermarriage with canaanites and from famine

b. (Note: I answered this challenge question in light of what the bible says disciples of Christ are called to do):
2Tim 2:15, learn his word, 1 peter 5:7 pray, Eph 5:22-6:4 serve each other as family, Col 3:18 do all work for God, Acts 20:35 help the weak, more blessed to give, Act 8:4 preach the word wherever you go

My Daily Journal:

This was one of my favorite sections of our study this week.  After Jacob’s death, Joseph’s brothers get afraid.  They decide to take the approach with their brother that I’ve seen my own kid’s take.  They decided to “play the Dad card.”  “Dad said you have to forgive us…”

But Joseph’s response was amazing.  In response to the Dad card, Joseph plays the Big Dad card.  Instead of stepping into the middle of things and giving his own forgiveness, Joseph redirects them to God.  Don’t be afraid.  Am I in the place of God?  God has already used everything you did for His good.  What is there to forgive that hasn’t been forgiven?  Don’t be afraid.

His brothers sought simply get out of the hole they had dug for themselves. Joseph doesn’t just bring them back to where they were before, but he elevates them.  He doesn’t just say I won’t punish you.  He says I will take care of you and provide for you and your children.  What a model and reflection of our loving God!  When we dig ourselves into a hole, we repent and ask Him to help us get out of the hole.  Instead of just restoring us, he lifts us up to a better place, a place in His kingdom, and eternal home.

On the flip side of this is the lesson and reminder of just how difficult it is for us, like Joseph’s brothers, to accept forgiveness.  We repent, we ask God to forgive us and He does.  But we don’t.  Instead of learning from and moving on, we keep reliving our past transgressions.  Instead of leaving them at the foot of the cross, we keep going back and picking them up, only to repent of them again and again.  But, God really does forgive.  Psalm 103:12 says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”  This is a challenge for me.  I’m one who, while I know God has forgiven me, I haven’t always forgiven myself, and that baggage can hinder my ability to move forward into the sanctification to which I (like all believers) am called.  That is one of the reasons this was such a powerful and personal lesson to me.

BSF Genesis: Week 31, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

6.
Pharaoh honored him by the entourage he sent to his graveside.  Dignitaries of his court, all the dignitaries of Egypt, Chariots and horsemen, a very large company, so great the the Canaanites renamed the place to mourning of the Egyptians. Only Hebrew children and livestock left behind.

7.
a.
The size and scale and the mourning that occurred at the threshing floor of Atad

b.
v12. Did as he commanded them, carried him, buried him.

c.
We are aliens here – our citizenship is in heaven.  We have been saved through Christ.

My Daily Journal:

Jacob was a mirror who reflected God.  When the bible says God is the God of Israel or the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, it does not mean these men owned God.  It means that they reflected God for others to see.

Jacob reflected God in his prayer life.  He reflected God in His trust of God’s word.  He reflected God in his willingness to speak truth (especially in his later years).  He reflected God in his blessings (which were actually God’s blessings).  He reflected God in and through his children and especially through Joseph.

When pharoah send a very large company, chariots, horsemen; when he sent all the riches of Egypt; when he provided the royal embalmers; when the Egyptians mourned at the threshing floor; when the Egyptians stayed with the Israelite children and flocks so their parents could all go back to Canaan (even though they found shepherds detestable)… When all of these things occurred they reflected directly through Jacob back to God, His God, The God of Israel.

When we go to a funeral and participate in eulogies today it is the same thing.  When a christian has spent their life reflecting the glory of God, there is absolutely nothing wrong with spending some time reflecting on that reflection!  The glory is not going to the individual, it is going to the source of the light that they helped shine.

