Wednesday, January 16, 2019

God Remembers His Promises

After Joseph died in Egypt, a king came to power who did not know Joseph, and he feared the Israelites, because they had grown so much. Therefore, he forced them into very difficult labor, building treasure cities for him. Because of their suffering, the people cried out to God. God heard their cries, and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Exodus 2:23,24) Therefore, God put into place His plan for delivering them from Egypt and returning them to the land of Canaan, which He had promised them. God never forgets His promises, even if we have to wait a long time for the fulfillment of them.

When we cry out to God for help, we need to do it in faith, knowing that His timing and His will are always best for us. However, often we are impatient. We want our will done, and we want it right now. That is a great lack of faith. Just think of what we would have missed in our lives if God had done what we asked every time, and if He would have acted on our timing every time. I know in my life, I would have missed many blessing of seeing Him work greater miracles than I could ever have thought up. Instead, we need to pray while remembering that God never forgets His promises to us. He will always come through. Therefore, we can be patient and joyful, even when we have suffering, and we need to wait on God to come to our rescue.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Exodus 3-5.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Jacob's Blessing on Judah's Tribe

Before Jacob died he gathered his sons so he could pronounce a blessing on each one. Of course, he had 12 sons. Each son was the head of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. They were all unique, so he gave them a blessing in line with their personality and character. When he came to Judah, Jacob gave him a special blessing. Judah was to be the tribe from which the kings would come and through which Jesus would come. (Genesis 49:10) It is so fitting that Jesus was born into the tribe of the kings, since He is the King of Kings and His reign will never end.

This blessing of Jacob's sons is a great reminder to all parents that we should bless our children. I do not mean that we can pronounce something over them and God will automatically make it come true. We are not like Jacob, who was a prophet speaking forth God's words upon his sons. However, we can speak good things into the lives of our children that are in line with their personalities and character, so that each of them know they are people of worth, created by God for a specific purpose. This is a great encouragement from the parents, instead of only speaking to them when they mess up or have problems. I urge each of us to be people who bless others with our words, instead of doing harm by what we say.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Genesis 50 and Exodus 1-2.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Promise of God's Presence

Many of us feel alone. We are beset with loneliness, even when we have others around. This is especially true when we have big changes in our lives, and we have to leave the things that are familiar to us. However, there is a cure for this type of loneliness. When we have the presence of the Lord with us, we can be anywhere and face anything and know that we are never alone, for He is with us. God gave Jacob that assurance when He told him not to be afraid to go down to Egypt, because He would make him a great nation there. (Genesis 46:3,4) There may be a lot of us who need to hear what the Lord told Jacob.

God assured Jacob that he was God, the God of his father. He never wants us to doubt who He is. He wants us to see that He is the One True God, the eternal God. Then, He wants us to know that there is no reason to be afraid, as we follow His will for our lives. Even when He directs us to a very strange place, we can and should have peace. The safest place in the world is the center of God's will, no matter where that is. God promised to make Jacob into the great nation. He had promised him before, and He assured him that He would do it in the foreign land of Egypt. God can bless us abundantly in the midst of opposition and/or oppression, if that is what He chooses to do. All we have to do is to be steadfast in trusting Him. Finally, we can know that God will fulfill His promises to us. He had promised Jacob to give the land of Canaan to him and His descendants. He will always do what He says He will do, as we follow Him. He will bring us comfort in death, also. He loves us so, and He will be there to take us to be with Him. Often, He sends loved ones to be with us, as we pass from this life to our home in heaven. What a blessing to have the promise of the presence of God! He gives this promise to all of His children.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Genesis 47-49.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Joseph's Promotion

Finally, after 17 years of being a slave and a prisoner, Joseph is set free to accomplish his purpose for coming to Egypt. He could not have imagined this happening to him. Since God gave him the meaning of Pharaoh's dreams, and Joseph gave Pharaoh a wise plan for getting through the seven years of famine, Pharaoh promoted Joseph to second in command in Egypt. (Genesis 41:39,40) He went from being a shepherd boy to being in charge of the land of Egypt for the Pharaoh. Now, that is a promotion for the ages.

