~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Genesis 39:1-41:16 ~ Matthew 12:46-13:23
Psalm 17:1-15 ~ Proverbs 3:33-35
Old Testament - Today in Genesis chapter 37 we read about Joseph in Potiphar's house. Verse 5 stood out to me in this chapter - "From the day Joseph was put in charge, the LORD began to bless Potiphar for Joseph's sake. All his household affairs began to run smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished." I found it fascinating that God was blessing Potiphar for Joseph's sake. It reminded me of God blessing Laban for Jacob's sake earlier in Genesis. And I wonder - does God today continue to bless others around those who love God? For the sake of those who love God? I will admit that there are definitely times in my work life, where I feel like some very positive things are happening that are beyond me. Things I am not "controlling" on my own - it's something more. I do try to pray about my work life and pray that God will bless my business dealings - mostly to keep me honest & moral in my business dealings. And that God will allow me to love and serve others during the day. And big crazy good things continue happen - something happened just today that was unbelievable to me. It did not happen because of my own wits or power. Below is an image from a modern day production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" of Potiphar and Joseph -
Verses 8 & 9 also stood out to me in today's readings, demonstrating Joseph's strong moral integrity when being approached by Potiphar's wife - "But Joseph refused. "Look," he told her, "my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do! He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I ever do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God."" I admire this so much. Joseph was gaining more and more favor with Potiphar and more and more "power" so to speak. And here we see a situation where Joseph could have abused his favor and power. But he did not. He stood strong with his moral convictions. And I wonder about this in our lives. As we maybe gain more and more favor in our work or personal or ministry lives, do we also maybe gain more and more "power" so to speak? And when this happens, do the temptations maybe even somehow seem to get bigger and bigger and our opportunity to abuse our favor or power get easier and easier? And in light of all this, will we stand strong by our moral convictions? Will we realize, like Joseph, that our favor or power only comes from God - and it can be taken away in an instant if we sin against God? If we give in to the temptation that pursues us... Fantastic commentary on Genesis chapter 39 entitled "From the Penthouse to the Prison" is at bible.org at this link. And commentary on Genesis chapter 40 entitled "How to get out of the pits" is at bible.org at this link. Below is an oil on canvas painting by Rembrandt from 1655 titled "Joseph Accused by Potiphar's wife" -
In Genesis chapter 41 we read about Pharaoh's dreams and Joseph is called from prison to interpret them. The cup-bearer finally remembered Joseph 2 years later! :) Verse 16 is powerful for us to consider as Pharaoh calls for Joseph to interpret his dreams - ""It is beyond my power to do this," Joseph replied. "But God will tell you what it means and will set you at ease."" What I like about this reply from Joseph is that he is giving props to God for his "gift" of being able to interpret dreams. And really, it is God interpreting the dreams, and letting Joseph know what to say. I wonder about this in our lives today. Do we have some unique gifts in our lives? Things that we are really good at? And do we give props to God for these gifts in our life? Or do we claim them as gifts we developed on our own? Do we believe that God is truly the Gift-Giver of all our skills and talents and wisdom in our life? Below is an image of Joseph before Pharaoh interpreting his dreams -
New Testament - Matthew 12 verses 48 through 50 are powerful - "Jesus asked, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" Then he pointed to his disciples and said, "These are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!"" I read an interesting commentary that said that these words from Jesus were stating that spiritual bonds are as strong as physical bonds. And that in this teaching Jesus was paving the way for a new community of believers - the church. Very cool.... Are you a brother and sister and mother of Jesus?
Matthew chapter 13 verses 11 & 12 are amazing for us to consider - "Then he (Jesus) explained to them, "You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them." There is so much truth in these last 2 sentences. This is why personally I feel so blessed to be reading the One Year Bible each and every day - currently in year 4 - and God-willing, for all of my years to come. I personally absolutely need the grace and wisdom that comes from being in God's Word each day - and truly, more and more understanding and knowledge of God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit does come my way I believe each day - even if (and especially if!) I am reading the Bible again for the 4th time. The repetition is not repetitive, but really allows for insights to soak in. I can't quite say that I feel like I have an abundance of knowledge... :) But - I know that I am on that road by reading the Bible each day and I so look forward to gaining more and more knowledge of God's story as I go. And - to grow deeper into relationship with God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. So - the knowledge itself is great, but the relationship and peace and grace that comes from the Trinity - even better. I pray that you too see the value in reading the Bible each day and being open to Jesus' teachings so that more understanding will come your way?
Verse 22 in this chapter is convicting for me, as I have experienced this in my life in the past.... "The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced." .... and I still struggle with the "cares of this life" crowding out the Good News in my life today! I think this might be a life long struggle. How are you doing on this verse? Where is God's seed of the Good News being sown in your life? In the good soil of your heart?
Psalms - In Psalm 17 David appeals to God as Judge when he is being attacked by foes. Verse 7 is a great prayer and comfort! "Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. You save with your strength those who seek refuge from their enemies." Do you seek refuge with God from whatever might attacking you? Do you believe that God will show you his unfailing love in wonderful ways? Have you been saved by God's strength? Have you sought refuge with God from your "enemies"?
Proverbs - Proverbs 3:33 is a great reminder to be upright, 3:34 is a great reminder to be humble and 3:35 a great reminder to be wise! How are you doing on being upright, humble, and wise these days? (I think this owl below has got two out of three of these attributes... I'm not so sure about humble though... :)
Comments from you & Question of the Day - Based on my comments above related to our readings in Genesis about God blessing Potiphar for Joseph's sake - I wonder - does God intervene and bless our work lives? I think he does. I'd love to get your opinions on this - do you pray about your work life regularly? Do you think God blesses your work life? And like Joseph, does God maybe bless those around you, even if they aren't necessarily in relationship with God? And maybe does he do this for your sake? Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!