BSF Genesis: Week 31, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.
a.
No.  He spent his last breath blessing others. He looked forward to being gathered to his people, pulled his feet up into his bed and died

b.
God is the God of Jacob – He is not the God of the dead but of the living – Jacob is experiencing eternal life

4.
a.
H.
people are destined to die once and after that to face judgment

R.
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Wages of sin are death but the gift of God is eternal life

J5.
Whoever hears word and believes God has eternal life, will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life

J8.
told that you would die in yoru sins, if don’t believe then you will indeed die in your sins

J11.
Whoever lives by believing in me will never die.  Do you believe this?

b.
Spiritually ready and confident.  I believe there is still work for me to do here and more lives to touch and shepherd

5.
Honored the promise he made to his father.  Sought Pharaoh’s blessing.

My Daily Journal:

Death.  Until Christ comes again and calls us up to Him in heaven, we are all going to die.  Death is a doorway we all must cross through.

For a few years I had the opportunity to work with a motivational speaker who used board breaking in coaching and leading people.  The piece of pine represented a barrier to the individual, something that prevented them from “breaking through” to a higher level or better place.  One of the key things that he taught, and which I saw to be true, was that the more you focus on the board, the harder it is to break.  You don’t try to hit the board, you pick a focus point beyond the board and strike to it.  You don’t focus on the barrier, your focus on what things look like beyond the barrier.

The challenge for us is that we tend to focus on the door more than what’s on the other side when it comes to death.  Some might say that we don’t know what is on the other side, but I disagree.  While the door may be a solid door, Christ has provided a window for us to look through.  He tells us that “in My father’s house there are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you.”  He tells us that upon death “Today you will be with me in paradise.”  We know from Revelation that heaven is a real place, measurable, with walls of jasper and city of pure gold.    But, most importantly, we know it is where God is and where we go to be with Him.  This was revealed in the martyrdom of Stephen when he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God in heaven.   Jesus tells us about God and Heaven over and over again.  I am the way… no one comes to the Father but by me.  I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who believes in me shall not perish but have eternal life.

When Christ came back from the dead he showed that death has no hold over us.  There need be no uncertainty of what is on the other side of the door of death, Christ has shown us.  We, like Jacob need to be willing to trust in Him and put our focus on the beauty of breaking through to the other side, not on the door. When we focus on death, we bang in to something hard and difficult and painful, just like when someone would focus on the board, they would bang into the board.  Instead, we must focus on the life after death and break through death in joy and celebration.

BSF Genesis: Week 30, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

13.
To be buried in the cave of the patriarchs.  He had confidence his people would return to the promised land

14.
a.
in hard work be weak, it is more blessed to give than to receive

r.
whose transgressions are forgiven, sins are covered, whose sin the Lord will never count

e.
in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ

t.
in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ

j.
who perseveres under trial, having stood the test, receive the crown of life that Lord promised

p.
do not repay evil with evil/insult with insult, but evil with blessing – called

r.
read aloud the words of this prophecy, hear it, take it to heart – time is near

My Daily Journal:

I was torn at first with the line asking what a person must do to receive blessings.  Clearly we don’t do anything to earn blessings, no more than we do something to earn a gift.  If you earn it, it isn’t a gift, it is payment.  I see blessings in the same way.

But in preparing my lecture I was reminded of an older gentleman I worked with at a retail store in the mall when I was in high school.  This man suffered from periodontal disease and, to use the vernacular, had really bad breath.  He was aware of the problem and did things to try to cover up the situation.  He constantly ate breath mints.  He wore very strong cologne, he would attempt to not get too close to people when talking.  But all of those were simply steps to cover or mask the problem, they did nothing to fix it.

For us, sin is the problem and it stinks.  The bible says our prayers are like a pleasing aroma to God.  In the same way, our sin is a stench.  We do all kinds of things, all kinds of “good works” to try to mask it, but we can’t.  The only fix is to fix the problem.  That is called sanctification and it is a process that God, our great physician, takes in our lives to remove the infection of sin in our lives and transform us into His image.  Christ is the only cure, and while we can’t do anything to earn Him in our lives, if we fail to accept Him then we miss the cure.

