< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School

Monday, August 31, 2015

Review of 'Your Sacred Yes' by Susie Larson

What I got out of Your Sacred Yes was that we are so busy and overcommitted in today's crazy and secular world that we are missing most of what God wants us to enjoy. And missing His messages and His presence because we have said yes to things we didn't want to or shouldn't have; filling up time that would have been better spent worshipping Him, studying His Word and enjoying His many gifts.

The author also reminded the reader of his or her value to God and how much He loves him or her.

If only to be reminded of that, and that we should slow down, the book was worth reading. I do think she repeated herself too much; it could have easily been a much shorter book, but the overall message was good.

I received this book from Bethany House to write my honest review about it.

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review of 'God Wants to Bless You' by Che Ahn

The author explains in this book what God's blessings are and how we are to recognize them. He also says that as believers we already have the blessings God promises us, but we have to decree them.

I found this part a little "if you think positive you can make anything happen". Lot's of motivational quotes and telling us that God wants us to be financially well off, healthy, etc. 


I've also always felt that God's blessings are knowing Him better and more intimately not money. Although I admit Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all wealthy.


I did like some of his stories about his own experiences; like when he heard the words in the song from God Spell and realized they were what he wanted in life - to know God more clearly, love Him more dearly and follow Him more nearly. (Like I said - lots of motivation.)


I also agreed with his comment that we are blessed TO bless and in order to bless others with our gifts we need to activate them and employ them.


I would say it's a good read to get you thinking and digging into the Bible to learn more.


I received this book from Chosen for my honest opinion.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Genesis 46 - 47:10

Genesis 46:1-7 So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba,he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”
“Here I am,” he replied.

3 “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”

5 Then Jacob left Beersheba, and Israel’s sons took their father Jacob and their children and their wives in the carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him. 6 So Jacob and all his offspring went to Egypt, taking with them their livestock and the possessions they had acquired in Canaan. 7 Jacob brought with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters—all his offspring.

Before Jacob went to Egypt he offered sacrifices to God. Back in Genesis 26:21 it was at Beersheba that God had forbidden Jacob’s father Isaac to go to Egypt. Jacob wanted to be sure he was in God’s will. And God answered Jacob in a vision. And His promise to Jacob was fourfold:

1. Israel’s family would become a great nation in Egypt.
2. God Himself would go with Jacob to Egypt.
3. God would bring Jacob-Israel back again to Canaan – this happened for Jacob after he died, they carried his bones back to Canaan and buried them. And for Israel the nation which was led out of Egypt 430 years later.
4. Joseph would close Jacob’s eye in death. And that came true too.

We need to take a minute here and review why it was important for Israel to go Egypt. Besides the famine. Israel needed the education, culture and civilization found within Egypt’s borders in order to take her place with the nations of the world and in order that they first five books of the Bible might be fittingly recorded in writing during the early days of Israel’s history. Like Joseph himself, the Israelites also learned to know God and to trust Him by the very things which they, too, suffered in Egypt.

There are 2 applications to take from this story.
1. We need to pray for guidance before making our decisions. Proverbs 3: 5-6 reminds us not to trust in our own understanding, but in all our ways to acknowledge God, asking Him for directions and seeking His principles in the Bible. When we do this He in turn promises to direct our ways.

2. God’s word is always fulfilled. Back in Genesis 15:13-14 God told Abraham that his descendants would reside in Egypt for 430 years. The words in the Old Testament are always fulfilled. Christ, Himself confirmed this in Matthew 5:15 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

And in Luke 16:17  It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. And Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. And Luke 24:44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you:Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

There are also prophecies concerning our own future, which will be fulfilled: John 5:24  “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life."

And John 14:2-3 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. And 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are leftwill be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Genesis 46:8 – 25 is a list of all Jacob’s sons and grandchildren who went to Egypt. Then it picks up Genesis 46:26 – 47:10 All those who went to Egypt with Jacob—those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons’ wives—numbered sixty-six persons. 27 With the two son  who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family, which went to Egypt, were seventy in all.

28 Now Jacob sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to get directions to Goshen. When they arrived in the region of Goshen, 29 Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time.

30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.”
31 Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and speak to Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were living in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 The men are shepherds; they tend livestock, and they have brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you in and asks, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you should answer, ‘Your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did.’ Then you will be allowed to settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians.”
47 Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen.”2 He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh.

