Monday, August 31, 2009

Exodus Chapter 25-27

My 280th post...I'm so happy!

The next few days are going to be a crazy conglomeration of weird instructions and laws, so look hard for the nuggets of gold within...ask yourself why all this was important to God.

25:2 - Every man whose heart moved him was to give. It wasn't forced giving...God didn't want the tabernacle to be tainted by dirty hearts and dirty money...He wanted people to give from their hearts as they understood what He had done for them. This is what giving should look like for believers today. It's not about getting your family to the magical 10%'s about giving from your's about sacrificial's about giving back what is God's anyway. Maybe your magical number is 20% or 50% or 90% - give from the heart.

25:21ff - The mercy seat is where God swelled within the tabernacle. The high priest would enter into the holiest of holies to covers with God over the mercy seat. Jesus offered himself as the ultimate sacrifice, so that the mercy seat was moved into our hearts. We have the freedom to connect with God in person. Praise God! God's mercy gave us access to the mercy seat.

Numbers - There are lots of very specific numbers that God uses when describing the construction of the tabernacle, so I figured I would throw out some biblical numerology and let you figure out what it all means fro yourself...

#6 - This is the human number, it represents humanity (Man was created on the 6th day, etc.)
#7 - Spiritual perfection (So what does it mean that there were 7 lampstands with 6 arms on them? Did it represent that the temple was where men were made clean? What do you think?).
#10 - Ordinal perfection, which represents law and order.
#24 - Representative of the priesthood.
#40 - This is the number for testing and trial.

26:33 - There is no longer any separation between God and man because Jesus tore down the veil. We can enter into the holy of holies! We are a part of the body of Christ...the priesthood of all believers. YAY!

Question: So why do you think that God gave the Israelites these very specific instructions on making the tabernacle?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Exodus Chapters 22-24

22:21 - When you live with the understanding that everything you have is God's then you can follow rules like this one joyfully. But when you live with the mentality "I am entitled to everything I have" or "I worked for this so it is mine," you will find yourself in opposition to the generous heart of God. This is a big issue in our country right now and I believe Christians should be less concerned about hoarding wealth than they should with mirroring God's heart. We are all just passing through this world and should be able to connect with the foreigner and the alien.

22:28 - Notice how respect for authority that has been placed over us in this life is listed almost int he same breath as respecting God? Our treatment of authority figures here on earth directly reflects the value we place on God's authority. This is another hot button issue in our country right now. Christians from both sides of the political spectrum seem to place more emphasis on defying whoever believes differently than them, than they do with honoring authority.

23:1-2 - Don't get caught up in gossip or back-stabbing. How clear is that? Something that we don't think is a very big deal is called out specifically by God as He instructs His people on how to live their lives.

23:11 - Again, if you believe that nothing you have is actually yours - then sharing with the poor is pretty easy. If you believe that God is going to take care of you no matter what - then taking care of each other, sharing and working in community is fairly easy.

23:33 - There are going to be some brutal segments of scripture coming up about the destruction of entire groups of people. While it is horrific, as we read this verse we start to understand a little of why it has to happen. If the Israelites allow other cultures to creep in and corrupt them, then their covenant with God will be broken and their role in God's far-reaching salvation plan will be destroyed. And look at it this way...God is the judge either way - either after death or in life. He brings judgement upon these people groups...He is just and knows their He can bring righteous judgement. This doesn't make it any less brutal, but it helps to understand a little more.

24:8 - Moses sprinkles blood on the Israelite people symbolizing that God's judgement will pass them by - like the angel of death passed them by in Egypt. This is a sign of their blood prophetic image of the blood of Christ that saves us all from our failures.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Exodus Chapters 19-21

19:5 - Throughout these three chapters we see God setting humankind up for His future plan. We start to see what He is working towards. The problem with humanity up to this point is that they were all sinful and rebellious and cannot truly be in relationship with God. So God has called out a people that He is going to offer a chance to save themselves. He is going to be their God and they are going to be His people. He implicitly states here that as long as they keep up their end of the deal, He will keep up His end - that's how covenants work. Unfortunately as we will see throughout the OT...the Israelites have a hard time keeping up their end of the deal. And although God allows them from time to time to be taken back into captivity and slavery...we know behind the scenes that He is working out a plan to bring about an undeserved salvation for all of humankind. That's the real big picture that we see coming together here.

