~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Genesis 50:1 - Exodus 2:10 ~ Matthew 16:13-17:9
Psalm 21:1-13 ~ Proverbs 5:1-6
Old Testament - Today we finish up Genesis and begin Exodus! In Genesis chapter 50 verses 19 & 20 jumped out at me as Joseph spoke to his brothers - ""Don't be afraid of me. Am I God, to judge and punish you? As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people." Again, I am impressed with Joseph's character here. His brothers seemed to think that Joseph hadn't really forgiven them, and that he was waiting to get back at them after their father had passed away. But, I think we see here that Joseph had truly forgiven his brothers! It was water under the bridge. And not only had Joseph forgiven them, but he saw the power of how God turned something bad into something incredibly good. I wonder about this in our lives today - do we truly forgive other people like Joseph forgave his brothers? Or, do we maybe hold some piece of unforgiveness within us? Maybe we keep bringing up the wrong that somebody did to us? Maybe we do this to make them feel a bit guilty from time to time? Should we instead fully forgive and fully move forward?
One interesting side note in this chapter 50 was the embalming of Jacob & Joseph. I read that this was an Egyptian custom - not a Hebrew custom. And that Jacob & Joseph were likely being respectful of the Egyptian customs of the day. The Egyptians believed in an afterlife - and believed that the embalming allowed the deceased to utilize their body in the afterlife.
Exodus! Okay, I really should not confess this publicly... but I have known for the past few days that the book of Exodus has been coming up in our readings. And I've been really excited about it... and I love music generally speaking.... and so... I have been singing the Bob Marley song "Exodus!" in my mind to myself over the past few days quite joyously. I know, I know, this is a strange behavior. I'll work on it! "Whoa-oooo Exodus! Movement of the People!" :)
In Exodus chapter 1 verse 12 was awesome - "But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more quickly the Israelites multiplied!" It's amazing how when God wants people to flourish, they flourish! Even in the midst of oppression. This verse kind of reminds me of the flourishing of churches over the centuries and even today where the body of Christ is still often oppressed. It flourishes! Praise God for flourishing his people then - and now!
In Exodus chapter 2 we are first introduced to Moses! The author of this book of Exodus - along w/ the overall first 5 books of the Old Testament - also known as the Pentateuch or the Torah or the Law.
New Testament - In Matthew chapter 16 we read about Peter’s confession of Christ. In verse 15 we hear Jesus ask ““But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” And then in verse 16 Peter replies – “Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This is a question that is asked of each of us today as well. Who do you say that Jesus is? Is your answer the same answer as Peter’s?
I love verse 18 - "Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it." Praise God for Jesus instituting his church! And all of the powers of hell will not conquer Jesus' church! Do you praise Jesus regularly for the church you attend? Do you pray for the ministry of your church regularly? Do you pray for your pastors? Do you pray for others in your church? Do you pray for those that will soon be coming to attend your church? I have to say... I absolutely love my church. Those that know me well know that I love a lot of different churches! :) I've had a hard time staying put at one church - much less one denomination. I just love seeing Jesus glorified and worshiped and being taught at so many different churches that I visit. I honestly cannot imagine what my life would be like without the church. I met Jesus in the current church I attend about 4 and a half years ago. And Jesus changed my life forever. Thank God for the church! (I know, I know, some churches have some issues to say the least - but I honestly do believe that we are called to be in community with others in a church - and that you really can find a great church if you search a bit. Trust me, they are out there! If you are not currently attending church - maybe because of bad experiences you had at another church in the past, will you pray about this with Jesus? Will you try to attend a different church again soon? I know it will bless you immensely when you find or are called to the right church for you...)
Verses 24 - 26 are so powerful today - ""If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?" Wow... there is so much going on in these verses... I pray they speak to you powerfully as well? Do you want to follow Jesus? Will you put aside your selfish ambition? Will you shoulder your cross? Do you know what your cross is? Are you trying to "keep your life" in any area of your life? Or, will you give up all of your life - every area - to Jesus so that you will find true life? Is there indeed anything that this world has to offer that is worth more than your soul?
Psalms - Psalm 21 today follows up Psalm 20 from yesterday - yesterday's being a prayer for victory for the king as he goes out to battle - and today's being a psalm of praise for victories granted to the king.
Proverbs chapter 5 verse 6 jumps out at me - "For she does not care about the path to life. She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn't even realize where it leads." For some reason this year, as we've been going through the One Year Bible, the idea of "paths" keeps jumping out at me over and over again. Every time we read about paths now in the Bible, it jumps out at me. And here it does again. The idea of paths in the Bible seems to clearly indicate that there are good paths - straight paths - paths through the narrow gate - paths of life - that we can choose to take. Or... there are crooked trails. Or we take our eyes off the path. Or we stumble on the path. How about for you? What type of path do you think you are on these days? Is it a straight path? Are you keeping your eyes straight ahead on the path and focused on the prize? Will you pray to Jesus regularly to keep you on the straight path? Will you allow God's Word, the Bible, be a lamp unto your feet on the path that you walk?
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!