(Tied for the most popular post of 2014 so far, from the archives)
Read Genesis 39:6-23
I don’t know what Joseph’s early responsibilities were when he first began at Potiphar’s house, but they may have been intensely physical, because Joseph was ripped (“well built” verse six tells us). He was also a good looking guy. And because of this, Joseph’s master’s wife notices him, and begins to proposition him, without much in the way of subtlety either.
“Come to bed with me!” she says to him. Read More
A Tale Of Two Sufferings
I never saw this perspective before, but have you ever considered the difference between how Jacob handled his suffering, as compared to how his son Joseph handled what was arguably even worse suffering? I heard this last Sunday from a 20-something.
So Joseph’s seventeen, and he has it made. He’s his father’s favorite. He lives in a wealthy family. And he is given special revelation from God in the form of dreams, dreams of his brothers bowing down to him. But without warning, Read More
And they sang a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9
Not Of This World
“…persons from every tribe and language and people and nation,” they sang. And Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” So patriotism is out right? I mean, Jesus died for every nation so, God doesn’t play favorites. He doesn’t put our country at the top of His list of nations and say, Yeah, they’re the ones to root for, they’re who I favor in the world, so you should favor that nation too. No, He doesn’t say that. So patriotism is out, right? Read More
Doubt and Evolution
I know it bothers some Christians that some of their fellow followers of Christ don’t believe in evolution. They’re embarrassed. They hear the new atheists in the media dogmatically insisting that if you’re a Christian who doesn’t believe in evolution you are delusional, or imbecilic, or loathsome. Richard Dawkins and other new atheists encourage people to ridicule and mock those who disagree with their views. (Hamilton, Dawkins: Mock Them. Ridicule Them. In Public. With Contempt.) Unfortunately that approach has trickled down to too many people. The result is some Christians hear disparaging comments from friends or coworkers who have been influenced by Dawkins and other new atheists–and they feel intimidated.
Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham Read More
Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. (Genesis 8:20)
I think Noah demonstrates for us one of the most important keys there is to walking closely with Jesus Christ. The very first thing Noah did after he stepped off the ark was to sacrifice some of the clean animals and birds to God. I can’t imagine doing that. In my own flesh I would have said, “I have just seven sheep here, should I take the seventh and make a sacrifice? I have to populate the whole world from this diminished tiny herd. Doesn’t it make more sense to wait until the animals have multiplied before sacrificing to You Lord?”
But in the words of Matthew Henry, “Serving God with our little is the way to make it more; and we must never think that wasted with which God is honoured.” Obviously Noah had a grasp of this truth.
And Noah had a grasp of the power of thanksgiving. Imagine with me that you’ve been cooped up in an ark with thousands of animals (and with all of the sanitation issues that implies). You’ve been cooped up like this for more than a year! For 377 days! What’s the first thing you want to do when you get out? Celebrate with a party? Go for a long walk just because you finally can? Build a house for yourself? Play some frisbee football? That’s what I’d want to do but that’s not what Noah did. Noah Read More
From the archives, one of our most popular posts:
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. -Genesis 1:20-23
Scientists are conceding they have grossly underestimated the quantity and diversity of marine life in the ocean. Research scientists from 80 different countries are undertaking a huge census of ocean life around the world. Called the Census of Marine Life, the census effort began in 2000, and ten years later, scientists continue to be amazed at the numbers and varieties of new species they’ve found. In the first three years of the study 160 new species of fish were found each year. That’s about 3 new species discovered every week. As the census has progressed, new species of marine life are being discovered at an even greater rate. One study found 700 new species of crustaceans in an area the size of a small bathroom. (Census of Marine Life) Read More
“But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.”
(You can read Isaiah 53 in its entirety at the bottom of this post)
Isaiah 53 Written After Jesus’ Death and Resurrection?
Isaiah chapter 53 is so descriptive of Jesus Christ it seems out of place. There’s just no way this should be here. It should come after the New Testament, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, not before. Read More
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,” Jesus Christ, John 5:39
In our last post we saw Jesus in the story of Joseph. Today we’ll see Jesus in another Old Testament passage: the story of Abraham taking his son Isaac to sacrifice.
