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In the genesis passage, i am struck by the self promoting joseph tried when in prison (he asked the cup bearer to give him a way out by remembering him to pharoah) and the promoting here given by others (pharoah). You ask whether you would be able to remember god if you were appointed ruler of egypt - not sure about that one ;) but what i am fairly sure about was that joseph wouldn't have been able to manage it if he had come out of prison when he wanted to. god's extra two years must have been in part to prepapre his soul for this task.
i am reminded of the work god is doing in my life through struggle and toil: all in preparation to make me useful for him. i think of the 1 tim 2 verses:
16 All Scripture is Godbreathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Hi Mike,

Just want to thank you for the blog. Today's reading about Joseph taking charge of Egypt always reminds me why God hasn't made me richer, smarter or better looking - I know I would forget God! I've noticed how even small things can go to my head, how much more the kind of power that was bestowed upon Joseph would destroy me. Remembering this helps me to always think twice whether I seek a higher station for the glory of God or for my own.

This morning I read all the passages aloud to my two youngest kids...4.5 & nearly 3, because I wouldn't have had a moment's peace to read them otherwise. I was struck--again--by how exciting the bible can be (since I need to read it dramatically to keep their attention:-) and also because the riches of God's word are so deep that no matter if you know the story well or not, there's so much to be learned!

You go Micah Girl!! God also promises blessings to those who hear God's word. That's great that you read these passages to your kids.

Tough thoughts today about what we really value. Mike and Simon, I also wrestle with what my response to such a position of authority would do to me -- would I forget to walk humbly before the Lord, would pride rear it's head and blind me to the truth? I too am challenged by the "sell everything" references in Matthew. I forget the passage from a few days ago that tells us if we will seek first the kingdom of God that "all these things" will be added unto you.

A hostile world! I call to GOD,
I cry to God to help me.
From his palace he hears my call;
my cry brings me right into his presence--
a private audience!
What else could a man/woman ask for? A private audience with God, the creator of the universe -- that's better than an audience with the Queen of England, with th epresident of the United States or even a breakfast with a rich guy like Bill Gates.

The theme is echoed in Proverbs today:
Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding! Don't forget one word! Don't deviate an inch! What do I value today? What am I willing to give up in order to gain wisdom or participate in the Kingdom of God?

Hmmm,
Mark

Everyone:

I am really enjoying this ride through God's Word with all of you!

I am a bit of a history geek, and I have always found the story of Joseph becoming second in charge of Egypt facinating! After reading some commentary, I discovered that the Pharoh of Joseph's time was part of a non-Egyption dynastic period known as the Hyksos period. Apparently these pharohs were much more open to allowing the descendents of Abraham to live and succeed in Egypt because they were themseleves "strangers in a strange land". Isn't it intresting to see God's hand in the cultivation of His people? How much easier was it for the Isrealites to flurish in a land of plenty like the Nile Delta of Egypt!

Anyhow, I found a very intresting web site on the origin of these Hyksos Pharohs of Egypt. It fits in really nice with all we have been reading in Genesis. If you are interested and you have time check it out, it is at this link:

http://nabataea.net/edomfrwd.html

God bless!

Genesis 41:17-42:17
WOW I’m going to focus on chapter 42 because several things jumped out at me and said, “Hi There, Look at ME!” Back in chapter 32, Jacob had his name changed to Israel, which would imply a change of character. His new name was reinforced and restated in chapter 35. But ten chapters latter, Israel is still called Jacob. Not only have I seen that but I’ve never really looked at the tone of the text in the first two verses of the 42nd chapter before: Jacob’s seems to have contempt for his sons.

I have checked out several other translations but I would love to check out my English translations of the Hebrew Text by the Jewish Publication Society or at least have access to a Jewish Biblical Scholar right about now. The NLT reads this way; …he (Jacob) said to his sons, “Why are you standing around looking at one another? 2 I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down and buy some for us before we all starve to death.” This is clocked in sarcasm coming from an angry and bitter man. A man that has been grieving for thirteen-years, a man that has been caught in the grip of despair and depression for thirteen years!

The writer of Hebrews cautions us to, 14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

I believe Jacob, who should have been known as Israel, not only defiled his own heart with bitterness, but spread it around so “many became defiled.”

The signs of the many becoming “defiled” may be seen, I believe, in the ten brothers inability to recognize their brother Joseph. Although some may put forth that Joseph’s lack of facial hair may have thrown them off, I put forth that at the tender age of 17 Joseph didn’t have much facial hair at all. I put forth that bitterness, unforgivness, which leads to anger, caused the brothers eyes to be blinded so they could look but not see. Joseph, as we will see later on in the book, had come to accept what had happened to him as the path he had to take to fulfill the visions/dreams God had given him.

