Old Testament: Genesis 41:17-42:17
Genesis 41:17-42:17 Cow-towing To Pharaoh
Joseph told Pharaoh that both his dreams meant the same thing: there would be seven years of plenty in Egypt but seven years of famine would follow. Pharaoh was so taken with Joseph that he chose him to be in charge of the kingdom and to charge a 20% tax to prepare for the famine. Pharaoh gave him a wife and some great bling and another coat.
Joseph proceeded to have two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. The plan gave to Joseph resulted in Egypt not only having enough food during the famine but also allowed the nation to gain superiority over its neighbors by supplying them grain. After the famine came, Eygypt sold the grain to people coming from all around the world.
Jacob sent the boys to Egypt to get some grain minus Benjamin so nothing could happen to him. The ten boys had to ask Egypt’s top official for some grain and bowed down to him not realizing it was their brother Joseph. Joseph accused them of being spies and they defended themselves saying they were all brothers from Canaan. Joe threw them in jail for three days and then sent them home to retrieve their remaining brother to prove they were innocent.
In Chapter 41:17-57, Pharaoh reiterated his dream to Joseph (vv. 17-24). Joseph said that both dreams said the same thing: there was going to be seven years of plenty in Egypt but all that was gained would be eaten up by seven years of famine (vv. 25-37). Pharaoh was simply wowed by Joseph and gave him his signet ring and new clothes (what is it with this guy and haberdashery?) and some really cool neck bling (vv. 38-42). Pharaoh chose Joseph to be in charge of everything and to carry out his advice to tax all the produce at 20% to prepare for the famine (vv. 43-49). Pharaoh also gave him a really hot wife (v. 45). Well, the text doesn’t say that but I’m just guessing. He was thirty at the time (v. 46, he was 17 when he first was put into slavery so he had been captive for 13 years). He was in charge of all Egypt with no official higher than him except Pharaoh (v. 40).
Joseph had two sons by his hot wife, Asenath (v. 50). One son was named Manasseh, which means “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household” (v. 51). The other son was named Ephraim, which means, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction” (v. 52). (Asenath means, “hot.” JK. It literally means, she who belongs to the goddess Neith.” So we’re basically back to “hot,” right?)
Things turned out just like Joseph said. He stockpiled more grain during the years of prosperity than anyone could measure (v. 49). The famine followed the years of plenty (vv. 53-54). Joseph had stockpiled more grain for more bread than anyone could ever want – even before the rush when a snowstorm is forecast in Indiana (vv. 55-56). Then the famine came and he sold the grain to people coming from all around the world (v. 57).
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, in Chapter 42:1-17, Jacob’s sons’ stomachs must have been rumbling due to the famine so he said to them, “what are you looking at each other for? Why don’t you go buy something to eat down in Egypt where they’ve stockpiled some grain?” So they did but Jacob held back Benjamin so nothing could happen to him (vv. 1-5).
The ten sons appeared before Joseph as head official of Egypt and bowed down before him. They didn’t recognize him (v. 8). He recognized them, though, and he also remembered his dreams. So he messed with them a little bit (vv. 9-17). Don’t judge. Really, could you trust these guys?
Joseph asked them where they were from (like he didn’t know) and they said they were from Canaan. He accused them of being spies. They told him they were all brothers, their youngest brother was at home and one had died (vv. 13-14). He threw them all in jail for three days (v. 17) but after that time he said he would allow one of them to return home to fetch their youngest brother to prove they weren’t spies (v. 16).
New Testament: Matthew 13:24-46
Jesus told a parable to explain how saved and unsaved would be co-existing in the church. Eventually, in the end, the weeds will be incinerated while the wheat will remain.
Before that happens, the kingdom of heaven will grow in the same way leaven causes bread to grow and rise.
Jesus then describes how He would buy the nation of Israel, a “treasure” in a field. He will also purchase a pearl representing the church.
Matthew 13:24-46 Leaven Heaven
Are there non-saved in the churches today? Jesus told a parable about wheat and weeds growing together to explain the kingdom of heaven. An enemy planted the weeds. Not funny. The enemy is sowing weeds in my yard every year. Anyway, at the end of time reapers, the angels, will separate out the weeds from the wheat and take the wheat to heaven. The weeds will be burned . . . you know, like in Hell. In the meantime, the weeds grow along with the wheat. (vv. 24-30, drop down to v. 36-43 in the text where Jesus explains all this.)
Jesus also said the kingdom of heaven would also be like a mustard seed, the smallest seed (vv. 31-32). (The mustard seed, in context, was the smallest known seed in the area, not necessarily in the world — it doesn’t say “in the world!” There are smaller seeds like the orchard seed in the world.) Though small it would bloom to be huge and birds would nest in its branches. Christianity would grow to huge proportions and bless all the nations, saved or not.
The kingdom of heaven is like leaven as well (vv. 33-35). Leaven or yeast gets its work done. It spreads through dough and causes it to get larger. The kingdom of heaven will likewise grow. And, actually, it did and does.
Jesus tells us more about the kingdom of heaven (vv. 36-43). The kingdom of heaven is like a man who finds treasure in a field. So being pretty smart, he sells everything he has to buy the field and get the treasure that’s buried in it! Jesus is the One who purchases the nation Israel, His “treasure,” for Himself (cf. Exod. 19:5; Ps. 135:4).
