Monday, December 31, 2018

We are starting soon!!

Reading the New Testament is the best New Year's resolution you can make!! The benefits will exceed resolutions such as  losing weight,  going to the gym or getting more organized.  Getting to know Jesus better by reading His word has eternal benefits!!

To sign up for the daily reminder, there are two steps.  First put your email in the box to the right.  Then confirm the email that will be sent to you from Feed Burner.  After confirming the email, you will get a daily reminder of the reading for the day.  I usually say something about the reading that stuck out to me.  I would love to hear  what stuck out to you!  Feel free to comment any time.  I promise I will respond.  In that way, we are reading together!!

Happy New Year!!
And happy reading!!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

New Year Count Down!

Greetings, all you bloggers who are Walking With The Way! Thank you for visiting this blog and, for some, making it part of your daily routine the past year! I really hope God blessed your reading time with him!

Wrapping up 2018 and turning toward the new year, what’s on your New Year’s resolution list? If you found the reading plan beneficial, there will be a new one starting January 1. The two chapter a day plan was the most popular plan for many, so I am going to return to that in 2019.

I challenge you to ask someone you know to read along with you this time! The best way for people to get to know God, his personality, his plan, and his thoughts about us, is to read what he has to say about these things. You don’t have to “know it all” to share God with others. Just ask them to read it themselves, with you!

I’m excited to get started again! I hope I hear from you on this site in the new year!

Print out the new plan from the Spiritual Fervor tab. 
Happy New Year and happy reading!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Ch. 50~ We are done with Genesis!!

Well, we come to the close of Genesis and as usual, I have tons of questions!  Old man Jacob lived in Egypt 17 years before he died (47:28).  Why did the brothers think Joseph would be holding a grudge after 17 years?  After all, he had allowed them to prosper by buying land and grow in number.  
It reminds me how some Christians know they are forgiven from their past sins, yet continue to carry the guilt for them for years to come.  They need to have another meeting with Jesus, like these brothers with Joseph, to be reminded that they have already been forgiven!  Stop carrying it around!!

I have more questions; why did Joseph say “God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of lives.” (50:20)  Hadn’t the famine been over now for 12 years?  Why didn’t they go back to their land after the 7 year of drought?  What were they waiting for? 
Also, it sounds like Joseph is dying at 110 years old, earlier than his older brothers.  How old we're those brothers now? 
And last question, why did Joseph say to his brothers, “But God will surely come to your aid.” (50:24)?  Weren’t things going well for the Israelites at this point?  Were they already having a sense that they were not free to leave Egypt?

Arg!  So many questions!  I was actually thinking, what if their future enslavement was a punishment of sorts because they didn’t go back earlier, right after the drought ended.  Their history would have been so different!  But God worked it all out for the good for those who love him!  Because they stayed, we get to see how God introduced Jesus to them by using the passover lamb during the Exodus.  In addition, they grow their numbers significantly enough to be a formidable opponent to those occupying the Promised Land when they get there.   
I encourage you to keep reading the story, in Exodus, to see how things work out!  That can make for some fun reading during this Christmas season!  

As for me,  I will be back on the blog in the New Year with a New Testament reading plan.  I hope you join me!!

In the mean time, have a Christ filled Christmas and a blessed time celebrating as we ring in the New Year!  🎄🤗❤️

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ch. 49~ Shiloh

It’s interesting to read how Jacob foretells the future…..🤔, Did God show him a vision?  Did he feed him the words and Jacob didn’t really know what they meant?  Did Jacob feel bad saying one son would prosper and another would not?  Interesting…..

Even though I have a lot of questions, I did see something clearly.  Jacob had an unshakeable faith that these things would come to pass for his down line, whether the predictions were good or bad.  Jacob was confident it would happen.  I also can see that Jacob didn’t just have earthly outcomes in mind but he had a heavenly perspective too.

Jacob refers to a hope that goes beyond his posterity.  For example, when he is blessing Judah he says, “The scepter will not depart from Judah”, meaning the earthly kingship would pass down from generation to generation, but then he goes on to say, “until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.” (49:10).   That is Jesus, the Messiah!!  That is when Judah’s earthly kingship ends. 

