A daily devotional by Charles and Gloria Mason
Gen.1:26------Christ the Prototype
All men were to be like Jesus for He is the image of the invisible God. Col.1:15
" Oh to be like Thee..."
The question is, how can we be like Him? There is only one way, we must share His life-that is, His life must be in us as the dynamic. How can the son or daughter be really like the parents--they must share their genes-their life. Since the fall we are born in the image of our parent Adam but being born again brings into the family of God where now we can daily grow to be like Jesus.
We are not urged in Scripture to practice the presence of God but to reckon on the reality of His indwelling. Count on His presence within today.
"That He might be the firstborn among many brethren". God's prototype---Rom.8:29
Gen.2:7------The Breath of life
God is the source of all life. He is the fountain head pictured perhaps by the immense spring in Eden that made up the headwaters of four major rivers.
The pictorial description of the impartation of life to man is a vivid one. The clay form is imbued with life by the act of God breathing into it. In both Hebrew and Greek the word "breath" -is synonymous with "spirit". Here man receives the Spirit of life.
Lost through the fall, the life is restored on the day of Pentecost as God breathes into His body, the church ,and it becomes a living organism. As members of His body we share His life today.
Job 33:4 "The spirit of God hath made me and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life! ( Same word)
(Septuagint, " thy submission shall be to thy husband"etc,)
Resistance to Biblical order shows the sinfulness of the human heart. We evidence a true spirit of repentance toward God by humble submission to His will. Even the curse at the time of the fall contained a measure of God's grace in that, in spite of pain and sorrow, the joy of birth would assuage. (Matt. Henry). The joy of submitting to the Lord should over- rule all difficulties encountered in the marriage relationship.
When we resist the Lord we lose our peace and joy without which obviously, all duties become more difficult. Life for Hagar must have been made easier when she obeyed the Angel of the Lord (Gen.16:9) to return to Abraham's household and submit to her mistress Sarah. Freedom and blessing were yet in store for her (Gen.21:18).
Eph.5:22-32-- "As unto the Lord".
1 Cor.11:10-----Though the custom does not prevail, the attitude is important for the sake of the angels.
Gen.4:10 The Crying Blood
The life of the flesh is in the blood (Lev.17:11), we later learn, and God said to Noah (9:4-6) that therefore because man is in God's image whoever sheds a man's blood will be required to forfeit his own.
Yet God protected Cain, the first murderer. Why? Perhaps to demonstrate His grace. For the Lamb was already slain (Rev.13:8) and the blood of satisfaction was likewise crying. Its message was "forgiveness".
Before the law sin was not imputed (Rom.5:13), but the principle obviously pertained.
Believing, we place ourselves beneath the "speaking blood" of Christ and know instant forgiveness. Those who do not believe must expect the "Avenger of blood" (Deut.19:12) to avenge the blood of Christ which they "by wicked hand have (in effect) crucified and slain". Acts 2:23
Revelation 1:5 "---Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood".
Genesis 5:5 "And He died"
"Ye shall not surely die."(3:4) After 930 years the lie was exposed and as this chapter
repeatedly emphasizes, the effect of Adam's sin has yet to be fully realized for men are still begotten in his image. (Ps.73:20)
The doctrine of original sin is clear when we see in the parenthetical passage of Romans 5:13-17 that in spite of the fact that sin was not imputed prior to the giving of the law, men consistently died physically from Adam onward. " Sin when it is finished bringeth forth death". (John 1:15) Even babies die though they have committed no sin of their own.
The gracious exception to this rule is seen in Enoch's translation, certainly a fore gleam of the rapture, when a generation of believers will escape this penalty of Adam's transgressions. Praise God!
Is not the promise greater than the penalty ? "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Cor.15:22
Gen.6:5 Great wickedness
This chapter drives home to us the exceeding malignant nature of our sin. What had begun ten generations earlier in the murder of Abel was now to carry away a billion people in a disastrous judgement that spared only the family of one man.
We don't quite understand the concept of a Sovereign God repenting, but we certainly can appreciate something of the grief of His loving heart. After suffering a great loss (loved ones, house fire, etc.)it is never easy to start over.
The grace of God shines brightest in this story of Noah because of the backdrop of a worldwide destruction of what God had originally called "good". The more we see the complete depravity of the human heart (our heart) the more we will appreciate this Sovereign grace that prepared an ark (1) of safety in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Jer.17:9 "the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked who can know it?"
Gen.7:1 "Righteous before me"
In the previous chapter, verse nine, it is said that "Noah was a just man and perfect...." To be just or righteous (same word in Heb.)meant to be as God wants one to be, feeling and acting in complete conformity to His will. It is said in the same verse that he "walked with God."
If we would walk with God we too must be righteous. We will certainly be in the minority in these last days that the Bible says will be like Noah's days. Matt.24:37
But how shall we be righteous ? Hebrews 11:6&7 tells us that faith is essential if we would please God and Noah had that kind of faith as obediently and, in all probability facing ridicule, he built the ark.
By faith we "prepare" for judgement by obeying God. It is His will that we receive Christ who died for our us. (John 1:12, Rom.5:8) In these verses we are always seen as being "in" Christ as our ark of safety.
Col. 2:10 "And ye are complete in Him."
Gen.8:20 An altar unto the Lord.
An altar, being a place of sacrifice, represents the cross of Christ. Throughout the history of Israel there were always altars whenever men would worship Jehovah. There is no other way of approach to Him. An altar and an acceptable sacrifice upon it both then and now is the basis of all true worship of our God.
Christ is and always was the only acceptable sacrifice for without the shedding of His blood (Heb.9:22) there is no remission of sin and since Eden, sin has stood in the way of any who would approach a Holy God.
As sinners, we must acknowledge that the way of the cross is the only way to God and though, in ourselves totally depraved, we are made acceptable in the Beloved. (Eph.1:6) Praise His name!
Let's be sure to tell our Father that we will not, no, cannot even think of praying to Him on any other grounds. All else is the way of Cain.(Jude 1:11)
"Sin was canceled on the tree, Jesus, blessed Jesus!
Gen.9:6" "In the Image of God"
The scriptural basis for capital punishment is the fact that man was created in God's image. Unpremeditated taking of human life was covered under a difference law, but otherwise murder is considered an act of hatred and is prompted by Satan as an attack against God Himself. It is a way that the enemy can "hurt" God by destroying the highest object of His creative work.
