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
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BSF Genesis: Week 25, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

9.
a.
Go up to Bethel and settle there.  Build an altar to God

b.
… I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord[f] will be my God  and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”

c.
Settle in a place with other believers and demonstrate daily worship to God.

10.
a.
get rid of foreign gods, purify yourself, change your clothes, come, let us go (including rings in their ears)

b.
purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and soul; put off old self, put on new; walk in light not darkness, confess our sins; love God and carry out his commands

c.
Things we find of high monetary worth but that do not bring glory to God.  Things that may lead others away from God.  Things that take our time and attention away from God

My Daily Journal:

My family and I have made a number of trips recently to a couple of the nearby Amish communities.  My wife has taken up quilting and enjoys the materials, supplies and ladies she has met in the communities.  The Amish bulk stores are also amazing places for a gluten-free household.

On a recent trip we checked out a book on CD from the library called House Calls and Hitching Posts: Stories from Dr. Elton Lehman’s Career Among the Amish.  In the book, the author relates a story about what makes the Amish people unique:

Some years ago a group of 52 people chartered a bus and came to Holmes County to see the Amish. They had arranged to have an Amishman meet them and answer some of their questions. The first question was, “What does it mean to be Amish?” The Amishman thought a bit and then he asked a question of his own. “How many of you have TV in your homes” Fifty-two hands went up. “How many of you feel there are things on the TV that are inappropriate or un-Godly?”, again almost all of the hands went up.  “How many of you believe that time spent watching TV is normally not time spent honoring God?”, every hand.  “Now, how many of you feel that perhaps you would be better stewards of the faith if you spent less time watching  TV in your homes or didn’t watch it at all?” Again, fifty-two hands went up. “All right. Now, how many of you are going to go home and get rid of your TV?” Not one hand went up! Now that is what it means to be Amish. As a church, if we see or experience something that is not good for us spiritually, we will discipline ourselves to do without.

I am not advocating we all convert to become Amish, but there is a strong lesson in living a life that has the discipline to separate ourselves from the things that do not bring honor to God.  We see this same example in those who take a vow of poverty for faith, who give up comfort and convenience to become missionaries in a foreign land and those who commit their lives to be the hands of God to the sick and needy.  We also see it in the daily lives of people in our faith community who live as aliens in a foreign land, focusing on the eternal.  These people stand out because they stand up for doing right for God.  Which community do we want to fit in to?  A community of Shechem or a community of the angels and saints?

BSF Genesis: Week 22, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

6.
a.
heaven’s dew, earth’s richness, abundance of grain and new wine, nations serve you, peoples bow down to you, lord over your brothers, sons of mother bow down to you, those who curse you be cursed, those who bless you be blessed

b.
Nations will serve you, 12:3 bless those who bless you, whoever curses you be cursed

7.
a.
regret is to feel loss or disappointment for an action or event.  repent is to accept responsibility and choose to make a change to do differently in the future.

b.
Esau regretted the series of events and cried out.  Isaac recognized something as wrong and set about making things right.  He did not withdraw his blessing from Jacob, but instead set him on a straight path.

8.
a.
Esau regretted the series of events and cried out.  Isaac recognized something as wrong and set about making things right.  He did not withdraw his blessing from Jacob, but instead set him on a straight path.

b.
To benefit from God’s blessing requires a willingness to honor that blessing.  People want the outcome of blessings, but do not want to bend a knee to the only one in control of providing such.

c.
He did seek to please his father.  He demonstrated respect to him and accepted his word as law.

d.
trending in the correct direction.  Plenty of potholes and detours along the way, but I think others see and hear my testimony to the Lord.

9.
They stood against Israel during the Exodus, but fell to David and his armies.  During that time every living adult male of Edom was killed, but even at the time of cross and Edomite sentenced Jesus to the cross.

My Daily Journal:

One of the things that caught my eye today was the start of the blessing from Isaac bestowed upon Jacob: “May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness.”  Why dew?  Not rain, not water, but dew?  This thought encouraged me to search for other dew references in the bible (don’t you love online bible references?)  Evidently there are 35 times it appears and it is an interesting progression.