One commentary says to that verse, “the obedience describes the willing submission to the new form of sovereignty which is ushered in by Shiloh (the peaceful sent one). And the “nations” indicate all people, not just Israelites.” Jacob is foretelling the coming of the Messiah here!  He was putting his hope in that!! 

Jacob again refers to this hope when he pauses in his blessings to his boys and says, “I look for your deliverance, Lord.” (49:18)  Jacob has lived a good long life, referring to God as his shepherd, has kept his faith to the end and declares that he has the same faith as his fathers (by saying he wants to be buried with them).  Now he is ready to be delivered into the hope that he carries with him.  That makes Hebrews 11:21 and 40 make so much sense to me.  “It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff….God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

At times it seems like these forefathers were supernatural because God gave them insight into the future, but the Hebrew writer makes it clear, they were just people like us, having faith and hope in Shiloh!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Ch. 48~ Fun fact!

I love when Bible’s have those tiny letters next to a verse that refer you to other verses.  When a verse is odd to me, I usually look the other verse up to get some understanding.  Case in point, I thought the last verse of this chapter was a little odd, like it was extra, random information. Why was it added? 
“And to you I give one more ridge of land than to your brothers,” (48:22) 

Well, the little letter referred me to look at John: “So he (Jesus) came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.  Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.” (John 4:5-6)  
That may not have explained why the two brothers got this extra piece of land, other than the fact that since Jacob himself had used it, it was very special to the Jewish people.

That was fun for me to read! (I’m not kidding!)

You see, the Samaritans were a mixed race, mostly with Jewish blood from the Ephraim and Manasseh tribes.  Some Jews from these two tribes got to stay in their land when all the other Jews were deported during the famous exile to Babylon in 600 BC  (described in the books of 2 Chronicles and Ezra).  The one’s deported as slaves, did not marry into the Babylonian people.  They stayed “pure”.  However, the Jews back home in Israel intermarried with the cultures around them.  When the captives got to go bak home to Israel from Babylon, they saw the resulting mixed race, and thus felt superior having themselves stayed “pure”.  This resulted in the ensuing prejudices against the Samaritan’s who lived on very special land. That’s my short version of the events! 

So, I thought it was so sweet to read, in John, that Jesus was bringing this group of people back into the fold, per se, by sharing the gospel with these original two clans that we are reading about in Genesis 48.  He didn’t care about the special piece of land, he cared about the promise of a messiah to the entire tribe of Israel. Even the one’s descended from Joseph.

Fun stuff to read and be able to connect the dots, don’t ya think?

Monday, December 17, 2018

Ch. 47~ We are on a need to know basis.

There are so many instances where I wish I could have more details to a story in the Bible than what God gives.  Just today, I was having a conversation with my kids about Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus (since we are looking at manger scenes during this Christmas season).  My kids were wondering why the Bible doesn't mention Joseph after the incident with Jesus at the temple when he was 12 years old.  “Why didn’t the Bible writers include how or why he died at an early age?”, “What happened to him?  It would be nice to know!”  I was thinking in response to there questions, even though I too would love to know more, extra information would or could detract from the main point of the story, therefore it shouldn’t necessarily be included. God is keeping the main thing the main thing.

So for today’s reading, I had questions after I read how the Egyptians became slaves themselves during the famine (47:21), the Israelites acquired property, and then, in time, the tables turn! (See Ch. 1 in Exodus for that story!)  I would love to know what the factors were that enabled the tables to turn as they do!  But, apparently that information wasn’t important enough for God to include in his story.

I need to be satisfied with what God deems necessary to include. What he does include  clearly demonstrates his divine intervention to have Joseph store all the grain from the 7 years of plenty, save the people from starvation and establish his family in Egypt where they were able to prosper and grow.  Those were the key points to the story.  Any other random details could detract from the power God displayed in the few words he chose to use.    

