Mar. 25-31 What Are You Offering To The Lord?

 Let’s continue with our study of Leviticus. No matter how tedious the descriptions, they will always help us in our walk .We just need the Holy Spirit to apply them to our lives.


Mar. 4 – (Lev. 3-4) In chapter 3, we have instructions on the peace offering. It expresses peace between an offer-or and the Lord.  As with the burnt offering, there are various motives for a peace offering, from petition to praise. For the burnt offering, the entire animal was to be burned up. For the peace offering only the fatty parts are to be burned.  The fat in ancient Israel represented the very best part of the animal (Compare “the fat of the wheat”. Num. 18:12) Here is an example how different from the meaning in Bible times is different from today.  Wouldn’t you say most people value the meat of the animal more than the fat of the animal?  Just saying.

                The sin offering is for restoring one’s broken relationship with the Lord, whether that was caused by an unintentional sin or by a sin of omission. The sacrificial animal was burned “outside of the camp” (4:12), rather than at the base of the altar.  This foreshadowed the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, who was crucified “outside the camp” (Heb. 13:13). 


Mar. 5 – (Lev. 5-6) Chapter 5:1-6 describe four cases in which sinners either deliberately (v.1) or unknowingly (vv. 2-4) fail to do something that is required. In any of these cases, once they realize their guilt, they are to confess their sin (v. 5) and bring a sin offering.  Did you notice verse 4? “If anyone utters with his lips a rash oath to do evil or to do good, any sort of rash oath that people swear…”  Have you ever said “I swear, I will never…? Even swearing to do good was a sin.  Selah

                Chapter 6:1-7 talks about sinning against a neighbor.  It also states it causes a breach of faith against the Lord, so he needed to make it right with the Lord as well as the neighbor (Matt. 5:23-26). 


Mar. 6 – (Lev. 7-8) Chapter 7:1-10 focuses on how the guilt offering is to be made. The earlier passage (5:14-6:7) focused on when it was to be offered.  The peace offering is subdivided into three types: thanksgiving in response to God’s favor (7:12,13,15), a vow (an offering in fulfillment of a vow; v. 16), and a freewill offering (when there is no specific obligation to make an offering v.16).

                Chapter 8 contains nearly one-third of the uses of the word “commanded” in Leviticus. This concerns the consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests to the Lord.  Are we not now all priests to the Lord?  


Mar. 7 – (Lev. 9-10) Now that Aaron and his sons have been ordained, chapter 9 describes the first tabernacle service.  Various offerings were required, because both the priests and the people were sinful.  God delivered his covenant to His people at Sinai; now He descends upon His altar to dwell with them. Let’s remember that this was a milestone in the progression back to intimate relationship with God.  Adam and Eve had it the best until they sinned and were driven from God’s presence. In this phase, God has come down to dwell near His people (in the tabernacle), but only the priests could enter in and only after all had been cleansed by blood sacrifices in a specific way.  We see all too quickly how any breach of these commands could bring death.    Chapter 9:7-21 describes an order that we need to consider as we enter into His presence.  First came the atonement for the priests (vv. 7-14), and then for the people (vv. 15-21).  As in other ceremonies, the atonement process moves from the removal of sinfulness (by the sin offering), to petitions and praise (the burnt offering), and finally to communion with the Lord (the peace offering). Thank Jesus, we no longer need to go through a priest first, but the elements of sacrifice may be a pattern for us to follow.  Selah  


Mar. 8 – (Lev. 11-12) In chapter 11, we see what is clean and what is unclean to eat, and then how to rectify that.  The reason a particular creature is called either clean or unclean is not clear. Yet the purpose of these laws is clear: to help Israel, as God’s holy people, see the difference between ritual cleanness and ritual uncleanness (vv. 46-47).  Seeing these differences in the ritual realm would constantly remind the people that they need to make such distinctions in the moral realm as well.  Further, obeying these food laws expresses Israel’s devotion to the Lord; Just as God separated the Israelites from the other nations, so they must separate clean from unclean foods (20:24-26).  This is why the restrictions can be removed in Acts 10:9-28 when the Jesus Vs. Gentile distinction is no longer relevant in defining the people of God.  In my observation, things seemed to be unclean when animals ate blood or from dead animals or touching dead things. Can you see the correlation between this and Jesus blood that covers us?   