This reference in Genesis is the first appearance of the word in the bible.  The next time we see it is during the exodus, each day the dew was followed by the presence of manna on the ground which fed the Isrealites (Jacob’s family) for 40 years.  Next appearance is in the blessing Moses gave to the tribe of Joseph before Moses’ death.  Next God uses dew on fleece in making a covenant with Gideon in Judges.  David references the lack of dew when lamenting the death of God’s first appointed King Saul and his son Jonathan.  There are references in Psalm and Proverbs equating dew with the abundant provision from heaven.  The dew of heaven is a central feature in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar interpreted by Daniel.  The last times the word is used in the bible are in the books of the prophets.  Micah 5 prophecies the “promised ruler from Bethlehem” and ties the dew from the Lord directly to “the remnant of the house of Jacob”.  Then the final time the word appears in the bible is in Zechariah 8:12 – “The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people.”

I love the way God plants these stepping stones for us to follow leading to the redemptive birth of His son, Jesus.  A simple word, like dew, something that can be counted on and expected as a daily occurrence, is woven in and through stories starting with a promised inheritance to Jacob and then being brought full circle to the remnant of that house and the promised ruler from Bethlehem who is the vine that yields everlasting fruit.

BSF Genesis: Week 22, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.
Isaac wished to bless him as his primary heir.  God knew that was not his destiny and saw his heart as being godless.

4.
a.
Jacob took advantage of Esaus’ hunger in trading for his birthright.  Isaac sought to give his blessing to Esau in secret.  Rebekah conspired with Jacob to deceive his father into giving him the blessing.

b.
Talk together.  Pray together.  Worship together.  Be honest examples of Christ to one another.

5.
a.
Rebekah sought to ensure the fulfillment of the prophecy that God had given her in regard to Jacob and Esau.  Isaac sought to reward his first born son whom he loved.

b.
It is not proper to use deception, even if it yields the correct results.  The end does not justify the means.

c.
End justifying means is a very common approach today.  Doing things for the “good of others” seems to trump doing God’s work. We guilt people into giving or attending church or bible study, tying them down instead of building them up.

My Daily Journal:

Thinking of our “Christian Family” brought a new train of thought to the stories of Isaac, Rebekah and their children.  It is convicting how much we still use similar tactics in our churches.  While church leaders (pastors, elders, councils, etc.) may not show favoritism to those with hairy arms, favoritism is still an ongoing temptation.  Instead of the ones who can provide wild game meat, it may be those who provide the big checks or who have always served in a certain way or the family that makes that really yummy jello with fruit floating in it (can you tell I grew up on Lutheran pot-lucks?).

Also, if we don’t outright deceive each other, what other ways do we try to manipulate others in the church, our christian family?  Guilt and gossip are more powerful and harmful tools exercised for “good reasons” in our churches.

It is difficult but important for us to remind ourselves and each other that we don’t need to do any of these things.  God did not put his church into our hands so we could  improve the income statement at the expense of relationships.  Instead we are to focus only on the relationships and trust Him.  Zig Ziglar wrote there are 5 reasons people don’t buy from you: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, and no trust. I am not suggesting we are called to sell church or bible study to others.  But when it comes to missions work and bringing others to a deeper faith, there is really only one of these 5 things that you and I can control: trust.  When the Spirit of God has created the desire, the need, the urgency and timing and aligned the resources of heaven and earth to bring someone to consider accepting Christ as their savior, I know I don’t want to be the barrier because they don’t trust me.

BSF Genesis: Week 21, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

8.
a.
Jacob was around the other people of the household, saw the benefits of being in charge (not off alone hunting)

b.
He was not so impulsive and looked at longer term impacts.  This showed in many choices (including wife and children)

c.
He would have known from his mother that “the older will serve the younger”  but rather than wait and let God bring this to pass he took it upon himself to buy the birthright from his brother

9.
a.
When we don’t treat it with the respect, value and reverence it deserves, we show that we do not value it, just as Esau.  To not give it its full is the same as despising it.

b.
I need to do better at placing my faith first.  I pray and read/listen to scriptures but I don’t always do it as the first part of my day.

10.
the adoption to sonship; the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs,  from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised

My Daily Journal

The verse and discussion about despising the birthright brought to mind the words to the church in Rev 3:16, “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”  It reminds me in manners of faith I am either all in or not in at all.  It is not possible to be partially pregnant, partially dead or partially devoted to God.  

