Saturday 31 August, 2019

Genesis 48:17-22

17 When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to him, “No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.” 19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.” 20 He blessed them that day and said, “In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: ‘May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.’” So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh. 21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “I am about to die, but God will be with you and take you back to the land of your fathers. 22 And to you I give one more ridge of land than to your brothers, the ridge I took from the Amorites with my sword and my bow.”

God’s way isn’t our way. His way of thinking is higher than ours. His economy doesn’t follow our economy. We gain life by loosing it (Matthew 16:25), we’re called great by becoming less (Matthew 20:26). The first will be last and the last will be first (Matthew 19:30). It doesn’t make sense. I reckon Joseph would have been scratching his head as to why Jacob blessed Ephraim, the younger, over Manasseh, the older.

It should be no surprise then, that a virgin Jewish teenager would be chosen to bare the Saviour of the world. Of course the King of the world would be born in a stable. No surprise that the only sinless Man the world has even know would be known as the sinner’s friend. That the despair of the cross, the death of Jesus could become the victory of the resurrection that purchased my salvation.

Only God.
Only You, Jesus.
Only You, could be so amazing and so powerful and so kind and so good!   Amen

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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Friday 30 August, 2019

Genesis 48:1-16

48 Some time later Joseph was told, “Your father is ill.” So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim along with him. 2 When Jacob was told, “Your son Joseph has come to you,” Israel rallied his strength and sat up on the bed. 3 Jacob said to Joseph, “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and there he blessed me 4 and said to me, ‘I am going to make you fruitful and increase your numbers. I will make you a community of peoples, and I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.’ 5 “Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. 6 Any children born to you after them will be yours; in the territory they inherit they will be reckoned under the names of their brothers. 7 As I was returning from Paddan, to my sorrow Rachel died in the land of Canaan while we were still on the way, a little distance from Ephrath. So I buried her there beside the road to Ephrath” (that is, Bethlehem). 8 When Israel saw the sons of Joseph, he asked, “Who are these?” 9 “They are the sons God has given me here,” Joseph said to his father. Then Israel said, “Bring them to me so I may bless them.” 10 Now Israel’s eyes were failing because of old age, and he could hardly see. So Joseph brought his sons close to him, and his father kissed them and embraced them. 11 Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face again, and now God has allowed me to see your children too.” 12 Then Joseph removed them from Israel’s knees and bowed down with his face to the ground. 13 And Joseph took both of them, Ephraim on his right toward Israel’s left hand and Manasseh on his left toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them close to him. 14 But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn. 15 Then he blessed Joseph and said, “May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, 16 the Angel who has delivered me from all harm —may he bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly on the earth.”

In this passage there is such a beautiful picture of Jacob’s relationship with God and his knowledge of God’s character. Jacob speaks of God’s kindness and faithfulness, and it is clear that this knowledge comes from his personal experience of God’s goodness. Jacob says that God has allowed him to see not only his son Joseph, who he thought dead, but even Joseph’s sons. This restoration was not a happy coincidence or luck, Jacob identifies God as the one from whom all blessings flow. In blessing Joseph’s sons he describes his experience of God; the God of his father and grandfather who has remained faithful to his family; the shepherd who has looked after him all his life; and the one who has redeemed or rescued him from all harm. Wow! What a rich picture of Jacob knowing God.

I want to be like Jacob, speaking confidently of God’s character because I know my God and take time to stop and identify His workings in my life. I want to pass on to others a rich picture of God in His goodness.

God, please help me to truly seek rich relationship with you day by day, and to see your goodness all around me. Amen.

Written by Ps. Bethany Waugh

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Thursday 29 August, 2019

Genesis 47:27-31

27 Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number. 28 Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven. 29 When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.” “I will do as you say,” he said. 31 “Swear to me,” he said. Then Joseph swore to him, and Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

Jacob lived a life of faithfulness. As he came to the end of his life he was still worshipping God. Despite his obvious frailty, Jacob was demonstrating his great love of God and thankfulness of all that God had done through leaning on his staff and worshipping God. He continued to trust in God’s promises and blessings for the future generations.