A perfect pearl would have the same effect on a merchant (vv. 43-46). He’d sell all he has to buy a really great pearl that he finds. A pearl continues to grow from within like the church grows, organically. Jesus gave His life to purchase the church.
Psalm 18:1-15 Rock On, Pt. 1 A Psalm Of Praise By David
Psalm 18:1-15 Rock On, Pt. 1
Rock is an actor. Rock is a type of music. But most of all, The Rock is our Savior and God. My favorite hymn (a hymn is a reverent song with biblical content that most churches used to sing in their services) is Christ, The Solid Rock (aka The Solid Rock aka My Hope Is Built).
This psalm is so long that it is spread over three days’ readings. It can be found in 2 Samuel 22 in basically the same form. David wrote it after Saul was finally subdued. That is certainly an occasion for praise considering how Saul hounded David. Do you think you have been abused? You probably have and it will help to read about the havoc wreaked in David’s life (cf. 1 Sam. 16-2 Sam. 21).
David begins by praising God for being his foundation (vv. 1-3). He says the “cords of death” surrounded him (v. 4). Jonah said something similar when he was in the whale (aka “big fish,” cf. Jon. 1:17, 2:5b).
Do you cry out to the Lord when you are “in distress” (v. 6). When we were traveling from Atlanta to Dallas to seminary, we rented a U-Haul truck and Brenda was driving our old car behind it. It had had a vinyl roof which became fringe in the course of that trip. I was driving a truck for the first time with everything we owned in it. When we came to Birmingham, Alabama, we had to traverse the interstate that ran around the town. It had a steep embankment that caused the truck (that had everything we owned in it, did I mention that?) to shift to the right, drastically. I later found out that locals nicknamed the area “Dead Man’s Curve” because of all the fatalities in that area.
Brenda could see the truck tip as she drove behind. She only had time to cry out, “Lord, have mercy on us all!” It worked. We made it past Birmingham and all the way to Dallas. Sometimes a little prayer is all that is needed.
The Lord protects His own. He will move heaven and earth to ensure their safety (v. 7). The description in vv. 8-15 reminds me of the description of the Leviathan in Job 41:18-21. You didn’t want to be around when he sneezed (Job 31:18). God is way stronger than a Leviathan. The Leviathan in Job could’ve been a crocodile but it some think it could’ve been an ancient sea monster. That’s what it sounds like. Whatever it was, God was much more powerful. Verses 8-15 show that.
God can blow fire that reveals the foundation of the earth (v. 15). He will someday. Read the end of the book of Revelation. He is capable of “blasting” “hailstones and coals of fire,” and “hailstones and coals of fire” (vv. 12b, 13c). (Note: When using Bible Study Methods, you look for things that repeat, things that repeat.)
Proverbs 4:1-6 Do As I Say, Not As I Do
Proverbs are sayings written or collected by Solomon for his progeny. In these verses, he is passing on wisdom he had gotten from David (v. 3). Fortunately, David had sowed most of his wild oats by the time Solomon was born. He had committed some gross sins before that, you know, stuff like adultery (cf. 2 Sam. 11:3-4), murder (cf. 2 Sam. 11:14-17), stuff like that.
I’m not sure David was around much for Solomon. I’m not sure David was the best father but he did teach Solomon (vv. 4-5) to pursue Wisdom just as he would a woman (v. 6). Maybe Solomon got confused early on and thought David told him to pursue a lot of women.
Perhaps some of Solomon’s 140 wives led him away from the Lord in later life (cf. Song of Sol. 6:8). That is why the NT tells us not to be “unequally yoked: (cf. 2 Cor. 6:14). Nothing can poison our spiritual lives like a boyfriend/girlfriend or spouse that is not committed to the Lord.
Of course, David had a lot of wisdom and a lot of wives. Like father like son. Scripture says that traits of the father, especially sins, are passed on from generation to generation (cf. Exod. 34:7 and the stories of the kings in Kings and Chronicles).
My mother used to tell me, “Do as I say, not as I do.” I think she was kind of kidding. Here, David might have been saying the same thing to his Solly boy.
Choose Life: Scripture: Matthew 13:45-46 NASB “Worth The World”
“ . . . the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46
This parable, and the one before it about a treasure in a field, is often taken as an exhortation for people to trust Christ and obtain Heaven. However, a person cannot buy salvation. Christ purchased salvation for us (cf. 1 Cor. 6:20; 2 Pet. 2:1).
The person in the parable buys the field and according to Matt. 13:39, the field is the whole world! A sinner, even Donald Trump, wouldn’t have enough money to buy the whole world. It is Christ Who purchased you!
Isn’t that exciting? Christ bought up the whole world to get you! OK, well you and the whole world (cf. today’s blog, Cow-Towing To Pharaoh, more specifically Christ bought Israel and the church).
Been feeling down lately? Wondering if God really cares about you? These parables indicate that you are “worth the world” to Him. You are like a pearl and a treasure in a field. Do you choose to believe that today?
And if you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Jesus actually gave up the world for you. Did you realize that? He had His chance. Satan offered Him all the kingdoms of the world and He passed them up for you (cf. Matt. 4:8-10). It was a legit offer since God had given the devil dominion over the world (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4; John 12:31; Eph. 2:2).
So you are worth more to God than everything in the world. But how do you feel about things? Here’s what the Scripture says about the world, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Would you give up everything in the world to have better relationship with God?
If you do, you’ll be blessed.
The purpose of Choose Life is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: Cow-Towing To Pharaoh