Category Archives: 01 – Genesis

God’s Intentions


Daily Bible Reading – Genesis 49,50; Psalm 8; Luke 20

Today’s Key Passage – Genesis 50:15-21

 

During Joseph’s life, many people had evil intentions for him.  When he was very young, his brothers plotted to kill him and later sold him into slavery.  While living as a slave in Egypt, the wife of his master lied about Joseph because he refused to sleep with her and had him put in prison.  While in prison, he interpreted a dream for the chief cupbearer and asked the cupbearer for his help in getting out of prison, but when the chief cupbearer was restored to his position by Pharaoh, he selfishly neglected to do anything to help Joseph.  It seemed that throughout Joseph’s life, people continued to try to harm him, but each step of the way God was with him.  All of these events eventually led Joseph to a position of power later in life, and in this position, Joseph was able to save Egypt as well as his family from a famine that lasted seven years.  Even though many people had evil intentions for Joseph, God’s good intentions for him always won out in the end.

We all may face people in our lives that have evil intentions for us.  Some people might lie about us to try to ruin our reputations.  Others might try to hurt us emotionally by hurling insults at us.  Still others might try to hurt us physically.  Even if there are not evil intentions, we still might face trials in life.  We might lose our jobs, lose a family member or a close friend, or lose our possessions.  Through it all, though, we can rest in the promises of God.  As the children of God, we know that God has a plan for each of us and we know that His plan is good.  God will not allow other people’s evil intentions or bad situations to undermine His plan or His intentions for us.  His good intentions will always overrule anyone else’s intentions.  Out of the worst scenarios, God can and will bring good things and will do whatever He needs to do to keep us moving toward His ultimate goals for us.  Often during the times of trials, it will be difficult or maybe even impossible for us to fathom what possible good might result, but we can be sure that God will find a way.  Just as He used Joseph’s tribulations to place him in the right position at the right time, He will do the same for us.  When you are hurting, trust in the Lord.  When you are worried, trust in the Lord.  When you are devastated, trust in the Lord. In all things, trust in the Lord and cling to Him, and remember His words to us from Jeremiah 29:11-12 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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People Can Change


Daily Bible Reading – Genesis 44-46; Luke 18

Today’s Key Passage – Genesis 44:1-34

 

A few days ago, we read about Judah when he was a younger man.  Judah led the charge to sell his brother Joseph into slavery because of his jealousy (Genesis 37:27), and then lied to his father Jacob about what had happened (Genesis 37:32).  He later visited a prostitute (Genesis 38:16), but then wanted to have his daughter-in-law killed for being a prostitute (Genesis 38:24).  The picture we saw of Judah in these early years was not a good one.  He was a jealous, deceitful, and selfish man who did not seem to care about how his actions would affect anyone else.  Now, years later, we see a much different person.  While pleading his case to Joseph, he does not try to concoct an elaborate lie but instead tells the absolute truth.  When faced with his brother Benjamin becoming a slave, he was willing to sacrifice himself in order to save Benjamin.  The Judah we read about in chapter 37 and 38 was a changed man.

Some people, prior to conversion, believe they are too bad to come to God.  Some people run from Him because of the shame they feel over the things they have done in the past.  After conversion, some people look at others and think they are too far gone to give their lives to Christ.  When they see a person who has done horrible things, they immediately think the person cannot be saved.  The story of Judah (as well as countless other stories in the Bible) illustrates a very simple point – people can change.  None of us have the ability to change ourselves, but God can bring tremendous changes to people’s lives.  I can honestly say that I am a completely different person then I used to be – I think differently than I used to think and I act differently than I used to act.  Many of you can probably say the same thing.  I know that the change that took place in my life had nothing to do with what I did, but instead it has everything to do with what God did in me.  If you are ever ready to give up hope on yourself or on someone else, remember the story of Judah.  Remember how a broken man was made right by God.  Remember that God has the power to change each of us.  Remember that people can change.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Running From Temptation


Daily Bible Reading – Genesis 39-41; Luke 16

Today’s Key Passage – Genesis 39:1-12

 

