A couple of days ago I read the conclusion to Joseph’s story (Genesis 50). After the passing of their father, Joseph’s brothers fear he make repay them for the evil they had done to him by selling him into slavery decades prior. It is and understandable fear. But Joseph’s perspective is different. He reassures them, saying, “Am I in the place of God.” In other words, “God is the one who will judge and hold you accountable for how you’ve wronged me; not me.” That’s a hard perspective to adopt, but a critical one. We’re taught repeatedly that we need to stand up for ourselves, fight for our rights. We, in the quietude of our thoughts, are often planning our revenge, rehearsing what we’ll say and do to those who’ve wronged us. But, Joseph’s attitude freed him from this, allowed him to move on without bitterness and enabled him to forgive his brothers. How freeing to rely on the ultimate, perfect judgment and justice of God! DW
Today I read Genesis 49 and was reminded how NOT to seek the will of God. When I was in high school, I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go with my life other than NOT ministry. I went back to my room on a Sunday morning after hearing a convicting sermon about seeking God’s will. I prayed that God would show me what to do with my life, opened my Bible, plopped my finger down on Gen 49:16 – “Dan shall judge his people.” I went off to college a few months later determined to go to law school and become a judge (hence my Political Science degree). I’m very glad it didn’t fall open to the story of Daniel and the Lions Den – I may have gone off to join the circus and become a lion tamer. Not the way to do it!!! DW
In my daily reading I am finishing up the book of Genesis, which means a lot about the story of Joseph. Consider how Joseph serves to foreshadow Christ for us. Joseph is the most beloved son of Jacob (Gen 37:3), as Jesus is God’s son, whom he loves (Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, et al). Joseph’s brothers, his own flesh and blood, betrayed him (Gen 37:19-28), as did Jesus’ own people (John 1:11). Jacob is deeply grieved and tears his robes when Joseph is presumed to be dead (Gen 37:34); God the Father rends the temple curtain, turns day to night, and shakes the earth when Jesus dies (Matt 27:52, Luke 23:45). Yet, Joseph and Jesus forgave those who betrayed and did evil against them (Gen 45, Luke 23:34, John 21:15ff). And, in both cases, while the deed was carried out according the wicked intentions of man, it served God’s purposes to bring/save life (Gen 45:5-7, Gen 50:19-21 and Acts 2:23, Acts 4:27-28). Millenniums before Jesus stepped foot on the earth, God was preparing his people to understand the salvific miracle of Jesus, his Son, given for us! DW
I love the realism of Scripture. I’m currently reading through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6 and read today the wonderfully convicting section about worry. In the midst of theses great reminders that God knows what we need and is committed to meeting our needs is this sentence, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Not, “there will be no trouble tomorrow,” but instead, “don’t let tomorrows troubles worry you today.” We aren’t promised a trouble free life, but a God who is bigger and more compassionate than we can imagine. DW
Reading earlier (and trying to catch up a bit) I read the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26ff). The eunuch was reading from a scroll of Isaiah when Philip, having been guided by an angel, crossed his path. Philip asks the Ethiopian if he understands what he is reading and the eunuch replies, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” That is true of each of us. We can understand the words, the grammar, even the meaning to a degree. But, apart from the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit, we will not truly understand the import, the deeper meaning, and the implications for our life and relationship with God. So, we ought to be reading prayerfully, asking the Spirit to be our guide into all truth. DW
Yesterday I read the familiar story of Jacob tricking his father Isaac into giving him the blessing that, by all rights, belonged to his elder brother Esau. Esau was, obviously, a bit angry. Genesis 27:41-42 says, “He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” 42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob.” Here’s what struck me for the first time: Esau ‘said to himself’ sound like he was carrying on an internal conversation with himself (don’t judge, we all do it). The next verse tells us ‘Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said.’ If it was an internal conversation, who overheard it and warned Rebekah? I believe it was the Lord or an angel of the Lord. The line of promise ran through Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob (Gen 25:23). Jacob’s scandalous behavior doesn’t negate God’s promise nor God’s protection. That’s good news for all of us! DW
Reflection from daily reading (1/12/19): Earlier this week I read through Genesis 25. One short phrase stood out to me – “And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife.” Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, was childless. But the way the sentence reads it seems that Isaac’s concern is for his wife, not just that he remains without an heir. He didn’t “pray for a son,” or “pray that his wife would conceive,” – he was concerned and “prayed for his wife.” Good challenge for us husbands – pray for our wives! DW
Today I was reading in Psalm 8 and struck not only by the awesome position God has place us (humanity) in, making us “a little lower than the heavenly beings,” but also the awesome responsibility he has given us. In the beginning, God appointed Adam as a vice regent over creation – to work and to keep it. This responsibility of exercising dominion over creation extends to us – “you have given us dominion over the works of your hands.” This rule is to be exercised with great care – it is the work of God’s hands we are stewarding, and it is to be patterned after God’s care for his world! That is an awesome responsibility. DW
Lord, grant me the ability to rejoice when trials come.
Give me patience to endure under the difficulty.
Allow me the grace to avoid bitterness that comes from hardship.
Provide me the wisdom to see your activity in my life and to believe you are there even when you seem invisible.
Grant me the faith to believe that you are working out everything for my good and that you will someday make all things new.
Last week I was listening to a podcast that I have gone back and listened to several times. This time of year tends to be very busy and I can get into survival mode. I’m sure many of you are feeling