~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Genesis 37:1-38:30 ~ Matthew 12:22-45
Psalm 16:1-11 ~ Proverbs 3:27-32
Old Testament - Today in Genesis chapter 37 we begin the amazing last portion of the book of Genesis where we read about Joseph's story! This portion of the story that starts in today's readings will carry us through the rest of the book of Genesis and will set the stage for the exodus from Egypt.
In chapter 37 today we read about Joseph's dreams and how these dreams make his brothers jealous. A couple of things came to mind to me today as reading through this. First is that it is clear that God does some communicating through dreams in the Old Testament. We've already seen this in our previous readings - via a dream Abimelech had or a dream Laban had. And here we see some powerful prophetic dreams that Joseph has. My first question I had was whether Joseph should have shared these dreams with his family? And I asked this question because I wonder if sometimes we also maybe get an insight or what we believe to be a word from God - and if we should share these things with others? Or keep them between God and ourselves? I don't have an easy answer on this one... If you do, feel free to post up in Comments. The other thing that came to mind for me here is what role do dreams play for us today? Does God still maybe communicate via dreams today? I know this might be going out on some fringe thoughts or theology here... but, if anyone has some Christian perspective on dreams, I'd appreciate it. I'm just curious. I honestly have had some dreams in the past that have scared the heck out of me... and honestly helped me set my life on a better course / path back when I had them....
Actually, while I am on this random tangent of dreams, let me share this. I did used to have nightmares periodically. However... when I started reading the One Year Bible each night before going to bed a few years ago the nightmares basically went away. Seriously. I honestly believe because of the light / life giving power of the word of God that the nightmares went away.... Just a little testimony here for you on the power of reading the Bible each day. It is spiritual food and nourishment and protection for you in ways that you may not consciously realize. Actually.... while I'm off on this tangent of nightmares, one more quick story. There has been maybe a time or two in recent years where a nightmare has still come to fruition - and I don't remember the details of the nightmares, but somehow I know that in my dream I called out the name of Jesus and the nightmare stopped immediately... I am not kidding. I don't know how I got myself to call out Jesus' name in the nightmare, but I am so thankful that I did! Maybe this is something that prayer brings - or maybe this is something that happens when we really understand and believe in the all-powerful name of Jesus? If you suffer from nightmares, my two prescriptions are to 1. read the Bible before going to bed, 2. somehow someway say the name of Jesus in your nightmare... pray about this before you go to bed. Maybe this will help you do this in your dream. I hope so!
Genesis chapter 38 brings us the story of Judah and Tamar. Keep in mind that Judah, Tamar, and Perez from this chapter are all part of the genealogy of King David and Jesus as we see in Matthew chapter 1 verse 3 - "Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron." Verse 24 jumped out at me in this chapter as sad irony - "About three months later, word reached Judah that Tamar, his daughter-in-law, was pregnant as a result of prostitution. "Bring her out and burn her!" Judah shouted." This verse reminded me quite a bit of a recent teaching we read about from Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 7 verse 3 - "“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" Is it possible that we too are sometimes like Judah? Condemning others for sins that we ourselves commit too? Even if we don't commit the same sin as someone else, should we instead leave the judging and condemning to God?
New Testament - Jesus' teaching in Matthew Chapter 12 verse 30 jumped out at me in today's readings - "Anyone who isn't helping me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me." This is a really really powerful verse if you think about it. And I think we then need to ask ourselves - are we really helping Jesus? Are we really working with Jesus? Are we really being obedient to Jesus' teachings for our life? And if not, are we then actually working against him?
Jesus' teaching on the sign of Jonah in this chapter is awesome! In verse 40 he prophesies his death, burial and resurrection - "For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so I, the Son of Man, will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights." And then the following verse is just so powerful and convicting... "The people of Nineveh will rise up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. And now someone greater than Jonah is here--and you refuse to repent." Do you believe that Jesus is greater than Jonah? And greater than Solomon? (as we read in verse 42) Do you understand Jesus' teachings? Are you repenting?
Psalms - Psalm 16 today I love! I could probably share with you some thoughts on just about every verse in this Psalm today...
Verse 1 has new meaning for me already, just based on my dream tangents above... :) "Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge." Do you believe that God will keep you safe if you come to him for refuge?
And verse 2 is so true - "I said to the LORD, "You are my Master! All the good things I have are from you."" This reminds me of some song we sing in church that goes - "Every good and perfect gift comes from You. Father of Lights." This is such an amazing truth. Everything good in our life - absolutely EVERYTHING good in our life - comes from God. Do you believe this?
Verse 3 reminds me to rejoice for and pray for pastors and spiritual mentors of mine - "The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!" Do you appreciate your pastors / ministers / priests and spiritual mentors? And do you appreciate other godly people you know too? Are they true heros? Do you pray for these folks regularly?
And verse 11 is a powerful closing to this Psalm and perhaps a prayer for us to pray fervently - "You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever." Do you want to be shown the way of life from God? Do you want to be granted the joy of God's presence? Do you want the pleasure of living with God forever? Have you prayed to God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit to give you these things in your life? Will you pray this prayer?
Proverbs chapter 3 verses 27 & 28 are convicting... "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it's in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don't say, "Come back tomorrow, and then I'll help you."" This verse makes me ask myself, and maybe these are questions you'll want to ask yourself - Do I regularly volunteer with ministries or nonprofits that serve the poor? Do I consistently give offerings of my finances to ministries or nonprofits that serve the poor? Are the poor my neighbor? Should I be helping them today? Is it in my power to do so?
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below! Grace,
What verses or insights jumped out for you in today's readings? Please post up in the Comments section below!