Well, my friends Cheryl and Lauren will be happy to know that last night I turned off my 5 am alarm and slept in until 6 am today. The extra rest will be helpful because our reading today is chockfull of truth. This will not be short so as Lauren says, “Buckle up butter cup!” We are going to tackle this one section at a time.
Genesis 37: 1—38: 30
All I can say is thank God that He blesses this family because the only thing they are faithful in is deception. As an over achieving perfectionist stories like this give me heart palpitations. I start thinking, “Why is this in here? Where are the people who do what God says all the time?” And yet, despite their behavior, God does in fact bless the. What is up with that?
The conflict here is all mixed up in pride, self promotion, sibling rivalry and greed. God is on the move. He is showing them, through these dreams that He is picking Joseph to be the chosen one. The brothers will not submit to this so they start plotting. I see this jumping off the page….They don’t want to submit to what God is doing so they start plotting to make dreams come true. It just doesn’t work that way with God. We see Ruben try to do the right thing. In the story before he tried to claim his fathers concubine. In context this was his attempt to exercise his right as first born. Maybe he learned his lesson and is trying to not be a jerk now? But in the end the brothers all go back and deceive Jacob, again.
Remember that Moses is writing this story to instruct the Israelites. In this next story we read about what life is like if you go against what God says and assimilate with the Canaanites. The whole, “your brother died so marry his wife so you can carry on his name thing” will actually be a recorded custom for the Israelites later in Pentateuch. Tamar is after security and protection. Remember the Canaanites don’t believe in God. Judah, having assimilated into their culture acts like he doesn’t know God either. Tamar has to trick Judah into acting the right way. God tells them not to marry the Canaanites but once they do, He expects them to act godly to them. Judah engages in prostitution, (uggh! come on man!) and takes the bait Tamar has set. His hypocritical character is exposed when he finds out she is pregnant. She has the proof so he is forced to do the right thing.
So does God sweep a story like this under the rug? What am I supposed to take away from this? I mean do the right thing seems an obvious application. Don’t engage in prostitution, don’t deceive people and don’t sell your brother are also good applications. But here is something more…….Tamar and Judah are listed in Jesus’ genealogy (Matthew 1:4). This story if full of sin and debauchery and yet out of it comes a plot point in the line of our SAVIOR!! As I sit with this truth I see that God is not shocked by sin. He uses it all. To teach, to move the story along, to bring the Savior and to ultimately bring us back to perfection. It all hinges on Him. Thank God, because if it was based on us, we would still be lost. What He is doing in this story is teaching us that it is not about us and our behavior, it is about Him and His Character!!!!
Matthew 12: 22-45
The crowd following Jesus is finally starting to get it! This is the Messiah! Unfortunately this makes the Pharisee’s “Blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.” This means that Jesus is standing right in front of them performing miracles with the power of the Holy Spirit and they are saying He is actually working for the devil. This is a grievous mistake for them. Just like the brothers did not like God picking Joseph as the chosen one so they started plotting to kill him, the Pharisee’s did not like God picking Jesus and they start plotting to kill him.
They go to Him and say, “Ok give us one more really good sign so we know you are the real God.” He calls them an evil and adulterous generation! He has been performing miracles during Him ministry and they will not get another one until He give them the sign of Jonah. He is talking about His death. He then warns us, that if we see the miracles and do not step into the faith we will be worse off than before! The faith has to fill up our empty hearts. Don’t beg for signs and wonders when He has already given us the ultimate sign, His death and resurrection. Put your faith in that, not the miracles.
Psalm 16: 1-11
I am terrible at scripture memorization, but this feels like a Psalm I should have memorized. So many of God’s characteristics are covered and they are the ones we need when we are in trouble. Also, I am so thankful for my godly friends. They make life possible.
Proverbs 3: 27-32
This proverb could be titled what “Solomon would have said to Jacob’s boys.”
Do not withhold good.
Do not plot harm.
Do not pick a fight.
Do not envy violent people or copy their ways.
This could also be titled, “How to stay out of jail.”
Let’s all stay out of jail today, have a good one!😘