Saturday, July 22, 2023

July 22, 2023

Yesterday, as I was working in my garden, which is nearly gone and overtaken with weeds, a fleeting thought, a Bible verse, came into my head. It was "Why art thou cast down, O my soul?" But I'm not sad, so I didn't understand why I thought about it. I looked it up last night and found the Psalm, and it's about depression. It makes perfect sense today and confirms that the Holy Spirit can grab control of my thoughts! Nothing is better than seeing his work come to life right before your eyes. Here's why:

Pharaoh's chief baker and cup bearer were imprisoned with Joseph for offending him. They had been there for a while, but both had awakened sorrowful, and Joseph noticed their sadness. You probably know the story; Joseph interpreted each dream, and it turned out that the cup bearer's dream was good, and he was about to be released from prison, but the baker's dream meant he would face execution. 

The simple act of pulling weeds is removing the plants from the garden that you don't want growing there. After grubbing them out, my plants look much happier, relieving some of my stress. We all have things that stress us and crowd our minds; many are sinful behaviors that we need to stop. You can't keep sinning and expect to be happy. 

In the story, Joseph noticed their sadness and tried to help. One got immediate gratification and handed his life, but the other had three days to think about his life ending and get right with the Lord. The point is that Joseph helped them; he saw their sadness and reached out to try and comfort them the best he knew how. Helping those who are sad is part of our job as a Christ-follower. Reach out to hurting people and do your best to bring them joy. Don't just tell them to pray about it; show your faith in God and pray for them while with them. Open your mouth and reach out to God on their behalf.

As far as that verse popping into my head, Matthew Henry used the exact words in his commentary on this section of scripture. Do you think God was telling me to cover depression today? I do, and it blows my mind! 

And he asked Pharaoh's officers that were with him in the ward of his lord's house, saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day? Genesis 40:7

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Psalms 42:11

Friday, July 21, 2023

July 21, 2023

Joseph was sold and bought by an Egyptian, Potiphar, who was captain of Pharaoh’s guard and brought into his house as a servant. Potiphar saw that God favored him and put him in charge of his household; Joseph helped prosper him through God’s favor. He must have been handsome because Potiphar’s wife was drawn to him and practically begged him to lay with her. Joseph kindly rejected her and explained his loyalty to her husband. She cornered him alone with no other servants in the house and grabbed hold of his garment, and he fled, leaving her holding it. Remember, the devil seems to know when God has a purpose for you and will send tempters to taunt you. Sometimes, when you reject his advances, he accuses you of that crime even though you did nothing wrong. The enemy used Potiphar’s wife as his mouthpiece, and Joseph ended up in prison. He still had God’s favor in prison and was placed in charge. 

What happened to Joseph can and has happened to others. We are seeing it increasingly because of the turmoil worldwide, especially in the United States. A prime example is our former president; the crimes they’ve accused him of perpetrating are the very crimes they are guilty of committing. Victory is in the hands of God; He will win, and every evil being will get flushed into hell; you can count on it!

But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. Genesis 39:21

Thursday, July 20, 2023

July 20, 2023

Several years ago, I had my very artsy daughter copy a painting from the Christian artist Trisha Robinson. I fell in love with her work because she honors Jesus through her talent and because it’s very colorful and fun. If she had a larger version of her original painting available for purchase, I would have bought it. She is the type of artist that teaches others to paint, so I don’t think she would mind if we copied her work. I loved this particular painting because it represents the women mentioned in Jesus’s lineage. Jesus’s grandmothers were not very righteous, and each had issues. Our Savior and King had Tamar as a grandmother, who posed as a prostitute to get Judah, her father-in-law’s attention so she could conceive a son; both of his sons, who were her husbands died and his youngest son, who was promised to her, was not given to her. Another interesting note is that she was a Canaanite. I find it comforting that He chose to include sinners like us in his lineage, which proves that anyone can be redeemed. I will cover the story of each of these women as we venture through the stories in Genesis. 

To quell your curiosity, the women in the painting are Trisha’s interpretation of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. 

Your story may start rough, but God has a plan to redeem it for his glory, like with these women. Hang in there; the ride might be rough, but eventually, it will smooth out, and you will be a better person because of it! We are children of the Most High God, which makes us royalty!

