Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January 19

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.


  1. I love the story of Joseph because it illustrates how things that look "bad" to us can really be part of God's plan to bring about something "good." If I got thrown in prison for something I didn't do, I would probably yell and scream that it wasn't fair, and I would feel superior to the other inmates who did commit their crimes. Basically, I don't think I would take it well, at least not at first. But, the way that Joseph handled himself in these "bad" situations (with God guiding him, of course) helped to put him in better situations. I'll have to try to remember that the next time I'm in one of those situations. :)

    It's funny... I was thinking that Joseph is the only major player so far who is above reproach. However, actually, I think he may have had a problem with arrogance when he told his brothers his dreams. It strikes me as ironic that the trait that served him best during the rest of his life was his humility.

    I had the same thought about the parable. I want to see myself as the good soil, but it is probably truer that I have some weeds in my life (which makes me even less likely to write a David-esque psalm). :)

    I wonder what Jesus' mother and brothers wanted to talk to him about. The fact that they all came together makes me think that they wanted to have an "intervention" with him about the crazy things he was doing and saying. (Maybe not. That's just my mental picture.) Even as a child, Jesus knew who his real family was, and it caused a problem for his earthly family then too. He did say that his message/mission would divide families. That's still hard for me to fathom, though. I guess it might be different for me if my family members were not Christians.

  2. I have enjoyed the story of Joseph this time around. I was amazed by his lack of bitterness toward the situations he was in. It was not just lack of words to that effect, but rather his willingness to jump in and do good work wherever he was (Potipher's house, jail). If he was bitter he would have probably just sulked in the corner (maybe).

    He was certainly the victim many times in these stories, but it seemed striking to me that every step others made to seemingly worsen his lot put him one step closer to a ruling role in Egypt! His brothers thought they were sticking it him (got him into Egypt), and Potiphers rejected wife got him thrown in jail (got to the jail where he met the Pharoah's servants).

    He seemed to understand that God was orchestrating his situation, despite the difficult situations he was in. Impressive.

    He was a good fella.

    Matthew - I should just say, ditto to Kim's thoughts. I can relate totally.

    Psalms ..dont know if it means this, but in the context of loved ones passing on (and me for that matter!), I loved the last verse ..."And I - in righteousness I will see your face, when I awake I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness." Ah, love it.