Old Testament: Genesis 39:1-41:16
Genesis 39:1-41:16 A Dreamy Guy In Trouble
Joseph was put in charge of all Potiphar’s household. Potiphar’s wife had the hots for Joseph and tried to seduce him. It was a “no go.” Joseph fled and left another coat behind him. Po’s wife was really torqued and accused Joseph of trying to seduce her! Obviously, her hubby had Joseph thrown in prison.
In prison Joseph met a butler and a baker who each had dreams. Joseph interpreted their dreams: the butler would live but the baker would be offed. He asked the butler to try to help him after he got out of jail. The butler forgot until the Pharaoh had a dream he didn’t understand. That jarred the butler’s memory so he told Pharaoh about Joseph. Pharaoh asked Joseph to interpret his dream about seven fat cows who got eaten by seven skinny cows.
In Chapter 39, Joseph prospered in Potiphar’s house, so much so that Potiphar put him in charge of everything but his food (vv. 4, 6a).
It turns out that Joseph was not only smart but quite the hunk (v. 6b). So much so that he caught the attention of Potiphar’s wife. She tried to seduce him . . . unsuccessfully (vv. 7-11). There’s nothing like a woman scorned, you know. Someone said that. (OK, it wasn’t Shakespeare, it was William Congreve, 1670-1729, in The Mourning Bride, paraphrased, “love has no fury like a woman scorned.”)
When Joseph wouldn’t succumb to her wiles, she yanked off his coat (coat thing, again) as he fled and used it to “prove” to her husband that Joseph tried to rape her (vv. 12-18). So Potiphar, naturally, threw him in prison (v. 20). So then, guess what? God caused Joseph to prosper in jail (vv. 21, 23). The jailer put Joseph in charge of everything there, too (v. 22)!
Meanwhile in Chapter 40: 1 – 16, Pharoah’s chief butler and chief baker were thrown in jail (vv. 1-3, where the chief candlestick-maker was, I don’t know). They both had dreams (v. 5). The butler’s was about cup-bearing which was his main duty (vv. 9-11) and the baker’s was about baking (vv. 16-17). The butler’s had three vines in it and the baker’s had three baskets of bread in it. Joseph said that the three vines and three baskets of bread represented three days. In fact, after three days the butler would be restored to his position but after three days the baker would be offed (vv. 12-13; 18-19). So Joseph asked the butler to remember him before Pharaoh to get him out (v. 14, it would do no good to have the baker pulling for him). Of course, the butler forgot . . . until one day . . .
The Pharaoh had a couple dreams. One was about seven fat, ugly cows (no, literally, seven fat cows) who got eaten up by seven skinny cows and another dream about seven fat sheaves of grain getting eaten up by seven skinny sheaves of grain. Afterward, the skinny cows and grain were still skinny (vv. 1-7)! None of Pharoah’s smart guys could interpret (v. 8) and then, finally, the butler’s brain came back to life (v. 9). He told Pharaoh about Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams. Joseph was summoned and after a nice, hot shave and change of clothes, he appeared before Pharaoh (v. 14). Pharaoh said he heard Joseph was good at dreams but Joseph said, “no, God is though” (vv. 15-16).
New Testament: Matthew 12:46-13: 23
Jesus says believers are more His family than his own family is His family.
Jesus starts teaching in a disguised way called parables so as not to throw His pearls before swine like the religious leaders (cf. Mt. 7: 6). He tells a parable about seeds on how people will respond to His message. No one hardly gets it so He takes His disciples aside and explains it to them.
Jesus quotes the OT to show that the Jewish nation was clueless about what He was trying to tell them.
Matthew 12:46-13: 23 A Seedy Parable
Jesus is teaching somewhere and someone tells him He has a call from his mother and brothers. Jesus rudely asks, “who are my mother and brothers?” The answer turns out it’s US! Everyone who does the will of His Father in heaven is the brother, mother, or even sister of Jesus (vv. 46-50)! That’s everyone who trusts Him for salvation (since that is the “will of His Father in heaven” to trust Him).
Jesus now starts to teach in parables. A parable is a story that explains a spiritual truth in the Bible. Why was Jesus using parables now? He was protecting Himself and the disciples so He could continue to teach despite the “violence” being done to the kingdom (see 11:12 above).
To illustrate Jesus tells a parable about a sower going out to sow seed (vv. 3-9). There were four types of seed: 1) some fell along the road and were eaten by birds (v. 4), 2) some fell on rocky places with no depth of soil (v. 5, 3) some fell among thorns (v. 7, 4) and some fell on good soil (v. 8).
Jesus quotes Isaiah 6:9-10 to indicate that the Jewish nation as a whole was blind and also couldn’t hear Jesus’ announcement of the kingdom (vv. 10-17). In contrast, the disciples could hear Jesus and could understand the parables. They privately got the explanation of the parable of the sower and the seed (vv. 18 -23): 1) Satan snatches some away, 2) some people have no depth to their belief and lose it through trials, 3) some lose it through worries and greed, 4) finally, others lead a lot of people to the Lord.
Psalm 17:1-15 The Big Apple A Lament By David
Psalm 17:1-15 The Big Apple
Here’s another lament written by David. You know, if you were chased as much as he was, you’d write a lot of laments, too. He was surrounded by people whose only hope was in this world. I’ve never understood why people don’t realize that they need to be living for eternity (v. 14). Can’t they see that this world is just temporal? That’s why Solomon said it was better to go to a funeral instead of a party (cf. Eccles. 7:14, Dead Lion’s Club).
