The Life of Joseph Lesson 17 Chapter 49 Levi

*Charts and other Visual Aids are included in The Life of Joseph Lesson 15 Chapter 49 Reuben File

Levi

Birth order: 3 (Genesis 29:34)

Hebrew name: לוי

Transliterated: Levi (pronounced lev ee)

Meaning: “attached” (Genesis 29:34)

Mother: Leah

Color: black, red, & white

Stone: bareqet (emerald?) (Exodus 28:17)

Associated symbol: chosen

Position around tabernacle: around (Numbers 2:17)

Banner: the color of his flag was a third white, a third black, and a third red; embroidered on it were the Urim and Thummim

 

Key verse

Order of Birth :

  • Third Born

Genesis 29:34 34 Then she [Leah] became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi,[d] for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!”

Mother:

  • Leah

Genesis 29:34 34 Then she [Leah] became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. He was named Levi, for she said, “Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons!”

Vital Statistics:

  • Where: Canaan, Egypt
  • Occupation: Shepherd
  • He took 3 sons into Egypt

Genesis 46:11 11 The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

Strengths and Accomplishments:

The Bible does not tell us a whole lot about Levi the man. I could not find anything about his strength and accomplishments.

The progeny of Levi were called the Levites. Perhaps the best know Levites are Aaron and Moses. The ancestors of Levi were chosen to assist the priests. Aaron was a descendent of Kohath, Levi’s son, but he and his descendants were given the office of priesthood. Aaron and the firstborn son of the descendants of Aaron were dedicated to the service of the Lord. A special ceremony was performed to anoint the man dedicated to this special task or privilege. Their duties were to officiate before God on behalf of God’s people as priest. (Exodus Chapters 28-29)

 

Weaknesses and Mistakes:

  • Simeon and Levi had terrible tempers. They were violent men who disregarded law and life. Genesis 34:24-31
  • Levi (with his brother Simeon) slaughtered the men of an entire city to avenge his sister, Dinah.  Genesis 34:24-31

 

Genesis 34:24-3124 So all the men in the town council agreed with Hamor and Shechem, and every male in the town was circumcised. 25 But three days later, when their wounds were still sore, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, who were Dinah’s full brothers, took their swords and entered the town without opposition. Then they slaughtered every male there, 26 including Hamor and his son Shechem. They killed them with their swords, then took Dinah from Shechem’s house and returned to their camp.

 

Jacob Last words:

  • Jacob’s last will and testament contained a curse on Simeon and Levi. Jacob calls them murderers and animal abusers. He does not want to have anything to do with their meetings or plans. He was not proud of these sons.

Genesis 49:5-7 “Simeon and Levi are two of a kind; their weapons are instruments of violence.May I never join in their meetings; may I never be a party to their plans. For in their anger they murdered men, and they crippled oxen just for sport. A curse on their anger, for it is fierce; a curse on their wrath, for it is cruel; I will scatter them among the descendants of Jacob; I will disperse them throughout Israel.

Moses’ blessing on descendants or tribe:

Deuteronomy 33:8-11(AMP)

 8 Of Levi he said,

“Your [f]Thummim and Your Urim belong to Your godly man [Aaron],
Whom You tested and proved at Massah,
With whom You contended at the waters of Meribah;

Who [g]said of his father and mother,
‘I did not consider them’;
Nor did he acknowledge his brothers,
Nor did he regard his own sons,
For the priests observed Your word,
And kept Your covenant.
10 
“The priests shall teach Your ordinances (judgments) to Jacob,
And Your law to Israel.
They shall put incense [h]before You,
And whole burnt offerings on Your altar.
11 
“O Lord, bless Levi’s substance (ability),
And accept and take pleasure in the work of his hands;
Crush and shatter the loins of those who rise up against him,
And of those who hate him, so that they do not rise again.”

The Urim and Thummim were objects used like lots or dice at critical moments in the history of God’s chosen people when special divine guidance was needed to seek out His will for the people. (Exodus 28:30 ; Leviticus 8:8 ; Ezra 2:63 ; Nehemiah 7:65 ; Deuteronomy 33:8)

Massah is an unidentified place in the Desert of Sinai. It is the location where the Israelites tested God because they were thirsty. (Exodus 17:1-7) A similar incident took place approximately 40 years later in Maribah. (Numbers 20:1-17)

Land assigned by Moses:

  • The Levites did not receive a portion of land. The Lord alone was their inheritance as outline in Numbers 18:20-21; Deuteronomy 18:1-8; Hebrews 7:5.

Joshua 18:7

“The Levites, however, will not receive any allotment of land. Their role as priests of the Lord is their allotment. And the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and the half-tribe of Manasseh won’t receive any more land, for they have already received their grant of land, which Moses, the servant of the Lord, gave them on the east side of the Jordan River.”

Numbers 18:20-21

20 And the Lord said to Aaron, “You priests will receive no allotment of land or share of property among the people of Israel. I am your share and your allotment. 21 As for the tribe of Levi, your relatives, I will compensate them for their service in the Tabernacle. Instead of an allotment of land, I will give them the tithes from the entire land of Israel.

Deuteronomy 18:1-8

18 “Remember that the Levitical priests—that is, the whole of the tribe of Levi—will receive no allotment of land among the other tribes in Israel. Instead, the priests and Levites will eat from the special gifts given to the Lord, for that is their share. They will have no land of their own among the Israelites. The Lord himself is their special possession, just as he promised them.

“These are the parts the priests may claim as their share from the cattle, sheep, and goats that the people bring as offerings: the shoulder, the cheeks, and the stomach. You must also give to the priests the first share of the grain, the new wine, the olive oil, and the wool at shearing time. For the Lord your God chose the tribe of Levi out of all your tribes to minister in the Lord’s name forever.

“Suppose a Levite chooses to move from his town in Israel, wherever he is living, to the place the Lord chooses for worship. He may minister there in the name of the Lord his God, just like all his fellow Levites who are serving the Lord there. He may eat his share of the sacrifices and offerings, even if he also receives support from his family.

Hebrews 7:5

Now the law of Moses required that the priests, who are descendants of Levi, must collect a tithe from the rest of the people of Israel,[a] who are also descendants of Abraham. 

 

Life Lesson:

I think it is worthy to note in Deuteronomy 33, that each tribe received a different blessing. The blessings included land, strength, safety, priesthood, etc. God gives each of us a unique gift too. However, we tend to covet others people unique gift or compare our lives with others.  We compare our children, homes, appearance, clothes, etc. Because of this, we have a tendency to think God may love one of his children more than the other. GOD DOES NOT LOVE ONE CHILD MORE THAN ANOTHER. That is a human failing. God gives each person a chance to come to salvation. God gives each of us unique talents and gifts. We are to use our gifts as the body of Christ outlined in 1 Corinthians 12. Each gift or blessing given by God is special and unique. All these gifts are needed to complete his plan and purpose in your life and the lives of others. All gifts bring glory, honor, and praise to God. All gifts bring others to salvation.

I will be honest and tell you I have to stop myself from comparing my gift of teaching with some of my close friends. My dear sisters in Christ, Cristel and Christy, have the gift of uplifting and encouraging others. God seems to give them the unique ability to love and encourage people. Their sweet gentle spirits and loving nature always leaves those around them feeling better. I am envious at times of this, especially when I am talking with a person who is very depressed or broken.

As a teacher, when I see someone who is hurting, I tend to point out certain scriptures or promises for them to hold on to, or explain a lesson I have learned similar to the same thing I do with these lessons. Let’s be honest, when you are hurting you may not be receptive to this approach. Sometimes, as a teacher, I have to point out a behavior that is misguided or correct a person. I feel like I am kicking a person when they are down when I have to do this. It seems their gifts flow easily but mine involves planning, writing, researching, WORK!

Some people have told me they are envious of my gift or teaching and writing. To them, my gift seems to come easily. It appears I am confident, well-read, etc. However, they do not see all the times I have to pray and ask God for wisdom, guidance, and direction to teach a lesson. They never see how difficult it is for me to try and accommodate each learning style. They never see how my heart breaks for each one of the people who come to me for advice and guidance. They never see how I cry for them behind closed doors for God to give me the right thing to say to people before I visit or answer a question. Honestly, sometimes I flat do not have an answer for the person.

I am human too. I am learning too. Just because I know a truth from God’s word and know the answer does not mean I know how to practically apply it to my own life or do not struggle with sin. They do not realize it takes a whole team of prayer warriors behind me doing spiritual warfare on their behalf and on my behalf. I have to go to these women and say, “My soul is weary. My heart is broken because of what I had to deal with this week. I am a fallen warrior. Please stand the front line in prayer for me because I am a wounded soldier in God’s army.” To many, I look strong, courageous, and confident. Only those chosen few I surround myself with, know my weaknesses and my heart.

During these moments, I have to seek counsel or encouragement from them. I have to seek tech advice since this is an online Bible Study. I have to seek advice from those who have the gift of administration and organization because I could not possibly complete all these tasks myself. Sometimes, they have to step forward and correct me. Maybe I am being prideful. Most times, I am so wrapped up in the technical aspects of my gift of teaching; I forget my job is to notice what others are not saying. I may not notice a person is hurting. A remark I made off-hand may have been taken wrong and I hurt a person. Because I tend to be a blunt matter-of-fact person, I often forget it is not what I say sometimes but how I say it that may offend people. Then, I look at Cristel or Christy and it is very easy for me to go to God and play the comparison game! Then, God reminds me that I am being silly. I do not have to have all these gifts. His grace is sufficient. He has surrounded me with these other women for a reason.

We also need to say thank you to those whose gift may not be as glamorous. I hate finance meetings! Numbers and budgets, make my head spin. However, they are a necessary part of any church. Even though I am a published writer, I have never been paid any money for my articles. However, I have been blessed to spread the gospel through my column Southern Mama because Christy allows me this privilege and honor in her magazine Brooks and Company. She pays for it out of her own pocket!  I have never been good at remembering dates or sending cards and encouragement. That is Cristel’s responsibility.

While I have spoken mostly of the women who make this ministry possible, there are men behind the scenes as well. Matt, Christy’s husband, handles a variety of things that make B&C magazine possible. My husband who works 45+ hours a week to support our family to allow me to be a stay-at-home mom and he attends Liberty University to receive his degree in theology and doctrine is always there for me. I can always draw upon his wisdom knowledge of the scriptures to help me.  A.J, my son provides tech support. Y’all have no idea how quickly I can crash a computer! I am talented like that! These women, men, and many others I have not named are all at work behind the scenes in my life. They get little recognition but they serve where and when they can. I simply use these people as an example of how much of ministry work is not seen. I am envious of Christy’s beauty and her sweet personality. I am envious of Cristel’s level headed common sense and her ability to minister to others as she does. These men’s gifts of administration, information technology, and wisdom astound me. It is easy for me to get jealous when A.J. performs nothing short of a miracle to resurrect my computer back from electronic death! Then God reminds me, that He gave each of us a certain gift. All our gifts combined are what makes the Life of Joseph possible.

My point is this; do not be envious of someone else’s blessings or gifts. Instead, I and you need to look for our gifts and decide to do the job he has assigned for us to do. He has a unique plan and purpose for each of our lives. He has called us to be faithful and serve others with our special gift. Jealousy and comparison are weapons of the Devil. We need to recognize them as such and guard against this. As Christians, we lift and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ in whatever their unique gift may be. (Ephesians 4)

Please remember to lift the ones up who are the head of the church. Your preachers and teachers are the ones under greatest spiritual attack. If Satan can destroy their witness, he can discourage many believers or those who are weak in spiritual maturity. Do not envy these gifts. Please know that we are human and have great responsibilities and greater consequences. Our gift comes with limitations just like your unique gift. We are all broken creatures trying to serve a great God who is full of grace, compassion, and mercy. Guard your hearts against jealousy and comparison. Rejoice and be glad in your brother’s and sister’s gift. Praise God that in his sovereignty, He brought each of us together.

 

1 Corinthians 12 (NLT)

Spiritual Gifts

12 Now, dear brothers and sisters,[a] regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us. I don’t want you to misunderstand this. You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols. So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice[b]; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.[c] The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages,[d] while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

One Body with Many Parts

12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles,[e] some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.[f]

14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”

22 In fact, some parts of the body that seems weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.28 Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:

first are apostles,
second are prophets,
third are teachers,
then those who do miracles,
those who have the gift of healing,
those who can help others,
those who have the gift of leadership,
those who speak in unknown languages.

29 Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? 30 Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! 31 So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts.

But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.

Ephesians 4 (NLT)

Unity in the Body

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.

However, he has given each one of us a special gift[a] through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say,

“When he ascended to the heights,
he led a crowd of captives
and gave gifts to his people.”[b]

Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world.[c] 10 And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

Living as Children of Light

17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19 They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.

20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”[d]Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,[e] guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

 

The Life of Joseph: Lesson 16 Chapter 49 Simeon

*Charts and other Visual Aids are included in The Life of Joseph Lesson 15 Chapter 49 Reuben File

Simeon

Birth order: 2 (Genesis 29:33)

Hebrew name: שמעון

Transliterated: Shimon

Meaning: “he has heard” (Genesis 29:33)

Mother: Leah

Color: green

Stone: topaz (Exodus 28:17)

Associated symbol: Shechem (Genesis 49:5)

Position around tabernacle: south (Numbers 2:10-16)

Banner: his flag was green with the town of Shechem embroidered on it.

Key verse:

Genesis 49:5-7 “Simeon and Levi are two of a kind; their weapons are instruments of violence.May I never join in their meetings; may I never be a party to their plans. For in their anger they murdered men, and they crippled oxen just for sport. A curse on their anger, for it is fierce; a curse on their wrath, for it is cruel; I will scatter them among the descendants of Jacob; I will disperse them throughout Israel.