Joseph could not have foreseen why he was sold as a slave to go to Egypt. Then, he could not have known why he was thrown in jail unjustly. However, both of those things led to the ultimate purpose God had for his life. Joseph was destined to hold this position. His dreams as a young man had foreshadowed this promotion. Once Joseph was promoted by Pharaoh, he could save his family and the whole area from starvation. He delivered the people of Israel from the famine or the whole family would have died. God could not allow that to happen, so He worked this miracle to get Joseph in the correct position to do His will.

None of us know what will happen tomorrow. When bad things happen to us, we may not know why. However, in all things, we can do God's will by trusting Him each day. Then, one day we will see why the things happened to us, and we can fulfill God's purpose for us. However, if we fail to trust the Lord, we can miss His purpose for us, and God will have to use someone else to do what He had prepared for us. Let's be determined not to let that happen.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Genesis 44-46.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Joseph's Success

Joseph was Jacob's favorite son because he was Rachel's son. However, his brothers were jealous of Jospeh and sold him as a slave to some traders who took him to Egypt. Once Jospeh was there, God gave him success in  things that happened to him. His master, Potiphar, put him in charge of all of his possessions, and God blessed Potiphar. Joseph was falsely cast into prison, and even there he was put in charge under the warden. God blessed him there, too. (Genesis 39:23) I believe there is a valuable lesson for all of us in this.

Jospeh could have become angry and quit trusting God, when he was sold as a slave. He did not. Then, he could have been depressed and angry when he was put in prison unjustly, but he wasn't. Joseph just kept trusting God and doing right, even though he was going through great difficulties. God blessed him for his faithfulness, but he did not remove his problems. The problems helped to mature Joseph, so he would be ready for the reason he was sold into Egypt. Later, he would find out why he was there. This same thing can be true in our lives, if we are faithful to God through our trials. It might take years to overcome the difficulties, but if we are faithful to God He will sustain us and give us success in the midst of our trials. We can grow and be prepared for our future, because of our trials, too. It all depends on being steadfast in our faith. I pray that we will resolve to never stop trusting God and being faithful to do His will, no matter what trials come upon us, so that God can give us success and mature us.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Genesis 41-43.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Spiritual Memorials

We all have special times in our lives when we had an amazing encounter with God. We should want to remember those times, so we can cherish them. We use different types of memorials to help us remember these times. Sometimes, we write about them in a journal. Perhaps we even have pictures of the places where they happened. It could be that we set up a stone marker like Jacob did when he returned to Bethel, and God spoke the covenant to him a second time in that place. (Genesis 35:14,15) Whatever means we use to remember, it is worth our efforts, because we should praise God continually for His gracious revelations of Himself to us.

I know Henry Blackaby says that we should put down "spiritual markers" of some kind to remember these great times. They encourage us to keep listening to God. The spiritual markers are also a way to look back on where God brought us from, so we can praise Him. We can also get an idea of where He is leading us by going over all of them in chronological order. Each one leads us closer to the next place God wants us to go. Therefore, if you are discouraged or you are not sure of where you are going spiritually, take some time to go back through your life encounters with God. Map them out and rejoice. Then, pray for God to show you what is next.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Genesis 37-40.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Jacob's New Name

When Jacob wrestled with the man all night before he met his brother Esau, I believe He was wrestling with Christ. I know some have other views, but I believe Jesus came in a pre-incarnation visit to the earth and appeared to Jacob. That is what happened when the three men came to Abraham before Sodom was destroyed. One was Jesus, the Lord, and two were angels who went on to Sodom. Jacob wrestled so fiercely because He needed God's blessing. He knew he was no match for Esau, if he was still angry. Jesus bestowed a great blessing by giving him a new name. (Genesis 32:28) That name shows us something that only God can do.

Jacob was a deceiver. That is what his name meant, and that is how he lived, until he met the Lord at Bethel as he fled from Esau. Once He trusted the Lord, he was changed by God. Even though Laban his father-in-law deceived him and changed his wages 10 times, Jacob did God's will for 20 years. Then, God told him to go home, and He would protect him. However, Jacob still had some fear of his brother. He sent gifts to calm Esau, and he stayed behind to pray for God's protection. That is when he wrestled with Jesus. Because he was so tenacious, Jesus gave him the name Israel. Jacob had struggled with God and with men, and he prevailed. He did not trick them. He simply kept trusting God and asking for His blessing. God honored that change with a new name, and he gave him favor with Esau, as He promised. Only God can bring such a change in our lives. I pray that we all have seen such a great change in our own lives.

Tomorrow, I intend to read Genesis 33-36.