Old Testament: Genesis 44:1-45:28
Genesis 44:1-45:28 The Jig Is Up
Joseph tested his brothers by having his steward fill their sacks with grain and money. He also had an expensive silver cup implanted in Benjamin’s sack, Joseph’s only full brother.
The steward stopped the brothers on the way out to check to see if they had Joseph’s “missing” cup. He found it in with Benjamin’s stuff. Joseph was testing his brothers to see if they’d changed at all. Apparently, they had. Judah offered himself in place of Benjamin.
Joseph finally gave up the jig (cf. jig, no. 2, don’t you watch 1930’s movies?). He told them, “I am Joseph!” He sent the boys back with plenty of provision to preserve Jacob and the patriarchs. Jacob about died. Then he said he was going to go down to Egypt to see Joseph for himself.
In Chapter 44, Joseph tested his brothers while they were leaving to see if they had learned this lesson. He had his steward fill all their sacks with grain and money (v. 1). He also had them put Joseph’s own silver “divining” cup in Benjamin’s pouch (v. 2). Remember Benjamin was the youngest brother, the one Jacob favored the most and the one he most wanted returned to him.
The steward stopped the brothers on the way out saying Joseph had “divined” that his cup was missing (vv. 5, 15). The steward looked through their packs starting with the oldest, the tension mounted till he got down to the pack of the youngest, Benjamin. In Benjamin’s sack, he found the cup (v. 12)! Judah spoke for them all and begged for mercy from Joseph (v. 33, Judah, the namesake of the tribe from which the Messiah would proceed, offers himself in exchange for Benjamin just as Jesus would offer Himself years later) . They had passed the test.
In Chapter 45, Joseph was overwhelmed with emotion and had the boys removed from his presence. Then he wailed like a little girl. They could hear him all the way to Pharoah’s house (v. 2). Then he had the boys brought back in and said, “I am Joseph!” (v. 3a). Because he was. The boys about wet themselves (v. 3b).
He sent the guys back with all kinds of provisions including grain, donkeys and changes of clothes (vv. 16-22a) . He explained to the boys that God had sent him ahead to preserve the patriarchs and the family implying the boys were only pawns in God’s chess game of life (vv. 7-8). He gave an extra portion to Benjamin and for Jacob (vv. 22b -23). As they left Joseph yelled, “Don’t quarrel on the way!” (v. 24). I think he was being a little sarcastic.
The guys got back to Jacob and told him all that had happened including the part about Joseph ruling over Egypt (vv. 25-26a). Then Jacob about wet himself (v. 26b). But he gathered himself and said I’m going to go down to Egypt and see him for myself (vv. 27-28).
New Testament: Matthew 14:13-36
Jesus fed as many as 15-20 thousand men, women, and children from just five loaves and two fishes. There were twelve baskets left over.
Then Jesus went up on a mountain to pray alone. But . . . oh, noo! The disciples got caught in a storm and Jesus walked out to them. Peter got out of the boat and nearly sank but Jesus caught him.
A lot of people were healed just by touching the fringe of Jesus’ coat. (I guess they were a fringe group, v. 36 NASB)
Matthew 14:13-36 A Gospel Hem
Jesus gave everyone a free dinner because it was getting late and they weren’t near any restaurants (vv. 13-20). He fed five thousand men from just five loaves and two fishes (v. 21). He also fed women and children but they were not counted in the five thousand. The total could have been between 15,000 and 20,000. So that would be .006 pieces of bread each (if there was 18 slices of bread in a loaf) and .000133 pieces of fish. There were twelve baskets left over. This really does not compute unless you figure there must have been a miracle. Plus everyone would have still been hungry, I think.
Jesus sent all the people away and he went up on a mountain to pray (v. 23). He sent the disciples across the lake (v. 22). By the time he was done praying, the disciples found themselves in a squall on the water (v. 24). Jesus walked over to them — on the water (v. 25). The disciples thought it was a ghost (v. 26). Jesus said, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (v. 27). I don’t know if that would have done it for me. I think I still would have been afraid.
Peter wanted in on the action and directed the Lord to command him to walk on the water (v. 28). So Jesus ordered him to do it (v. 29). He started toward Jesus and then realized what he was doing and . . . promptly sank (v. 30a). He cried out, “Lord, save me!” (v. 30b). Jesus rebuked him for not having enough faith (v. 31). When they got back in the boat, the wind ceased (v. 31). The disciples worshipped Jesus (v. 32). They confessed that He was the Son of God (v. 33). That was the same thing as calling Him God.