Order of Birth:

  • Second Born

Genesis 29:31 When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. 32 So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben,[b] for she said, “The Lordhas noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”

33 She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon,[c] for she said, “The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.”

 

Mother:

  • Leah

Genesis 29:31 When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. 32 So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben,[b] for she said, “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”

33 She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon,[c] for she said, “The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.”

Vital Statistics:

  • Where: Canaan, Egypt
  • Occupation: Shepherd
  • He took 6 sons into Egypt

 

Genesis 46:10 10 The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul. (Shaul’s mother was a Canaanite woman.)

Strengths and Accomplishments:

The Bible does not tell us a whole lot about Simeon the man. I could not find anything about his strength and accomplishments

Weaknesses and Mistakes:

  • Simeon and Levi had terrible tempers. They were violent men who disregarded law and life. They would lie to get what they wanted.
  • Simeon (with his brother Levi) slaughtered the men of an entire city to avenge his sister, Dinah.
  • Joseph chose Simeon to detain in Genesis 42:4

Genesis 34:24-3124 So all the men in the town council agreed with Hamor and Shechem, and every male in the town was circumcised. 25 But three days later, when their wounds were still sore, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, who were Dinah’s full brothers, took their swords and entered the town without opposition. Then they slaughtered every male there, 26 including Hamor and his son Shechem. They killed them with their swords, then took Dinah from Shechem’s house and returned to their camp.

Genesis 42:24 24 Now he turned away from them and began to weep. When he regained his composure, he spoke to them again. Then he chose Simeon from among them and had him tied up right before their eyes.

Lessons from his life:

We need to control our tempers. The flesh side of me applauds Simeon and Levi’s behavior because they avenged the rape of their sister but they took the revenge way too far. Instead of demanding the life of the rapist, they were very deceitful. They acted as though the problem was resolved and justice was satisfied, only to attack the whole city later. They slaughtered “every male.” This is not justice. This is blind rage! In the words of my Me-Maw, “Two wrongs never make a right!”

Genesis 34

Revenge against Shechem

34 One day Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, went to visit some of the young women who lived in the area. But when the local prince, Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, saw Dinah, he seized her and raped her. But then he fell in love with her, and he tried to win her affection with tender words. He said to his father, Hamor, “Get me this young girl. I want to marry her.”

Soon Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter, Dinah. But since his sons were out in the fields herding his livestock, he said nothing until they returned. Hamor, Shechem’s father, came to discuss the matter with Jacob. Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the field as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious that their sister had been raped. Shechem had done a disgraceful thing against Jacob’s family,[a] something that should never be done.

Hamor tried to speak with Jacob and his sons. “My son Shechem is truly in love with your daughter,” he said. “Please let him marry her. In fact, let’s arrange other marriages, too. You give us your daughters for our sons, and we will give you our daughters for your sons. 10 And you may live among us; the land is open to you! Settle here and trade with us. And feel free to buy property in the area.”

11 Then Shechem himself spoke to Dinah’s father and brothers. “Please be kind to me, and let me marry her,” he begged. “I will give you whatever you ask. 12 No matter what dowry or gift you demand, I will gladly pay it—just give me the girl as my wife.”

13 But since Shechem had defiled their sister, Dinah, Jacob’s sons responded deceitfully to Shechem and his father, Hamor. 14 They said to them, “We couldn’t possibly allow this, because you’re not circumcised. It would be a disgrace for our sister to marry a man like you! 15 But here is a solution. If every man among you will be circumcised like we are,16 then we will give you our daughters, and we’ll take your daughters for ourselves. We will live among you and become one people. 17 But if you don’t agree to be circumcised, we will take her and be on our way.”

18 Hamor and his son Shechem agreed to their proposal. 19 Shechem wasted no time in acting on this request, for he wanted Jacob’s daughter desperately. Shechem was a highly respected member of his family,20 and he went with his father, Hamor, to present this proposal to the leaders at the town gate.

21 “These men are our friends,” they said. “Let’s invite them to live here among us and trade freely. Look, the land is large enough to hold them. We can take their daughters as wives and let them marry ours. 22 But they will consider staying here and becoming one people with us only if all of our men are circumcised, just as they are. 23 But if we do this, all their livestock and possessions will eventually be ours. Come, let’s agree to their terms and let them settle here among us.”

24 So all the men in the town council agreed with Hamor and Shechem, and every male in the town was circumcised. 25 But three days later, when their wounds were still sore, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, who were Dinah’s full brothers, took their swords and entered the town without opposition. Then they slaughtered every male there, 26 including Hamor and his son Shechem. They killed them with their swords, then took Dinah from Shechem’s house and returned to their camp.

27 Meanwhile, the rest of Jacob’s sons arrived. Finding the men slaughtered, they plundered the town because their sister had been defiled there. 28 They seized all the flocks and herds and donkeys—everything they could lay their hands on, both inside the town and outside in the fields. 29 They looted all their wealth and plundered their houses. They also took all their little children and wives and led them away as captives.

30 Afterward Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have ruined me! You’ve made me stink among all the people of this land—among all the Canaanites and Perizzites. We are so few that they will join forces and crush us. I will be ruined, and my entire household will be wiped out!”

31 “But why should we let him treat our sister like a prostitute?” they retorted angrily.

 

Jacob Last words:

  • Jacob’s last will and testament contained a curse on Simeon and Levi. Jacob calls them murderers and animal abusers. He does not want to have anything to do with their meetings or plans. He was not proud of these sons.

Genesis 49:5-7 “Simeon and Levi are two of a kind; their weapons are instruments of violence.May I never join in their meetings; may I never be a party to their plans. For in their anger they murdered men, and they crippled oxen just for sport. A curse on their anger, for it is fierce; a curse on their wrath, for it is cruel; I will scatter them among the descendants of Jacob; I will disperse them throughout Israel.

Moses’ blessing on descendants or tribe:

  • Deuteronomy 33 does not mention the tribe of Simeon. One can only assume the curse is the reason for this.

 

The tribe of Simeon is mention in parts of the book of Numbers that deal with organization of the tribes.

Numbers 1:6 Simeon, Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai

Numbers 2:12 Simeon, Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai 59,300

Numbers 7:36 36 On the fifth day Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai, leader of the tribe of Simeon, presented his offering.

Numbers 10:19They were joined by the troops of the tribe of Simeon, led by Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai,

Numbers Chapter 22 and 23

  • A comparison of the census numbers in Numbers Ch. 1 and Ch.26 shows the tribe of Simeon lost many.

Numbers 1:2-23 Simeon 59,300

Numbers 26:14 These were the clans of Simeon. Their registered troops numbered 22,200.

 

Deborah’s blessing:

  • Judges 5 does not mention Simeon. One can only assume the curse is the reason for this.

Land assigned by Moses:

  • The tribe’s portion of land was within the territory of Judah. Joshua 19:1
  • Simeon descendants did not grow as rapidly as Judah. The Tribe appears to have spread across the territories. I Chronicles 4:38-43; 2 Chronicles 15:8-9. One can only assume this is due to the curse place upon the descendants concerning Simeon and Levi.

Joshua 19:1The second allotment of land went to the clans of the tribe of Simeon. Their homeland was surrounded by Judah’s territory.

I Chronicles 4:38-4338 These were the names of some of the leaders of Simeon’s wealthy clans. Their families grew, 39 and they traveled to the region of Gerar,[k]in the east part of the valley, seeking pastureland for their flocks.40 They found lush pastures there, and the land was spacious, quiet, and peaceful.

Some of Ham’s descendants had been living in that region. 41 But during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah, these leaders of Simeon invaded the region and completely destroyed[l] the homes of the descendants of Ham and of the Meunites. No trace of them remains today. They killed everyone who lived there and took the land for themselves, because they wanted its good pastureland for their flocks. 42 Five hundred of these invaders from the tribe of Simeon went to Mount Seir, led by Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah, and Uzziel—all sons of Ishi. 43 They destroyed the few Amalekites who had survived, and they have lived there ever since.

 

2 Chronicles 15:8-9 When Asa heard this message from Azariah the prophet,[a] he took courage and removed all the detestable idols from the land of Judah and Benjamin and in the towns he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. And he repaired the altar of the Lord, which stood in front of the entry room of the Lord’s Temple.

Then Asa called together all the people of Judah and Benjamin, along with the people of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who had settled among them. For many from Israel had moved to Judah during Asa’s reign when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.

I know all of this may seem a little boring. However, the sons and their descendants are very important throughout the Old and New Testaments because it is a fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham. God had a plan for each one of the tribes. We are living in the last days so now the study of the tribes proves that God is always faithful to his promises.

  • God promised Abraham that his descendants would be numerous (Genesis 13:16;17:2; 22:17)
  • God promised his descendants would eventually constitute “many nations” (Genesis 17:4-5).
  • God promised Abraham that his descendants would “possess the gate of their enemies” (Genesis 22:17) and be “blessed” mightily by God (verses 16-18).

The prophecy concerning the tribes in Revelation has not yet come to pass but we can rest assured that God HAS kept his promises and WILL keep the promises he has made to the future generations of Abraham.

Revelation 7Then I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds so they did not blow on the earth or the sea, or even on any tree. And I saw another angel coming up from the east, carrying the seal of the living God. And he shouted to those four angels, who had been given power to harm land and sea, “Wait! Don’t harm the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.”

And I heard how many were marked with the seal of God—144,000 were sealed from all the tribes of Israel:

from Judah 12,000
from Reuben 12,000
from Gad 12,000
from Asher 12,000
from Naphtali 12,000
from Manasseh 12,000
from Simeon 12,000
from Levi 12,000
from Issachar 12,000
from Zebulun 12,000
from Joseph 12,000
from Benjamin 12,000

 

Also, it is very important for us to understand the sons, tribes, blessings, curses, etc. because there is a lot of misinformation regarding the tribes. Atheists and many others will point out the Bible is not true or it contains errors and use the tribes as evidence. Careful research and review of the scriptures can resolve many of the common arguments.  While I already take the word of God as truth, we must be able to give an account when presented with these arguments. When we can connect the dots for those with questions, we strengthen their faith or helped them come to the saving knowledge of God’s grace. This is clearly stated in I Peter 3:15-17. It is every Christian’s responsibility to equip themselves with knowledge from the word of God and be able to defend it. I will admit it is not an easy task to do this at times but I do not want anyone to go to Hell because I could not answer their question to the best of my ability.

I Peter 3:15Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

Honestly, every time I am overwhelmed with teaching all of this research and information, and threaten to throw all of these books piled on my bed, God gently reminds me of this verse.  He reminds me I am showing others he is still faithful today. He is not just a God in a dead book. He is a living God who still holds this world in the palm of his hand.

God gave me the gift of teaching and organization. This gift can be overwhelming at times but he also allows me the privilege and honor of making the Bible come alive and seeing people come to Christ because for the first time they understand the word of God. It is an AWESOME blessing! It is my greatest hope that while all of this may seem boring, you persevere and realize that you are studying how faithful God is. Because of that, it puts you on a rock solid foundation of faith. Until next week! My thoughts and prayers are with you. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. I will do my best to answer them.

The Life of Joseph: Lesson 15 Genesis Chapter 49 Reuben

Reuben 1

Reuben 2

Click on link to open a larger image of chart. http://www.believersmagazine.com/images/2007/b200701i1large.jpg

Reuben 3

Mosaic of the 12 Tribes of Israel. From a synagogue wall in Jerusalem. – Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Rueben 4

Rueben 5

Reuben 6

Reuben 7

I am struggling with how to teach concerning the 12 sons of Jacob. There is a myriad of reasons for this.

  • Each son was an individual but later their descendants were organized into tribes. The tribe names correlate with its original patriarch. For example, Reuben was Jacob’s first born son, but his descendants were later called the tribe of Reuben.
  • Each tribe inherited a portion of land.
  • Each tribe had a stone assigned to it. Every time I teach about the brothers, I am asked the significance of the stones; I cannot answer this question entirely because any attempts to match the stones with breast plate of the priest, apostles, our birthstones today, and the foundation of the New Jerusalem are inconclusive. To explain this and all the views concerning the meanings behind the stones, I simply leave this resource link for you to read. http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/revelation-21/tribal-stones.html
  • Then to further complicate matters of teaching about the sons of Jacob is, we can learn so much from each of their lives. I always teach the life lessons we can learn from each person we encounter in the Bible.
  • Also, we all study the Bible in different ways. Some students tend to focus on facts and history when they approach the sons and tribes. Some people focus on what we can learn from their lives. Some people focus on the significance of the prophecy of Jacob’s blessing. However, some people focus on the blessing of Moses found in Deuteronomy 4-5 and Deborah’s blessings of the tribes found in Judges 4-5.
  • Sometimes there is little information regarding a son or tribe.
  • Sometimes I have to explain the manners and customs of the time period so you can understand the significance of certain point.
  • Each tribe was assigned a symbol. Students want to study the symbol.

 

As you can see, being a teacher and juggling each learning style and focus can be very tricky. Because of all of this, I have attempted to explain all of this. Whew! It is a lot for me to juggle! Honestly, I have not studied the sons and the tribes as much as I probably should have. I am learning as I go. I am using a plethora of resources to help me do all of this. I feel as though this has become the biggest research project of my life, however, I am trying my best to make it all easier to study.

I am including a summary from http://www.gotquestions.org/twelve-tribes-Israel.html as a general historical overview of the history of the tribes before I jumped into the specifics.

