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January 18 - Evening

"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."
- Genesis 45:8

Giving God Credit Instead of Blaming Men and Glorifying Self


Ultimately Joseph was sent by God to Egypt ahead of his family to prepare the way for deliverance from the coming famine. There were an infinite number of ways that God could have got Joseph into the right place just like there were an immeasurable number of scenarios to would get him there at the right time. But, God allowed his brothers, the sons of Jacob, to envy him, to hate him, to betray him, to sell him and to lie about him in order to work his plan. This plan would create physical deliverance, but it would also allow for spiritual growth, increased insight and the development of wisdom and character.
In the Hebrew language, Joseph’s words are emphatic that it was not his brothers who were ultimately responsible when he literally says,
“Not you (plural), you (plural) sent me, but (adversative) God!”
Indeed, the brothers are guilty of a wide range of sins that include, but are not limited to, jealousy, betrayal, lying, deception, selfish ambition, faithlessness towards men and God, etc. These sins are real and are the result of the brothers’ own evil nature. These sins are not caused by God, and will be produce the harvest of sin:
“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” – James 1:13-14
The sons of Jacob are responsible for their sin, but Joseph is telling them that ultimately they have not thwarted God’s plan. Everything is still on track if they are willing and ready to participate and be obedient. This is good news! They have been forgiven and God is ready to receive them back into the very plan their sin helped create!
Is this a green light for sinning? The Apostle Paul answers that question in Romans:
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
God has made Joseph:
“father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”
The use of the phrase “father to Pharaoh” would indicate that Joseph is held in high esteem and honor by Pharaoh who looks to him for advice and guidance as a son would his father. The NIV word “ruler” is from the Hebrew word adon which also means “lord” and “master.” To be adon of Pharaoh’s “entire household” means Joseph has absolute control over the state of Egypt and its treasury. The NIV word “ruler” is from the Hebrew mosel which indicates that in addition to advising Pharaoh and serving as the master of the treasury and the affairs of the state of Egypt, Joseph was also in a position to rule and govern the land of Egypt. All of this power will be fully manifest during the seven years of famine.
In all of this revelation of himself to his brothers Joseph does not boast or brag about what he has accomplished, but is instead talking about what amazing things the Lord has done. Joseph does not say:
“I am father to Pharaoh. I am lord of his entire household and I have become ruler of all Egypt,”
Instead, Joseph makes those very same points but gives God the sincere credit when he says:
“He (God) made me father to Pharaoh. (God has made me) lord of Pharaoh’s entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”
Joseph wants his brothers to be amazed and impressed, but only with what God has done in Joseph’s life.
Chara (Gr) - Joy (Eng) - chara is a Greek word for "joy," "gladness," and "rejoicing." Chara is used to describe something beyond the temporal experience of a happy situation. Chara is an emotion grounded in eternal truths and future expectations that are independent of situations in life.
Do I blame men for my failures?
Do I praise myself for my success?
I will not let men limit me, because God can work his good plan in spite of the opposition of men.
And, I will not use my success to glorify myself, because God is the source of my strength.



Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text




Personal

Enough income to meet your needs

Church

Hearts of servants
Police
Unreached Hausa people dominant in Niger and northern Nigeria



The first century pedestrian gate located under today's Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's northern city wall. The stone decorative molding, the pillar bases and the Roman arch can still be seen as well as the pavement. The exact date of this gate is either 117 during the time of the Roman Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117–138) or 40-44 AD from the days of Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12)
Kedorlaomer Finishes his destruction in Genesis 14.




Someone to Quote

"The media has gone from 'Father knows best' to 'Father knows nothing at all.' " - D. James Kennedy

Something to Ponder

100 AD - the Bible had been translated into 6 languages.
500 AD - the Bible had been translated into 13 languages.
1000 AD - the Bible had been translated into 17 languages
1500 AD - the Bible had been translated into 34 languages.
1800 AD - the Bible had been translated into 67 languages.
1900 AD - the Bible had been translated into 537 languages. 
2000 AD - the Bible had been translated into 2,233 languages.

Here’s a Fact

The Herodian wall at Hebron that was built by Herod to serve as a monumaent around the Cave of Machpelah uses the same style of Ashlar stones as Herod used on the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Cave of Machpelah is the burial site purchased by Abraham to bury his wife Sarah (Gen. 23). Also buried there are Isaac, Jacob, Rebecca, Leah and Abraham himself. What can still be seen in Hebron is Herod’s use of the appearance of pilasters that extend up the walls. These pilasters in Hebron are similar to what appeared on the Temple Mount Wall, but was destroyed by the Romans. This monument in Hebron is the only structure of Herod’s that still remains intact, although the remains of many Herodian structures and engineering feats still exist. (Details here and here. Images here. Temple diagram here.)

