Genesis 38-40; Mark 15

Tamar:

A woman used and abandoned. Despised and forsaken? Feared.

11 Then Judah said to Tamar, his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow at your father’s house until Shelah my [youngest] son is grown”; [but he was deceiving her] for he thought that [if Shelah should marry her] he too might die like his brothers did. So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house.  Genesis 38 AMP

Yet known by God and named in the genealogy of His Son. Forever remembered. Forever acknowledged. I ponder her brave audacity. I ponder the flesh-blood woman.

Given two sons…

So he was named Perez (breach, break forth).30 Afterward his brother who had the scarlet [thread] on his hand was born and was named Zerah (brightness). Genesis 38 AMP

one named “brightness.” Brightness after many dark days. Perez, the first-born also named forever in Christ’s genealogy. (Luke 3)

 Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, Matthew 1: 3 AMP Emphasis mine

Spiritual battles played out against the backdrop of man’s passion.

Tamar (Genesis 38) juxtaposed next to Joseph (Genesis 39)

Now Joseph was handsome and attractive in form and appearance.Then after a time his master’s wife [b]looked at Joseph with desire, and she said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, with me in the house, my master does not concern himself with anything; he has put everything that he owns in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God [and your husband]?”And so it was that she spoke to Joseph [persistently] day after day, but he did not listen to her [plea] to lie beside her or be with her. Genesis 39 AMP

Day after day. Joseph is subject to the beseeching pleading of a powerful woman. When finally, he is almost overtaken, he flees- leaving his garment alone in her hand.

And he is imprisoned. Yet, with his honor, integrity, and purity intact. And the Lord was with him.

21 But the Lord was with Joseph and extended lovingkindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the warden. Genesis 39 AMP

These two chapters side by side cause me to ponder the spiritual and life battles played out across and through the tender, sensitive, private sphere of a life: human desire. Purity and honor; integrity- these are important to God. I often think about this proving ground and how important it is to battle in the Lord and walk in the Light. How can I convey this to the young people growing up under my care?

 23 Yet [even after all that] the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot [all about] him. Genesis 40 AMP

But God did not forget about him. God did not forget Tamar. God did not forget Joseph. God did not forget Jesus…even when, in the moment, He cried out in an agony of forsaking:

34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which is translated, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Mark 15 AMP

In Matthew 15, the full account of the crucifixion is given. And I ponder the holy veil torn in two and the life-altering significance of this reality; the entire trust and submission of Jesus; the courage of Joseph and what it must have been for him to retrieve the Lord’s body and wrap it in linen. The whole “world” watching…and the role different ones played. The women, the disciples, Pilate, the guard… and Jesus. Suffering and Death. Submission and Trust. The veil rent asunder.

Lord, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for providing connections for me amongst the readings. Thank You for Tamar, Joseph, Jesus, Joseph of Arimethea, and all the real, flesh and blood people who lived, and breathed, and died and witness Your great story and truth for all time. For how the Scriptures are God-breathed and profitable:

2 Timothy 3:16-17King James Version (KJV)

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Help me live for you. Amen.

Rebecca (offeringsbecca)

 

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Genesis 35-37; Psalm 12; Mark 14

Oh, what to do with Joseph and his brothers’ betrayal? Sold out. A beautiful gift his father had given (Joseph), the dreams (he was) given by God, his siblings’ seething hatred and jealousy fully surfaced in their hearts. Money exchanged. Blood. Lies and deception. Grief. That’s just their story.

And on some level, it’s everyone’s story–hater or hated: a dream is dashed; a haughty, hateful eye seethes over a beautiful gift/talent received. In bloodline or in Christ.

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
    those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbor;
    they flatter with their lips
    but harbor deception in their hearts.

You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
    and will protect us forever from the wicked,
who freely strut about
    when what is vile is honored by the human race. (Psalm 12:1-2, 7-8, NIV)

Bloodshed still, and it looks different on social streams–hatred, slander, condemnation. Strutting about, honoring what is vile. Lifeblood flows, spirits crushed. Grief.

I looked to learn from Joseph’s perseverance (which was not in my reading today!), but instead, I find the lesson at Jesus’ feet.

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over. (Mark 14:3-11, NIV, emphasis mine)

She did what she could. And it was a beautiful thing to the Lord. She gave her best, poured out.

Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me as you do. Help me, Lord, to do what I can with the talents and responsibilities you’ve given me. And while I grieve the betrayal of blood- and Christ-line, you show me it is nothing new. You encourage me to press on with the dreams you’ve placed in me, to serve you with the talents you’ve given me, to honor you with my attitude despite condemnation and criticism from those around me–be it bloodline or in Christ. Help me, Lord, to be mindful of my heart and my words, to encourage those who run alongside me. I answer to you. I serve you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 32-34; Psalm 145; Mark 13

Imagine a young lady who is loved by a man and that same man rapes her.  Love in my family was just as dysfunctional but more so in another family of mine where the sister sexually abused her younger sister. To this day the emotional abuse continues. No wonder the Jacob’s family had other intentions for the rapist other than marriage.

Three days later the men who had been circumcised were still weak from pain. So Simeon and Levi,[h] two of Dinah’s brothers, attacked with their swords and killed every man in town,  including Hamor and Shechem. Then they took Dinah and left. – Genesis 34:25-26

Love is a strange word and I often wonder how I survived my dysfunctional past to have a rather healthy relationship with God. The Holy Spirit must have done some amazing work in my life transforming me and making me new because there is no reason for being the person I am except by grace and His power in my life.  I know one thing for sure, Jesus was the only person, when I was growing up, that I knew loved me and because He did, I loved Him right back.

You take care of everyone
who loves you,
    but you destroy the wicked. – Psalm 145:20

Every day that I follow the reading schedule found on the top of this blog, and every day that I am challenged to love my wife as Christ loved the Church, I understand this task is one that takes place every day.  Jesus loved us so much that He made sure to tell us how hard it will be when we face difficult times, even the end times.  I am challenged every day knowing that no matter if He comes suddenly, or destruction visits the door of my home, or I am tempted to go against Him in some part of my life, the only way I will hang on, the only way I can survive and sustain my walk with Him is to never waver in my love for Him, always bring Him into every area of my life and to walk with Him wherever I go.

But if he comes suddenly, don’t let him find you asleep.  I tell everyone just what I have told you. Be alert! – Mark 13:36-37

Thank you so much for loving me.  Your love reaches to the core of my heart, it is pure, life changing, and it sets me free to be me.  I can even forgive those who have hurt me or the family members that I love very much. Your love alone can change the world, and yet somehow the Church has lost its will to love You and by not loving You, they have lost the sense of Your love for them. Father, revive us, restore us and bring back to us our first love that You gave so freely to us on the day we gave our lives to following Jesus. Thank you.

Erwin (evanlaar)

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Genesis 30-31; Psalms 11; Mark 12

“Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you.” So Jacob called Rachel and Leah out to the field where he was watching his flock. He said to them, “I have noticed that your Father’s attitude toward me has changed. But the God of my father has been with me… Jacob outwitted Laban the Aramean, for they set out secretly and never told Laban they were leaving. So Jacob took all of his possessions with him and crossed the Euphrates River, heading for the hill country of Gilead.” Genesis 31:3-5,20&21 NLT

When the Lord told Jacob to go, he obeyed.  God protected him when Laban came searching for him. God saw Jacob’s hard work and came to his rescue.  Jacob didn’t have to defend himself.  He knew that the Lord was on his side.

“In fact, if the God of my father had not been on my side-the God of Abraham and the fearsome God of Isaac-you would have sent me away empty-handed. But God has seen your abuse and my hard work. That is why he appeared to you last night and rebuked you!” Genesis 31:42 NLT

Those times when I feel like I have to defend myself, God is fighting for me. He goes to battle on my behalf. Sometimes even in obedience, I am assaulted by the enemies lies. But, God is there. He is with me. I can’t flee his presence.

He is my helper.
He is my defender.
He is my protector.

“I trust in the Lord for protection. So why do you say to me, “Fly like a bird to the mountains for safety! The wicked are stringing their bows and fitting their arrows on the bowstrings. They shoot from the shadows at those whose hearts are right. The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do? But the Lord is in his holy Temple; the Lord still rules from heaven. He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth.” Psalms 11:1-4 NLT

He sees my faithfulness in the mundane of life, even when my offerings feel small.

“I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” Mark 12:43 NLT

Thank you Father for you faithfulness. Thank you for meeting me where I am at. For revealing fresh and new things from your word. For hearing my prayers.  I love you.  I desire to love you more. Amen.

