Genesis

Day 8 » A Prophetic Picture of Jesus

Today's post was written by Bonnie Duncan. 

Today's post was written by Bonnie Duncan. 

Today’s Reading » Genesis 50, Exodus 1

Today we close out the book of Genesis. Throughout this week we have seen this dominant theme that will prevail throughout the rest of the Bible: we have a God that fulfills his promises.

The people in Genesis, quite frankly, are a hot mess. Adam and Eve had one job and failed. Abraham fathered a child with his servant Hagar when he was promised one with his wife Sarah.

Jacob steals his brother’s birthright, and accidentally marries Leah.

Joseph’s siblings sell him into slavery.

They’re a mess. All of them. It’s the stuff soap operas are made of. But despite these failures and shortcomings, God is faithful to his plan of redemption. And we see this in the genealogy of Jesus.

Despite their failure, the genealogy addressed in Genesis of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & Joseph paves the way for Jesus. From the very beginning of the story, this thread of God’s redemption is evident.

Genesis closes as the life of Joseph comes to an end, and the parallels we see between the lives of Joseph and Jesus are astounding (source):

  • Joseph was his father’s favorite, even as Jesus would be his Father’s favorite: Genesis 37:3Matthew 3:17
  • Joseph was a shepherd, even as Jesus would be the good shepherd: Genesis 37:2, John 10:11, 27
  • Joseph was hated and envied by his brothers, even as Jesus would be hated and envied by his brothers: Genesis 37:4, Matthew 27:17-18
  • Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him, even as Jesus’ brothers would plot to kill him: Genesis 37:20John 11:53
  • Joseph was tempted and resisted, even as Jesus would be tempted and resisted: Genesis 39:7-8Matthew 4:1
  • Joseph was stripped of his robe, even as Jesus would be stripped of his clothes: Genesis 37:23John 19:23
  • Joseph’s life was sold for silver, even as Jesus’ life would be sold for silver: Genesis 37:38, Matthew 26:15
  • Joseph was falsely accused, even as Jesus would be falsely accused: Genesis 39:12-20Matthew 26:59-60
  • Joseph was with two other convicts, one who would be saved, and one who would be lost. Jesus was on the cross with two other convicts, one who would be saved, and one who would be lost: Genesis 40:2-3Luke 23:32
  • Joseph was 30 years old when he entered the service of Pharoah king of Egypt, even as Jesus would be 30 years old when he entered the service of the King of kings: Genesis 41:46Luke 3:23
  • Joseph was exalted after his suffering, even as Jesus would be exalted after his suffering: Genesis 41:41-43Philippians 2:9-11
  • Joseph forgave those who wronged him, even as Jesus would forgive those who wronged him: Genesis 45:1-15Luke 23:34
  • Joseph saved the nation of Egypt, and other nations, even as Jesus would save his people, and the nations of the world: Genesis 45:7, John 3:16-17
  • What men did to harm Joseph, God used to save people, even as what men did to harm Jesus, God would use to save people: Genesis 50:201 Corinthians 2:7-8

Even in the lives of His people, God foreshadows his plan for a savior. One of the principles of good hermeneutics—or the study of scripture—is that scripture cannot mean to us something it did not mean to the people it was written to.

The exception to this rule is the Thread of Jesus.

Moses (the writer of Genesis) did not know Jesus, nor did he know the circumstances of his life. Yet the parallels between Jesus and Joseph are eerily similar. This is evidence that the Holy Spirit is working throughout the writing of the Bible. Its writers were speaking on something they didn’t fully understand to a God they didn’t yet fully know.

And the result of that is this coherent thread that runs through scripture. 

Day 6 » Joseph the Dreamer

Today's post is written by James Kim. James is a 2014 Georgetown Grad and a Chi Alpha intern. 

Today's post is written by James Kim. James is a 2014 Georgetown Grad and a Chi Alpha intern. 

Today’s Reading » Genesis 40-41, 45

Joseph the Dreamer is a unique figure that we cannot overlook in our reading through the Old Testament. He has a key role in Israel’s lineage and God’s plan for deliverance. However, Joseph did not know in the process of his journey where he was going to end up, what he was going to, or when or how his life will end. He was sold into slavery by his brothers as a teenager, a servant for 11 years, and an innocent prisoner for 2 years. He didn’t think he was doing anything wrong, he didn’t intend harm, and he did what he does best – interpret dreams. As a servant, he was humble and wise enough to avoid the temptation to be with Potiphar’s wife. When imprisoned, he did not dwell in anger over the injustice that happened to him. It seemed like he was doing everything right, at least nothing wrong. But, why was his life such a mess?

God does not seek to manifest Himself in the lives of those who have all things together. The more perfect our lives appear to be, the less room we leave for us to appreciate the things God has put in our lives and honor Him for it. It is in our humble circumstances that we are able to recognize God is still true and constant even when our lives are falling apart. And Joseph was a man who stayed faithful to God for who God is and not what he received from God. When the Pharaoh chose Joseph as the Second in Command in all the land of Egypt, Joseph did not have the wealth, family background, political power, leadership experience, or a tested set of administrative skills to qualify him. But the Pharaoh recognized that the Spirit of God was in him. The Pharaoh was drawn towards Joseph because of who he was inherently.

We can observe from today’s reading Joseph held certain characteristics that were important for determining his steps towards his rule in Egypt. Initiative. Authority. Patience. Humility. They are not only characteristics of a successful man, but also of a true leader.

