Vineyard Life Journal

An online forum for our church family to connect around our 2012 daily Bible reading plan using the S.O.A.P. method.

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Day 22

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Welcome to Day 22 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Exodus 3, 4, 5; Luke 22 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Exodus continues today, after yesterday’s birth of Moses and his fleeing from Egypt… Exodus 3, 4 and 5 records a lengthy conversation between Moses and God, “I AM WHO I AM.” God sends Moses back to Egypt to set the Israelites free, but not before giving him very clear instructions as to how Pharaoh is going to respond.

v 10 “Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

v 13 “But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

v 24 “At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met Moses and was about to kill him.” (Because Moses had not circumcised his son, so his wife did it… Wondering if Moses didn’t have a high value for circumcision since he had been raised in Pharaoh’s house by Egyptians?)

Luke 22, Jesus observes the Passover with his disciples, including Judas, who was about to betray him. Jesus called Judas knowing that he would betray him… That’s amazing to me.

In the middle of the meal, v 24 “a dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” Seriously? Human (sin) nature is ridiculous.

O bservation

God called Moses, specifically. He gave him the strategy and what to say to Pharaoh.. He even told him, “I made your mouth!” He told him what to expect from Pharaoh… He gave him a staff to perform signs and wonders.

I view the Bible as my burning bush. It has the path we are to walk on… sometimes in broad terms, other times it gives specifics. I think He gives us revelation (downloads) as we read his word and pray, during times of worship, and as we receive godly counsel. (What am I called to? Where should I live? Should I take this job and move my family? Etc…) I also think His will for our lives unfolds as we walk through doors we are (fairly) certain He has opened for us.

In Moses’ case, he is going back to place where he had killed a man. Fearing there could be consequences for his actions, he is understandably nervous… I love that God reassured him that the people who wanted him dead are they themselves dead and are no longer a threat.

Just imagine though… Moses killed a man. Saul (Paul) had Christians killed. David had Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, killed. I’m seeing a theme… a pattern here. (Tongue somewhat in cheek…)

The encouraging thing is that God uses broken people… people with a past. He is more concerned with our future than our past.

I wonder if Peter had prayed on the Mount of Olives that he would not fall into temptation, if he would have NOT denied Jesus? Jesus was at the time of his deepest need and his closest friends were SLEEPING. Again, human nature…

A pplication

When God gives me an assignment, best to do it without arguing and whining about I don’t speak well, or whatever. Simply trust Him that He will give me what I need to accomplish the task. He made my mouth, He will give me the words. (Jesus reiterated this in yesterday’s reading in Luke 21, that he would give us the words.)

P rayer

Lord, I just want to trust You… I just want to be willing and obedient to the things You have called me to. I am trusting You to lead me when I am leading worship… I am trusting You to give me the right words when I am speaking, whether in church, or out in the community. Help me to not be sleeping when I should be praying… Thank You that You use ordinary people…

Day 21

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It’s the weekend! Welcome to Day 21 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Exodus 1, 2; Psalms 88; Luke 21 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Genesis ended with the death of Joseph… Exodus opens with v 8 “Then a new king [Pharaoh], to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt.” Joseph and all his generation had died and there’s a change in the guard. “And their lives were made bitter with hard bondage.” (KJV) (I can still hear that line in the Cecil B. DeMille classic, “The Ten Commandments.”)

Exodus 2 Moses is born… Interesting that Moses is raised in Pharaoh’s house, but there is little in scripture about it. It goes from him being born, named Moses, to him killing the Egyptian he sees abusing one of his people. Then he flees to Midian and marries. The end of chapter two we find that the king of Egypt [Pharaoh] has died and the cries of the Israelites reaches God’s ears, v 24 “God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.”

Luke 21 “The widow’s offering.” Jesus said she gave more than anyone else. It’s not the size of the check, but the size of the sacrifice that Jesus noticed and commended. She put in “two VERY SMALL copper coins [worth a fraction of a penny, one of the other Gospels states.]