This law also demonstrates how valuable to God, man made in His own image really is. Proper appreciation of this verse should abolish low self- esteem.
Finally, we should not overlook the searching application that our Lord Jesus Christ made to the fifth commandment. (Matt.5:22&23) He said that to be angry with our brother without a cause could incur judgement.
Genesis 10:25 Peleg
In the days of this man the earth was divided and he got named for it. We don't know if the division refers to the events in the next chapter when language differences were used to divide, or if, as my former pastor the late Stanton Gavett wrote, the land masses of the earth were separated. Perhaps this plus the skin coloring was all done at the same time. Whatever happened, God did it to suit His own purpose.
It was evidently a necessary measure but I don't think God liked doing it any more than He liked sending the flood. It was judgement rather than blessing.
Everywhere in the world today we see intolerance which has arisen over differences, engendering division. Where shall we look to find what should have been the case had sin not entered the race? Where else but the Church! If sin divides, salvation should heal, with no racial hatred, no gender problems, no class distinction characterizing Christ's Body.
Why then is there such division in the Church? There will be none when we are filled with the Spirit. "There is one body and one Spirit..." (Eph. 4:4) Let us confess the sin of pride, yield to Christ as Lord and endeavor, "to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace". (Eph. 4:3) Let us pray earnestly for Christians with whom we disagree, and let us always "speak the truth in love". (Eph.4:15)
What devastation Adam's sin brought upon the human race. First came death with all its attending problems of sickness and weakness and the expulsion from the garden. Our parents went forth into a hostile environment where even the once gentle beasts were to be feared.
Now, so soon after the universal flood with its mass destruction of human life, came Babel with its confusion and division.
In these verses, however, there are things that bless us. We must look away from the sin cursed environment and watch the working of our wonderful Creator.
The "us" reminds us of the plurality of the Godhead (Gen.1:26) and we look forward to more revelation of the Trinity. In His coming down in the garden of Eden, at Christ's birth as Emmanuel (Matt.1:23), at Pentecost in the Person of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2), and in Revelation 21:3, He finally comes to dwell with us when the effects of the fall will be completely nullified (v.4).
Best of all, in our verses for today we see how easily the Mighty God handles this problem of the tower. Instantly it would seem, these people are unable to understand each other and they cease their ill-inspired activity. Just a simply and easily can God handle all our problems !
Gen.1:24 "And God said,.......and it was so."
Gen.12:10 Down in Egypt
In the northern hemisphere whenever we think of going South even if it is uphill we usually think of going down. Exceptions occur and going to Jerusalem from anywhere in Palestine was spoken of as going up. From any location on earth, heaven is up and hell is down. Mountaintop experiences are always positive while valley experiences are difficult.
Egypt is a wrong place to be when God has called one to the promised land. Famine in the land caused Abraham to go "down" and in Egypt he ran into trouble mostly due to his lapse of faith in trusting God to take care of him. This was especially true in light of the promise in 12:2.
There was no rebuke recorded here in this early "seed plot" adventure, but it becomes evident as we read on through the Bible that God is not pleased when His people forget His promises and kindle their own fires. (Isa.50:11) We are not to run to Egypt even from famine (Ps.33:9). Elimelech went to Moab to escape famine and it cost him dearly and all the time he had a rich relative who would have helped him (Lev.25:35ff). Boaz pictures our rich relative , the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ruth ch.1&2).
True, Jacob had God's permission to leave the land (Gen.46:3) but even this exception was not without its consequences.
Let us be careful about what we do in times of trial. Proverbs 3:5&6..
Gen.13:3....."where his tent had been..."
Abram returning to Bethel is a beautiful picture of how we can return back to the right way when we find ourselves "off the beaten path" in our walk with God.
In Bunyan's dream Christian saw a "bi-way" that looked like a better path going in the same direction, but he soon found it to be leading him astray. Fortunately, he was able to find his way back to where he left the "old path". "There is a way that seemeth right"---but the end is not where we want to go! (Prov.16:25)
Bethel, the house of God, the place of the altar where with confidence we can call upon the name of the Lord, these things assure us that we are where we belong. No angels here guarding the entrance forbidding our approach (Gen.3:24) but rather an invitation to "come boldly to the throne of grace". (Heb.4:16)
With such a base of operation we can now embark into new territory for the entire "promised land" lies before us. With Abraham and Joshua, let us put our feet on the promises like the one below and "go on to perfection". (Heb.6:11)
Proverbs 3:5&6....."Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct the paths.
Gen 14:18 The Most High God
Here and in the following verses Abram was introduced to a new concept regarding God. And he got it!
Coming back from his victorious encounter in the king's dale Abram had met two important persons, Melchizadek and the king of Sodom. These represent the constant choice we have to make when it comes to possessions (owning things- even things we might say we worked hard for- even as he did.)
God comes first and a portion must go to Him. In the O.T. it was to be a tenth; today, certainly no less. Why? He owns it all and we are only stewards. (1 Chron.28:1) The fellowship (bread and wine of communion ) and the blessing more than compensate our being good stewards.
On the other hand, there is this defeated king of the "burnt land" with slime on his clothes, making offers. "I'll give you what you already have if you will...." Sounds like the devil offering to the One who technically owned them already. (Luke 4:7)
Abram, in effect ,said, "get behind me Satan--I wouldn't take even a shoelace from you and thus become beholden to you when my allegiance is already owed to the One who really owns everything, and I'll take any reward coming to me at a later date. Besides it's the souls that are important...!"
Matthew 4:19&20 To be a "fisher of men" may require leaving our only source of income. Can we trust Him?
Gen.15:6 Faith Counted for Righteousness
It seemed such a "grain of mustard seed" this feeble faith of Abram , a childlike expression which hovered somewhere between an Eliezer and an Ishmael but could not grasp an Isaac. "Men as trees walking"; "seeing through a glass darkly";--so often we barely perceive the whole picture. "Lord, help thou mine unbelief".(Mark 9:24)
Wow, what a picture ! God covenants with Abram to give him all the land between the rivers Nile and Euphrates, but not now. What a test of faith! Four hundred years from then He would give it to his ancestors, and He did. By walking alone between the divided carcases God was saying that this was to be an unconditional covenant. The kind He makes with us in Christ. Grace plus nothing!