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Ch. 46~ Heading to Egypt

Today we come to another genealogy record that I spent WAY to much time thinking about!! But pondering questions I have is fun for me and I usually learn new things!

First question, what made Serah, Asher’s daughter, so special that she got mentioned as the only daughter in this huge list?  (Yet, she still doesn’t make ‘the count’. ) There were obviously other sisters.  They are not listed or counted as going down to Egypt. This is my speculation…all of Jacob’s children were now of marrying age.  The girls all got married to husbands in Canaan and moved to those clans.  Perhaps this particular sister never married.  She would still be in her father’s household and headed out with him.

Second, did you notice that Benjamin, the “boy” that Judah was protecting in ch.44 has 10 sons?? What’s up with that??? How old was that “boy”?  One commentary stated that Benjamin was about 24 when he entered Egypt and of those sons, some may have been born before entering Egypt and some after.  After all, this account was written after the fact, so babies born later could be accounted for in the genealogy record.  However, commentaries not in agreement with this, suggest that Benjamin may have been older (32 years old) and having groups of twins could have arrived at a large number of boys quickly.  I am not of that interpretation because Numbers 26: 40 lists Ard and Naaman (in Ben’s list) as being children of Bela (in Ben’s list)…….that leads me to think along the lines of the first explanation that some of those 10 boys were born in Egypt, and were even grandchildren to Ben. Scholars have reconciled the count of “going down” to Egypt because they (the boys) were “in the loins” of Benjamin (get it?).

I so appreciate scholars pouring over scripture and comparing different texts in the Bible to come to logical conclusions!  The record keeping of this “shepherd family” is fascinating to me!  They passed these genealogies down with meticulous precision!  It puts me to shame!! I can’t even remember my dad’s mom’s Norwegian name, who died when I was a baby! 😝

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Ch. 45~ God works for the good.

Hind sight is always 20/20, right?!  It’s when we look back on life that we can see how God’s hand was moving all the parts.  Wouldn’t you agree?
Joseph was able to see how God used the bad times (being rejected by his brothers, sold as a slave, accused falsely of attempted rape, and living in prison more than two years) to lead him to say, “It was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” (45:5)

It was sweet of God to give Joseph a ‘heads up’ on how he was going to work it all out.  Remember, he gave Joseph those dreams way back when he was 17 years old, before all the bad started.  I bet Joseph clung to those dreams as he spent day after day in prison.  
God gives us a heads up as well! We are able to see how God operates by reading His word.  We get to read this story of Joseph, we also get to read how he gave the same promise to the Israelites.  They were in Babylon as a punishment for their disobedience (maybe around 900 years after the Exodus), when God sends them a prophet to tell them that, even though they are going through a hard time, God would bring good out of it (Jeremiah 29:11).

He still promises to operate in the same way with us! He has given us a ‘heads up’, just as he gave to Joseph.  He tells us through Paul’s writing, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)  How great that we can cling to that promise when we are going through hard times!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Ch. 44~ True devotion

What the heck?!  I just got finished saying, yesterday, that I admired Joseph for his devotion to the one true God, Yahweh. Then, today, I read he has a silver cup for divination (44:5)?!?!  What’s up with that??  God doesn’t like divination! (Deuteronomy 18: 9-10)

Well, I felt a little better when I read this commentary, “Did Joseph really practice divination?  Probably not- he would have no desire or need to because of his relationship with God.  This statement was probably part of the test to emphasize how important the cup was.”
  OK, I can go with that…I would agree because, if you remember, he married into a family who’s patriarch was a priest of the sun.  So, Joseph had the appearance of being a “spiritual” leader who appeared to be doing all the things a pagan spiritual leader would be doing.  That explains his statement, “Don’t you know that a man like me can find things out by divination?” (44:16)  He says “a man like me” not, “me”.

On another note, isn’t it interesting that it was Judah (4th born) who spoke up and stuck to his promise he made to his dad? (43:8)  Reuben (1st born) made a similar promise to his dad (42:37), but he stayed strangely quite when they all went back to the city and threw themselves at the feet of Joseph.  Judah was displaying true integrity and devotion to his father by sacrificing himself to be a servant rather than Benjamin.  I think that’s interesting because we know what line Jesus eventually came from~ the tribe of Judah!!  