The twelve tribes of Israel came from the twelve sons of Israel. “Israel” is the name that God gave Jacob (Genesis 32:28). His twelve sons are Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin (Genesis 35:23-26Exodus 1:1–41 Chronicles 2:1–2). When the tribes inherited the Promised Land, Levi’s descendants did not receive a territory for themselves (Joshua 13:14). Instead, they became priests and had several cities scattered throughout all of Israel. Joseph’s tribe was divided in two—Jacob had adopted Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, essentially giving Joseph a double portion for his faithfulness in saving the family from famine (Genesis 47:11–12). This means the tribes who received territory in the Promised Land were Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. In some places in Scripture, the tribe of Ephraim is referred to as the tribe of Joseph (Numbers 1:32–33).

After King Solomon died, Israel split into two kingdoms. Judah, to the south, included Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. The other tribes combined to make the kingdom of Israel in the north. Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians, and most of the Israelites were either killed or deported; the Israelites who remained most likely integrated with the kingdom of Judah.

Jesus was from Judah, Paul was from Benjamin, and John the Baptist was a Levite, but, since the diaspora in A.D. 70, identifying the tribe of a modern Jew is a little more difficult. That doesn’t mean that the tribal divisions are irrelevant. During the tribulation, when most of the world has abandoned God and is following theAntichrist144,000 Jews will be sealed by God. This number comprises 12,000 from each tribe. So, even if we don’t know who is in what tribe, God has kept track. The tribes are listed again in Revelation 7:5-8, but they are not the same tribes that were given land in Joshua. Manasseh is there, and Ephraim (under Joseph’s name). But instead of Dan, Levi is included. No explanation is given as to why.

 

Reuben

Birth order: 1 (Genesis 29:32)

Hebrew name: ראובן

Transliterated: Reuven

Meaning: “He has seen” (Genesis 29:32)

Mother: Leah

Color: red

Stone: ruby (Exodus 28:17)

Associated symbol: water (Genesis 49:4) or mandrake (Genesis 30:14)

Position around tabernacle: south (Numbers 2:10-16)

Banner: the color of his flag was red, and embroidered on it were mandrakes.

 

Key verse:

Genesis 49:3-4 “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength, the child of my vigorous youth. You are first in rank and first in power.4 But you are as unruly as a flood, and you will be first no longer. For you went to bed with my wife; you defiled my marriage couch.

 

Order of birth:

  • First born

Genesis 35:23 The sons of Leah were Reuben (Jacob’s oldest son), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.

Mother:

  • Leah

Genesis 35:23 The sons of Leah were Reuben (Jacob’s oldest son), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.

Vital Statistics:

  • Where: Canaan, Egypt
  • Occupation: Shepherd
  • He took 4 sons into Egypt

Genesis 46:9 The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.

Meaning of Name:

  • who sees the son
  • the vision of the son
  • “See! A son!”
  • “He has seen”

Genesis 29:32  So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”

Strengths and Accomplishments:

  • Saved Joseph’s life by talking his brothers out of murder Genesis 37:18-36
  • Compassion, he showed great love for his father by offering his sons as a guarantee that Benjamin’s life would be safe.

Genesis 42:37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may kill my two sons if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. I’ll be responsible for him, and I promise to bring him back.”

Weaknesses and Mistakes:

  • Gave in quickly to peer pressure Genesis 37: 18-36
  • Did not directly protect Joseph from the other brothers, even though he was the oldest

Genesis 37: 18-36

  • Slept with his Father’s concubine

Genesis 35:21 Then Jacob traveled on and camped beyond Migdal-eder. 22 While he was living there, Reuben had intercourse with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, and Jacob soon heard about it.

Genesis 37: 18-36

18 When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. 19 “Here comes the dreamer!” they said. 20 “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!”

21 But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. 22 “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.

23 So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing. 24 Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. 25 Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt.

26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime.[c] 27 Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. 28 So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces[d] of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.

29 Some time later, Reuben returned to get Joseph out of the cistern. When he discovered that Joseph was missing, he tore his clothes in grief. 30 Then he went back to his brothers and lamented, “The boy is gone! What will I do now?”

31 Then the brothers killed a young goat and dipped Joseph’s robe in its blood. 32 They sent the beautiful robe to their father with this message: “Look at what we found. Doesn’t this robe belong to your son?”

33 Their father recognized it immediately. “Yes,” he said, “it is my son’s robe. A wild animal must have eaten him. Joseph has clearly been torn to pieces!” 34 Then Jacob tore his clothes and dressed himself in burlap. He mourned deeply for his son for a long time. 35 His family all tried to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. “I will go to my grave[e]mourning for my son,” he would say, and then he would weep.

36 Meanwhile, the Midianite traders[f] arrived in Egypt, where they sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Potiphar was captain of the palace guard.

 

Lessons from his life:

  • Integrity in your private life and public life must be consistent. The truth has a way of being revealed.
  • God gives us free will. We are free to make choices in our life but we must realize all choice have consequences. Reuben knew this. He later repented but he lived in fear due to his past choices. Due to his actions his birthright as first born was revoked.

In the Hebrew culture, the first born inherited special privileges. He became the head of the family. He received a double portion of the inheritance.

Genesis 49:4 But you are as unruly as a flood, and you will be first no longer. For you went to bed with my wife; you defiled my marriage couch.

  • Reuben had good intentions but he was not able to stand up against the peer pressures of his brothers. His private life was a mess. He had an affair with his father’s concubine. Reuben had a tendency to go along with the crowd instead of standing up. He is the perfect example of, “You have to stand for something or you will fall for anything.”

 

Jacob Last words:

Genesis 49:3-4 “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength, the child of my vigorous youth. You are first in rank and first in power.4 But you are as unruly as a flood, and you will be first no longer. For you went to bed with my wife; you defiled my marriage couch.

Moses’ blessing on Reuben’s descendants or tribe of Reuben:

 Deuteronomy 33:6 Moses said this about the tribe of Reuben: “Let the tribe of Reuben live and not die out, though they are few in number.”

Deborah’s blessing:

  • Reuben was an indecisive man. We see this in Genesis 37:18-36. He did not stand up against peer pressure. Later, we see that same behavior in his descendants. Children learn behavior from their parents. Good and bad behavior can be passed down through generations.

Judges 5:15 The princes of Issachar were with Deborah and Barak. They followed Barak, rushing into the valley. But in the tribe of Reuben there was great indecision.16 Why did you sit at home among the sheepfolds—to hear the shepherds whistle for their flocks? Yes, in the tribe of Reuben there was great indecision.

Land assigned by Moses:

Numbers 32

 The tribes of Reuben and Gad owned vast numbers of livestock. So when they saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were ideally suited for their flocks and herds, they came to Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the other leaders of the community. They said, “Notice the towns of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sibmah,[a] Nebo, and Beon. The Lord has conquered this whole area for the community of Israel, and it is ideally suited for all our livestock. If we have found favor with you, please let us have this land as our property instead of giving us land across the Jordan River.”

“Do you intend to stay here while your brothers go across and do all the fighting?” Moses asked the men of Gad and Reuben. “Why do you want to discourage the rest of the people of Israel from going across to the land the Lord has given them? Your ancestors did the same thing when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land. After they went up to the valley of Eshcol and explored the land, they discouraged the people of Israel from entering the land the Lord was giving them.10 Then the Lord was very angry with them, and he vowed, 11 ‘Of all those I rescued from Egypt, no one who is twenty years old or older will ever see the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for they have not obeyed me wholeheartedly. 12 The only exceptions are Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they have wholeheartedly followed the Lord.’

13 “The Lord was angry with Israel and made them wander in the wilderness for forty years until the entire generation that sinned in theLord’s sight had died. 14 But here you are, a brood of sinners, doing exactly the same thing! You are making the Lord even angrier with Israel. 15 If you turn away from him like this and he abandons them again in the wilderness, you will be responsible for destroying this entire nation!”

16 But they approached Moses and said, “We simply want to build pens for our livestock and fortified towns for our wives and children. 17 Then we will arm ourselves and lead our fellow Israelites into battle until we have brought them safely to their land. Meanwhile, our families will stay in the fortified towns we build here, so they will be safe from any attacks by the local people. 18 We will not return to our homes until all the people of Israel have received their portions of land. 19 But we do not claim any of the land on the other side of the Jordan. We would rather live here on the east side and accept this as our grant of land.”

20 Then Moses said, “If you keep your word and arm yourselves for theLord’s battles, 21 and if your troops cross the Jordan and keep fighting until the Lord has driven out his enemies, 22 then you may return when the Lord has conquered the land. You will have fulfilled your duty to theLord and to the rest of the people of Israel. And the land on the east side of the Jordan will be your property from the Lord. 23 But if you fail to keep your word, then you will have sinned against the Lord, and you may be sure that your sin will find you out. 24 Go ahead and build towns for your families and pens for your flocks, but do everything you have promised.”

25 Then the men of Gad and Reuben replied, “We, your servants, will follow your instructions exactly. 26 Our children, wives, flocks, and cattle will stay here in the towns of Gilead. 27 But all who are able to bear arms will cross over to fight for the Lord, just as you have said.”

28 So Moses gave orders to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the leaders of the clans of Israel. 29 He said, “The men of Gad and Reuben who are armed for battle must cross the Jordan with you to fight for the Lord. If they do, give them the land of Gilead as their property when the land is conquered. 30 But if they refuse to arm themselves and cross over with you, then they must accept land with the rest of you in the land of Canaan.”

31 The tribes of Gad and Reuben said again, “We are your servants, and we will do as the Lord has commanded! 32 We will cross the Jordan into Canaan fully armed to fight for the Lord, but our property will be here on this side of the Jordan.”

33 So Moses assigned land to the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph. He gave them the territory of King Sihon of the Amorites and the land of King Og of Bashan—the whole land with its cities and surrounding lands.

34 The descendants of Gad built the towns of Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer,35 Atroth-shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36 Beth-nimrah, and Beth-haran. These were all fortified towns with pens for their flocks.

37 The descendants of Reuben built the towns of Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim, 38 Nebo, Baal-meon, and Sibmah. They changed the names of some of the towns they conquered and rebuilt.

39 Then the descendants of Makir of the tribe of Manasseh went to Gilead and conquered it, and they drove out the Amorites living there. 40 So Moses gave Gilead to the Makirites, descendants of Manasseh, and they settled there. 41 The people of Jair, another clan of the tribe of Manasseh, captured many of the towns in Gilead and changed the name of that region to the Towns of Jair.[b] 42 Meanwhile, a man named Nobah captured the town of Kenath and its surrounding villages, and he renamed that area Nobah after himself.

Reuben 8

The Life of Joseph Chapter 47: Lesson 14

Joseph's Life

Chapter 46 Jacob’s Family Arrives in Goshen NLT

Jacob’s Family Arrives in Goshen

28 As they neared their destination, Jacob sent Judah ahead to meet Joseph and get directions to the region of Goshen. And when they finally arrived there,29 Joseph prepared his chariot and traveled to Goshen to meet his father, Jacob. When Joseph arrived, he embraced his father and wept, holding him for a long time. 30 Finally, Jacob said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen your face again and know you are still alive.”

31 And Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s entire family, “I will go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s entire family have come to me from the land of Canaan. 32 These men are shepherds, and they raise livestock. They have brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.’”

33 Then he said, “When Pharaoh calls for you and asks you about your occupation, 34 you must tell him, ‘We, your servants, have raised livestock all our lives, as our ancestors have always done.’ When you tell him this, he will let you live here in the region of Goshen, for the Egyptians despise shepherds.”

Chapter 47 Jacob Blesses Pharaoh and Settles in Goshen.

47 Then Joseph went to see Pharaoh and told him, “My father and my brothers have arrived from the land of Canaan. They have come with all their flocks and herds and possessions, and they are now in the region of Goshen.”

Joseph took five of his brothers with him and presented them to Pharaoh.And Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?”

They replied, “We, your servants, are shepherds, just like our ancestors. We have come to live here in Egypt for a while, for there is no pasture for our flocks in Canaan. The famine is very severe there. So please, we request permission to live in the region of Goshen.”

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Now that your father and brothers have joined you here, choose any place in the entire land of Egypt for them to live. Give them the best land of Egypt. Let them live in the region of Goshen. And if any of them have special skills, put them in charge of my livestock, too.”

Then Joseph brought in his father, Jacob, and presented him to Pharaoh. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh.

“How old are you?” Pharaoh asked him.

Jacob replied, “I have traveled this earth for 130 hard years. But my life has been short compared to the lives of my ancestors.” 10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh again before leaving his court.

11 So Joseph assigned the best land of Egypt—the region of Rameses—to his father and his brothers, and he settled them there, just as Pharaoh had commanded. 12 And Joseph provided food for his father and his brothers in amounts appropriate to the number of their dependents, including the smallest children.

Joseph’s Leadership in the Famine

13 Meanwhile, the famine became so severe that all the food was used up, and people were starving throughout the lands of Egypt and Canaan. 14 By selling grain to the people, Joseph eventually collected all the money in Egypt and Canaan, and he put the money in Pharaoh’s treasury. 15 When the people of Egypt and Canaan ran out of money, all the Egyptians came to Joseph. “Our money is gone!” they cried. “But please give us food, or we will die before your very eyes!”

16 Joseph replied, “Since your money is gone, bring me your livestock. I will give you food in exchange for your livestock.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph in exchange for food. In exchange for their horses, flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and donkeys, Joseph provided them with food for another year.

18 But that year ended, and the next year they came again and said, “We cannot hide the truth from you, my lord. Our money is gone, and all our livestock and cattle are yours. We have nothing left to give but our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we die before your very eyes? Buy us and our land in exchange for food; we offer our land and ourselves as slaves for Pharaoh. Just give us grain so we may live and not die, and so the land does not become empty and desolate.”

20 So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. All the Egyptians sold him their fields because the famine was so severe, and soon all the land belonged to Pharaoh. 21 As for the people, he made them all slaves,[a] from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 The only land he did not buy was the land belonging to the priests. They received an allotment of food directly from Pharaoh, so they didn’t need to sell their land.

