Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekly Bible Devotional: Feb 21-27

Biblical Worldview Families and Friends:

We are excited this week to be introducing our monthly Featured Products. Each month these featured materials will be new or relevant products that we find helpful, offered at discounted prices. We hope you will enjoy these selective offerings!

Below are the Daily Bible Readings for this week. The readings for this week have much practical life application for each of us.

David Barrett, Director

Biblical Worldview Learning Center



February 21st

Reading: Genesis 48:1-22

Jacob is getting older and weaker. In this state, should he become ill, it could be a sickness that takes his life. So, when Joseph hears that his father is sick he rushes to be with him. But, for Joseph, it is not just that he wants to personally be with his father at this time, though that is important to him. What Joseph also desires is for his father to bless his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim.

Joseph had a special closeness to his father and seeking his father's blessing for his two sons demonstrates that his closeness was tied into the understanding of the relationship Jacob had with the living God. Joseph knew of the special calling God had placed upon the family of Jacob. It was a calling that had begun with Abraham and was passed down through Isaac to Jacob (Israel) and would now rest upon the children of Israel as they grew in number in the land of Egypt.

Joseph had seen how God had orchestrated events and divinely protected his life to provide for his father and his brothers. Joseph had grown in his faith in God and desired to be in the center of God's will for his life and the life of his sons. Bringing his boys to Jacob for his blessing was a way of demonstrating that desire.

We, too, should remain sensitive to being in the center of God's will for our lives. Certainly prayer and the study of God's Word are essential for this. However, if you have Godly parents and grandparents, a close relationship with them is also very important. The wisdom and understanding they have gained over the years can be passed on to you much like the blessing Jacob gave to Joseph's sons.

February 22nd

Reading: Genesis 49:1-33

Jacob knows the time of his death is near and he feels an urgency to speak to his sons one last time. He calls them together to tell them "that which shall befall you in the last days." This is a way of saying that he is going to prophecy what will happen among their descendents as they each become a great number of people. The use of the words "last days" by Jacob here does not mean the last days of the world that will occur sometime in our future. He is referring to the future days of his sons descendents as the children of Israel become a nation and each son’s descendents become a tribe of people.

It would be impossible to analyze each prophecy of each tribe in our short visits here. That would also miss the point of our little devotionals. Being the first time through the Bible I want to direct your attention to one particular prophecy, the prophecy over Judah. In the future, as you read through the Scriptures again, we can look at the prophecies over the other sons. At some point, you may wish to investigate several of these prophecies and try to find their fulfillment. Bible commentaries and other study books can be of help to you in doing this.

But, for now, let's not get overwhelmed with all of that. Let's simply look at the prophecy of Judah and notice a few things. The prophecy over Judah is the first one that is filled with praise and it seems that only he and Joseph receive abundant blessings from Jacob. In fact, of Judah, it is said that his brothers would praise him and their children would bow down to him. Judah, it appears will become a ruling people. In fact, Jacob strongly refers to this when he associates a scepter and a lawgiver among Judah's descendants.

Keep this in mind as you continue to read through the Bible and watch the story unfold. You will find that Judah not only becomes one of the greatest of people among the tribes of Israel, but the kings that rule over Israel will come from Judah. But there is something more fascinating about this prophecy over Judah than what I have just shared.

Take a close look at verse 10 again where it speaks of the rulers and lawgivers that will come from Judah. It says, that this will happen "until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." This last statement that I have quoted for you is a prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ, God's Son, the Promised child. Remember way back to the 3rd chapter of Genesis, when Adam and Eve sinned? At that time, God promised a Savior from sin who would defeat the Devil. You might want to re-read that part of Genesis 3 and especially look again at the 15th verse where God speaks about the seed of the woman. I told you at that time that this was the first prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ.

Through the reading of the Book of Genesis we have seen several references to Jesus. Let me review a few of them with you now. In Genesis 3:15 we saw, as I just told you, that Jesus is the Seed of the Woman who will defeat the Devil. In the story of the birth of Isaac we saw that Isaac was the miraculous child of promise given to Abraham and Sarah, but Jesus would be the Promised Child given to the world. In the story of the testing of Abraham as he took Isaac up to the mountain to obey God and sacrifice his only son, we saw the substitution of the ram for Isaac. In this we learned that Jesus would be our substitute for the penalty of sin and would offer himself as a lamb. Jesus is the Lamb of God. Now, we read of the prophecy over Judah and the coming of Shiloh, which refers once again to Jesus Christ. Later, we will find that Jesus is called the "Lion of the tribe of Judah".

The "Seed of the Woman", the "Promised Child", the "Lamb of God", the "Lion of the tribe of Judah", all of these point to Jesus Christ. He is ultimately the One the whole of Scripture is about.

February 23rd

Reading: Genesis 50:1-26

Congratulations! You have just finished reading the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis. You have just accomplished something that few people have done. You have read the Bible on a consistent basis and read from the beginning to the end the first book. And, you have done it at a very young age. Many children your age would not even attempt, let alone complete, such a task. Again, I say, congratulations on your diligence.

As you have read, the story of Genesis ends with the death of Joseph. Joseph's death represents the passing of the generation of Jacob's immediate children. Jacob's descendents will no longer be thought of as his 12 sons, but they will be referred to as the "children of Israel." They are increasing in number and becoming a very distinct group.

Today, I want you to consider Joseph's response to his brothers as they asked for his forgiveness after they returned to Egypt following the burial of their father Jacob. They were fearful that Joseph would now treat them badly. Their consciences were still bothering them, as it should. Joseph does forgive them and makes the amazing statement, "ye thought evil against me: but God meant it unto good" (vs. 20).