You can interpret that the way you want, but I see Judah’s devotion to his father  as an illustration to how Yahweh likes true devotion directed toward Him.  Yahweh blessed Judah for that devotion. And just as Judah was blessed for his true devotion, we too will be blessed for our true devotion to Yahweh.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Ch. 43~ Joseph shares his faith.

I have to say I am admiring Joseph the more I read about him.  At first, I thought he was arrogant when he was young, flaunting his dreams to his brothers.  Then, I thought he was a victim of circumstances, first being sold to slavery and then being thrown in prison.  I thought God was blessing him in everything he did, just so that God could accomplish his divine plan of bringing Israel to Egypt.

Now, however, like I mentioned the other day, I believe Joseph fully believed in the God of his father and shared stories of the one true God (Yahweh) with everyone close to him.  I mentioned the other day how I believe he shared Yahweh with his pagan wife in ch. 41.  Today we have another example~ Joseph shared Yahweh with his steward!  We know that by what the steward said, “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks.” (43:23)

Again, even though Joseph is in a pagan culture, he is not afraid  to share Yahweh with everyone he knows. I imagine he told stories about his dad’s experience with Yahweh.  I bet the steward knows the story of Joseph’s dad wrestling with the angel and walking away with a limp (ch. 32).

I admire Joseph because he did not hide what he knew to be true.  He was not ashamed of being from a shepherd family who worshipped the one true God.  This reminds me of what Jesus said, “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26)  Joseph wasn’t ashamed of God.  It makes sense then that God wasn’t ashamed of him and so he blessed him in all he did and therefore used him to accomplish his divine plan (39:3, 21& 41:38)!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Ch. 42~Go for healing sooner than later!

Boy, this family! The deception continues! Jacob (the deceiver) is deceived by his sons regarding the disappearance of Joseph (ch 37) and now Joseph is deceiving his brothers!  It’s true in this case, ‘what goes around comes around’! 

Now these brothers…I’m trying to keep their stories straight.  I need a quick review:
  • Reuben (1st born) sleeps with his dad’s concubine (35:22), yet tries to save Joseph from being killed by his bothers and now is willing to sacrifice his own boys as a pledge to keep Benjamin safe. (42:37)
  • Simon (2nd born) and Levi (3rd born) were the two who killed every male in Shechem and they felt righteous about it! (34:31)  It’s Simon who Joseph chooses to keep in Egypt while his brothers go back home (42:24).
  • Judah (4th born) moved away from his family, had three sons, two who died and then he had twins with his daughter-in-law.  He must have moved back home recently, maybe due to the famine.
  • We don’t hear much about Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher, other than they were all shepherds (37:12), who followed the lead of their older brothers (34:27 & 37:28).

Even with all their faults, these brothers knew truth and grieved over their sin. Look what their first thought was when they find themselves in this terrible situation: “Surely we are being punished because of our brother.” (42:21).  
22 years of guilt!!  That’s proof to me that ‘time does not heal all wounds’.  

BTW, Here is how I got 22 years:
Joe was 17 at the time of being sold into slavery (37:2)
He entered the service of the king at 30 years old (41:46)
There had been 7 years of good harvest and 2 years of famine have taken place already (45:6).
30-17 (=13)+ 9=22 🤓

That is a good take away from this chapter! Sin needs to be confessed and dealt with in order to heal! Like James says, “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” (5:16)  We can learn from these brothers; don’t be like them! Rather, confess early! There is no reason to carry guilt around for 22 years!!  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ch. 41~ Keep teaching your kids truth regardless of the culture.

My mouth dropped when I read “Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath, daughter of Potiphera” (41:45)
Then I closed my mouth when I realized it was Potiphera not Potiphar~ two different guys. 
So, who was Potiphera the priest of On?  Well, On was a city known for worshipping the sun.  Therefore it is assumed that Potiphera was a priest of the sun.  