In the same way, if we fail to do spiritual work, we miss the blessings of that work, if we fail to be in Christ we miss the blessings of the heavenly realm, if we avoid trials and tests we miss the growth they provide.  This isn’t earned, it is lived.  It isn’t covering over, it is submitting to the only one who can heal.

BSF Genesis: Week 30, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

10.
fruitful vine near a spring: his actions in Egypt, by the Nile, saved nations from starvation. branches climb over a wall: moved from Canaan to Egypt received Egyptian name and honors, Archer attach: Brothers, Potiphars wife, forgotten in prison – he faced many attacks; Bow remained steady, strong arms limber: despite hardship he stayed true and honorable to God; because of hand of Mighty One, Shepherd, Rock: All was because of God and for His glory.

11.
blessings from skies above waters below, sun and moon; gifts from ancient mountains and hills; let all these rest on the head of Joseph the prince among his brothers

12.
Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.  He may be a ravenous wolf to the world, but he carries the lamb upon his shoulders

My Daily Journal:

We are wisely encouraged in life to save and set funds aside for our old age and for an inheritance to our children.  While the bible warns against placing our faith in this accumulation, it is also clearly taught to set funds aside in the years of plenty for the lean years that often follow.

We can see a parallel in these spiritual blessings that Jacob has accumulated for his sons.  Do these things belong to Jacob, no, they belong to God.  But through a life devoted to God and setting aside treasures of faith in his heart, Jacob can bestow these blessings onto his sons and the sons of Joseph.  Blessings of the skies above, blessings of the deep springs below, blessings of the breast and womb. Blessings greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills.

What am I, through faith, receiving as a spiritual blessing that I, through the almighty hand of God, will be able to bestow upon my children and grandchildren?  Is my inheritance to them measured in dollars or measured in blessings and grace and truth?  What words do I need to say to my children?  Shouldn’t I say them now until waiting until my deathbed?

BSF Genesis: Week 30, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

5.
Hand on neck of enemies, brothers praise you, relatives bow down, Lion, scepter will not depart, ruler’s staff…until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, whom all nations will honor

6.
a.
all bow to him, victorious against his prey, holds the scepter and ruler’s staff for they belong to him, from the line of Judah,  the one whom all nations will honor

b.
1 Cr 15:54, Death has been swallowed up in victory; Rom 6:9 Death no longer has mastery over him; Luke 22:69 The Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God; Heb 1:2 by His Son whom he appointed heir of all things; Heb 1:8 about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter…, Matt 27:18 Christ was dressed in a crimson robe (crimson would be the color of a robe died in the blood of grapes, it was also the color representing sin, e.g., the crimson sash hung outside the window by Rahab.)

c.
He is victorious over death so I need not fear the grave.  He is at the right hand of God and holds the scepter of heaven, so I can trust in His rule.

7.
His region was beside the sea of Galilee and included Capernaum.  Many gentiles (ships) lived there and were saved (safe harbor)

8.
The tribe of Issachar were to be farmers.  We know from the time of Adam that farming would be hard work and toil, but we know also from Eccles 3:12-13 that toil is a gift from God.  God encourages us to work and do good hard work which yields benefits to us now and eternally

9.
Samson – Judges 13-18 – killed many Philistines who ruled over Israel at the time

My Daily Journal:

Many of us know the story of Samson and his incredible strength when the spirit would come upon him in strength.  But as I reread the story I was struck by his parents.

Manoah, who was from the tribe of Dan, lived in the land unjustly ruled by the Philistines.  The Israelites had been turned over to the Philistines because of their sin.  Manoah was married to a woman who was childless.  The angel of the Lord came to her and told her she would give birth to a son who would be a Nazirite and he will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.

The part that came next is what really struck me in relation to our lesson this week.  In Judges 13:18, “Then Manoah prayed to the LORD: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.””

