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Monday, February 28, 2011

Genesis 37:1

And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.

For further study – Genesis 37:1-27

In Genesis 37 there is a continuation of the history of Jacob and an introduction to his son Joseph. However, before we look at the entire reading for today please notice again our key verse, verse 1. Remember, Genesis 36 detailed for us the Lord sending Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, into Mount Seir with his family to live.

As the Lord made that move He also told Jacob that he and his twelve sons would dwell in Canaan, the focus of the “land of promise”, Genesis 37:1. This decision by the Lord sets the stage for the Abrahamic Covenant to be fulfilled through the “son of promise”, Jacob.

This chapter also introduces to the reader the son of Jacob, Joseph. Joseph was a favorite son of Jacob, “Israel”, verse 3, the name that the Lord had given Jacob, Genesis 32. Jacob so favored Joseph that he gave him a “coat of many colors”, also verse 3.

The brothers of Joseph started to hate their brother, because of the “coat” but also for the dreams that he would have about the family situation, verses 5-9. The second of the dreams was the one that really bothered the brothers. Joseph dreamed about the sun, moon and eleven stars, verse 9.

Joseph told his brothers that his dream indicated there would be obeisance to him from his Dad, the “sun”, his Mother, the “moon”, and the eleven brothers, the eleven “stars”. This angered not only the brothers but their father also, verse 10.

Additional reading of our devotional chapter will lay out the rest of this particular story referring to Joseph and his brothers. The eleven would strip Joseph of his coat of many colors, throw him in a pit and eventually sell Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver and then they would have Joseph taken into Egypt.

We’ll stop the story of Joseph right here, but I suggest that you do read all of Genesis 37. There are many thoughts that I have about this chapter, the first being that God gave Jacob the land promised in the covenant.

The rest of the story of Joseph, revealed in the following chapters, will give more detail of the life of this very interesting man, used of God to save his family, the Jewish people of today.

It’s also interesting that the dream Joseph had about the sun, moon and eleven stars has a connection to the passage in Revelation 12:1-2, which is referring to the Jewish people in the last days. The passage in Revelation is “apocalyptic”, God using a symbol to communicate an absolute truth. This symbol in Revelation is interpreted by this passage in Genesis.

Again we see that God’s Word is written to inform each of us about the future. Our devotional today helps us to also see that the history of God’s people gives us a base upon which to understand God’s prophetic scenario for the end of times.

The evidence is strong that these last days are quickly approaching. We must live in light of this information as we await the shout from Jesus to have us join Him in the heavens at the Rapture of the Church. It could happen today.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for the record of the past that helps each of us to understand the future. Help me to live eagerly awaiting the shout from Jesus to join Him in heaven.
Sunday, February 27, 2011

Genesis 36:8

Thus dwelt Esau in Mount Seir: Esau is Edom.

For further study - Genesis 36:1-12

Genesis 36, our selected passage for today’s devotional reading, is the record of the generations of Esau, and the separation of the twin bothers, Esau and Jacob. Genesis 37:1 reveals to the reader that God was setting in motion His plan for the sons of Jacob, the Jewish people, into the future.

God told Jacob that he was to dwell in “the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan”, which is the “promised” land, the land of Israel. God told Esau that he was to leave this “land of promise” and go to a place called, Mount Seir, more on that in a moment.

You may remember that Jacob had been out of the land, traveling into Haran, modern-day Turkey, and there married and had eleven of his twelve sons. Jacob traveled back home and on the way, God changed his name from Jacob to “Israel”, Genesis 32.

When Jacob returned to the land of his father, Isaac, the land of Israel, he became very prosperous. It was so much so that he and his brother Esau, who also had prospered, could not dwell together in the land, verse 7.

As you will notice, God will send Esau and his family to a place called “Mount Seir”, verse 8. Mount Seir is the area in the lower third of modern-day Jordan. After Esau and his family arrived at Petra, the capital city of Mount Seir, the Lord changed the name of this real estate to “Edom” after Esau.

This record of God beginning His plan for the twin brothers is the basis for our understanding of the statement made by God to Rebekah, the mother of the twins, Genesis 25:23, that these two boys would become “two nations”.

As we know, Jacob had twelve sons who became the “twelve tribes” of Israel. These “tribes” became the nation of Israel, the modern-day Jewish State. Esau, as the text tells us, would also become a “nation”.

Notice verse 12, where we read that the “grandson” of Esau was “Amalek”. This young man would grow up and become the “father” of the Amalekites”, who God would later say He would have “war with Amalek from generation to generation”, Exodus 17:16.