Pharaoh reminds me of people today who don’t have a clue about spiritual matters.  They tend to clump ‘spiritual people’ together, regardless of what is being worshiped. 
Jacob reminds Pharaoh, there is one true God, “I cannot do it (interpret the dream), but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” (41:16)  Pharaoh sees that Jacob is wise and even says, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?” (41:38), But then, Joseph’s devotion to God gets muddled in Pharaoh’s mind with other spiritual people he knows.  It’s like he’s thinking, “Hey, Joe is spiritual, I’ll give him the daughter of another spiritual guy I know! He would like that! Spiritual people like to hang out together!” Also, priests in the Egyptian culture back then were the highest, most privileged class according to one commentary I read, so the marriage also raised Joseph to a prestigious position in addition to all that Pharaoh gave him.  Regardless, Joseph, the slave, didn’t have much of a say as to who he would accept as a wife, right?  Spiritual or not, you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!  

So even though Joe’s new wife was from a pagan worshipping family, I am confident that Joe told his new bride, Asenath, all the stories of his youth; all the stories of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  And I am sure she put her trust in the one true God as she saw the dreams that Jacob interpreted come to pass. I would also imagine that Jacob circumcised his two baby boys, and she went along with that as well.  After all, her sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, become two of the twelve tribes of Israel!  Remember, there is no tribe of “Joseph”.  So if those two boys became the forefathers of Israel, you can bet they learned more about the true living God than about worshipping the sun!  

Good job, Daddy Joe for teaching your boys about the true God even though they were surrounded with a pagan culture!! That’s a good take away from today’s reading, don’t you think!  Dads have a huge influence on their kids spiritual life!!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Ch. 40~ A little kindness can go a long way!

Hey, did you notice who assigned Joseph to attend to the cupbearer and baker?!  It was “the captain of the guard”! (40:4)  That means it was Potiphar!  I assumed it was the prison warden who “paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care” (39:23), that had put Joseph in charge of the other prisoners, but it wasn’t!

That means Potiphar, who at first “burned with anger” when he thought Joseph went for his wife, still kept tabs on Joseph.  He was still aware that Joseph had success in everything he did.  Perhaps Potiphar still trusted Joseph enough to keep his eye on the two men, Pharaoh (the king), did not trust.  

Potiphar may have been mad at first with Joseph, but he wasn’t stupid!  He recognized that the Lord was with Joseph (39:3).  He couldn’t let Joseph out of prison, that wouldn’t look good for the honor of his wife, but he could make the best of a bad situation for Joseph.  I’m just speculating, but, it is interesting, don’t you think, that it was Potiphar himself, not the warden, was who put Joseph in charge of Pharaoh’s jailed officials?!

Another speculation on my part is that this kind act may have saved Potiphar’s position and power in his near future. After all, in a few short years Joseph is then in power over Potiphar! I bet Potiphar’s wife was shaking in her boots when that appointment happened!! (But, I’m getting ahead of myself; that’s a thought to ponder for tomorrow’s reading!)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Ch. 39~ Attitude is a choice.

Annually, I give a presentation to the 5th and 6th grades at a small Christian school, where all my kids attended.  I am the nurse who comes to talk to them about how their bodies will be changing in the next few years.  In the past I have also visited the junior high students, but for their talk, I kick it up a notch with discussions of STD’s and unplanned pregnancies that can occur in sex outside of marriage.  In the course of the talk we discuss how to “practice” ways of getting out of compromising situations or how to not get into one in the first place.  

One of the very practical steps I suggest is to be like Joseph (mind you this is a Christian school, so they know the story and nod with understanding).  “If you find yourself in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable or you just know you shouldn’t be there…!!  It’s OK to get up and run!”  I usually use a power point when I talk with them so I am always sure to include some sort of visual.  

I truly believe that Joseph did the best thing in the predicament he found himself in and God honored it.  It’s all perspective right?  Your situation can be a blessing or a curse, depending how you chose to look at it.

Joseph could have focused on the fact that he was thrown into prison for doing the right thing and held bitter resentment toward God for his circumstances.  On the other hand, he could focus on the fact he got out of the house without compromising his integrity and praise God for his continued blessings while in prison. 