He remained faithful in worship and trusted in God’s promises to the end of his days – this reminds me of the Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me to the end of my days and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

When I come to the end of my life, I pray that my trust in and my love for God will so overwhelm me that there is nothing left for me to do but to worship my God.

Lord we thank you for Jacob’s faithfulness. I pray that we always will walk in goodness and mercy. We worship you Lord and lift your name on high for all generations to see. Help us to worship you daily. Thank you that you are a faithful God and we put our trust in you. Amen

Written by Meredith O’Neill

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Wednesday 28 August, 2019

Genesis 47:13-26

13 There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine. 14 Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying, and he brought it to Pharaoh’s palace. 15 When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all Egypt came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? Our money is all gone.” 16 “Then bring your livestock,” said Joseph. “I will sell you food in exchange for your livestock, since your money is gone.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, their sheep and goats, their cattle and donkeys. And he brought them through that year with food in exchange for all their livestock. 18 When that year was over, they came to him the following year and said, “We cannot hide from our lord the fact that since our money is gone and our livestock belongs to you, there is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we perish before your eyes—we and our land as well? Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh. Give us seed so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.” 20 So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. The Egyptians, one and all, sold their fields, because the famine was too severe for them. The land became Pharaoh’s, 21 and Joseph reduced the people to servitude,[a] from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 However, he did not buy the land of the priests, because they received a regular allotment from Pharaoh and had food enough from the allotment Pharaoh gave them. That is why they did not sell their land. 23 Joseph said to the people, “Now that I have bought you and your land today for Pharaoh, here is seed for you so you can plant the ground. 24 But when the crop comes in, give a fifth of it to Pharaoh. The other four-fifths you may keep as seed for the fields and as food for yourselves and your households and your children.” 25 “You have saved our lives,” they said. “May we find favor in the eyes of our lord; we will be in bondage to Pharaoh.” 26 So Joseph established it as a law concerning land in Egypt—still in force today—that a fifth of the produce belongs to Pharaoh. It was only the land of the priests that did not become Pharaoh’s.

It’s funny how the tide turns. We all know how the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt but here we read it’s the Egyptians who were sold into slavery to save their lives – at the hand of a Hebrew no less – and they were grateful to him for saving them.

Why didn’t the Egyptians remember this time in history? I wonder if their treatment of the Hebrews in Exodus would have been better had they remembered they were once in the same boat. Or even if they remembered it was a Hebrew that saved their lives.

What have I failed to remember? Am I treating my Heavenly Father badly because I’ve forgotten His past provisions and miraculous answers to prayer? Am I responding to crisis situations with greater faith?  Are the facts of Gods amazing stories in my life constantly in my mind so that when things go wrong it’s hardly a blip on my radar? Do we treasure these stories and think about them often like Mary did? (See Luke 2:19) Do I use them to say without a hint of doubt “because God came through for me then He will come through for me now!”?

Oh Lord my God. Jesus, forgive me for treating you badly and forgetting what you have done for me in the past. Make me like your earthly Mother – to treasure what you’ve done for me, think about it often, and let the stories fill my heart with faith. You are awesome and I praise you.   Amen

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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Tuesday 27 August, 2019

Genesis 47:1-12

47 Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen.” 2 He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh. 3 Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?” “Your servants are shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.” 4 They also said to him, “We have come to live here for a while, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants’ flocks have no pasture. So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.” 5 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, 6 and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability, put them in charge of my own livestock.” 7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed Pharaoh, 8 Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?” 9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” 10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from his presence. 11 So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses, as Pharaoh directed. 12 Joseph also provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their children.

The Israelites exodus from Egypt is one of the most celebrated stories in the Old Testament. Although the Israelites initial experience living in Egypt was acceptable ultimately, they suffered under the Egyptians rule. In the New Testament Egypt is considered a metaphor for worldly wanton and excess and to be avoided by Christians.