Read Genesis 22
Before Genesis 22, Abraham was last seen together with Isaac when he was celebrating Isaac’s weaning. At that time Isaac was somewhere between three and five years old. Genesis 22 begins in verse one with the phrase “After these things . . .” So fast forward to when some say Isaac is now in his thirties. He’s been the apple of his parent’s eye for thirty or so years now and even as his name means laughter, he’s provided laughter and joy to both Abraham and Sarah. Which as we’ll see makes the next phrase in our story, God tested Abraham, just about as gut wrenching as you can imagine. Abraham is about to hear what to him must have seemed like a very strange request from the Lord. Read More
In last Saturday’s post, Looking for the Living Among the Dead, we saw how Jesus talked to the two men on the road to Emmaus who thought He was dead. “…beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27-34)
Here in Genesis we see what I believe is just one example of how Jesus is found in the writings of Moses and all the prophets. Perhaps Christ even shared something similar with the two on the road to Emmaus.
Joseph’s Response to the Sins of His Brothers
Jacob, the father of Joseph and his brothers, has just passed away. The funeral is over, and the family is back at home in Egypt, trying to return to their normal routine. It’s at this time, all the wrongs Joseph’s brothers committed against Joseph, come flooding into their minds: they hated him because he was their father’s favorite, they plotted to kill him, they tossed him into a cistern, they sold him into slavery, then they lied to their father and told him Joseph was dead.
And now Jacob is gone. And they think Joseph has just been waiting for the right time to settle the score. They think he’s angry. They think he’s ready for revenge. So they throw themselves down before Joseph, the powerful Prime Minister, and beg for his forgiveness. Read More
“Bury me with… Leah.” -Jacob, Genesis 49:29-31
“The primary problem is… learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.” -Stanley Hauerwas, Professor of Ethics, Duke University
Married to a Stranger
It’s impossible to know what your spouse will be like tomorrow, or next year, or next decade. Because life will change him, or her. Finishing school changes him. Age changes her. The hirings, and firings, and battles at work change him. Where she lives changes her. A loved one dying changes her. Having kids changes him. You can’t really know who you will be married to, in the future, because they’ll change.
It’s inevitable: at some point in your marriage, you’ll find you’re married to a stranger. It happens to every one of us.
It happened to Jacob right away. Read More
[To see the last post on Genesis go to The Consequences of Calling Your Own Shots–Genesis 49:29]
So Joseph went up to bury his father. All Pharaoh’s officials accompanied him—the dignitaries of his court and all the dignitaries of Egypt—
Chariots and horsemen also went up with him. It was a very large company.
When the Canaanites who lived there saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “The Egyptians are holding a solemn ceremony of mourning.”
What’s All The Fuss?
I was involved in a huge funeral once. Two friends died in the prime of life, in an ATV accident. They were firefighters and we had this huge procession through town with fire department vehicles. The streets were lined with well wishers. There were even helicopters flying overhead above the procession. One helicopter flew a giant American flag underneath. Another filmed the whole event in high def. Had my two friends been insurance salesmen none of that would have happened. It was their relationship with the fire department that resulted in such an ambitious funeral.
Jacob’s funeral was a much bigger deal than my friends’. Every single one of Pharaoh’s officials were there. Every dignitary from the nation of Egypt was there. All of Joseph’s family was there. Chariots and horsemen were even there. The funeral lasted a whole week. This thing was huge. When the people of Canaan saw it, it was easy to recognize someone very important had passed away. But why? Why was Jacob honored in such spectacular fashion? Read More
Jacob said: “I am about to be gathered to my people.” -Genesis 49:29
Jacob was about to die. He found himself in the same position every single one of us will find ourselves. Jacob was about to be gathered to his people.
And of course, so will you. The question is: Where are your people gathered?
I Have A Confession
I have a confession to make. I have this tendency–I tend to change my worldview to accommodate my own selfishness. Reflecting back I realize I had a desire for personal glory in a variety of arenas. At various times those areas in which I sought my own honor included work, running, hang gliding, and basketball–to name a few. At my core, Read More