Mar. 9 – (Lev. 13-14) These chapters speak about leprosy and skin diseases. It is pretty amazing that there were some rules/laws in place to prevent an outbreak. One commentary likened leprosy to sin. I thought the similarities were worth pondering: 1. It begins as nothing. 2. It is painless in its first stages. 3. It grows slowly.  4. It often remits for a while and then returns. 5. It numbs the sense – one cannot feel in the afflicted area. 6. It causes decay and deformity.  7. It gives a person a repulsive appearance.  It would be interesting to read these chapters again and see how they relate to the sin in our lives. SELAH 


Mar. 10 – (Lev. 15-16) Chapter 15 reminds me of the woman with the issue of blood for 12 years (Matt.9:20-22).  She would have been considered unclean for 12 years! Anyone who touched her would have been unclean at least for the day.  She must have felt in many ways like a leper.  I’m sure Jesus’ healing of her health issue, was only the beginning of healing in other ways as.  Jesus heals us today in so many ways. I thank Him for His healing power.

                Chapter 16 describes the Day of Atonement Ritual. This annual observance highlights God’s grace.  Here God offers forgiveness and renewal for Israel’s worship site, priests and people.  All sins can be forgiven.  This ritual reminds us that forgiveness comes from God, whose presence was symbolized by the ark in the Holy of Holies.  Aren’t you so thankful we don’t have to wait a year to seek forgiveness?  It is instantaneous and soon as we ask! 

Mar. 18-24 It's not too late to join!

This is the last week of our 21 Day Fast. God is always faithful to meet us when we quiet ourselves enough to listen. No one is perfect at this but everyone who tries in some way will gain in their walk with the Lord. That only happens when you start…in some way. God does not give us a spirit of fear , but of power, and might, and a sound mind!

Mar. 11-17 How is it Going? Now is A Good Time to Fast #2

How are you doing with the fast? I pray God is revealing life changing thoughts and actions! From today’s Devotional, I leave you with this encouragement: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Rom. 12:2

Mar. 4-10 Now Is A Good Time To Fast

For the next 3 weeks we will be fasting at CA. Please join us ! You can download the Fasting Journal at ChristianAssembly.com, click on fasting. May we be changed forever!

Feb. 25-Mar. 3 Which Comes First - Will or Emotions?

Feb. 25 – (Ex. 29-30) The alter of incense was located just before the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies.  This altar represents your emotions (aroma). Remember the table of show bread represents your will. The golden lamp stand represents your intellect or mind. So, your will decides what your mind will think and what emotions you will feel. There was a filigreed crown around the top of the altar of incense. It symbolized the crown of self-control (we are in charge of our emotions not vice versa). We will discuss this more in-depth later.   


Feb. 26 – (Ex. 31-32) As I was reading these chapters, I was stopped at the verses detailing how the Levites were ordained into the service of the Lord.  They chose to be on the Lord’s side, then they were commanded to slay brothers, companions, and neighbors who did not choose to be on the Lord’s side. Of course, we have to look at this as being under the law, but can you imagine what that meant to the families involved?   I am so thankful to be living in a time when we receive God’s grace and mercy because of what Jesus did for us. Thank you, Jesus that while we were yet sinners, You died for us!   


Feb. 27 – (Ex. 33-34) Chapter 33:1-23 describes the difficult time following the golden calf episode. God says He will not go with them to the promised land but through Moses pleading, God says He will go with them.  Did God change His mind? Since God lives in the eternal now and is omniscient (all-knowing) of course He did not.  I believe He said it so that Moses would express his own beliefs and thus it strengthened his trust in His God whom he served.  Praying is part of that for us today.  If we don’t ask God for things or changes etc.  We do not experience an answer which strengthens our relationship with Him. Not asking Him and then recognizing His answer only strengthens our belief that we control what happens.  How silly of us! No, how sinful of us!  Selah  


Feb. 28 – (Ex. 35-36) The rest of the Exodus contains the explanation of how to build the Tabernacle.  Have you ever heard someone say- “I’m just a ____?”  I’m just a carpenter. I’m just a potter. I’m just a work at home mom.”  God never made a “just a”! These chapters show us God put specific gifts in specific people to use for His glory.  He has never stopped!  God put specific gifts in you for you to use for His glory! Let’s not waste gifts we have received!!! God please show us the gifts you have put in each of us. Help us hone them so that they show Your glory!” 