23 Then Joseph said to the people, “Look, today I have bought you and your land for Pharaoh. I will provide you with seed so you can plant the fields.24 Then when you harvest it, one-fifth of your crop will belong to Pharaoh. You may keep the remaining four-fifths as seed for your fields and as food for you, your households, and your little ones.”

25 “You have saved our lives!” they exclaimed. “May it please you, my lord, to let us be Pharaoh’s servants.” 26 Joseph then issued a decree still in effect in the land of Egypt, that Pharaoh should receive one-fifth of all the crops grown on his land. Only the land belonging to the priests was not given to Pharaoh.

27 Meanwhile, the people of Israel settled in the region of Goshen in Egypt. There they acquired property, and they were fruitful, and their population grew rapidly. 28 Jacob lived for seventeen years after his arrival in Egypt, so he lived 147 years in all.

Jacob’s family arrived in Goshen, in Genesis 46: 28-33. It is speculated by most that God moved the Hebrews from the land of Canaan into Egypt, because the Israelites would have married and been absorbed into the Canaanite culture. God chose the Hebrews to be set apart and wanted them to grow without the influence of outsiders. While for the most part I agree with that conclusion, the occasional Gentile has a way of intermixing with the Hebrews, case in point Joseph’s wife. If you will recall Genesis 42: 45, Pharaoh gave Joseph a wife, whose name was Asenath. Ironically, she was daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On. The Bible tells us she bore 2 sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. While I might not be a great theologian or scholar, this proves to me that God always had a plan to save the Gentiles. This makes my heart smile that God would make a way for me to be saved from the foundations of the world. Now, nowhere in the Bible does it state this woman ever accepted Salvation or turned from her pagan gods and ways. However, I pray that she did. We can infer from previous passages that Joseph witnessed at every opportunity he had, because every time he interprets a dream, or he is praised, he gives glory to his God. I like to think that Joseph witnessed to this woman too, and maybe she eventually came to salvation.

Joseph instructed his brothers, 33 Then he said, “When Pharaoh calls for you and asks you about your occupation, 34 you must tell him, ‘We, your servants, have raised livestock all our lives, as our ancestors have always done.’ When you tell him this, he will let you live here in the region of Goshen, for the Egyptians despise shepherds.” Shepherds were considered very low class people. The reason being, they stunk! Goats have a musk gland that will assault your nose. Sheep get wet and their wool STINKS!  The shepherds slept with the animals and smelled like the animals. Shepherds were often ostracized from society because of this. While most Bible scholars believe this particular Pharaoh may have been sympathetic to shepherds, because he may have been a descendent of the nomadic Hyksos line, the Egyptians would not have accepted shepherds into polite society. Disclaimer: If you look at archeology evidence or at secondary sources, you will find that most of these scholars believe that the Pharaoh was Ramesses or no evidence of the Israelites exists. To further study some of this evidence from all points of view, Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Messianic Jews, and Non-Messianic Jew viewpoints, I recommend this movie, Patterns of Evidence: Exodus http://patternsofevidence.com/  This movie is currently available on Netflix stream if you have an account. You can find clips of it on Youtube as well. While I will admit the documentary can be a little dry at times, the geek in me enjoyed this documentary immensely. It deepened my faith because the archeological evidence is there if you search deep enough.

Joseph’s strategy worked. Jacob and his family benefited from the Pharaoh’s generosity. Pharaoh let them choose any place within the land of Egypt and he placed them in charge of his livestock too. The family benefited from Joseph’s good reputation. This is an example of what it says in Proverbs 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. Joseph’s faithfulness benefited the entire family. We may not see the effects of our own faithfulness but we know God honors our faithfulness. I know in my own life, I have benefitted from my Daddy’s reputation. He was able to co-sign with me on loans because he faithfully paid his bills. Another time, my car needed repairs. I did not have the money. A friend of his did it for free. My point is our faithfulness does impact our children in more than one way. We need to be aware of this and be above reproach. I will leave you with this resource if you wish to study further what the Bible says regarding our need to stay “above reproach.” https://www.openbible.info/topics/above_reproach

In Gen. 47:7-10 we see that Jacob blessed Pharaoh when he entered the court and when he exited the court. God had promised to bless those who blessed Abraham’s descendants in Gen. 12:2-3. We studied this in the Abrahamic Covenant lesson. God did bless Pharaoh. God blessed Pharaoh thorough Joseph’s wise administration. The Lord saved the people from starvation, not only the Egyptians but people from the entire region came to purchased grain. Pharaoh became very wealthy as a result of all of this. Joseph accepted money, livestock, and land from people. Not only did the Pharaoh receive all of this, the people sharecropped the land. Joseph provided seed. They planted the seed. They gave 1/5 of the yield back to Pharaoh Gen. 47:13-25.

In Genesis 47:27 we see the Israelites prospered in the region of Goshen further fulfilling the Abrahamic covenant found in Gen. 15:5 and 22:17.  Genesis 46:26 states 66 men entered Egypt. That did not include wives and children. Including Joseph’s children, there were 70. Exodus 12:37 tells us 600.000 men left the land of Rameses. That number did not include women and children. Today, there are literally millions of Jews throughout the world. I think we can safely assume the Jewish race did fulfill the prophecy of being more numerous than the stars and sands of the sea! https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/jewpop.html

God used Joseph to fulfill his promises. God used Joseph’s gift of administration to bless the Pharaoh. I am sure there were times Joseph wondered about all of this. He goes from the favored son, to the pit, to slavery, to being falsely accused, to prison, to the palace. It was not an easy journey or life. Joseph remained faithful. We are all blessed today due to his faithfulness. The Messiah was eventually born to this family line. Everyone has the opportunity to accept salvation because of one man’s faithfulness. I try to remember this when my hands are in dishwater or my checkbook is empty. I try to remember this on the days, depression is my companion and it seems I am falling into the depths of despair. It gives me hope that God has a plan even if I am but a mere human and do not see it.

Joseph’s life is a portrait of Christ in many ways. I will leave you with chart to explain what sometimes can complex theology. My point in doing this is our lives need to mirror the life of Christ. Also, I could spend hours on explaining this theology but I like to live on Sesame Street. In my opinion, theology is useless unless we can practically explain it. Joseph is a portrait of Christ because he trusted God and remained faithful. Just like Joseph, we will probably never understand how our lives will point someone to Christ but if we remain faithful it will.

 

Joseph Picture of Christ

The Life of Joseph: Chapter 46 Genealogy cont. III

Matthew Luke family tree

 

Luke’s genealogy is presented in reverse order of Matthew’s genealogy. Luke’s list goes back to Adam. Most theologians believe this is to illustrate the humanity of Jesus. It is believed that Luke’s genealogy is Mary’s family tree and Mary was Luke’s primary resource when compiling the list.

Luke presents the genealogy of Christ when Jesus was baptized and started his ministry. Luke 3:23 tells us Jesus was about 30 years old. This is the only reference to Jesus’ age. It is an estimation of his age. Scholars believe Jesus was born between 6-4 B.C. The reason they believe this is because in Luke 2:2 the Bible says, “This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.” Jesus began his ministry 27-29 A.D.  Scholars arrive at this number because in Luke 3:1 tells us, “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,”

Jesus was the LEGAL son of Joseph but he was the Son of God because Mary was impregnated through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph is listed as the Son of Heli. If this is the genealogy of Mary, then Joseph was Heli’s son-in-law. This is a possible understanding of the sentence written in the original Greek. In the culture of the time, a son-in-law was often referred to as a son. This is important because non-believers point it out as a discrepancy in the text. However, as you can see there is a simple logical explanation for this discrepancy.

You have to knowledge of the culture at this point in history. The secular historical records of the time allowed scholars to arrive at the approximate date of the age of Jesus at the time of his baptism. This is why I am a firm believer that Christians have to study secular texts at times to understand the culture of the time period and history. If a secular text is in direct opposition to the Word of God, then we take the Bible as the final authority. However, we have to be able to defend our faith to the simple and the highly educated. That is why you study to show yourself approved unto God. Believe it or not, there is a degree you can pursue in college in which the sole purpose is to defend your faith. This study is called apologetics. Frank Turek and Ravi Zacharias are 2 well known apologetics preachers. Frank Turek wrote a well-known book titled, I Do Not Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. Both men have studied to be able to defend the Christian faith. In a world of science and skepticism, one must prepare themselves to answer the hard questions presented by some non-believers. I will include the link to their website for those who may want to study this further. http://crossexamined.org/dr-frank-turek/  http://rzim.org/

Other resources you may like to read:

  • Cold Case Christianity Jay Warner Wallace
  • The Case for Faith Lee Strobel
  • The Case for Christ Lee Strobel

Both Wallace and Warner entered into their investigations of Jesus as Atheists. Through their findings, they eventually come to salvation. Lee Strobel is a trained investigative reporter and lawyer. Frank Turek is a former aviator in the U.S. Navy. All of these men are highly educated and present valid evidence in the defense of Christianity. Frank Turek’s website offers several videos to answer some of the most frequently asked questions by Christians and Non-Christians. I think many of you would find answers to some of your doubts or answers to questions you are asked by unsaved people.

Sorry, I know I got off topic a little there and chased a squirrel but I have found that Bible Study sometimes leads to other relevant topics we need to explore. This is probably why I will never be a published author. I tend to do that at times. LOL!

Some practical life applications we can take away from this is, sometimes we have to have patience. Jesus did not start his ministry until he was 30 years old. Before that time, he was a carpenter in a small town. He lived an incredibly ordinary life. However, Jesus trusted in God’s timing to begin his ministry. In the Jewish culture, thirty was the prescribed age for priests to begin their ministry according to Numbers 4:3. The Joseph we have been studying was30 years old when he began serving Pharaoh (Genesis 41:46) David was 30 years old when he began to reign over Judah (II Sam. 5:4) Age 30, was considered an important time to begin a task in the Jewish culture. Since most of us are past the age of 30, I think we understand why this is. We tend to have a better head on our shoulders by that time in our life.

I am including an article published by the Apologetics Press titled The Genealogies of Matthew and Luke by Dave Miller, Ph. D.in its entirety. This article reviews some of the common contradictions brought up regarding the genealogy of Christ and offers explanations for them.

The Genealogies of Matthew and Luke by Dave Miller, Ph. D

One of the charges of contradiction brought by skeptics against the Bible is the surface appearance of contradiction between Matthew’s genealogical list (1:1-17) and the one provided by Luke (3:23-38). As is always the case, the charge of contradiction is premature and reflects an immature appraisal of the extant evidence. In every case of alleged contradiction, further investigation has yielded additional evidence that exonerates the Bible and further verifies its inerrancy. The alleged discrepancies pertaining to Matthew and Luke’s genealogies were explained and answered long ago (e.g., Haley, 1977, pp. 325-326; McGarvey, 1910, pp. 344-346; McGarvey, 1974, pp. 51-55; cf. Lyons, 2003).

When one places the two genealogical lists side by side, several factors become immediately apparent that combine to dispel the appearance of conflict. Scroll down for chart

 First, Matthew reported the lineage of Christ only back to Abraham; Luke traced it all the way back to Adam. Second, Matthew used the expression “begat;” Luke used the expression “son of,” which results in his list being a complete reversal of Matthew’s. Third, the two genealogical lines parallel each other from Abraham to David. Fourth, beginning with David, Matthew traced the paternal line of descent through Solomon; Luke traced the maternal line through Solomon’s brother, Nathan.

A fifth factor that must be recognized is that the two lines (paternal and maternal) link together in the intermarriage of Shealtiel and Zerubbabel. But the linkage separates again in the two sons of Zerubbabel—Rhesa and Abiud. Sixth, the two lines come together once again for a final time in the marriage of Joseph and Mary. Joseph was the end of the paternal line, while Mary was the last of the maternal line as the daughter of Heli.

The reason Joseph is said to be the “son” of Heli (Mary’s father) brings forth a seventh consideration: the Jewish use of “son.” Hebrews used the word in at least five distinct senses: (1) in the sense used today of a one-generation offspring; (2) in the sense of a descendant, whether a grandson or a more remote descendant many generations previous, e.g., Matthew 1:1; 21:9; 22:42 (“begat” had this same flexibility in application); (3) as a son-in-law (the Jews had no word to express this concept and so just used “son”—e.g., 1 Samuel 24:16; 26:17); (4) in accordance with the Levirate marriage law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; cf. Matthew 22:24-26), a deceased man would have a son through a surrogate father who legally married the deceased man’s widow (e.g., Ruth 2:20; 3:9,12; 4:3-5); and (5) in the sense of a step-son who took on the legal status of his step-father—the relationship sustained by Jesus to Joseph (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Luke 3:23; 4:22; John 6:42).

Notice carefully that Joseph was a direct-line, blood descendant of David and, therefore, of David’s throne. Here is the precise purpose of Matthew’s genealogy: it demonstrated Jesus’ legal right to inherit the throne of David—a necessary prerequisite to authenticating His Messianic claim. However, an equally critical credential was His blood/physical descent from David—a point that could not be established through Joseph since “after His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18, emp. added). This feature of Christ’s Messiahship was established through His mother Mary, who was also a blood descendant of David (Luke 1:30-32). Both the blood of David and the throne of David were necessary variables to qualify and authenticate Jesus as the Messiah.

Once again, the Bible’s intricate complexities shine forth to dispel the critic’s accusations, while simultaneously demonstrating its own infallible representations. The more one delves into its intricacies and plummets its intriguing depths, the more one is driven to the inescapable conclusion that the Bible is, indeed, the Book of books—the inspired Word of God.