This passage is interesting as it describes the circumstances of the family of Israel, believing they had no options because of a severe drought became slaves to the Egyptians. From that time onwards until the exodus all Israelites were born into slavery and harsh treatment.

This has left me wondering how often we engage in worldly excesses only to find out we have enslaved ourselves to bad habits. Instead of being a ‘light on a hill’ we compromise our valves only to find out later we have made a ‘rod for our own back’.

The good news is, like the Israelites escape from Egypt, God can make a way of escape for us.

So, take the opportunity today to consider ways you may have engaged in behaviours that conflict with your Christian values.

Lord, free us from the things we have become enslaved to. Help us to live a life which is worthy of your calling.

Amen!

Written by David Newton

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Monday 26 August, 2019

Genesis 46:28-34

28 Now Jacob sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to get directions to Goshen. When they arrived in the region of Goshen, 29 Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father[a] and wept for a long time. 30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.” 31 Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and speak to Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were living in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 The men are shepherds; they tend livestock, and they have brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you in and asks, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you should answer, ‘Your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did.’ Then you will be allowed to settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians.”

I am moved by the poignancy of the reunion between Joseph and his father. I imagine there were many times over the years when either one would have thought there was no hope of ever seeing one another again. We all face circumstances that seem hopeless, impossible and seemingly without solutions. Yet I am very challenged to think of whether I put ‘use by dates’ on things that I pray for or am believing God for. How long am I happy to pray for things until I put them aside?  Even if these men had laid aside hope of being reunited, it seems that God had not abandoned either of them, and brought them together again.

The whole story of Joseph is soap opera material, and yet in God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. So I am challenged to keep praying, keep trusting God and never give up hope, no matter what the circumstances. I want to rest my faith in God and let Him take care of me and my circumstances.

Heavenly Father thank you for watching over me every day. Help me to trust you with all I am, all I have and all that I love. In Jesus Name Amen

Written by Christine Knight

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Sunday 25 August, 2019

Genesis 46:8-27

8 These are the names of the sons of Israel (Jacob and his descendants) who went to Egypt: Reuben the firstborn of Jacob. 9 The sons of Reuben: Hanok, Pallu, Hezron and Karmi. 10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. 11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. 12 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez and Zerah (but Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez: Hezron and Hamul. 13 The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron. 14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon and Jahleel. 15 These were the sons Leah bore to Jacob in Paddan Aram, besides his daughter Dinah. These sons and daughters of his were thirty-three in all. 16 The sons of Gad: Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi and Areli. 17 The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah. Their sister was Serah. The sons of Beriah: Heber and Malkiel. 18 These were the children born to Jacob by Zilpah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Leah—sixteen in all. 19 The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 In Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 21 The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim and Ard. 22 These were the sons of Rachel who were born to Jacob—fourteen in all. 23 The son of Dan: Hushim. 24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shillem. 25 These were the sons born to Jacob by Bilhah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Rachel—seven in all. 26 All those who went to Egypt with Jacob—those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons’ wives—numbered sixty-six persons. 27 With the two sons who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family, which went to Egypt, were seventy in all.

A modern reader probably skips over the genealogies pretty quickly, but these were important markers to the first readers of Genesis. To them it says, “this is a significant point”. It pairs up with a similar list of Jacob’s sons at the very beginning of Exodus. (In Hebrew Exodus begins with “and” – it was written to continue straight on from Genesis.)

It’s as though God is counting everyone into Egypt and he’s counting everyone out at the other end. Nobody is lost on the way. It emphasises his promise in verse 4: “I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again.”

He took Jacob and his family to Egypt as a safe place in a devastating famine, as a place for them to grow from a family into a nation; but it was not the place he had prepared for his people. He would need to rescue them from what became a place holding them in bondage rather than God’s blessing.

It reminds me that the journey of my life isn’t always in a place that looks like God’s blessing. But God can and will still achieve his purposes for me in that place and won’t forget to bring me through it to the place he has prepared for me.