And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I; because that I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more. Genesis 38:26

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

July 19, 2023

Oh, what a tangled web we weave! Back in Genesis 35, Ruben, Jacob's oldest son by Leah, slept with his father's concubine wife Bilhah, and he found out about it. We are in Genesis 37, and the brothers are irritated by Joseph, Jacob's favorite son. They already hated him, but when he told them his prophetic dreams of his brother bowing down to him, they hated him even more. Joseph was sent to the field to check on them. They saw him coming and devised a plan to kill him. Ruben stepped in and didn't allow them to kill him. They threw him in a pit and then sold him to some merchants heading to Egypt. I thought it was noble that Ruben saved him, but as a human, I don't see things the way God sees them. I thought his actions might have covered his sin of sleeping with his dad's wife. Jumping ahead to Genesis 46, when it came time for Joseph to bless Ruben when he was near his death and make him the head of the family, he overlooked him and blessed Joseph's two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. This scenario shows that no amount of good can overcome sin, even saving someone's life. You would think what he did would go a long way and help him, but in his dad's eyes, he was still abhorrent. Only Jesus can cover our sins. It doesn't work to try and cover your evil action with good; God saw what you did. Aren't you grateful for what Jesus has done for us?  

And Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands; and said, Let us not kill him. Genesis 37:21

And Joseph said unto his father, They are my sons, whom God hath given me in this place.And he said, Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them. Genesis 48:9

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

July 18, 2023

God called Esau Edom, probably because he chose food over his birthright. What struck me about his re-naming was that God didn't forget his mistake. Like Esau, we've all done stupid things in our past, and God doesn't forget! We are so unworthy of Him. What can we do to overcome our past? Nothing. Jesus is the only way. We must remain hidden within him so that God only sees the righteousness of Jesus. Do not step out from under his covering.

As can be seen from the scriptures, God gave Esau Mount Seir as his inheritance, so he regulated his time on earth to that area. His sons and grandsons became kings, and some were called dukes while all of Israel lived under the Egyptians' rule. The promise didn't look promising when Israel saw how Edom was living.

Without Jesus, the people of the world earn everything they get in the here and now and are left without anything in eternity. Their property and money rot with them upon their death. Those who trust God and are established in Jesus will live in eternal prosperity. Don't sweat it if you are poor during your short time in the flesh; we have the riches and comfort of our Father to look forward to in our future. Our inheritance is everlasting and stored in Heaven.

Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom. Genesis 36:1

And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel. Genesis 36:31

Monday, July 17, 2023

July 17, 2023

There are some pauses or gaps in the stories of Jacob. When he left home, running away from Esau, it doesn’t mention him visiting his father Isaac, but he still lived, though now Jacob has twelve sons. Isaac got to see them all when they traveled back to the land God gave them. 

From some research, I found that Isaac was still alive when Joseph was sold into captivity by his brothers. Joseph’s dream has his entire family bowing to him. In a couple of chapters over, 37, Jacob reprimanded Joseph for his dream; “Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?” Genesis 37b:10. This verse shows that his mother was probably still alive when Joseph was sold into captivity.

However, in chapter 35, Rachel and Isaac die. Rachel died while giving birth to Benjamin, then Isaac died, being mentioned at the end of the chapter! Because the family was living near Isaac then, he must have known of Joseph being gone; probably, like the rest of the family, he thought he was dead. Maybe Joseph asking about another brother wasn’t a leading question, but because he sincerely didn’t know if he still existed, he probably knew of his mother’s pregnancy. “And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? Genesis 43a:7. Hmm, why didn’t he ask about his mother?

I may not have this timeline exactly right, but it causes me to dig deeper into the scriptures. Why does any of this matter to you? The Holy Spirit tells the whole story through many books, chapters, timelines, and writers; it may be in bits and pieces, but you get all of it if you dig a little deeper. That’s why it’s the inspired Word of God!  

And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. Genesis 35:29

Sunday, July 16, 2023

July 16, 2023

I may have to take a couple of days for Genesis 35 because some unanswered questions may take further biblical research to come up with answers. However, I noticed an interesting feature early in this chapter as God instructed Joseph to go to Bethel. God told them to move, and the inhabitants of the lands they passed through didn’t bother them. I’m sure they were concerned after the revenge Jacob’s sons took over Dinah. I found it most interesting that Jacob made his family bury all their idols, or gods, under a tree before they ventured to the land where Jacob had seen the angels going up and down the ladder between heaven and earth. They were not allowed to be in the presence of God with their fake gods in their possession. He also made them take a bath and put on clean clothes. We know now, because of Jesus, that it’s not about our outward appearance; it was a symbolic gesture representing holiness. The same goes for us! What idol or fake god are you holding onto, preventing you from coming into the presence of God? We cannot stand before Him with the filthy rag of a body if we’ve defiled it with sin; we must be clean, and Jesus is our only way to be clean. Confess your sins daily so nothing prevents God from hearing your requests or acknowledging your worship. Stay hidden in Jesus; he is the only reason God hears us anyway. 

Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: Genesis 35:2