BSF Genesis: Week 30, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures


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

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

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

in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ

in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ

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

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

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


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.

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

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


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

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

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.)

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.

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

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

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


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).

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.