Saturday, February 11, 2012

Joseph's Brothers Return to Egypt with Benjamin

    Today's Reading:
  • Genesis 42:18 - 43:34
  • Proverbs 4:7 - 10

Genesis 42:18 - 43:34
Joseph imprisoned Simeon and sent the rest of his brothers back to their home with instructions to bring back their youngest brother when they return.  Only then would Simeon be allowed to go free.  Joseph had the brothers' sacks filled with grain, and returned the payment for the grain on top of the bag. The brothers then went on their way.

The brothers returned home and told Jacob what had happened.  Jacob was devastated -- he had already lost Joseph, the son he loved so well, and now he had lost Simeon to prison.  And if the brothers had their way, Jacob would also lose Benjamin.  The thought was surely unbearable for Jacob and he stalled sending them off as long as possible.  The brothers remained until they were almost out of grain then once again begged Jacob to send Benjamin with them.  Jacob reluctantly agreed and the brothers returned to Egypt.  When they returned Joseph called for them to dine at his home.  There is where the story ends for today.

Proverbs 4:7 - 10
Wisdom and good judgement are two of the most important traits you can seek for yourself.  I have seen "Wisdom" referred to over and over again in Proverbs.  Referred to as a "she", she should be embraced and shared with others.  What makes a person wise, aside from life experience? 

I enjoy reading many different parts of the Bible each day.  It certainly helps me to not get bored or discouraged.  I don't have to "get through" all of the Old Testament to get to the accounts of Jesus.  But sometimes I wish that the stories weren't broken up so because I really want to read what happens next.  Yes, I know what happens next, and yes, I've read this far before in the Old Testament -- but I still want to see what happens next all over again.  Oh well, gives me something to look forward to!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Head of John the Baptist on a Platter

    Today's Reading:
  • Matthew 13:47 - 14:12
  • Psalm 18:16 - 36
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Matthew 13:47 - 14:12
The story today is quite a sad one -- it's the story of the death of John the Baptist.  Herod, the ruler of Galilee, had John locked up because John told Herod it was wrong of him to marry his brother's wife Herodias.  Herod married Herodias regardless and Herodias's daughter performed a dance for Herod that left him promising the daughter anything that she wished.  Before I go any further, what kind of dance was it, that Herod to promise that girl anything she wanted?  Regardless, Herod did make the promise, and Herodias urged her daughter to ask for John the Baptist's head on a platter.  Herod delivered. 

The pure hatred in acts like these just really baffle me.  I certainly wasn't overjoyed that our government had managed to kill Osama Bin Laden or Sadaam Housein.  I am extremely happy that those two individuals are no longer a threat in the world, but beyond that I don't call for blood and murder on anyone.  But to take the head of John the Baptist at a whim?  At least I know that it's not just the people of today's world that are messed up and deranged.  This type of behavior has been occurring since Adam and Eve were cast out of the gardens.  It's not so much "what is the world is coming to?" but rather, "what is fundamentally wrong with the world"?  It was a sad passage I read today. 

Psalm 18:16 - 36
I think Psalm 18 is my favorite Psalm so far.  The reading of this Psalm began the day before yesterday where I mentioned the magnificent imagery used to describe how the Lord came down to do battle for David.  The Psalm today continued, this time with the Lord rescuing David and pulling him out of deep water away from his enemies.  David then sang praise to Lord over and over again in so many ways.  It's the kind of extreme worship that I hope one day I can accomplish.  

I still feel a bit saddened after reading about death of John the Baptist, it's kind of put a gloom over my mood.  But I shall come back tomorrow,and read on.  Not all days can fill me with joy and love, there has to be some mourning too.  And we haven't even gotten to the death of Jesus yet.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Way to View Everyday Bible Blog -- Bloapp

This quick post is to let you know that there is now a way to keep up on this blog (and many other of your favorite blogs) on the iPhone and the Android using the free Bloapp app.  Simply download the FREE app (links below) and scan the code below and you're done.  You can also add this blog to Bloapp by searching for "Everyday Bible Blog".  Enjoy!
Download Bloapp for iPhone/iPad
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Joseph is Put in Charge of Storing Crops for Egypt

    Today's Reading:
  • Genesis 41:17 - 42:17
  • Proverbs 4:1 - 6
Read Bible Passages Online

Genesis 41:17 - 42:17
The story of Joseph is continued.  The Pharaoh of Egypt told Joseph of his dreams and Joseph told the Pharaoh there will be seven years of overabundance followed by seven years of famine so severe that everyone will forget the previous years had been so good.  Joseph told the Pharaoh to collect 1/5 of all crops during the next seven years and store them.

The Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of this matter.  Not only did he put him in charge of this task, he gave him such high status that Joseph himself was second only to the Pharaoh.  We are told that the entire kingdom bowed before Joseph himself.  The will and grace of God is truly outstanding, isn't it?  Joseph was bleakly sold into slavery, betrayed by his brothers and put into prison for a crime he refused to commit.  But then Joseph is positioned to rule all of Egypt.

