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 head...it 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:).