This reminds me of girls who come into the PRC with an unplanned pregnancy.  How they receive the news depends on what they choose to focus on.  They can choose to look at the immediate future in front of them and operate in fear to “get rid of the problem” or they can choose to look at the baby for what it is, a gift from God even though their current circumstances aren’t ideal.  It’s all how one chooses to look at it. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Ch. 38~ God loves his own.

Tamar was a Canaanite.  She was not from the people that Isaach and Rebekah wanted for Jacob.  Apparently, Jacob and Leah didn’t care as much where their children went to find spouses.  As a result, Judah’s first two sons weren’t raised in a ‘one God’ home, so they didn’t turn out so good (38:7 & 10).

But Tamar….there must have been something special about her.  Perhaps in her family there was some godly teaching and she adhered to it, or maybe when she was exposed to the God of Abraham through things she may of heard while with Er and Onan; either way, she believed it!  Judah even declared as much when he said, “She is more righteous than I.” (38:26). And, accordingly, she was “adopted” into the Jewish family tree, and raised her boys with that faith in the one true God.

Galatians 3:7 says, “Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.”  God is the same today as he was back then.  He will bring anyone into his family that has faith in Him, through Christ.  This isn’t a new concept that was implemented after Christ.  God has been operating this way since he told Abraham he would do so.  “Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” (Gal. 3:8)

So, Tamar (a “Gentile”) was grafted into the family of faith, because she relied on her faith in the one true God.  If you keep reading the Old Testament, you would see God keeps grafting in “Gentiles” who have faith.  I love that!  It shows that God used the Jewish people as a picture of how he loves “his own” and anybody can be one of “his own” through faith in Jesus!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Genesis 37~ Something good's coming!

Boy!  When you consider the deceiving Jacob did in his youth, he sure is getting a taste of his own medicine in this chapter!  Perhaps his boys learned from example.  They deceived the deceiver!  It’s sad how some traits are passed on to the next generation even when we try to improve in an area.😣 

It was also very sad to read, “ ‘I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave.’ So his father wept for him.” (37:35) Just as I was feeling the heaviness of that, I got excited for what I knew was going to happen when I read, “the Mediates sold Joseph in Egypt!”  I literally thought what Jimmy Cricket says in Disney’s Peter Pan ride, “Here we gooooo!”  This story is going to get exciting, as I know what ultimately occurs from this deception! 
Spoiler alert; Joseph goes to Egypt, his family ends up there too, they all end up in slavery, and at the end of that time period (400 yrs.) the Passover is instituted, which is foreshadowing to Christ!!
So, God allowed this deception to occur to carry out his ultimate plan of bringing Christ into the world.That’s exciting! Because we are all slaves to our deceptive hearts and we need a way out!  

I’m sorry for Jacob, though.  He had to experience such grief!  Yet, if he knew how it was all going to turn out, he would be excited too because he too was waiting for something better (Hebrews 11:21)!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Genesis 36~ Oholibamah

So, I am one of those geeks who actually read each name listed in the genealogies of the Bible.  Usually I get a kick out of a name or two.  This time I had to giggle at the name Oholibamah.  I don’t know why, just did. Maybe because of all the things that rhyme with “bamah”.
Anyway, about that genealogy….Why does Moses (who is attributed with writing Genesis) go into such detail on Esau’s decedents?  One commentary says, “As Abraham’s first grandson, he deserves a place in the Jewish records”  

Sadly though, because he married “pagan” women, the genealogy also shows how the enemy nation to Israel came about.  “Esau, the father of the Edomites”, (Gen. 36:43) settled south east of the Dead Sea.  Instead of helping their blood relatives through the centuries, they were a constant source of harassment. Well….that doesn’t go well for them.  The book of Obadiah (the shortest book in the Old Testament) tells what happens to them. 😳 God speaks through his prophet and gives his final punishment on the Edomites for all their wrong doing.  The moral of that story is, don’t mess with God’s kids (that’s you and me!).  There will be punishment! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Genesis 35~ Everybody needs to make their own choice.