REFERENCES

Haley, John W. (1977), Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Lyons, Eric (2003), The Anvil Rings (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

McGarvey, J.W. (1910), Biblical Criticism (Cincinnati, OH: Standard).

McGarvey, J.W. (1974 reprint), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).

https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=932

 

The Life of Joseph: Genealogy Part II Doubts, Bible Study, and a Teacher’s Heart

bible-study

Warning: I am about to go off on a tangent from our regular lesson a little but this has been on my heart for many days. Maybe someone is struggling with doubts and needs to hear this so, just bear with me and know while it indirectly deals with a lesson; it is more of a life lesson within our normal lesson.

I have been asked some hard questions recently by those in our Bible Study and outside Bible study.

  • How can you love a God who ordered babies killed in the Bible?
  • How can you teach a Bible Study when it is an ancient culture?
  • How do you study the Bible?
  • How can I be sure?
  • Is it OK to question God? Is it disrespectful if I question God?
  • Why would I want to go to Bible Study if I am an Atheist?
  • Why do you read the Quran or look at non-Messianic Jewish literature?
  • Why do you talk to Atheists? Shouldn’t a Christian shun an Atheist or a gasp a gay person?
  • How can you know what you are teaching is fact?

Because of the great differences and focus of each genealogy, most theologians agree that Luke’s genealogy focused on Mary’s family line. Matthew focused on Joseph’s family line. Joseph was, for all intents and purposes, Jesus’ stepfather. Why would Matthew focus on his line? The reason I believe he does is because it shows that Jesus had a right to the throne and the inheritor of God’s promises to Abraham. Also, Mary and Joseph were both Jews. They were distant relatives. Atheists think the differences in the lists prove the unreliability of the Bible. Honestly, there is no way I can prove all the discrepancies or even offer a logical conclusion. You have to take some of this on faith. I believe the Bible does not contain errors. I may not understand some things in the Bible but that is because I am studying a culture from thousands of years ago. The Hebrew culture is completely different than our culture today. You cannot view history through modern eyes. I am saying all of this to make the point most of history is lost. We live in a very different culture. Sometimes I can only present how I view history. I can present both sides of a debate. You have to make your own decisions. In some ways, that is the way it is with this genealogy.

Because of all of this, I got to thinking maybe I need to explain some of the ways I arrive at some of my conclusions. Short answer, I arrive at some of my conclusion because I know the nature of God. He lives within my heart. I study the Bible. I study secondary resources. Some of those resources are in direct conflict with the Bible. They are secular resources, secular history, articles from archeological digs, Jewish rabbi resources that do NOT believe Jesus is the Messiah, (Disclaimer: Some Jews believe in Jesus, some do not, however, they do study Old Testament history thus why I use them as a resource)  etc. However, they are no less valid. Atheists ask the hard questions and point out flaws in our logic concerning God. While I have been told all my life to not look at that garbage, I am a scholar. I must look at all evidence and research them before I can in good conscious teach a subject because the Bible says this in I Peter 3:15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, We all live in today’s society and I think we all have doubts and questions. Some of us are more vocal than others about it. Because God has said in his word to “always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for your reason of hope,” I do look at the different viewpoints. This has in no way lessened my faith in God. In actuality, it has strengthened my faith in them. Some of the discrepancies in the genealogy that I stated are my own conclusions after research in last week’s lesson and the lesson following this one on Luke’s genealogy. You may find that you do not agree with my conclusions or I did not think I answer your question fully. You may have to do like me and just realize it takes faith. I can answer some questions with a reasonable conclusion but I may not be able to answer all questions. After your own research, you may arrive at a different conclusion.

We do live in a different culture and society. We do not understand or see things like they did in the Bible. For example, I was highly upset when I read the story of Jephthah in Judges 11-12. I could not wrap my head around the fact that God would allow Jephthah to kill his daughter. I struggled with this for many years. It made me very afraid of God. I almost walked away from God because of what I thought was discrepancies in the text. However, since then I have learned that a sacrifice did not necessarily mean killing his daughter.  I have learned that it is not good enough to just study your Bible to understand some of the things it contains. You have to be a student of history and the culture of the time period. You also have to study linguistics. While Wikipedia is notoriously wrong most times because anyone can change the facts at any time, I am including a copy and paste print of the text, because, after much study, this is a very accurate portrayal of what I discovered years ago. I am copying and pasting it here just in case someone changes the facts at a future date. Wikipedia can be hacked by people and they change the text to support their specific viewpoint that is the reason I am copying and pasting. My blog has less of a chance of being hacked. I will illustrate this point using the story of Jephthah as summarized by Wikipedia and the opposing viewpoints.

 

Story[edit]

 

The Return of Jephtha, by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini

The story of Jephthah is found in the Old Testament Book of Judges chapters 11–12. The Israelites “again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord … they forsook the Lord and did not serve him. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the Ammonites …” (Judges 10:6–7).

Jephthah, having been born illegitimately, is driven out by his half-brothers and takes up his dwelling in Tob, east of Gilead. “There gathered around him some worthless [“empty”] men, and they went out with him.” (Judges 11:3) The elders of Gilead ask him to be their leader in the campaign against the Ammonites, but he holds out for a more permanent and a broader position, and the elders agree that, provided Jephthah succeeds in defeating Ammon, he will be their permanent chieftain. On behalf of Israel as a whole and in reliance on the might of God the Judge, Jephthah challenges the Ammonites. Jephthah swears an oath:

Whatever (Note: Or whoever) comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it (Note: Or him) up for a burnt offering.[4]

Judges 11:31

The victorious Jephthah is met on his return by his daughter, his only child. Jephthah tears his clothes and cries, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low!” but is bound by his vow: “I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow” (Judges 11:35). The girl asks for two months’ grace, “…that I may go up and down on the mountains and weep for my virginity” (Judges 11:37). And so Jephthah “did with her according to his vow that he had made” (Judges 11:39). The story ends by recounting how “the daughters of Israel went year by year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year” (Judges 11:40).

Later, Jephthah was forced to fight against the Ephraimites, who refused to aid him in his struggle against the Ammonites. The story is remembered for the killing of the fugitive Ephraimites who were identified by their accent; they said the Hebrew word shibboleth as sibboleth. “At that time 42,000 of the Ephraimites fell” (Judges 12:5–6).

Commentary[edit]

 

Sacrifice controversy[edit]

This story of Jephthah and the killing of his daughter stands in stark contrast to the Binding of Isaac in the Book of Genesis, in which Abraham was about to perform a divinely-ordered sacrifice of his son, when an angel of God directly intervened and stopped the sacrifice.

Some writers have observed that the Israelites of the time were decidedly barbarous; that Mosaic law (which forbade human sacrifice) was at this time widely disrespected; and that there are several other examples of rash vows to God with similarly terrible consequences.[5] David Janzen argued that the story was an integral part of the Deuteronomist picture of moral decline through adoption of non-Israelitic practices such as child sacrifice.[6] Solomon Landers believed that the absence of express judgement implies that the sacrifice was not acceptable to God.[7] The Book of Judges has been seen as teaching a cycle of pride associated with rejection of the prophets and subsequent suffering of the people. John Chrysostom held that God allowed Jephthah to kill his daughter in order to prevent similar rash vows being made in the future and that it was for that purpose that the annual bewailing of the event took place as a constant reminder.[8] Ambrose cited the story as an example of how it is “sometimes contrary to duty to fulfill a promise, or to keep an oath”.[9]

Since at least the 12th or 13th century, Jewish scholars, among them the compiler and summarizer David Kimhi (1160–1235) and Levi Ben Gershon (1288–1344), have taken fulfilment of Jephthah’s vow as meaning that he only kept her in seclusion.[10] This view is put forward also by Christian scholars from the 14th century[11] and continues to be propounded today, as by Solomon Landers, who considers it most likely that the fate of Jephthath’s daughter was perpetual virginity or solitary confinement.[12][13]

Ethelbert William Bullinger,[14] looks at the word “and” in Jephthah’s vow (Judges 11:31: “whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering”). As he explains [15] the Hebrew prefix “ו” that is translated in the above passage as “and” is often used as a disjunctive, and means “or”, when there is a second proposition. Indeed, this rendering is suggested in the margin of the A. V. Bullinger goes on to give examples from the Bible where the same word has been translated as “or”. According to him, the right translation of this passage is: “whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, or I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” Jephthah’s daughter, being the first that came out of the house, was thus, according to Bullinger, dedicated to God. He also says:

In any case, it should have been unlawful, and repugnant to Jehovah, to offer a human being to Him as a burnt-offering, for His acceptance. Such offerings were common to heathen nations at that time, but it is noteworthy that Israel stands out among them with this great peculiarity, that human sacrifices were unknown in Israel.

Adam Clarke‘s Commentary[16] has an exposition of the issues at stake in this passage and contends that the vow Jephthah made was not as rash as it sounds.

In the writings of Pseudo-Philo Jephthah’s daughter is given the name “Seila”. The Order of the Eastern Star refers to her as Adah.

 

After much study and soul searching, I believe Jephthah’s daughter was dedicated to the Lord’s work. She was not allowed to marry nor have children. The sacrifice that was made was no marriage or children. Children were highly valued in the Hebrew culture. This would have been a true sacrifice. When I present something such as Luke’s list is a portrait of Mary’s family tree and Matthew’s list is a portrait of Joseph’s family tree you have to be aware that I am drawing a conclusion based on my own personal relationship with God and what I know of his character, culture, etc. I cannot in any way offer you concrete evidence. That is why I said, “You have to take some of this on faith.”

I think it is also prudent if I tell you what my studies revealed regarding the sacrifice of Isaac. God was testing Abraham. He wanted to know if Abraham loved him more than Isaac. Thus, the reason an animal sacrifice was provided by God when God saw Abraham loved him more. It was a portrait of what God did for us. He sacrificed his only son that we might be saved. However, he raised his precious son from the grave 3 days later. He did not allow him to stay dead. This is a further testament of his love and the fact that God does not take human sacrifice as an offering.

The Bible may seem like it is full of contradictions but if you dig deep enough and study you will find there is usually a good reason for most of it. That is why I believe what is said in Jeremiah 29:12- (ESV)12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

I did not understand most of what I was reading in the Bible until I dug deeper and started truly searching for answers. I have to search with my whole heart. I have to ask the big questions. God is not afraid for us to ask questions. I was told all my life not to question God. However, I needed to know the answers. That is why I am not intimidated by Atheists and understand their need of having some questions answered. I could not love God and accept him as a Savior if he was so mean he would ask me for a human sacrifice. I struggled with this and God ordered some killings in the OT. This was my thread of logic as I studied and found answers. This is my personal logic but I think it will give you a picture into my heart and how I arrive at conclusions and how I teach Bible material.

I would not enter into a relationship with my husband if he was a murderer. However, he is a military man and I understand that he may have been forced to kill for the greater good.  While Allan knows he has never pulled the trigger to kill anyone, he was what most would call an accessory to murder. He stood that line on a ship during the first Gulf War and yes, they exchanged gunfire from the safety of the ship with the enemy. Just because he did not see the target does not mean someone was not killed. I may have very well married a man that killed someone. He was trained to kill! He went to war. He did it for a good reason to keep others safe. Some of you married military men, law enforcement officers, etc. and understand this. I can look into the face of my husband and live with the fact he may have killed but he did it for a good reason to protect lives, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I understand that I would be capable of killing for my children. I understand why God ordered some killings in the Old Testament. I would not want to kill. God does not want to kill or order a killing. He wants all to come to salvation but he is also a just God who understands things I do not. I understood all of this before I could enter a true relationship with God just like I understood why my husband may have killed as a soldier before I entered a relationship with him. I understand my husband’s character and know he would not kill in cold blood.  I understand through much Bible study and prayer that God would not order killings without good reason. Just like my husband does things I do not understand for our good sometimes, I understand God does certain things I will never understand. My husband sometimes will make a tough decision because he has all the facts and I don’t. He knows stuff and does not tell me because he knows my tender heart could not take it. He protects me by letting me be mad at him and just taking my wrath. God omits some things from the Bible sometimes. I cannot explain them. That is where your personal faith and study come in.

I will never understand the entire Bible or be able to answer all of your questions. I just have to study and present what the Bible says and the different viewpoints at times. Most of the time, I will simply present my viewpoint.  That is what I did last week when I said Matthew is Joseph’s family line and Luke is Mary’s family line. I looked at all of my research and arrived at the conclusion of what Matthew was trying to prove in his genealogy and what Luke was doing. There is absolutely no way of me knowing for 100% sure that was the writer’s true intent.

I hope by me writing down how I arrive at certain conclusions you understand why it is so important to study the Bible and other resources for yourself. I hope you understand it is OK to question God and have doubts as long as those doubts drive you to the word of God to seek out truths. Sometimes seeking out truth means utilizing other resources. Sometimes seeking out truth means you have to do your own work and not rely on one teacher. You should always, always, always check and make sure what I tell you is true. Just because I am a teacher does not mean I have all the answers. Newsflash—- Neither does your preacher! Always check up on us. What I told you is what most Bible theologians and historians accept as fact. However, not everyone accepts it as fact and you need to be aware of that. Ultimately, God has to show us all the truth. Sometimes we may not find all the answers this side of Heaven and that is where your faith comes in. Most of us have a knee-jerk reaction when we think of God ordering the death of certain people in the Bible. We should because he is a loving God. However, love is only one aspect of God’s character.  He is also a just God. He is a jealous God. He is a God who cannot tolerate evil. He does allow some evil to flourish thus the parable of the wheat and the tares

Matthew 13:24-30  (NKJV)

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

God eradicates some evil and tolerates other evils. I do not know why. However, you can rest assured based on the character of God you do understand that he is a loving God and has a reason for ordering some things and allowing others things that are evil to flourish. You need to always study and search the Bible yourself. I will answer what questions I can but please know I cannot resolve every discrepancy beyond a shadow of a doubt. I can only give you the benefit of my knowledge as I study the Bible and the Holy Spirit has to do the rest.