Proverb

"A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions."
- Proverbs 18:2

Coach’s Corner

It is amazing what you can do when you do what God wants done. 

Genesis 23
New International Version (NIV)
The Death of Sarah
23 Sarah lived to be a hundred and twenty-seven years old. She died at Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan, and Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to weep over her.
Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. He said, “I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.”
The Hittites replied to Abraham, “Sir, listen to us. You are a mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our tombs. None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.”
Then Abraham rose and bowed down before the people of the land, the Hittites. He said to them, “If you are willing to let me bury my dead, then listen to me and intercede with Ephron son of Zohar on my behalf so he will sell me the cave of Machpelah, which belongs to him and is at the end of his field. Ask him to sell it to me for the full price as a burial site among you.”
10 Ephron the Hittite was sitting among his people and he replied to Abraham in the hearing of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of his city. 11 “No, my lord,” he said. “Listen to me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. I give it to you in the presence of my people. Bury your dead.”
12 Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land 13 and he said to Ephron in their hearing, “Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field. Accept it from me so I can bury my dead there.”
14 Ephron answered Abraham, 15 “Listen to me, my lord; the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver, but what is that between you and me? Bury your dead.”
16 Abraham agreed to Ephron’s terms and weighed out for him the price he had named in the hearing of the Hittites: four hundred shekels of silver, according to the weight current among the merchants.
17 So Ephron’s field in Machpelah near Mamre—both the field and the cave in it, and all the trees within the borders of the field—was deeded 18 to Abraham as his property in the presence of all the Hittites who had come to the gate of the city. 19 Afterward Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave in the field of Machpelah near Mamre (which is at Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave in it were deeded to Abraham by the Hittites as a burial site.
Acts 12
New International Version (NIV)
Peter’s Miraculous Escape From Prison
12 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.
Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”
12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. 13 Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”
15 “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”
16 But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. “Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,” he said, and then he left for another place.
18 In the morning, there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19 After Herod had a thorough search made for him and did not find him, he cross-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed.
Herod’s Death
Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there. 20 He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply.
21 On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. 22 They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” 23 Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.
24 But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.
Barnabas and Saul Sent Off
25 When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.
Job 12
New International Version (NIV)
Job
12 Then Job replied:

“Doubtless you are the only people who matter,     and wisdom will die with you!

But I have a mind as well as you;     I am not inferior to you.     Who does not know all these things?

“I have become a laughingstock to my friends,     though I called on God and he answered—     a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!

Those who are at ease have contempt for misfortune     as the fate of those whose feet are slipping.

The tents of marauders are undisturbed,     and those who provoke God are secure—     those God has in his hand.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,     or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;

or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,     or let the fish in the sea inform you.

Which of all these does not know     that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 
In his hand is the life of every creature     and the breath of all mankind.
11 
Does not the ear test words     as the tongue tastes food?
12 
Is not wisdom found among the aged?     Does not long life bring understanding?
13 
“To God belong wisdom and power;     counsel and understanding are his.
14 
What he tears down cannot be rebuilt;     those he imprisons cannot be released.
15 
If he holds back the waters, there is drought;     if he lets them loose, they devastate the land.
16 
To him belong strength and insight;     both deceived and deceiver are his.
17 
He leads rulers away stripped     and makes fools of judges.
18 
He takes off the shackles put on by kings     and ties a loincloth around their waist.
19 
He leads priests away stripped     and overthrows officials long established.
20 
He silences the lips of trusted advisers     and takes away the discernment of elders.
21 
He pours contempt on nobles     and disarms the mighty.
22 
He reveals the deep things of darkness     and brings utter darkness into the light.
23 
He makes nations great, and destroys them;     he enlarges nations, and disperses them.
24 
He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason;     he makes them wander in a trackless waste.
25 
They grope in darkness with no light;     he makes them stagger like drunkards.
Genesis 21
New International Version (NIV)
The Birth of Isaac
21 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away
The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”
14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.
17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.
The Treaty at Beersheba
22 At that time Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do. 23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you.”
24 Abraham said, “I swear it.”
25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelek about a well of water that Abimelek’s servants had seized. 26 But Abimelek said, “I don’t know who has done this. You did not tell me, and I heard about it only today.”
27 So Abraham brought sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelek, and the two men made a treaty. 28 Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock, 29 and Abimelek asked Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs you have set apart by themselves?”
30 He replied, “Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well.”
31 So that place was called Beersheba, because the two men swore an oath there.
32 After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines. 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God. 34 And Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time.


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