19:12 - God is approach the Lord you must be absolutely holy, which poses a problem for us, huh? How beautiful is it now that through the blood of Jesus Christ we have been made holy and we can approach the throne of glory?

20:20 - God allows His people to try to save themselves. He wants everybody to know definitively if that is possible. He calls a special people. He gives them a special code of laws and a sacrificial system. He allows them to glimpse some of His awesome glory so that they will be so fearful they will want to obey His commands. He does all these things, yet they cannot save themselves. They always fall away. WE always fall away. So God came to earth not in fire and in cloud, but int he form of a man and died for our sins.

21:1-11 - Okay, I know this still sounds really harsh as you read through these passages and you are wondering, "Why didn't God just abolish slavery?" Well, I believe He is meeting the people where they are...He starts small and moves them from a world of seeing slaves as less than human to seeing slaves as people who deserve rights. In the NT Jesus and the apostles move people even further towards a worldview of human quality. From our current-day perspective this passage seems barbaric, but this was revolutionary, world-changing teaching. Offering rights to slaves is something unheard of in this world.

21:23 - This is what black and white...absolute justice looks like. Wouldn't be very pretty would it? Good thing for us, God showed us how brutally this form of justice is before He threw out the book and offered the merciful sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Exodus Chapters 16-18

16:3 - The grass is always greener on the other side, right? The past is always better than the present, right? Wrong. Human beings are quite the unsatisfied lot. When we get to the other side...we find out there are brown spots there too. When we think about the past we gloss it over and think only of the good while forgetting the hard times. All the Israelites can think of is meat pots and bread...guess what? YOU GUYS WERE SLAVES! How easy is it for us to think back to simpler times when we weren't as committed to God and, back then I could do whatever I wanted to do and I didn't have to stand against the cultural tide - that was so much better. EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT YOU WERE A GUILT RIDDEN SLAVE TO SIN!

16:28 - You would think the people would begin to learn...maybe we should do what God tells us to do. It seems so ridiculous and it is so easy to look down on the Israelites and think of them as spiritual morons, but...are we that much different? We know what is right, don't we? All the time - we know what is right, we know what is expected of us, but we keep screwing it up. I remember Paul from the New Testament saying, "I keep doing what I don't want to do, over and over!" Laws cannot save us. Our human will cannot save us. Thank God for the gift of His son Jesus Christ.

18:14-15 - This is the first biblical instance of the Messiah Complex being lived out. Moses felt like he was the only one that could lead the people. He felt like he was the only one who could save the people from themselves...he was micromanaging and destroying his effectiveness as a leader. Jethro called him on it.

18:21 - This is a great court system that Jethro sets up. If the lower judge can't figure out how to solve the problem, he can take the case to the next guy up and so on and so forth. That way Moses only has to deal with a few huge problems as opposed to every single problem among the millions of Israelites.

18:23 - Jethro is the very first leadership training guru. He basically tells Moses - if you try to do everything yourself, you will burn out and be useless to everybody. Delegation breeds endurance and long-term effectiveness. In your Christian life, you can't do can't save everybody...find out how God has gifted you and use those gifts to impact His kingdom in the biggest way possible. Work from your strengths and allow time for rest.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Exodus Chapters 13-15

13:8/15 - This is communion! They are to take the unleavened bread for seven days to remember that the Lord brought the people out of slavery. We take the unleavened bread in remembrance of the fact that Jesus sacrificed himself to end our slavery. They sacrifice the firstborn of the animals to redeem (save) their firstborn sons. We drink the juice to remember that Jesus was the firstborn Son of God who gave himself as a sacrifice to redeem us! Beautiful imagery.

13:18 - God does not take the people directly into the promised land, because He knows they are not ready. He has big plans for them and He knows they will return to their old life out of fear if they are not Gd takes them into the wilderness. There are times when God allows all of us to enter into the wilderness, to shape us for His future plans in our lives. God's timing is perfect and He knows exactly who we need to be to coincide with His will.