So this is another weird chapter for me to process!  Why is the death of Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, recorded, but not Rebekah’s death?  And why on earth does Reuben sleep with one of his step moms?  There’s a lot for me to ponder!

I read some commentaries on these points, so I’ll try to give you the short version.
First, regarding the death of the nurse; there are several theories.  

1.) Rebekah died some time ago and her nurse, who would be loyal to Jacob, went with him on his travels instead of staying with Isaac.  This old, wise woman could have become an integral part of Jacob’s life, therefore he mourned heavily when she died.  (Allom Bakuth means Oak of Weeping.)

2.) Some think Rebekah also died at the same time as the nurse because “Oak of Weeping” is actually written in plural form indicating it was double mourning.  Theories are also given as to why the burial of Rebekah needed to remain secret.  These are speculations, so I’m not going to bother to list them.

The bottom line is that Jacob mourned heavily at the death of his mom’s nurse and named the area accordingly.

So, now for Reuben.  What was he thinking as the oldest child of the clan?  His actions remind me of what David’s third eldest son, Absalom, did 800 years later.  Absalom, on the advise of one of his father’s officials, slept with David’s concubines “in the sight of Israel” so that all Israel would “hear that you have made yourself obnoxious to your father, and everyone with you will be more resolute.” (2 Sam. 16:21)

So, it can be assumed here that Reuben did this to show he wanted to take over his dad’s position prematurely and in an “in your face” sort of way.  Well, needless to say, it doesn’t go well for him.  Jacob takes away Reuben’s blessing, that could have been his as the oldest son, and gives it to Judah (Gen 49: 3 & 8).

There are good and reasonable explanations for the things that occurred in this chapter,  and there are also practical take-aways to be learned from these people.  This family is trying their best to follow the one true God (35:4).  But notice, individual members  must choose to “go with it” and follow God loyally (like Deborah) or rebel and try to do it their own way (like Reuben).  Membership in a Christian family doesn’t make one a Christian. An individual choice needs to be made by each member.  On the day you die, you are going to leave your family either with sweet mourning or as an obnoxious memory.  The choice is yours.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Genesis 34~ God deals with sin!

As much as I would like to make Shechem a victim of “love at first sight” and think that this could have been a sweet, Hollywood type, love story~ it’s not!  Shechem would have seen that Dinah, as she was out visiting the town ladies, was not dressed as a present woman.  This was not a case of mistaken identity!  You can bet that Leah, being from a very wealthy clan, dressed her daughter to the 9’s and did not send her out alone!  So, Shechem was a spoiled man who took what he wanted without a pre-thought to the consequences that he should and would have been well aware of!  In addition, the word “rape” implies this was not a consensual act.  So, in reality, nothing is sweet about this story!

So, what is the point of the story?  Why did God want it to be included in Genesis?  Well, one point I see highlights the truth of Exodus 34:7, “He does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”  I like what one commentary says to that, “The sins of the father are punished in the children through becoming the sins of the children.”  I can attest to that!  My dad has a quick temper.  Guess what?!  I do to!! I learned that trait from him!  His sin became a sin that I need to deal with!

Back to chapter 34, obviously, Hamor and Shechem, (2 guilty parties) are punished immediately for their sin.  Yet, there are other guilty parties in this story as well!  Simeon and Levi are guilty of killing innocent people.  At first it seems like they aren’t punished for their wrong doing, but later we will read how their sin will affect their “down line”.  We will read in chapter 49 as Jacob gives his final blessing before his death, that Simeon and Levi are indeed punished.  “Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury so cruel!  I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.” (49: 7)  And that’s exactly what happened with these two tribes!  (See Joshua 19 & 21 if you want more on that.)

God loved this Israel clan, but he still disciplines like a father would.  He disciplines those he loves (Heb. 12:6).   So, even if it looks like you got away with something, you didn’t.  God will deal with it! That is definitely a good take away from this chapter, don’t you think?!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Genesis 33~ Joyful reunions!

