Daily Bible Study

“And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him.” (Genesis 37:18)

I never cease to be shocked at the viciousness of some people. How they can mistreat and murder and not be driven crazy by their conscience is mind boggling. What’s worse is when it is directed at family! Joseph’s brothers take him with the intention of killing him. I do believe God works in the everyday affairs of men. I am certain that it was a direct intervention of God that prevented his brothers from killing Joseph. Reuben was content in terrorizing him and returning him to his father, but the others led by Judah decide to profit from him and lie to his father which they do. While the Bible narrative is short and matter-of-fact, I can almost hear the cries of Joseph as he is carried off by the Ishmeelites. Even worse had to be the heartbreak of their father when they lie to him about his disappearance. One thing that we must keep in mind as we see the depravity of man is that GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL!! There is no panic in heaven, only plans. Now we will see the character of a person in whom the Spirit of the living God works.

The midianites sell Joseph (as if he were a pack mule or something) to an Egyptian general (captain of the guard). One would think that Joseph would be an angry bitter man but one would be wrong. “And the LORD was with Joseph,” that tell the story right there! We have already seen that when one walks with God they have a different attitude. Because of the LORD’s presence Joseph becomes a “prosperous man.” Here is n interesting thought; how can one be considered a “prosperous man” when he is a slave and what he produces isn’t his? It’s all in perspective, if your goal is to be a blessing you can prosper even if it isn’t something you can keep. The prosperity comes in accomplishing your purpose. We should start every day with clarifying our purpose. As a child of God our purpose is to please and glorify Him!

It looked for a while that Joseph couldn’t win. The general’s (Potiphar) wife was infatuated with Joseph and tried to seduce him. When she failed due to his integrity and character she accused him of attempting to rape her. It is my opinion that Potiphar knew better otherwise he would have had Joseph executed as was the baker later for far less. John Calvin on the other hand thinks that Joseph suffered greatly and even to the point of death. He believes to fulfill the type of Christ that Joseph was he had to suffer death, even if it was a living death. Calvin writes, “The Lord purposely suffered him to be reduced to extremity, that he might bring him back as from the grave.” It is definitely encouraging to see someone who is not overcome with the flesh and takes a stand to do right. What’s more, even though he is persecuted for doing the right thing, he maintains a GREAT attitude and glorifies the LORD.

While all of the above was going on the Bible records the sordid account of Judah and his failure with Tamar, the widow of his deceased son. Judah disregards the custom of giving the widow to the next son in line to raise up seed for the dead. (BTW, he was dead because the LORD killed him for his wickedness as well as his next brother in line for failing to obey God) Tamar decides to take matters into her own hands and plays the harlot with an unknowing Judah. When Judah hears that Tamar is pregnant by playing the harlot, he wants to have her burned until he finds out that it is his child (actually children…twins) that she carries. Don’t forget the law of harvest is always in operation…whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7)

Joseph however is maintaining his good attitude and trust in God. Wait, how do I know he’s trusting God? That is the reason he’s in prison. See Genesis 39:9, when propositioned by Potiphar’s wife his chief reason for refusal was, “how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” While all of the others that we have red about never seemed to care what God’s thoughts were concerning their actions, Joseph does. This should be thee attitude of every child of God. While Joseph is doing what he does as best he can he is joined in the prison by the kings chief butler and chief baker. Joseph is put in charge of them and served them. Then one day they both had a dream. It is obvious that God used dreams to communicate to men in those days. While I realize the revelation of God is complete, I think God may still on occasion use dreams, at least to get the attention of His people. We will look at the content and interpretation of those dreams next time…

Daily Bible Study

With treachery in their heart, Jacob’s sons feign a solution to the problem. They “agreed” to allowing Dinah to be Shechem’s wife if all the men of their city would be circumcised. With his desire for Dinah being so great, Shechem and Hamor agree and return to the city to sell it to the men there. Jealousy, deceit, revenge, where does it stop? The answer my friend is, IT DOESN’T. The Apostle Paul explains it this way in Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” People can play pious but their flesh is just as wicked as anyone’s flesh. So what’s the answer? Again, the Apostle Paul tells us plainly, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. THERE is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 7:24-8:1)

Keep in ind that while Jacob is chosen by God and is being led by Him, his children are not. These are men driven by their flesh as Shechem was his. (BTW, “flesh” is defined as the unbridled drives of men without regard to God or His righteous will). These men have no Holy Spirit to guide and convict them. The only thing they have is a conscience which they choose to ignore. Simeon and Levi take it upon themselves to execute judgment upon the whole town for the sin of one. What they do is as wicked as that which was done to their sister. This is the kind of thing that gives the lost man the right to throw Matthew 7:1 in the face of the preacher, “JUDGE not, that ye be not judged.” They fail to read the rest of the chapter or the statement that Jesus makes in John 7:24 “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” There must be judgment. If all of my friends wanted to rob a bank I would have to make a judgment, do I join them or separate? The issue calls for righteous judgment.