Mar. 1 – (Ex. 37-38) I would like to focus on 38:8. The bronze basin was the Laver situated just before going into the Holy Place.  It was made of highly polished pieces of bronze which were probably among the treasures brought out of Egypt during the exodus. (12:36)  As I read this, I was reminded that many things of our past come from an ungodly source but God can redeem them just as He did with these Egyptian mirrors.  At one time I knew of a dancer who danced in an ungodly place. When she came to the Lord, she donated all that material for banners that were made into serving and worshiping the Lord.  This is redemption at it’s finest.  It just reminds me that God can redeem anything for our good and His Glory!  Selah 


Mar. 2 – (Ex. 39-40) Chapter 39 describes the vestments of the priests which God had shown Moses how to make.  These were sanctified garments, which fitted every high priest and lasted from the time of Aaron until A.D. 70, when the last high priest wore them (until the temple was destroyed by the Romans. Let’s look at a few parts of the garments.  On the ephod there were engraved signets on the shoulder with the names of the children of Israel. The names of the children of Israel were always to be lifted up before the Lord by the high priest – not because the Lord was in danger of forgetting them, but because we need to intercede for one another.

                One other part of the garment was bells attached to the hem.  Here is an explanation by Michael Esses (Jesus in Exodus). When the high priest came into the tabernacle and prepared to enter the Holy of Holies, there was a specific order he had to follow in seeking the Lord.  God is an orderly God, and when He commands that you are to enter a certain way, He says there is no other way to follow.  When Christ came into the world, He said there was only one way to enter in, and that was through Him.  He said, “If you enter in any other way you’re a robber and a thief.” The high priest would go through all the stations from the outer court to the Holy Place in cleansing to be able to enter the Holy of Holies.  The Lord was not in any of those stations but instead resided between the cherubim located in the Holy of Holies. The priest had to make a commitment that he was cleansed and was able to enter into the Holy of Holies by faith.  He had to have faith that he was purified, sanctified, completely right with the Lord; because the minute he entered in he was standing with holiness.  He was totally unrighteous and unholy, but by his faith at that moment the Lord made him righteous and holy. If he stepped into the Holy of Holies not purified, he would immediately drop dead.  Therefore, the people of Israel would tie a rope around the ankle of the high priest before he entered the Holy of Holies.  If they failed to hear the bells tinkling on his garment after he went inside, they knew he was dead, and they would drag him out by the rope.  There are so many correlations but let’s just ponder how they relate to our redeemed worship to the Lord.

                Chapter 40:36-38 describes the itinerary of the Israelites to Canaan. Can you imagine getting up every day and looking to the tabernacle to see whether the cloud covered the tabernacle (stay where you are) or if it was taken up from the tabernacle (time to move on)?  I like to know what each day looks like to plan accordingly. Maybe I should be a little more like how the Israelites had live.  They were learning to make plans only after they observed what the Lord wanted them to do.  Selah  


Mar. 3 – (Lev. 1-2) The book of Leviticus is rather difficult to understand because we lack firsthand experience of the practices it describes.  Let’s try to get a clearer picture before we jump in. Chapters 1-16 describe various “ritual” regulations, while chapters 17-27 focus on ethical commands.  Because the rituals of chs. 1-16 are unfamiliar, they are often seen as being disconnected from the ethical emphasis of the later chapters.  It is more accurate, however, to see the entire book as being concerned with Israel’s being holy to the Lord.

  What does Leviticus have to do with the church today?  The sacrificial system of Leviticus has ceased for the people of God; it has been fulfilled in the coming of Christ.  However, studying these laws is important because the sacrifices point to different aspects of the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice of himself.

There were 5 major offerings in Lev. Chapters 1-6.  1:1-17 explains the burnt offering. This was the most costly offering since it is completely burned up (except for the skin which the priest kept). The motive for the burnt offering is not specified here, but other references to the sacrifice show that it is offered for thanksgiving, penitence, vows and self-dedication.  When a bull was offered in sacrifice, it must be without blemish (no physical defects). This reminds me that when I offer a sacrifice of praise that I need to give Him my very best… not a blemished or half-heart praise!  Lord, please help us with this!  