We like Abraham look for a city (Heb.11:10) but also, like him, "must patiently wait for it".(Rom.8:25) If God is through with Israel as some would have it, He may not keep His promise to us either----but that will be after the sun doesn't rise and the stars don't shine and the seasons cease their returning. (Jer.32:35-37) Nay, but all of these join in their witness to God's great faithfulness, mercy and love.
With El Elyon as our shield and exceeding great reward (v.1) let us "fear lest a promise being left us" we should seem to come short of it. (Heb.4:1)
Be sure to read Romans 4:21&25---It's a short passage and won't take much more of your time and it really sums it all up.
This Hebrew term is translated into our English Bible and according to our center column reference means, "the well of the Living One who sees me". There is certainly much to be said about this remarkable well.
First, the background of this revelation which, of course, relates to Hagar, Sarah's handmaid. She was an Old Testament "woman at the well" with a heart as heavy with her personal problems as that Samaritan woman of John's gospel who met the Living One who had foreseen her in His need to go the much less traveled route to Galilee
Secondly, in the naming of these wells in Genesis, we are reminded of their centrality in the lives of the Patriarchs. They symbolize the presence of God who describes Himself in Jeremiah 2:13 as the "fountain of the living water". Well diggers were those who sought Him out and those whose needs He was ready to meet as the One who kept His eye constantly upon them.
Lastly, we should mediate upon the message of the Lord to Hagar. When we are running from our problems, the lasts words we want to hear are these ",return" and "submit". This was the "cross" for her, but in that surrender she eventually found life and purpose as she became the mother of a great nation (verses 10; 17:20 and 21:18).
Mark 9:35 "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it".
Gen. 17:10 Circumcision, the token of the Covenant
Circumcision, like baptism, was a symbol, and both symbolized pretty much the same truth. They speak about the basis or ground of our acceptance with God. To disobey spoke of being cut off, not from God, but from His people (v.14), even as baptism does not save, but without it one does not express his oneness with the Body.
Both speak of God's dealing with the flesh. Circumcision was really a heart matter, (Rom. 2:29), so says the apostle, and he goes on to give us the real meaning of it in Colossians 2:11-13 where he describes the crucifixion of Christ as a divine circumcision. It is as if God cut away from His Son the Adamic nature which Christ had assumed on our behalf, casting it, as it were, into a rich man's tomb, from whence Christ emerged without it, and we with Him.
Does not baptism say the same thing? "...buried with Him by baptism into death:" (Rom. 6:4), we know that our old man (adamic nature) is (was) crucified with Him, that we might walk in resurrection power.
Just as circumcision did not make one a true Jew, so baptism does not make one a Christian, but both are disobedient not to employ the symbolism. Abraham was to perform this rite on his household. It was their part to submit. If they would not, they could not know the blessing, protection and reward that was Abraham's. In other words they were by this means identified with father Abraham, and would one day rest in his bosom. (Lk. 16:23). In the Name of Christ the Church was sent out into all the world to preach ...and baptize. As the saved, we are to submit, are we not? Baptism speaks of our identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. Surely something will be forfeited if we refuse that mark.
The only baptism "in the Spirit" is seen in I Cor. 12:13, and is NOT an experience but refers to our being placed into the body of Christ (Church) by an action of God Himself. Some should read this and weep for not having rightly divided the Word of truth.
Genesis 18:25 The Judge will do right
We think perhaps that we know better about how things are than God does. Abraham began with the number fifty obviously thinking that there must be that many righteous in the city of Sodom. The fact is there was really only one (2 Peter 2:8).
We probably think there are more people saved in our churches than really are. You ask them. Some will say "I was baptized etc". Others will recite their works and many will tell you about their experiences but how many can give a clear Biblical answer. Hopefully more are truly saved than this test would reveal, but would you want to base your eternal destiny on such flimsy evidence ?
We can be sure, however, that the Judge of all the earth will do right. He knew from the start that there was only Lot, and from the start we can assume He intended to destroy Sodom. Perhaps it was a lesson Abraham had to learn that things were far worse than he could imagine,(v.17) and that the right thing for the Judge to do was to destroy the wicked.
We don't hear much preaching about Hell, but it's still in the Bible and one of these days the Judge will destroy this earth, and regardless of our opinion, it will be right.
2 Peter 3:9 "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall meet with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
Genesis 19:8 "I have two daughters"
It is good thing that we are not the final judges of our brethren's actions. We wonder how it could be that a man could stoop so low as to offer his two daughters to the sexual gratification of this mob at his door and still be called righteous (again. 2 Peter 2:8). We wonder how God could inspire Paul to write about Abraham's faith (Rom.4:20) in view of the Hager incident. We might have been less charitable were the judging of these incidents left to our discretion.
Lot had sunk quite low, of that we are certain. After the Lord had delivered him so dramatically ,He granted him his wish to live in Zoar when he still lacked faith in God's word (vss.21-30).
Looking back, we remember that after Abraham had delivered him from Chedorlaomer and his gang, Lot apparently went right back to Sodom. Speaking of looking back, we certainly don't want to forget what happened to his wife when she died (v.26) (Luke 17:32). Top this all off with a drunken incestuous relationship with his daughters producing two nations that were giving Judah trouble in Jehoshephat's day (2 Chron.20:1), and we certainly would wonder if we would ever see this man in heaven if it were not for the reference in 2 Peter. All we can say is "Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like" Lot and me.
There will surely be some people in Heaven that will surprise us !
Gen.20:11 "They will slay me..."
Things that are technically right may not always be morally so. This case is a good example. True, Sarah was Abraham's half-sister but primarily she was his wife and certainly so in God's eyes. This half truth caused quite a lot of problems. Abimelech was deceived and his life threatened. His whole household suffered (v.18) and of course Abraham's testimony was damaged.
Abraham should have trusted God who had promised to be his shield (15:1). Did he think that "this place" was somehow off limits and thus outside of God's protection? We may forgive Abraham for he was just getting to know our great God (and apparently he was not chided) whereas, since we have the Holy Spirit and the Bible, we have no excuse.
We see here to what great lengths God will go in His care for His children. His being gracious yet firm with an unbeliever is an example to us as well. His support of Abraham before Abimelech reminds us of other times when God built up His servants before the enemy (Job 1:8 and Num. 23;21).
We had best be careful how we treat "another man's servant" (our pastor) and for that matter any of God's children.
Read Psalms 105:13-15.
