Daily Reading: March 22nd

#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.

Daily Reading: March 21st

#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,


Daily Reading: March 20th

#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.

Daily Reading: March 19th

#DailyDevotion The Lord Promised To Always Be With You

3rd Sunday in Lent

Read Gen 27:30–45; 28:10–22

Gen 28:13-15  And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring.  (14)  Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.  (15)  Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”


You would probably think that because Jacob stole by deceit Esau’s blessing that the Lord would be angry with him and curse him. You would be wrong. For as we said yesterday, that blessing the Lord had already promised to Jacob. Now the Lord confirms the blessing with which Isaac blessed him. It is the same blessing the Lord had promised to his grandfather Abraham.


Now it would be 450 years or so until the Lord fulfilled his promise concerning the land upon which Jacob was lying. His family would go to Egypt, grow very numerous and eventually be delivered by the Lord and conquer the promised land. The Lord also makes a very great promise to Jacob which will sustain him the years to come, “I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”


Now the Lord was with Jacob in all his dealings as we shall see. He blessed him with two wives, two concubines and thirteen children not to mention servants. His physical descendants are on every continent upon which the children of men live. But Jacob also has spiritual descendents on every continent as well. These are the true Israel, those who trust in the promises of the Lord. These are the Christians to whom the same Lord who spoke to Jacob spoke to his twelve disciples and speaks to us, Mat 28:20 “…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The Lord Jesus Christ, who is Israel, God’s Son, joins to himself in baptism all who will believe in him. The promise to Jacob is the promise to all his disciples and we are all Abraham’s and Israel’s children. We have the promise of multiplying. We have the promise of his continual presence among us. We have the promise of a new heavens and a new earth where we shall dwell always with our God and Lord. In Jesus and those who trust in him are all the nations of the earth blessed. Never doubt it.


Heavenly Father, we thank you for blessing the earth with the children of Jacob and most especially with his offspring Jesus Christ through whom all nations are blessed. We thank you for making us your children by adopting  us through baptism. Help us always to keep your promises before us knowing you are Lord who keeps his promises so we may always have the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ among us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: March 18th

#DailyDevotion God Is Going To Get His Choice

Lent Day 16 Saturday

Read Gen 27:1–29

Gen 27:28-29  May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine.  (29)  Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”


Reading this account and remembering all the Sunday School lessons you have probably encountered, you might think that Rebecca and Jacob were being deceitful. Well in a sense they were. They were certainly trying to deceive Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing of Isaac. Receiving a blessing was a big thing. Isaac, like his father Abraham, were prophets of the Lord. Their blessing came with it the power to come into existence. What they blessed would come to pass. Isaac seeing his time has come had to decided to bless Esau who was the oldest of the two twins and the son whom he loved.


But Isaac was acting contrary to the will of God revealed to Rebecca. It is recorded here: Gen 25:23 And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” It was the Lord’s choice that the blessing, the covenant He made with Abraham and given to Isaac to pass on to Jacob and not Esau. It was Isaac who was acting deceitfully. Rebecca and Jacob are acting in accordance with the prophetic Word of God.


Jacob was God’s choice. God does seem at times to choose the least expected one to be the one through whom he will bring about his action and blessing. Abraham was an old man already when God called him. Jacob is the younger of the two twins. Judah isn’t the oldest son but God chooses his tribe to be the line of the messiah. David was the youngest son whom the Lord chooses to make king of Israel. And Jesus is born of the poorest descendents of David to become the savior of the world.


And what about you? 1Co 1:27-29 “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;  (28)  God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,  (29)  so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” We should not think the Lord chose us to have faith in Christ because we are such stellar examples of humanity. Yet that it may be by grace and not by merit we enter the kingdom of heaven, the Lord chose you to be one of his saints in glory. He chose you to receive the Holy Spirit, have faith and become a child of Abraham. How do you know he chose you? He put his name on you in baptism.


Heavenly Father, we thank and praise you for your choice that we might have faith and eternal life in your Son Jesus. Ever keep us in this faith unto life everlasting. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: March 17th

#DailyDevotion The Day A Man Loves His Wife

Lent day 15 Friday

Read Gen 24:32–52, 61–67

Gen 24:63-67  And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming.  (64)  And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel  (65)  and said to the servant, “Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself.  (66)  And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done.  (67)  Then Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.


We might note the character of Isaac here.  What is he doing?  He’s meditating in the evening.  We should all take some time out during the day to spend time pondering and praying God’s Word.   Isaac is a man devoted to the Lord who has blessed his father and now is blessing him.


We note Rebekah.  What is her character?  What is she displaying?  Modesty.  Something not so clearly demonstrated by today’s Christian women.  Modesty just isn’t for minutes before a man says, “I do.”  It ought to be the whole of the relationship before the wedding.


