#DailyDevotion Sometimes God Makes No Sense
Lent day 22 Saturday
Read Gen 41:1–27
Gen 41:28-32 It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. (29) There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, (30) but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, (31) and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. (32) And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about… 56-57 So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. (57) Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.
There are a couple of ways one could take this. When I read it I sometimes wonder, why do seven good years and seven years of famine at all? I mean, you’re God. Just have everything nice the whole time. From this fallen person’s point of view, it sometimes just makes me wonder. But God has a plan.
He had told Abraham his descendents would go down to Egypt and stay there 4oo years, enter into hard labor and then be delivered to the promised land of Canaan. Again, God just doesn’t do things the way I would have. But if you ever watched “Bruce Almighty” you’ll understand why God has not put me in charge. It really helps to have omniscience along with omnipotence, all wisdom and have it ruled by grace, mercy, and loving-kindness.
So, the plenty will feed the famine. The famine will bring the family of Joseph to Egypt to fulfill God’s purposes.
Do you find yourself wondering why on earth God is doing the things he is doing in your life? Why doesn’t he just zap us and make all things good? Why does he make it so hard and complicated all the time? Perhaps God isn’t simple as the Greeks think but he is particularly complicated at least to fallen man. Our minds simply cannot wrap themselves around the mind of God. But this should not surprise us. Isa 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Yet the one thing we can see here is that God is determined to let his people know what is going to happen. We may not always know why things happen but the Lord has let us know a lot of what will happen. At least he has let us know the most important things we need to know for today. Our everyday workings in the faith of Jesus, well, they work into his plans for you and for the good of the Church. Sometimes it’s not really about you. God may not be keeping you around because you have something left to do, sometimes he may have something left to be done to or for you. Sometimes it has nothing to do with you directly. This calls us to trust simply in God’s good kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.
Lord Jesus Christ, you revealed to Pharaoh what was going to happen to place Joseph in a position of power to save your chosen people. Help us at times to get a glimpse of what you have planned for us and faith to trust you know what you’re doing when you keep it to yourself. Amen.
#DailyDevotion You May Never Know God’s Plan For You. Just Trust Him
Lent day 21 Friday
Read Gen 40:1–23
Gen 40:6-8 When Joseph came to them in the morning, he saw that they were troubled. (7) So he asked Pharaoh’s officers who were with him in custody in his master’s house, “Why are your faces downcast today?” (8) They said to him, “We have had dreams, and there is no one to interpret them.” And Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me.”
It’s interesting that God is not totally against divination. He gives the Israelites a means of divination in Exodus. It was His appointed method though that was only approved. The family of Abraham were prophets of the Most High though. He would reveal to them things happening and things to happen. Here we see Joseph has a gift to be able to interpret dreams. He attributes this gift to God.
Now this is all part of God’s major plan. God uses everything at his disposal to accomplish His purposes. He actually uses Joseph’s brattiness to get him to Egypt. He uses the evil mind of his brothers to get him to Egypt. Yesterday he uses the wickedness of Joseph’s master’s wife to get him put in prison. Now in prison, Joseph is going to meet up with someone who will be able to introduce him to Pharoah.
You see you just never know what God is working out in your life and to what purpose. Even now in the account of Joseph we do not yet see the full purpose of God’s plan. You may indeed never know the full purpose of God’s plan in your life. You may never know how he may use your good character or your bad character, your good choices or your bad choices to accomplish something He wants to accomplish.
Where you want to be though is in God’s good favor. How do you end up there? By His grace of course! Rom 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” He works all things for good for those who love Him? Who is that? Those who are called according to His purpose. Who is that? How do you know you were called by God? That’s simple. You know you were called to love God and be those who all things work for good by being baptized into Christ. In baptism you are joined to Christ and to His body. Christ is the beloved of the Father. In him you are beloved as well.
Lord Jesus Christ, help us to trust in work of the Father even when we cannot see what you are planning for us in our lives. May we always in You be in your Father’s graces and have everything in our life work toward our good and the good of your Church. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Not Everything In The Bible Applies To You
Lent Day 20 Thursday
Read Gen 39:1–23
en 39:11-12 But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, (12) she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house.
Gen 39:19-21 As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. (20) And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. (21) But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
Joseph sure is having a rough time of it. First his brothers seek to kill him but instead sell him into slavery. While he is in slavery the Lord blesses everything he does but master’s wife wants to ‘lie with him’ and then lies to the master about Joseph trying to take advantage of her. This lands Joseph in prison. But the Lord blesses Joseph there and causes everything he does there to succeed as well.
What should we do with this? How does it apply to our lives? Can I lie to you and tell you no matter what everything will turn out grand for you because God has a plan for you? That would be a half truth. That would do you no good. What we can see here is that God is carrying out his purposes to fulfill the promise he had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If the Lord kept his promise to them, he will keep his promises to you.
And what has Jesus promised you? Mat 28:20 “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mar 8:35 “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Mat 5:3-12 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (4) “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (5) “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (6) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (7) “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (8) “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (9) “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (10) “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11) “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (12) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
With such great and wonderful promises, we shall endure all things, all tribulations, sufferings and persecutions and trials of life, knowing our Lord endured such things and will give us all things at the resurrection, most importantly his very self.
Heavenly Father, grant us your grace to endure all things for Christ’ sake having your promise of eternal life for all you place their trust in your son Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion God Can Use Even Brats
Lent day 20 Wednesday
Read Gen 37:1–36
Gen 37:26-34 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? (27) Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. (28) Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt… (32) And they sent the robe of many colors and brought it to their father and said, “This we have found; please identify whether it is your son’s robe or not.” (33) And he identified it and said, “It is my son’s robe. A fierce animal has devoured him. Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” (34) Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days.