 

The Life of Joseph: Chapter 46 continued Genealogy

messianic-genealogy

https://www.google.com/search?q=genealogy+of+Christ+images&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=667&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj78-73p5PKAhWBWCYKHZEWBEwQ_AUIBigB#imgrc=Uk2KdE2cG0qP7M%3A

 

I know last week we talked some about genealogy.  I said I would deal with it more when we reached Genesis chapter 49 which deals with Jacob blessing his sons who gave birth to the nation of Israel. However, I felt led to go ahead and begin this study into the genealogy of this family because it is part of the Messianic genealogy line. Soon we will be going into the holiday season. With this being such involved reading and studying to understand all of it, I am going to go ahead and start this before our lives get crazy. Also, our study will give you a greater understanding of the Christmas story.

 

The Nativity story can be found in the book of Matthew Chapter 1 and the book of Luke chapter 3. Matthew begins with the list of genealogy and then goes into the birth of Christ. Luke’s list of genealogy can be found before Jesus’ ministry begins.  It is widely accepted by most scholars and theologians that Matthew deals with the legal ancestry of Jesus’ right to reign or his inheritance of the throne of David through Joseph. Luke gives the ancestry line of the Messiah through Mary because Luke’s gospel focuses on the humanity of Jesus.

 

The paradox or the apparent contradiction of how Jesus could be God and man is a hard concept to explain. I will try to explain it but you must realize that greater individuals than I have tried to explain it before and failed. The reason is simple, mere humans cannot explain the paradox that is the God. Jesus is God in human flesh. The blessed trinity that is God is one and three, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Honestly, you have to exercise faith that God is both one and three. If you open your Bible and search for the word trinity you will never find it. However, anyone who has studied the Bible knows the concept is there. Taking into account all of the difficulties I will simply say the belief and understanding of this concept is the work of the Holy Spirit. This concept is so difficult no mere human could ever understand unless the Holy Spirit gives you the wisdom and faith to understand it all.  I will try in my very limited human manner to explain this concept during our genealogy study, but I implore you to pray and ask God for wisdom as we enter into this study because He is the one who will reveal and makes sense of all of this to you in your heart.

 

An egg has 3 parts if separated; the shell, the white, and the yolk. You can separate them but it is still an egg. My husband explains it in this manner. I am a son. I am a husband. I am a father. I am one person but I am all of these things and many more. The same can be said of Jesus. He is God. He is man. He is your High Priest, Messiah, Savior, Prophet, Judge, King, and Lord. There have been many prophecies concerning Jesus.  Most are explain through the genealogy of Christ. In saying that, I highly recommend you print out the genealogy charts I am giving you this week and print the Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled chart (Link http://christsavesministries.org/index.php?proc=pbp&sf=vw&id=5 ) and keep them handy through this Bible Study. If you do not have the ability to print, open these charts in separate tabs for quick reference.

 

Why is this all important? Why does the Bible include so many list of genealogy? It is simple. The family line proved that Jesus was part of the family of God’s chosen people, Israel. Matthew began by showing us that Jesus was a descendent of Abraham and a direct descendent of David. This fulfills all the Old Testament prophecies concerning the line of the Messiah.  As I said before, the purpose of Matthew’s gospel was to prove that Jesus is the Messiah, and eternal King. This list is the first piece of evidence Matthew presents to prove that Jesus is the true Messiah.

 

Matthew’s Genealogy

Matthew’s genealogy deals with Joseph’s side of the family. Luke deals with Mary’s side of the family. If you have read this list closely you will have noticed some differences which can appear to be contradictions. Matthew lists the descent of Jesus from patriarch Abraham to David. He divides the list into 3 sets of 14 generations.

  • Abraham-David (* David is mentioned twice in Mathew’s genealogy to reach the number 14)
  • David-Josiah
  • From Jeconiah –Jesus

Side Note: (Jeconiah  is also translated into Jehoichin in some texts. This is not really a discrepancy; it is the translation of the different languages through the years. My American name is spelled Phillicia, However, in Spanish my name is Feleci’a with the emphasis on ci pronounced si in Spanish. In English that part of my name is pronounced sha. I point that out because many Atheists use that as an example of the Bible being flawed but there is a simple explanation for it. This is important because if any part of the Bible is flawed it plants seeds of doubt in the minds of believers and unbelievers, especially in the genealogy list because it means that Jesus is not the true Messiah. Another reason could simply be he was known by both names. This is not an unusual practice today or then. I am known as both Phillicia and Flo. This causes some confusion sometimes. However, the reason I am known by both is, Flo was my childhood nickname. I introduce myself as Flo to younger students because Phillicia is a mouthful for my kids in the nursey. My older students call me by my given name, Phillicia.)

 

Christ being identified as a descendent of David introduces Jesus as Messiah (see Matthew 12:23 and Matthew 22:42-45)

 

The connection to (Patriarch or Father) Abraham emphasizes God’s covenant, or promise, with the nation Israel and the man known as Israel or Jacob. As I have pointed out many times through the past several weeks, everything hinges on the covenant made with Abraham. God confirmed that covenant with Isaac, Jacob (or Israel), David, etc. Your understanding of the original promise to Abraham is crucial to understanding the entire Bible because without this understanding you will not understand how God made a promise to redeem sinners and he alone keeps that promise. You will not truly understand the grace extended to you without an understanding of all of this.

 

If you are a woman, you are more likely to have noticed that women are included in the genealogy. This is highly unusual because in the Hebrew culture the bloodlines are listed through the men. This is the opposite of our genealogy searches of today because we go through the mother usually.  I want to pause and discuss the importance of these women.

Tamar- the wife of her father-in-law (considered incest).  The story of Tamar is in chapter 38 of Genesis. We studied this story. She posed as a prostitute to ensure the birthright and consequently secured the line of the Messiah by giving birth to twins Perez and Zerah. Her son Perez was in the direct line of the ancestry of David, which of course leads to the Messiah.

 

Rahab– was a GENTILE (none Hebrew or Jew). Her story can be found in Joshua 22:1-21. She was a prostitute of Jericho, She hid the spies prior to the conquest of Jericho. She made an agreement with the spies that she would hide and protect them in exchanged for the safety of her family and herself. Rahab became the wife of Salmon as a result of her being spared death. Every time I read the story of Rahab her words found in Joshua 2:11b jump off the page…… For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below. Rahab believed in God, just like Abraham did. She is an example of great faith. She is the Gentile matriarch of faith. Why is this important? She is proof that God made a way from the foundation of the world that all men Jew and Gentile alike could be saved! This is a fulfillment of prophecy. See light to Gentiles in the Messianic Prophecies fulfilled chart.  Secondly, Rahab game birth to Boaz, who later married Ruth.

Ruth-  Ruth was a Moabitess. Her story can be found in the book of Ruth. Jews shunned Moabites because they were the descendants of one of Lot’s daughter. The daughter cheated her father and tricked him into incest. (Genesis 19:30-38) The story of Boaz and Ruth is the greatest love story ever written. Boaz was Ruth’s kinsmen redeemer. Boaz did not have to redeem Ruth. He could have shunned her but he did not. If you have studied the story of Ruth in depth, you will notice that Boaz was obviously raised by a Christian woman in the Hebrew culture and faith. Since mothers are the first teacher in any child’s life, the life of Boaz tells me Rahab raised her son in the scriptures and teachings of Christianity. He redeems Ruth even though no one at the time would have faulted him if he did not. Because his mother, Rahab, was a Gentile and he had been raised in godly manner, Boaz was not prejudice to Gentiles. Boaz not only married Ruth but loved her, in spite of her checkered past. Does this sound familiar? It should! Christ did the same thing for us.  Boaz was the father of Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David. These men produce children who as a result of their careful training in God had accepted salvation in their own right. I cannot help but be encourage that a harlot who turned her life over to God was the catalyst to all of that. It gives me hope that through all of my own faults and sins he can do great things for me if I am repentant and turn to him for redemption.

Bathsheba or the wife of Uriah- Bathsheba was the wife of David and the mother of Solomon and Nathan. She was a Gentile too. Solomon was the one God build the temple. Bathsheba’s story can be found in II Sam Chapter 11, 11:27- 12:3; II Sam 5:14, I Chronicles 3:5, I Kings 1: 11:35. Bathsheba had an affair with David. She was the wife of Uriah one of David’s soldier. She became pregnant as a result of the affair while Uriah was on the battlefield. Uriah was killed as a result of an order given by David. After a period of mourning David married her. As a result of their adultery, she lost her the child. If you will look at the chart Messianic Genealogy, you will notice that is where the lists of genealogies in Matthew and Luke start to differ with Mary’s line and Joseph’s line. Also, she is a woman people would consider disrespectful. However, while all of these women had questionable pasts, they were not beyond God’s redemption and grace.

 

The paradox comes in that these women gave birth to their own Savior through their descendants. The same God who created the world and who made a way of redemption from the foundations of the world is their grandson.  He existed before them and after them. AND he chose them to be part of that family line to prove that he was accessible to all Jews and Gentiles AND regardless of their past they could find healing and redemption through him.  Is your mind blown yet at this paradox? Mine is and I was the one who attempted to explain it! The God who created all of these women, was the same God who was born of these woman, and redeemed them. I cannot explain this coherently. That is why I told you it was a paradox. Without the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the keeper of all truth and knowledge speaking to your heart, this concept is a paradox. I just laid out the facts of Matthew’s genealogy. It is up to God to confirm that he exists outside of time and space.

 

Matthew’s addition of these women reveals he is not only concerned with historical data and accurateness but he wants to show the readers these women raised both ethical and ethnic questions. Two of these women, Ruth and Rahab, were not Israelites by birth. All of these women had reputations that are questionable. So why did he include them? The inclusion of these woman and some of the men shows that all of them (and us) are sinners. God sent his son to die for all people Jews, Gentiles, men, and women.  In Matthew 1:1-17 we see 46 people whose lifetimes span 2,000 years. All were ancestors of Jesus. However, they all were varied people of different personalities, relationships with God, and experiences. Some were considered heroes and heroines of faith e.g. Abraham, Isaac. Ruth, David. Some had questionable reputations.  Some were ordinary people who raised children godly children. Others were evil people like Hezron, Ram, Manasseh, etc… All of it proves God is sovereign. He is not limited by our failures and sin. He works through ordinary people like you and me. He uses all kinds of people to accomplish his will and purpose on this earth. He is GOD!

 

I think for some of us we can also take comfort in that fact when we feel like we are just a mother and a wife. Maybe we are not meant for greatness. Maybe we are meant to raise greatness. That makes our jobs as mothers (and fathers) the greatest of our responsibilities. Maybe we are on some foreign mission field or maybe we just lead a small humble Bible Study class but because of our faithfulness, obedience, and love our children or grandchildren do great things for God. They come to the saving knowledge of grace and lead others to the cross. That is how we fulfill the great commission. We fulfill it in an ordinary, extraordinary way every day. People often say I am just a mother and a wife like that is a bad thing. I would like to point out that Matthew’s genealogy is very specific to point out the Jacob was the father of Joseph (Jesus’ step-father not to be confused with the Joseph of the OT) was the husband of Mary. Women are important to God.

 

If God does not think women are important, then why did he entrust us with raising children and being wives, aunts, mothers, and helpmates? These women prove many things but the greatest of it is this, He loves sinners so much he died on the cross to redeem them. We are not the doomed sex. He gave us a responsibility that is precious and is very important to fulfilling the great commission. We raise children who share the gospel and along the way we share the Gospel. Not everyone is meant to stand in front of a crowd as an evangelist. Not everyone is meant to be a preacher. However, all of us can share the gospel right where we are. So please when the Devil tries to discourage you or persuade you that you are just a woman, wife, or mother, you remind him of the boring genealogy chart of Christ.

 

 

 

 

The Life of Joseph: Chapter 46 Jacob and his Family Move to Egypt.