Jesus begins talking about the end of the age… and this famous verse is recorded, v 33 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

O bservation

It’s funny how favor comes and goes in our life. The promise made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is no less in force… but it makes one wonder about how God sees the situations in our lives. His perspective is very different from ours.

One Pharaoh trusted Joseph and embraced his family and gave them all the land in Goshen… But Joseph died, and a new Pharaoh was appointed and there was no favor or affinity or appreciation for Joseph having saved all of Egypt and acquired all the land and wealth for Pharaoh’s house during that time. This new Pharaoh feared that the Hebrews would brow too great in number and attack Egypt. So he issues in edict that all Hebrew sons should be killed at childbirth.

God heard their cries, but don’t you wonder about “God’s timing?” They are in bondage for 430 years! In Exodus 12, “Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. 41 At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions left Egypt.”

FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY YEARS? What took so long?? Did it take 430 for God to hear their cry? Or for Him to become concerned. These are the questions I wonder about…

Must be why Psalm 88 was paired with today’s Exodus passages. Psalm 88 is a psalm of despair and pain and wondering where God is…

A pplication

Every day I do my SOAP and I get to this section and I ask the question, “How does this apply to MY life?”

I get impatient when my house hasn’t sold…

I get frustrated when a situation doesn’t change as fast as I want it to.

When my circumstances are hard, and I don’t see God moving or doing anything at that time…

The Israelites were in slavery 430 years to the day! God heard their cries… for generations. He’s just not in as big a hurry as I would like for him to be… He heard their cries the very first day oppression set in. He wasn’t distant or unconcerned. He wasn’t far off. He was there strengthening them IN their affliction. We was with them.

P rayer

Lord, give me a sense of your perspective. Of YOUR timing… Help me to see my circumstances through your eyes.

Day 20

Friday, January 20, 2012

Welcome to Day 20 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Genesis 49, 50; Psalms 8; Luke 20 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Genesis 49, Jacob blesses each of his sons, prophesying as to each of their futures… Then he dies. (I love how this is worded, “breathed his last and was gathered to his people.”)

Jacob blesses his sons as he is about to die… Speaking to his son Judah in v 10, Jacob prophesies about Christ, “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come…” [referring to Jesus].

Genesis 50, finally Joseph’s brothers vocalize their anxiety about what might happen to them now that their father has passed. As Joseph displayed in earlier chapters, he treats them with kindness and reassures them.

Psalm 8, “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them??” Isn’t that a great question? That the God of the heavens is interested in me… us?

Luke 20, the Pharisees continue their assault on Jesus, trying to trap him, having people ask him questions about paying taxes, hoping to get him arrested. The Sadducees, who didn’t believe in resurrection, tried to trap him in a question referring back to the Law…

But here is the standout passage for me today… “While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” Note to self…

O bservation

I find it VERY interesting that Joseph tells his brothers and his sons that God will take them to the land that was promised to them by Abraham, Isaac and their father, Jacob. Generations have passed (and a couple of hundred years!) since that promise. Their inheritance is yet to be realized, and won’t be until after generations of slavery (about to occur in the upcoming chapters after a change of Pharaohs…)

We have the benefit of looking back, even knowing the outcome of these situations that we are reading about. While scripture wasn’t recorded “live” as it was happening, we know all these questions Jesus is being asked are to trap him, have him arrested so he can be crucified. Jesus knew this too. It’s difficult to read all this as for the first time… knowing the outcome already. Jesus handles their questions masterfully, in fact, they dared not ask him any more questions! (v 40)

A pplication

The Pharisees, Sadducees and Teachers of the Law only cared about themselves, their position, their own well being. Jesus cared about none of that. He cared for the poor, the lost, the sick, the outcast.

Every day the application could be the same… “Don’t be like the Pharisees. Be like Jesus.”

P rayer

Lord, help me to see the nuances in scripture. To see past the obvious applications to what you want to say to me. Perhaps that IS the obvious, most of the time I believe that is the case… I just don’t want to miss out on anything that You want me to catch. I know I’m a little slow at times, or distracted, or in a hurry… Help me to be like Mary who was content sitting at your feet.

