January 24

Genesis 48:1-49:33

Jacob (Israel) is getting closer to death and there are a few things he needs to take care of before he passes on. 

One thing we notice in the Scriptures is that when the 12 Tribes of Israel are listed, we normally don’t read the names of Joseph or Levi on those lists, even though they were 2 of Jacob’s 12 sons. We get some of the background behind that here in Genesis 48 as Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim take his place in the Tribal List (doubling his inheritance). Jacob also blessed the younger more than the older, something he personally experienced as well.

Later we’ll see that Levi is not usually mentioned because his tribe will eventually be the priestly tribe and they will not inherit land to own, for the Lord will be their portion (Deuteronomy 18:1).

I get so blessed by the passage we read in:

Genesis 48:11 (NKJV) “And Israel said to Joseph, ‘I had not thought to see your face; but in fact, God has also shown me your offspring!’”

Not only did Jacob see his son Joseph, but he was able to see the sons of Joseph! Wow! This is an Old Testament example of the New Testament promise in:

Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV) “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

Another endearing passage is:

Genesis 48:15 (NKJV) “And he blessed Joseph, and said: ‘God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has fed me all my life long to this day.‘”

If you’re like me, you probably pray and give God thanks before you eat, acknowledging the fact that every meal is from His hands (it really is). He’s fed us…all our lives.

The second thing we come across in today’s OT reading in Genesis, is Jacob blessing all of his sons (Genesis 49). It’s a fascinating combination of blessings (and lack thereof) by paying for the sins of the past, human potential, and divine prophecy. Genesis 49:10 is a fascinating foretelling of Shiloh (Peacemaker = Messiah) through the lineage of Judah.

Genesis 49:23-24 mentions Joseph’s experience in that although the archers shot at him, he was strengthened by God not to fire back. How we need that strength!

The day eventually came when Jacob passed away and was gathered to his people, he was reconciled to his loved ones who had gone on before him in faith (Genesis 49:33). Tough for us, but triumphant for them.

Matthew 15:29-16:12

Once again we witness the wonderful works of Jesus, healing the people, and in Messianic fashion, marveling them in the process. The people hadn’t eaten for 3 days. Jesus’ compassion was very practical (love always is – see 1 John 3:17) they needed food lest they faint, so Christ fed 4,000 men, plus women and children, all from 7 loaves and 3 fish.

What greater sign would one need? And yet the Pharisees and Sadducees wanted more, they wanted Jesus to call fire down from heaven. Jesus didn’t mince words revealing their hypocrisy for being able to discern the weather, but their inability to discern the One who had come to save them from the storm.

Again Jesus communicated the fact that He would provide the only sign necessary, the sign of Jonah. Jesus had said something similar in:

Matthew 12:39–40 (NKJV) “But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Later Jesus warned His disciples about the leaven of these horrible leaders. The disciples mistakenly thought Jesus was warning them not to forget to bring bread next time. This led to a severe rebuke from Christ. Hadn’t they learned? Jesus fed the 5,000 men (plus women and children) with only 5 loaves and 2 fish. He had just fed the 4,000 men (plus women and children) with only 7 loaves and 3 fish. Newsflash: Bread would NOT be an issue! But these signs weren’t sinking into their souls, they couldn’t understand because they weren’t taking it to heart, they were suppressing their faith. 

We might shake our heads in disgust or disappointment, but before I indict the disciples I need to check my own heart…am I listening and learning the lessons God is teaching me in life?

A couple of quick warnings here – first of all do, all that you can not to become legalistic. A life with God based on manmade rules and regulations is no life at all. Secondly, beware of buying into the lie of seeking after signs; our doctrine must only be Bible based.

Psalm 20:1-9

What a beautiful prayer this is; something we can pray over others.

We’re all going to have those days of “trouble,” may God Himself defend you, help you, and strengthen you during those days.

Psalm 20:4 (NKJV) “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.”

What an awesome prayer that is! God will put desires in your heart and then He will bring them to pass. God didn’t just make you on purpose, He made you with purpose, have you discovered that yet?

Keep praying. God saves and God answers.

Psalm 20:7 (NKJV) “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”

David closes with a couple of big statements from a king, things he knew firsthand, going back to the day he killed, a lion, a bear, and the giant, Goliath. It’s not our skills or weapons that gives us the victory, it’s God, and in Him we trust. I’m blessed by the way King David even calls the LORD the King in the last verse. Yep, Jesus is the King of kings (Revelation 19:16).

Proverbs 4:20-27

Proverbs 4:20-23 (NKJV) “My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. 23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.

More appeals. Give God your attention, your ear. Give God your eyes – on Him – in His Word. Give God your heart (centered on Him) (it’s the core of who you are, keep Him in the midst of your heart).

All of our body parts are to be surrendered to the Lord.

Our ears, our eyes, our heart, our mouth, our lips, and our feet are mentioned here. If I yield myself to God like this I will have a healthy Christian life (Proverbs 4:22).

Reminds me of :

Romans 12:1 (NKJV) “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

More appeals = heaven’s “deals.” The reasoning is, they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh (see also Proverbs 3:8) (so many benefits).

There’s so much we can say about Proverbs 4:23. The Hebrew word translated to “Keep” is the word natsar – it means to watch, to guard with fidelity, to preserve from danger.

If our heart’s not right, aint nothing gonna be right (pardon the grammar).

(Psalm 12:2 talks about a double heart) (Proverbs 28:14 talks about a hard heart) (Proverbs 21:4 talks about a proud heart) (Hebrews 3:12 speaks of an evil heart of unbelief) (Jeremiah 17:9 even reveals the deceitful heart) This is why we need to pray for a new heart, something that only God can give (Ezekiel 11:19; 18:31; 36:26).

God help us to protect our heart and pray for our heart; even if we’ve failed as David did.

Psalm 51:10 (NKJV) “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Remember, man looks on the outside – he’s so tall, good looking, obviously strong – doesn’t matter, God looks on the inside…at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:6–7 (NKJV) “So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!’ 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”

And of course our heart determines our words:

Proverbs 4:24 (NKJV) “Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.

Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).

What you say flows from what’s in your heart. We can put our hands over our mouths, and that helps; but what we really need is for the Lord to put His hand on our hearts.

Tragically, we so easily speak perversity.

Proverbs 4:25-26 (NKJV) “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. 27 Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.

God help us to keep our eyes on the prize.

(Things above – Colossians 3:2) (eyes on Christ)

Proverbs 4:25–27 (NLT) “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. 26Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. 27 Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.”

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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