Highlights In Today's Reading:
The Israelites' stay in Egypt ends with the death of Jacob and Joseph. God's chosen people begin a new era as He plans to establish them as a nation.
Just prior to his death, Jacob foretold an amazing prophetic future of each tribe. Although he was not the firstborn, Judah was destined to continue the Abrahamic Covenant with its promise of the Messiah (22:18). Judah is . . . a lion. . . . The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be (49:9-10).
Judah emerged as the powerful leader of Israel and one who was feared by his enemies as a lion. Added to this, their tribe was to hold the sceptre of legislative control over the other tribes until Shiloh come. Shiloh means "Peacemaker," and is commonly accepted to be a name or title for the Messiah.
As we look forward to His glorious return, our hearts are thrilled. The coming Christ is good news to all who keep His Commandments. . . . For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (I John 5:2,4). When our King is come, He will reprove the world of sin . . . Of judgment, because the prince of this world, (Satan, whose demonic power has oppressed the world with hate and suffering) is judged (John 16:8,11). Oh, the freedom of that day!
When Jacob called his sons together and foretold the blessings of God upon them, he emphasized the abuse which Joseph had suffered: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him (Gen. 49:23; also Ps. 105:17-18).
Joseph's difficulties began with his spiritual insight and God-given dreams which caused his brothers to hate him and sell him into slavery when he was just a teenager. But God was with him and prepared him to become the man He could use to protect and provide for His people in Egypt.
A vital step in allowing God's will to be fulfilled in us is being convinced of His sovereignty over our circumstances.
It is easy to manifest the characteristics of a spirit-filled life of love, joy, and peace to those we love. But, when we allow Christ to rule our hearts, feelings of ill will toward all who have wronged us disappear as we sincerely pray for God to bless them, since He said: I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (Matt. 5:44).
Thought for Today:
The more important the things of the world become to us, the easier it is to forget God's purpose for our lives.
As the Messiah who would come. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed (Rev. 5:5). The sceptre shall not depart from Judah . . . until Shiloh (the Peacemaker) come (Gen. 49:10).
GENESIS 49:8 in the neck of =in control over; 49:10 sceptre =ruler's staff of authority; 49:26 prevailed above . . . progenitors =distinguished above . . . his brothers; 50:15 will certainly requite =will fully repay. EXODUS 1:10 there falleth out any war =if war occurs; 1:12 grieved =fearful of their size; 1:17 feared =had reverential, heartfelt submission to; 1:19 are lively =quickly, easily; 1:20 waxed very mighty =became very numerous.
Pray for Government Official: Gov. Ruth Ann Minner (DE) • Country: United Arab Emirates (2 million) on the eastern Arabian Peninsula • Major languages: Arabic and Farsi • Pressure and hostility against Christians are increasing • 95% Muslim; 4% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Confess and forsake all sin (Is. 59:12-13).
Optional Reading: Matthew 17
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 4:4