14:4 - In one last stroke to follow up the destruction that the plagues wrought, God is going to utterly destroy the power of the Egyptians forever. Never again were they the world power they had been previously, because they stood against the one and only true God. God shows where true power resides as He destroys their military with water. Through salvation God offers us the same chance...a chance to be rid of our captors - sin and death. Through our trust in Jesus Christ the waters rush in (good baptism imagery) and destroy the power of our rebellious sinful human nature.

14:11 - Were they not watching during the whole plague thing! Seriously...they are whining again. Why are we all such whiny, forgetful ingrates when it comes to God? We've all seen Him move...we have seen miraculous change in our lives, but our minds always wander to doubt given the chance. It gets really frustrating being a screwed up human sometimes.

15:1 - Their first response to God's work in their lives is praise...that is a really good lesson to write on your heart.

15:2 - I don't know why I like this, but I do...the Lord is my strength and my song. Masculine and feminine...power and beauty...God has the strength to protect us and the ability to hold our attention. He is awesome!

15:8 - "Blast of your nostrils" - like a warhorse, God faces his enemies and is victorious. In the story of Lazarus in the NT, Jesus sees the people weeping for Lazarus and it says he was deeply moved. But when I looked up that passage in a commentary, the actual translation of "deeply moved" was "like the snort of a warhorse." Jesus sees his enemy death and reacts as a warrior facing his mortal enemy, much like God facing off with the Egyptians.    

Friday, August 21, 2009

Exodus Chapters 10-12

10:2 - Early call to evangelism. God wants His name to be known and His power to be known so that all people will turn to Him for love and salvation.

10:3 - "How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?" How many people has God asked this question since creation? How many times has He asked it of me?

10:7 - The people knew that their country had been utterly ruined through the pride of Pharaoh...they knew the power of the one and only God and they actually sided with the Hebrews (See: 11:2ff).

10:21 - Imagine how terrifying this would be...absolute fear. No light. Just utter, overwhelming, oppressive darkness. It's a brutally effective illustration of life without God.

12:13 - This is a prophetic picture of what the blood of Jesus Christ does for us. Judgement for our sin passes over us through the blood of Jesus Christ.

12:34 - Unleavened bread to this day is a reminder of the haste that was needed to leave Egypt. They waited expectantly for the Lord to move and immediately acted when He did...nothing held them back - they ate with belts on and staffs in their hand ready to move. When we take communion with our unleavened bread, we should remember to be ready at all times to act for God. He has already moved...already saved us through the blood of Jesus Christ - now it is time for us to act...time for us to move.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Exodus Chapters 7-9

7:3ff - God hardens Pharaoh's heart? This has been mentioned a couple times already, but what does it mean? Is God taking away Pharaoh's free will and basically sending him to hell? I don't believe this is the case. I think God is simply speeding up the process of Pharaoh's inevitable heart hardening. God knows what Pharaoh is going to choose int he end and just fast forwards the process a little.

7:17ff - We are going to look at how God starts to dismantle the power structure of Egypt through the plagues. The Nile river itself was life to the was scared...their entire empire for the most part rested on the banks of the Nile. They looked to the Nile for food and protection and beauty and water - it meant everything to them. God by turning the Nile to blood shows them that worshipping the things of this world does not bring brings death.

8:2 - Here God attacks their pride. They are a prideful of the most powerful if not the most powerful empires on earth, and they are conquered by frogs. Talk about humbling.

8:16 & 21 - God destroys their comfortable existence in Egypt. Comfort can often be an idol.

9:3 - God attacks their livelihood...their industry...their means of production.

9:9 - God shows them that even their bodies are not safe from His incredible power.

9:18 - God takes away their safety.

* God absolutely rocks their society to its core. All the things they put their trust and hope in were destroyed by the hand of God. What are the distractions that plague your life? What draws your attention away from God?