Genesis 21:19 "....she saw a well...."
Either her eyes were "holden" (Lk.24:16) so "'that she did not see the well or else it sprang up instantaneously. We should not have a problem one way or the other. The sense in Numbers 21:17 in connection with 1 Cor.10:4 would be that God could cause the water to come forth wherever He wanted it to. In Numbers 20:8 it was at " the rock before their eyes" that water was to come forth by just speaking to it. That's better than these faucets that produce when you simply come near them.
Since Hagar, our friend of four chapters back, was in the area of Beersheba and since this chapter ends with a reference to this "well of the oath" dug by Abraham we might assume that this is the well. Of course the problem is, why didn't she see it. Wells were prominent places and she was wandering in the wilderness. The answer might be that this was a surface eruption of the aquifer that Abraham dug into. These streams often run underground for many miles.
The implication of this moving story is that God is there when we need Him. These wells with names often speak of Him, the One who calls Himself the "Fountain of Living Water."
What ails you-don't you know God sees (Gen..16:13) and hears you (21:17) too ? Praise His Name!
Genesis 22:13 ".....in the stead of his son."
Throughout the O.T. the ram (lamb) took the place of the Son until the Son came to take the place of the lamb. What a great many thousands of animals were slain in Israel's past history and each a reminder that in the fulness of time the Lamb of God would go to the cross to fulfill the law as the only sacrifice that could "take away sins" (Heb.10:4).
Because we are all sinners (Rom.3:23) we like Isaac, must die under the Father's hand, but we can say, praise God, that He did provide Himself a lamb (v. 7) and in a figure we who had the sentence of death in ourselves are received back from the dead (Heb.11:19). The word "accounting" in this Hebrews verse is the same as Paul used when he spoke of reckoning. It means counting it to be a fact. We are called upon to exercise faith to believe that we died when Christ died.
The fact is that the above story would not have been in the Bible if Abraham had not been willing to slay his son--neither would there be any salvation if God had not been willing to slay His (Isa.53:10), but both were willing and that brings the matter to us. Are we willing to lay our Isaac on God's altar in total confidence that His will for us can only be what is best in His great plan?
"Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid;
Your heart does the spirit control?"
Genesis 23:2 "...to weep for her."
The writer of Ecclesiastes, commonly thought to be Solomon, has indicated that everything has its season (3:1). There have been those days when we laughed together but now weep apart (3:4).
When Sarai and Abram had been told they would bear a son they both had laughed (17:17 &18:12). In fact, Isaac's name was a constant reminder of that fact.
But to every loving couple there inevitably comes that day when the laughter, the joy of fellowship, the comfort of human empathy is gone for one of them. We don't like to think about such things, but it is well for us that we do, for as there is a time for laughter, there is also a time for mourning and we should prepare for it.
This chapter reminds us that there will be decisions that must be made. How much better, if possible, that such things be prepared ahead of time. But most important of all is the question, are we prepared? Prepared, on the one hand, to meet the Lord and on the other, to face the future alone but with trust in the Lord's provision ? God provided for Abraham's need as a stranger and a pilgrim in the land. O child of God, you too may trust Him that when the time comes He will be there for you.
1 Thess.4:13 We "sorrow not, even as others which have no hope."
Genesis 24:63 ".....and behold the camels were coming."
Talk about excited anticipation! How did the old servant make out? How many eligible girls are there out in the desert? Perhaps Eliezer just couldn't find our kindred. If he did, would any girl be willing to come with him? What will she be like? Many questions must have flooded Isaac's mind as he went out in the field to pray (center ref.)at eventide.
Passing the old well of La-hai-roi as he probably did he might have reflected on the meaning of it's name. The Living One sees me right now. Is the matter of my need for a wife important to Him?
Oh yes, Isaac, He is very interested indeed ! And on the other side of the vast wilderness there is another well where a recent scene unfolded that thrills us to our toes. So recently a father and a brother had waved goodby to a lovely daughter and sister, wishing her well (v.60) as she rode off to marry a man she had never seen. And why would she do such a thing? Simply because they were confident that "the thing proceeded from the Lord." The fact that she said "I will go" says something about her faith too.
And now. The camels are coming....
Did it work out? How could it not work out, and how could it not work out for us who are willing to trust Him ? "And he loved her"--and He loves us !
"He drew me with the cords of love and thus He bound me to Him!"
In many instances in Scripture, those women through whom great blessings for mankind were to come were cursed with barrenness. Examples are Sarah (Gen.15:3), Rebekah (Gen.25:21), Rachel (Gen.30:1), Hannah (1 Sam.1:2), and Elizabeth (Luke 1:7). This, in view of the fact that it is of great important to the race in general that women be fruitful as indicated by the Lord in Gen.1:28. Of course we now know that sometimes the problem is on the male side of the equation, but in some cases we are specifically told that God had shut up the womb (Gen.20:18; Gen.30:2) and it was viewed as a judgement under which these women often chaffed. Hear Rachel cry, "give me children or else I die"(Gen.30:1) or listen to the supplication of Hannah (I Sam 1:11).
Motherhood in O.T. times under Jewish law carried with it those laws which indicated its great seriousness (Lev.12:) and well it should be since every newborn was, because of Adam's sin, a potential child of hell. Who knows which sweet innocent baby will be a Jezabel, a Manasseh, a Hitler or a Charles Manson ? Would that some wombs stay closed !
To apply this lesson, we have but to remember that the church as the bride of Christ must be fruitful if obedient (John 15:8). Every good tree brings forth good fruit (Matt.7:17). May God grant that we "neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:8). We are married to Christ " that we should bring forth fruit unto God." (Rom.7:4)
Lord, give me children.....
Genesis 26:15 The Philistines
These wells dug by Abraham and Isaac represented God's life made available to meet their needs. They put His name upon them or commemorated a special event by naming them. How many people in need of help like Hagar had tasted of God's sweet presence at or near one of these wells ? Later at Jacob's well we know of a sinful soul who apparently drank of the Water of Life represented there (John 4:14). The Lord spoke of Himself as "the fountain of living water" in Jeremiah 2:13 and the palmist spoke of " the river of God" being full of water (Palms 65:9).
