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.

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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.

BSF Genesis: Week 29, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

5.
a.
66, plus his family = 70

b.
God’s covenant was with them too, the promise to take them there and bring them back – the entire house of Israel

c.
Name written in heaven in the book , in the book of life that will be opened on judgment day

6.
a.
So they could survive the famine.  So they could be one nation and one people.  So they could be reconciled and restored as a family.

b.
Goshen was the best part of the land of Egypt for raising livestock.  It was the area for livestock and their shepherds.  The Egyptians found this a detestable occupation and so did not cross-marry with them (preserving them as a unique people)

7.
Not constrained by current societal custom. Egyptians would not eat with Hebrews, yet Pharaoh put one in charge of all food supply.  Welcomed Joseph’s family and gave them his herds to tend.  Despite them working in an occupation Egyptians detested, Pharaoh accepted blessing from Jacob

My Daily Journal:

The list of names in Genesis 46 in light of the passage in Revelation 20 has some interesting depth.  First, is the question of is this an all inclusive list of names.  Second is why, if they were so good with counting sheep, is their math so bad.  Third, and most importantly, is, why is this here and who cares.

We know from verse 26 that this is not everyone because it does not count the sons’ wives.

In terms of the count – I can’t make it exact.  Dinah might be the missing person in the list to get to 66, since Er and Onan were dead.  I’ve included the list below – if anyone has a better idea, let me know.  Some things we just might not know.   Like, what was going on that Jacob had all these boys and only Dinah and Serah listed as daughters?  Exodus 1:5 says he had 70 children in total, replacing Joseph with Ephraim and Manasseh and including Dinah in the list does equal 70.

But the really important question is the final one.  Why is this here?  There are many reasons.  Genealogy creates relevance.  This is a real account of real people.  But I think it is deeper than that and helps clear up something from the Revelation passage.  Rev 20:12 says, The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  That can be troubling to people.  Is it faith or works?  How does this fit?

This is where the Genesis 46 passage becomes a key.  What do all these names in print have in common?  Not what they did (although we have written accounts of some of that throughout Genesis).  They are listed here because of the family to which they belong.  In the same way, we can have confidence in the book of life not because of what we do or don’t do but because we have been adopted to be brothers with Christ.  I picture a cross reference (no pun intended) index for all believers’ names in the book of life – an asterisks that says simply, “see Jesus”.  In the same way that we discussed last week Joseph giving all the glory to God, Christ paid the price in full for all of the “good works” that we are incapable of doing to be perfect in judgment.

—————————–

Jacob
1 Reuben 1 1
2 Hanok 2 2
3 Pallu 3 3
4 Hezron 4 4
5 Karmi 5 5
6 Simeon 6 6
7 Jemuel 7 7
8 Jamin 8 8
9 Ohad 9 9
10 Jakin 10 10
11 Zohar 11 11
12 Shaul 12 12
13 Levi 13 13
14 Gershon 14 14
15 Kohath 15 15
16 Merari 16 16
17 Judah 17 17
18 Er Dead 18
19 Onan Dead 19
20 Shelah 18 20
21 Perez 19 21
22 Zerah 20 22
23 Hezron 21 23
24 Hamul 22 24
25 Issachar 23 25
26 Tola 24 26
27 Puah 25 27
28 Jashub 26 28
29 Shimron 27 29
30 Zebulun 28 30
31 Sered 29 31
32 Elon 30 32
33 Jahleel 33 in all 31 33
1 Gad 32 34
2 Zephon 33 35
3 Haggi 34 36
4 Shuni 35 37
5 Ezbon 36 38
6 Eri 37 39
7 Arodi 38 40
8 Areli 39 41
9 Asher 40 42
10 Imnah 41 43
11 Ishvah 42 44
12 Ishvi 43 45
13 Beriah 44 46
14 Serah sister 45 47
15 Heber 46 48
16 Malkiel 16 in all 47 49
1 Joseph In Egypt 50
2 Manasseh In Egypt 51
3 Ephraim In Egypt 52
4 Benjamin 48 53
5 Bela 49 54
6 Beker 50 55
7 Ashbel 51 56
8 Gera 52 57
9 Naaman 53 58
10 Ehi 54 59
11 Rosh 55 60
12 Muppim 56 61
13 Huppim 57 62
14 Ard 14 58 63
1 Dan 59 64
2 Hushim 60 65
3 Naphtali 61 66
4 Jahziel 62 67
5 Guni 63 68
6 Jezer 64 69
7 Shillem 7 65 70

BSF Genesis: Week 29, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.
a.
Plan had changed.  Was not supposed to go to Egypt before, now it was OK

b.
i.
It is current/timely.  based on time and situation

ii.
Trust wholeheartedly, not leaning on own understanding.  submit and things will be straight

iii.
Ask for wisdom, believe and not doubt – trust!