Space will not allow for a complete study of the descendants of Esau (see my audio and/or video study, “Esau and the Palestinians”), but this type of a study would reveal that the Palestinians of today can be traced back to Esau.

Therefore, we see that God’s prophecy to Rebekah of two “nations” in her womb has been fulfilled. The fulfillment of this prophecy sets the stage for additional prophecies to be fulfilled, Ezekiel 35 and Obadiah for example.

The stage is set for the prophetic events recorded in these books to be fulfilled. But before they come to pass, the Lord will call us up to be with Him in the heavens at the Rapture, which could happen today.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for the record of the people and the events in history past that set the stage for the prophetic events that will happen in what seems to be the near future. Help me to live, looking for you to call us to be with you in the heavens.
Saturday, February 26, 2011

Genesis 35:21

And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.

For further study - Genesis 35:16-26

Before we get to our devotional reading in Genesis 35 let me suggest that you may want to read through Genesis 34 which is the record of Jacob as he reaps the harvest of his evil years. Next we come to Genesis 35.

The account of the event covered in our devotional reading for today has a “historic” significance and a “prophetic” significance as well. In fact, historically, this passage helps the reader to understand the prophetic aspect of the location, “Migdal Edar”, verse 21, the “tower of the flock”.

Before we get to the prophetic, let’s look at the historic impact of this account of Jacob’s return to the “promised land”. Jacob and his family, his two wives and eleven sons, had traveled from Haran, a location in modern-day Turkey. Jacob was sent there to protect him from his twin brother, Esau, who wanted to kill him.

It had been several years since Jacob ran away from the “land” that the Lord had promised all the Jewish people, through him. As the family had made their way from up north, Jacob had a hand-to-hand struggle with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus, Genesis 32.

The Lord had changed the name of Jacob to “Israel”. The Lord wanted Jacob to be the “father of the Jewish people”. As you know, the twelve sons of Jacob would be the “twelve tribes” of Israel and become the Jewish people and the “nation of Israel”.

Our devotional reading for today explains that the “twelfth” son was born at Bethlehem in Ephrath. Jacob’s wife, Rachel, was the “mother” of this last son, the twelfth son, who she named Ben-oni.

Rachel would die in “child-birth” and Jacob would bury his wife at the spot of the birth, today referred to as “Rachel’s Tomb”. Jacob would then re-name the child, “Benjamin”, the “son of sorrow”.

Several things I would like for you to take note of, and let these items teach you of this very important time in the life of the “nation” of Israel. Remember, these twelve sons of Jacob would become the “Jewish people” of today.

Remember, Jacob and his family had just returned from Haran, which, as I said, is located in the modern-day state of Turkey. Interestingly, eleven of the twelve sons of Jacob were born outside the land that would become Israel.

Now, let’s focus on the phrase, “tower of Edar”, or in the Hebrew, “Migdal Edar”. This phrase is only used twice in the Bible, here and in Micah 4:8. The phrase is describing a “two-story stone tower" in the “Shepard’s fields” where the “priestly Shepard’s” would watch over the “sheep” that would be offered in sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem three miles away.

In Micah 4:8, “Migdal Edar”, would be the location where Jesus Christ would be born. We will have more on that on December 24th, but let me tell you how Migdal Edar was used.

The “chief Shepard” would stand in the top story of the tower and watch over the flock of sheep that were in his care. There were other animals in the area that would love to have one of these sheep for lunch. The bottom floor of this tower was used for “birthing” the new-born lambs.

This whole scenario plays into the Christmas story that I will deal with in a future devotional reading. But, do let me remind you that Jacob’s boys would become the “nation of Israel”.

God was fulfilling His promise to Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, Genesis 12:2. It was to the Jewish people that God would send the “messiah”, Jesus Christ to be born in the same location of the death of Jacob’s wife Rachel.

God had a plan then for Jacob and his family, and He has a plan for the descendants of Jacob in the future. That plan will be played out and in fact, it is unfolding even as I write this devotional thought. You can watch Jacob’s family today, the Jewish people of today, to see how close that plan is to being fulfilled.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for a way to know what you are doing in your plan for all of humankind. As I watch the Jewish people I can tell the time of the fulfillment of that plan. Help me to live in light of your plan for me as I watch your “timepiece”, the Jewish people.
Friday, February 25, 2011

Genesis 27:41

And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him.