Day 19

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Welcome to Day 19 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Genesis 47, 48; Psalms 10; Luke 19 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Genesis 47, Today’s passages cover Joseph’s family moving to Egypt and Joseph “acquiring” all the money, land and Egyptians in exchange for grain during the famine. All of it. Thanks to Joseph, Pharaoh now owned everything. Seems God blessed Pharaoh thanks to Joseph. Kind of hard to get my head around that one, since Pharaoh didn’t worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

47:5 “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.” Jacob adopts Joseph’s Egyptian sons right there on the spot. Done.

Then Jacob switches his blessing! (Just like with himself and Esau??) He intentionally gives the younger the better blessing. (Note: “Ephraim” means “double fruitfulness in Hebrew!) But I’m wondering how Jacob’s personal experience in stealing Esau’s blessing and purchasing his birthright might have come into play??

Psalm 10 is all about what I should NOT become. How to NOT live life! Note to self, Psalm 10. Thank God he hears the cries of the afflicted!

Luke 10. You have to love the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector. Another instance when Jesus simply spent time with someone and their life was changed!

The ten minas… faithful in little = faithful over more/much. Got it.

Jesus received praise from the disciples… If they don’t praise me, “the rocks will cry out!”

Jesus was very unhappy at the condition of the temple… had become a den of thieves. “My house will be called a house of prayer.”

O bservation

I wish I didn’t know this whole story of Joseph and his family soon takes a turn for the worse…

What keeps popping out to me is the whole idea or concept of “blessing” and the power of it.

I had a great time the other night helping with worship at our women’s night of worship. On my way to the meeting I was thinking about Proverbs 31:28, “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” I was wondering how many of the women there might have never heard those words from their husband or children? How many women have never been praised by their husbands? So I offered to pray for them and offer a blessing over each one. Maybe 1/3 of the women there came forward for prayer and a blessing. I am both a son and a husband and a father. I blessed them from all three perspectives. How many women (or men) have never been blessed by their father?

It was a very powerful moment…

I am wondering what would happen if we all blessed each other, gave each other blessing. In James 3:9-12 it says,  “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?”

Luke 6:28, We are all called to “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

I wonder what would happen if…

A pplication

I am going to be one who gives blessing. Not in some fake, thoughtless way, but in a real way. To bless people to be who God created them to be. Obviously in Genesis these blessings were taken very seriously and had repercussions that have lasted to this day. I can bless moms because I am a son. I can bless children because I am a dad. I can bless wives because I am a husband.

P rayer

Help me to become a person who gives blessing to others. (In comparison to the man in Psalm 10 whose, “mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.”) Help me to help make the Vineyard a house of prayer…


Day 18

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Welcome to Day 18 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Genesis 44, 45, 46; Luke 18 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

OK, now hit the PAUSE button and continue the story about Joseph and his brothers from yesterday…

Genesis 44 v 33 “Now then, please let your servant [Judah] remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy [Benjamin], and let the boy return with his brothers. 34 How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.”

Genesis 45 v 8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here [slavery/Egypt], but God.”

Genesis 46 v 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.’”

Luke 18, v 9 “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “10 Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’”

v 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

O bservation

Judah offers himself in exchange for Benjamin, in order to save his father misery from losing both Joseph and Benjamin (his two sons from Rachel.) I love this! He took responsibility and stepped up.

Joseph finally can’t contain himself any longer and cries out, loudly as he reveals his true identity to his brothers. He cried so loudly that Pharaoh heard about it! His love for his brothers outweighed any bitterness or anger toward them for what they had done. Joseph had the proper perspective that God himself had sent him to Egypt, not his brothers… That God was God over his circumstances and used them for good! Not always easy to do. In fact, it can be very hard to see God at work in difficult circumstances. This is a healthy long-term perspective… more easily done in the rear view mirror looking back versus looking into the future.

v 27 “…the spirit of their father Jacob revived.” Isn’t it amazing how good news fills our hearts and revives us? But this news is beyond belief. For Jacob, it was like his son being raised from the dead. For he thought he WAS dead! Imagine after all those years hearing that your son is still alive!