The enemy, on the other hand, filled with envy and hatred does not want us to avail ourselves of this living water so what does he do? He stops up the wells by filling them with earth. The well of inspiration, he fills with the earthly wisdom of "higher criticism"; the well of a godly family, he fills with unfaithfulness; the well of sweet counsel, with psycobabel: that of gospel music, with "rock"etc. It takes much vigilance for the Church to keep these channels open and clean but it is important to do so in order that future generations may with joy draw water out of the wells of salvation (Isa.12:3).
The Scriptures provide us today with sweet pure water. The enemy will foul it if he can.
Jude 3&4 "......contend earnestly".
Gen. 27:33 "....yea and he shall be blessed."
It is really something how that God uses our failures occasionally to accomplish His will. Here is a prime example. We would certainly not condone what Jacob and his mother cooked up as a means to deceive Isaac, but none the less what they did fitted perfectly into the Father's plans. Esau was the eldest and to him should have gone the birthright and the blessing, but having despised the birthright he lost the blessing as well. We can understand how that from a natural standpoint Isaac was inclined to be favorable to his firstborn son and would have certainly thought that it would be God's will to have it so since that was the common practice later confirmed by the law. (Deut.21:15-17) It should be pointed out that Rebekah had been told by the Lord that the elder would serve the younger (25:23), in keeping with His eternal purpose (Rom.9:11). We do not know if Isaac was aware of this revelation. If he was, then he was clearly out of step with the Lord to proceed as he planned. Perhaps once he found out that Jacob had tricked him he realized that God was using this means, wrong though it was, to bring about His purpose.
What we learn from this episode is never to be surprised at the way God works, using even our failures for His glory. We must never do wrong to do right, but as Wycliffe indicated many years ago, God makes even the devil serve Him.
Genesis 28:17 Heaven's Gate
It is usually so that heaven seems very far away from us, but in fact, as a child of
God, wherever we are, we are right at its gate. Jacob's dream where God stood at one end of a ladder and he at the other watching angels traveling back and forth made him realize this.
These unseen messengers carry from a loving Father , who oversees their activities, "every blessing from above" (Newton) to the house of God -us (Ephesians 2:21 &22).
"Pray'r makes the darkened cloud withdraw,
Pray'r climbs the ladder Jacob saw;
Gives exercise to faith and love,
Brings every blessing from above."
Hymn - Exhortation to Prayer, v.2-- Newton's
hymnal at Olney, England, published 1779.
Jacob was afraid when he saw how close heaven was to his pillow, but hopefully we, when we lay on our more comfortable one, are ready at any instant to be carried by these angels, not to the bosom of Abraham (Luke 16:22), but to the very bosom of the Father.
Genesis 29:31 "The Lord saw .....Leah"
Leah, like Hagar, was under God's watchful eye. She must obey her father, Laban, but she knew it was really her more attractive sister that Jacob had worked for so long. Where did that leave her ? About where Hagar was as the bond-maid of Sarah, feeling very used and unloved. But, though Rachel was found by a well (which speaks of God's provision), nevertheless, it is Leah who first tastes of the sweet water of His goodness.
It took four pregnancies, however, before Leah stopped centering her attention on her situation of not being number one and started praising the Lord. And well she might praise Him if only she could have known that of all the sons born to Jacob, this one would be "the lion's whelp" (Gen.49:9), and his greater Son, the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev.5:5). True, Joseph saw his brethren bowing before him (Gen.37:7), but it would be this Son before whom the brethren (and all others) would eventually bow (Gen.49:8).
Philippians 2:9-11 "Every knee should bow... and every tongue...confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
....And Leah was His great grandmother !
Genesis 30 Mandrakes and Ringstrakes
An older friend used to end the making of plans by facetiously saying, ".....if the Lord is willing and the creek doesn't rise." Personally I didn't like the saying though said jokingly nor would I ever say it for it seemed irreverent. The creek rising could not affect a matter determined by God's will any more than these gadgets determined the births of sons or cattle.
Apparently superstitions prevailed in that day concerning such things as they do today in what we call "old wives tales" about "marking children". It is surprising that God accommodated Himself to such nonsense but then, we should never be surprised at what He does.
The facts are that the births in both cases were governed by God and were within His eternal plan. When a man's ways please Him, it makes the boss happy, and it may even affect the dog and cat. In other words, everything usually goes better when the Lord is in control in our lives.
"When a man's ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him". Proverbs 16:7
Genesis 31:49 "Mizpah"
One wonders just how bad the daughters of Heth were (27:46) after meeting these offspring of Laban. We saw in the previous chapter that there was certainly no love lost between the two sisters as they vied for the affections of their singular husband. In this chapter Rachel lies to her father after having stolen his gods. His gods! What do you suppose she wanted with them ? It must have been that she didn't put much stock in Jacob's God at that point.
And these sparring wives were the least of Jacob's supposed troubles with Laban ,who had changed his wages 10 times, chasing him and now claiming that all Jacob had really belonged to him (v.4) and who would probably have done him harm (v.29) had not God intervened (v.24).
How thankful we can be to know that in spite of our many failures, God is on our side as we are His children. Let us consciously dwell beyond Mizpah trusting the Lord to keep Laban on his side of the rock pile. 1 Peter 3:13 "who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good."
P.S.- It is really humorous when we know its origin to remember how the believers in my home church would say a closing "Mizpah","may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other"! ie--you stay on your side of the church and I'll stay on mine. Unfortunately an all too prevalent feeling in some local churches today.
Genesis 32:2 "This is God's host."
Jacob named that place Mahanaim; that is, the place of two camps. The reason for the duality was that Jacob saw that in addition to his large host , there was a second encampment, a host of angels. We can assume from the wording that he saw a large encampment of angelic beings.
If this wasn't quite enough to encourage Jacob, with our knowledge of similar situations, it certainly should encourage us. Perhaps the dream he had (28:12) was an indication of a changing of the guard. Those angels that had been protecting him were being replaced with a new company. At any rate, he saw the significance and his naming of the place bore testimony to it.
We are reminded of other similar instances such as the story of Elisha and his young servant (2 K.6:17). What a thrilling sight to see this angelic host encamped around Elijah! Esau was coming with four hundred men. Why such a company if not to do him harm? But hear Elijah, "they that be with us are more than they that be with them" (2 K.6:16).
.......and the Psalmist.
"The angel of the Lord encampeth round them that fear Him and delivereth them." Ps.34:7
Genesis 33:4 "Esau......fell on his neck and kissed him."
The years had apparently softened Esau's heart (27:41) and at least, we hope that his greeting was genuinely sincere.
