January 18

Genesis 37:1-38:30

The life of Joseph is a wonderful lesson on the providence and sovereignty of God. We’ll be able to track his journey from the pit to the palace and even the prison along the way.

It begins with the favoritism of his father. Sadly, Jacob had received this model from his parents, who also had favorites and loved one child over another (Genesis 25:28).

God help us as parents never to have favorites, for we see the hatred it produced:

Genesis 37:4 (NKJV) “But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.”

Got Questions had this to say about the coat (tunic) of many colors, “As to the coat of many colors itself, the most common outer garment of this type was nothing more than a long cloth with a hole in its middle. After draping the long cloth over the shoulders, a rope or a belt was fastened around the waist. Some expositors argue that this particular coat was especially valued because sleeves were sewn into the garment. Others believe the coat was ornamented by many colors. The real issue, of course, has nothing to do with colors or sleeves. Jacob presented the special coat to Joseph as a sign that Joseph was esteemed above his brothers. The coat signified Joseph as being Jacob’s choice as the future head of the clan—an honor normally bestowed upon the firstborn son.”

Joseph’s dreams probably should have been kept to himself, but hey, he’s only 17-years-old; maturity is necessary in order to keep a secret. God was showing him the future to encourage him through the hard times. We’ll see later that Joseph had the ability to interpret dreams, so he may have understood something special was on the horizon, maybe even the details about his destiny.

His brother hated and envied him for his dreams (Genesis 37:3, 5, 8, 11). His father rebuked him, but at the same time kept the matter in mind.

The day of “opportunity” came, their pure hatred led them to plan Joseph’s murder. God providentially intervened and Joseph was sold into slavery instead. His brothers deceived their father into thinking that Joseph had been mauled by wild beasts (in one sense he had been). Oh the terrible grief and guilt this would bring to the family for the next thirteen very long and hard years.

As we journey through the Old Testament it will be  impossible to mention all the types and shadows of the coming Christ, but we can mention a few.  Warren Wiersbe said this about Joseph, “As you read the life of Joseph, you see in him a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Joseph was greatly loved by his father (Genesis 37:3; Matthew 3:17), hated and envied by his brothers (John 15:25; Mark 15:10), plotted against, sold as a slave, arrested unjustly, and made to suffer. But he went from suffering to glory and became the savior of the people who had rejected him.”

Genesis 38 seems a bit out of place from our perspective. The next twelve chapters will focus on Joseph, why do we have this horrible story about Judah and his family? 

Judah marries a non-believer. His wife dies. Two of his sons are struck dead by God for their wickedness. He rejects his responsibility to his daughter-in-law of the levirate marriage. He then goes in to a woman he thought was a prostitute (but it turned out to be his daughter-in-law Tamar). When he finds out she’s pregnant through prostitution he’s about to burn her, until he discovers that he’s the father! Wow! And the Messiah would one day come through this lineage of Judah and Tamar (Matthew 1:3).

This is how it all went down, it’s just the truth, and another story of stunning grace.

Matthew 12:22-45

The religious leaders now sink to demonizing Jesus, saying He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons. Jesus reveals the fallacy of their accusation by the simple fact that such strategy is nonsense, a house divided against itself cannot stand. If only they would have been honest in their assessment they would have discovered that the finger of God had come upon them.  By casting out demons, God was plundering the goods of the strong man (Satan) because He was/is infinitely stronger!

When Jesus speaks of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and describes it as the unforgivable sin, (Matthew 12:31) He’s referring to the way the religious leaders were resisting the witness of the Holy Spirit who was pointing them to Jesus. Keep in mind that the only unforgivable sin is the rejection of Jesus Christ (and hence resistance of the Holy Spirit). If anyone comes to Christ any other sin can be forgiven.

These people who professed to believe were not producing fruit. They weren’t saved, they were snakes, who couldn’t say anything good, because their hearts were so bad (Matthew 12:35) – but the day will come when they will given an account for every idle word (Matthew 12:36).

It’s ironic how they wanted a sign from heaven and there He was right in front of them, casting out demons, healing every disease with ease, even raising the dead. Why would anyone ask for a sign to see while their eyes are closed? We should never demand signs from God for He’s already given us the witness of creation and conscience, as well as the Living Word (Jesus) and the written Word (the Bible). 

In the “end” Jesus did leave us with the Sign of all signs, with His resurrection from the dead (which Jonah was a picture of). Who else has defeated death, gutted the grave, and conquered the coffin? No one else! The resurrection is the sign for us to see that Jesus is the Way.

Since a greater than Jonah is here and a wiser than Solomon, why didn’t they repent? Why wouldn’t they listen?

In Matthew 12:43-45 Jesus teaches us that if a demon is cast out of a person, that person then needs God to come into their lives, which is what happens when we become a Christian – the Holy Spirit lives within us (1 Corinthians 6:19). If a person doesn’t take that opportunity to ask the Lord into their hearts (Ephesians 3:17) the enemy will return with more intensity and things will get even worse.

Psalm 16:1-11

In this Psalm we see David’s devotion to the LORD and not other gods (Psalm 16:4). The LORD is his goodness (Psalm 16:2), the LORD is his portion (Psalm 16:5), and David was determined to follow the LORD and live in His presence.

David was well aware of the fact that his own goodness was nothing but bad (Psalm 16:2). He needed (just as we all do) the righteousness of God imputed to his account.

Psalm 16:5-6 speaks of the fact that God determines our days, our boundaries, our lot in life. David praised God for the life he’d been given. We should too.

I’ve always loved David’s acknowledgment in:

Psalm 16:11 (NKJV) “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

God is willing to guide us. God wants to flood our lives with joy and even the pleasures of life. He really is a good, gracious, and awesome God. Are you enjoying Him?

Psalm 16:10 is an amazing prophecy quoted by Peter in his sermon on the resurrection of Jesus Christ – it did NOT apply to David (Acts 2:31-32).

Psalm 16:10 (NKJV) “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

Jesus’ body did not decay, there was no corruption on His corpse. This is a clear prophecy regarding the resurrection of Christ.

Proverbs 3:27-32

Proverbs 3:27–28 (NKJV) “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” when you have it with you.”

Your neighbor comes to you with a genuine need for food, and you have plenty of food and means to help, but for whatever reason you put it on the backburner, tell them to come back tomorrow.

Why do we wait till tomorrow, when we can do this today?

It’s so cool when people move out of that nation of procrastination – and that other one with 4 letters TCOB (Take Care Of Business).

Galatians 6:10, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Proverbs 3:29–32 (NKJV) “Do not devise evil against your neighbor, for he dwells by you for safety’s sake. 30 Do not strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm. 31 Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways; 32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright.

We are to be good, loving neighbors. We are not to strive with a man without cause. We must not envy the oppressor, or any of his ways.

And then the contrast, the perverse person is an abomination to God, but the pure get the revelation of God

The New English Translation says that God reveals his intimate counsel to the upright.

And the NLT says God offers his friendship to the godly. (friends tell friends secrets)

I honestly think that this is the heart of wisdom, when God leads us intimately, personally.

John 15:15, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”

In this section we have five prohibitions (”Do not…”) things not to do.

Aren’t you grateful for the clear commands, the caring prohibitions, and the secret counsel God gives to us so freely? (Proverbs 3:32).

Thank You Lord!

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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