Joseph had come a long way since being sold into slavery by his brothers.  He was now in charge of Potiphar’s entire household in Egypt.  Everything that belonged to Potiphar was entrusted to Joseph’s care, with the obvious exception of Potiphar’s wife.  His wife, however, began to take notice of Joseph and continually asked him to go to bed with her.  Joseph remained firm in his faith, because he knew that if he gave in to temptation he would be sinning against himself, Potiphar, and Potiphar’s wife.  More importantly, he knew that sleeping with her would be a sin against God.  We see in verse 10 of today’s key passage that Joseph refused to “even be with her” as he attempted to avoid temptation altogether.  Potiphar’s wife, though, waited for the most opportune time to attempt her temptations of Joseph, and when she found a time when all of the other servants were out of the house she attacked Joseph.  She grabbed him by the cloak and attempted once again to tempt Joseph into going to bed with her, but Joseph slipped out of his cloak and ran out of the house.

This is the way the temptation to sin usually works.  More often than not, sin tries to find the most opportune time to tempt us, and more often than not sin is very persistent in trying to tempt us.  As followers of Christ, most of the time we are able to identify these temptations.  It does not matter what type of sin we are talking about – we know what sin looks like and we know that giving into these temptations is a sin against not just ourselves but God himself. When we are strong in our faith, we are able to resist these temptations by simply refusing to give in, as Joseph did many times with Potiphar’s wife.  Sometimes, though, simply refusing to give in might not be enough.  Because we live in a world full of sin, we are likely to find ourselves in situations where we might need to take more drastic action – we might need to run away.  In some cases, running away might be figurative, but in other cases, we may literally need to run away from a situation.  In these times of temptation, the greatest defense we have is the Word of God.  Our relationship with Him gives us the strength and courage to overcome any temptation.  It is His power working in us that gives us to ability to refuse sin, and it is His guidance that tells us when we need to run away.  His power and guidance are always with us.  When faced with these situations, all we have to do is listen to Him and follow where He leads.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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The Lesser of Two Evils


Daily Bible Reading – Genesis 37,38; Psalm 7; Luke 15

Today’s Key Passage – Genesis 37:12-28

 

Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son, and all of his brothers hated him for it.  They were jealous of the way Jacob treated Joseph and of the finely ornamented robe he had been given.  Joseph did not help matters much as he told his brothers about two different dreams he had in which everyone was bowing down to him.  His boastful attitude made his brothers hate him even more.  Therefore, when his brothers saw him coming in the distance, they plotted to kill him.  At first, they were going to kill him outright and say that an animal ate him.  When Reuben heard this plan, he convinced his brothers not to kill him but instead to throw him into a cistern and leave him there.  To the other brothers, this plan sounded better because they would not have to face the guilt of killing their brother, so they threw him in the cistern.  Then when they saw the Ishmaelites coming, Judah came up with another idea.  Instead of leaving Joseph in the cistern, they could sell him to the Ishmaelites as a slave.  The brothers likely would not have expected Joseph to survive long with the Ishmaelites as a slave, so they could in essence let the Ishmaelites do their dirty work for them.  Once again, this seemed like a better plan to the other brothers because now all of the guilt for Joseph’s eventual demise could be passed off onto the Ishmaelites instead of themselves.

Twice in today’s key passage, we see the brothers choosing the lesser of two evils.  When they first had to choose between killing Joseph outright or throwing him into the cistern, they chose the lesser of two evils.  When they had to choose between leaving him in the cistern or selling him to slaves, they chose the lesser of two evils.  When faced with a choice that is obviously wrong, it can sometimes be easy to choose an option that seems a little bit less wrong at the time.  Obviously, the brothers knew that killing Joseph was wrong.  They knew they would feel guilty if they sinned in this way, so when a slightly less repulsive option came along, they jumped at it.  The problem in this thinking is that even when you choose the lesser of two evils, you are still choosing evil.  While “the lesser of two evils” is a catchy phrase that makes for a nice title to a blog post, the fact is there really are not degrees of evil.  The way God sees it (and the way we should see it too) there is only good and evil.  When we make choices, we make either a good choice or an evil choice.  There is no middle ground or grey area when it comes to good vs. evil.  Just as we cannot half-heartedly decide to follow Jesus, we cannot choose an option that is inherently evil and then justify our choice by deciding it is less evil than the alternatives.  When we are faced with two options, our first question should be to test whether or not either option is good and right.  If neither of our options appears to be the right thing to do, we must keep searching for more options.  God will never allow us to be faced with a situation where there is not a “good” path to take.  Sometimes, though, we may have to spend some time in prayer to find that option and avoid choosing the lesser of two evils.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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The Power of Prayer