A grain offering would ordinarily be offered with a burnt or peace offering.  It probably served the same purpose as the offering it accompanied.  More on this later 😊.

Feb. 18-24 What Can the Tabernacle Teach Us?

Feb. 18 – (Ex. 15-16) Chapter 15 contains Moses’ song to the Lord.  Can you imagine how joyful and amazed and encouraged Moses was at the crossing of the Red Sea and destruction of Pharaoh’s army?  I think of times when God has worked miracles in my life and how much it increased my trust and faith in Him.  Let’s write our own song to the Lord for a time when we felt as Moses must have felt.  We can take each sentence of Moses’ song and personalize it. 

            Oh, you guys!  As soon as God doesn’t immediately provide for an easy journey, you complain and want to go back to slavery. Can you relate? I can.  God took Israel out of Egypt but He will spend a life time getting Egypt out of the Israelites… and us!   


Feb. 19 – (Ex. 17-18) The people are still not happy. They are again complaining and quarreling with Moses.  Moses’ response is where we need to land everyday when we want to complain about our situations (Come on, you know you do.). His question: “Why do you test the Lord?” All things are filtered through His Hand. They are to grow us to be more like Him or show us where we are not.  Selah.

            Can you imagine being the only judge over thousands of people? Jethro heard from the Lord and counseled Moses.  Sometimes non-Christians have very wise things to say.  Let’s lay everything we hear before the Lord as to whether or not it is from Him.   


Feb. 20 – (Ex. 19-20) Mount Sinai…the place where we received rules for living. They are the plumb line for all of humanity to live by. They are also the rules that show us we need a Savior to obey. It is also by God’s grace that we aren’t destroyed when we don’t live by them.  Jesus came and died for our sins… the breaking of those rules. As we have asked Him to forgive us and save us, God sees us righteous even when we break a rule again.  Thank you, Jesus for your saving power!  


Feb. 21 – (Ex. 21-22) These chapters contain laws about slaves, restitution and social justice.  Exodus 21:32 caught my attention.  In the OT, this was the penalty paid by the owner of an ox that gored a slave to death. It was equivalent to about four months’ wages for a laborer. This meager sum suggests the low esteem in which both Judas and the chief priests held Jesus.  What can I say? Jesus’ life was priceless. 


Feb. 22 – (Ex. 23-24) God continues to remind Moses of the promised land of Canaan.  We know it is a promise to us as well.  Exodus 23:20-33 is one of the greatest promises found in the Bible. Though it was given to Israel through Moses, it is for us today. “I send My Angel before you, to keep you on the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared for you” (v.20). “The way” is the way of truth and of righteousness.  And the Angel of the Lord is Jesus Christ Himself, who keeps us in the way, in the life, in the resurrection, in the Truth.  The Truth will set us free, and Jesus will bring us into that place He has prepared for us. Let’s reread those verses and personally apply them. They are not just words to Israel a very long time ago!   


Feb. 23 – (Ex. 25-26) Let’s go back to the beginning of man’s existence for a moment. God created man to have an intimate relationship with Him. Until Adam and Eve sinned it was perfect. Sin changed all that. Their sin separated them from that intimate relationship and a process began where we are still working our way back to that kind of relationship originally meant with God. Through the Tabernacle, God is bringing man one step closer to the original plan. These are instructions to build a temporary abode (the Tabernacle) for God’s presence. Only one Priest could go into the Holy of Holies (and God’s presence) and only after many blood sacrifices were made.  It is important to study all aspects of this Tabernacle because it shows us God’s plan for redemption in Jesus, as well as ways of coming into His presence.