Josephs Family to Goshen 800_small

Jacob’s Journey to Egypt
1So Jacob set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. 2During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called.
“Here I am,” Jacob replied.
3“I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. 4I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.”
5So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt. They carried him and their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them. 6They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt—7sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters—all his descendants.
8These are the names of the descendants of Israel—the sons of Jacob—who went to Egypt:
Reuben was Jacob’s oldest son. 9The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
10The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul. (Shaul’s mother was a Canaanite woman.)
11The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
12The sons of Judah were Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (though Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.
13The sons of Issachar were Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron.
14The sons of Zebulun were Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.
15These were the sons of Leah and Jacob who were born in Paddan-aram, in addition to their daughter, Dinah. The number of Jacob’s descendants (male and female) through Leah was thirty-three.
16The sons of Gad were Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.
17The sons of Asher were Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah. Their sister was Serah. Beriah’s sons were Heber and Malkiel.
18These were the sons of Zilpah, the servant given to Leah by her father, Laban. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Zilpah was sixteen.
19The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin.
20Joseph’s sons, born in the land of Egypt, were Manasseh and Ephraim. Their mother was Asenath, daughter of Potiphera, the priest of On.
21Benjamin’s sons were Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.
22These were the sons of Rachel and Jacob. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Rachel was fourteen.
23The son of Dan was Hushim.
24The sons of Naphtali were Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.
25These were the sons of Bilhah, the servant given to Rachel by her father, Laban. The number of Jacob’s descendants through Bilhah was seven.
26The total number of Jacob’s direct descendants who went with him to Egypt, not counting his sons’ wives, was sixty-six. 27In addition, Joseph had two sons who were born in Egypt. So altogether, there were seventy members of Jacob’s family in the land of Egypt.
Jacob’s Family Arrives in Goshen
28As they neared their destination, Jacob sent Judah ahead to meet Joseph and get directions to the region of Goshen. And when they finally arrived there, 29Joseph prepared his chariot and traveled to Goshen to meet his father, Jacob. When Joseph arrived, he embraced his father and wept, holding him for a long time. 30Finally, Jacob said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen your face again and know you are still alive.”
31And Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s entire family, “I will go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s entire family have come to me from the land of Canaan. 32These men are shepherds, and they raise livestock. They have brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.’”
33Then he said, “When Pharaoh calls for you and asks you about your occupation, 34you must tell him, ‘We, your servants, have raised livestock all our lives, as our ancestors have always done.’ When you tell him this, he will let you live here in the region of Goshen, for the Egyptians despise shepherds.”
Jacob (AKA Israel) set out for Egypt with his whole family and all of his possessions. He offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac, at Beersheba. Beersheba and Egypt are significant places for Abraham and his descendants. Many times in our readings we fail to recognize this. However, whenever possible you should pause and consider the places and names written in the Bible. If it was important enough to be written in the Bible, there is a reason. To illustrate this, I have to rewind and fast forward through Biblical history.
Abraham- Approximately 200 years earlier from this period in Jacob’s life, Abraham had gone down into Egypt during a famine in Canaan (also known as the Promised Land and Israel). The Bible is very careful to point out that God had protected Abraham in Egypt. (Genesis Chapter 12-13)
Jacob stopped at Beersheba. Beersheba was the place where Abraham worshipped and offered sacrifices to God after he settled the disagreements regarding the land and water rights with the Philistines. (Genesis Chapter 21)
This part of Canaan was where Isaac, Abraham’s son, had lived.
Jacob, Joseph’ father and Abraham’s great grandson, had lived in this part of Canaan before he fled from his brother Esau. (Genesis Chapter 28)
God spoke to Jacob at Beersheba during the night. The Lord repeated the promise to Abraham to his descendent Jacob. He promised to go with Jacob into Egypt and make his family a great nation. The same God who led them into the Promised Land would bring them out of Egypt to claim that land later.
Fast forward 400 years and you will see that God kept this promise. Everything happened the way God told Abraham. Genesis 15:13-16 13Then the lord said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. 14But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. 15(As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) 16After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.” The book of Exodus is the story of Israel’s slavery for 400 years and God calling Moses to lead them out of slavery. The book of Joshua tells us the story of Israel’s conquest of Canaan. However, God promised his descendants would return to the land he had given them. He told Jacob he would die in Egypt but that Joseph would be at his side when he did die.
Beersheba is significant because it is yet another reminder that God always keep his promises! He had kept the original promise to Abraham and he had continued to keep that promise with each of Abraham’s descendants.
Just as important as the significance of the places in the Bible are the dreaded boring reading lists of who begat who! No matter how tempting, do not gloss over these lists. Why? Because, before Jesus can be considered Messiah or Savior, he had to meet certain criteria. Prophecy that had been revealed since the fall of man in Genesis had to be fulfilled. Here is a chart of the why Jesus is Messiah. We know this because many of the answers are found in those boring monotonous list of genealogy. There were many prophecies concerning Jesus’ birth, as found below in the link provided that had to be fulfilled. If even one part of the prophecy was not fulfilled, he would not be the true Messiah. http://christsavesministries.org/index.php?proc=pbp&sf=vw&id=5
Remember the Bible is all about the family history of Jesus. If one piece of the puzzle is missing the Bible can be very confusing. That is why I try to be very thorough when I explain the Bible. The culture, history, places, events, etc… are all very significant and without this careful explanation it leaves the door open for doubt and lies of the Devil to creep in. I will be honest and tell you I do not understand everything about the Bible but what limited knowledge I do have I try to share so that the Devil does not get a foothold into someone’s life. I am very aware of how the Devil will twist God’s word. The Devil did it with Eve in the garden. He even did it to Jesus in the desert. That is why I try and take the time to explain some things even though it is boring at first. I have found that when students understand certain things regarding people, culture, places, events, etc… the Bible, the people, history, and modern day questions are answered. When a student understands all of this their faith is strengthen. Even if they are in a period of their lives like Joseph, when it seems God is not there, they can trust him anyway because they have the evidence of fulfilled promises through written history contained within the Bible and secular history. I have found when the Devil can make one doubt the validity and authority of the scriptures or history of the Bible in any way, he will do it. That is why it is so important for us to research beyond the surface and study what most consider the boring aspects of the Bible.
Later, when Jacob blesses each of his children in chapter 48, I will tackle some of the significance of the genealogy part of this chapter. The main thing we need to be concerned with this week is the genealogy list shows us all the sons of Jacob (who later became the tribes of Israel) went into the Land of Egypt. Later, in Exodus the descendants of these men left together. This is amazing because we have looked in depth at some of the broken relationships and ways they hurt each other. God healed and restored their relationships.
The valley of Goshen is very significant as well. The Hebrews (AKA Israelites, Jews) settled in this valley. This was all part of God’s plan. God set aside these people. He did not want them mixing and intermarrying with pagan nations. However, if you have studied your Bible you know they did eventually. Also, this intermarrying was allowed and part of God’s plan to bring salvation to the gentiles (anyone who is not a person born of the Hebrews.) I know that sounds like conflicting information but remember God had a plan to save all men regardless of birth, race, creed, color, etc. from the foundation of the world. God is complex and sovereign. He knows our sins as well as our victories and he works all things together for the good of those who love him according to his will and purpose. He wanted his chosen people to remain pure at this time in Biblical history. Till this day, the Jews still have their own customs and traditions. These customs and traditions point to the cross or back to the cross. To even date the Bible one has to go back to the Jewish calendar, traditions, and ceremonies. Without an understanding of this, the name and the significance of them settling in Goshen do not seem important. God was keeping these people set aside for himself by keeping them separated from the Egyptians. When Jacob’s family moved to Egypt, this separation would permit the people to grow into a great nation without losing their identities, individualities, and characteristics as his people. They lived, worked, and prospered in this land but still remained God’s chosen people. We are to be of this world but know we are set aside too.
The Canaanites living in the land at this time were a combination of different forms of beliefs and customs. The Hebrews would have been readily accepted and absorbed into the culture of that day if they had remained in the land at that time. The Egyptians despised shepherds. The Pharaoh at the time of Joseph was believed to have been descended from a nomadic Hyksos line. He was sympathetic to shepherds because of this, but due to the racism of this particular culture, during this time period, the Egyptians would not have willingly accepted Joseph and his family within their society. God was preserving their heritage and culture.
Side note- Remember when the brothers were invited to dine with Joseph. The Egyptians had a table. The brothers had a table. Joseph sat by himself but fed the brothers from his table. Everything I just explained hopefully explains the significance about why Joseph had to sit by himself.
Remember the Bible is all about the family history of Jesus. If one piece of the puzzle is missing the Bible can be very confusing. That is why I try to be very thorough when I explain the Bible. The culture, history, places, events, etc… are all very significant and without this careful explanation it leaves the door open for doubt and lies of the Devil to creep in. I will be honest and tell you I do not understand everything about the Bible but what limited knowledge I do have I try to share so that the Devil does not get a foothold into someone’s life. I am very aware of how the Devil will twist God’s word. The Devil did it with Eve in the garden. He even did it to Jesus in the desert. That is why I try and take the time to explain some things even though it is boring at first. I have found that when students understand certain things regarding people, culture, places, events, etc… the Bible, the people, history, and modern day questions are answered. When a student understands all of this their faith is strengthen. Even if they are in a period of their lives like Joseph, when it seems God is not there, they can trust him anyway because they have the evidence of fulfilled promises through written history contained within the Bible and secular history. I have found when the Devil can make one doubt the validity and authority of the scriptures or history of the Bible in any way, he will do it. That is why it is so important for us to research beyond the surface and study what most consider the boring aspects of the Bible.
Later, when Jacob blesses each of his children in chapter 48, I will tackle some of the significance of the genealogy part of this chapter. The main thing we need to be concerned with this week is the genealogy list shows us all the sons of Jacob (who later became the tribes of Israel) went into the Land of Egypt. Later, in Exodus the descendants of these men left together. This is amazing because we have looked in depth at some of the broken relationships and ways they hurt each other. God healed and restored their relationships.
The valley of Goshen is very significant as well. The Hebrews (AKA Israelites, Jews) settled in this valley. This was all part of God’s plan. God set aside these people. He did not want them mixing and intermarrying with pagan nations. However, if you have studied your Bible you know they did eventually. Also, this intermarrying was allowed and part of God’s plan to bring salvation to the gentiles (anyone who is not a person born of the Hebrews.) I know that sounds like conflicting information but remember God had a plan to save all men regardless of birth, race, creed, color, etc. from the foundation of the world. God is complex and sovereign. He knows our sins as well as our victories and he works all things together for the good of those who love him according to his will and purpose. He wanted his chosen people to remain pure at this time in Biblical history. Till this day, the Jews still have their own customs and traditions. These customs and traditions point to the cross or back to the cross. To even date the Bible one has to go back to the Jewish calendar, traditions, and ceremonies. Without an understanding of this, the name and the significance of them settling in Goshen do not seem important. God was keeping these people set aside for himself by keeping them separated from the Egyptians. When Jacob’s family moved to Egypt, this separation would permit the people to grow into a great nation without losing their identities, individualities, and characteristics as his people. They lived, worked, and prospered in this land but still remained God’s chosen people. We are to be of this world but know we are set aside too.
The Canaanites living in the land at this time were a combination of different forms of beliefs and customs. The Hebrews would have been readily accepted and absorbed into the culture of that day if they had remained in the land at that time. The Egyptians despised shepherds. The Pharaoh at the time of Joseph was believed to have been descended from a nomadic Hyksos line. He was sympathetic to shepherds because of this, but due to the racism of this particular culture, during this time period, the Egyptians would not have willingly accepted Joseph and his family within their society. God was preserving their heritage and culture.
Side note- Remember when the brothers were invited to dine with Joseph. The Egyptians had a table. The brothers had a table. Joseph sat by himself but fed the brothers from his table. Everything I just explained hopefully explains the significance about why Joseph had to sit by himself.
I hope this week I have brought to light that each word, place, event, etc. recorded in the Bible is significant. God is sovereign and had a plan from the foundation of the world. I wanted to illustrate all of this because I feel like it strengthens our faith in the authority of the scriptures and its completeness. I can promise you, we will never understand all of the Bible or God, but studying the word and how he works in the life of others give us a better understanding of his sovereignty. I hope that by showing the significance of the places in the Bible you and I understand that the place we are at in our lives are important too. God is in control of our lives and holds it in the palm of his hand.

I hope this week I have brought to light that each word, place, event, etc. recorded in the Bible is significant. God is sovereign and had a plan from the foundation of the world. I wanted to illustrate all of this because I feel like it strengthens our faith in the authority of the scriptures and its completeness. I can promise you, we will never understand all of the Bible or God, but studying the word and how he works in the life of others give us a better understanding of his sovereignty. I hope that by showing the significance of the places in the Bible you and I understand that the place we are at in our lives are important too. God is in control of our lives and holds it in the palm of his hand.

The Life of Joseph Chapter 45 Joseph Reveals his Identity and God’s Plan

romans8_28

Joseph Reveals His Identity
1Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. 2Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace.
3“I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. 4“Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. 5But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. 6This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. 8So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.
9“Now hurry back to my father and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me master over all the land of Egypt. So come down to me immediately! 10You can live in the region of Goshen, where you can be near me with all your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything you own. 11I will take care of you there, for there are still five years of famine ahead of us. Otherwise you, your household, and all your animals will starve.’”
12Then Joseph added, “Look! You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that I really am Joseph! 13Go tell my father of my honored position here in Egypt. Describe for him everything you have seen, and then bring my father here quickly.” 14Weeping with joy, he embraced Benjamin, and Benjamin did the same. 15Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and after that they began talking freely with him.
Pharaoh Invites Jacob to Egypt
16The news soon reached Pharaoh’s palace: “Joseph’s brothers have arrived!” Pharaoh and his officials were all delighted to hear this.
17Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘This is what you must do: Load your pack animals, and hurry back to the land of Canaan. 18Then get your father and all of your families, and return here to me. I will give you the very best land in Egypt, and you will eat from the best that the land produces.’”
19Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Take wagons from the land of Egypt to carry your little children and your wives, and bring your father here. 20Don’t worry about your personal belongings, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”
21So the sons of Jacob did as they were told. Joseph provided them with wagons, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he gave them supplies for the journey. 22And he gave each of them new clothes—but to Benjamin he gave five changes of clothes and 300 pieces of silver. 23He also sent his father ten male donkeys loaded with the finest products of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other supplies he would need on his journey.
24So Joseph sent his brothers off, and as they left, he called after them, “Don’t quarrel about all this along the way!” 25And they left Egypt and returned to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan.
26“Joseph is still alive!” they told him. “And he is governor of all the land of Egypt!” Jacob was stunned at the news—he couldn’t believe it. 27But when they repeated to Jacob everything Joseph had told them, and when he saw the wagons Joseph had sent to carry him, their father’s spirits revived.
28Then Jacob exclaimed, “It must be true! My son Joseph is alive! I must go and see him before I die.”