Esau did not value his birthright so the bible says he “despised it.”  I’m not sure he knew he was despising it, but to have something of extreme value and not treat it with the respect and reverence it deserves is to despise the object.

What does this say about my walk of faith.  I know God doesn’t expect perfection, just improvement, but am I treating my walk with God with the care I would take for a great possession.  Do I protect it or put it at risk by yielding to temptation?  Do I cherish and show it to others as a prized possession, or do I put it out back to deal with later?  If I think of my adoption into God’s family as a highly valued faberge egg, or rookie card, or, (choose your collectible)…. am I treating it with the same care and honor and value that I would place on these collections of atoms?

BSF Genesis: Week 21, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

3.
a.
20 years

b.
Yes

c.
Waiting on God’s timing for children.  May have been a test to see if they would take matters into their own hands (e.g., Hagar)

d.
Wait on the Lord, trust in Him, pray for each other.

4.
Two nations: Twins will both form their own nations (Israelites and Edomites); and two peoples  separated: they will form separate nationalities (Israel in promised land, Edomites at Mount Seir); one people stronger: strength of character and faith of one nation will be stronger than other (Obadiah 18 – House of Jacob=fire, Esau=Stubble; older serve ounger: The descendents of Esau serve  Jacob. 1 Kings 11:15-16 King David, Joab smitten every male in Edom.

My Daily Journal:

Was it a problem that Isaac and Rebekah didn’t have children for 20 years?  Many years ago I read an interesting article talking about our biases and thought processes in western culture.  In large part the article talked about our predilection in the west to label something as broken or a problem so we can then fix it.  This is evidently a very western attitude and in other cultures this doesn’t occur.  Other cultures simply look at something and incrementally improve it, but we label it as a problem as broken as something that “needs fixin’.”

I discuss this because that attitude influences our thoughts about Isaac and Rebekah waiting 20 years.  God was going to provide a child (ok, in this case, children) at exactly the moment that He knew to be right to provide them.  Was this a test for Isaac and Rebekah?  Was it difficult?  Was it concerning?  It may have been.  But it doesn’t have to be broken for us to pray for others.  It doesn’t have to be a problem for us to trust and rely on God.

I don’t have to put myself or my situation down or label it as a problem or broken to trust in God to improve it.  I’m not a “home makeover” project, I’m a child of God.  I’m being taught, fed and developed to be stronger and more saintly.  God doesn’t need to label me as broken to make me better.

This may seem like semantics to some, but I hope it is helpful.

BSF Genesis: Week 20, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

9.
a.

Riches.  Planted crops and reaped 100 fold.

b.
So many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines became envious

c.
Philistines stopped up the wells that Abraham’s servants had dug.  As he dug new wells they quarreled with him.

d.
He moved on.  He had faith that God would provide.

e.
Each time he moved they found more water.  When he reached Rehoboth there was no more quarreling and Isaac praised God and gave Him the credit and glory as well as confidence in His promise to flourish in the land

10.
a.
The king of the Philistines sought out Isaac for a peace agreement because he recognized that God was with Isaac

b.
By living a life dedicated to pleasing the Lord I need not worry about enemies or the enemy.

My Daily Journal:

I recently read a very interesting business book called Abundance by Steven Kotler.  One of the key premises of the book is that so much of our thought and social policy revolves around a theory of scarcity.  However, historically, time and again, technology innovations have drastically changed the situation at the point where scarcity would have become a problem.  An example he uses is London at the turn of the century.  They were facing a major problem in regard to the amount of horse manure crowding the streets of London and were looking at regulation and policies to address this problem.  However, within a very short period of time, the problem went away as horses were replaced by automobiles.

Don’t we do the same with God?  We would think, “that is my well, my father’s servants dug that well, I need to fight for my rights to that well, finding water can be hard and I have all of these animals to water.”  But, instead Isaac sees the solution differently.  He doesn’t look at the scarcity of wells, but at the abundance of God to provide.  He doesn’t just sit back and wait for God to fix things, he moves, he and his servants dig, they work and pray.

Isaac could fight the philistines.  He could take his case to the king and force him to alienate one group or the other through his decision.  But by relying on God’s abundance, he not only finds water, but also forms an even stronger relationship with men who otherwise would be his enemies.