After killing all the men of the town and plundering, Jacob is left with the aftermath. Just as Shechem didn’t consider the consequences of his cations, so the sons of Jacob didn’t consider theirs. It is only the grace of God that Jacob survives. But survival requires revival! All idols and ear rings had to be turned in and buried. The family went back to Bethel (the house of God) and built an alter and called on the name of the Lord. It is great to know that God is a God of second chances! That by no means is license to do wickedly! In the process of revival Jacob gets a new name. He now become Israel. Deborah,Rachel and Isaac die and Benjamin is born. Time goes by and both Jacob and Esau increase in both people and possessions. Just as Abraham and Lot had to separate so do Jacob and Esau. Esau packs up and moves south east to Mt. Seir (present day Jordan).

In time another crisis develops as God begins to groom Israel’s (Jacob) successor, Joseph. Joseph first is resented because he is his father’s favorite. That resentment grows as he shares with his already resentful brothers the dreams that he was having. God was preparing Joseph for what he was going to do with him. He has a dream of sheaves brought in from the field, his brothers sheaves bow down to Joseph’s sheaves and his brothers get the inference. Then he has another dream that the sun, moon and 11 stars bow to his star, and again the brothers get the inference. Resentment grows to the boiling point and the brothers devise a scheme to rid themselves of this nuisance. It amazes me how wicked these boys are. It is obvious that their mother (Rachel) with her stolen gods was more influential that their father who had communed with God and angels. Faith in God can not b handed down. It must be born in each individual heart. Parents, don’t think you’re children are going to follow Christ because you do. You had better pray and elplain to your children how God works lest Satan gets a foothold in their life. There should NEVER a day go by that you DON’T pray for your children!! It matters NOT how old they are.

Daily Bible Study

It’s interesting to note that as we start Genesis 32 we Jacob is back on his way home after the encounter with his father-in-law and on the journey angels met him. Very few individuals in the Bible saw angels but Jacob was blessed to see them often. As he nears home he sends messengers to give Esau a heads-up on his return. The messenger come back with the report that Esau is on his way with 400 of his men. If you recall Jacob left in the first place because Esau wanted to kill him for getting the blessing from Isaac that he felt belonged to him. This was not the news he was hoping to hear. What a predicament, the average person would have prepared for war. Do you remember the Biblical principle with which we ended yesterday; “A soft answer turned away wrath?” why abandon a game plan that is working? He divides his entourage up into groups with the idea that if Esau decides to attack, the first group can keep him somewhat busy while the others escape to safety. What he does next is the MOST important. He doesn’t just trust in his plan of escape but he intreats the God of Heaven for protection seeing it was He that led Jacob to return in the first place. Now, this was not done arrogantly, as if to point the finger at God and say, “It’s your fault.” Instead Jacob realizes and confesses so, that he is “not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth” which God had bestowed on him and his family. He humbly casts his fate in the hands of the God he has come to trust and Who has shown that He can be trusted, praise God! God gives wisdom to men, especially at a time when it is absolutely needed to keep them alive and Jacob’s case is just that. Jacob also decides to offer gifts to Esau as he comes out to meet Jacob with his small army. It does appear that even though He is trusting in His God Jacob is dealing with his natural fear in such a situation. So often I hear people say, “You shouldn’t worry about that, just trust God.” The problem with that statement is that faith and flesh are two separate forces that work on us at the same time. While I can put my faith and trust in the God of Heaven in Whom I have all the confidence in the world, I still have to deal with the flesh in which I am imprisoned until the return of my Savior or the death of my body. Unfortunately that flesh is subject to fear and worry. It’s a natural thing. It’s like someone saying, “Dogs can sense your fear so don’t act afraid. Well regardless of how you act, if they SENSE your fear you can’t fool them. Fear is a natural phenomena that affects this body of flesh. Jacob send his family across the brook while he stayed just on the other side alone. While Jacob waited in fear “a man” engaged him in a wrestling match that lasted through the night. If the Scriptures weren’t clear who it was I would say he was wrestling his own conscience. But Jacob concluded that it was God with Whom he was wrestling. I always thought it was an angel until now, there is no Scripture indicating that it was an angel. At any rate the wrestling match ended at sun-up with a blessing for Jacob.

