Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 24

OT: Gen. 48:1-49:33

I enjoyed the moments of tenderness in today's narrative. I liked the picture of Ephraim and Manasseh sitting on Jacob's knee, and I liked the affection in Jacob's reply, "I know, my son, I know" (19). Awww....

I have always found Jacob's blessings to his sons to be so interesting and confusing. I wish I had a more complete knowledge of the rest of their history to see how his blessings played out. I also wish I knew what he was talking about with Reuben defiling his bed. Huh??

Jacob's blessing to Simeon and Levi provided more confirmation of my low opinion of them. They are violent, angry men, and Jacob definitely does not approve.

I like his blessing to Judah. I must say, Tamar incident notwithstanding, I do see a lot of righteousness in Judah. And even with the Tamar thing, his reaction to Tamar's proof was not a foregone conclusion. Men in power have done much worse when they were embarrassed by someone. But Judah publicly recognizes his hypocrisy and does the right thing. I'm not saying he's a saint, of course. But my final prognosis is that I like him:).

It seems that Jacob sees the "other six" kind of like I do. His blessings are shorter and kind of superficial for them. "Asher's food will be rich"? Who cares?:) And I wonder if the men of Dan went on to be known for their guerrilla warfare. That's what I kind of got from his blessing to them (16-17).

And I still love the phrase, "was gathered to his people." That is a comforting image.

NT: Matt. 5: 29-16:12

Ah, the feeding of the 4,000--one of the many times where I picked on the disciples only to eventually realize that I was just like them. I used to think that they were so dumb to have seemingly completely forgotten the feeding of the 5,000 and to be just as clueless as they were the first time. (Did I mention that I can be a bit judgmental?) And yet, I have a habit of rejoicing over the ways God is faithful to me, only to turn around and freak out at the next challenge/obstacle/disaster coming down the pike. And the thing is, I even write down the amazing things God has done for me, the great ways that He has come through. But apparently, I have a latent belief that yesterday is no guarantor of tomorrow, or something. Like the disciples, I find myself back at square one a lot.

As I was reading about all that, I thought, "One day, I'm going to find out that I'm not as great as I think I am with figurative language, and then I won't even have that to hold over them!":) But nope, I got to the "yeast of the Pharisees" debacle and literally laughed out loud from verse 7 to verse 12. I especially cracked up at Jesus' exasperation ("How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread?") I will always pick on them for that:).

Psalm 20: 1-9

David's psalm continues the theme of blessing that began in our OT passage. My favorite blessing is, "May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed" (4). Amen!:) And of course, the idea that "Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God" is always a good thought (7). I think it is interesting that the Bible consistently and repeatedly tells us not to put our trust in the physical but to trust in God. And as much as we hear the many, many admonitions, as much as we see the many, many stories of God's miracles, as much as it is pounded into our is still SO hard for us to do (or maybe this is just me). Talk about hard-headed! Despite all that, I sometimes find the most difficult command in Scripture to be "walk by faith and not by sight."

Prov. 4: 20-21

Verses 20-22 has more descriptions of wisdom as life. And verse 23 is one of my all time favorite verses: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." I emphasize that one to the teen girls a lot:).


  1. I found today an interesting reading ..there were a couple of things I noted:

    *According to yesterdays reading, Isreal was in Egypt for 17 years before he died. Today, he asked Joseph who his kids were. Could it be that in 17 years Joseph and he didnt get together much..not even fore Christmas and Thanksgiving ;) I thought that was interesting. I guess geographically they werent next door neighbors.

    *That Jacob/Israel gave this blessing so the second born, just like he was blessed by his father with the blessing meant for the firstborn (certainly different circumstances). I am not sure what that means, but it was an interesting note.

    *I am wondering about these blessings ..are they prophesies, or does what they say happen because they say it? Do these fathers have a sense of who their children will become, is it a guess based on what they know of them, or/and does God somehow show them something? Some of the "blessings" seem hardly that (i.e., Esau's blessing from Isaac). I just wonder how all that works. The people of that time apparently put alot of stock in those blessings, as Joseph was upset when Israel put his hand on the wrong kid. Interesting.

    *And, maybe because I am a boy mom ..but I loved the section where Israel is blessing his grandsons ..."May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the Angel who has delivered me from all harm ...may he bless these boys." Amen.