I wonder if/when Joseph’s brothers own up to what they had done… Jacob had to wonder about the circumstances of all his other sons bringing back Joseph’s coat with blood on it. You just know this had to come up in conversation along the way!

Amazing favor that Pharaoh shows to Joseph and his family… even though they are Hebrew and generally despised by the Egyptians. Only lasts a few more chapters, then things take a turn for the worse.

Jesus was constantly confronting the Pharisees with their self-righteousness… He compared a Pharisee to a tax collector in the story of two men praying at the temple. The Pharisees exalted themselves… But the tax collector confessed his sin, saying that he, not the Pharisee went home justified. One of my favorite passages and a great reminder of the importance of humility and not comparing ourselves to others… maybe more importantly the importance of not looking down on others. Even though the tax collectors were corrupt and everyone knew it, Jesus spent time with Levi (Matthew) and invited him into relationship as one of his disciples! This had to have driven the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law crazy!

Then Jesus goes on to say we must receive the Kingdom like a child. Note to self.

I also love the story of the rich ruler who takes an inventory of himself and says that he has “kept all these (commands) from his youth.” Ok, good place to stop… but he asked Jesus what did he still lack?

I am convinced that any time I ask Jesus that question, “What do I lack?” (in sincerity) he would have an answer for me. Because I haven’t arrived. I love that he told the man to sell everything and give to the poor. THEN he would have true riches (“treasure in heaven.”) Good advice for us all to keep perspective in this life.

You gotta love the story of the blind beggar being healed after being shushed by the crowd. “But he shouted all the more!”

A pplication

Every day I read these passages and ask myself, “How does this apply to MY life?”

Every day I see what to DO and what to NOT do. It’s not good to be corrupt like the tax collectors, obviously, but the tax collector went home justified because he confessed his sin. Unlike the Pharisee who was self-righteous and exalted himself.

God exalted Joseph, but it was through years of slavery and imprisonment… and Joseph being faithful and not allowing bitterness and anger to eat him alive. In stead, he served Potiphar, served in prison and he served Pharaoh. And the dreams he had regarding his family were fulfilled. His brothers did bow before him. But that wasn’t the point. The point was that God used Joseph to save thousands of people in that region from starvation. He gave Joseph the interpretation to Pharaoh’s dream, because Joseph said, “I can’t interpret the dream, but God can.” And he did.

To be a man like Joseph… faithful in serving…

P rayer

Lord I recognize that it all belongs to you. Joseph managed the grain of Egypt. He was faithful in that. Help me to be faithful to what you have called me to. I really, really don’t want to be like the Pharisees. God save me from my own ambitions or thoughts about how I’ve got it all together or how I’m better than ANYONE because I give or serve or lead worship or anything else. It all belongs to you. I am only a steward over it. And a servant to you… Yet I am a son, not a slave. I have been adopted by You, and I thank you…

Day 17

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Welcome to Day 17 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Genesis 42, 43; Psalms 5; Luke 17 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Genesis 42-43 Captures the fulfillment of Joseph’s dream from earlier in Genesis 37. Their father, Jacob, sends them to Egypt to buy grain. When face to face with Joseph after years had passed, Joseph messes with them a bit… Asks about their dad and if they had any other brothers… “21 They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.” 22 Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” 23 They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.”

Sounds like their guilt has finally caught up with them. Now they have to bring back Benjamin, Joseph’s brother from the same mother. He continues messing with them and testing their honesty by putting their silver back in their sacks for them to find it when they are returning home.

(I can’t believe the reading for today stops here! I already know how it plays out, but I don’t want to stop!)

Psalm 5, 4 “For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome. 5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong; 6 You destroy those who tell lies. The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, LORD, detest. v 12 Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”

Luke 17, If someone sins against you seven times, forgive them, faith of mustard seed, Jesus reminds the Pharisees about Lot and how sudden destruction came upon them. This is how it will be when the Son of Man comes…

But what stood out to me in Luke 17:11-18 was when Jesus healed the ten lepers, yet only ONE came back praising God and to thank Jesus.