Esau shows up and hugs Jacob and it appears all of the worry was for naught. Someone has said time is a healer; it helps so much more when God gets involved. Esau tries to refuse the gifts he was given but Jacob would hear none of it. Esau offers to leave some men to help Jacob get into town but that too was unnecessary and Esau heads back while Jacob starts out at a much slower pace.

Having settled in the area of God’s leading, Jacob sets up his farm and begins the acclamation in his former land. One day Jacob’s daughter Dinah gives in to a desire to “see the world” you might say. As we have said earlier, man hasn’t changed. He is still driven by his fallen nature. The only check to that drive is the presence of the Holy Spirit of Almighty God, and even in His presence sometimes, the flesh presses on. Away from her umbrella of protection, Dinah catches the eye of the prince who takes and has his way with her. The fact that Shechem the prince wants to do the right thing after the act doesn’t change the fact that he did wrong in the first place. I wonder what made Shechem think he could get away with his crime? Was it due to his affluence and position, ( as is the case with so many politicians, sports stars and Hollywood types) or was it because she was the daughter of “these Hebrew people” who were small in number and not well respected (my assumption only)? I suppose it could have been that they met and were flirting with each other as most careless young people do and one thing led to another and as they say, “it just happened.” We said it before and will say it many, many more times before we get to the revelation; one reaps what they sow.

The brothers are all working in the field when the word of the defilement came in. Jacob held his temper while waiting for them all to come in. But it seems the father of the prince decided to take the initiative and went out to Jacob. Apparently that got the brothers attention and they came in “grieved and angry.” While Hamor, Shechem’s father, tries to portray this event as an opportunity to join forces and become one, Shechem himself makes a more humble appeal. No doubt he senses the brother’s anger. If only things had been done differently; isn’t that what we hear so often. They could have been and they should have been but they weren’t and to try and pretend that it can just be brushed off and forgotten is silly and dangerous! Yet aren’t God’s people supposed to show the same grace and forgiveness that they have received from the Lord? The answer is “YES” though it doesn’t play well in our flesh.

Daily Bible Study

The latter part of Genesis 29 and the first half of chapter 30 give us the reason God intended one woman for one man. In these chapters we see a jealous competition between Jacob’s two wives and as a result, their two maids as well. What a mess! As we read on in chapter 30 we see another weakness of man, covetousness! Laban wasn’t willing to let go of Jacob because he was prospering with his assistance. The positive side of this coin though is the faithfulness and diligence of Jacob. He had been diligent in his work. When we get to the New Testament this is a command given to the church (Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;) This however allowed for Jacob to start prospering himself as it gave him opportunity to set his terms. Again, proper perspective allows for a good attitude. Prosper he did! While the Scripture records some plan of putting Poplar rods in front of the cattle when they drank, I think the real blessing came directly from God.
Genesis 31:11 and 12 also bears that out. The angel indicates to Jacob that the breeding that has prospered Jacob was because he had “seen all that Laban” had done unto him. No doubt Jacob understood that as well. No telling how much blessing we have experienced that we thought was because of our own prowess is actually a direct blessing from God. We owe Him more praise than we even realize!!

Finally the day came when God told Jacob it was time to go. Keep in mind that Jacob has now been with Laban over 30 years and probably closer to 40 or more. There is two factors that I can think of that made Jacob leave without announcing his departure. 1. It’s a pretty safe bet that Laban would try to talk him out of it again and he didn’t want to have to deal with that. 2. Laban’s sons were already displeased with Jacob, this might put them over the edge to do something unreasonable. He has no problem convincing his family it was time to go, so they pack up and steal away into the wilderness. Several days later (three to be exact) it becomes apparent to Laban that Jacob had left with all of his prosperity. Laban gathers his boys and angrily rides after them. Rachel almost messed everything up by stealing her father’s idols. Perhaps she thought they were pretty, who knows, but it was the wrong thing to do and it almost cost her, her life and a miserable trip for the family (to say the least). Once again we see, as we will time after time, mankind’s nature manifest. Romans 7:18 says, “…in my flesh dwelleth no good thing!” There is just no good in us. The only hope we have and the only value we will ever have comes to us by the grace of God. We however must be recipients of that grace. 1 Corinthians 15:10 says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain…”