For further study - Genesis 27:26-46

We will move to Genesis 27 for our devotional, but first let me point out to you the "confirmation" of the Abrahamic Covenant to Isaac found in Genesis 26. Jesus Himself appears to Isaac, Genesis 26:1-4, and makes the same promise that He made with Isaac's father, Abraham.

This is an assurance to not only the Jews of the fulfillment of all the promises that the Lord made to the Jews through their "patriarchs", Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; but to all Christians who God makes promises that must be fulfilled, because they were made by "God".

Now, let's look to our devotional reading for today. I have selected only a portion of the entire chapter for our extended reading. However, let me suggest that you read the whole chapter for all the background.

You will see how Jacob and his mother connived to “steal” the “blessing” from Esau. What is so interesting about the manipulation by Jacob and Rebekah for both the taking of the “birthright” and the “blessing” did not have to take place since the Lord told Rebekah that Esau, the older son, would serve Jacob, the younger son, while the boys were still in her womb, Genesis 25:23.

As we go over the reading for today let me share some thoughts that may give you insight into the plan of God for the future. Verses 26 to 33 record Isaac giving Jacob the “blessing”. Isaac repeated what God had told his father Abraham in Genesis 12:3, that “cursed be everyone that curseth thee and blessed be he that blesseth thee”, verse 29.

Esau was very upset when he found out that Jacob had received the blessing and wanted his father to give him a “blessing” also. In fact, Esau cried an “exceeding bitter cry” and almost demanded from his father a blessing also, verse 34.

Isaac did, in fact, give Esau a blessing, verses 39-40. Part of that blessing was that he would serve his brother Jacob. This made Esau very mad, enough so, that he purposed in his heart to kill his brother Jacob after the death of their father, verse 41.

It was at this time that Rebekah decided it best for Jacob to go live with her brother in Haran, verse 43, until Esau’s “fury turned away”. This trip would result in Jacob marrying his two cousins, Rachel and Leah, and having with them the twelve sons that would become the “twelve tribes of Israel”.

We see in this chapter of Genesis the beginnings of so much of Bible prophecy. The “line of promise” would be passed from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob and that was in the “blessing” that Isaac bestowed upon his son Jacob.

Also, the two brothers would become two “nations” in the world, in the last days. Jacob’s descendants would become Israel of today, the Jewish State. Esau’s family-line can be traced to the Palestinians of today. The stage is set for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled, and seemingly in the near future.

PRAYER THOT: Lord, I am amazed at how the ancient Jewish Prophets were able to “pre-write” history. Thank you for this tangible proof of how prophecy was fulfilled, and will be fulfilled in the future.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Genesis 32:28

And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

For further study - Genesis 32:22-32

Again, as we travel through the book of Genesis, we will not deal with all the chapters in their entirety but instead point out to you special thoughts from some and detail the others. This is the case with Genesis 28, 29, 30 and 31.

In Genesis 28 we see Jacob having a vision, a ladder set up on earth that reached into heaven, Genesis 28:12. In that dream Jacob saw the Lord appear to him to confirm the Abrahamic Covenant, verse 13.

In Genesis 29 and 30 there is a record of Jacob's travels to be with his Uncle Laban in Haran where he would meet his two wives, sisters. This is a must read for you to better understand how there were twelve sons of Jacob. These sons would become the twelve tribes of Israel.

Genesis 31 tells us how Jacob and his family would leave and return to the "land of promise" and become the nation of Israel, the Jewish people of today, the ones that God still has a plan for in the future.

In our devotional reading for today we will look at the account of Jacob's return to the land of his father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham. Jacob had been in Haran, which is today modern Turkey.

Jacob had spent a number of years living with his uncle, his mother's brother, as he hid himself from his brother, Esau. It was during this time that Jacob got married. In fact, he married two sisters, Leah and Rachel.

The Lord had given this family eleven sons and as we come to this portion of Genesis we see that they had traveled south, back into the land God had promised to both his father, Isaac, Genesis 26:2-3; and his grandfather, Abraham, Genesis 15:18.

In fact, the Lord would also make a promise to Jacob of the land, Genesis 35:12, and thus establish the covenant with the "line of promise" to these, the patriarchs of the Jewish people.

In our key verse, and also in our extended reading, we see that the Lord would name the people and the land, by changing Jacob's name to "Israel".

As the story goes, Jacob had been in Turkey to escape the wrath of his twin brother, Esau. As Jacob returns to make amends to Esau for his deception committed against his brother, Jacob had an "all night long" wrestling match with Jesus Christ, a "pre-incarnate" appearance of Jesus.