O bservation

First observation is God’s faithfulness to His promises… To Joseph and his dreams that are now fulfilled after many, many years. Including years sitting in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Second observation is how ungrateful we can be… Ten are healed, one returns to say thank you.

A pplication

If only one is going to return, I want to be that one. I want to be the one who returns praising God and falling at Jesus’ feet. I want to hear, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (v 19.)

P rayer

Lord, help me to always have a grateful heart. That I would always remember to stop and say “Thank you.” To praise you as the leper did and thank You for all You have done. That I would hear those words, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” May I always be faithful in my duties as was Joseph.

Bible Family Tree (Genealogy) Resource

I wanted to share something with you that I found online.

If you’re like me and are curious (or are trying to remember) who begat whom, here’s your answer!

It has a complete Bible genealogy from Adam to Jesus, as well as a name search feature with all the references to each person.

Here is my favorite feature! A complete family tree!

I hope you find this helpful as you try to keep track of everyone as you do your Life Journal!


Day 16

Monday, January 16, 2012

Welcome to Day 16 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Genesis 39, 40, 41, Luke 16 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

S cripture

Genesis 39:2 and 21, “the Lord was with Joseph…”

Note: The Lord was with Joseph as a slave and as a prisoner. Wouldn’t you think God would “rescue” Joseph. We often think, “God if you loved me, I wouldn’t be in this situation, or you would heal me, or you would get me out of here!”

v 9, “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” v 10, Potiphar’s wife “spoke to Joseph day after day” to go to bed with her. She was relentless in her pursuit of Joseph! Love Joseph’s character and integrity. His viewpoint was, “everything has been entrusted to me. How could I do such a thing and sin against God!”

Genesis 40, Joseph interprets the dreams for the baker and the cup bearer. Then spends TWO more years in prison until chapter 41 when he is summoned by Pharaoh, interprets his dreams and is appointed second in charge of all of Egypt. Vice Pharaoh? What an amazing story of how God uses situations in our lives… remains faithful through them… Joseph used his gifting as an administrator and runs the prison as a prisoner.

Luke 16, interesting that this is the parable of the shrewd manager!

v 10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Joseph was trustworthy in Potiphar’s house. He was trustworthy even as a prisoner locked up in prison… then he is entrusted with all of Egypt!

v 31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” How true is this… and prophetic of Jesus’ eventual death. There is nothing that can convince people to believe or follow Christ.

O bservation

Potiphar’s house. Prison. Pharaoh. Joseph is entrusted with everything in all these situations. Joseph could have become bitter while in prison and just sat there angry at the injustice, but he didn’t. He continued to use his gifts… And because of that, he is now elevated to the number two position in all of Egypt. A position created just for him!

A pplication

Character and integrity are key to walking out this life as a Christian. To not become angry or bitter due to hurts or injustice. To walk uprightly through all situations. Faithfulness is huge. Again, to not become like the Pharisees who loved money and power, sneered at Jesus, and did things that were “detestable” to God.

P rayer

Lord, Joseph is such a great example of a man who had many opportunities to sin and chose not to. He refused Potiphar’s wife under the toughest of circumstances and her relentless pursuit of him. He didn’t become bitter toward his family or even God for his circumstances. He just kept walking it out. Help me to do that. To just keep walking it out. One day at a time. One step at a time.

Day 15

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Welcome to Day 15 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Genesis 37, 38, Psalms 7; Luke 15 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

The next few days are some of my favorite passages!

S cripture

Genesis 37, Joseph is the next to the youngest son of Jacob… He gives a bad report to his father about his brothers, and they hate him. Then Jacob gave him an ornate robe (the “coat of many colors) and they hate him all the more. Then, when Joseph has the dreams about them all bowing down to him, that’s it. His brothers are jealous of him and have nothing kind to say to him… So they plot against him, ultimately selling him into slavery to the Midianites, and faking his death. Jacob is heartbroken.

v 11, “his brothers were jealous, but his father kept the matter in mind.”