9:34 - Notice God does not have to harden Pharaoh's heart anymore. Each of the other instances say that God hardened his heart...this one says that he sinned and hardened his own heart. He made his own choice to reject the will of God. I believe this is proof for my assertion that God is simply speeding up a process of hardening that would have happened anyway. This is Pharaoh's choice...God just wanted it to happen on His timeline.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Exodus Chapters 4-6 - August 19, 2009

4:1 & 10 - Excuses, excuses, excuses. (Whining) "They won't believe me." "I not good enough at speaking." Self-doubt is a destroyer of ministry opportunities. There are always excuses for why we aren't good enough for God to use...fortunately there is always a God of love and power that can overcome even my flawed self. It is not about trusting yourself, it is about trusting God.

4:24-26 - Anybody else confused? Out of nowhere, we are knocked upside the head with a really weird and confusion couple of verses. What is this talking about? Well, don't feel bad - this is one of the most confusing an difficult passages even for biblical scholars and Hebrew experts. There has been tons of research and guess work done and still no definitive answers. Here is what I would call a pretty safe guess. God is angry with Moses for failing to circumcise his sons and fulfill the Abrahamic covenant. So angry in fact that Moses believes he is going to die. When Zipporah circumcises her son, all is made right. So why the overreaction from God? Well, remember God is patient...when Moses was crying and whining earlier, God simply overcomes his excuses and encourages him to move forward. What is it about the circumcision? Well, it is a sign of the covenant between God and His people - it is a really big deal! And because Zipporah knows what to do, that means Moses has explained to her what circumcision is and why the Hebrew people do it (I don't think her first random inclination would be, "Hey why don't I cut off my son's foreskin with a flint knife," - she had to know about it). So if Moses is telling his wife about it...he knows how important the covenant practice is and yet he still has not circumcised his son. That's a pretty big deal. Hope that helps.

5:7 - Sometimes before things get better, they get a lot harder. Standing up against evil and standing up for what is right is rarely, if ever, easy.

5:21 - Thus starts the long history of whining for the Israelite people. Wait til' you see their long list of whiny behavior in the book of Exodus - it is incredible. They beg God for help and then the scoff at His methods. We would never do anything like that would we? They don't understand that if Pharaoh just let them go at first...he would change his mind and have them all hunted down. God had to set up events by hardening Pharaoh's heart and crushing their economy, so that they would never again threaten God's people.

6:2 - Moses is a perfect fit for leading these people. God tells Moses that he is the first person He has ever shared His name with. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were never told that God is the great I AM. Moses has been privileged to lead God's know God's carry on the covenant, and how does he respond? But the people won't listen to me...why would Pharaoh listen to me. More whining and lack of trust - like I said, perfect fit. In Moses' defense...he always does what God asks in the end.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Exodus Chapters 1-3 - August 18, 2009

1:7 - The promise of God continues on - He promised Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their people would be fruitful and God is always faithful to His word. In a foreign land as people who are looked on as second class citizens...they still grow and prosper. Take hold of the promises that God has given you.

1:11 - It is clear to me throughout history that the evil one seeks to hurt God be attacking His people. No matter where the Hebrew people of God go, they are blamed and enslaved and killed - in ancient and modern times. The only explanation for this horrific singling out of a people group is that Satan wants to destroy them. Yet no matter what is thrown against them...the Jewish people prosper and God works His will out no matter what the devil tries (futility breeds desperation).

2:1 - Pretty interesting that Moses is born into the Levite line, he becomes the priest over the Israelites who meets face to face with God regularly, and eventually the Levite line becomes the priestly family of Israel.

2:3 - Instead of giving up and allowing her son to be killed as decreed by the Pharaoh - she trusts God and places him in the river. Like Abraham trusted God by taking Isaac to the sacrifice site...Moses' mother offers her son up into the will of God - both of them were blessed greatly through their faith. I hope that Christian parents of today's teenagers will not just allow their kids to be sacrificed to this culture (A culture that is calling them to spiritual death)...I hope they will offer their kids up completely to God.

2:14 - "Who made you ruler and judge over us?" Funny he should say this since in a few years Moses will be the ruler and judge over them, and guess who makes him ruler and judge? That's right sucka - God!