I know that it was Jesus because the text tells us Jacob stood "face-to-face with God", verse 30, and he did not die. Jacob could not have seen God the Father face to face, and lived, John 1:18. The text tells us that the wrestling match lasted all night long, verse 24.

Jacob told Jesus he would not let the Lord go until He had blessed him, verse 26. So the Lord changed Jacob's name to "Israel", "I will fight for you", verse 28. This marks the time in history that the Lord chose to begin a "people" that He would use as a "witness" to the entire world.

Let me point out several things about this very interesting and informative passage. During the "wrestling match" Jesus touched the "thigh" of Jacob, and basically impaired Jacob's full use of his leg. The reason the Lord touched Jacob's "thigh" is that the "thigh" is the strongest muscle in your body, ten times stronger than any other muscle.

Also, Jacob would live for the rest of his life with a limp, verse 31, and it would be a daily reminder that his own strength was impaired, but the Lord would "fight for him", and thus his new name, "Israel".

It is also interesting to note that "eleven" of Jacob's twelve sons who would become the "twelve tribes of Israel", were born outside of the "Promised Land". God has His own way to accomplish His plan, a plan for Israel that will be fulfilled in the future.

It is key that we understand this truth of God's Word, God does have a plan for the Jewish people. It is a plan that extends into "eternity future" and the Lord's plan must be fulfilled because the Lord said He committed His integrity to the fact that His plan for the Jews would be fulfilled.

PRAYER THOT: Help me Lord to remember that You fight for me and not only for me but for all that know You as Lord and Saviour. And also, thank You Lord for keeping Your promises to the Jews, and to me, as well.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Genesis 25:7

And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.

For further study - Genesis 25:1-34

Before we get to the devotional reading for today, please notice we skipped over Genesis 24 as we come to our daily reading in Genesis 25. Genesis 24 is the "love story" of Isaac and Rebekah and the process that God used to lead her to Isaac. I would suggest that you read the whole of Genesis 24.

In our devotional today we have come to one of the most important chapters in Bible Prophecy. This chapter reveals to us the three families that Abraham had in his 175 years here on the earth.

I will not be able to develop all of the verses in Genesis 25 that deal with the families of this very important Biblical character, Abraham. We will just look at two of the three families, the families of Ishmael and Isaac. Verses 13-18 deal with Ishmael and 19-26 with Isaac and his offspring.

Remember, Ishmael was the firstborn son of Abraham, the result of a relationship with his wife’s “handmaid”, 16:1. Remember, Ishmael did not “father” the Arab world, but did go to live in a place in Abraham’s day, which was called “Arabia”, verse 18.

Ishmael’s twelve sons, would become the leaders of the twelve tribes that formed the nation of Saudi Arabia of today. These “tribes” would become the tribes of Arabia, the “pre-Islamic” culture. Ishmael was to become one of the nations of this world, and only one, Genesis 17:20.

Again, I state that Ishmael did not ”father” the Arab world. It could be said however, that Ishmael did “father” the “Islamic” world. Mohammad, the founder of Islam, stated that he was a direct descendant of Ishmael.

Then in verses 19 to 26 we see a record of the life and family of Isaac. This second born son to Abraham was the “son of promise”, the one who would carry the plan and promise of God forward, into the next generation.

God’s plan for Isaac and his wife Rebekah was for them to have a son that God would use to carry the Abrahamic Covenant along to the Jewish people. However, there was a problem, Rebekah was barren. Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife and she conceived.

Interesting how the Lord works, instead of a son, God gives them two boys, Esau and Jacob. The Lord told Rebekah before their birth that there were “two nations” in her womb, verse 23. Jacob would become the Jewish nation of Israel and Esau, the Palestinian people of today (see my audio series, “Esau and the Palestinians”).

We see in this prophetic passage the major players of the “last days”, the Islamic world, the Palestinian people and the Jewish people. There is much we could develop along these lines but for now let’s realize that almost 3,500 years ago the Lord was using Moses, the writer of Genesis, to lay out the prophetic scenario for the “end times”.

This devotional reading for today should help us to realize that Bible prophecy doesn’t start in the known “prophetic books” but it all begins in the “book of beginnings”, the book of Genesis. This is the reason for selecting this passage for our devotional reading.

PRAYER THOT: Thank you Lord for the record of the Jewish “forefathers” and helping me to see how, in your plan, you set in motion all that will lead up to the “end times”. Please help me to live for you as I see your prophetic plan unfolding and quickly approaching the time of the end.