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!

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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 26, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

9.
a.
He had created the divide through his favoritism.   He pledged to mourn until he died

b.
Until this had occurred the Isrealites would not have survived the famine because without Joseph in Egypt they would not have had access to food.  In Egypt the flourished for many years, became enslaved, then were set free by God.

10.
thrown in well, clothes stolen, sold into slavery, sold to Potiphar, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, imprisoned, promised to be remembered by cupbearer but forgotten, 2 years pass,

11.
favored in Potiphar’s house, put in charge, fortitude to not sleep with Potiphar’s wife, God with him in prison, put in charge of prisoners, ability to interpret dreams, survived dungeon, honored by Pharoah

 

My Daily Journal:

I think we see the years of craftiness and cunning that characterized Jacob’s life fully on display with Reuben and Judah.  Their over-arching desire was to “fit in.”  To fit in with a group, especially one with a moral compass that would conclude that it is a good idea to murder their own brother, means you have to shave a bit off the edges.  Think of it literally.  We are a stone crafted by the Master, square and true, finely measured.  But, that stone won’t fit in with a bunch of crooked other stones.  There are three choices: either help the other stones get straight with God, find other stones to connect with or start shaving off bits and pieces of your own self to fit in.

Reuben and Judah both made weak attempts to save Joseph.  Both helped keep him from death.  But neither still had the moral character, the true shape that matches the cornerstone of the church, that enabled them to stand up to the wrong thinking and action of their brothers.  That would have meant they didn’t fit in, just like Joseph didn’t, and we see how that went.

But Christ did not do that.  He shaved off nothing.  He did not conform to the world, and it hated Him for it.  He did not try to fit in with the vision that the religious leaders had, He stayed true to the task the Father had charged Him with.

Fitting in is only a good thing when those who you are trying to fit in with are true and level.

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 23, Day 3

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

6.
a.
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Isaachar, Zebulun, (Dinah), Joseph, Benjamin

b.
God’s love for us is not based on anything we do or earn, but it is an outpouring from him.  When we model love differently, we do not follow the example of the creator

c.
Each time she bore a son she praised God for his comfort in what was really paining her heart.  We need to do so joyfully.

7.
a.
Her husband’s love and to not live in the shadow of her younger sister.  I think so because she was buried in the tomb of the patriarchs, with her husband, and her family

b.
Jesus was born through the tribe of Judah, Leah’s 4th son

c.
God is a long term thinker and giver.  We grow impatient in a few minutes or hours, God looks to eternity

My Daily Journal:

I found the change in Leah’s naming of her sons to be very interesting.  Leah saw each of her sons as a gift from God.  She praised him and honored him for who he was and for giving her these gifts.  But we see the way she planned to use those gifts change with each child.

The gift of Reuben was like a bargaining chip to gain the love of her husband.  The gift of Simeon and Levi were the same.  Surely my husband will love me now.

These gifts were like many of us see good deeds today.  Surely this buys me favor with others.  Surely this will enable me to deserve what I desire and don’t have today.

But then, with Judah, something changes.  The gift of the child is no longer something thought of as a tool or token to gain the loving relationship of a distant human.  Everything in the naming of Judah had to do with the relationship between Leah and God.  “This time I will praise the Lord.”

Is it any wonder that it was through this son’s descendents that God sent His own son?  What gifts from God am I trying to leverage into something I want from someone else instead of appreciating them as gifts from the one who loves me unconditionally and gives me everything?

BSF Genesis: Week 22, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

10.
He took Jacob away from Rebekah to the land of her kin, where he lived and worked for 14 years.  Jacob lived in fear of returning because of the anger of his brother.  He toiled as a servant to earn his wives, even though his father had ample resources to provide sufficient means (as had been the case with Rebekah).

11.
make you fruitful and increase your numbers, community of peoples, give you and descendants the blessing given to Abraham to take possession of the promised land

My Daily Journal:

This may come up in the next couple of weeks’ lessons, but one of the things that struck me was that Jacob left with the blessing and little or nothing else.  He was sent back to Rebekah’s family to secure a wife.  But unlike the servant that was sent for Isaac, he didn’t go with 10 camels carrying jewelry and riches to bestow on the family or his future bride.

This struck me because it is one of the very difficult parts, in my opinion, of being a good parent.  You want to protect and provide for your children, but to mature in their faith it has to be “their faith” not the faith of their parents.  Mom and dad had plenty of resources they could have sent with Jacob.  Isaac had inherited all the wealth of Abraham in addition to the prosperity God had given him (100 fold yields on crops).  But, there came a time for Jacob to leave the tents he had been so content to hang around and he was sent on his way.  Evidently, he didn’t even get to take a pillow with him on his travels.

I don’t think this is throwing him into a sink or swim situation.  He wasn’t disowned or exiled.  But to become the nation he was to become he needed the challenge of making it on his own (with God’s help alone).

BSF Genesis: Week 21, Day 5

Today’s Scriptures

Questions:

11.
a.
Obeyed his father and mother

b.
swore oath to God, Built altar to become God’s house, tithed

c.
served 7 years for Rachel but seemed like only a few days because of his love for her

d.
God was with him, blessed him, protected him, took from those who cheated

e.
Prayed, trusted in God for protection and salvation

12.
a.
Faith – God rewards those who earnestly seek him

b.
Patriarch – the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.  Inheritence not only of father, but of God, chosen to be his own, a trasured possession

13.
What good is it to me, married pagan wives (to the grief of his parents) Polygamist, married a granddaughter of Ishmael because she wasn’t Canaanite.

My Daily Journal:

First, to clear something up (or not).  My view on Esau’s marriage to the grand daughter of Ishmael is evidently different than many of the others in my discussion group based on answers.  I saw it as just another knee-jerk response rather than a slap in the face to his parents.  He learned they didn’t like Canaanite wives, so he was bent on marrying the first available non-Canaanite woman he could find.  Who else was around but the descendents of Ishmael?

Second, and this is a special prayer request, this whole thing about spiritual inheritance is a very important message particularly for the kids in my group.  I’m blessed to work with middle-school kids this year.  The idea that their actions speak for more than just themselves is a very, very important concept and one, frankly, they don’t get.  When God says, I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, this tells me that Jacob’s behavior, the way he is viewed by others, is not simply a reflection on him, but it is a reflection on his father, his grandfather and his God.

Is any less true for us?  When we mis-behave or act inappropriately, what message does that send about my father, grandfather and God?  When I look at my actions and decisions and behavior in that light, does it change the way I act.

In preparing for my lecture I made the statement “the choices we make reveal the person that we are.  If we wish to be someone else, the path is simple… make different choices.”  This isn’t meant to say that we need to rely on our own strength and judgment, but sometimes we make things out to be far bigger than they are.  God has the strength to support us on any right path… but the choice is ours.

Am I looking at my immediate wants and desires, or am I looking at how my decisions reflect the character of my father, grandfather and God?  I might have made a few better decisions in my life had I kept this in mind earlier!

Again, if you are reading this, I would ask your prayers for the delivery of this message to the middle school children, particularly the young men.  I ask that their hearts be open to feeling the burden of this, not in a negative way, but in an empowering way.  They have been gifted with a family name and a God who deserves their best behavior and their best decisions!