David thinks pretty highly of himself. He says he doesn’t have “deceitful lips” (v. 1) and asks for God’s judgment” and “equity” (v. 2). He says that God has “tried” (v. 3a) and “tested” him (v. 3c) but not anything. Isn’t this strange for a man who slept with one of his most trusted friend’s wives and then had him killed (see Taking A Bathsheba)? This psalm may have been written before that incident or David may have understood, that the same as today, our righteousness comes not from ourselves but through our faith in Christ (cf. Rom. 4:3; Gen. 15:6).
David goes on to vindicate himself. He tried to avoid violent men (v. 4). He had called on the Lord in the past and he hadn’t tripped up (v. 6, 5). He asked for the Lord’s hesed, lovingkindness and binding, covenantal love to protect him (v. 7).
You probably thought that New York City was the Big Apple. Ha. Turns out, it is David. He’s the Big Apple (8). “Apple of my eye” is a phrase that indicates that someone is deeply beloved and favored by someone else. How could David have been the Big Apple after some of the low things he had done and that Yahweh knew he would do? Why did the Lord favor David over Saul? Saul didn’t commit adultery or have his best friend offed. (He did try to do away with David and his son, Jonathan, on occasion though. OK, and he consulted with a witch once, also.) David trusted the Lord and wanted to obey Him, usually. It was David’s heart that earned him favor with the Lord. If you have a heart for the Lord, you generally will be OK, too. God will “hide [you] in the shadow of [His] wings,” too.
David’s enemies were severe. They wanted to plunder him and had surrounded him (v. 9), they were insensitive and arrogant (v. 10), they had surrounded him (v. 11). Did I write “surrounded” twice? So did the Scripture. They must have really been running rings around him.
His enemy was “like” a lion. His enemy wasn’t a lion. His enemy was like a lion. Note, too, that Peter said that Satan was “like” a lion. The devil is not a lion. He is a fake lion. Jesus is the true lion (cf. Rev. 5:5). He is the One people should fear. If we submit to the True Lion (cf. James 4:7), we have nothing to fear from others. We should “cast our care on Him” (1 Pet. 5:7 HCSB KJV).
David asks God to take on his enemies for him, even piercing them with a sword (v. 13). Many people are just trying to grab all the gusto they can get today. They don’t think ahead to what may come in eternity. The most they think about eternity is to work on leaving inheritances for their children (v. 14e).
In contrast, David was looking forward to seeing Yahweh face to face (v. 15). His “righteousness” in faith, allowed David to know God in an intimate way (v. 15a). When he awoke from his death sleep, he expected to see the Lord (v. 15b).
Proverbs 3:33-35 Graced Or Dis-Graced?
You might think wicked people prosper (cf. Ps. 73). Especially when they cut you off in traffic in their luxury cars. I know I do. Boy, they make me mad. In reality, though, they are cursed (v. 33a). And, in reality, the faithful are the ones who are blessed. I’m learning the joys of eating at home, realizing that eating out is usually unhealthy and will shorten my life. Luckily, I’m poor so I got to live long enough for that realization. I guess if I was really rich, I’d have a chef and he’d make really healthy stuff at home. . . . Nah!
The Lord scoffs at the scoffers (v 34, cf. Ps. 2:4b NIV). Ha ha! He laughs at them (cf. Ps. 2:4a).
Aren’t afflicted people generally humble? That’s whom the Lord blesses (v. 34, cf. James 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:5). He shows them His grace, unmerited favor, something for nothing. He has no expectations for them to be accepted. God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Divine Influence. You get the idea.
The wise, God’s favored people, will be honored. Fools, aka unbelievers, will just continue to be dis-graced (v. 35).
Choose Life: Scripture: Matthew 12:50 NASB “Jesus’ Peeps”
“For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:50
How cool is this verse today? Did you realize that Jesus considers YOU closer to Him than His own flesh family on earth? Well, Mary and James and Jude came out OK we know. Maybe others of His immediate family, too. But at the time that Jesus spoke these words, YOU and me and a few others you may know were closer to Him than His own family! How can that be?
Here’s how. Jesus said, “whoever [did] the will of [His] Father” is His “brother and sister and mother,” in others words, His family. Who are those who would do the “will of His Father”? The will of God is that a person trust Christ (” . . . not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance, ” 2 Pet. 3:9b).
A person who trusts Christ is a believer. A believer is in Christ’s spiritual family. In fact, in the book of Hebrews, the author says that Jesus is our older brother! “For both He who sanctifies [Jesus] and those who are sanctified [believers] are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren” Heb. 2:11.
The conclusion: if you have trusted Christ, you are closer to Him than some of His own flesh and blood family members. You are part of Jesus’ spiritual family which is a lot better. Amazing, isn’t it? If you haven’t done it already, trust Christ and be part of His spiritual family.
And if you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
Are you feeling lonely today and without any friends? If you have trusted Jesus, He is with you. You are not alone.
My daughter just made me a mug for Christmas that has my favorite verse on it:
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3: 17
That’s from the NIV11 translation. The fourth line in the original NIV is “He will quiet you in His love.” I like both.
How are you feeling now?
Trust that verse and 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: A Dreamy Guy In Trouble