Judah was willing to become a slave himself rather than sacrifice Benjamin for the sake of his beloved father. Joseph became overwhelmed when he realized his brothers had truly changed. He had all the people removed from the room so that he could speak with his brothers privately. Joseph’s brothers had wanted to get rid of him when he was younger. Now, Judah was doing everything in his power to redeem his brother even though the evidence said he was guilty.
Does this sound familiar? It should! Jesus did the same thing for us on the cross. We were guilty. He took our sins upon himself. Judah is willing to take Benjamin’s sins (Benjamin did not steal the cup but Judah did not know this) on himself for the sake of his father. Judah could not right his wrong concerning Joseph (At this point he thought Joseph was dead) but he was willing to do it for Benjamin. Judah was willing to redeem Benjamin so that he may be restored to his father. Christ redeemed us so that we may have restored fellowship with our Heavenly Father.
Joseph explains to his brothers that it was God who sent me ahead of you to preserve your lives. Genesis 45:5But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. 6This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. 8So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.

God is sovereign. God’s plan and purpose for your life is never dictated by human actions. Although, the brothers meant to harm Joseph and kill him, God had a greater plan and purpose for it all. When others hurt you or disappoint you, please remember that God is never taken by surprise. What I am about to say is actually a hard lesson for many people. God gave each of us free will. However, he is our Creator and knows exactly how we will respond to each situation in our life. We are not his puppets. Just like your children are not your puppets. However, each of us pretty much knows how our children will respond in any given situation. God knows how we will respond. We are his children. Because of that, he uses our choices, actions, and sometimes the actions of others to fulfill his plan and purpose for your life. Romans 8:28 points this out vividly. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. God knows every outcome. He uses circumstances to mold us and shape us according to HIS WILL AND PURPOSE FOR OUR LIVES, not our will and purpose for our own lives. Joseph was telling his brothers the same thing.

Joseph’s brothers wanted to get rid of him. God used their evil plans for Joseph to fulfill his ultimate plan and purpose for Joseph’s life. He sent Joseph ahead of them to preserve their lives during the famine. Through Joseph, he preserved the lineage of the Savior. (Jesus is a direct descendent of Judah.) Because the lives of the 12 brothers would be saved, it prepares the way for the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel, God’s chosen people and the people he chose for his son to enter the world, is birthed from these 12 brothers. Joseph sums it all up nicely in Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Joseph trusted God. Joseph put his faith in God’s sovereignty, even though he did not understand all that he was going through at the time. That is an awesome faith. One I wished I had.
Joseph was reunited with his brothers. The relationship was restored. This gives me hope that the broken relationships I have with others will be restored. I just have to trust in God’s plan and sovereignty. This is the real climax of the story of Joseph. Restoration, redemption, and God’s sovereignty. The brothers gained forgiveness from Joseph. It was well within his power to punish them. He had tested them and found the brothers had changed. Joseph did not hold a grudge. He forgave them and shared his prosperity with them. Joseph actions and life demonstrate to us how God forgives us and offers his goodness and mercy, even though we sin against him and murdered his son. The brothers sent Joseph to his death when they sold him into slavery. A slave’s life was hard and often ended in death. We sent Jesus into slavery because of our sin. He was blameless but paid the price anyway, because he loved us. Joseph was blameless. He showers us with goodness and mercy when we are repent and accept him as Lord and Savior in our lives. Joseph showered his brothers with love and shared his prosperity when he knew they were sorry for their actions.
We have learned many things through the life of Joseph so far. While the story of Joseph continues and we still have many things to learn. Joseph’s life is proof that a life of faith will mirror the life of Jesus.

The Life of Joseph: Joseph’s Cup Chapter 44

Josephs-Cup-Found-In-Benjamins-SackGenesis 44

Joseph’s Silver Cup
1When his brothers were ready to leave, Joseph gave these instructions to his palace manager: “Fill each of their sacks with as much grain as they can carry, and put each man’s money back into his sack. 2Then put my personal silver cup at the top of the youngest brother’s sack, along with the money for his grain.” So the manager did as Joseph instructed him.
3The brothers were up at dawn and were sent on their journey with their loaded donkeys. 4But when they had gone only a short distance and were barely out of the city, Joseph said to his palace manager, “Chase after them and stop them. When you catch up with them, ask them, ‘Why have you repaid my kindness with such evil? 5Why have you stolen my master’s silver cup, which he uses to predict the future? What a wicked thing you have done!’”
6When the palace manager caught up with the men, he spoke to them as he had been instructed.
7“What are you talking about?” the brothers responded. “We are your servants and would never do such a thing! 8Didn’t we return the money we found in our sacks? We brought it back all the way from the land of Canaan. Why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9If you find his cup with any one of us, let that man die. And all the rest of us, my lord, will be your slaves.”
10“That’s fair,” the man replied. “But only the one who stole the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go free.”
11They all quickly took their sacks from the backs of their donkeys and opened them. 12The palace manager searched the brothers’ sacks, from the oldest to the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack! 13When the brothers saw this, they tore their clothing in despair. Then they loaded their donkeys again and returned to the city.
14Joseph was still in his palace when Judah and his brothers arrived, and they fell to the ground before him. 15“What have you done?” Joseph demanded. “Don’t you know that a man like me can predict the future?”
16Judah answered, “Oh, my lord, what can we say to you? How can we explain this? How can we prove our innocence? God is punishing us for our sins. My lord, we have all returned to be your slaves—all of us, not just our brother who had your cup in his sack.”
17“No,” Joseph said. “I would never do such a thing! Only the man who stole the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go back to your father in peace.”
Judah Speaks for His Brothers
18Then Judah stepped forward and said, “Please, my lord, let your servant say just one word to you. Please, do not be angry with me, even though you are as powerful as Pharaoh himself.
19“My lord, previously you asked us, your servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20And we responded, ‘Yes, my lord, we have a father who is an old man, and his youngest son is a child of his old age. His full brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him very much.’
21“And you said to us, ‘Bring him here so I can see him with my own eyes.’ 22But we said to you, ‘My lord, the boy cannot leave his father, for his father would die.’ 23But you told us, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes with you, you will never see my face again.’
24“So we returned to your servant, our father, and told him what you had said. 25Later, when he said, ‘Go back again and buy us more food,’ 26we replied, ‘We can’t go unless you let our youngest brother go with us. We’ll never get to see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’
27“Then my father said to us, ‘As you know, my wife had two sons, 28and one of them went away and never returned. Doubtless he was torn to pieces by some wild animal. I have never seen him since. 29Now if you take his brother away from me, and any harm comes to him, you will send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave.’
30“And now, my lord, I cannot go back to my father without the boy. Our father’s life is bound up in the boy’s life. 31If he sees that the boy is not with us, our father will die. We, your servants, will indeed be responsible for sending that grieving, white-haired man to his grave. 32My lord, I guaranteed to my father that I would take care of the boy. I told him, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, I will bear the blame forever.’
33“So please, my lord, let me stay here as a slave instead of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34For how can I return to my father if the boy is not with me? I couldn’t bear to see the anguish this would cause my father!”

Joseph tested 3 things (conscious, character, and compassion) concerning his brothers before he revealed his identity. Joseph did this because he had to know if his brothers had changed. This week we will look at the compassion test. Also, I will be explaining some things about the culture in which Joseph lived.

Joseph had given instructions to the palace manager to put each man’s money back in their sacks of grain. He also instructed that his personal silver cup be place in Benjamin’s sack. Joseph’s silver cup was a symbol of his authority. People in this time period thought this cup had supernatural powers to predict the future. A person would pour water into the cup and predict the future by looking at the ripples, bubbles, and reflections. Sometimes they poured oil into water or wine into other liquids. We know Joseph did not believe in all of this, but it was all part of the compassion test. Joseph had to know if his brothers had changed. Joseph was continuing the deception he had started earlier in Chapter 43:33 Joseph told each of his brothers where to sit, and to their amazement, he seated them according to age, from oldest to youngest. The brothers were amazed because it seemed as if Joseph knew more about them than he should know. If you do not know about the customs of the time period, this part of the story may not make any sense. Joseph had carefully instructed the palace manager on what to say, Gen: 44:5Why have you stolen my master’s silver cup, which he uses to predict the future? What a wicked thing you have done!’”

The brothers knew the cultural gravity of stealing such a cup from a very important man. Of course, the brothers have change and deny any wrong doing. They take an oath, Genesis 44:9 “If you find his cup with any one of us, let that man die. And all the rest of us, my lord, will be your slaves.” In this time period, a man’s word is all he had. They staked their life by their word. According to the culture laws of that day, a man could die if they were found to be untruthful. In our culture, lying is as natural as breathing I am sad to say, but it was a very serious offense back then. The manager accepts the terms of the agreement but modifies it to match Joseph’s intentions. However, there is a very good reason why the Bible warns us all in Matthew 5:36Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. 37Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one. It was actually our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who warned of this his Sermon on the Mount. We are but mere humans and have no way of knowing all things. The brothers did not even stop to think about how the money had been placed back in their bags before. I certainly think we should be careful about the oaths we take as well. One of many mini lesson side lessons in the story of Joseph.

The manager found the cup in Benjamin’s sack right where he had been instructed to plant it. The brothers were so distraught they tore their clothing when the cup was found. Tearing clothing in this time period was a symbol of deep sorrow. Each culture seems to show the manifestation of their grief in different ways. In areas of the Middle East, they still tear their clothing as a sign of great grief and sorrow.

The brothers were terrified that Benjamin might be harmed. The brothers did not bow before Joseph as a polite symbolic gesture this time, they fell face down on the ground in panic and fear. This again fulfills the dream Joseph had as a teenager in Genesis 37:10. Judah again says that all the brothers should be punished. Benjamin may have been the one who appeared to be guilty of theft, but all of them were guilty of sinning against Joseph. When the brothers were younger they had shown no regard or compassion for Joseph. First, Judah had convinced the brothers into selling Joseph as a slave and then, he and his brothers had lied to Jacob. A very different Judah lays prostrate before Joseph now. Judah now offered to become a slave himself rather than see Benjamin taken away from his father. Judah was so concerned for his father that he was willing to die for them.

Judah is a portrait of Christ. Judah thinks Benjamin is guilty of theft. There is compelling evidence for him to conclude this fact. However, Judah offers to give his life in servitude or death to redeem his brother. Christ did the exact same thing for us. I have often thought about why so many people’s behavior points towards Christ in the Bible. Then I thought about how the power of the Holy Spirit works through us and our behavior will mimic Christ. This is not a coincidence. It is the Holy Spirit of God shining through us and even in the people of the Old Testament. Yes, we are still sinners but God allows people to see him through us. That is why our behavior and witness for Christ is so important. I have had people ask me, “How can I be sure I am saved?” If you are saved, the fruits of the spirit will show through like it did for Judah. Judah did not give a sanctimonious speech of how he was a Christian and his beliefs. We see the evidence because of his behavior. This convicts me greatly. My behavior should reflect Christ. Yes, I will sin and so will you but IF you do not feel guilty of your sin and mourn about it then, I would say you are not saved. The Holy Spirit living in us guides and directs our behavior and words.

I often illustrate this for children with the story Pinocchio. The Holy Spirit is like Jiminy Cricket. Jiminy Cricket acts as Pinocchio’s advisor. He guides and tells Pinocchio what is right and wrong. However, Pinocchio must use his own judgment of how he will respond to any given situation. Sometimes Pinocchio gets into big trouble because he listens to the voice of the bad friends more than he stops and listens to Jiminy. Jiminy tries to chase him down, even yelling but Pinocchio does not listen.

We also have the Bible with numerous examples of how we are to respond. People often say, “There is not an instruction manual for how to raise our kids or live our lives.” I just kind of raise my brow about that. It immediately tells me the value that they place on God’s word. When you do not know how to respond to a situation, you must read the instruction manual given to you by your Creator. Many times we never learn to listen to our Jiminy Cricket because we have not poured the word of God into our lives. You cannot recognize the Holy Spirit’s voice if you have not heard it through the word. You recognize the voice of your spouse on the phone and immediately know if something is wrong because you have spent time with them. You know how they talk when they are excited, scared, etc. You can often hear your spouse or children’s voices even in a crowd. You recognized the still small voice of God because you have spent time with him in fellowship through his word. Reading the word is how we learn about our Creator and recognize his voice even when we are caught in a situation where the still small voice of God may be hard to hear. (I bet you will never watch the story of Pinocchio the same way again! I could actually do a whole theology lesson using the story of Pinocchio. The mind of a Sunday School teacher can be a wonderful thing sometimes. LOL!)

Judah had no time to prepare his response to this situation. It was a gut instinct reaction. It proves without a shadow of a doubt he has change. Christ showed through him in a time when he probably could not hear his voice. However, because he had changed his life and repented of his sins he knew he deserved the penalty.
Judah kept his word to his father that he would pay with his life for Benjamin’s safety. The picture vividly painted by the scriptures shows a changed man who is moved from the depths of his soul to ensure the safety of his brother. He and the other brothers have shown they are men of integrity now. They have conscious, character, and compassion. All of it brought about by their repentant hearts and confessions before each other and God.

On a personal level, I have learned that I need to test others and not just take their word they have changed. I have to look for the fruit of the spirit in their lives. I need to forgive them but my forgiveness does not mean I have to give them the means and opportunity to take advantage of me again. I know all of you probably got a different lesson from this part of Joseph’s life than I did. Most of you have probably already learned that. However, God has always given me a very forgiving nature. I have always allowed people to take advantage of that because I trust too soon. I want to love them and forgive them. My very soul cries out to do it because of the forgiveness Christ offered me. I just have not learned to do it in an emotionally healthy way. I learned it is OK for me not to take people at their word. I need to test them to make sure. That does not make me a bad Christian. That makes me a wise Christian. It does not mean I have not forgiven them, it means I am cautious. Joseph had forgiven his brothers. His actions demonstrate that. He had the money returned to them in the sacks of grain. He served them from his own table etc. However, he tested them before he revealed himself and allowing them access to his family and back into his life on a personal level. I need to do the same.