Feb 10, 2022

(Genesis 43, Mark 13; Optional Psalm 31:9-18, Proverbs 8:1, 32-36)

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GENESIS 43 – Gen 42-44 are about Joseph testing his brothers, and them feeling a bit of what he must have struggled with for 13 years, not knowing what to expect in an unknown land in the middle of crisis. Joseph sets up a situation where the new favorite son (Benjamin has replaced Joseph as the favorite son of the favorite wife) can be sold as a slave enabling the others to get back to life as usual. But this time the brothers do NOT give in to that, like they so quickly did more than 20 years ago with Joseph.

Gen 43:8-10 – Evidence of growth in Judah. He offers himself as security for Benjamin. In Gen 37:26-27 it was Judah who had the idea of selling Joseph as a slave to make some money. And in Gen 38 we saw how Judah selfishly dealt with his own sorrows. But by Gen 49:8-12 Jacob prophesies great things for the line of Judah (and Christians know that king David would come from this line and eventually Messiah Jesus). Judah is 4th in age of sons, but the firstborn Reuben has shown himself untrustworthy (Gen 35:22, and notice how Jacob did NOT take Reuben’s “offer” in Gen 42:37), then Simeon and Levi showed unrestrained rage and destroyed an entire village because of one man’s sin (Gen 34:24-31).

So we see again how God even uses the sins of people to bring about His good and wise purposes. Judah will be the line that God brings His own Beloved Son to the world, so that HE can be our security and substitute for all that turn to Him.

MARK 13 – While Jesus had been watching the PEOPLE in Mark 12:41-44, apparently the disciples had been noticing the impressive STONES that made up the temple (Mk 13:1). Jesus shocks them by prophesying the complete destruction of the temple (which happened only a few decades later by the Romans in 70 AD). Jesus and some disciples go up to the top of the Mount Olives (this teaching and the parallel in Matt 24-25 and Luke 21 are called the “Olivet Discourse) and He teaches about the destruction of the temple and uses that to talk about other huge events in the end times. Followers of Jesus disagree on details (and see my notes several days ago at Mark 9 on why ALL of us should have humility about our end times view), but don’t miss the clear commands. The summary command is v 37 and is CLEARLY for ALL future readers, NOT just the Apostles – “Stay awake / Watch / Be alert”.

I think the following is probably summarized from what I remember from Wayne Grudem in his helpful book on Systematic Theology…

The basic command for the end times is “Be ready.” 1) Be ready to SUFFER – things ARE going to get rough, but Christians should be comforted that it is ALL according to God’s plan and will end at the moment He has chosen (I hope you’re being deeply encouraged by the story of Joseph).  2) Be ready for Jesus’ RETURN – He wants us to be about spreading the gospel (Mk 13:9-11) and staying busy with HIS priorities (v 33-37).

Optional Psalm 31:9-18 – What a perfect psalm to help believers endure suffering well (like Jesus prophesied will come in Mark 13)! Inspired prayer requests frame this section (Ps 31:9, 14-18) and we see the depth of the suffering in v 10-13. Notice that the focus is on enemies on the outside, but at least PART of the suffering was from his own sin (v 10).

After honestly pouring out the emotional and physical pain that he’s going through, note the clear turning point in v 14 – “BUT I trust in You, O LORD…” I love the quiet confidence of v 15 – “My times are in Your hand”. Yes! Enemies (or even the consequences of our own sin) do NOT get the last or decisive word!

Optional Proverbs 8:1, 32-36 – Getting wisdom is not a nice UPGRADE, it’s VITAL: “whoever finds me [wisdom] finds life…but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”