(Genesis 40, Mark 10; Optional Psalm 29, Proverbs 8:1, 6-11)
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GENESIS 40 – Rom 8:28 tells us that all things work together for good for those that love God. But the “work together” time can feel so long and painful. If you compare Gen 37:2 and 41:46, you see that Joseph’s rough times took 13 years. How good of God not to tell us this ahead of time! He calls us to trust Him and serve where He has placed us TODAY. Note that Joseph doesn’t succumb to survival mode, where he just focuses on his hurts and wrongs done to him. He IS certainly aware of these (see Gen 40:14-15), but is not FOCUSED on these sad things. Note the servant heart God has taught Joseph – see the growth from the immature Joseph in Gen 37:4-11 and the concerned-for-others Joseph in Gen 40:4-8!
Gen 40:8 – The foundation and focus of Joseph’s life is God. Also see Gen 39:9, 41:15-16, 25, 32, 51-52, 45:5-8, 50:15-21. This God-centered thinking kept Joseph from a bitter focus on all the injustice against him and instead freed him to cheerfully serve others. It’s summarized in what Joseph told his brothers who were paralyzed by guilty fear that Joseph would seek vengeance on them. Notice that Joseph is not naïve OR bitter, but God-focused: “As for you, you meant evil against me, BUT GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Gen 50:20, ESV)
Gen 40:14-15 – Joseph had NOT simply “accepted his fate,” nor did he try to put an optimistic, positive “spin” on the traumatic events of his life. Compare 1 Cor 7:20-24, where Paul tells slaves that if they CAN be free, they should use that opportunity (while remembering they’ll ALWAYS be owned by and happy slaves to the Lord). But if they CAN’T be physically free, they shouldn’t worry about it because they’re free where it ultimately and eternally matters – they’re free in the Lord.
Gen 40:13-15, 21-23 – Our sovereign God controls every detail of life, even what we remember and forget! And WHEN everything happens. In GOD’S timing, the cupbearer WILL remember – though it’s TWO FULL YEARS LATER (Gen 40:1, 8-16).
MARK 10 – Follow both the toughness AND tenderness of Jesus in this chapter, worshipping Him as the Lion AND the Lamb (Rev 5:5-6). Jesus gives tough teaching in v 1-10 calling us back to God’s original plan and ideal for marriage. Then He’s tough on the disciples in v 14, but all in the context of such tenderness for the children coming to Him. Jesus has tough words for the rich man who had so mis-understood what it means to be “good” (v 17-22), but this came from love for the man (v 21). Jesus AGAIN prophesies His death, this time giving some of the painful details that will happen to Him (v 34), and the disciples AGAIN respond by trying to get top leadership positions! Jesus patiently teaches them AGAIN about humble servant leadership and ties it all back to a reminder of His ultimate and unique service through giving His life. Rather than Jesus getting frustrated at the disciples or paralyzed by self-pity, the chapter closes with Jesus tenderly healing the blind beggar Bartimaeus.
Mk 10:4 – Referring to Deut 24:1-4, where God had Moses recognize and regulate divorce. But Jesus then calls them back to God’s ORIGINAL plan for marriage in Gen 2:24 – one man and one woman for life.
Mk 10:11-12 – If you’re CONSIDERING divorce, feel the full weight of Jesus’ words. Others will point to the somewhat more nuanced Matt 19:3-12. But in both accounts of this same confrontation with the Pharisees Jesus clearly calls us all back to God’s ORIGINAL plan for marriage. If you’ve BEEN divorced and remarried and feel convicted, remember that in this same chapter (Mk 10:32-34, 45) Jesus prophesies His death to pay the ransom price for ALL sin for all that come to Him in confession. If you see areas where you’ve sinned, agree with the Lord that it was sin, rejoice that His death is sufficient to pay the price for ALL sin, and let your life be a testament to how God brings beauty from the ashes of our life when we come to Him (see Isaiah 61:3). By God’s grace, let this current marriage be a testimony for how God patiently takes us where we ARE and helps us follow Him better from this moment forward.
Mk 10:17-22 – This rich man had really mis-understood what “good” meant. He too lightly applied it to Jesus in v 17, and Jesus lets him know that he should only use that term if he realized that Jesus is God in the flesh. But the rich man also obviously thought of HIMSELF as a good person (v 20), not realizing that his god was money. Jesus does NOT call all His followers to a vow of poverty, but He DOES call all His followers to leave WHATEVER they need to in order to follow Him (compare Mk 10:23-31 with Mk 8:34-38).
Mk 10:26 – This refers to a common error that many still make: thinking that lots of money is an automatic sign that God approves of you and your life. So if it was so hard for the RICH to be saved, then who CAN be saved? Notice that in His answer in v 27 Jesus does NOT say, “You’ve mis-understood.” Instead He CONFIRMS their feeling of helplessness (compare how you can’t enter God’s kingdom WITHOUT realizing your child-like helplessness in Mk 10:14-15), and points ALL of their hopes to God and HIS ability! We live in a world that values SELF-confidence, while Jesus wants to build our GOD-confidence!
Mk 10:28-31 – AGAIN (see also Mk 8:34-38 and many others), both the cost AND worth of following Jesus. Jesus is saying that if we have to leave family in order to follow Him, we get a NEW family with His people (see also Mk 3:31-35). But don’t naively think that this new family will be problem-free: the VERY NEXT verses (Mk 10:32-45) will show a glimpse of the new family giving an AWFUL response to Jesus’ talking about His death and instead arguing about which of them would have top leadership positions! And Jesus patiently teaching AGAIN about how leadership in His kingdom is so different from the “lording over” others that leadership is in the world.
Mk 10:48-49 – Many REBUKED Bartimaeus in v 48 for what they thought was bothering the Lord, but he knew Jesus was the Messiah (“Son of David”) and his only hope and would NOT be stopped from calling out for help! I love the sweet encouragement in v 49 – “Take heart…He is calling you.”
Optional Psalm 29 – Worshipping God as King over the storms in life.
Ps 29:1-2 – A call to worship God as King over the storms of life (compare v 10).
Ps 29:3-9 – A description of the storms in life. I think the fierce storm in v 3-9 may well be a literal storm where nature APPEARS to be wild and uncontrolled (but SHOULD remind us that the “voice of the LORD” is really in control). But this psalm is just as helpful if it’s a flood (see v 3, 10) of scary events where evil and pain LOOKS to be winning.
Ps 29:10 – Whether it’s a literal storm or symbolic of scary and sad events, v 10 gives the REALITY during the storms of life. Even when it FEELS like things are wild and out of control, God is NOT pacing nervously, wondering what to do. He is SEATED on His throne OVER the flood!
Ps 29:11 – A wonderful prayer for God’s people when in the storms of life – that God would apply the TRUTH of v 10 and give strength and peace to His people!
Optional Proverbs 8:1, 6-11 – Prov 8:6-9 -The SPEECH of wisdom (contrast with the perverted speech in v 13). Some try to minimize the importance of words, but all through Proverbs we’ll see that the wise are marked by how they talk (the wise also know when to be quiet).
Prov 8:10-11 – The surpassing VALUE of wisdom. Compare the rich man in Mark 10:17-27.