January 21, 2021

Genesis 42:18-43:34

Joseph changed his mind and decided to restrain (imprison) only one of his brothers, allow the others to go home, and if they returned to Egypt with their youngest brother Benjamin, then they could trade safely in the land. Joseph was testing his brothers, he also wanted to confirm that they hadn’t done the same thing to Benjamin, that they had done to him.

The brothers interpreted this as punishment for their sin against Joseph 13 years earlier.

Because of the fact that we are created in the image of God, unrepentant sin has the capacity to haunt us for the rest of our lives.

When Joseph heard them having this conversation, acknowledging their sin, aware of  God’s hand of justice and discipline,  he turned himself away from them and wept (Genesis 42:24). Tears of deep pain were still there after all these years.

God gave Joseph wisdom and used him to make these guys deal with their sin and think this one through. Even the fact that he returned each man’s money to him brought fear to their hearts (Genesis 42:28). When they told their father Jacob he said something interesting in:

Genesis 42:36 (NKJV) “And Jacob their father said to them, ‘You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me.’”

I can’t say I blame him for what he said, it DID appear as if things were off track, but they weren’t, God was working behind the scenes in part of a bigger plan that went beyond the family but included them. Joseph was alive, Simeon and Benjamin would be fine, and these things were not AGAINST him, in all reality, in all these things God was for him! (Romans 8:31).

Eventually the brothers were forced to return to Egypt with Benjamin, they had to eat. When they arrived they were to dine at the home of the Prime Minister of Egypt, Zaphnath-Paaneah, they had no idea it was their brother Joseph.

O Lord, please help me to know that You’re working all things together for good (Romans 8:28). Even when I look at some of the particulars of life personally and nationally, I can easily get discouraged, so please Lord, help me to lift my eyes to You and trust You knowing that You’re working something glorious behind the scenes.

Matthew 13:47-14:12

It’s a sobering thought to realize that life will end one day, and there really is an “end of the age” (Matthew 13:49). At that time there will be a separation of the saints and the aints, the good and the bad, forever ushered into heaven or hell (which is a holding tank for the Lake of Fire – Revelation 20:15). Have you been caught by Christ? Are you truly a Christian? Are you sure? Is their fruit? Jesus shared this parable to reveal the fact that heaven and hell are real places – a beautiful promise, and an epic warning.

The new and old of Matthew 13:52 may be in reference to the Old and New Testament.

When Jesus returned to Nazareth (His own country) they were astonished at His teaching and they had heard about His miracles, but He was not esteemed because they knew Him and his family so well. By this time Joseph, Jesus’ step-dad, had passed, but His mother, brothers, and sisters were all there – normal folk. Another example of that old saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt.”

Jesus said:

Matthew 13:57b (NKJV) “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.”

As a result of their doubt they limited God and what He wanted to do in their souls and city. We read in:

Matthew 13:58 (NKJV) “Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

May it never be said of us.

What a tragedy to see the way the great prophet, John the Baptist died. He was arrested because he was bold enough to call the king out for his sin. He was then beheaded because of a sensual dance from Herodius’ daughter and a prideful vow from Herod – combine that with the hatred of the king’s wife who resented the righteous correction, and it led to what appeared to be a withering defeat and shameful death of the man who at one time was the Lord’s leader in Israel. But we need to be careful not to view things through the temporary lenses of humanity. John the Baptist finished his race – and he won. He prevailed in victory, was welcomed home to glory, undoubtedly hearing those words we all long to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” May we never forget, it’s not how we die, it’s how we live…to the very end; and death for the Christian is not really death, it’s only a departure to glory.

Psalm 18:16-36

David was hated and chased by Saul for close to 10 years. King Saul maliciously spread lies and slander about David, turning many people against him. I can’t even begin to imagine how horrible it was for David on the run (though innocent) living in caves for close to a decade, not to mention the intensity of the Spiritual warfare he experienced.

This Psalm teaches me that there will be those who hate me and the enemy is too strong for me (Psalm 18:17). God will deliver me, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t be required to fight. God will arm me and teach me to fight spiritually just as He did David (Psalm 18:29, 32-34; 2 Corinthians 10:4).

Don’t lose heart my friend, even though you’re going through very trying times.

If you would only look up, you’ll be able to rise up and fight, with those Spiritual weapons God has provided for you. The Lord will give you the victory and fulfill His plans for your life…just as He did with David.

Proverbs 4:7-10

Again, we have the invitation, the calling to take this class, to learn God’s lessons of wisdom. Have you responded? Have you enrolled? Do you have a heart for the Proverbs? For the Bible? 

It’s the principal thing with many promises – for the humility of wisdom will lead to promotion, honor, grace and add life to your years, maybe even years to your life.

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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