Joseph shows initiative after he notices the downcast faces of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. He bothered to enter into their personal lives even though he did not know them. It doesn’t take much effort to say “what’s wrong?” or “are you doing okay?” But, we often pass by those in need thinking that they are not in need of OUR help, they surely must have friends to support them, and our interruption in their lives may be rude.

Joseph claims the authority over spiritual matters that God has revealed to him. As a follower of God devoted to the things of God, we can be sure God will give the power and knowledge over spiritual matters when we ask for it. (yes, God doesn’t always answer our prayers as we ask them and desires a sincere heart) To his fellow prisoners who were puzzled by their dreams Joseph tells them that “interpretations belong to God, so tell them to me.” Is Joseph claiming to be God, or like God? No. He is simply recognizing God is his Lord and is willing to work through him.

 Joseph shows patience through his two full years spent in prison. He was in there for no fault of his own and wasn’t getting any closer to either returning home to his father or establishing a stable life in the new land. What’s worse is that the cupbearer forgot about Joseph after gaining his life back! The golden opportunity had passed! But, Joseph continues to trust in God and waits on the Lord. He still does not know if he will make it out of there alive, but he can wait because he is sure that God will be with him, and that’s all that matters.

Joseph frames everything around God. He attributes to God his ability to interpret dreams. In his humility, he does not recommend himself when he advises the Pharaoh to make a new position for saving and rationing the nation’s crops. He points to God yet again in regards to his purpose. He tells his brothers that the reasons for ending up in Egypt were within God’s hand. It is God who wanted Joseph in Egypt so that Israel can continue to multiply and fill the earth in spite of the famine. It is God who provided hope in his tough circumstances. It is God who brought forth light out of darkness, life out of chaos.

Day 4 » Sacrifice

Today's blog post was written by Karen Keyser. Karen is the campus director for XAi. 

Today's blog post was written by Karen Keyser. Karen is the campus director for XAi. 

Today's Reading » Genesis 22, 25, 27-28

This part of God’s story reveals some of the greatest moments of outstanding faith—and also very low moments of human failure. Let’s focus on Abraham’s test.

So after God provided Abraham with a promised son when he was super old (like 99!), then God asked him to SACRIFICE that son, Isaac.  This was the the son who was supposed to have tons of descendants.  It made no sense.  The part that shocks me is that Abraham got up “early the next morning” to go and sacrifice him.  Wait, what? You might get up early for Christmas presents, but would you really get up early to kill your son that you had been longing for for decades?  That’s not normal. 

It’s that kind of unusual obedient trust that really pleases God.  In fact, Abraham gets mentioned in the Bible for his faith multiple times.  Abraham and his son Isaac were hiking up the hill when his son figured out they were missing a lamb for the sacrifice. I am blown away by Abraham’s answer.  “God will provide.”  That’s it.  And you know what? God did. 

What if we got up early tomorrow and obeyed what God said, disregarding the personal cost, with the settled, confident belief that God would provide?  What if you obediently paid someone’s way to a retreat with the belief that God would provide your own retreat money?  What if you were prompted to stop to pray with a fellow-student when you needed to work on your presentation?  Or what if for some reason he asked you to break up with your boyfriend? Could you trust that God WILL provide?

Years ago, God asked me to give up my stable school counselor paycheck to be a Chi Alpha intern where I raised my own budget through donations of family and friends.  During that year I borrowed my parents’ car while they were serving as missionaries in Africa.  Problem:  They were coming back from Africa mid-year, and I would need to give them their car back. One day, out-of-the-blue, my cousin’s new husband called me.  I barely knew him and he’d never called me before (or since).  He asked me, “Karen, do you need a car?”  He was going into the military and wanted to know if he could GIVE me his car.  Wow.  He gave it to me on the very day I needed to give my parents’ car back.  Without knowing it, he was part of a miracle of God’s provision—which increased my faith for even more!   God will provide.

Abraham passed the test of obedient faith.  If God prompts you to do something difficult today, will you obey?  God WILL provide!

 

Day 3 » Father Abraham

Today's post is written by Nick Holmstedt. Nick is a staff pastor for GUXA. 

Today's post is written by Nick Holmstedt. Nick is a staff pastor for GUXA. 

Today's Reading » Genesis 12, 15, 17

To Abram, the Lord said:

“I will make you into a great nation

            and I will bless you;

I will make your name great,

            and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you,

            and whoever curses you I will curse;

and all peoples on earth

            will be blessed through you.”

The word of the Lord was enough for faithful Abram.  Though commissioned for a journey with no certain end, with no guarantee except the promise of God, and apart from the comforts of his father’s household, Abram did not falter.

But where was he to go?  It’s as if God handed Abram a blank map with a small ‘x’ drawn on.  Plus, the guy’s old.  I mean, I hardly like walking 20 minutes to my house every evening.  Abram was 75 years old.  Would they just ride “Bill the one-horned cow?” 

Though the logistics were mysterious, Abram had faith in God’s promise.  So he went.

Why?  What vision gave courage to “this one man… as good as dead… [from whom] came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore?”

Even though Abraham had arrived in Canaan, he did “not receive the thing promised.”  He was “still living by faith when he died.”  Yet he was a man of great faith, who trusted God more than the grave.  He trusted God more than his own plan.  He trusted the Lord beyond his wealth, his family, his history.

It was a longing that drew Abraham to this great faith.  A longing for a better place.  He was promised by God a home.  We, too, are promised a home.  Though history and culture has changed, though our actions and covenants appear different, we can live in the same promise, crave that same longing.

Hebrews 11 gives us relevance to this story of Abraham… it is the thread that connects the promise he received to us, now.