Spiritual Rants: January 21, “The Cost: A Benjamin” Daily Readings to read through the Bible in a year: Genesis 42:18-43:34 Matthew 13:47-14:12 Psalm 18:16-36 Proverbs 4:7-10

Old Testament:   Genesis 42:18-43:34

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Genesis 42:18-43:34    The Cost:  A Benjamin

Summary:  Joseph get the boys locked up for three days before sending them back on their way.  He kept brother Simeon as an encouragement for them to come back.  Joseph could overhear eldest brother Rueben saying that they were getting what they deserved for mistreating him.  Joseph put grain in their sacks for the trip but the boys thought it was a “set up.”

When they got home, Jacob was distraught.  He thought he had lost another son, Simeon.  The boys said they could retrieve Simeon if they brought little brother, Benjamin, with them when they went back to Egypt.  The boys thought they were in really bad trouble when they found the grain Joseph had stuffed into their sack.  Reuben vowed to bring Benjamin back to Jacob alive but the Dad was really leery, thinking they had messed things up enough already.

Finally, Jacob allowed the brothers to go back down to Egypt.  Jacob thought he could ply the harsh Egyptian taskmaster, Joseph, with double the money for grain and by offering what was in their bags along with nice stuff from the men’s department of the local store and some treats.

Joseph had the boys over for dinner. They bowed down to him just like in Joe’s dreams.  They didn’t recognize him.  The harsh Egyptian official kept asking personal questions about their family which they thought was strange.  Joe was especially glad to see his blood brother, Benjamin, but couldn’t really let on how happy he was.

In Chapter 42:18-38, after three days of incarceration, Joseph sent the boys on their way back home but kept Simeon, one of the brothers, just as he said (vv. 18 – 24). He could obviously understand the boys but they didn’t know it since he had an interpreter with him (v. 23). Joseph could hear Reuben saying they were getting what they deserved for allowing him to be “killed” (vv. 22-24). Joseph ordered that they all receive grain for their trip and that they get their money back that they paid. Of course, the boys didn’t know this and were terrified when they came to a rest stop and found their money back in their pouches (vv. 25-28). They thought God was punishing them. Funny thing, conscience.

When the guys got back home, they told Jacob the deal: they were supposed to bring Benjamin back to Joseph and then Simeon would be released (vv. 29-34). They were extra scared (v. 37) because when they got home they found out they all had their money that they brought to Egypt to pay for the grain and figured they were really in big trouble with whoever that really harsh Egyptian guy was (Joseph). Reuben swore he’d bring Benjamin back safely to Jacob (v. 37) but Jacob said they had fouled things up enough and he didn’t want them to take Benjamin (v. 38).

In Chapter 43, after a discussion, Jacob sent the brothers back down to Egypt, Reuben promising to take care of Benjamin. Jacob told them to take double the money plus what was in their bags along with a present of some hand cream, a little honey, some nice smelling gum and a little myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds. He figured this might soften the harsh Egyptian guy (Joseph) and hoped the money in the bags was just a mistake by somebody (vv. 1-15).

When they got back to Egypt, Joseph had them over for dinner. The boys thought that Joseph thought like they did. They thought he was having them for dinner and to accuse them of stealing the money so he could keep them as slaves (v. 18).

The boys told the house official about the extra money in their pouches (vv. 20-22). He told them not to worry about it that God must’ve been taking care of them (v. 23a). Simeon was released for the banquet (v. 23b). Joseph came in and the boys bowed down to him just like in Joseph’s dreams (v. 28)! He asked about their father and how they all were doing. They gave him the presents they had brought and they bowed down to him again! When he saw his brother Benjamin, he had to go out and weep for a while then splashed some water on face and came back (v. 30).

Joseph couldn’t sit with his family. Egyptian rules, no sitting with Hebrews (v. 32). He seated them in order of their birth which kind of freaked them out (v. 33). And he made sure they had plenty of food and even served them himself, bringing Benjamin five times as much as everyone else (v. 34)!

New Testament:  Matthew 13:47-14:12

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Summary:

Jesus told one further parable about the kingdom of heaven, saying it was like a fisherman who uses a net and pulls up all kinds of fish, good and bad. The bad fish get thrown out like when the angels will sort out the saved from unsaved at the end of time.

He said that the Hebrew religious leaders who believed in Him had a double blessing.

Jesus was a failure in His own hometown.  He said prophets weren’t honored in their hometowns.

King Herod offed John the Baptist by separating his head from the rest of his body while his rotten, little stepdaughter danced.

Matthew 13:47-14:12    Dancing With The T’trarchs

Jesus told one more parable about the kingdom of heaven. He said it was like a fisherman who uses a net and pulls up all kinds of fish, good and bad. Then he throws out the bad fish. He said this would be like when the angels will sort out the saved from unsaved at the end of time (vv. 47-50).

