It is important for us (and the Israelites Moses is writing this for) to know that God approved of this journey to Egypt. As we move through the story we are going to see the Israelites disobey God by leaving the promised land. This is not the case here. God was moving them to Egypt to grow his tiny chosen nation.
Remember when we come across genealogies and death they signify a transition. We are moving into the “Israel, a chosen nation of God living in Egypt” chapter of this over arching story. (That chapter title is my creation and not ordained by God. I do what I want.)
As I read through the part today of Joseph providing food for the people of the world I found myself going, “Oh come on man, just give them the food.” But it doesn’t work that way. He requires payment, then animals, then land, then he taxes them. Joseph was the wise one who took heed of Gods’ dream that warned them of famine and stored up food so therefore he could provide food for them from the storehouse. At the end of the famine the people say, “You have saved our lives!” It has just hit me that sometimes God asks us to be wise and store up food in preparation for a famine. And sometimes He asks us to humble ourselves and ask for help from people who have been more wise than we have been. In each way we learn to deny ourselves and rely on the Lord. But he never rewards us by just giving us hand outs when we have ignored His warnings.
Matthew 15: 1-28
I just love Jesus. The pharisee’s ask, “Why don’t you follow the traditions?” Jesus answers back, “Because your traditions contradict the Word of God.” This must have been an intense scene because look how the disciples react. They say to Jesus, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” Do you remember those moments in High School when your friend who was the mouth shot off something that you knew was going to make the other clique mad and you found yourself trying to back away and retreat because you knew you would have to get involved because you were her friend and part of the group? That is how I picture this. Like, Jesus is talking to the Pharisees, Peter hears it and looks at John nervously. His eyes say, “You realize because we have thrown our lot in with Jesus we are about to get our butts kicked?” The disciples are thinking do we run? Do we hid? But Jesus gets to the heart of the issue. (Pun intended) He tells them to ignore the Pharisee’s. He says the that the traditions don’t matter, the heart matters and that is what He is going after in them.
This next part can be a little confusing if we forget the over arching story. Remember the Messiah was promised to the nation of Israel. In our OT reading we are learning about this promised Messiah through promises God makes to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. At this point in the story Jesus is still offering the Promised Kingdom to Israel. So here where the Gentile woman is asking for Him to heal her daughter, He is making it clear that He is offering the Kingdom to Israel. The foreshadowing is that eventually He will move on to offer it to the Gentiles (us non-jews) in a new way. Essentially He is teaching us that the blessing will come through Israel, but will spill over on to everyone.
Psalm 19: 1-14
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies proclaim His craftsmanship. I love this declaration. The Psalm goes on to encourage us that everything God creates is good. I also love the fact that the last lines are, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you,” since Jesus just told us in the NT reading that those things are what defile us. May my words and thoughts be pleasing to You, my rock and my redeemer!!
Proverbs 4: 14-19
Man living out the wisdom in this Proverb is the hardest part of life on earth. You cannot live halfway doing evil and halfway doing things God’s way. You are either in darkness or light. We have this tendency to think we can “manage” the evil parts of our lives. This Proverb says you can’t, it says you have to turn from evil and run! Evil wants you to stumble and stay in the dark.