It took him 7 days but Laban finally caught up to Jacob. I’m sure that the longer he had to ride the angrier he got. However, God spoke to Laban in the night on his journey and warned him not to speak “either good or bad” (Gen. 31:24) to Jacob. The faithfulness of our God is impeccable! The promise He made to Jacob at Bethel was as rock solid as the God who made it! When God promises something in His Word, it’s as safe as the gold in Fort Knox (assuming there is gold in Fort Knox). While there was nothing he could do I like the way Laban expresses his anger when he finally comes face to face with Jacob, ” It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto meyesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.” (Gen. 31:29) At that point Laban launches a search for his idols with Jacob’s permission. Rachel devises a cunning plan to hide the idols and gets away with it. Rachel will pay for her sin later, in God’s time and in God’s way. But for now God is protecting Jacob. At this point Jacob unloads on Laban. Laban handles it well and asks for a treaty of peace between them which Jacob grants. This is where the famous “MIZPAH” takes place. It’s an agreement to ask God to watch over three relationship despite the separation of miles. There are bracelets and necklaces and other jewelry and things made from this Mizpah prayer, “The Lᴏʀᴅ watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another. “. (Genesis 31:49} They set up a pillar of stones monument as a witness of their agreement and parted friends.

The Bible says “A SOFT answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1) Make it your policy to answer those who would stir you up in this way. God bless, have a great day.

Daily Bible Study

As we pick up the where we left off, Jacob has obtained the benefit of Isaac’s blessing and has infuriated Esau to the point of revenge. Rebekah presses Jacob to leave and stay with her brother in Haran. She uses the necessity of finding a right wife to get Isaac to agree to sending Jacob off. Meanwhile Esau marries a daughter of Ishmael out of spite to his parents. Chapter 28 records the dream that Jacob had on the way to Haran. Actually the dream could have been in reality a vision. God used this vision/dream to pass on the covenant that He had given to Abraham and Isaac. I say it could have been a vision on the basis of Jacob’s reaction to it. It was so real that it caused him to fear and consider that place HOLY, calling it Beth-el (the house of God). Bethel becomes a very special place from this point on. What Jacob saw was a stairway to Heaven with angels ascending and descending and the LORD standing above it. What an awesome sight that must have been. God promises to give him the covenant of his father. The next morning he wakes, builds an alter and worships God.

As he nears his destination in Haran, he comes to a well, as the local shepherds come to water their sheep. As he is speaking with them about Laban, Rachel, Laban’s daughter arrives with Laban’s sheep. Once again it was love at first sight. It seems to me that the Lord must be in this thing. I believe that God has the right mate for every person. The problem comes when we run ahead of God and try to work it out ourselves. All too often our flesh gets in the way big-time!

Now this is where the payback comes for Jacob. God has said, “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal. 6:7) That is a principle of God just as sure as gravity! That principle holds true for the lost as well as the Christian. Laban welcomes Jacob and offers him a job. When asked what he expected for payment Jacob asks for the hand of his youngest daughter Rachel. Even though Laban agrees he doesn’t mean it, not yet anyway. Jacob agrees to work for Laban 7 years in exchange for His daughters hand in marriage. The night of the wedding ( 7 years later) while Jacob is distracted Laban slips Leah, Rachel’s older sister in her place. By the time Jacob realizes it he has consummated the marriage. Jacob gets a taste of his own poison – deceit! This just goes to show that man hasn’t changed a bit. It’s not his environment, it’s his nature. The world isn’t getting worse, it’s as wicked as it has always been. The only difference is there was no television news to broadcast the garbage all over the world back then as they do today. The news stations are just as wicked as the garbage they broadcast. We are led to believe that we are ignorant and out of touch if we don’t stay up with the news. I think its the other way around, you are ignorant and out of touch with God if you watch it. I quit watching professional football last year, I’m going to quit watching news this year! I’m replacing both with the good news! What’s good about this you ask? I’m glad you asked…

The good aspect of this account is that those 7 years passed fast for Jacob because of his love for Rachel. So what does he do? He works another 7 years to get the one he loves. When our perspective is right, our attitude will be also. A side note: God never intended man to have multiple wives. In the beginning (Gen. 2:24) God said A MAN (one) shall cleave unto his WIFE (one) and they shall be one flesh. Jesus clarified it in Matthew 19:5 by adding the word “twain” (two) for anyone who might argue.

Sunday School 9:45 Sunday Morning Service 11:00 Sunday Evening Service 6:00 Wednesday Service 7:00
January 2018