(Genesis 50, Luke 3; Optional Psalm 34:15-22, Proverbs 10:10-14)
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GENESIS 50 – Joseph and his brothers grieve and bury Jacob back in the Promised Land.
Gen 50:15-17 – Joseph’s brothers are STILL miserable and feel guilty and fearful! Giving in to our bitterness and anger (see Gen 37:4-11, 18-28) ends up torturing US even more than the person we hate. Joseph had 13 very tough years, but even then he was very aware of God as the ultimate, foundational, controlling reality in his life. So even in the tough 13 years Joseph grew in servant leadership and was sweet and helpful. And then in one afternoon everything turned around (Gen 41). Since then, Joseph has used his privileges to help the very people that tried to hurt him all those years ago. But they’re STILL miserable! Joseph was far more free even when a slave and wrongfully imprisoned then his brothers are, even though they’re outwardly free and cared for.
Gen 50:20 – I call this the Romans 8:28 of the Old Testament. In ONE verse, we see the absolute sovereignty of God (so of course I have “S” written in my margin next to the second part of the verse) AND the responsibility of people (so I’ve written “R” next to the first part). We can see how God plans for even evil to be used to accomplish His good purpose most vividly in the cross (see Acts 2:23, 4:27-28 to see again both the overwhelming sovereignty of God AND the responsibility of people). The cross is both the most wicked event EVER and at the very same time the most powerful and sweet example of God fulfilling every detail of His good and wise plan to save His people! God SOMETIMES uses language of allowing evil, but Gen 50:20 is so much stronger – don’t miss the INTENTIONAL PURPOSE of God to work His good and wise plan even using the evil intent of the brothers. And notice also that Joseph does NOT soften the evil that the brothers intended. But GOD’S good and wise purpose ALWAYS WINS!
Gen 50:21 – When we really understand the absolute and good control of God, we are freed up from bitterness to be kind to the very people that did us harm!
Gen 50:25 – Hebrews 11:21 points this out as an act of faith. Joseph trusted that God would keep His promises, and this is fulfilled about 400 years later in Exodus 13:19.
Tomorrow we start the book of Exodus, and here’s a very helpful 7-minute video overview to the first part of Exodus: https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/exodus-1-18/
Luke 3 – The ministry of John (preparing the way for Messiah Jesus), and then the beginning of Jesus’ ministry when he was about 30 years old (see Lk 3:23).
Lk 3:3 – Central to the teaching of John and Jesus is the call to REPENTANCE, linked to forgiveness of sins. Repentance is a U-Turn in the heart and mind, when we realize we’re heading the wrong way in life. But biblical repentance never STAYS in the heart / mind – it’s always seen in daily life (see Lk 3:8-14).
Lk 3:4-6 – Bible Study tip: Next to this section I’ve written “Isaiah 40:3-5,” and then next to those verses in Isaiah I’ve written a cross (to show it’s mentioned in the NT) and “Lk 3:4-6”.
Lk 3:6 – “all flesh” – Jesus is NOT just Messiah for Jewish people, but ALL people! See also Lk 2:10, 2:32, and notice how Luke’s genealogy traces Jesus all the way back to Noah (Lk 3:36) and Adam (Lk 3:38). Luke himself was almost surely Gentile, and God often inspired him to highlight this message that Jesus came for ALL people from all kinds of backgrounds.
Lk 3:18 – “unquenchable fire” – Also see the warning about fleeing the “wrath to come” in v 7. The preaching of the good news includes clear teaching about what will be eternally bad news for any that decide to continue on their own way. A biblical gospel message includes a call to repentance that will influence daily life and clear warnings about eternal torment for those who don’t repent and believe.
Lk 3:23-38 – Luke’s genealogy has a very different focus than Matthew’s Gospel. Those looking for a way to not heed the call to repent and believe try to find a contradiction here, but there are several possible explanations. Many think that Luke presents MARY’s ancestors, and Matthew presents JOSEPH’s. I think on your first few read-throughs of the Bible it’s ok to skim sections like this, but I’ve underlined some key references… In v 23 “as was SUPPOSED,” reminding us that Jesus was RAISED by Joseph, but not physically his son. V 31 “son of David,” v 33 “son of Judah” (see Gen 49:9-10 and Rev 5:5), v 34 “son of Abraham,” v 36 “son of Shem, the son of Noah,” v 37 “son of Enoch,” v 38 “son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”
Optional Psalm 34:15-22 – The TWO PATHS in life and their END. In the middle of all this triumph and celebration of ultimate deliverance, don’t miss the reminder in v 19 – “MANY are the afflictions of the righteous, BUT the LORD delivers him out of them all.” And full and complete and eternal deliverance is the end of the story for every believer, and eternal judgment and torment is the end of the story for everyone who goes their own wicked way.
Ps 34:20 – In my margin I’ve written a cross (reminding me it’s mentioned in the NT) and the note – “Fulfilled on the cross (Jn 19:36)”. Bible study tip: Go over to Jn 19:36 and write in the margin a cross (as a reminder it’s mentioned in both the OT and NT) and “Ps 34:20”).
Optional Proverbs 10:10-14 – Several themes that recur throughout Proverbs – the importance of our TALK, dealing with anger / conflict, and the contrast between wisdom and folly. Prov 10:12 seems particularly relevant to social media and current debates about justice. And is always helpful in groups like physical families and church families.