His brothers nickname Joseph “the dreamer.” Look at “the DREAMER is his pretty little robe! Hey, dreamer… Come here!”

v 36 “Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard.” A man of some prominence.

Hit the pause button on Joseph’s story… Cut to Judah. He marries Shua, who bears him three sons, Er, Onan and Shelah.

Judah finds a wife (Tamar) for Er… So many years have gone by. Er was wicked and it says “the LORD put him to death.” Interesting… No word on how he died.

Then Judah tells Onan to fulfill his brother’s duty and impregnate Tamar on behalf of his brother… Onan does sleep with Tamar, but, ummm, “prevents” her from becoming pregnant by practicing his own method of birth control.

v 10 The Lord saw this also as being wicked so the Lord put Onan to death also.

Psalm 7, 7 Let the assembled peoples gather around you, while you sit enthroned over them on high. 8 Let the LORD judge the peoples. Vindicate me, LORD, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High.” That’s a brave prayer right there! “Vindicate me according to MY righteousness and integrity?” Wow… That sound a lot like “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:15

Luke 15, Love this trilogy of “lost” items. Lost sheep, lost coin, lost son. In all three cases, something was lost and was then found, with great joy. The parable of the lost son is not so much about the son as it is about the father. THE Father, and His love for the lost. How He is waiting and watching for his (our/my/your) return. He is waiting to put the best robe on us, to put a ring on our finger and sandals on our feet, to feast and celebrate at our return.

This story is also more about the reaction of the older brother who is angry at his father’s reaction… Easy when you’ve been a beliver for a long time to say, “HEY! What about ME!?”

“My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.”  That is for me! Everything God has is for me and has already been given to me!

O bservation

It’s amazing to me how the Bible can condense stories that it’s obvious that YEARS have passed, into just a few verses! Judah marries, has three sons, finds a wife for his oldest son, Er, and Er dies all in the first SEVEN verses. Onan dies three verses later!

Judah’s wife then dies… He heads into the town of Timnah. He propositions a prostitute, who turns out to be his daughter in law, Tamar, who is pretending to be a prostitute to trick her father in law?? (When he was waiting for his youngest son to be old enough to be with her.)

Amazing to me that Judah’s reaction to finding out that Tamar is guilty of prostitution and is now pregnant, he’s going to have her BURNED to death, until he realized that HE himself is the father of her twins.

Is this the height of hypocrisy or what?? Reminds me of the New Testament story of the woman caught in adultery. Where was the man in that story?? She is dragged out into the streets to be stoned, until Jesus steps in. John 8:1-11

And how can these guys (Lot, Jacob, now Judah) be sleeping with their daughters and in this case, his daughter in law, and they not know who they are?

A pplication

Amazing how jealousy and deception can cause so much destruction in our lives and in the lives of the people around us. Joseph’s brothers did both. They were jealous AND they deceived their father into believing Joseph was torn apart by a wild animal. I wonder if he suspected his older sons. He had to have known that they were jealous and hated Joseph.

From Luke, I need to walk in that blessing God has already given to me. To enjoy all that He has given to me. He is my Father and I am His. Nothing can pluck me from His hand! John 10:28

P rayer

Lord, help me keep my motives in check, to not let jealousy worm its into my heart and mind. May I never use deception as a way to manipulate those around me. May I always remember Your great love for me!

Day 14

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It’s the weekend! Welcome to Day 14 of our Life Journal!

Click here for today’s reading: Genesis 34, 35, 36; Luke 14 (2012 Daily Bible Reading Plan)

Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?

S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

Genesis 34, states that one of Jacob’s daughters, Dinah, is raped… v 31 says she was “treated like a prostitute.” I’m wondering about this… Why her brothers didn’t categorize this incident as rape as it states in v 2? Rape and prostitution are two different things.