Watching this scene, had we not read of God's protection, we might have called out to Jacob, "Watch out Jacob for his left hand, he might have an Ehudic 'message of God'." These desert warriors were skilled in the rib anatomy and could find the fifth one quite accurately. (2 Sam. 2:23; 3:27 and 20:10)
Dr. Raymond Saxe, Hebrew Christian Bible teacher, when he could, would greet you with a "peck on the neck" when you least expected it. It's what I think of when I read "he fell on his neck and kissed him."
Joseph wept at the meeting with his brethren (45:2), and his brother Benjamin and he gave each other the neck-pecking treatment (v.14).
---Say, if you happen to be one of those believers who has become estranged from the Father, go back home and you will enjoy the kind of reception that the younger son received "when he came to himself", along with a first class neck-peck from our Heavenly Father. (Luke 15:20)
1 Thess.5:26 "Greet all with an holy kiss."
Genesis 34:6 "What communion hath light with darkness?" 2 Cor.6:14
The Hivites were among those nations that were to be cast out of the land (Ex.23:23 & 28; Deut.7:1) In the future Israel was to "make no covenant with them" (Ex.23:32), nor allow sons or daughters to intermarry with them which might lead to the worship of false gods (Ex.34:11-16). In Judges 3:5-8, it was this very sin that brought servitude to Israel under King Chushanrishathaim (what, you don't remember him?)
On first reading this chapter we might be inclined to be very sympathetic with Hamar. Especially when we are told that Shechem who perpetrated the folly ,was the most honorable of the family. But, measured against what? And old Hamar had an ulterior motive in supporting the proposed liaison (v.23).
Perhaps Simeon and Levi were motivated by more than the avenging of Dinah's loss (v.29) since they profited so much from their scheme, but, on the other hand, it sounds like Jacob was a bit weak. He should have remembered how his mother felt about his brother's marriages with the daughters of Heth and his father's admonition on the subject (27:46-28:1). Certainly a mingling with the enemy on Hamar's proposed scale would have been wrong. And after all, there would be a great deal more Canaanite blood on the swords of Jacob's sons before God's will would be (almost) done in the land.
Neo-Evangelicalism is saturated with compromise. It might be good to have more Simeons and Levis (Ex.32:28 & 29) even if their actions seem to stink (v.30). Fundamentalism stinks to a lot of people.
Jeremiah 48:10---Please read and meditate.
Genesis 35:11 "I am God Almighty"
It's time we talked a bit about "El Shaddai". Perhaps start an argument! I remember that in my old Scofield Reference Bible, he said that this word was from the word "shad" which referred to a woman's breast, i.e. "The Breasted One". Now, I looked it up on my computer and find an altogether different interpretation. Perhaps the latter is right, but I hope not--I like it the way I've always thought of it. I know the feminists would like it as it expresses the motherhood of God. We won't go as far as they do to change all the "He's to She's", but why not a feminine-like quality in God? I'll admit, the word "Almighty" as a translation of Shaddai doesn't seem to fit, but perhaps that's a translator's mistake. Now you know that I'm not a KJV only man.
What particularly causes me to think Scofield was right is the fact that, almost always in the context is a reference to fruitfulness; take Gen.17:1-6 for an example. In addition to our present text, there is also Gen.49:25 where in Jacob's reference to Joseph as a fruitful bough, he particularly mentions "blessings of the breast and womb".
I don't know about you, but I rather like the idea that in the obviously complex makeup of our God there is a feminine side from which proceeded the whole concept of woman. That must be true, of course, whether El Shaddai reveals it or not. Something to chew on.
Romans 7:4 suggests a feminine side to all believers. Genesis 36:1 Edom
Four times in this chapter it is made clear that Esau is Edom. We are introduced to Esau's three wives (2 were daughters of the land, the 3rd was Ishmael's daughter) and to his five sons. We meet 2 of the 3 sets of grandsons (called sons in v.16&17). The grandsons of Esau by Abolibamah are not given (here or in 1Chr.1:35-45 where the material given here is repeated), but her sons are mentioned 3 times (vs.4,14,&18). Abolibamah's name appears 6 times in this chapter and it would seem that Duke Korah in v.16 is out of place when mentioned as a son of Eliphaz, but not found in v.11. Also in this chapter we meet the 7 sons of Seir the Horite who live in the land where Esau settled(v.8).
The roster of eight kings of the land of Edom is given in verses 21-39. The last 4 verses seem not to harmonize with anything else in this chapter.
The afore going analysis is not given to be critical, but it does show that there are some things in the Bible that are hard to understand and some passages that are very uninspirational.
I guess the thing to do after reading a chapter like this is to thank the Lord that there are not many passages like this in the Bible and ask Him to show you what can be learned.
Genesis 37:4 " ....they hated him...."
The obvious in this chapter is that Joseph is a type of Christ who was hated of His brethren and whose prophecies (dreams) are yet in the future. As we know, Joseph being sold for 20 pieces of silver into Egypt was ultimately to bring blessings to Israel's sons even as Christ being sold for 30 pieces of silver, will result in salvation for His native race as well as for us who believe. A sudden revelation of Himself to them will result in a nation being born in a day. Isaiah 66:8
It was wrong for Jacob to play favorites among his children which resulted in their jealousy and hatred. If we find ourselves in that kind of a situation as believers, however, the Christ-like attitude is to continue to be kind and forgiving realizing that, even as here in our story, wrong attitudes will someday be regretted.
Joseph's magnanimous spirit of forgiveness is well worthy of our emulation (ch.45:5-8 and 50:20)
God's overruling providence did not absolve the brothers of guilt and responsibility- a thought that again reminds us of our Lord Jesus Christ in Acts 2:23.
Genesis 38:24 "Let her be burnt."
There is no doubt about the depravity of the heart when we encounter such evidence of a double standard. Judah was quick to condemn Tamar for the very sin of which he was himself guilty. What a hypocrite! And such hypocrisy prevails today. It is expected that men will be promiscuous, but certainly not in God's sight. As Christian parents, let us expect our sons to be as pure as our daughters. There is no keeping any of them pure if they are exposed to much T.V. Parents who watch sitcoms are apt to pay dearly in the loss of their children.