            These two chapters describe the items in the Holy of Holies (the Ark of the Covenant) as well as some items in the Holy Place (the Table of Show bread, the Golden Lampstand). The ark of the covenant was a box containing Aaron’s Rod, Manna, and the Ten Commandments.  The Mercy Seat covered the box with 2 cherubim facing each other. Disobedience to the commandments caused sin but above these commandments was the Mercy Seat where the High Priest would cover with lamb’s blood.  God’s manifest presence between the Cherubim and above the blood separated His presence from the sins of His people. Selah

            In the Holy Place, we see described here the Table of Bread. This represents the will of man. Bread is the symbol of strength (strength from the human soul is the will). Terry Law (How to Enter the Presence of God) described it this way: “Many people don’t know how to make decisions until emotions or intellect are fired up.  You may be made righteous by the blood…you may be cleansed by the Word…but if you don’t bring your will into submission each day of your life, you can’t fully come into the presence of God.” The Golden Candlestick represents the intellect. We need to deal with our mind by the power of our will (show bread) and bring it into submission.  Think of it this way: Natural light wasn’t enough to light up the Holy Place. Natural thinking isn’t adequate to understand God’s Ways.  We need to be illumined by the Spirit. A renewed mind is on fire and gives forth light.  


Feb. 24 – (Ex. 27-28) The bronze or brazen altar was the first piece (and biggest) in the Tabernacle complex.  It was the first piece you came to. Here animals were slain for the sins of the people who came and confessed their sin.  The sins were “laid” on the lamb and then the lamb was slain.  Not only were the sins forgiven but they were put away.  Of course, this shows us what Jesus did for us so that we can come into relationship with God again. My sin was put onto Jesus. He was killed with my sin on Him.  Jesus paid for my sin with His blood so that God sees me righteous through Jesus’ sacrifice, death and victory over sin!  Thank you, Jesus!

FEB. 11-17 What Does God Prevent For Your Good? Ex. 13:17

Feb. 11 – (Ex. 1-2) Let’s continue to read and study the O.T. a little faster as we continue this years’ study of the Word.  The first two chapters set the stage for the rest of Exodus.  Here we see the connection to the events of Genesis (1:1-7), the oppression that has arisen under a new pharaoh (1:8-22), the preservation of Moses at birth (2:1-10) and later in Midian (2:11-22), and God’s knowledge of Israel’s suffering and His faithfulness to His covenant with Abraham and his descendants (2:23-25).  I always ponder 1:8. How often we judge people’s actions because we look only at the surface and “don’t know them”. Is it our place to judge someone’s’ motivation?  It is God’s place to judge. It is our place to love through Jesus’s eyes and respond accordingly. Sometimes that comes with boundaries and consequences.  Selah 


Feb. 12 – (Ex. 3-4) I have always wondered about the meaning of 4:24-26.  I’m understanding that God remembered His covenant with Abraham and His people that was sealed in blood. Circumcision was human evidence and Moses had not yet “remembered” to apply it to his family.  God was allowing circumstances to come about so that Moses would seal that covenant.  Actually, it was his wife that pushed the issue.  We all need to remember what God has promised us and do those things that we are commanded to do.  Selah  


Feb. 13 – (Ex. 5-6) As soon as Moses confronted Pharaoh, things got more difficult for the Israelites. God has been telling their ancestors starting with Abraham, they would have Canaan as their own. He again reminds them of this (6:1-9).  It’s amazing how God assures us of things but when they don’t seem to be going in the right direction and in our timing, we lose hope.  These verses remind me again that God has a good plan for each of us and He uses everything that comes our way for our good (to grow us) and for His glory (for Him to get credit for what others see in us or our ways).  Selah  


Feb. 14 – (Ex. 7-8) As we begin to read about the plagues, let’s note what the magicians could replicate.  In the first three plagues, they could make the change, but they could not reverse them. Only God could restore.  That is so true in our lives, we can (and do) cause damage in our lives and in others’ lives but only God can restore it.  Let’s pause and think about that and repent and then thank Him for His work in our lives.  


Feb. 15 – (Ex. 9-10) As we go through the fifth-ninth plagues, let’s look at Moses. He went from saying he could not speak to Pharaoh (when God spoke to him at the burning bush) to doing the talking and interaction. That’s God maturing Moses in what He had called him to do.  He didn’t always follow God’s specific commands and would then go back and plead that God would do it the way Moses had said it would happen. God responded to Moses. We should be able to see that in ourselves as well. As we do what He calls us to do, we make mistakes but learn from them (hopefully). God does not give up on us but continues to grow us into His image and likeness.  Thank you, God that you don’t give up on us. You teach us and train us by your Holy Spirit.  


