Bible reading for Feb 16 & 17: Genesis 49-50; Luke 2-3.
Then Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come." (Gen 49:1)
Family photos. We are in the process of taking our family photos from years past and digitizing them, so that there will be copies for all the children and grandchildren in the years ahead. It's wonderful to look at school pictures of our children and then see how they've turned out many years later. I won't elaborate on details, but we are very thankful... so far! Before Jacob dies he gathers his twelve sons and blesses them. Well, mainly. There are some mixed reviews. Being a prophet as well as a patriarch, he speaks of what lies ahead for them.
Judah becomes the flagship tribe. In short, the promised Messiah (Adam, Seth, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) will now come through Judah's lineage. The middle phrase, "until Shiloh comes / he comes to whom it [tribute?] belongs", has options: is "Shiloh" a place name or formal name, or is it, depending upon the vowel pointing, a different word? [See the NET Bible textual notes for all the options.] The rest of the verse is clear: "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples" (49:10 ESV) The statement itself is plain enough: the promised King will come through the line of Judah. The clans of Judah (from which we get the word, "Jew") will make up the majority of the southern kingdom, centered in Jerusalem. Joseph also receives a lengthy blessing, and his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, will make up the majority of the northern kingdom of Israel.
A coffin in Egypt. The book of Genesis opens with paradise in the garden of Eden and ends with "a coffin in Egypt." Human history, as recorded in the Bible, is not the only history of human civilization. There are other peoples and other empires that have existed, then as well as now. But Scripture records this history, which is called "the history of redemption." It's the vital core of human history. From creation, to fall, to God's work of redeeming humanity -- that's its focus. God and man, sin and death, faith and salvation, these are its great themes. It is a God-centered book. Joseph sums up a very great lesson from Genesis: "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 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" (50:19-20).
"And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man." (Luke 2:51-52)
Jesus' birth and childhood. Along with the familiar Christmas story, Luke gives us a glimpse into the only reported childhood event of Christ. What parent could not identify with Mary and Joseph's fear and frustration at losing their son? (What an irony!) And yet, here in the house of God, the son of Mary shows that he is aware that he is truly the Son of God. And even so, as the Son of God, he returns to Nazareth and continues in submission as a child to his earthly parents. How do you put that together? No wonder Mary "treasured up all these things." Luke tells us that Jesus grew physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially. What a mystery! His perfect Deity is joined to sinless, growing, and learning human nature. This is also a theme in the book of Hebrews: "Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered" (Heb 5:8). James Montgomery Boice once wrote, "With the exception of being sinful, everything that can be said about a man can be said about Jesus Christ." We do well to sing...
Meekness and majesty, manhood and deity
In perfect harmony the Man who is God.
Lord of eternity dwells in humanity,
Kneels in humility and washes our feet.
Wisdom unsearchable, God the invisible,
Love indestructible in frailty appears.
Lord of infinity, stooping so tenderly,
Lifts our humanity to the heights of His throne.
O what a mystery meekness and majesty.
Bow down and worship for this is your God.
Meekness and Majesty, by Graham Kendrick
© Thankyou Music, Thank You Music Ltd.
Image credit: photo above by Jordan Whitt. Source: Unsplash.
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.