Of course, there is always God's overruling grace, but we cannot be presumptuous. In this case we are perhaps a bit surprised that a child (Pharez) of his union is in the ancestry of Christ (Lk.3:33). It is interesting that Tamar , Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba are the only women mentioned in Joseph's genealogy (Mt.1:3-6) and each of them have negative connotations. They are the only women mentioned in the list. Why?
James 3:17 "Without hypocrisy".
Genesis 39:23 "The Lord was with him,"
There are many examples in Scripture of how the Lord brings His people into favor and this chapter shows an outstanding one. In fact we might outline chapters 39-41 as follows:
I. Joseph in the favor of Potiphar ch.39:3
II. Joseph in the favor of the prison keeper 39:21
III. Joseph in the favor of Pharoah 41:41
Nehemiah and David are other good examples.
It would seem that Joseph just lived as under the eyes of his God (v.9) and patiently served Him wherever he was. Sometimes, as in Joseph's case, we may get into trouble with those who are over us when we seek to maintain a high standard, but we must trust the Lord to work it out for us. What a good illustration this is of that excellent principle in Romans 8:28!
From 37:2 we understand that Joseph was quite young when these things were happening to him. "Even as a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure and whether it be right"(Prov.20:11). How important it is to train children to serve others with a good attitude, to be honest and trustworthy, and to treat people and their property with respect. Such young people will go far in today's work force, and if they don't they should realize that it is sometimes necessary to suffer for righteousness' sake which will result in blessing (Matt.5:10&11).
"When a man's ways please the Lord, He maketh even His enemies to be at peace with him." Proverbs 16:7
Genesis 40:23 "But forgot him"
We may be tempted to say "now that's gratitude for you". It does seem as though most people are very quick to forget the nice things that others have done for them when things were going badly for them, especially now that things have become so much better. If Joseph was trusting human nature he might have waited a lot longer than two years (41:1).
Thankfully, however, as is so often the case with God's children, it was simply a matter of His timing that was involved. In the next chapter we will see that at precisely the right moment the chief butler would remember and as a result Joseph would be released.
If we could have offered poor Joseph a verse, it well might have been Habakkuk 2:3, especially the last part, "though it tarry, wait for it: because it will surely come, it will not tarry." These two different words translated "tarry" are saying, " though it delay", God's purpose will be carried out, it will not be late according to His time table.
For everyone to whom the prison of their difficulties seems unbearable, the promise of His coming is designed to be of comfort. Though He delay His return, He will not be late. Look up.....
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." Matt.24:42
Genesis 41:25 ".....what He is about to do."
The Arminian would say, "what He foresees will happen." Do you see the difference? It is a favorite way of down-playing predestination to say that God knows what will happen according to His foreknowledge and thus He predicts the outcome. The truth is that His foreknowledge is based upon His power and His plan. Take, for example, the use of this same word in I Peter 1:20 where it refers to Christ "who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world...". In Acts 2:23 the same word is used but it is translated in the KJV by the word foreknowledge. Again, careful study of this verse will indicate that it refers to the fact of Christ's death which was planned by God not simply foreseen by Him as we would commonly use that word.
Perhaps we don't always like what we read because it doesn't seem to square with our view of things, but let us remember that God's ways are higher than ours and we must not try to reshape them to fit our puny minds (Isaiah 55:8&9).
The Holy Spirit used exactly the right words here in our text, for His foreknowledge of the events relating to Pharaoh and Egypt, (and Israel) were based on His foreordination of precise details as He was working them out according to His plan.
"....according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsels of His own will."
Genesis 42:28 "What is this....."
We are familiar with the phrase "it's pay back time"- or "the chickens have come to roost"; "if you dance you have to pay the fiddler". God says, "Be sure your sin will find you out."(Num.32:23)
As far as Joseph's brothers were concerned, they rightly thought of themselves as murderers. They had intended at first to kill Joseph because of their envy. How many years had passed we aren't exactly certain. Joseph was seventeen (37:2) when he was sold into Egypt and he was thirty (41:46) when he took over as chief food administrator. At least seven years (the fat ones) had transpired. Adding the thirteen years between his being sold and his being exalted would give us a bare minimum of 20, but probably it was a year or two into the famine before they ran out of food in Canaan.
In short, for over twenty years, Jacob had thought that Joseph had been killed by an animal and these ten deceivers had kept their secret. True men they called themselves, false men they certainly were, but as one has said, "the mill of God grinds slowly, but it grinds exceeding fine." The day of reckoning has finally come and it was right that they should be afraid.
Acts 2:23 Think of the parallels.
Genesis 43:23 "I had your money."
Joseph had not taken advantage of his position, but had himself put the money in their sacks out of his pocket. The steward apparently had been influenced by Joseph and he made reference to their God and the God of their father. We may assume that Joseph was a consistent testimony and example to him.
It is the little things that often characterize us as being worshipers of the One True God. People in "Egypt" watch us carefully to see if we are honest and "above board" in our dealings.
"Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle ? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill ? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoreth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved." Psalm 15.
Genesis 44:5 "In which my lord drinketh,"
According to research done by our pastor, a so-called "divining cup" was not used for a drinking cup. It was larger, and oil was used in it. The word translated "divineth" here is translated "learned by experience" in ch. 30:27. Our pastor suggests that the wording "whereby indeed he divineth" might read, "certainly he would know that it is missing."
Even though Joseph says in verse 15 " wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?" There is no reason to lower our estimation of him because of this. He was still keeping his identify secret and that was more in keeping with his being an Egyptian than to say, "don't you suppose that God has exposed you?."
The believer is forbidden to use such "Egyptian" methods of attempting to arrive at truth and it is certainly doubtful, given what we know about his relationship with God, that Joseph indulged in such a practice.
Today, we must be content with what the Scripture teaches us about the future and not be looking for special revelations.
"The secret things belong with the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." Deut. 29:29
Genesis 45:5 "For God did send me before you...."
Magnanimity is sometimes found among unbelievers, but it should be more characteristic of Christians than it apparently is. Webster defines it thus: "loftiness of spirit enabling one to bear trouble calmly, to disdain meanness and revenge, and to make sacrifices for worthy ends." Great Biblical examples would be Joseph, David and Paul, not to mention, of course, our Lord Jesus Himself.