I went to a funeral yesterday of a young man who had one brother.  The pictures of his life that played out before us consisted of the two brothers side by side on trips, in sports and numerous family functions.

I can imagine that if there was a slide show of Esau and Jacob as young boys, it would be similar to the above family.  Even though their preferences grew to be different when they were older (25:27), they were still raised together by a mom and dad who loved them dearly.  

So, I absolutely loved reading, “But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.  And they wept.” (33:4)  Time had worked to make Esau focus on the good times rather than the bad that had occurred between the two. Time also helped with Jacob’s heart, changing from “deceiver” (Jacob) to “contender with God” (Israel).  It seems when you get right with God, you can get right with others.

Fortunately for the two boys I mentioned earlier, they were/are both Christ followers.  I know that when those two brothers meet up again, there will be the same type of embrace and joy that Esau and Jacob had!  

Praise the Lord for that hope we have in Christ!! There will be sooooo many joyful reunions!! 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Genesis 32~ Jacob's heart is changing.

What did you think of the first sentence of our reading today? “Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him.  When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!  So he named the place Mahandim.” (32:1-2)

What was that? Angels in the camp?….Well, I have a theory!  I think God was giving Jacob proof he made the right decision.

We just got finished reading in the chapter before, that Laban (who owned little gods) made his oath to Jacob on the name of the God of Abraham, Nahor and Terah (31:53).  Laban had an idea of who the true God was.  It had had been passed on from his father and grandfather, but…he was getting off on his theology, as evidenced by the little gods.  

Jacob on the other hand is starting to show some clarity in his thinking.  He took his oath in the ‘name of the Fear of his father Isaac.” (31:53).  He is realizing who the true God is and how God had been with him during the difficult 20 years with Laban.

So now, Laban and Jacob are parting ways at Jerar/Galeed/Mizpah (depending who you ask).  The two had barely parted when Jacob sees the angels and calls the area Mahanaim (which means two camps).  “Two camps”.  That’s an interesting name. 

So, let’s get this picture straight.  Jacob makes his pledge to the true God, and then sees angels in his side of the two camps.  To me, this is absolute confirmation that God was pleased with Jacob’s pledge and He was present in Jacob’s side of the camp. The heart change is happening for Jacob. (Especially in light of vs. 10!)

This reminds me of the same decision the Jews needed to make after they entered the Promise land.  Joshua told the people to “throw away the foreign gods that (were) among them and yield (their) hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” (Joshua 24:23)

Today, individually, we need to make the same choice; will we serve “gods” or the true God.  I can almost hear Jacob say, as he sees those angels (what Joshua said around 500 years after him, and what I have said personally), “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh 24:15)

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Genesis 31~ "God Moments"

I have told my girls, “Don’t journal sad things in your life. You don’t need help remembering those!  Journal the God moments!”  Those are worthy of remembering!! 

I think it’s our nature to remember bad times easier than the good.  Jacob clearly remembered all the bad of his past 20 years living in Paddan Aram!  “The heat consumed me in the daytime and the cold at night, and sleep fled form my eyes.  It was like this for the 20 years I was in your household.” (Gen. 31:40-41)

However, look what God said to Jacob, “I am the God of Bethel”  (31:13).  It’s like he was saying, “Remember that great time we had together.  Remember what I said?”  Twenty years later, Jacob may have forgotten that “mountain high” experience (dream) he had, but God had not.  That was a “God moment” in Jacob’s life and God himself was reminding Jacob of it!

It’s good to be reminded of those times where God “met you” in a time of crisis, sadness, happiness, ect.  Or where he clearly spoke to you through his scripture. Write those times down!  Go back and read them when you are feeling distant from God or when you are convinced he doesn’t talk to you.  Those “God moments” are real!! Satan will do everything in his power to get you to think it was just a coincidence or silly dream.  

Remember, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) That’s one of the 3573 promises in the Bible I mentioned yesterday! What a great way to resist him!  “You are a liar, Satan!  I have a book full of ‘God moments’ that I know are true.  Let me read them to you!!