2:17 - Moses must have been a pretty powerful and intimidating figure. He already killed and Egyptian slave master with his bare he drives off a gang of evil shepherds by himself. That's pretty beastly. It also tells us that he is probably a little more qualified to approach Pharaoh than he expresses to God next chapter (But who am I God? I'm not a good speaker! etc.).

2:24 - God didn't just suddenly hear their cries - He heard them all along - he is God after all. Why do you think He waited to help them? Well, it is possible that after all those years in Egypt, the had become followers of the Egyptian gods. Maybe they forgot about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God waits until the people turn back to Him to move like He does throughout the OT.

3:4 - It is really cool that Moses answers God by saying, "Here I am," because God is about to tell Moses that His name is "I AM." It's kinda like Moses is accidentally addressing God by saying, "Here, I AM." Hehehe - cool.

3:14 - What does God mean that His name is "I AM." I is a name that sums up what and who God is - HE IS! He other god has ever existed, they are all constructs of the human mind. There is only one God and He IS. He is faithful - He is real - He is good - He is all-powerful - He is the great I AM. He is the only thing in the universe that is truly existing in a fully realized, perfect He is the I AM - get it?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Genesis Chapters 49-50 - August 17, 2009

We'll just do two chapters today to close out the book of Genesis.

Chapter 49 - Wow! That was some crazy reading. At first I was reading through the "blessings" that Jacob/Israel was giving to his sons and thinking that they played up favoritism again and were really harsh, but then I started thinking...Jacob was simply speaking truth to his sons. For some of them it was hard truth, but he was seeing the things that their characteristics were going to bring about. He was willing to speak hard truths to his sons and let them understand that their sinful choices had consequences. Does that mean his love for them is gone? No! It simply means that although he loves them, they are going to reap what they sow. Kids today could probably use a little more honesty along these lines. "I love you and I forgive you, but that doesn't change the fallout from your choices."

50:3 - I find it amazing that the Egyptians weep and mourn alongside Joseph even though we know that they have no respect for shepherds like Jacob/Israel. That goes to show how greatly Joseph was loved among the Egyptians and says a lot about his life. Don't we all want to be people they dealt fairly and lovingly with everybody we came in contact with?

50:19ff - After everything the brothers put Joseph through, he is completely content with places his trust in God. He understands that God has redeemed what the brothers meant for evil into something good. Joseph has truly forgiven them and is at peace with his brothers and with the will of God. I hope that you and I can follow his example, understanding that God has got everything under control and we do not need to take vengeance into our own hands.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Genesis Chapters 43-48 - August 13, 2009

46:4 - Interesting to see that God meets people where they are. This is before the ten commandments and before there was a clear understanding by the people that there was one and only one God, so God makes it clear to Jacob/Israel that He will be coming with them into Egypt. During this time, many of God's people would still have a pantheistic (Many gods) worldview and probably believed that gods dwelled in certain areas of land. It would be important for Jacob/Israel to understand that God would not abandon him.

47:26 - When you first read through this section about Joseph selling the food it sounds kind of harsh, but desperate times call for desperate measures. If he gave the food away for free, people might try to take advantage of that kindness or want free food after the famine was over...Joseph did what he needed to do, and he centralized power and wealth for the Egyptian rulers that helped to turn into a worldwide power. They don't teach you that in school! Also, his 20% tax on the land that Pharaoh now owned, was very low in ancient times and very fair. This would still give the farmers an chance to feed their families after the famine and begin rebuilding their own wealth. Joseph was a great leader.

48:5 - What is all that blessing Joseph's kids as his own stuff that Jacob/Israel does? Well, in say that Ephraim and Manasseh are going to be treated just like Reuben and Simeon, Jacob/Israel is essentially giving Joseph as their father a double portion of the first-born's blessing. That's a pretty big deal! Jacob/Israel is making Joseph the most powerful of the sons.

48:22 - Remember that whole circumcision/slaughter everybody in town debacle? Do you remember the name of the people they destroyed? The Shechemites. That mountain slope that Jacob/Israel gives Joseph is the land of Shechem which is his to give because his sons utterly destroyed the people there.