Joseph has learned something that we need to work on developing in our own lives. Joseph has learned that God controls the events of people. People can plan even evil things, but God in His Sovereignty can use those evil actions to work His plan for good. Joseph's view and understanding of God is the view and understanding we all need to have.

February 24th

Reading: Exodus 1:1-22

Today we begin a new book of the Bible, but it is really a continuation of the same story. Moses, a man I have mentioned to you before, and the main character who will be introduced to you in this book, is the author of the book of Exodus. He was also the author of the book you just finished, the book of Genesis. Moses helps us see the connection of Exodus to Genesis in the first few verses as he renames the sons of Jacob, states the number of 70 individuals that came with Jacob to Egypt and also that Joseph was already there. He even states the death of Joseph, which was the last major event in the book of Genesis.

God had said that He would bless the children of Israel and cause them to grow in number and that is exactly what is happening. Verse 7 uses a number of expressions to say that the number of the children of Israel is increasing greatly and they are becoming strong as a people. Everything seems to be going great for the children of Israel, but now, as we read in this first chapter something happened and their whole situation is changed.

Verse 8 is the key verse for this change. Read it again. It says a new king or Pharaoh ruled over Egypt that did not know Joseph. Remember how it was Joseph's relationship with the Pharaoh that helped his family find favor? Remember how the Pharaoh was happy to give them the best of his land and even considered having some of Joseph's brothers take care of his own cattle? Remember how Joseph had his brothers emphasize their occupation of being shepherds? Remember that I told you the ruler in Egypt at the time of Joseph was not a native Egyptian, but was one of the Hyksos, or "shepherd kings" that had taken control of Egypt at that time? Well things have changed.

Several generations after Joseph died the native Egyptians rose up against the Hyksos and drove them out of Egypt. A new king, a native Egyptian was made Pharaoh. This was a ruler who had no interest or care about Joseph and his relatives. In fact, he was concerned that the children of Israel might join up with the Hyksos if another war broke out. That is what is meant in verse 10 when the king of Egypt says that he is worried that the children of Israel might, "join also unto our enemies, and fight against us." So this was the change that brought the harsh treatment onto the children of Israel from the Egyptians.

February 25th

Reading: Exodus 2:1-25

This chapter is our introduction to Moses, the main character of the book of Exodus. The whole of chapter 2 covers his first 40 years of life. In this chapter we read of his birth, his rescue from certain death, his growing to manhood in the house of Pharaoh, his fleeing from the anger of Pharaoh to Midian, and the starting of his family with his wife Zipporah.

There is much more to read of Moses' life, but the amazing thing shared in this chapter is the miraculous way God kept Moses from being killed. Pharaoh was determined to kill every Hebrew baby boy that was born. The Hebrew midwives refused to obey his command as we learned in chapter 1. However, we read at the end of that chapter how Pharaoh issued a decree throughout his nation that all the baby boys should be thrown in the river.

During the time of this decree, Moses was born. His mother hid him for the first three months of his life. But, the time came when she could not hide him indoors any longer. So, she made a small basket and put her baby boy in the river among the weeds. As God would have it, the daughter of Pharaoh soon came by to bath in the river and found the baby. Her heart went out to the baby and she determined to keep it. So, the very household that was determined on killing all the baby Hebrew boys ended up being the same household that would raise Moses, the great deliverer of the children of Israel.

God certainly has a sense of humor to make matters work out in this way.

February 26th

Reading: Exodus 3:1-22

In this chapter God calls Moses for the special purpose of leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. God demonstrates His miraculous power by appearing to Moses in a fire that came out of the middle of a bush, but did not burn the bush. God can do anything.

Moses is concerned about being accepted by the children of Israel. So, he asks God for the name he should tell the children of Israel when they ask him for their God's name. This is one of the only places that God declares what His name is. God's name reveals His nature and the name God declares here is the most insightful name we have of who God is.

God tells Moses that His name is "I Am that I am." What does that mean? It means that God is the one who exists because He exists. That is, there is no other cause that has brought God about. Everything else, in the physical world and in the spiritual world, only exists because of a previous cause. Ultimately, that cause is the will of God. God, on the other hand, exists because He simply does exist. All of God's attributes that we have spoken of up to this point – His sovereignty, omnipotence, omniscience, providence – and all the attributes we ever will learn of God, are based in this most fundamental nature of God. The fact that He exists simply because He does.

February 27th

Text: Exodus 4:1-31

The conversation we read about in the last chapter between the Lord and Moses continues in this chapter. For more than half the chapter we read about what was said. Moses is very reluctant to go. First, Moses does not think the children of Israel will believe he is sent of God because he does not know what name to use for God. The Lord then gives him his name. Next, Moses says they won't listen to him because they will not believe that God has appeared to him. So, the Lord gives him some special signs to do to convince the people that God did appear to him. There were three signs: Moses’ rod would turn into a serpent and back into a rod; Moses would put his hand inside his cloak and when it came out it would be full of leprosy, then it would be restored; and, when Moses took a cup and poured out water, it would turn to blood.

You would think after all these demonstrations Moses would be excited to go back to Egypt and be God’s spokesman to the children of Israel. However, Moses has still another "excuse" for why he should not be the one God calls. He tells God he can’t speak well. And even after God tells Moses that He is the one who makes mouths, eyes, and ears to work and that He will be with Moses, Moses still complains about having to speak. God was pretty upset with Moses' attitude and tells Moses that Aaron would speak for him to the children of Israel.

If you know the story of Moses in this book very well, then you know that Moses becomes a strong leader of the whole nation of Israel. Yet, here is Moses, a timid and scared shepherd who can't imagine that he could ever talk in front of a group of people.


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