He said that the Hebrew religious leaders who accepted Him had a double blessing since they understood the Old Testament as well as the new truths he was teaching (vv. 51-52).

Jesus went back to his hometown and taught and did miracles (vv. 53-54). People were amazed but then some rejected Him to the point He couldn’t do many miracles anymore (vv. 54, 58). That is when Jesus came up with the saying, “a prophet gets honored everywhere except in his own hometown” (v. 57).

Wicked King Herod Antipas the Tetrarch, not to be confused with his more wicked father who slaughtered the innocents in chap. 2 or Herod Archelaus or Herod Philip usually called Herod II, thought John the Baptist had come back to life in Jesus because He was doing so many miracles (vv. 1-2). Herod had John the Baptist imprisoned because he called a spade a spade about Herod marrying his sister-in-law (v. 3). At his birthday party, his step-daughter danced so well he stupidly promised her anything (vv. 6 -7). She asked that John’s head be brought out on a platter (v. 8, ew!). He didn’t really want to but he did it because he didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of his guests (v. 9). John’s disciples took the body and then told Jesus what happened (v. 12).

A tetrarch is technically a ruler over a fourth of kingdom but when Herod the Great (slight exaggeration, he wasn’t even very good) died, Rome divided Israel amongst his three sons.

220px-Palestine_after_Herod

The Division of Herod’s Kingdom (from Wikipedia):Green: Territory under Herod Archelaus, from 6 Iudaea ProvincePurple:  Territory under Herod Antipas  (our boy from today’s blog)Orange:  Territory under Herod Philip IIGrey: Salome I (not the same “lady” as in our story today, cities of Jabneh, Azotas, Phaesalis)Green:  Roman province of Syria Yellow Autonomous cities (Decapolis

Psalm 18:16-36   Rock On, Pt. 2    A Psalm Of Praise  By David

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Psalm 18:16-36  Rock On, Pt. 2

Today we continue with the second of three parts of Psalm 18.  It is a psalm of praise by David for being delivered from his enemies.  God saves us from enemies every day as we continue to trust Him moment by moment.

Have you ever been pulled under by the undertow at the ocean?  It’s scary.  David said God rescued him from “waters” (v. 16).  Water in Scripture is often symbolic of trouble and chaos.

Are  you being confronted by anything that you think is “too mighty” (v. 17) for you?  My stove going out is too mighty for me.  So are car repairs.  And the hot water heater freezing.  They can result in a “day of calamity” (v. 18).  But the Lord can bring you into a “broad place” (v. 19) and rescue you.  A “broad place” is a place where you can just relax and not worry, kinda like by “still waters” (cf. Ps. 23:2).

God “delights” in you (v. 19) if you’re trying to please Him and living in trust in Him (cf. Heb. 11:6).  He counts you as “righteous,” then (v. 20, cf. Rom. 1:17; Hab. 2:4).

If you are living by faith and trust in Christ:

v. 21   You’ll try to do the right thing

v. 22  You keep His commandments (cf. 1 John 2:3-4)

v. 23  No one will be able to find fault with you

v. 24  You won’t do bad stuff, you’ll keep your nose, and, well, your hands “clean”  (cf. Acts 24:16)

I’ve noticed over the years that people who don’t really want to do what God wants them to do will find excuses why they can’t (vv. 26-27).  Those who are seeking God find Him (vv. 25-26, cf. Jer. 29:13).  You can really see what God is like when you are “blameless” (v. 25) and “pure” (v. 26).

God will show you the way to go if you trust Him (cf. Prov. 3:5-6).  I like using the “three lights of guidance” to know what God wants me to do:  1)  the Bible  2)  circumstances  3)  the peace of the Holy Spirit (see Three Lights Of Guidance).  God will light things up for you, if you trust Him (v. 28).

I love verse 29!  Superman could “leap tall buildings in a single bound.” He was also “faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive.”  According to verse 29, though, David could take on a troop and “leap over a wall.”  The NT says, “I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13  NKJV KJV NLT).

God Himself is blameless (v. 30).  That is why the blameless can see Him so well (cf. vv. 23, 25).  He will be a “shield” and protect them (v. 30b).  Notice that when you have a shield, you are not immune from attack.  You are just protected.

God is a rock, verse 31 reiterates the second verse of the psalm.  Rocks are used for a foundation.  We can depend on something that is hard and not malleable to hold us up and not give under us.  God is our rock.  Trust Him.

David did not always want to go into battle but when he did, God prepared him.  God made him strong (v. 32), gave him the all important “high ground” in battles (v. 33), and gave him talent with powerful heavy metal bows (v. 34).

David knows Yahweh will save him (v. 35a).  Jesus will help him who is at God’s right hand (cf. Psa. 16:11).  A person’s right hand is usually their strong hand (cf. Ps. 89:13).  It is also associated with victory in Scripture (cf. Isa. 41:10 NLT  RSV).