Oh God, you are so faithful. You don’t forget any of your people. You don’t leave any of us behind. Even when I’m in a hard place, I will look to you to bring me through to the place you have prepared for me.

Written by David Cornell

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Saturday 24 August, 2019

Genesis 46:1-7

46 So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!” “Here I am,” he replied. 3 “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.” 5 Then Jacob left Beersheba, and Israel’s sons took their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him. 6 So Jacob and all his offspring went to Egypt, taking with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in Canaan. 7 Jacob brought with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters—all his offspring.

The next season in Jacobs life begins. He & all he has accumulated in his life; family, servants, flocks, herds, & goods are heading to Egypt & to Joseph. Amidst the wonderful expectation of seeing his most favoured son again, he stops to worship God.

I am struck by Jacob, in the middle of his going, he made time stop and worship and honour God. This then allowed the space for God to speak to him, reassure him and impart peace into his fear of going to Egypt. A new land, culture, food, people … all the unknowns.

We’re not told that Jacob feared going, however, it’s revealing that this is what God speaks to him about. Only God can know our very hearts. God’s reassurance would have given him such comfort, knowing that the God of his present was going with him to his future.

We have that same comfort. Jesus is always with us and he knows our very hearts. Our future maybe uncertain, or perhaps we know details of what lies ahead, it’s exciting but scary all at the same time. This passage has been a great reminder and a comfort to me right now, trusting that Jesus will be with me into my future. It’s also been a great reminder to stop, to worship and honour God allowing space and time for Him to speak to me/us.

Lord thank you for all the times you walked with me into my future, especially the times when I too have been fearful in moving countries. You have provided for me and blessed me throughout the years I’ve worshipped you. Thank you that your peace and presence are going before me into my future now, leading me into my best life. Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Friday 23 August, 2019

Genesis 45:16-28

16 When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, 18 and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’ 19 “You are also directed to tell them, ‘Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. 20 Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.’” 21 So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. 22 To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels[a] of silver and five sets of clothes. 23 And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!” 25 So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26 They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, “I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”

I love that Pharaoh and his leaders were pleased to hear that Joseph’s brothers were alive.  This shows what enormous respect Joseph had within Egypt.  Good leaders command respect and Joseph clearly was a good leader.  Pharaoh acts quickly on Joseph’s behalf and this speaks volumes about Joseph.  We have read over the past chapters about the incredible character of this man, a character that carried him in the best and worst of life.  Now Pharaoh has the opportunity to honour Joseph.  Leaders don’t have to honour those who serve them, in fact it takes a different type of leader to do so – one who is confident in themselves, but we see here something of Pharaoh as well.

I pray that we all become leaders of the calibre of Joseph and Pharaoh!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Thursday 22 August, 2019

Genesis 45:1-15

45 Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. 3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.[a] 8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. 9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’ 12 “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.” 14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.

The human story was Joseph, sold into slavery by jealous brothers to Egypt. The God story was Joseph sent by God to save many lives, including his own brothers and whole family.

Interestingly, the brothers up until this moment were only aware of one story, the human story. The news Joseph brings them here would have been a revelation to them. How do we get from the purely human view of life to the God story of our lives?

Joseph must have learnt to pay attention to God and what He was doing in His life. He says God sent him to Egypt three times in this passage. And a fourth reference to God being involved, God making him lord of Egypt. God was not silent, nor absent, from Joseph’s life. Neither is He in mine. But am I paying attention to what He is saying, what He is doing? Such that I can see and testify with confidence and clear resolve, like Joseph here – “I’m not just living a human story. I’m living a God story.”

Help me pray attention to the story You are telling in & through my life Lord. What You are saying and doing, help me hear and observe, and testify to. Amen

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

1 (reply)
  1. Andrew says:

    I see it says that Joseph says: “8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt”
    Joseph was still a relatively young man.
    Why does he describe himself, or describe God as having made Joseph FATHER to Pharoh?
    Was Pharoh very young?

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