Regardless, when Dinah’s brothers and dad got wind of this situation they angry. Wondering if they were more angry at how she was treated, or more unhappy that it was with whom it happened. More angry that she had been “defiled” by a foreigner, someone not of their tribe, who had no belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Or the circumstance surrounding this encounter itself?

“Shechem. 19 The young man, who was the most honored of all his father’s family.” Why would the “most honored son” commit an act like this?? This is such a sad situation all the way around… My heart sinks… Was this out of character for him??

“18 Their proposal [setting a price for her to be his wife, agreement between these people, that they be circumcised] seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19 The young man, who was the most honored of all his father’s family, lost no time in doing what they said, [being circumcised] because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter.” He was delighted with HER, but I’m wondering how she was with HIM? And where is Jacob in all this. No indication as to his feelings about her being “defiled” v 5.

Then Jacob’s sons (Simeon and Levi) go off and attack them after they had made an agreement? Where is the honor in that? They killed all the men of the city, including Shechem and his father, and took their sister back home.

Wondering about Dinah’s future. Were Simeon and Levi justified in doing what they did?

Note that Jacob did not thank them for what they did OR for getting his daughter back. He chastised them for “bringing trouble upon ME.” Upon ME?? It’s so easy to make situations about ME.

Sometimes when the Bible doesn’t record the detail I want it to, just causes me to wonder about the details. This whole story is so tragic.

BUT… Then God speaks to Jacob and tells him to go back to Bethel, the place God had revealed himself to him as he was fleeing Esau twenty-some years before. (Remember it had been twenty years since they had seen each other. Jacob worked 7 years for Rachel/Leah, then 7 more for Rachel, then worked another 6 for their father.)

Genesis 35, Rachel and Isaac both die in this chapter. Rachel during childbirth, but not before naming her last born son… So sad… Also records the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob/Jacob’s sons).

Genesis 36, records Esau’s lineage… Note: God’s faithfulness continues in Esau’s life.

Luke 14, This question of “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath” comes up again! Jesus brought it up, as he knew he was being watched closely… A good opportunity, right in a Pharisee’s house. Chapter 13 Jesus healed a woman on the Sabbath in the synagogue in chapter 13…

Jesus took note of the seats they chose at this dinner… Vying for position. Told them to not just invite your family, or the rich and powerful, but the poor, the lame, the blind… those that may never receive an invitation. Jesus very clearly stated that those who were invited to the Great Banquet in the Kingdom would not be there… Referring to the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Teachers of the Law. They knew about God, they knew “the Law” but not the One who gave it. Remember the “woes?” “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. Matthew 23:13

Consider the cost of following Christ. I know what it has cost me and my family over the years… but it has never cost us our lives as in some parts of the world. We have it relatively easy here… except for being ridiculed by our culture for our beliefs.

O bservation

Always good to go back to where God revealed himself to us. Back to His word. Back to fellowshipping at church, drawing close to God in worship, living according to His word. Going back to that place of remembering what God has done for us.

Jesus always reserved his strongest language for the religious people. Note to self.

A pplication

Be very careful about the decisions we make… Dinah’s decision to “visit the women of the land” had huge repercussions for her and her family, even the people of that land. Just think, all their men were killed. What did they do then?

Walking it out faithfully combats all the cultural stigma of being a Christian. Building a good reputation as one who is a believer and walks it out. Serving the community, serving the poor, being a resource, not a know it all, not self-righteous or pious. A humble servant.

P rayer

Lord, give me wisdom and insight as I read your word… Help me to not miss the forest for the trees. To not get so caught up in the details that I would miss what you are saying to me. Help me to make smart decisions. To not go off as Dinah or Jacob’s sons did…

P.S. I pondered Genesis 34 for a long time this morning… Keep in mind, that’s what this journal is… my ponderings. I wonder about a lot of things… Why did Dinah go? What was her motivation? What were all the circumstances surrounding this incident? How did Jacob feel internally and why is his reaction not recorded when his sons brought her back?? Etc, etc, etc… I’m always looking for the timeless spiritual principle for my life in every passage. What can I learn from this? 

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