Feb 14, 2022

(Genesis 47, Luke 1:1-38; Optional Psalm 33:8-22, Proverbs 9:13-18)

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GENESIS 47 – Jacob and his family (the growing nation of Israel) settle in Egypt, and God uses Joseph’s wisdom to provide for them and that whole region of the world during the remaining years of the severe famine. During his 13 years as a slave, Joseph had no way of knowing that God was preparing him with the very skills he’d need to steward a country through a crisis. God let Joseph learn careful attention to detail and budgets, etc, as the head slave in a large household (Gen 39:1-6) and as the head trustee of Pharaoh’s prison (Gen 39:20-23). Now he’s faithfully putting all that to use (see Gen 47:13-26), being used by God to help that whole region of the world survive, including His own growing nation of Israel.

Gen 47:29-30 – God had promised Jacob in Gen 46:2-4 that his beloved son Joseph would be there for his death, and that God would make sure Jacob and his family eventually came back to the Promised Land (and THAT was a reminder of God’s promise to Abraham in Gen 15:12-16). Through the hard, dark, confusing times we are called to trust God and be faithful and (by God’s grace and help) do our little part, trusting that (whether we FEEL it or not, and whether we can SEE it or not) God WILL KEEP all His promises in His own good and wise timing.

Luke 1:1-38 – A theme running through the Gospel of Luke (and volume 2 of Luke’s writings – the history of the early church in the book of Acts) is how God calls ALL SORTS of people to Himself and works through them to keep His promises and rescue His people.

Lk 1:1-4 – In 2 Tim 3:16 we see that ALL of Scripture is inspired (literally “breathed out”) by God, and here we see ONE of the many ways He worked to bring His Words through the hands of very different people. God inspired Luke, a doctor (Col 4:14) who was probably Gentile (he’s NOT listed among the few Jewish “men of the circumcision” who were still willing to align with Paul in Col 4:9-11). The Holy Spirit used Luke’s careful observation and attention to detail he had learned as a physician to interview firsthand eyewitnesses and put together a God-inspired (though that didn’t stop the need for careful hard work by Luke) account of Jesus.

Lk 1:5-25 – And God also worked through the old (v 7) and very Jewish (v 5 – both from the line of Aaron – the priestly tribe in Israel) couple Zechariah and Elizabeth. They had obviously prayed for years for a baby (compare v 7 and v 13), and now when it SEEMED impossible (v 36-37) God was answering their prayer. And of course God was at work, so that the whole region was talking and wondering what God might be up to (see v 22, 64-66).

Lk 1:16-17 – Referring to the LAST INSPIRED WORDS from God, uttered by the prophet Malachi hundreds of years before (see Mal 4:5-6). God is letting people know that He is on the move, fulfilling promises made so long ago. In His perfect timing, He is now picking up the story from the end of the Old Testament.

Lk 1:26-38 – And God also worked through a young virgin from David’s line. God had made promises to Jacob (which we’ve recently read in Genesis) and to David about extending his kingly line FOREVER. It has SEEMED for hundreds of years like God had forgotten, but He NEVER FORGETS HIS PROMISES. In His own time and His perfect way, He keeps every promise He has made!

Lk 1:36-37 – I love this reminder that GOD determines our identity. Elizabeth “WAS called barren.” But no longer! “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Optional Psalm 33:8-22 – Ps 33:8, 18 – proper fear of God doesn’t lead to cringing in the corner, but a glad confident trust in God who EASILY accomplishes ALL that He plans in His OWN TIMING (see v 20 – “Our soul waits…”).

Optional Proverbs 9:13-18 – Contrast the speech of lady Wisdom and her call to abundant LIFE (Pr 9:1-6, especially v 6).