Reading #1 – Genesis 48
Reading #2 – Psalms 30
Reading #3 – Proverbs 16
Reading #4 – Ezekiel 48
Reading #5 – Romans 3
Genesis 48 – Jacob’s Last Days. Joseph received word that his father, Jacob, was ill and dying so he and his sons traveled to Goshen to be with him (1). Jacob had been promised by G_d that his once dead son Joseph who was found to be alive and living in Egypt would close Jacob’s eyes after his death (Genesis 46:4). Israel declared a blessing on Joseph for his faithfulness when he had no reason to be faithful and no idea what the G_d of his fathers was doing or why he was alone in Egypt (15-16). When Joseph presented his sons, he put Manasseh on his left and Ephraim on his right. Israel knew the birth order but he put Ephraim above Manasseh (17-20); we are not told why he did this unless Jacob was drawing a parallel between himself and his brother Esau (Genesis 25:22-26). Joseph was the firstborn son of his beloved Rachel so Joseph was near and dear to Jacob’s heart as was Benjamin and their other brothers. Joseph received an inheritance from his father that should have gone to the 1st born (21-22).
Psalms 30 – A Song of Dedication of the Temple. This Psalm was written at the dedication of David’s palace (Charles Spurgeon). When David was crowned king over Israel and Judah, he sought a place for the center of his kingdom which would be in Jerusalem or “Zion” (2 Samuel 5:6-9). David understood that it was not his might nor power that conquered the fortress of the Jebusites (1-3). By not relying on the whim of mankind to determine his destiny but on the LORD G_d, the victory that was given to him, the victory had ripple effects in Lebanon and in the cities surrounding Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:11, 17-25). When we stand upon our authority in Christ and act on his promises, G_d’s Spirit will breathe new life into our hearts and we will go from victory to victory (10-12, Psalms 84:5-7).
Proverbs 16 – Contrast the Upright and the Wicked. Everything and every person on this planet belong to the LORD. The problem is, mankind acts on their individual plans sometimes without regard to the potential outcome (1). The problem is, what is not considered when making plans and acting on them is “what are the consequences”? Joseph was sent into Egypt because his brothers were jealous of him and while it worked out for the LORD’s glory, it also set the stage for problems in time. Solomon was chosen by his father to be crowned the next king instead of the rightful heir and because of Solomon, the kingdom would be divided after his death (2). Sometimes, our plans make perfect sense while we are talking to ourselves in the mirror but fall apart in G_d’s counsel (3-4, Proverbs 18:17, James 1:23-25). There is a common problem that prevails in children as well as in adults and that is, “we don’t like to be told no or be turned down”. Unfortunately, once a plan of action is acted on, it is difficult if not impossible to undo or “alter the plan” (11-12).
Ezekiel 48 – Division of the Land. Joshua and the elders divided up the land the first time after the land was conquered. Fast about 1000 years and the land is being redivided again. The thing is, the parcel of land was now smaller than when Joshua divided it after the time of Moses. The point to be made is that while we have the power to choose our destiny, the consequences will drive the outcome and outline future battles.
Romans 3 – All the World is Guilty. When we accept the concept that G_d is righteous and He is just, it does not matter if we dislike it or like it. G_d is not on our side just because we say we are “Christians” or “children of G_d so when we are disobedient, we are judged and sometimes that judgment is a bitter pill to swallow. Consequently, when we falter, it doesn’t make being a “Christian” the wrong this to do (3-4). When we falter, it doesn’t mean that “all Christians or Jews are bad people”, it means that everybody has the propensity to make mistakes some of which are grievous. When we disobey G_d’s laws and bad things happen, we proving to the world that G_d is true and every man a liar and that bad decisions lead to bad consequences. Wickedness is everybody’s problem because it affects everybody and sometimes disproportionately (12-17). G_d’s righteousness is not dependent on the Christian or the Jew, because both groups have given G_d pause over the centuries with their incessant unrighteousness. In the same vein, we are forgiven not because we call ourselves Christian or Jew but because He sent His son for the atonement of the lamb (24-25). In the eyes of G_d, we are nobody special, we were not saved from the pit we were in because we “deserved it”, and we have no reason to boast otherwise (26-28).