3 Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?”
“Your servants are shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.”4 They also said to him, “We have come to live here for a while, because the famine is severe in Canaan and your servants’ flocks have no pasture. So now, please let your servants settle in Goshen.”

5 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you, 6 and the land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best part of the land. Let them live in Goshen. And if you know of any among them with special ability ,put them in charge of my own livestock.”

7 Then Joseph brought his father Jacob in and presented him before Pharaoh. After Jacob blessed Pharaoh, 8 Pharaoh asked him, “How old are you?”

9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” 10 Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from his presence.

The size of Jacob’s family after they had settled in Egypt is given here because of the divine promise to multiply them into a great nation.

There’s a certain design in this list. In view of the future of Israel the nation, it was important to trace the roots of all tribes and families which in later history comprised the people of God. These records were always very carefully kept, for the special inheritance of the different tribes in the land of Canaan (Palestine) depended upon this legal registry. God commanded that each man’s inheritance of land should always return to him in the year of Jubilee whatever misfortune had caused him to lose it in the interim. When, after a long exile of seventy years (during Israel’s later history), they again returned to Palestine in the time of Ezra, we find a careful record and registration of every name among those who returned, as well as the tribe which they belonged.

Finally, when Jesus was born, His own genealogy was traced through these most ancient records preserved in the temple and given in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-28. All such records after Christ have now been lost since the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. They are no longer necessary.

God chose Goshen for the family. This area was probably at the eastern part of the Nile delta. It provided excellent pasture for grazing. But it was also an area of segregation. Shepherds were detestable to the Egyptians. Israel was transplanted from Canaan to escape being ruined spiritually by mingling with the peoples of the land or physically by primitive wars when they were too few in number to overcome their enemies.

They were also separated from the Egyptian heathenism by a double barrier – their foreign race and their reputation as a lower caste in Egyptian eyes. This area gave them lots of room for the amazing explosion of population that comes. Their proximity developed their mental powers (think Moses).

God separated them, hid them, and grew them.

Jacob is 130 years old when he meets Pharoah. And Pharoah greets him with the respect his age should receive.

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Saturday, August 08, 2015

Genesis 45

Genesis 45:1-15 Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.
3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. 9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there ,because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’

12 “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”

14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.

God’s time had come. The brothers had truly repented.

Genesis 45:16-28 When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan ,18 and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’

19 “You are also directed to tell them, ‘Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. 20 Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.’”

21 So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. 22 To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekel of silver and five sets of clothes. 23 And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”

25 So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26 They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, “I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”

The Pharoah seemed delighted to do something for Joseph’s family.

This story is familiar. Christ was sold for 30 pieces of silver. He suffered. People meant His crucifixion for evil, but God meant it for good – to save others - and God exalted Him. And He forgives.

There are seven things to notice about Joseph’s exaltation:

1. It was unexpected. God’s deliverance came when Joseph least expected it. This is so true to life’s experience. The Bible says we should not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
2. There was no self-glory. It has been said that “there is no limit to what God will do with a man, provided he does not touch the glory.”
3. God is seen in Joseph. Pharoah saw this. And when we have God in us people should see Him too.
4. Joseph’s joy. His joy far outweighed his former sorrow.
5. His previous experience was useful. Everything that happened to him trained him for his calling.
6. Blessing to Israel. Israel was blessed through Joseph.
7. Joseph’s forgiveness. His forgiveness depended on their repentance.

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Friday, August 07, 2015

Genesis 44

Genesis 44:1-13 Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house: “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in the mouth of his sack. 2 Then put my cup, the silver one, in the mouth of the youngest one’s sack, along with the silver for his grain.” And he did as Joseph said.

3 As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys.4 They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, “Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil? 5 Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination? This is a wicked thing you have done.’”

6 When he caught up with them, he repeated these words to them. 7 But they said to him, “Why does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants to do anything like that! 8 We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan the silver we found inside the mouths of our sacks. So why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9 If any of your servants is found to have it, he will die; and the rest of us will become my lord’s slaves.”

10 “Very well, then,” he said, “let it be as you say. Whoever is found to have it will become my slave; the rest of you will be free from blame.”

11 Each of them quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12 Then the steward proceeded to search, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 At this, they tore their clothes. Then they all loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.

