(Genesis 48, Luke 1:39-80; Optional Psalm 34:1-10, Proverbs 10:1-5)
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GENESIS 48 – Getting very near death, Jacob reminds Joseph of the faithfulness of God in continuing the Abrahamic covenant (compare Gen 48:3-4 and Gen 12:1-3, 7).
Gen 48:5 – This is why lists of the tribes coming out of Egypt won’t list a tribe of Joseph – instead we hear of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
Gen 48:5-14, 17-20 – Notice again (as with Jacob and his slightly older twin brother Esau) the REVERSAL of expected custom, as the younger son Ephraim is elevated over the older Manasseh. God SO OFTEN reverses expectations! Compare and be both humbled and encouraged by 1 Cor 1:18-31.
Gen 48:15 – “the God who has been my shepherd all my life” – compare Psalm 23 and notice how often God trained his men by being shepherds (Jacob – see Gen 30:29ff, Moses, David).
Gen 48:21 – Jacob encourages Joseph with the promise that God gave to him years many years ago when he must’ve felt alone as he was fleeing for his life from an angry Esau (Gen 28:15). And Christians TODAY still have this sustaining promise that God will be WITH US (Heb 13:5-6, Matt 28:20), and one of the precious titles/names of Jesus is Emmanuel – “God WITH US”.
Luke 1:39-80 – Next to Lk 1:41 I’ve written “HS,” and I’d encourage you to trace the theme of the Holy Spirit through the New Testament, and the Holy Spirit is a special emphasis in the books of Luke and Acts.
Lk 1:41-45 – Elizabeth is “filled with the Holy Spirit,” and her six-month (see v 36) in utero baby is ALSO filled with the Holy Spirit (see v 15 – and don’t miss the huge implications this has on the abortion debate). The Lord is already prophesying through John (though still in the womb) about the presence of the Messiah!
Lk 1:42, 45, 48 – The Roman Catholic Church has continued to add titles to Mary, but sometimes Protestants have so strongly reacted that we might undercut these verses. They are balanced by Jesus Himself in Lk 11:27-28.
Lk 1:47 – “God my Savior” – One of the things the Roman Catholic Church has wrongly added to Mary is teaching that she was sinless, but Mary herself recognized her need for God’s salvation (also see this theme of salvation in Zechariah’s prophetic praise – see v 68-69).
Lk 1:46-55 – Mary overflows with praise that is FILLED with references to OT promises that God is fulfilling. Compare the REVERSALS here to Gen 48:5-14, 17-20 (see my notes above) and to the blessings/beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:3-12).
Lk 1:50 – I’ve written “F” in my margin, because this is another important verse tracing the theme of proper Fear of God through Scripture. Also trace the strong notes of MERCY all through the praising God in this chapter (also see v 54, 72, 78). Too many today wonder how God can be so harsh in judgment. That’s NOT the wonder of the believers through Scripture – they are constantly amazed at the MERCY of God! If God gave us what we deserve, we’d ALL go to hell. But instead, He sent His Beloved Son to satisfy both justice AND mercy. Hallelujah, What a Savior!
Lk 1:55 – Don’t miss the connection with Gen 48:3-4, 21 (see notes above).
Lk 1:65-66 – God had gotten people talking (and fearing), wondering what He was up to. Already John was preparing the way for the arrival of the Messiah!
Lk 1:67-79 – Zechariah’s filled-with-the-Holy-Spirit prophecy and praise. Notice through the Bible how often, when it records someone being filled with the Holy Spirit, they very soon are talking about the greatness of Jesus. Zechariah doesn’t get to talking about his own son, John, until v 76! Again (like Mary’s praise in v 46-55), Zechariah’s words are FILLED with OT references to promises of God being fulfilled in the coming Messiah.
Lk 1:74-75 – Notice the PURPOSE of God’ saving His people – NOT to do our own thing, but to serve HIM without fear. When you connect that to v 50, we’re reminded yet again that proper fear of God (v 50), FREES us from all lesser fears, so that we can love and serve HIM “in holiness and righteousness” (v 75).
Optional Psalm 34:1-10 – Proper fear of God (see v 4, 7, 9, 11) leads to confident, joyful praise! The END of the story for all believers is FULL and COMPLETE DELIVERANCE (compare Ps 34:4-7 to Rev 21-22)!
Optional Proverbs 10:1-5 – Proverbs is filled with PRINCIPLES that are generally true, but there can APPEAR to be exceptions. Prov 10:2-3 give two benefits of righteousness and wisdom that are GENERALLY true in this life (v 4-5 point out that God generally keeps the righteous from hunger because they are diligent workers, and we’ll see all through Proverbs that wise/righteous decisions protect from things that bring early death). But even when the righteous are martyred or starve to death, the rest of Scripture lets us know that the END of their story is full and complete deliverance in the eternal joys of heaven (see note above at Psalm 34 reading).