In our scripture this week Jacob has assembled and is speaking truth about the future to his sons, including many things they either don’t understand or, in some instances, things they don’t want to hear.  This made me think about what I should do if God delivered news about my future to me.  What if he told me something about my health, my finances, my children, my church?  Should I worry about it?  Should I jump into action? Should I just take the news and do nothing? Should I use my own intellect to “figure things out”?

But, the example we learn from Manoah is the right response.  Given revelation about the future, my first step should be to drop to my knees and humbly pray to God to come into my life and teach me how to do what He wants with this revelation.  To teach me how to honor Him and be true in my work in the future to His calling for my life.

BSF Genesis: Week 30, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.
a.
Firstborn, my might, my 1st sign of strength, first in rank and power.  Turbulent as the water, unruly as a flood, you will no longer excel (you will be first no longer).

b.
Reuben followed his eye (his lust) into a situation he knew to be wrong.  He wavered and did not hold strong to his conviction to his father or God.  As such, he became a person with divided loyalty, unstable, tossed.  Do not expect to receive anything because loyalty is divided between God and the world

c.
Protect your eyes to not draw you into a temptation to waver in faith.  Eyes are either filled with light or darkness, but can’t be both.  If try to do both, we are as unsettled as a wave with divided loyalty and will receive no reward from God.

4.
a.
weapons are instruments of violence.  May I never join in their meetings or be party to their plans.  Curse on their anger, curse on their wrath – they are fierce and cruel.  I will scatter them among the descendants of Jacob, disperse them

b.
Slaughtered all the men of Shechem after the rape of their sister Dinah.

c.
Ex 32:27, After Moses returns from the mountain to find the golden calf he draws sides and the Levites side with him and go from one end of camp to the other killing 3000.  Part of the role of the priests is to guard the temple and the laws even against their own brothers.

d.
In my youth I did not make wise decisions in friends or activities.  My education suffered, my faith wavered and my ability to witness for God was tarnished.  While none of those things can be reversed, it does not mean that God can’t use them in me now to make me a dedicated learner, to associate with Godly friends and to lead my family to not repeat my mistakes. Had Levi not dishonored Jacob, the Levites may not have learned from that mistake and may not have stood with Moses.

My Daily Journal:

What tough love Jacob showed to his sons.  None of us have difficulty giving blessings of good news and we tend to gloss over the negatives or avoid them all together.  Jacob knew the habits of his sons, particularly the older sons, and, on his deathbed he told them the truth.  He did it not in hatred or spite but in love.  Notice that he doesn’t curse Simeon or Levi, he curses their anger and their wrath.

Are they locked into this?  Is this just “who they are”?  The story of God’s redemptive love tells us otherwise.  The example I am using in my children’s lecture is to not allow your cow paths to become canyons.

Cows in a field have the ability to walk anywhere.  The land is generally flat and grass grows throughout it.  But if you look at any pasture where cows have dwelt for some time you will find “cow paths.”  They develop habits and walk the same path over and over again, wearing a trail.  However, with a single step they can step out of that rut.  However, if they don’t then, over lots of time, that rut grows deeper and deeper and could eventually grow to be a deep canyon.

Jacob saw the cow paths his sons had formed in their lives.  While he was inspired by God, it did not take divine intervention to see where those paths lead.  By speaking the truth to them he entrusted to them the wisdom to see for themselves and either continue along the same rut or step out of it.

For many of us the ruts of decisions in our lives already run very deep.  We likely don’t have the strength to climb out on our own.  The good news of Christ is we don’t have to.  He will lift us up and carry us on his shoulders.  He sends others into our life to help us and gives us his church on earth to work together to help each other.

I’m reading a book by John Maxwell and one section of the book asks the question, “what is the most important day in your life?”  The empowering answer to that question is always, today.  The past is with us and we need to assess and learn from it, but there is nothing we can do to change it.  The future is worth planning and preparing for, but living in the future is called procrastination.  The key is to live in today, to make the right decisions today, to love God and His people today and honor and server Him today.  When Moses came down from the mountain and drew sides, the Levites had learned to choose that day whom they would serve.  Not a few, but every single man of the tribe, every descendent of Levi, and learned the lesson and chose wisely.