Feb. 16 – (Ex. 11-12) Have you ever thought about what the night of the Passover was like for both Israelites and Egyptians?  Of course, I wonder if any Israelites did not listen to Moses.  What about the “wayward teenager” who was in their rebellion stage? Or the person who forgot about the edict and went out to check on their livestock (kind of like trying to use the microwave when the electricity is out)? Did they bring all first- born animals into their house? Did they even have structures for their animals, that they could put blood on?  Did any of the Egyptians anoint their houses? In some houses the father and a child could have been a first-born. All of these questions are probably not important but one Truth I will land on.  God is in control now as He was then.  God allows all things to happen for our good and for Him to receive glory.   


Feb. 17 – (Ex. 13-14) The Israelites are finally on their way to the promised land. They are out from under Pharaoh’s hand to a place God has promised them.  Will the journey be easy? Will life be a bed of roses? Even in these two chapters we see that won’t happen. But lest I repeat myself again… God was in control, allowing only what could turn for their good and His glory! Chapter 13:17-19 shows us God does guide or prevent things that truly would harm us. Crossing the Red Sea shows us God intervenes in miraculous ways (most we don’t see though) for His purpose.  There is so much more! Reread these chapters and make a list of how God worked in their lives and how that relates to His working in your life. Lord, thank you for ordering my steps each day for my good and Your glory!

Feb. 4-10 Will Others Know of Your Faith...At Your Funeral?

Feb. 4 – (Gen. 44) There are two passages I want to highlight in this chapter. Verse 12 helps us to see the spiritual condition of Joseph’s brothers. If they were the same as when they sold Joseph in Egypt, they would disclaim responsibility, and leave Benjamin to bear the blame of the “theft,” and continue to Palestine. The Lord had worked in their hearts and they returned to plead for their brother.  This was a complete turn-around. They who once sold a brother were now willing to be sold into slavery rather than give up another brother. Lord, thank you for changing hearts…for spiritual growth. 

Verse 18 is a moving address by Judah showing true love. Did you know this speech has been called the greatest example of natural oratory in all of literature?  In this speech we hear Judah’s account of Jacob’s love for Joseph and Benjamin. We hear Judah’s willingness to take full responsibility before God, love which thought only of Jacob and Benjamin and it melted the heart of Joseph. It was a same love which moved Moses to ask God to blot his name out of the book of life (Ex. 32:32); and prompted Paul to wish himself accursed for his brothers if only they could be saved. Judah was transformed from his early years where we wonder why God would chose his tribe for praise, to now speaking and acting only for love of his family.  Selah.  Lord, give us overflowing love.   


Feb. 5 – (Gen. 45) I was so impacted by Donald Barnhouse’s commentary I want to give it to you word for word (Genesis vol. 2).  It will be enough just to meditate on this one verse – verse 3 – “I am Joseph”. The thunderbolt struck.  This was the day of reckoning.  This scene pictures the revelation of Jesus Christ to Israel at the end of the age.  Israel betrayed Him and would have no king but Caesar.  But Caesar has punished Israel through the centuries and will to the end.  Then will appear the sign of the coming of the Son of Man.  Israel will look for the lion of the tribe of Judah and will behold the Lamb. (Rev. 5:5,6). The same experience came to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus.  When the light shone from heaven, he cried out, “Who are thou, Lord?” (Acts 9:5), and the answer came, “I am Jesus.” Thus, it has been with everyone who has come to the true God.  We had to begin with the revelation of Jesus Christ. Lord, reveal yourself to us. 


Feb. 6 – (Gen. 46) Oh, there is so much in each of these chapters! Verse 2: “God spoke to Israel…and said, Jacob…” Though God saw Israel, as Israel, he had to address him as Jacob which was his old nature. The Lord saw this man in God’s own righteousness, justified by faith; but He also saw him as he had lived, selfishly, narrowly, deceitfully, trusting in his own wits and strategies more than in the living God. Jacob had doubts about this journey (v. 26) but set out to obey (v. 28) and he came to offer sacrifices at Beer-Sheba. When he fell asleep God had to call him Jacob to wake him to deeper confidence. It was deep in his subconscious mind as he slept that he was still Jacob.  The old life was still there, and the new life was not yet in control.  Lord, call us by any name that will bring us awake to the name you originally created us to be.  