4.
a.
1. I will make you a great nation in Egypt, 2. I will go down to Egypt with you, 3. I will surely bring you back again.  4. Joseph’s hand will close your eyes.

b.
1. Ex 1:7 the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them 2. Ex 6:2-5 I have heard the groaning of the Israelites 3.Ex 12:31 Leave my people and go 4. Gen 49:33 Jacob dies, 50:1 Joseph threw himself on his father and wept and kissed him

My Daily Journal:

These first few verses of Genesis 46 are such a powerful reminder of a present God.  We can easily fall into an impression of God as being distant both in time and space.  So many of our depictions of God are cast in images of people walking around in robes and sandals.  We can fall into a trap of thinking of God as divine and loving but with a message that is set in stone for us to follow.

What we see in these verses is a different God.  He is present.  He is timely.  At an earlier time Jacob was not supposed to go to Egypt, but now he is.  God gives him new direction.  God is the author of the book (and of the universe) but it is an interactive story that includes us today.

What an encouragement to prayer and what a powerful image of a personal and present God.  We are encouraged to get into a proper state to talk with God, taking on a sacrificial attitude as Jacob did and then honor God’s direction in our life for who He is.  This means trust in what we hear from Him wholeheartedly, without doubt, and begin walking the path he lays out for us to go.

BSF Genesis: Week 28, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

15.
a.
wept loudly, come close to me, do not be distressed or angry with yourselves – it was to save lives, God did this, tell and bring father, threw his arms around them and wept

b.
embracing, wept, spoke truth and willingness to sacrifice for each other

16.
be truthful and heartfelt.  Forgive and see God’s good in all.

My Daily Journal:

I loved Genesis 45:1.

We have talked over the past few weeks about the parallels between Joseph and Christ and how, in many ways, Joseph was a foreshadowing pointing to Christ.  I think we see that so strongly in verse 1.

I’m a dad and there are times I need to use my dad voice and make decisions that, while not necessarily popular, are in the best interests of my family.  I have to discipline my children and allow them to make mistakes even when I know they are mistakes.  My natural desire is to protect them, to help them, to do for them and provide for them.  But for them to grow and learn, I have to control that nature and allow them to experience and learn.

In Genesis 45:1, we see how God has placed that same “control” for Joseph to direct with his brothers.  Then, Joseph could control himself no longer and we see the heart of God that beat inside Joseph pour out.  What did he do when he was “out of control”?  He poured out love.  He poured out tears of joy.  He poured kisses upon his brothers.  He hugged them. He forgave them.  He told them about God.  He told them not to condemn themselves.  He provided a new home for them.  He provided everything they would need for themselves, their children, their grandchildren.  He commanded them to reunite the entire family.

So, what does your “out of control” look like?

BSF Genesis: Week 28, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

11.
a.
They would understand the feeling of being falsely accused, his brothers had thought of Joseph as a spy for their father – a snitch

b.
They would feel being falsely imprisoned

c.
They would see the pain of separation

d.
They would see the pain they brought to his father

e.
Tested their honesty

f.
Test of jealousy and favoritism

g.
Would they stand up for a brother or sacrifice him

h.
Test of sacrificial love

12.
42:13 spoke honestly, 42:21 our sin, 28 God has done to us 43:12 2xsilver 28 bowed down prostrate, 34 feasted freely 44:16 we are all slaves 33 volunteered as tribute for Benjamin

13.
a.
God is Almighty and in control of all

b.
grant mercy before the man

c.
let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you

d.
If I am bereaved, I am bereaved.

e.
Trust in God and submit fully to his might and mercy

14.
submission, thinking first of others (his father, brother), substitutional sacrifice, honor to his promise

My Daily Journal:

I took exception to one of our questions.  I don’t think it was Joseph that was testing his brothers.  I think it was God who was testing and training the brothers through Joseph.  Why now would we bestow the credit onto Joseph when all along he has time and again funneled it all to God?

With that perspective, God allowed the brothers to experience all of the things He had used to train up Joseph.  Accused of being a spy, falsely accused, falsely imprisoned, the pain of separation, the fear of being without any power or authority, being a slave, having their clothing torn, etc., etc., etc.

By living these experiences they did not just have to imagine what their actions had wrought, they could fully empathize.  They fully understand and, as a result, Judah’s willingness to be a substitutional sacrifice was all the more powerful when he pleaded at the throne of the almighty ruler.  (catching the parallels to Christ?)

Speaking of parallels, the other one that I enjoyed was when Joseph made Benjamin the cupbearer, by literally having him bear the cup in his bag.  He could have put any item in Benjamin’s bag, a candlestick, a ring, but he chose to have him bear the cup.

From this, first we are reminded of the cupbearer to Pharoah.  Look at all the parallels, he was thrown into prison but later redeemed and restored to his position of honor to the Pharaoh.  The cupbearer was the messenger to carry the message, when appropriate, to Pharaoh to set Joseph free from bondage.  Benjamin is the one Joseph turns to to testify that he is his brother to restore the family to Joseph.  The cupbearer’s actions set things in place to save his nation from starvation.  Benjamin is thrust into the same role with his nation – doing nothing but remembering and being willing to testify.

Secondly, we are reminded of Christ and the cup He drank on the cross to pay the price of our sins.  The fact that Christ comes from the line of Judah and Judah is the one giving the speech of substitutional sacrifice should not be missed.