    Matthew - I found todays reading a bit entertaining as well :) I love how irritated it seemed Jesus stayed at the Pharisees ..they never seemed to get anything, and it seemed he know their heart enough to know they wouldnt. I also cracked up when He kinna looks at the disciples and is like .."seriously?"

    I can hear Jesus thinking .."no one gets me."

    :) They are hard lessons..making even more important when Jseus tells them later in John that he is sending the Spirit to help them not forget his words. I am sure that will come in handy as they recall some of ths stuff he said they have yet to fully understand.

    Psalms - I seriously love this Psalm! Some of the phrases I love .."send you help from the sanctuary.." "give you the desire of your heart" .."May the Lord grant all your requests"..."we trust in the name of the Lord our God" ..."but we rise up and stand firm."

    Good stuff.

    Proverbs - Pretty much this entire Prov is so appropriate for me to say to my kids! Canon and I read it together this morning. these are all things I want to get instill in them, kinna like King Daddy felt..I am sure.

  2. Okay, so I have to confess something that happened over the weekend. I was talking to a woman and asking her if she liked her new house, and she said that she really did. She then paused and then finished up with, "It's empty, though." Something like that. I was totally confused by that and finally took it to mean that she didn't have a lot of furniture. But really, she was saying that she didn't have kids and wanted some. So much for my making fun of the disciples about figurative language! (And to make it worse, Greg totally got the reference although he was deathly ill and hopped up on pain meds. If he hadn't responded appropriately, I would have still been clueless and probably would have said something stupid. They both had a good laugh at me:)).

    But I'm still gonna make fun of the disciples:).

  3. Am I allowed to comment on this 2 years later?? I just was reading your blog to help me understand my Bible reading - and see if we had any of the same questions...and I saw your question about Reuben. And, I wondered the same thing this morning...and my study Bible said that in Gen. 35:22 Reuben slept with Jacob's concubine, which apparently was him being presumptuous and assuming he had "first born son rights" of sleeping with your fathers concubine. So, that's what Jacob meant when he said Reuben defiled his bed. Weird, but then again...a lot of it is.

  4. Ivy, I just read Genesis 35:22 yesterday! And it was such a little sidenote that I wondered, "Hmm, I wonder if that's going to come back up later." I have found that the OT writers often throw in those seemingly random details, knowing that they will come into play later. Of course, if my 2010 reading is any indication, I would have totally forgotten that verse by the time I read Jan. 24's reading:). Thanks for putting it together for me.

    I've been trying to jot my 2012 thoughts down as comments as I read, but most of them have stayed in my head and not made it to my computer. One recurring theme for me in 2012 is that Genesis is perhaps the most sex-filled book in the Bible...including Song of Solomon! And it is often so central to the plot (I read about Judah and Tamar today, and all I have to say is, Wow. No wonder the sidenote about Reuben slipped my mind, in light of all the other debauchery going on!)

    I'm glad you commented!

  5. 2012 Thoughts:

    Today I wondered about Jacob claiming Ephraim and Manasseh as his own. I've never heard of anyone else doing that, but the best I can figure, it means that Ephraim and Manasseh get double inheritance, since they each get their own portion instead of having to split Joseph's portion. Part of me thought that Jacob still hadn't learned about the danger of showing favoritism. But at the same time, he was deprived of Joseph for so many years because of his other sons, and so I'm more sympathetic to this "unfair" treatment.

    It's funny--sometimes I wonder how far in retrospect these words were written, b/c it almost seems like some of the facts were put there to explain the present (the present being the time that the words were written). For example, if when the words were written, Ephraim's tribe was doing better than Manasseh's, then this story could have been included as a way to explain that (or even to explain why Ephraim and Manasseh have tribes in the first place). But then I read things like Jacob's condemnatory "blessing" of the bloodthirsty Levi and think, "That man's tribe went on to be the priests!" You'd think if the author's purpose was to make his current situation make sense, he would have tweaked that part a little bit. But no--he let it stand. I'm glad that he did.

    Also, I felt sorry for Benjamin's short little ambiguous blessing, after Jacob went on so long about Joseph. And I was kind of struck by the poignancy of Jacob giving blessings at all, since a pivotal point in his life happened when he stole his brother's blessings. And also, the poignancy of him being buried by Leah in the end, instead of Rachel. I bet that wherever those two sisters were, Leah was gloating:).