Genesis 41

Vs. 14, “So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.”  It would take two more years for the cupbearer to recall Joseph’s dream and inform Pharaoh (vs. 9).  But, Joseph remained faithful to God.  And God now had a chance reward Joseph’s faith.  Once again, Joseph would give credit to God when asked if he could interpret dreams (vs. 16).  God works in His timing, and Joseph finally gets vindicated (vs. 41-44).  Through the dream brought to Pharaoh, God would ensure His people would survive the famine of seven years. It would take an intervention like this for the people in the area to live, because while times of famine were not uncommon, to have seven years was not normative.  Joseph would now go from rejected, almost killed, slave, prisoner and now at the age of thirty, he would become the most powerful man in Egypt, next to Pharaoh himself (vs. 46).  How interesting that a secular leader like Pharaoh would put so much confidence in a spiritual man of a foreign land.  God would indeed do what Joseph had interpreted, and now the other nations would be seeking out Egypt for relief (vs. 56-57).

Regarding application…Redemption.  Vs. 42, “Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.”  Joseph went from riches, to rages and now back to riches!  What roller-coaster journey for this young man who endured so much strife!  Redemption would come to Joseph that could not have been scripted better.  We’ve been cheering for Joseph and what a sigh of relief to see him redeemed from all his earlier trials.  I believe that’s why stories of redemption resonate so deeply to the fabric of our minds.  I’m reminded of the movie Shawshank Redemption.  There is a reason a movie like this is arguably one of the top classic stories of all-time.  The story of Joseph reminds us of our Lord Jesus who also endured scorn and rejection, yet would be exalted to the highest place at the right hand of the Father.  Each of our own lives tell a story of redemption when we were once lost, but now found!

John 17

Vs. 1, “After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.”  Jesus lifted his eyes up to the Father in surrender.  We are upon one of the most beautiful chapters of prayer!  It is a prayer in which Jesus prays for Himself as He faces the cross (vs. 1-5).  He also prays for the disciples knowing their life was going to very difficult and that the enemy would attack them (vs. 6-19).  And Jesus also prays for us (the church) that through our unity the world would see Jesus in us (vs. 20-26).  We see the heart of Christ in this prayer as He soon would be obedient to death on a cross.

Regarding application…Prayer for Unity.  Vs. 23, “I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”  Question: What is unity?  Jesus isn’t talking about doing away with denominations or different churches.  What Jesus is referring here is that when people come to the church or when the church reaches out to the world…they would see something vastly different.  They would see a people unified through the love of Christ Jesus!  When we look at the world and it’s organizations (schools, workplace, etc) we realize that there is probably gossip, slander, hatred, bitterness, etc.  Jesus looked to His future church and prayed earnestly for us that we would not fall into the ways of the world.  When a parent see’s their children loving each other and getting along, I’m sure their heart is filled with joy!  This is what Jesus is praying that we too would love each other so richly that the world would see something so different.  Question: What can you do to help unify your church?

Jeremiah 37

Vs. 2, “Neither he (Zedekiah) nor his attendants nor the people of the land paid any attention to the words the LORD had spoken through Jeremiah the prophet.”  We now return to the reign of Zedekiah.  Zedekiah gives us some very interesting insight to someone who wanted the best of both worlds.  Though Zedekiah did not to follow the Word of the Lord, he did want Jeremiah to pray for him (though he did not have the courage to go himself).  When there was a few years before the Babylonians would come back, Jeremiah needed to visit his hometown to take care of some business.  Sadly, he was imprisoned and beaten for false accusations of being a traitor.  Zedekiah used that opportunity to bring Jeremiah to him to inquire a bit more about his prophecies.  Jeremiah remained true and told Zedekiah the truth.  Thankfully, Zedekiah did not send Jeremiah back to the dungeon where he surely might have died.

 

Regarding application…Living in a Sinful World.  Vs. 18, “Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What crime have I committed against you or your officials or this people, that you have put me in prison?”  Jeremiah did not sin to bring about such a consequence for being beaten and thrown into a dungeon.  It was simply the sins of other people in this case.  Of course, Jeremiah wasn’t sinless.  But often like Jeremiah….we deal with injustices in the world that are not our fault.  It’s not easy to digest and accept, but know that God is bigger than these issues in our lives.  Despite the hardship, Jeremiah had the courage to still stand up and not sacrifice his integrity.  That is part of what seperates the good figs and the rotten figs.  It’s how we deal with the sinful world around us.  Do we blame other and complain?  Or do we accept and still trust in God?  Be strong and take courage this week!

Revelation 1

Vs. 3, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”  Rome was now led by emporer by the name of Domitian.  He was even worse than Nero and he persecuted both the Christians & the Jews.  John was exiled on the Island of Patmos for this very reason.  This revelation from God to John was not some thing that happened in the first century…it wasn’t just for spiritual meaning…It was for the future of all the prophecies before us!  Simply look at vs. 3 again to see that this is a book with a promise of a blessing!  The seven churches were literal (real) churches at the time…yet they were representative of all churches of all times (including us today).  The trumpet (vs. 10) plays an important symbol.  The trumpet was like the voice of Christ, it calls John to heaven, it signals the wrath of God, and the trumpet will call God’s people home!  The double-edged sword is the authority & power of God’s word!  And of course, the number “7–seven” plays an important symbol.  For seven symbolizes perfection or more accurately “completion”.

Regarding application…World is Getting Worse.  Vs. 19, “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”   The world is getting worse…but Jesus already said that it would get worse.  We see all sorts of documentaries about global warming and the end of the world….we are indeed getting closer.  While it seems that society is losing its morals before our very eyes…don’t be too suprised.  While it may seem we are losing the war (terrorism, violence, school shootings, murderers, child abuse, etc…) know that we are one day going to win the War!!!!  Why do I know this?  Because of the book of Revelations!  Let us not shy away from such an awesome book!  I pray with all my heart that you journey with me in studying & devoting our minds & hearts to God’s revelation!  Remember, to read aloud God’s word as we read each chapter a day!  Revelations is not meant for casul reading…so let us reverently approach the Lord as we seek his revelation for our lives.