There is a statement that the brothers make that is very interesting and I wonder whom were they trying to convince of its truth, Joseph or themselves? When accused of being spies by Joseph (Was this done under God’s direction or was it all Joseph?), they state:
10 “No, my lord!” they exclaimed. “We have come to buy food. 11 We are all brothers and honest men, sir! We are not spies!” Hmmm! You sold your brother and didn’t fess up to your Father of the crime you committed, honest indeed.
Matthew 13:24-46

Of the Parables that are given in this portion of scripture, two have greatly fascinated me and I’ve often meditated on them. The first one listed stating that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. Now what is this Kingdom? Is this the Heaven that will have no more tears, pain, etc. I don’t think this can be that heaven because there are enemies in this Parable and in Heaven we will not be subjected to adversaries. So just what exactly is this kingdom, and where is it located? I believe this is what will be found within the body of believers on the earth up until the second coming of Christ. Within the body of Christ, enemies will be planted, thus the warning by Jesus in the earlier chapters of Matthew to be wary as snakes and harmless as doves.

The other issue, the other things in this Parable that has arrested my attention is the statement in verse 25 (NIV) while men slept the enemy… In the Garden, Jesus warned his disciples to “watch.” The Parable of the ten virgins the warning was to keep watch. I believe this Parable is not only stating that there will be secret agents out to wreck havoc within the Body of Christ, but that also we are to always keep watch to prevent the enemy from gaining access to the fields.


The other Parable I love is the merchant who sells everything he has to gain the Pearl of Great Price. I think this has a duel meaning. The first is a statement attesting to the fact that to gain Christ is worth giving up everything we have to posses the Pearl. I also see this as God giving up everything He had, His Son (For God so loved the world that He gave…) to gain the Pearl of Great Price, which is us, the Body of Believers, the Bride of Christ.
Psalm 18:1-15
This Psalm, a Psalm of David is like the one from yesterday, Psalm 17. Although David is praying this Psalm or has written to use as a prayer for protection against his enemies, in reality this is a Psalm about Jesus. Looking at the life of Christ as he faces religious opposition and the opposition of death and the grave, one can see in the forest of the words after studying the scenery this is a summary of Jesus’ life. The Old Testament is Jesus Christ concealed. Amen!

Proverbs 4:1-6
Who is the writer of this particular passage in Proverbs, is it Solomon relaying his relationship with his father to the readers. Again I believe this is Messianic, because Solomon was not an only child of his mother Bathsheba. David had several wives and they had children, which would have made them Solomon’s half-brothers and sister. Nathan was born to Bathsheba and can be found in the lineage. In fact Solomon had at least three brothers as stated in 2 Chronicles 3: 4-5:
David reigned in Jerusalem thirty-three years, 5 and these were the children born to him there:
Shammua, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon. These four were by Bathsheba daughter of Ammiel.

Christ is everywhere where you least expect Him. Surprise!

Just a note: Please understand that 1) I don’t memorize scripture. I have an aversion to memorizing scripture, that’s my issue; please don’t make it yours, because of the abuse I experienced. Let me clarify: folks used scripture wrongly to fear and control to do wicked things in my households (foster and birth). 2) I have read through the bible yearly, sometimes using more that two read-through-the-Bible plans for twenty years. So you come to remember things and connect things that you didn’t remember or connect before. And it is the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised to us that will bring all things to our remembrance. But you have to have read it for it to be brought back to your remembrance.

Grace and peace,

Ramona

I'm having really bad problems with my computer. It took me over three hours to get the above out so i'm not going to deal with Mike's question. In fact I tried to post before but I lost eveything. Ugh!

Additional Thoughts

While preparing to go to work this morning, hmm, not sure if I woke up or God woke me up, because I woke up at 3:45am, after having gotten into the Word, I heard this regarding the mental and emotional state of Joseph’s brothers and their father. I am surer than sure that this is an answer to questions about their inability to recognize him, Joseph, when Joseph recognized them immediately, and this is extended out to all of us: believers and unbelievers.

When we are loaded down with guilt, anger (Which by the way is a secondary emotion. We are angry because we have been hurt and we are holding on to the person or thing that hurt us through bitterness, through holding grudges or even through vengeance), and unforgiveness. We place veils over our own eyes, this is not an act of Satan placing veils to deceive us, this is of our own doing. Forgiveness is a gift granted by the giver; however forgiveness is not for the one that sinned against us, but it is an act of release to free us from the bonds of enmity that keep us from seeing. When we fail to place all our baggage in the arms of Christ we blind ourselves and become unable to recognize our own deliverance. Joseph was sent ahead by God to deliver His Chosen Family from the effects of the famine scripture states (Psalm 105:16-18), yet his brothers failed to see.

In looking at the Parabel of the Sower, specifically Jesus’ explanation: the soil the seed were sown in represent our hearts. According to words written by the Prophet Jeremiah, we are responsible for the condition of our hearts.

Jeremiah 4:

3 This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: "Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. 4 Cleanse your minds and hearts before the LORD, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.


Make it a Blessed and peaceful day,
Ramona

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