David is so strong through God that he can be gentle (v. 35).  Do you know why you get very powerful amps for your stereo?  Not just so you can blast them.  It’s so the soft portions come through clear.  See what you learn by reading this commentary?

Verse 36 doesn’t mean that David had big feet.  It meant that God kept him steady as he walked in Him.  Remember parallelism in Hebrew poetry?  Feet not slipping and “enlarging” steps are similar.

We’ve called this psalm a psalm of praise but it also could have been classified as a psalm of trust or confidence.  Do you see why?

Has it increased your confidence and trust in the Lord?  Has it made you want to praise Him?

Then it’s done its work.

Proverbs 4:7-10   Keep Your Head In The Game

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There was a old Steve Martin routine:  “How to become a Millionaire.”  Here’s how Steve said to do it, first, get a million dollars.  Thanks, Steve.

Here’s how Solomon said to get wisdom.  First, “acquire wisdom” (v. 7).  Thanks, Solly.  And while you’re at it, get understanding.  Wow.  Isn’t wisdom the same as understanding?

I think it may be like my video on How To Read A Bible Verse.

I think Solly is saying that you have to be on the alert to learn and understand things.  You have to keep your head in the game.  Years ago when I was working for a radio station, I played on their softball team.  I was just standing on second base where I was supposed to be during warm-ups.  I didn’t seem to be needed so I started reviewing my Bible Memory verses.  All of the sudden my brain went blank as I was hit in the head with the ball.  Apparently, the coach of the team was a lot more invested than I was at the time.  He thought I was just in a daze so he threw the ball and hit me in the head shouting, “Hey, get your head in the game.”

The point is, if you keep your head in the game of life and trust the Lord, you will acquire wisdom.  “Prize” wisdom (v. 8) and she’ll put a “garland of grace” on your head (v. 9).  You might look a little funny but you’ll know what grace is.

Solomon told his son to listen to him and he’d live a long life just like Commandment No. 5 says (cf. Exod. 20:12).

Choose Life: Scripture:  Matthew 13:49-50  NASB    “Going My Way?”

“So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”   Matthew 13:49-50

I can’t understand why everyone thinks they are going to live forever.  I don’t think it used to be that way.  Maybe it was.  Everyone drives around, doing whatever they want with no thought that it’s all going to end and they’ll have to appear before God to give an account.

Solomon said in the book of Ecclesiastes that it was better to go to a funeral than to a party (cf. Eccles. 7: 2, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, And the living takes it to heart”).

Hebrews says that ” . . . it is appointed for man to die once and after that comes the judgment” (Heb. 9: 27).

Everyone who is not saved will stand before God at the judgment (Rev. 20:11 see blog, The GWT).

On . .

the . . .

other . . .

hand . . .

If you have trusted Christ . . .   you will not stand at that judgment (there is another judgment for believers but just to receive awards, the bema seat judgment, cf. Rom. 14:10, 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 2 Cor. 5:10).

What verses 49-50 above describe is the reverse of the Rapture.  Instead of the believers being taken to Heaven, the unsaved are taken to judgment at the end of the Tribulation period.  The ones who remain at that point are the fortunate ones (cf. Matt. 24:20-21, this is not the Rapture, this is the end of the Tribulation when one person is taken to judgment and the other is left).

How is this an uplifting blog as advertised?  Well, if you’re not saved, hopefully you are now scared enough to trust Christ and escape the Great White Throne Judgment where is there is only one outcome (starts with an H and ends with double hockey sticks).  There is no condemnation for those who have trusted Christ (cf. Rom. 8:1; John 5:24).  If you have not trusted Christ and you trust Him today, this could be the happiest day of your life!

If you have already trusted Christ, you should also rejoice that you have avoided the absolute worst catastrophe in your life, or more accurately, in your afterlife.

Trust Christ today.

And if you do, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application: 

I’ve mentioned before just how to be sure you’re saved but let me go through it again.

How To Be Sure You’re Going To Heaven (no fine print, no caveats):
1) Admit that you are a sinner and have offended God (Rom. 3:23).

2) Believe that Christ took the penalty for our sins that we deserve
(Rom. 5:8).

3) Personally trust Christ
(Rom. 10:9b, 10a).

4) You can absolutely be sure you are going to Heaven
(1 John 5:13; John 5:24).

1 John 5: 13 says something really unique (really unique is really redundant since unique means “one of a kind”).  It says you can be sure that you are going to go to Heaven.  That is what sets biblical Christianity apart from the world religions.  Christianity, in its biblical form, is not a religion.  It is a faith.  Religion is man seeking God.  Christianity is God seeking man.  See the difference?  It is an enormous difference.

If you trust Christ, you will go to Heaven.  You can’t lose your salvation because you didn’t do anything to gain it.

Get it?

You should.

You’ll be blessed if you do.

For eternity.

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:  The Cost: A Benjamin

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