What a beautiful and simple marriage ceremony.  The servant brought the woman to the man, the man takes the woman into his mother’s tent and whala! They’re married.  No drama.


Finally we see the most important thing.  Isaac loved Rebekah!  No, it wasn’t a euphemism.  He gave his life for her.  She became a helpmeet to him.  This is what marriage is supposed to be about, the husband loving the wife as Christ Jesus loved the Church.  The wife being there for the husband to assist him as the Church does the work of Christ here on earth.


St. Paul describes it nicely here: Eph 5:22-27  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  (23)  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  (24)  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.  (25)  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  (26)  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  (27)  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.


Lord Jesus Christ, may those who you have called into the holy vocation of marriage show the love and respect for one another as You and Your Church are reality of this institution. Amen.

Daily Reading: March 16th

#DailyDevotion Don’t Look Back With Longing On Your Past Life

Lent Day 14 Thursday

Read 24:1–31

Gen 24:2-5  And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh,  (3)  that I may make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell,  (4)  but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” …6  Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there.


Why doesn’t Abraham want his servant to take a wife for Isaac from among the Canaanites? Is Abraham racist, xenophobic? Not exactly. The Canaanites were of the son of Canaan whom Noah cursed.  On top of that they worshipped other gods who are not gods. This often leads to the other spouse being led away from the true worship of the Lord. The Canaanites would have no part in the land that God was given to Abraham and his descendents. Indeed because of their sins, the Lord would one day use the descendants of the Abraham, the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites and the people who lived there who worshipped other gods.


Abraham would prefer that Isaac get a wife from his own people which is why he sends his servant there. But we see that he wasn’t completely opposed to a wife from somewhere else, just not from Canaan.


But there was something else. He did not want Isaac to return to his family homeland. Why was that? Because the Lord God had promised him the land where he was. If Isaac would have returned and stayed in Haran, that would be tantamount to rejecting the Lord’s covenant with him.


What shall we say to this then as Christians? Perhaps one, we should not be unequally yoked to unbelievers. Marriage is a heavy yoke. If you are a Christian then if you are not married yet, do not marry an unbeliever. If you are already married pray for the conversion of your spouse and live a life worthy of a Christian. Secondly, do not return or look back at you former life with longing. If you have always been a Christian, don’t look to the lives of unbelievers as something desirable. For that would be turning back on the promises the Lord has made to you, a new heavens and a new earth where righteousness reigns.


If you are not currently a believer, hear this, the Lord Jesus Christ has been given as a covenant the Lord God has made with you. On account of Christ’s work the Lord no longer holds your trespasses against you. Be repentant and be baptized into the household of God, even as Abraham’s servants were circumcised and you will have an inheritance as one of the people of God.

Heavenly Father, you call us to leave this world and to join ourselves with your Son Jesus Christ to gain your kingdom. Grant us such faith that we may not look back at our old lives but live joyfully in the promise of everlasting life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: March 15th

#DailyDevotion The Lord God Of Israel Keeps His Promises

Lent day 13 Wednesday

Read Gen 21:1–21

Gen 21:1-6  The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised.  (2)  And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him.  (3)  Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac.  (4)  And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.  (5)  Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.  (6)  And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.”


One promise down, more to come. One thing we can say about our Lord and God is he is a God of promises. Not only does the Lord make promises, he fulfills his promises. In today’s lesson we are to learn that. The Lord made a promise twenty-five years ago to Abraham. He would have an heir with his wife Sarah. Now that promise is fulfilled. We should think about that as we look into the promises of God. Sometimes they are long in coming. Indeed, God had made another promise to Abraham. His descendents would inherit the land of the Canaanites.


But first Isaac was born, then Israel, then Israel’s sons. Israel would have to spend another 500 years in Egypt growing into a multitude (another one of God’s promises) before he brought them back to take the land.


Another 1500 years would pass until another of God’s promises would come to pass. The seed through whom all nations of the world would be blessed. That promise was fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. In Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord God became man. Through his suffering and death peace was made between God and man. Salvation was won for all people of all places and times.


The Lord has made you a promise. If you would believe, trust in him, Jesus, that he has indeed won salvation for you, you would have eternal life. On the last day when he returns (another promise) you would be raised from the dead to eternal life. Now, it has been almost 2000 years since the Lord made that promise and it may be another 2000 before he returns. But Jesus is gathering more children for Abraham from every nation, language and tongue. From our perspective it may seem like a long time. Yet we know from past experience and evidence from Scripture, the Lord keeps his promises. You can trust him to keep this promise too.


Heavenly Father, while we may grow impatient in waiting for you to deliver on your promises, may the fulfillment of your promises past increase our faith and our patience that we may rejoice in all the family you are gathering to Abraham in your Son Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.