OT: Gen. 39:1-41:16
What stood out to me during this reading of the story was how all credit for Joseph's success is given to God. The text makes it explicit several times (39: 2, 5, 21, 23). Joseph himself makes it explicit when he interprets the dreams (40:8, 41:16). And even other people recognize it (39:3). As successful as Joseph is, no one gives him any credit--least of all himself! I love that when Pharoah asks if Joseph can interpret his dream, Joseph flat-out says, "I cannot do it." He goes on to say, "But God will give Pharoah the answer he desires" (41:16). Now, that is some humility! I am really inspired by this example!
It also shows how mysteriously God works. So far, I've decided that God must just be picking the best from a bad lot to accomplish His purposes. But His will is far more mysterious than that. I am beginning to love that Judah's prostitution scandal is interpolated into the Joseph narrative. Knowing that Jesus is going to come from Israel, which person would you think He would choose to use? If I didn't know the genealogy, I would pick Joseph. But nope--God goes the daughter-in-law/hooker route. Not what I would have expected! And yet...He does have big plans for Joseph. After all, it is His work through Joseph that ultimately preserves Jesus' lineage through a deadly famine. That is important!
In my life, there have been so many times when I see the "obvious path" of how God is going to work. And then, He totally doesn't work it out the simple way that I had envisioned. Having those experiences has helped me understand the importance of always pursuing a deeper relationship with Him. I am always to look to Him, not my own understanding or my own perceptions of His will.
NT: Matt. 12: 46-13:23
In the past, I have interpreted verses 46-50 as kind of a slam on Christ's mother and brothers. I mean, c'mon Jesus! At least go out and see them! (And maybe He did.) But this time, I read it not so much as a jab at his physical family as an affirmation of his spiritual one. What would later come to be known as "the body of Christ" is as much a family as one's own flesh and blood. In some ways, it is even more of a family (though I'm blessed to have my physical family as part of my spiritual family). I totally agree with this concept of "church family." I really do think of my church that way. Luke and Anna have so many "grandparents" in the church, and I have spiritual "parents" who set amazing examples for Greg and me. We have brothers and sisters who encourage us on our walk. And I definitely feel a huge responsibility to my many children:). Just this Sunday, a boy about Luke's age came up the aisle crying after church. I didn't see his parents, and so I instinctively ran and scooped him up like I was his mother and then went off to find his real mom:). That act was a physical representation of the spiritual responsibility I feel to all of those children, as members of my "family."
Of course, we all know the parable of the weeds. What struck me today was that I always consider myself the good soil:). And yet, today's reading showed me that my soil might have a few thorns in it. I mean, I don't feel like my faith is getting completely choked out or anything, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth have at times made me unfruitful. And I often wonder how much my worries and fears limit my fruitfulness even in strong times. Hmmm...I will have to think about that some more.
Psalm 17: 1-15
Upon reading an earlier psalm, Becky made a comment regarding David's spiritual confidence before God. That confidence is on full display in this psalm, as well: "Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing" (3). Um, wow. All I have to say about that is that 1) maybe not hearing the Sermon on the Mount gave David some false confidence in his own righteousness, or 2) this man truly was a man after God's own heart. Either way, I know that verse is not something I could say!
Proverbs 3: 33-35
"The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous." As a
"homemaker," I love the idea of God blessing a home. I pray that He blesses ours.