The Bible Challenge – Day 15 – April 15, 2013

16 Apr

Genesis 37 – 39:

37: We’re introduced to Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son, because he came to him in Jacob’s old age.  Joseph’s brothers are already jealous of him, but then Joseph has the audacity to tell them of a dream in which he rules over them!  This is the last straw, and they conspired to kill Joseph.  But Reuben tries to mitigate…  and they agree instead to sell Joseph into slavery to the Ishmaelites, and to pretend that a wild animal killed Joseph.

38: Here we find Judah, another son of Jacob.  He finds the daughter of a Canaanite woman, Shua, marries and settles down.  It is interesting that his wife has no name, but only her mother.  She gives birth to Er, Onan, and Shelah.  We encounter difficult theology again here, Er is disobedient and so the Lord kills him.  Onan is put to death by the Lord as well for his actions.  And we find a biblical source that some folks use to support masturbation as a sin, or at least ejaculation outside of an intent to procreate.  Some trickery by Tamar toward Judah… she dresses as a temple prostitute, and seduces him, taking his personal effects (cord, signet, and staff) as part of the negotiation.  Later Judah hears of her pregnancy, a disgrace for a widow, he orders her killed… but she has his number, and Judah takes responsibility for his actions.  Twins are born to Tamar — but the one who was to be born first went back in, after he was marked as firstborn, to follow his brother.

39:  Back to Joseph.  Joseph, the slave gains status in Potifpher’s court in Egypt, and is made a governor of the land.  He is a good looking guy, and Potipher’s wife attempts to seduce him, day after day.  Finally, after too many rejections she sets Joseph up and he is imprisoned.  But even there he is a man of status and responsibility, and he prospers.

Matthew 13: The Kingdom of Heaven like a field of wheat and weeds alike… you cannot clear out the weeds before the harvest because you are likely to pull out the good wheat as well… but separate the wheat from the weeds at harvest time.  The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed — the smallest of seeds, but grow into an expansive shrub!  The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast in bread, greatly increasing its yield.  The Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant who buys fine pearls, but then spends everything on one, the finest of pearls.  The Kingdom of Heaven is like a net that can hold all kinds of and every fish.  And the good will be separated from the bad, as in the end times.

Don’t you just love the saying, “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”?  So dramatic.

Jesus then continues teaching in his hometown, where he is met with skepticism, and rejection–for they all know him as a simple son of a carpenter…  “Prophets are not without honor, except in their own country and in their own house.”  This is related to what Jesus says earlier when the disciples ask why he speaks in parables… the people are not ready to hear the legit Truth of God… so Jesus speaks in parables to help them to a deeper understanding, one that requires some effort for them to get to.  In Jesus’ hometown, it is even more difficult for those closest to Jesus to hear such radical revelation come from one of their own.

Psalm 13 – “How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever?”  Sometimes, even those of great faith can struggle to feel the presence of God with us… it can be hard to believe, but it is true… God is ever with us, in all times good and bad… the Grace of God is ever present.  This we believe by faith.  And we have a wonderful example in the psalms of the kind of prayer that can help us to make it through difficult experiences.

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