Daily Bible Reading – Genesis 31-33; Luke 13

Today’s Key Passage – Genesis 32:1-12

 

It had been twenty years since Jacob had last seen his brother Esau.  The last time they were together, Jacob had stolen Esau’s birthright as well as their father’s blessing.  Yet when God directed Jacob to go back home, he immediately started the journey.  He sent word ahead of him to his brother Esau to let him know he was coming home.  The reply he got back must have been terrifying.  His messengers reported to him that the man he had cheated out of so much in life was coming to meet him and was bringing with him 400 men.  Jacob was overcome with fear as he thought about his brother attacking his people and his family.  Jacob could have run around trying to figure out what to do.  He could have broken down, mired in worry and doubt.  Instead, when he heard this news that brought so much fear and anxiety into his life, he decided to stop everything he was doing and pray.  In his prayer, he praised God for all He had given him and asked God for His protection.  Later when they finally met again, instead of attacking Jacob, “Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.” (Genesis 33:4)  Just as God had promised, he protected Jacob from harm during this meeting.

Prayer is a powerful thing.  Prayer can heal disease, protect people, and bring people to Christ, but prayer is not just about coming up with a laundry list of all the things we would like God to do for us.  That is not the purpose of prayer.  Prayer is about humbling ourselves before God.  It is about admitting that we do not have all the answers and that we cannot solve all of our own problems.  When we go to God in prayer, we honor his greatness and we praise Him for all of His blessings.  When we are faced with challenging circumstances, we can run around trying to figure out a solution on our own.  We can become overwhelmed with worry, fear, and doubt about what is going to happen.  Alternately, we can stop everything and go to God in prayer.  God offers each of us absolute protection – not necessarily from all things that might harm us in this world, but from anything that might hurt us in our eternal life with God.  He has guaranteed our salvation and our eternal safety with him.  All we have to do is ask.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Living For Today


Daily Bible Reading – Genesis 25,26; Psalm 6; Luke 10

Today’s Key Passage – Genesis 25:19-34

 

In the days of Jacob and Esau, a birthright was an important thing.  As the firstborn son of Isaac and Rebekah, Esau was due certain rights and privileges.  Esau would have been entitled to receive a double portion of the family’s inheritance.  In addition, Esau would have one day become the leader of the family.  These rights and privileges, the birthright of Esau, could be sold or given away at his discretion, but if that happened, the action was permanent.  Esau would have lost material possessions and his future leadership position in the family if he gave away his birthright.  It almost sounds crazy for anyone to want to give all that away, but as we see in today’s key passage, Esau was living for today.  In that moment, he was hungry.  He had been out all day and came home to find Jacob cooking stew, and wanted to have something to eat.  Jacob took advantage of the situation and tried to blackmail his brother with the stew he had made.  A rational person would never have traded away a birthright for a little bit of stew and some bread, but Esau was not thinking rationally.  He saw something that he wanted, and he was willing to give up everything to get it.  His need for immediate gratification was enough to outweigh any future benefits he would have received with his birthright.