Feb. 7 – (Gen. 47) Have you ever thought it wrong or not to God’s advantage to bless an unbeliever?  In this chapter we see that Jacob blessed Pharaoh.  It says it twice.  Very interesting.  We have to remember that all things are filtered through the hand of God.  He allows people to be lifted up and also allows people to be lowered, whether Christian or not.  All things are done according to His purpose for each of our lives.  Selah    


Feb. 8 – (Gen. 48) Here is something I did not connect.  We think of Jacob as leaving 12 tribes but there were actually 13 in the end.  This chapter helps explain that. As Jacob was dying, Joseph brought his 2 Egyptian born sons (Ephraim and Manasseh) to be blessed by his father. Jacob claimed these two as his own children (a common practice in those days). All the rest of Joseph’s sons would belong to Joseph.  Manasseh and Ephraim will both get their own portion of land in Canaan.  Levi’s tribe would not because they were to be priests.  Isn’t that interesting how God orchestrates everything in His own way and for His Glory?

                Let me bring a little more incite into this exchange. Jacob blessed Ephraim with his right hand even though it was customary to bless the oldest child with the right hand.  He knew what God had instructed him to do and did despite custom. Human parents spoil their first child because they are entranced by their success as co-creators in contributing to the next generation.  Jacob blessed Ephraim, not because of his experience being a second son, but in obedience to divine direction.  In Hebrew 11:21 this blessing of Joseph’s sons in recorded as the great act of faith.  Lord, may we be yielded to eternal purposes especially with our children.    


Feb. 9 – (Gen, 49) I spent a long time studying this chapter.  It always interests me how blessings and descriptions of children by their parents in the Bible are seen in later chapters down through each generation.  I would like to suggest spending some time, with commentaries about this chapter.  It brought clarity and revealed new interpretation of the verses.  I would like to focus only on verse 2- “Hear, you sons of Jacob”. When someone is dying every word takes on special importance. Therefore, it is so very important as a believer to anticipate our own death (even though we are awaiting the coming of Christ) and prepare a testimony for those who survive us. It would be well to write it down, with instructions that the message be read at the funeral.  It should contain your personal testimony to God’s guidance and grace.  Anything received as heirs are given because of the blessing and grace of God. We can also instruct those left behind against departure from pursuing God.  I will never forget when Pastor Torry gave the eulogy at Pastor Sam’s funeral service. The whole message was heart wrenching but spoke of Pastor Sam’s character and desire to know Father God and salvation. He ended with Pastor Sam’s voice (from a sermon) speaking to us of our heavenly future and hope.   Lord, give us courage to speak, even after death. 


Feb. 10 – (Gen. 50) Once again this chapter is so full of instruction, teaching, and seeing things clearer than before.  Let’s focus on verse 2 – “The physicians embalmed Israel”. Let’s hear what Donald Barnhouse (Genesis vol. 2) has to say about this verse.  “Many superstitious practices in paganism and, indeed, in Christendom, testify to essential truths revealed by God at the dawn of history.  The fact is that deep in the consciousness of men lay the hope that the soul would someday come back to inhabit the body, and that there would be a resurrection.  Embalming is a childish way of helping God out, as though He would not have quite so much trouble in raising a body that was partly preserved! But think of the superstitions rife in our day – the fear of cremation, the burial of bodies face up so that if raised erect they would face the sunrise!  We sorrow that men have lost the reality of our hope.  The Lord Jesus will raise us by the power that He has to subdue all things to Himself (Phil. 3:21).”  Lord, deepen our hope in You and trust that our eternality has nothing to do with our man- made attempts.

Jan. 28- Feb. 3 "For I Know The Plans I Have For You Declares The Lord..."

Jan. 28 – (Gen. 37) I think we all know the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. He was the favored son and yet that didn’t prevent hardship to come from him.  We also know what the end result will be. He will preserve his whole nation (Israel).  I keep thinking of a verse I read even today that is one we need to live by whether we are in hard times or easy times. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11) 


Jan. 29 – (Gen. 38) What can we say about this chapter? There is a lot there that I don’t understand according to our sense of morals. Even though it is a shocking account of Judah’s relationship with Tamar, that interrupts the story of Joseph in Egypt, it fulfills an important role in Genesis by providing a record of Judah’s family line.  The chapter concludes with a birth account in which a firstborn twin is pushed aside by his younger brother, Perez.  The royal line of David – and therefore of Jesus Christ – will come from Perez.  Although this chapter shows Judah at his worst, it also provides the background for the remarkable transformation in his life that we will see later in in Genesis.  It reminds me that no sin is so great that God can’t transform us…if we surrender to Him. 