48:17ff - God always uses the less qualified or the most unexpected choice to bring about His will. God breaks conventional customs. God uses the weak to humble the strong. Never doubt that God can use you to do incredible things for his kingdom...the less you think you are qualified, the more glory God will receive when you change the world in His name.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Genesis Chapters 43-45 - August 12, 2009

A lot of this reading is straightforward narrative telling a story, so I will only make a couple comments...

44:5&15 - What is up with all this talk of divination? Well, divination was something that was often practiced by high ranking Egyptian officials. If a powerful Egyptian had a divination cup, they believed that they could pour oil into water within the cup and predict future events through the shapes the oil formed in the water. They would also look at ripples and waves within the cup to seek prophecies (It's all kinda like the mumbo-jumbo involved in palm reading). It is really interesting that Joseph using the divination cup to test his brothers, because he is using the test as a way to "divine" whether or not they have changed over the years. From what we see they have matured just as he matured - they now care about their fathers feelingsa nd will do anything to bring Benjamin back to him. The diving cup trick allowed Joseph to see their changed hearts.

45:5 - This is a great picture of how far Joseph has come. He confronts the brothers who tried to kill him and who sold him inthe slavery and he offers the forgiveness. In fact, he attributes everything that happened to God's plan and gives God the glory for everything. Joseph is mature enough to see how God has shaped him and put him in the right place through the trials he went through. I hope that I trust God enough to always look to His plan regardless of the situation.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Genesis Chapters 40-42 - August 11, 2009

40:7 - It is really interesting to me that even in prison...even after all the garbage Joseph has gone through - he is concerned for how other people are doing. That speaks really highly of the character God has shaped in him through these trials.

40:8 - His very first inclination is to honor God's name, by giving God all the credit and pointing others towards God.

41:16 - Again, we see that he is always giving glory to God - that is the first thought in his mind and the first words out of his mouth. Think about how much he has matured over the years...he has gone from arrogant boy trying to humiliate his brothers with his superiority, to a humble God-fearing man who seeks only to draw attention to God. The Christian life should look similar to the life of we continue on our journey through good and bad situations on earth, we should always be growing in humility and growing in our focus on God.

41:29 - God weaves the patterns of the seasons of the earth to bring about his get Joseph into a position of power so that his people will thrive in Egypt and so that they will enter into a time of slavery that sets up the history of the people of God from which Jesus will be born. That is how much God loves you!

41:34 - All the overseeing God did for Potiphar and for the jailer have prepared him for the task that God has called him to as an overseer in Egypt. We see again that God very specifically shaped Joseph to be the man He needed him to be. What is God shaping to to do?

41:38 - How awesome would it be if peoples' initial reaction after meeting you and speaking with you was like this, "The Spirit of God is in this man!" (And Pharaoh was an idolatrous pagan!) What a challenge to try to aim your life towards!

41:52 - Through affliction, suffering, pain, betrayal, confusion, waiting, fear - God brought Joseph so that he would be ready. Through these things God drew Joseph to Him. Through these things God never left his side. Don't forget that when you are going through struggles.

42:5ff - After many, many years the initial prophecy that Joseph made through his dreams to his family is coming true. Sometimes in life we are called to wait on the will of God.

42:21 - His brothers must have been wracked with guilt and hurt by what they had done every day, if their minds immediately jump to this conclusion. They have trouble with the overseer and the first thing they think is - this must be because of what we did to Joseph! Guilt is a destroyer of joy and it enslaves the life. If you are suffering from guilt, you have to make things right and come clean.

42:24 - Why do you think Joseph wept here? Maybe because he is remembering back to what his brothers did to him - remembering how he begged them to let him go and they sold him into slavery anyway? Maybe because he is watching with his own eyes as God works through his brothers' wickedness to bring about His will and bring honor to Joseph? Maybe he is weeping because he finally understands that at least one of his brothers tried to stand up for him? Maybe all of the above? What do you think?

42:35 - Joseph gives the the grain for free. After everything he has been through, he is showing love and forgiveness to his brothers. He sure has come a long way. The brothers are freaked out though, because they think it is a trick.