The story of Joseph is such an astounding story because it proves that just because we don't see God's will when bad things happen, that doesn't mean it doesn't happen for a reason, and we are never forgotten in God's eyes.  Not only are we not forgotten, but we are exalted by the Lord for keeping our faith in Him during our times of tribulation.

Joseph's brothers then come to Egypt to buy grain.  Immediately upon arriving in Egypt his brothers all bow down before him, just as Joseph said would happen in his dream years before.  The reading ends with Joseph talking of imprisoning all the brothers except one until they return with their youngest brother Benjamin.

Proverbs 4:1 - 6
These verses from Proverbs teach us to listen to our Father; His wisdom, learning and correction is there to keep us safe so that we will live.  Thank you Lord for allowing me the great gift of being your daughter, for passing along your wisdom to me, for keeping me safe.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Parable of the Wheat and Weeds

    Today's Reading:
  • Matthew 13:24 - 46
  • Psalm 18:1 - 15
Read Bible Passages Online

Matthew 13:24 - 46
Jesus told the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds to the crowds.  In this parable, a farmer plants good seed but his enemy sneaks in the night and plants weeds all around the good seed.  These weeds are destructive and do harm to the good seeds, but the weeds cannot be uprooted because it would take the good crop with it.  When harvest time comes the good seed will be separated from the bad seed and thrown into the fire.  The good seed will be stored away.  Jesus then explains the parable.  He says the good seeds are planted by him, the bad seeds by the devil, and the harvesters are the angels.  The harvest is the end of the world.

Of course I know that this judgment is coming, but I felt power in that parable regardless.  This is actually the first I have heard of the angels doing the harvesting and sorting, instead of just the Lord himself.  So are there are multiple tiers to judgment day?  After you survive the harvesting by the angels, what comes next? I guess I'll just have to keep reading to learn more!

Psalm 18:1 - 15
This psalm is the beginning of an astounding account of how the Lord delivered David from his enemies.  David says the Lord himself came down in a cloud, flying on an angel's back, to defeat David's enemies.  Isn't that a glorious image to behold?  The Lord himself coming down to defeat your enemies.  It's so powerful that I wish I had artistic ability because it paints such a picture in my mind; a picture I would love to paint out so that I could also see it with my eyes.  It's a shame this psalm has been broken up into multiple pieces for reading.  I shall have to go back and read from the beginning for tomorrow's reading.

How much time has passed in my studies today?  If I had to guess, I'd say around 35-40 minutes.  But these are the most profound minutes of my day; minutes that will be with me forever instead of squandered time.  How is it that I can go so many days in between these studies sometimes?  I don't even understand why I do that to myself when these precious minutes change me life and my heart so drastically.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Joseph is Sent to Prison

    Today's Reading:
  • Genesis 39:1 - 41:16
  • Proverbs 3:33-35

Genesis 39:1 - 41:16
Today I continued to read the story of Joseph.  Joseph was sold as a servant to the Egyptian captain of the guard.  Joseph succeeded in everything he did because the Lord was with him and soon Joseph was put in charge of his master's household, which in turn greatly succeeded.  But then the wife of Potiphar (Joseph's master) decided that she wanted to be with Joseph.  When Joseph refused her advances again and again, Potiphar's wife accused Joseph of rape.  Joseph was sent to prison.

Even in prison Joseph greatly succeeded.  Once again he was given a leadership role and was in charge of all the prisoners and all that happened in the prison.  To think by this point Joseph has been betrayed, sold into slavery, lied against and imprisoned for false reasons, yet the Lord was with him every step of the way.  Every step of the way, the Lord helped Joseph to prosper in everything he touched.  How many of us would have been discouraged and completely fed up with God by the time all that happened to us?  Yet Joseph kept his faith in the Lord, and the Lord kept him quite well.

In prison Joseph met two men -- a baker and a cup bearer -- who were imprisoned by the Pharaoh.  They each had dreams and Joseph interpreted those dreams through God.  Joseph never once claimed to interpret those dreams himself.  Instead he gave credit to God before he had even been told the dream.  Joseph evaluated the dreams with the Lord's understanding and told the cup-bearer he would be restored to his position and the baker would be put to death, impaled upon a pole.  Both would happen in three days time.  Sure enough, the dreams came true.

Joseph continued to sit in prison for another two years (I don't know how long he was in prison before that, I don't think it says, or if it did, I missed it), until the Pharaoh had a strong dream.  None could tell him what the dream meant.  That is when the cup-bearer spoke up and told the Pharaoh about Joseph.  Today's reading stops just before the Pharaoh tells Joseph what his dream was.

Proverbs 3:33-35
Three simple verses with three simple truths: the Lord blesses those who do right by him, who are humble, and who are wise.  Those who are wicked are cursed; those who scorn are scorned, and those who are foolish will be shamed.  Such simple rules, yet they can be very hard at times to adhere to. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Parable of the Seeds

    Today's Reading:
  • Matthew 12:46 - 13:23
  • Psalm 17:1-15
Read Bible Passages Online

Matthew 12:46 - 13:23
All who do the will of the Lord are brothers, sisters and mothers of Jesus Christ (12:48-50).  That is just awe inspiring to me.  Sure, we all call each other brothers and sisters in Christ, but I guess I didn't take it as far as meaning that we are brothers and sisters of Christ himself.

