January 20, 2021

Genesis 41:17-42:17

Pharaoh revealed his dreams to Joseph who, by the Spirit of God interprets his dreams. There would be 7 years of great abundance followed by 7 years of extreme famine.

A quick word on dreams, a word you’ll find 109 times in the Bible. Most dreams we have are not a message from God. As a matter of fact “they” say that everyone dreams 3 to 5 times each night some people even more. Most of the dreams we have are forgotten, but some are remembered, and it is possible that God may communicate to us in a dream. Personally, over my 31 years as a Christian, I can say that God has definitely spoken to me a handful of times in very vivid ways through dreams, they’ve been unforgettable. But the usual form of communication between God and mankind is His Word, the Bible, so don’t put too much weight in dreams. We read that warning in:

Jeremiah 23:28 (NKJV) “‘The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?’ says the LORD.”

Dreams are as chaff in comparison to God’s Word – but – there are times when God speaks through dreams.

Joseph has been prepared for this moment all his life and he not only interprets the dream, he offers wise counsel to Pharaoh who is so impressed that he immediately promotes Joseph second only to him! We read in:

Genesis 41:40–41 (NKJV) “‘You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.’ 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’”

Overnight Joseph was blessed with wealth, a world-saving work, and a wife, who would give him children. This 30-year-old in Egypt has come a long way from that 17-year-old back in land of Canaan (Genesis 37:2). In 13 years he’s grown wise beyond his age, and the trials and excruciatingly hard times of life were the tools God used to shape him for such a times as this.

In the names of Joseph’s sons we see how a person is not limited to and defined by our past, as a matter of fact, Christians can look back at our blunders and hard times with forgetfulness, and look forward to a future of fruitfulness (as we keep in mind that God is with us – in everything).

I always smile, and sometimes laugh whenever I read:

Genesis 42:1 (NKJV) “When Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, ‘Why do you look at one another?’”

Why do you just stand there looking at each other? Get to work! Get some food!

I can’t even begin to imagine the thoughts that were flowing through Joseph’s mind when he saw his brothers. I’ll bet he knew this day would come. I wonder if he had it all planned out from the beginning in how he would deal with them? In retrospect, I’m glad he didn’t let them off so easily, they needed to be tested, they needed to deal with it, and search their hearts. Had they learned anything from the immeasurably terrible sin of selling their brother into slavery? Joseph needed to find out.

Matthew 13:24-46

In this section we have the parables of:

The Wheat and the Tares

The Mustard Tree

The Woman’s Leaven

The Treasure in the Field

The Pearl of Great Price

Pastor Chuck Smith once said that we shouldn’t teach on the parables until we’ve been a Christian at least 20 years. The reason for that counsel for Christians is because parables are not always as simple as they seem. Not everyone agrees on the meaning of all of them.

Here’s my take:

The Wheat and the Tares – In every congregation there are those who are saved and those who are not. In the beginning stages, and from a superficial standpoint, it’s hard to tell the difference. But eventually their true nature will be exposed, even if it’s after death – the wheaties will be blessed in God’s eternal barn, but the tares will be bound and burn forever. This is the truth about the Kingdom of God.

The Mustard Tree – Jesus seems to describe an abnormally large growth for an herb tree. If we use parabolic consistency we’ve seen the birds to be bad (Matthew 13:4). What Jesus is saying here about the Kingdom is the church will grow vast, so big, that bad birds (tares) will rest in her branches.

The Woman’s Leaven – Leaven is usually symbolic of sin in the Bible, and just a little bit of leaven can permeate the entire loaf. Jesus warned us of leaven (see Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:15) as did Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 5:6 (see also Exodus 12:15). In the church there will be tares and wheat, birds in the branches, and leaven in the loaf.

Perhaps Jesus was speaking of the religious leaders of His day – there they were in the midst of God’s people.

But Jesus sees the people who would believe, which helps us understand the next 2 parables.

The Treasure in the Field – This is one of my favorites. We’ve already seen that the field is the world (Matthew 13:38) and here we have a man finding a treasure in the world. The treasure is the church, the believers, the treasure is you. So what did our Lord do? He sold all He had, He left His throne, came to earth and paid the price for the whole wide world, in order to have that treasure (you and me) forever. It’s an illustration of (John 3:16).

Some people mistakenly consider Christ to be the treasure that Christians somehow buy, but salvation is not earned by works or purchased by us – no – we were purchased by Him (1 Corinthians 6:20).

The Pearl of Great Price – This is similar to the previous parable. God’s people are the pearls He looks for and purchases. The beautiful thing about a pearl is that it’s simply a dirty grain of sand or a parasite, or some other irritant that has made its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called ‘nacre’, is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed. This is what Jesus does for us! He covers us with His righteousness until He produces a pearl of great price.

Psalm 18:1-15

This Psalm written and sung when God had delivered David from all of his enemies! Imagine that!

God gets all the glory and yet David teaches us how to make sure we have that same victory, by crying out to God (Psalm 18:6).

When you first cry out to God and call on the name of the Lord, you will be saved and that’s the first step.  We then spend the rest of our lives talking to God, turning to God, and trusting Him every step of the way. We are no match for our enemies, but they are no match for Him!

This Psalm is a powerful presentation of the way God defeats the devil.

Psalm 18:6 (NKJV) “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.”

What should our response be to the way God hears our cries (our prayers)?

To love Him…something David determined to do:

Psalm 18:1 (NKJV) “I will love You, O LORD, my strength.”

Proverbs 4:1-6

May we always see the Proverbs for what they are – the perfect wisdom from our heavenly Father to us, His children whom He loves.

May our heart retain these words, may our lives live these words, and may we lay hold of wisdom in our hearts and never let go.

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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