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Mark 12:31 NLT

Amy (amyctanner)

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Prophecy fulfilled: Daniel 9, Zechariah 9, and the triumphal entry (Mark 11) (Genesis 28&29)

Many times we read through these prophecies and stories without realizing their significance nor connectedness. Here is a remarkable connection Daniel 9, Zechariah 9 and the book of Nehemiah all point to this event of Jesus coming into Jerusalem as king. When the rebuilt wall was finished in Nehemiah’s day a clock started ticking (Daniel 9) that predicts that cosmic event of Jesus riding into the city on a donkey (Zechariah 9). And the prophecy is fulfilled down to the very day. That makes the hair (what I have left of it) on the back of my head stand up straight and gives me chills. Hundreds of years prophecy fulfilled down to the very day.

This is a devotional site, not an in depth Bible study one, so not enough time her to pick these passages apart, but suffice it to say that the passage we read today is a culmination in prophecies there were made hundreds of years in advance.

How does that tie into the Genesis (28&29)? God predicts what will happen to Jacob’s lineage. Little did Jacob know that night that every word that came from God would be fulfilled down to the very last jot and tittle. That’s why we are reading this great book aren’t we? Because we know this book has the true words of life and it is steadfast and trustworthy. Let’s thank God for this grand truth today!

Father God, we firmly put our trust in You knowing that your wisdom and plans are true and trustworthy. We look forward with a blessed hope to the culmination of all prophecy and find ourselves in your presence for evermore. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen!

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Genesis 26-27, Mark 10

And the LORD appeared to him [Isaac] and said. “…I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Genesis 26:2-5 ESV

Genesis 26 begins with the LORD blessing Isaac and promising that all the nations would be blessed through his offspring. Jesus’ family tree traces back to Isaac, and He was the true fulfillment of God’s words; through Him all the nations of the world are truly blessed. God kept His promise to Isaac, and rewarded Isaac for his faith and trust in Him. God’s blessing on Isaac was clear to the people around him.

When Abimelech went to him [Isaac] from Gerar with Ahuzzath his adviser and Phicol the commander of his army… They said “We see plainly that the LORD has been with you. So we said let there be a sworn pact between us, between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you…You are now the blessed of the LORD.” Genesis 26: 26, 28-29 ESV

Abimelech saw the LORD blessing and hand upon Isaac and decided to make a treaty with him. Abimelech knew it was foolish to stand against the LORD’s blessed, so he treated Isaac with respect and honor, asking for peace. Isaac and Abimelech make a treaty, and went their ways in peace.

Jesus, the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham and Isaac, tells the disciples what is going to happen to him on earth.

…“See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” Mark 10: 33-34 ESV

Jesus tells His disciples of the ultimate sacrifice He is going to make to save His people from their sins. He is going to suffer at the hands of the Gentiles and die on the cross. Jesus told his disciples this so when He rose again they would remember His words and believe in Him.

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saws it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the king of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them laying his hands on them. Mark 10: 13-16 ESV

Dear God, thank you for sending your Son to suffer and die for our sins so we can be made pure like Him. Please help me receive you kingdom like a child and follow with without falter. In You Holy Name, Amen.

Nathanael (nborger2017)

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Genesis 24-25; Psalm 4; Mark 9

I want God guiding my steps. I want to hear what he says. Abraham heard God’s promises. He knew that God would provide.

“The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. (Genesis 24:7, NIV, emphasis added)

His servant looked expectantly for God’s presence and provision. I open my eyes too.

12 Then he prayed, “Lord, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I am standing beside this spring, and the daughters of the townspeople are coming out to draw water. 14 May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.”

15 Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder. (Genesis 24:12-15, NIV, emphasis added)

In January’s quiet, I look back on a past year in thoughtful reflection and consider the days ahead.

Tremble and do not sin;
    when you are on your beds,
    search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
    and trust in the Lord. …

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:4-6, 8 NIV)

I think long on inheritance and stewardship and faith walking and trust.

43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. (Mark 9:43, NIV)

I consider the lessons of last year, fertile ground my tomorrows are built upon, and I look for your guidance. Search this heart, Lord, and help me. I want to hear your voice. Help me to hear well.

Courtney (66books365)

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