BSF Genesis: Week 29: Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

10.
a.
He bi-passed Joseph and gave blessing to his 2 sons, Ephraim and Manasseh

b.
Cane and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Shem Japheth Ham

11.
47:31 – Every agreement Jacob made was not only with another man but with and through God.  Important to remember in dealings with other – also and always includes God and praise should always go to Him.

12.
Angel of the Lord – Pre-incarnate Christ

13.
May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh

14.
21-22I am about to die, but God will be with you[h] and take you[i] back to the land of your[j] fathers. 22 And to you I give one more ridge of land[k] than to your brothers, the ridge I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.

My Daily Journal:

I was convicted by Jacob in the agreement he formed with Joseph regarding burying him in the tomb of the patriarchs.  It wasn’t the agreement itself or his desire to be buried back in the promised land.  But it was his approach to the agreement as related to us in verse 31.  Jacob approached every agreement he made with another to be not only an agreement with that person but also one bound by God.  And, why not?  Should we be making agreements without God?  Should God be a part of everything we commit to?  Verse 31 says “”Swear to me,” he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff (or Israel bowed down at the head of his bed).”

I make a lot of agreements.  I’m making promises and agreements every day at work.  I make commitments to my wife and children and to my friends and church.  I make a lot of deals.  If my word reflects my faith, then I should ask God to be a part of each of those agreements and I should praise Him for each of them.  I’m convicted to how this would affect both the deals I make and my behavior and commitment to them.  Too often I’ll agree to something, but become distracted and not give it my all.  But if worship and prayer were part of every commitment I make, then what extra power and strength I would have in more court to honor those and reflect God’s glory in my word and actions.

We talked in our circle about doing more to point the glory to God alone in our daily lives and dealings.  I believe this passage helps teach us that begins in the beginning of those dealings, by prayer and praise before and as we make the commitments.  By including God here, it is only natural that the glory for the work accomplished also go to Him.

BSF Genesis: Week 29, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

8.
a.
God promised to return him to the promised land.  He made his son swear an oath to bury him in tomb of the patriarchs.  All the time he worshipped God.

b.
Reassurance of a heavenly home.  to create a focus on the eternal not the temporal

9.
a.
1. Collected money for payment for food v14, 2. collected livestock for payment for food v16, collected land and servitude for payment of food v 20-21

b.
It gave people autonomy and choice.  Even though they entered servitude, they did it logically, willingly and with their own free will and choice.  They bought their food, not a welfare state – prepared them to again work and grow and build once the famine ended.  It also allowed them to separate themselves from all their worldly possessions, turn them over to a benevolent ruler and then take on the yoke of doing his work.

c.
No, only that he was able, through Pharoah’s kindness, to find a home for his family

d.
Finances, investments, accepting the generosity of others

My Daily Journal:

I think there are great lessons from the passage today, both in terms of how we should help others as well as how we should live our own lives.

The model presented in this story to help those in need is one of providing a “hand up” rather than a “hand out.”  It did not dis-empower or dishonor the Egyptian people, just the opposite – it allowed them to exercise their free will.  I am a fan of authors such as Bob Lupton and Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert and I believe this scripture supports the approaches they take and recommend.

More personally, however, it also provides a model for our approach to being citizens of God’s kingdom.  God gives us the opportunity to shed our desires to cling to things of this world.  He gives us choice and freedom, even though (as was the case in Egypt) there is only one truly logical choice.  It is only when we release our ability to “pay our own way” that we can receive the biggest blessing of all.  As in Egypt, when the people bought their own way, all they received was daily food.  But when they turned themselves over full, they received the seeds to grow food, not only to feed themselves but also to feed others.