Jan. 30 – (Gen. 39) This is a familiar chapter.  Everything Joseph did prospered.  Potiphar’s wife was relentless and yet Joseph did not give in to her enticement.  Then he was accused of the very thing he did not do.  I hear in my head…that was not fair. But, God had not abandoned him. God was not disciplining him.  It was for his good and future. It was part of the plan God had for him…for a future and a hope.  Selah. 


Jan. 31 – (Gen. 40) The story of Joseph and even this chapter reminds of a very great Truth. All history fulfills God’s plans for His children. The offenses of a butler and a baker were planned with the welfare of Joseph in view. Lord, make us breathlessly aware of your working for us…in everything. God directed everyone from the king to the jailer as easily as you turn on a faucet. How sinful, therefore, for a Christian to worry or fret.  God moves the very stars in their orbits to work His will, and He rules the passions of men and the decisions of those in authority to accomplish what He had planned for your life.  Whether it be the anger of your boss, or a drunken man driving his car into yours, God has allowed it to fulfill His purpose for you.  Lord, show us why worry is a sin. Selah 


Feb. 1 – (Gen. 41) Let’s look at the first four words of this chapter: “After two full years…”  This must have been very hard for Joseph. Maybe one of the hardest.  But Joseph didn’t seem to be affected either by the butlers’ lack of response to the king or still living in the pit.  He always seemed to display kindness toward all men.  Joseph was about to stand before Pharaoh, and those years of sandpapering gave him calmness of spirit and maturity of judgment.  Never grow weary of the leading of the Lord, for impatience is denial of His wisdom… Not only your steps, but your stops are ordered by Him (Ps. 37:23; Num. 9:18).  Lord, make us patient.  


Feb. 2 – (Gen. 42) The commentary on these verses is so rich and brings conviction through His Word explained. I will comment on only 3 verses, but there is so much more. Verse 2: “I have heard that there is corn in Egypt.” Let’s look at the providence of God as we review just a few past events that led to this moment. Joseph has dreams that cause jealousy of his brothers, the caravan of Midianites, the lust of Potiphar’s wife, the forgetfulness and remembrance of Pharaoh’s butler, the dreams of Pharaoh, the famine, and now the caravan gossip that brings the news to Canaan.  How God holds things in His hand and releases them as He knows is best!  You, me, we may be sure that God is working all things after the counsel of His will, and for our good, in order that Christ might be formed in you, me, us (Rom. 8:28-29).  I know so many hate verse 28, when said to them in difficult times, but I find greatest comfort in them when we don’t stop at verse 28 but immediately include verse 29. Lord, may we rest in Your eternal purpose.

                Verse 21: “Therefore this distress is upon us.”  This is something I am trying to get out of my thinking.  Though this might be true in the brothers’ case, it does not follow that distress is always retribution for past sin.  It is a medieval idea that God punishes all deviation in the believer.  It is alien to the Word of God.  Look at Job, the blind man, and Peter’s denial of Christ (his was covered and forgotten). Some sins carry delayed sting, but the Lord Jesus Christ dealt with sin and sins, so that even the consequences are not felt by the redeemed.  Lord, thank You that you have taken our distress.

                Verse 28: “He …. took from them Simeon and bound him.”  I wondered why Joseph picked him. Now I understand. Simeon was the ringleader in the murder of the Schechemites (34:25,30).  Jacob, in his dying blessing, had nothing good to say about Simeon, but spoke of him as cruel, and his sword as a weapon of violence (49:5).  It is likely Simeon who urged the plot against Joseph. Joseph placed him in prison most likely because he didn’t want Simeon to influence the others on the way home. Also, it would take longer to move him to repentance, since he was harder than the others.  Let’s thank our Lord that He measures our hardness and knows how to bring us to our senses.  Lord, go to any lengths to move us to become more like You.     


Feb. 3 – (Gen. 43) Joseph has a change of attitude because he sees his brother Benjamin. It reminds me of all my brothers and sisters… in Christ.  How are we to look at each one? Even if we are hurt by them or even rejected by them?  Selah.