42:38 - Favoritism is still going strong in the life of Jacob! Favoritism was the catalyst for this whole twisted affair and he still treats his other children with contempt. Crazy!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Genesis Chapters 37-39 - August 10, 2009

37:2ff - Ah, Joseph, what a fun guy to be around, huh? Tattle-tale. Favorite son. Flaunts his multi-colored coat around. Arrogant. Boastful. Tells everybody within earshot about his dreams of ruling over them. He is basically and immature, spoiled brat and God is going to allow him to go through a time of suffering and pain to forge him into the man he needs to be for God's will.

37:5ff - I fin it funny that his arrogant sharing of the dream is what leads to his brothers selling him into slavery which eventually leads to the fulfillment of the dreams and ruling over his family. Hehehe. God works in amazing ways.

38:24 - The double standard here is unbelieveably horrible. Judah is walking down the road one day and decides that it is okay for him to sleep with a pagan temple prostitute. He is okay with having sex with a woman who has sex to worship a false god...Judah's cool with that. But when he finds out that his daughter-in-law (Who he has basically rejected and refused to keep his promises to) is pregnant, he wants to have her burned! This whole chapter is one big example of what happens when you don't live out relationships in a God honoring way. Instead of going on personal witch-hunts to "burn the sinful" we need to look deeply into our own lives in light of God's truth. There's plenty in me that needs working on.

39:8-9 - Already we see Joseph maturing, don't we? Instead of blaming God and turning away from Him when his life falls apart, Joseph runs full into God's arms. He is closer to God then ever before and he lives honorably to honor God.

39:12 - When temptation pulls at Joseph, he turns and runs. What a great example for you and I to follow. Instead of making dancing around temptation and giving it a chance to take root in us...we need to run screaming from temptation and into the presence of God.

39:21 - Again Joseph is imprisoned, but again he trusts God and God makes it so that even in prison Joseph is honored by men. The prison provided another time of isolation, where Joseph can mature and grow closer to God. As all the external things are taken away from his life, he learns to depend fully on God and step out in faith. You and I could probably do with some isolation, huh?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Genesis Chapters 34-36 - August 6, 2009

34:31 (Whoa! Intense story there!) This is how every Christian young man should view the young women they share this world with - we won't allow anyone to treat or sisters like a prostitute, and we will not treat our sisters like prostitutes! Our sisters in humanity are worthy of honor, and not to be treated like objects to be possessed.

35:2 - How many times does this theme reoccur in the Old Testament, where the people of God are allowing idols from the cultures around them to creep into their lives? This has always been a problem for God's people, and it still is today - isn't it?

36:24 - Out of the midst of a list of names, jumps some extra information about this guy named Anah (It's kinda like an oasis in the desert - it breaks up the monotony). I am out of office this week and away from my study materials, so let's make a game of this...who can tell me why Moses thought it was so important to give us this extra info. about Anah (Moses most likely put the Genesis account together)?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Genesis Chapters 31-33 - August 5, 2009

Hey, sorry about the long wait (Mission Week last week and vacation this week!). We went to the Glen Rose Dinosaur Valley this morning and as soon as I finish here, we are going to the Glen Rose Creation Museum...that should be really cool!

I don't have time to do the usual, so I will just say a few things (I did read the chapters) and look forward to reading your comments...

31:19 - Household gods were local deities that people worshipped (In ancient times, most cultures believed that certain gods resided in certain areas of the earth...each country had its own gods and depending on whose gods were more powerful - that country was more powerful). Rachel stole the idols, possibly believing that she would be taking her fathers gods with her. How often do we take sin and idolatry from our past into new commitments we have made to God? That's a good way to derail the calling God has placed on your life!

32:26 - This whole time with all the lying and cheating and stealing, Jacob is desperately searching for his worth and his place in the world. Guess where he finds it? By clinging to God. I would suggest we do the same. Forget what other flawed humans think about you and focus on what the creator of all things thinks about you.

33:10 - When we forgive one another, like Esau forgave Jacob, it i like we are reflecting the image of God. Forgiveness is beautiful.