Jesus then tells us a parable about seeds (13:3-9).  Where a seed lands after being scattered determines what will happen when it grows.  We don't even have to try to decipher the meaning of the parable ourselves, for Jesus explains the entire parable in 13:18-23. 

So the question is, what kind of seed am I?  I am sure I'm not the one that fell on fertile soil and multiplied to be 30, 60, 100 times as great as planted.  I love the Lord, I believe wholeheartedly in the Lord, I try to do right be the Lord, but so many areas of my life are lacking.  One of those biggest areas is knowledge and the spreading of the knowledge. 

Not knowledge of what other people teach me, for I've had plenty of that, but the knowledge that is truest to myself.  That is the knowledge that I ascertain by reading through the bible myself so that I can understand what my religion means to me, what God is telling ME.  Not my mother, not my father, not my pastor, or my grandfather -- but ME.  All those people are wonderful and they have exceptional understanding of what the bible is saying to them and to others.  But now I need to know what the Word is saying to me.  And when I know what the Word is saying to me, I will know how to share with others what God means to me and what God could mean to them. 

I will read first hand all of the stories and parables and events that I have only ever heard about from others.  I will know where to find these things in the bible.  I will learn so many things, things that no one else but the Lord would have been able to teach or get through to me.  It is so wonderful that you can read the whole bible over and over and over and over again and still learn new things the next time that you read it.  No, I am not currently the seed on fertile soil because I am trying to learn how to share my faith so that my crop will be fruitful.  But that doesn't mean it's a lost cause, either, for one can always replant a crop.  I am certainly sowing my field in preparation.

Psalm 17:1-15
Psalm is such an interesting book of the bible.  I never really realized its true purpose before beginning to read it.  An entire book of the bible that consists of people baring all their thoughts, emotions, angers and fears to the Lord.  There is great power in these prayers.  I am interested to see how the individual psalms change from person to person over the span of time.

It has been a very productive read for me today.  I think the parable of the seed truly affected me.  I want to be the fruitful seed, and I pray that the Lord works through me so that I might become so.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Joseph is Sold Into Slavery; Judah Impregnates Tumar

    Today's Reading:
  • Genesis 37:1 - 38:30
  • Proverbs 3:27-32

Genesis 37:1 - 38:30
We begin the reading today by being introduced to a famous man of the bible: Joseph.  Joseph is Jacob's favorite son.  The introduction of Joseph jumps right into his dreams; dreams where his brothers, the sun and the universe all bow before him.  If I had those dreams, I think I  would wonder what those dreams meant myself, but I'm not sure I would I have told my entire family that I dreamed that one day they would all bow before me.  In today's times, birthright rank does not seem to be taken as severely as it was then.  I imagine the thought of all the elder brothers bowing before Joseph was not only absurd, but highly offensive. Nonetheless this does not give cause for what the brothers did.  The brothers sold Joseph into slavery (Judah convinced his brothers to do this instead of leaving Joseph for dead) and dipped Joseph's lovely coat, given to him by Jacob, into blood and sent it back to their father.  Joseph was taken to Egypt.  

In chapter 38 we learned that Judah left the encampment and married a Canaanite woman, Hirah.  I wonder, did Judah leave out of guilt for what they did to Joseph?  Judah had three sons, the first of which (Er) married a woman named Tamar.  The bible says that Er was wicked and therefore the Lord killed him.  Judah then instructed his second son, Onan, to marry Tamar and produce an heir for his brother.  Onan married Tamar as instructed.  He slept with her but would not leave his seed inside her to become pregnant.  I find that entirely loathsome and hurtful.  Apparently the Lord was also outraged because he also killed Onan.  Judah then promised Tamar he would give his third son, Shelah, to Tamar when he was of age, but Judah lied.  He did not want Shelah to die as his other two sons had.

Tamar decided she would have her heir, so she disguised herself as a prostitute and waited for Judah.  Judah took the bait and slept with Tamar, who then became pregnant with twins.  What amazes me is that Judah called for Tamar to be burned for acting like a prostitute, yet what about him?  He also solicited sex from a prostitute.  Tamar then informed Judah that he was the father of her babies by showing him the belongings he left with her.  Judah then proclaimed that she was more righteous than he, because he should have given Shelah to her as he had promised.  When Tamar's twins were born, one twin started to emerge first, when the other twin managed to somehow get ahead of his brother and come out first. 

Proverbs 3:27-32
The verse that stuck out most to me in this set is verse 3:27.  It tells us not to withhold good from those who deserve it, and to help those who ask for it right now.  Of course it's not going to be convenient for us, it rarely is.  But don't turn it away.  If someone needs your help -- emotional, financial, spiritual, physical -- give it to them right now, right when they need it.  This verse stuck out most to be because I know I could go out of my way more than I do to help those in need.  Too often do I find excuses to why the time is not now right to help them.  I must be must more conscious of this and not only take opportunities to help others, but to also seek out ways to help those that do not come to me.