This seems to be another test from Joseph. Did the brothers really love Benjamin? The brothers had left in great spirits. It had all worked out and they had been treated royally. God had indeed answered Jacob’s prayer. Their sacks were brimful with food, Simeon was released, Joseph had been gracious and interested in them and Benjamin was safe!

Then this calamity.

Genesis 44:14-34 Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in, and they threw themselves to the ground before him. 15 Joseph said to them, “What is this you have done? Don’t you know that a man like me can find things out by divination?”

16 “What can we say to my lord?” Judah replied. “What can we say? How can we prove our innocence? God has uncovered your servants’ guilt. We are now my lord’s slaves—we ourselves and the one who was found to have the cup.”

17 But Joseph said, “Far be it from me to do such a thing! Only the man who was found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you, go back to your father in peace.”

18 Then Judah went up to him and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, let me speak a word to my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, though you are equal to Pharaoh himself. 19 My lord asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or a brother?’ 20 And we answered, ‘We have an aged father, and there is a young son born to him in his old age. His brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother’s sons left, and his father loves him.’

21 “Then you said to your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see him for myself.’ 22 And we said to my lord, ‘The boy cannot leave his father; if he leaves him, his father will die.’ 23 But you told your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.’24 When we went back to your servant my father, we told him what my lord had said.

25 “Then our father said, ‘Go back and buy a little more food.’ 26 But we said, ‘We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go. We cannot see the man’s face unless our youngest brother is with us.’

27 “Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons. 28 One of them went away from me, and I said, “He has surely been torn to pieces.” And I have not seen him since. 29 If you take this one from me too and harm comes to him, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in misery.’
30 “So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father, and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy’s life, 31 sees that the boy isn’t there, he will die. Your servants will bring the gray head of our father down to the grave in sorrow. 32 Your servant guaranteed the boy’s safety to my father. I said, ‘If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!’

33 “Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34 How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.”

Judah, the fourth son, takes responsibility. He recognizes that God allowed this to happen and relates it as their punishment for what they did to Joseph. But he simply refuses to leave Benjamin. If Benjamin stayed they must all stay. Never had this family been so united.

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Thursday, August 06, 2015

Genesis 43

Genesis 43 Now the famine was still severe in the land. 2 So when they had eaten all the grain they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”
3 But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 4 If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for you. 5 But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’”

6 Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?”
7 They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?”

8 Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. 9 I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. 10 As it is, if we had not delayed, we could have gone and returned twice.”

11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. 12 Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. 13 Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. 14 And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”
15 So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph.16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare a meal; they are to eat with me at noon.”

17 The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph’s house.18 Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.”

19 So they went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20 “We beg your pardon, our lord,” they said, “we came down here the first time to buy food. 21 But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver—the exact weight—in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us. 22 We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in our sacks.”

23 “It’s all right,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24 The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys. 25 They prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon, because they had heard that they were to eat there.

26 When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground. 27 He asked them how they were, and then he said, “How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?”

28 They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down, prostrating themselves before him.

29 As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son ,he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there.

31 After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, “Serve the food.”
32 They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians. 33 The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment. 34 When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. So they feasted and drank freely with him.

The reason the brothers were amazed is because they had been seated in order of age.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Genesis 42

Genesis 42 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” 2 He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.”

3 Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. 5 So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also.
6 Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7 As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked.

“From the land of Canaan,” they replied, “to buy food.”

8 Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 9 Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”
10 “No, my lord,” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.”

12 “No!” he said to them. “You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”
13 But they replied, “Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more.”
14 Joseph said to them, “It is just as I told you: You are spies! 15 And this is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of your number to get your brother; the rest of you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth. If you are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 17 And he put them all in custody for three days.

18 On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19 If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison ,while the rest of you go and take grain back for your starving households.20 But you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.” This they proceeded to do.
21 They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.”
22 Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” 23 They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.

24 He turned away from them and began to weep, but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes.
25 Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them, 26 they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.

27 At the place where they stopped for the night one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver in the mouth of his sack.28 “My silver has been returned,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.”
Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”
29 When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said, 30 “The man who is lord over the land spoke harshly to us and treated us as though we were spying on the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies. 32 We were twelve brothers, sons of one father. One is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in Canaan.’