Joseph was in a position to avenge himself upon his brethren and humanly speaking, we could hardly blame him for they certainly deserved his wrath. But then, we deserve God's wrath, and yet see how He treats us with mercy and grace. How can we say that we appreciate His grace to us and not extend the same felicitous expressions to those undeserving of our kindness? (Matt.18:21-35)
Obviously, the most important truth in this passage is that God sovereignly used Joseph and his adversity to accomplish His will and the fact that Joseph recognized His working in the matter. Since we know that God has an eternal purpose in this world (Eph.3:11) and that He uses His people in carrying it out (Esther 4:14), we should cheerfully accept His dealings with us (Job 13:15) and wait for the results, if any, until we see Him.
The words of Paul are a fitting conclusion, Romans 12:19-21. Oops, Paul, you didn't finish the verse, "and the Lord shall reward thee." Prov.25:22
Genesis 46:34 "..for every shepherd is an abomination.."
Don't you hate class distinction? If you don't, you should ! Such feelings are expressions of the deceitful heart (Jer.17:9) and foolish mouth(Prov.15:2). Do the Egyptians disdain to eat the food or wear the clothes that come from the shepherd's toil ? "A little hard work has never hurt anyone," so they say, and we should be more appreciative of those who have to work hard in order that we may enjoy our chosen lifestyle.
We, in America, can be thankful that class distinctions are less prevalent here than in many places in the world. In some areas and in other times, class has become caste and has been a great hindrance to the preaching of the gospel. Perhaps we have the gospel to thank for the relative absence of such thinking here in the U.S. Yet people still "look down their noses" upon others who are less fortunate, do they not?
Separation is quite another matter. We may be misunderstood for it and by not mixing with the world (James 4:4, I Peter 4:3-4) be criticized. Joseph probably took advantage of the wrong-thinking Egyptians in choosing Goshen as a place to live (46:28), separate enough to be spared some of the later plagues that were sent from Jehovah (Ex.9:4-36).
We should, however, remember that class feelings among brethren were condemned by Paul in ICor.11:18 and James in his epistle. (2:1-9) Let us not be judges with evil thoughts.
Genesis 47:29 "...Bury me not......in Egypt."
Why does it matter where you are buried anyway? Well, I guess for us it really doesn't, but for the old patriarch who belonged to that great family of Abraham to whom the land had been promised, it was indeed important. It was his way of saying "I have not forgotten God's promise and I don't want you to either." "These all died in the faith," we read in Hebrews eleven, and this was how Jacob expressed his faith in the Word of the Living God.
Egypt was only to be a stopover for Israel, true, a 430 year stopover. Most of the time going down to Egypt was a move in the wrong direction, but this time and to suit His purpose, it was an integral part of God's plan. We just can never second guess our multifaceted Heavenly Father. His ways are not only hard to understand, His prophecies are equally perplexing sometimes. Especially the one in Hosea "that would never have been uttered apart from the sojourn (v.4) and Matthew would never have been able to liken the call of "His son" out of Egypt (Matt.2:15) to that of the call from Egypt of His Greater Son having been carried there at the instruction of an angel (Matt.2:13). I wonder if the angels ever get confused like we do? "Go to Egypt, don't go to Egypt, go to Egypt, don't go to Egypt"--it's okay to go to Egypt if necessary--but don't bury me there.
Genesis 48:3 "God Almighty appeared unto me."
Here again El Shaddai is linked with fruitfulness. Since man was made in the image of God and woman was made from man, there must be a facet of God's make-up that is female in expression. "Shad" means female breast in the Hebrew so perhaps the word Shaddai is the expression and if so the translators missed it. Anyway, the term is almost always linked with the concept of fruitfulness, which, of course, there cannot be without the female component.
What is particularly interesting about this passage is that Joseph had named one of his sons Ephraim which means "fruitful" and surprisingly Jacob while not thought of as "being one of the prophets" was led to bless him rather than the firstborn, Manasseh. This blessing was given by the symbolic laying of the right hand on the head of the firstborn. Joseph, knowing this and since his father was blind, guided the two boys to the correct position before Jacob so that Jacob's right hand would be on Manasseh's head. Jacob, however, "wittingly" crossed his arms so that the right hand was on Ephraim, stating after Joseph's mild remonstrance that even according to his name he would be the greater of the two in fruitfulness. Thus Joseph would be a "fruitful bough."(49:22)
May our Father be rewarded by the spiritual fruit that we present to Him and may we pray to that end.
(Please forgive a bit of repetition here - thanks)
Genesis 49:22 ".....a fruitful bough..."
So, you want to be fruitful ....so you think you have been set up..well, you were.* In the eastern imagery, the fruitful tree is always pictured as being "by a well" or some other source of supply (Ps.1:3). -
So, if we are to be fruitful for God , we too must be found "planted" there. In other words, it is His life (water) flowing into (and through us) that produces the fruit. Think of the teaching of Jesus on the vine and branches. Isaiah 61:3 speak of us as "trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord" and Psalm 92:13 speaks of being planted " in the house of the Lord."
"Those Christians are so religious that they practically live in their church. They go three times on Sunday and again in the middle of the week and they even sent their children there all week long, etc, etc...." Well, I can tell you this, if you are not found often together with God's people and in His Presence alone you are going to be withered and unfruitful and there will be nothing hanging over the wall that would attract others to be "inside."
Coming at it a different way, try 2 Peter 1:4-9.
*from yesterday's devotional on Gen.48:3.
Genesis 50:5 "....and I will come again."
It would seem that here Joseph made a mistake. There was no reason to stay in Egypt any longer. Jacob had given them a reason to leave and he no doubt hoped they would take it. This Pharaoh, though he would probably have protested, would have been a whole lot easier to deal with than the one who later put them in bondage. Why did they stay? Obviously because they had it so good. They probably never would have left had not the circumstances changed for them.
We may sometimes wonder at our adversity, but we also become too settled in "Egypt." Heaven is our home and yet we act like we are in no hurry to get there. It's the old people and the sick and the persecuted and the ......that talk about heaven. If the Father is at all looking forward to welcoming us home it's no wonder He sends a little "encouragement" so that we might want what He wants.
Well, Joseph finally made it to the Promised Land, didn't he, or do you suppose he is still in that coffin in Egypt? --Exodus 13:19; Hebrews 11:22. Oh no, Joseph didn't make it back to Canaan- only his bones!
Psalm 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."
(Note, the next book that will be done is ROMANS.)
1. Did you know that the word "pitch" in v.14 is the same word in the Hebrew as the word atonement according to Strong ?