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Current study: Spiritual Warfare

14 January 2012

Week 3 In Review

January 15 Genesis 30-33
January 16 Genesis 34-37
January 17 Genesis 38-40
January 18 Genesis 41-43
January 19 Genesis 44-46
January 20 Genesis 47-50

This week we learned the early history of Israel – the people chosen by God. We see Jacob reconciling with Esau, then separating from him again.

We see Dinah raped by Prince Shechem – and then he demands her hand in marriage. Dinah’s brothers (Joseph’s family) takes revenge, tells all the men to receive circumcision, then kills them when they were still in pain. They plunder the city. This story reminds me that our sin nature has been in evidence since the Garden.

Jacob follows God’s lead and moves to Bethel. On the way, God gives him the name Israel.

And then… Joseph. We’ve all heard his story many times. It’s a story of jealousy, murder plots, false accusations, selling of a family member… and God’s hand clearly shown when the one who was hated by his family ends up saving them, the fledgling people of Israel and the nation of Egypt.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Gen 50:20 (ESV)

There are many principles we can learn from Joseph’s story:
1.       The need for forgiveness and reconciliation,
2.       Having absolute faith that God is in control,
3.       Store up what you can in times of plenty, so when times of need come it’s available for you and your family. The Egyptians lost everything in the famine – their money, then their livestock, and then their land. 
If you have “plenty” today, store up for times of hardship. This principle is important for us as we look toward hurricane season, but it also applies as we watch the world’s economy falter. If we store up now and lose our source of income, we will still be able to eat and pay our bills as we search for a new job. If we’re prepared, we can also show Christ’s love to others who are in need.

In the middle of the Joseph story, we hear about Tamar. Judah unknowingly impregnates his daughter-in-law after he fails to keep his word to her. She has twins – Perez and Zerah.

At the end of Genesis, we see Jacob’s preparations for death. He blesses all his children, and makes Joseph’s sons Ephriam and Manasseh “mine” for purposes of blessing them.

At the end of this week’s readings, we find all the patriarchs buried in a cave near Mamre. Joseph has died as well.

What lessons can we take from this week’s readings? Sin has been the same since the beginning of time. Our sin problem doesn’t stop God from bringing about His purposes. We need to trust in God’s plan – even if we are in deep trouble because of our own sin. There is nothing that God can’t turn to good if we simply turn our lives over to Him. My sin today can have repercussions for years to come, and my sins can tear apart a family or a personal relationship. Listen to God and plan ahead for times of need. God loves me even though I’m flawed!

Next week we begin the book of Job. I look forward to continuing to read through the Bible with you and encourage you to comment. God will bless you for your persistence and dedication to reading His Word throughout this year. We can do this – together!

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