33 “Then the man who is lord over the land said to us, ‘This is how I will know whether you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take food for your starving households and go. 34 But bring your youngest brother to me so I will know that you are not spies but honest men. Then I will give your brother back to you, and you can trade in the land.’”
35 As they were emptying their sacks, there in each man’s sack was his pouch of silver! When they and their father saw the money pouches, they were frightened. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!”
37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may put both of my sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him back.”
38 But Jacob said, “My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him on the journey you are taking, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in sorrow.”

Joseph and his brothers were all over 20 years older. They didn’t recognize him because they weren’t expecting him. He was shaved like the Egyptians unlike the Hebrews and dressed like a wealthy Egyptian and speaking through an interpreter. But he recognized them.

When they bowed to him, he remembered his dream.

When he spoke harshly to them he wasn’t getting revenge. A commentator wrote that he was concerned Benjamin may not be alive. And that he knew that in order for God to bless the brothers they needed to admit their sin and be brought back to God.

He put them in jail for three days and they had a small taste of what he went through. At the end they say to one another they are being punished because of what they did to Joseph. Reuben the eldest said this. And he was less guilty then the other brothers. Simeon was the next oldest and one of the cruelest of the brothers. Remember he and Levi were the two who killed all the men in the town where the prince raped their sister. And later when Jacob is dying we’ll see he talks about their violence and fury, how cruel they were.
So they are feeling anxious and guilty and then when they open their bags and see their silver there they think they are being framed so they’ll be kept as slaves.

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Genesis 41

Genesis 41:1-24  When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, 2 when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. 3 After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank.4 And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.

5 He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. 6 After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. 7 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.
8 In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.

9 Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. 10 Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard.11 Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. 12 Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. 13 And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled.”

14 So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.
15 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”
16 “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”
17 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, 18 when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. 19 After them, seven other cows came up—scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. 20 The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. 21 But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.

22 “In my dream I saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. 23 After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. 24 The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me.”

Pharoah was troubled by the dreams and felt they were important to him. According to the customs of the pagan society of that day, court astrologers and magicians turned to pagan gods to interpret dreams and tell of future events. However this time none of their answers satistfied Pharoah.

Finally (!) the chief butler remembered Joseph and he told Pharoah about him. Joseph was sent for and gives the glory of interpreting the dream to God.

In the first dream the Pharoah is standing by the Nile, Egypt’s source of plenty. The seven fat cows are eaten up by seven thin, hungry cows and they remain just as thin and hungry. In his second dream seven fat ears of corn are followed by the seven withered ears.

Genesis 41:25-36  Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27 The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.

28 “It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30 but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31 The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32 The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

33 “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. 34 Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. 36 This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”

Joseph tells Pharoah what God is going to do. Not one of Egypt’s many gods! A commentator wrote that Joseph stated that God gave the dream twice to Pharoah that he might know that the dream came from God, that it was predetermined by God, and that God would shortly bring it to pass. In this way Joseph revealed to Pharoah that the dreams were given in God’s merciful kindness as He sought to turn Pharoah’s thoughts toward God in grateful appreciation of this timely warning.

Not only did God give Joseph the interpretation, but also the solution for what to do about it! He needed to appoint a chief administrator with shrewd insight to assess the situation and its needs and wisdom to know how to act constructively to meet those needs.

Secondly, Pharoah should appoint overseers under the chief administrator who would be responsible for areas and specific cities all over Egypt. They would save 1/5th of the produce each year to save for the bad years.

Genesis 41:37-45 The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. 38 So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”

39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you ,there is no one so discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”

41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command]and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.

44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On] to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.

Pharoah recognized Joseph’s closeness with God. He also saw the humility, wisdom, modesty in this thirty year old Hebrew slave. Even Pharoah ends up giving glory to God when he says, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you.”

Proverbs 9:10 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Joseph’s life was yielded to God.

Pharoah, in one fell swoop promoted Joseph from a slave to Lord of all Pharoah’s house, second only to Pharoah, and Governor in administration of Egypt! Then he’s honored by people just as Pharoah himself was honored! He gave Joseph his own signet ring! He gave him a wife and established him in Egyptian society!
Joseph had only one wife. Two sons were born to them: Manasseh which sounds like “forget” (like – forget the earlier trials) and the other son was Ephraim, “fruitful” because of the blessing God had poured upon him and enabled him to give to others in this new life.

We are blessed to bless!

Genesis 41:46-57 Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully.48 Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49 Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.

50 Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephrai and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”

53 The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55 When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.”

56 When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. 57 And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.

And that brought Joseph’s brothers to Egypt.

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