How many times have we all found ourselves in a situation similar to Esau’s?  In the moment, we find ourselves wanting something.  It might be a shiny new item that we see at the store that we just have to buy right now.  It might be that piece of cake on the dessert tray that looks so good.  It might even be a temptation to sin.  When we are faced with these situations where immediate gratification seems to be the only answer, we can easily find ourselves doing something foolish like Esau did with his birthright.  When we live only for today, we can sometimes lose sight of how important tomorrow is in the big picture.  The shiny new toy that you had to have is great until you cannot afford to pay the bills at the end of the month.  The piece of cake tastes great until you remember how many miles you would have to run on the treadmill to burn all of those calories.  The sin may bring temporary pleasure to the flesh, but the resultant guilt and shame will cause you to pull further away from God.  The world tells us to live for today for tomorrow we will die, but living for today can do irreparable damage to ourselves and others when it makes us forget what is truly important.  Our lives here on this earth are not the end game.  This place is just our temporary home.  Our future reward is eternal life with the Father.  When we live for that future instead of just living for today, we can avoid the kind of devastating mistakes that we will later regret.  Pray for God to give you the strength to stop living for today, and pray for Him to give you the courage to live for your tomorrow with Him.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Following Our Lead


Daily Bible Reading – Genesis 23,24; Luke 9

Today’s Key Passage – Genesis 24:1-27

 

Following Sarah’s death, Abraham (who was now getting very old) wanted to find a wife for his son Isaac from within his family (which was a common practice in the day).  Abraham asked his chief servant, Eliezer, to go to the land where Abraham’s relatives lived to find a wife for Isaac.  Eliezer agreed and went to the town of Nahor to find the bride.  Now, Eliezer had undoubtedly spent a lot of time with Abraham.  He had seen Abraham’s faith and he had likely learned all about God from his master.  So when he arrived in Nahor to search for a bride, he knew that he needed to seek God’s help.  Eliezer understood from watching Abraham all those years that without God’s leading bad decisions could be made.  Instead of trying to rely on his own devices, Eliezer prayed for God to show him the right woman to choose for Isaac.  He allowed God room to operate to find the right woman who would have the right heart to be Isaac’s wife, and following his prayer he waited and watched.  Fortunately, he did not have to wait for long before God answered his prayer and found the perfect woman.  When Eliezer realized that Rebekah was indeed the woman God had chosen and that his prayer had been answered, he immediately thanked and praised God.

If Abraham had not been a good witness to Eliezer, this story would have gone much differently.  The way Abraham lived his life provided direction for Eliezer.  Eliezer learned about God and about faith from watching Abraham, just as our friends and family members can learn about God and about faith from watching us.  What message would others learn from watching our behavior?  Would they see us putting God first?  Would they see us asking God for direction for our lives?  Would they see us waiting, watching, and allowing God to operate in our lives?  When our prayers are answered, would they see us thanking and praising God?  Our witness for God is one of the most important things we can do, and rest assured that, just like Eliezer, others are watching and learning from our behavior.  When our behaviors are in line with God’s expectations, we know that anyone else following our lead will also walk the correct path.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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The Lord Will Always Provide


Daily Bible Reading – Genesis 20-22; Luke 8

Today’s Key Passage – Genesis 22:1-14

 

Today’s key passage is one of the greatest acts of faith and obedience in the entire Bible.  Abraham had waited for one hundred years to have a child with his wife Sarah.  God promised him a son, even in his old age, and to his and Sarah’s amazement God came through for them and gave them Isaac.  After all of this, God came to Abraham and told him to sacrifice his son.  Abraham’s response to this request is incredible – without hesitation, he did exactly what God told him to do.  He did not argue.  He did not complain to God about how unfair it was.  He did not ask, “why me?”  He simply obeyed God.  When he got to the place God had told him about, he bound his only son and placed him on the alter he had built.  Abraham was not just “playing along” here – every indication is that he fully intended to sacrifice his son to God.  Of course, God stopped him and told him not to harm Isaac.  God also offered an alternative for Abraham – he gave him a ram to sacrifice in place of his son.  Abraham knew that one way or another, the Lord would provide for him.