God rarely uses the best, brightness and nicest people in the world to get His work done. Indeed, you probably could not find a bigger brat in the Bible than Joseph. If you read the whole lesson you are probably reminded how God would reveal things to Joseph, in particular how He would use Joseph in the future to fulfill God’s purpose and promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But Joseph being the kind of person he was would lord such things over them and they hated him for it. Who wouldn’t? Even his dad who loved him more than the others would have to think twice about him sometimes.
But God would use his bratness to get Joseph where he needed him. It stirred up his brothers to despise him enough to want to kill him. Instead at the suggestion of Judah, they spared his life but would sell him into slavery. What a favor, right? We will see later how the Lord would use this to their benefit.
But now note how Joseph is a type of Christ. Sold for 20 shekels of silver as Jesus was betrayed for 30 he is handed over to the land of Egypt, which means misery. Jesus would experience the misery of Joseph while enslaved and in fact Jesus experienced our slavery to the fear of death, sin and the power of the devil as he underwent his innocent suffering, the shedding of his blood and ultimately death.
His righteousness which covered him was torn to pieces and stained with his blood. It was shown to the Father who declares his Son as dead. A fierce animal, Satan like a lion looking for someone to devour struck out at Jesus’ heel and mortally wounded him. And as the sky grew dark on that Good Friday we see the Father mourning the death of His only begotten Son.
But Christ is also the lamb. He shed his blood for us. Our righteousness which is but filthy rags is now through faith in Jesus is covered with His blood and His righteousness. His blood purifying us from our sins and His righteousness covering us like Joseph’s splendid coat.
Lord Jesus Christ, continue to pour out your blood upon us that we might be clothed with your righteousness through your grace and faith. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Why You Need To God To Church Regularly
Lent Day 18 Tuesday
Read Gen 35:1–29
Gen 35:9-12 God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. (10) And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he called his name Israel. (11) And God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body. (12) The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.”
The Lord God appeared a number of times to Abraham and to Jacob. Each time, the Lord retold to them his covenantal promise. Here God even renews his naming of Jacob to Israel even as Abram became Abraham. The renaming made him a new person. We see in the New Testament. Simon becomes Peter and Saul becomes Paul. The renaming establishes a new relationship. In earlier days, a Christians middle name, given them at baptism, was his Christian name.
The Lord renews his covenant that nations would come from Jacob and kings. The land they sojourned on would become theirs. Indeed some five hundred years later that promise would become fulfilled.
Which brings us to today. People often ask, “Why do I need to go to confession so often?” “Why do we need to have the Lord’s Supper so often?” “Why do I even need to God to Church?” Apparently we need to because we haven’t seen or heard with our eyes and ears the Lord as Abraham and Jacob did. These two the Lord apparently felt the need for them to hear the words of the covenant he made with them numerous times. How much so we who are only given the word through the witness of men long since who have gone to be with the Lord! Jesus has only given us the witness of those who heard from those who heard, from those who heard, from those who walked and ate with Jesus and saw him risen from the dead.
It is part of our nature to need to hear God’s promise of salvation and receive his gifts…often. If we did not then we would be like those Israelites who turned to other gods and trusted in them for all good things in life. We would be like them and spurn the mercy and kindness of our Savior Jesus Christ. All we need to do see those who have quit meeting together around his Word and his Sacrament to see their love of Jesus run cold.
Heavenly Father, continually provide for us the word of promise that we may be gathered around it, be changed by it, and have our faith in Christ Jesus strengthened by it so we may not lose the prize of eternal life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen,
#DailyDevotion Nothing Can Forestall God’s Promise To You
Lent Day 17 Monday
Read Gen 29:1–30
Gen 29:25-28 And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” …(27) Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” (28) Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife.
You may be thinking, well that’s good for Jacob after deceiving his father and stealing his brother’s blessing. But remember, the blessing was Jacob’s to begin with as the Lord had promised. You might also be wondering about what Laban is doing. Was there some custom there at that time that the oldest had to be married first? We don’t know. It certainly seems as if Laban is looking for an easy way to marry off a daughter whom he might not be able to get married easily. We do see that Laban certainly is a crafty man in all his dealings with Jacob.
But here we see how God works all things out for good for those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8) For in Laban’s craftiness, the Lord is working out the blessing he gave to Abraham and to Jacob. Jacob now has two wives and their maids will be his concubines. From these four women the Lord will bestow upon Jacob twelve boys and one girl. These twelve boys will become twelve tribes who multiply in the land of Egypt whom he will bring back to take the land he promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
So what is going on in your life? Do you think the Lord is withholding his blessing from you? Do you think Jesus is not fulfilling his promises to you? You may first go back to the Scriptures and see if Jesus ever made you any such promise. But we know this, whatever promises the Lord has made, they are all yes in Jesus Christ.(2Cor. 1:20) You may think the world is acting against you as Laban was Jacob, but God is using the evil and the suffering to accomplish his good purposes and fulfilling his promises to you.
Remember also, this world is not where our treasure lies or our fulfillment. The new heavens and the new earth at the return of Christ Jesus is where we look to and have our hope in. Everything in this world is passing away. Our truest hope is not for today but the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, even as you used crafty Laban to fulfill your purpose, may we see the fulfillment of your promise that you will work all things out for our good and to that end grant us greater faith. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.