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January 11 + Daily Notes & Readings

DAY 11

I've heard from several people who have caught up with the readings.  That's great to hear.  On our Facebook group, we had our first bit of conversation.  That's the real blessing.  Don't ever let me discourage you from reading the Bible by yourself, whenever you can.  Personal devotion is good.

But the Bible was given to us to read, discuss and grow through together.  Those new in the faith need to learn from the wisdom others who have read the Bible for so many years have.  Those old in the faith, need to be reminded of the hunger and passion for God's word that new believers often have.  It's hard to get that from each other if we're not conversing and asking questions.

Maybe it's a good idea for Sunday School classes to read together.  Have your family replace a Netflix session with a reading time.  Meet someone for lunch to read and discuss.  You'll be blessed.


Genesis 35-37 & Psalm 11


Genesis 35:2
  • Could most of this be what they just received from the killing of Hamor and the men of Shechem?  Purify yourselves means to be clean.  So, they are to put away idolatry and even change the clothes they wear in order to honor the God Jacob has known. 
Genesis 35:4
  • The text reads under the "terebinth."  According to Jewish commentary, this type of tree does not bear fruit.  That'll preach.
Genesis 35:8
  • This seems to be one of those left field parts of the story.  We are given the name of Rebekah's nurse, Deborah.  She is mentioned before (Genesis 24:59), but not by name.  Are we to take her as one of the unsung heroes of the Bible?  Like the midwives of the Exodus?  
Genesis 35:11
  • Remember when Jacob wrestled the man, the stranger didn't want to let Jacob know his name.  You could say that is evidence that the man wasn't God, perhaps just a messenger.  Why?  Because God seems comfortable telling Jacob who he is.  God does so in this verse and the first time they meet at Bethel.  
    • Bethel means what again?
Genesis 35:18
  • Would you have changed the boy's name if you were Jacob?  Another way to translate his name is son of days.  Maybe Jacob doesn't want to leave the boy with a bitter name, and so names him after his own old days he had his last son.  
Genesis 35:27-29
  • Isaac's life has come to an end. He has lived to be "old and full days."  It's been a few chapters since we've heard about Isaac.  He has watched his family grow.  Now, his family will begin their ascent to power and authority.
Genesis 36
  • This is the last we'll hear of Esau.  The writer outlines his descendants.
  • A good homework assignment would be to create (or find) a family tree of the patriarchs.
Genesis 37:1-3
  • Attention shifts from Jacob to Jacob's family.  
  • We've already seen how favoritism has played into the family story.  The chapter quickly introduces the same idea for Jacob's family.  You can only imagine where that will lead.
Genesis 37:5-11
  • Does Joseph know how his brothers feel?  According to Verse 4, they couldn't speak peaceably to him.  Does that mean they didn't talk to him altogether?  Why does he want to tell them his dream?  Is it a matter of maturity?  Does he enjoy showing off that he is the favorite?
    • One could excuse being excited about telling one dream, but to share another?  Even Joseph's father realizes a rebuke is in order.  Even so, Jacob, now called Israel, "kept the matter in mind," or he kept the thought.  Did he wonder if it would come to be?  This reminds me of how Mary is said to have pondered in her heart the things she heard about Jesus.
    • If you're familiar with the story of Joseph, you know where this dream will take Joseph.
Genesis 37:21
  • Reuben does not want to kill Joseph.  He wants to bring him back home to his father.  Perhaps since he was the elder brother, they listened to him (for now).
Genesis 37:26-28
  • Now Joseph's other brother, Judah, wants to save him.  But it is still for selfish reasons.  "He is our brother," after all.  
  • Joseph begins his trek to Egypt where his story will develop.
Genesis 37:29-32
  • Does Reuben find out what the brothers did?  He doesn't seem to be in the know, but he also participates in dipping the robe in blood to, presumably, fake Joseph's death.  
Genesis 37:36
  • Israel remains in deep mourning.  This is the last we see from the family until the brothers see Joseph in about 4 chapters. 


You've probably heard me say before that if you're having trouble following the story, just keep reading.  People have studied these texts for thousands of years and still have questions.  You're not going to figure it all out in one reading.  So, do your best.  There's no test to pass.  You'll find that when you read these stories later, you'll gain an understanding you didn't have before.  But you have to start somewhere.

As a matter of fact, I know some of us are reading the Bible for the first time.  Praise God!  You don't know how awesome I think that is, and I try not to use that word unless something really is awesome.

Since you've done a great job so far, how about a little treat?  Since it's important to remember the storytelling of what we're reading, take some time to watch this retelling of Joseph's adventures.  It's one of my favorite Veggie Tales episodes.  When I read about Joseph, this video always comes to mind.

Stay blessed...john


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