After they crossed the lake, a bunch of people found Him and were cured by touching the hem of His garment (v. 36, cf. Matt. 9:20). A gospel song, “Touch The Hem Of His Garment, was popularized by Sam Cooke in the 1960’s.
Psalm 18:37-50 Rock On, Pt. 3 A Psalm Of Praise By David
Psalm 18:37-50 Rock On, Pt. 3
Here’s the last of the three parts of Psalm 18. It is a psalm of praise by David for being delivered from his enemies. It is also a psalm of confidence or trust because he has had faith in the Lord to deliver him. Do you have problems today (rhetorical question)? God can help you as he helped David.
Just as in verse 2 and yesterday in verse 31, so today we see in verse 46, David refers to the Lord as a rock. Would you rather build a house on sand or on a rock surface? If you want a secure building, you’d probably choose a rock surface (cf. Matt. 7:24-27). David was saying that God was his firm foundation. There was a hymn written about that, How Firm A Foundation.
David is ecstatic that his enemies have been subdued (vv. 37-40). Aren’t you, even if it’s a sale you needed to make, a family problem you worked out, a furnace that needed to be fixed?
Sometimes we grow the most when we are threatened or suffering (v. 41). Wait, sometimes? OK. Like always when we are under extreme pressure, we are able to trust God and the end result is that we know Him better (vv. 47-48). Our Rock crushes our enemies into dust that flies away in the wind (vv. 41-45, esp. v. 42).
When someone does something extraordinary for you, don’t you want to shout it to the world? That’s what David was doing (v. 49).
There’s that word hesed again in verse 50. It is translated “lovingkindness” in the NASB and “unfailing love” in the NIV. It represents God’s covenantal, binding love to the Jews. It also represents His binding love to us today. He is bound to you as you trust Him.
The venerable old, nineteenth century saint, Andrew Murray said, “God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.”
Are you bound to Christ (cf. Matt. 11:28-30)?
Then cast all your anxieties on The Rock (cf. 1 Pet. 5:7; Phil. 4:6-7).
Proverbs 4:11-13 Though You Stumble, You Won’t Fall
Years ago, when I was trying to get to seminary in Dallas, I got stuck parking cars in the Atlanta Hilton. My boss thought I must know everything about the Bible so he asked me where the Bible said that if we stumble, we won’t fall. I sure didn’t know everything about the Bible then or now. But I did own a concordance. Today we have powerful software. So I looked it up. It’s in Psalm 37, verse 24 in the NIV, “though he may stumble, he will not fall . . . .”
I think he had heard it in a Michael W. Smith song, “The Race Is On.” Check out his version in concert. Do you even recognize him from back then?
Proverbs 4:11-13, esp. verse 12, is the Solomonic version of David’s Psalm 37:24. I guess he listened to his Dad a little bit.
Choose Life: Scripture Matthew 14:31 NASB “Surf Or Turf?”
“Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?'” Matthew 14:31
This is the passage where Peter walks on the water . . . kinda. Actually, he commanded Jesus to tell him to get out of the boat and come to Him (v. 28). Jesus was certainly walking on the water (v. 26). And He accommodated Peter and told him to get out of the boat and come to Him (v. 29).
What seemed like a really cool idea to Peter, walking on the water, didn’t seem so cool once he realized what he was doing and that there were really big waves around (v. 30). Jesus had to reach out and keep him from going under (v. 31a). Jesus said Peter didn’t have much faith. Further, Jesus described Peter’s problem as “doubt” (v. 31b).
Jesus’ half-brother, James, wrote about doubt. He said, “[a person] must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-8).
Peter started out surfing. Another second and Peter could have been in the surf. He would have eventually landed in the turf.
How’s your faith doing? Hebrews says, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). A few verses later it says that we can’t please God without faith (Heb. 11:6).
So what’s your faith been like lately? Surf or Turf?
Trust God today. Don’t doubt.
And if you don’t, you will find that you are choosing life (Deut. 30:19)!
What are you trusting God for this morning? Health? A new heating and cooling system? A snow blower? Someone close to you to trust the Lord? Whatever it is, are you asking in faith without doubting?
Here’s one of my favorite verses on prayer: “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you” (Mark 11:24, the sense is “already received them”). One of the ladies in my former church used to remind me that God answers one of three ways, “yes, no, or wait.” She was 104 years old when she went to be with the Lord. I think she knew what she was talking about.
However God answers, our responsibility is the same. We should pray without doubting and believing that we’ve already received our answer.
What are you praying for today?
Are you praying in faith?
You’ll be blessed if you!
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 Jig Is Up