When I read this story, I cannot help but see the parallels to the life of Jesus Christ.  In Abraham, we see a father who is willing to sacrifice his only son because of his great love for God.  In God, we see a Father who is willing to sacrifice his only Son because of his great love for us.  In both of these stories, a father’s love is demonstrated so clearly by an act of sacrifice.  In Abraham’s story, he did not have to go through with the sacrifice.  A replacement was found in the form of a ram that could take the place of Isaac.  In the story of Christ, Jesus was the ram.  See, in the story of Jesus all of us are basically like Isaac.  We were all bound up in our sins and placed on the alter to be burned.  Jesus was the replacement.  Just like the ram, Jesus was offered as a sacrifice instead of us.  He gave His life so that we do not have to.  He gave His life so that none of us has to face the fire.  What an enormous gift He has given us.  When God saw Abraham’s need for a sacrificial animal He provided a ram.  When God saw the world’s need for a savior He provided Jesus Christ.  In all things and in all times, the Lord will always provide.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Never Look Back


Daily Bible Reading – Genesis 18, 19; Psalm 3; Luke 7

Today’s Key Passage – Genesis 19:1-26

 

Living in Sodom for so long, Lot and his wife were surrounded by evil.  1 Corinthians 15:33 tells us that, “bad company corrupts good character”, and that is exactly what had happened to Lot.  When Lot went out to warn his sons-in-law of God’s coming judgment, they laughed at him because Lot was no longer a credible witness for God.  He had gotten used to his comfortable lifestyle in Sodom where he had wealth and status.  By God’s grace, Lot and his family were shown mercy and were allowed to leave Sodom before its destruction.  When the angels told Lot to leave Sodom, he hesitated because he did not want to give up his lifestyle.  When the angels finally convinced Lot and his family to leave, they warned him not to look back.  Sadly, Lot’s wife was not able to walk away from her lifestyle in Sodom without remorse.  On the way out of town, she could not resist taking one last longing look back at her past life.  When she did, she immediately became a pillar of salt.

Like Lot and his family, each of us has been offered a chance to be saved by God’s grace.  By faith in Jesus Christ, we do not have to be part of the fiery destruction that is to come.  To accept his offer, all we have to do is leave behind our sinful pasts and follow Him out of our current circumstances.  When we accept His gift, though, we must be willing to turn away from all of our past unrighteousness completely.  How can we attempt to move forward with Him if we continue to cling to our past lives by looking back longingly at our sins?  Once you have received God’s forgiveness and mercy, never look back.  When we begin our walk with God, everything worth looking at is right in front of us.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Building Our Own Tower of Babel


Daily Bible Reading – Genesis 9-11; Luke 4

Today’s Key Passage – Genesis 11:1-9

 

According to the Bible, after the great flood a unified people who all spoke the same language migrated from the east to a land called Shinar.  Once there, the people decided to build a tower that reached to the heavens.  The tower of Babel must have been quite a sight.  Similar structures built in Babylonia around this time, called ziggurats, were sometimes as high as 300 feet and often just as wide, so the tower of Babel was likely at least this big.  In this early period of history with no modern building techniques or equipment, a building of this size would be quite an achievement for humans.  While the building of the tower itself was not necessarily sinful, the reason for its construction was.  The people wanted to build a monument to themselves, rather than to God.  They wanted to show everyone how great they were by building this tower.  When God saw this, He realized that this achievement was possible because the people all spoke the same language, so to stop the people from building this tower He confused their language and scattered the people over all the earth.  God was not upset by the building itself, but He obviously did not approve of the motives of the people.

Today, we all run the risk of building our own towers of Babel.  When we buy a big house, or a new car, or expensive gadgets or clothes, these items themselves are not necessarily sinful.  The potential for sin lies in WHY we purchase these things.  Do we buy a house simply to provide a place for our family to live, or do we buy a big house because we want to impress others?  Any time we try to call attention to ourselves and to our own achievements, we are in essence building a tower of Babel.  When we build these towers, they might actually be taking the place of God in our lives.  God wants to be first in our lives, and He deserves to be first.  Have you built any towers of Babel in your life?  Are the monuments you have built designed to give glory to God or to yourself?  For many of us, these are difficult questions, but they are questions that we must constantly ask ourselves as we attempt to walk with God.  Before you build another tower of Babel in your life, think about how He might view it.  When we let the Holy Spirit guide us, we will not have to worry about where He leads.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

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