Bible reading for Feb 14: Genesis 47; Luke 1:1-38.
Join us! We are using the two-year Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) Bible reading plan as adapted by D. A. Carson, involving two chapters a day. One way to do this is to read the OT passage in the morning and the NT in the evening. The first year you read the NT, the Psalms, and half of the OT. The second year you read the NT, the Psalms, and the other half of the OT.
Here's more on this reading plan. And here's "How to Begin (And Maintain) A Bible Reading Habit".
You can pick up with us in Exodus (Feb 18) and in Luke now! Be sure to bookmark Dr. Tom Constable's excellent notes, here in PDF and here linked to the NET Bible.
And Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning." And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. (Gen 47:9-10)
Few and evil are the years. Jacob lives, at least to our eyes, to a good old age, but not as long as his ancestors. He has seen a lot of trouble in those years: being abused and cheated, family troubles, losing precious loved ones, and living as a resident alien in Canaan, and now Egypt. He is a sojourner, living in tents as a migrant would, waiting on the promises of God.
Jacob blesses Pharaoh. We see here a remarkable, partial fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3... "and you will be a blessing (Heb., berakah)... I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Joseph has been a blessing to Egypt, and now Jacob blesses Pharaoh. The Pharaoh honors Jacob, and the land of Egypt is blessed. We who have received the Lord Jesus -- we who are from a multitude of families on earth -- likewise receive the blessing from God through Christ, blessings which are abundant and eternal in him: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places..." (Eph 1:3) To speak blessing upon another is to pronounce a good word, or wish, that God would grant life, power, and prosperity to that person. Above all, the word of blessing we speak to others is the word of salvation, the gospel.
"...that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught." (Luke 1:4)
Luke's gospel is a researched, chronological account of Christ's life, teaching, death, and resurrection. Matthew and John were disciples of Christ and witnesses of his resurrection. Mark was a protege of the Apostle Peter, and Luke was a protege of the Apostle Paul. Likely, while Paul was imprisoned at Caesarea Maritima, ca. AD 57-59, prior to his journey to Rome, Luke spent those two years interviewing key people in Jerusalem and writing his gospel account, followed soon by the Acts of the Apostles. This is why Luke has so much information on the birth of Jesus, as well as John the Baptist. Luke, being a physician, gives special attention to the human nature of Jesus and to the mercy he shows to individuals, women, the poor, and the marginalized. This is a great gospel to begin with for those who want to know more about Jesus!
Mary's faith. Zechariah asks how he can be sure of what the angel said (indicating his doubt), but Mary asks how (in what way) the conception and birth will come about, and says, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word" (1:38). The angel Gabriel's words, "For nothing will be impossible with God" (1:37) echo the angel's words to Abraham and Sarah, "Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son" (Gen 18:14). Our salvation, from beginning to end, from Christ's coming into the world to our final destination with him in glory is an "impossible" thing. Speaking of our salvation, Jesus said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matt 19:26). Forgiveness, life, righteousness, power, holiness, perseverance -- all are beyond us. Salvation must be received as a gift! When we receive the Lord Jesus we receive every spiritual blessing with him.
Image above: an aqueduct built by Herod the Great in Caesarea Maritima on the north coast of Israel. Paul spent two years imprisoned in this city before his journey to Rome.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. A PDF copy is available here.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.