(Genesis 42, Mark 12; Optional Psalm 31:1-8, Proverbs 8:12, 19-31)
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GENESIS 42 – God writes an amazing story in our lives! Gen 42 will remind us of many of the details from 20+ years ago. Comparing Gen 41:46 and 37:2 shows that Joseph had 13 years of affliction, then Gen 41:29-31 lets us know the 7 years of plenty had happened, and we are now into the 7 years of intense famine.
Gen 42:1 – “Why do you look at one another?” – Jacob’s question to his sons is likely a hint about their guilty feelings, remembering Gen 37:23-28 when they sold Joseph more than 20 years ago to a caravan of Ishmaelites who were going to sell Joseph as a slave in Egypt. Remember that they’ve deceived their father all this time (Gen 37:31-36), so that he thinks Joseph is dead by a wild animal. The brothers think Joseph is dead by now, too (see v 13), but their guilt keeps bubbling up (see Gen 42:13, 21-23, 28, etc), and apparently has been tormenting them for all these years. Receive both the warning and promise to sinners in Prov 28:13: “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
Gen 42:6-8 – They didn’t recognize Joseph. It’s been more than 20 years since they saw him, they assume he’s dead by now (see v 13 – I’m guessing slaves often had short life spans), and he now speaks fluent Egyptian and is talking to the brothers through an interpreter (v 23). They certainly can’t imagine that he’s the powerful ruler that they’re bowing before (v 6), begging for food.
Gen 42:9 – “Joseph remembered the dreams” – See Gen 37:4-11. Those dreams of leadership really HAD come from God, though God FIRST did years of training Joseph in HIS school of leadership and greatness in HIS kingdom, where Joseph has learned humility and service.
Gen 42:11 – “We are honest men” – ?! This is the brothers’ answer to Joseph’s accusation in v 9 that they were spies come to see how strong or weak Egypt was. Their horrible treatment of Joseph 20+ years ago and their lying to their father keeps haunting them like a drumbeat through this chapter (see “honest” or “true” in v 11, 19, 31, 33, 34).
Gen 42:17 – They ALL got a taste of what they put Joseph through when they threw him in a pit and then had lunch while he cried out to them for help (compare Gen 42:21-22 and Gen 37:18-30).
Gen 42:24 – Another bit of justice being done… The firstborn son, Reuben, had rescued Joseph from death (Gen 37:18-22), and was INTENDING to later let Joseph loose from the pit to return to their father. But he had to leave for awhile (see Gen 37:29-30) and was NOT there when the other brothers decided they’d sell Joseph as a slave. THAT decision would’ve been ultimately made by the next oldest son, Simeon.
Gen 42:25-28 – Guilt infects everything, so that even BLESSINGS are seen as JUDGMENT!
MARK 12 – Jesus continues judging Israel and the Jewish leaders for their fruitlessness (see Mk 11:12ff). This parable summarizes how God would send prophets to call for fruit from Israel. But they would be rejected and killed. Finally the beloved son is sent, and Mk 12:6-7 is exactly what happened when Jacob sent his beloved son Joseph as a messenger (see Gen 37:18-20). This parable in Mk 12 is only days before the crowds would demand the death of Jesus, God’s Beloved Son.
Mk 12:9 – A hint that though Jesus primarily came to call ISRAEL to repent, the Apostles would be sent to the ALL the world (see the Mt 28:18-20, Acts 1:6-8, Acts 28:23-28, Rom 11:25 – but don’t miss Rom 11:1-2, 11-32).
Mk 12:10-11 – Jesus quoting Ps 118:22-23. In Mk 11:9 the crowds shouting “Hosanna” (meaning “save us, we pray”) and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” were quoting from Ps 118:25-26. Jesus is saying to those with ears to hear that He IS indeed the Messiah and God’s Cornerstone on which and around which the whole building is built. The rest of the chapter is different groups that often competed with each other for leadership of Israel (Pharisees, Herodians, Sadducees, scribes) uniting together in an effort to trap Jesus (though one is actually close to the truth – see v 28-34). But Jesus closes each section showing HIS authority and closes the chapter judging THEM (v 38-40) and carefully watching people giving their offerings (v 41-44).
Mk 12:26 – Don’t miss the pointer to the inspiration of every word of Scripture and the need for CAREFUL Bible study – Jesus rebukes them (v 24, 27) for not noticing the TENSE OF A VERB! The Sadducees didn’t believe that the miracles recorded in the Bible were literally true, nor did they believe in the resurrection of the body (I learned as a boy “that’s why they were sad, you see”). But Jesus says they missed the proof of the resurrection is that God repeatedly said “I AM (not I WAS) the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”. So He IS still their God because their souls continued to exist even after their death.
Mk 12:34 – “You are not FAR from the kingdom…” – but not IN yet, either. This scribe DID accurately see that the whole OT law could be summarized by loving the One True God. What he did NOT yet see was that Jesus IS God in the flesh. But he’s about to hear this from Jesus, if he has ears to hear…
Mk 12:35-36 – After all THEIR questions (from v 13 on), Jesus has a key question for THEM. Don’t miss the vital pointer to the inspiration of Scripture in v 36! It’s clear that when DAVID was writing in Ps 110:1 that he is writing words from the Holy Spirit. David calls the coming Messiah (who wouldn’t be born for about 1,000 years in David’s line) “Lord” (which Hebrews used to refer to God as their Master and Owner). So the Messiah that will be PHYSICALLY from David’s line is already EXISTING as David’s King and Lord!
Mk 12:41-44 – Be amazed that, only days from his crucifixion, Jesus spends time watching how people give their offerings! Remember what He said in the Sermon on the Mount: “…where your TREASURE is, there your HEART will be also.” (Matt 6:21) There’s also a connection between Mk 12:40 and v 42-44.
Optional Psalm 31:1-8 – In hard times, believers take refuge in God! Jesus quotes v 5 from the cross, and 1 Pet 2:21-23 reminds us that Jesus is our example in how He entrusted His cause and His life into His heavenly Father’s all-wise and all-good and all-powerful hands.
Optional Proverbs 8:12, 19-31 – Compare Prov 8:21 to 8:17 – “LOVE” (not flirt with) wisdom. A few minutes in Scripture every once in a while will NOT unlock the wealth that wisdom offers.
Pr 8:20 – True JUSTICE is connected with biblical wisdom. So many that talk about justice these days are pursuing THEIR idea of “justice” in very un-biblical ways. That will NOT lead to true justice.
Pr 8:22ff – In Gen 1 we saw how EASILY God created the world. But it wasn’t ARBITRARY – He created with careful WISDOM and intricate design!