Almost done!

The realtor photographer just left. Our house will go on the market sometime next week. Here are the “non-professional” (e.g. cell phone) photos of the house as staged for the photographer.

Of course, there’s the garage and the room that we haven’t gotten to yet. We’ll work on that in advance of it going on market next week.

God has been good through this process. We had some wonderful workers doing the kitchen, baths, laundry room floor and door installations. Thank you Leland, Gabriel, Aaron, and Daniel!

We also loaded a dumpster with lots of debris!

More to come next week!

Chronological Bible 6: The Sinai Covenant

This weeks readings came from Exodus 13-34. The following provides a summary of the contents of these passages.

  • Consecration of the Firstborn – Following last week’s introduction to the Israelites of the Passover, further details are outlined here. All firstborn male children and livestock are to be set apart for God. The children are to be redeemed with additional livestock.
  • Feast of Unleavened Bread – Celebration of the Passover meal initiates the beginning of this week-long feast in which no yeast is to be found among the people.
  • Pillars of Cloud and Fire – As the Israelites head across the desert, God led them by day with a cloud and by night with a pillar of fire.
  • Crossing the Red Sea – When they arrived at the shores of the Red Sea, the Egyptian army threatened to overtake and destroy them.

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. (Exodus 14:13-14)

God parted the sea, the Israelites walked through on dry ground, and when the Egyptian army followed, God released the waters onto them, destroying them.

  • Bitter Water Made Sweet – The nation encountered a spring with bad water. God showed Moses a piece of wood that he was to throw in the water and the water became clean and drinkable.
  • Bread from Heaven – The people complained of hunger, so God caused manna to collect on the ground each morning. It was a flaky substance which could be baked or boiled and tasted like honey wafers. The manna continued to supply the people each day until they reached the promised land 40 years later.
  • Water from the Rock – Another time the people complained about lack of water, so God instructed Moses to strike a certain rock with his staff and water flowed from it
  • Israel Defeats Amalek – The Amalekites attacked the nation. Moses stood on a hill overlooking the battleground. As Moses lifted his hands up, the Israelites prevailed, but if he dropped them, the Amalekites would win. Aaron (Moses’ brother) and another man held Moses’ hands up for him when he tired, and the Israelites defeated the Amalekites.
  • Jethro’s Advice – Moses’ father-in-law met the Israelites in the desert and observed Moses overworking himself answering all the people’s questions. He advised Moses to delegate responsibilities to other leaders as well.
  • Israel at Mount Sinai – Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai, later known as the mountain of God. This is the same place where Moses encountered God in the burning bush.
  • The Ten Commandments – God called the people to the foot of the mountain and spoke in all their hearing the ten commandments.
  • Laws about altars, slaves, restitution, social justice, Sabbath and festivals – God gave Moses various instructions on societal and worship behaviors. These tie in to the two main “themes” in the ten commandments, summed up by Jesus in Matthew 22:35-40.

And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Exodus 24-31 contains instructions for the construction and financing of the tabernacle. I’ll discuss some of the elements of the tabernacle in next week’s blog, since that set of reading involves the actual construction and use of the tabernacle.

Following the giving of the ten commandments by God, the people urged Moses to ask God not to speak directly to them, as they were terrified. Moses then spent 40 days and nights with God on Mt. Sinai receiving the tabernacle instructions and the tablets on which God had written the ten commandments (per customary Hebrew covenant process). When Moses returned to camp, he found the people had already broken their covenant with God and were worshipping golden calves instead. In anger, Moses broke the tablets with the ten commandments and interceded for the nation before God. God instructed Moses to carve out replacement tablets and then God would re-write the covenant law on them.

Final Thoughts

The ten commandments are the focal point of this set of passages. This marks the beginning of the time the people spent in the desert before taking possession of the promised land. The ten commandments appear again in Deuteronomy, near the conclusion of the 40 year wanderings in the desert. As we’ll see over the coming weeks, the ten commandments frame this period of wandering in the desert and represent the fact that the Israelites are unable to fulfill the requirements of the Law themselves. It points to the future incarnation of Jesus, the ONLY person to completely fulfill and complete the requirements of the law. Jesus himself said,

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20)

Next week we’ll look at Exodus 35-40, Numbers 7-9, and Leviticus 1-8.

For Further Investigation

Chronological Bible 5: Moses Confronts Pharaoh

This week’s readings came from Job 35-42 and Exodus 1-12 (with a few genealogical verses from 1 Chronicles 6). The book of Job concluded with Elihu’s speech and then God confronting Job, but I discussed those last week. This week I want to concentrate on the first part of Exodus, which tells the story of the eventual release of the Israelite nation from the bonds of slavery to Egypt.

The text begins with a listing of the descendants of Jacob who are now residing in Egypt, and then has the statement (1:8), “Now there arose a new king of Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” As you recall, Joseph had been placed as second in command over all Egypt under the pharaoh of his day, but after Joseph died, the people began to fear the Israelites because they had become so numerous. You must understand that between the end of Genesis and the beginning of Exodus, approximately 350 years have passed, so it’s not like the people became fearful overnight. The Israelites have grown by this time to be a nation of over a million people. The current king of Egypt issues an order that all the male children being born to Israel must die. One of the Israeli women gave birth to a son whom she hid in a floating basket and placed it in the waters at the edge of the Nile. The boy’s sister observed that Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby and adopted it as her own, naming him Moses.

Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s house but eventually recognized the brutality with which his people were being treated and ended up killing an Egyptian over it. This forced Moses to flee to the desert for safety. While there, he encountered God speaking from a bush which burned but was not consumed. Again, you have to be conscious of time when you read this and realize that Moses is approaching the age of 80 by now. His life, as described in the narrative, is broken up into 3 40-year segments: his life in Pharaoh’s house for the first 40 years, his exile in the desert for the next 40, and then his leadership of the Israelite nation to lead it out of Egypt during the final 40 years.

From the burning bush, God calls Moses to return to Egypt and demand the Israelites be released. God also tells him that Pharaoh will refuse until God has sent a series of 10 signs (plagues) upon the Egyptians, concluding with the death of their first born children. This death sentence ultimately led to the Israelites being released, and to the institution of the celebration/remembrance of Passover, when God’s judgment “passed over” all those who listened to him and obeyed him by covering their doors (symbolic of lives) with the blood of the Passover lamb.

The Plagues

As Moses was confronting Pharaoh about letting the Israelites go, God performed a series of ten miracles/plagues against the Egyptian people. The plagues were

  • Nile turning to blood
  • Frog infestation
  • Dust turning to gnat infestations
  • Fly infestation
  • Large-scale deaths of livestock
  • Boils on humans and animals
  • Devastating Hail
  • Locust devastation
  • Three days of darkness
  • Death of the firstborns (people and cattle)

Scholars have pointed out that many of these plagues represent God’s power over elements worshipped by the Egyptians. I specifically want to point out two things about them.

First, these plagues were pre-planned by God when he initially called Moses to go to Pharaoh.

And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, ‘Let my son go that he may serve me.’ If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.” (Exodus 4:21-23)

God instructed Moses to perform all the miracles first, which would ultimately culminate with the deaths of the firstborns. The plagues were not an impulsive act of an angry God. Rather, they were a just act of judgment against a people who rejected him.

Second, ultimately the purpose of the plagues was to teach about and bring glory to God, both in the eyes of the Egyptians and in the eyes of the Israelites.

“The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” (Exodus 7:5) …. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.” (Exodus 10:1-2)

The Gospel of the Exodus

There are two big ways in which the gospel story of Jesus are reflected in these passages. The first one is in the broad story line of the Exodus itself. We’ll be looking at more detail about individual elements as we continue our journey through the Bible, but for now, consider the overarching story of the Exodus.

God’s people were in slavery. God chose to send a great prophet (Moses) to confront the source of their slavery (Pharaoh and Egypt) and facilitate their release. Once their captor was defeated, God’s people were led out of slavery, but spent some time in the “in-between” world of the wilderness, sometimes falling back into the mindset of slavery, but still journeying toward and anticipating that time would God would ultimately settle them in their promised land.

This is a picture of God’s work through Jesus. All of humanity is in slavery to sin. God sent his son (Jesus) to confront the slaveowner (Satan) and to defeat him by dying and then resurrecting from the grave in victory over the power of death. He then offers us the ability to follow him in that victory and leave behind the enslaving power of sin. When we follow him, though, we still battle against the influences and temptations of sin as we continue our life’s journey. Ultimately, though, Jesus will deliver those who have trusted him and followed him into the final promised “land” of heaven to live with him.

The Gospel of the Passover

The particulars of the Passover meal specified in Exodus 12 are

  • Sacrificial lamb without blemish
  • Male
  • Killed at twilight
  • None of the lamb’s bones could be broken
  • Blood had to cover the doorway to the house
  • All of the sacrifice had to be roasted and consumed, with no leftovers
  • It had to be consumed with anticipation of the exodus (e.g. in a hurry, ready to leave)
  • The accompanying bread must be unleavened (representing quick preparation and not “polluted”)
  • This would distinguish God’s people from those who aren’t. Foreigners who were not Jews had to become Jewish (e.g. be circumcised) to participate.
  • The actual Passover event (death of Egypt’s firstborns) occurred only once, but the Passover celebration was to continue in perpetuity.

When Jesus died on the cross, he fulfilled the elements and picture of the Passover himself, providing the second, and eternal, “Passover” victory over death.

Next week’s readings will be from Exodus 13-34.

For Further Investigation

Downsizing update

Just a quick update on our efforts to get on the road…

All the carpet covering the hardwood floors has been removed. The underlining had disintegrated significantly, leaving behind a fine red dirt! The last bedroom has been mostly cleaned out, the broken closet door replaced, and a couple of twin beds set up for staging. The final section of the house (downstairs) is coming along, with new tile in the laundry room and lower bathroom.

We’ve made about 7 trips to the donation center so far, and have many things packed for moving and placed in a storage unit. The plan is to get the house on the market as close to February 15 as possible so we can close on the house near the middle or end of March. Our youngest son is getting married on March 24, and we hope to hit the road on our RV adventure as soon after that as possible!

Monthly Musings: January 2018

Something else I’ve been thinking about implementing this year is a monthly list of media I’ve “consumed” over the past month. I read a number of blogs, books, articles, cereal boxes, etc. as well as watch video content. I thought I’d just make some observations about some of my favorites from the past month, listed by category. If you find something you’re interested in, don’t just read my comments. Click the links for the full post or more information about the resource!

The Bible and Faith

Does Jeremiah 29:11 Apply to You? – Another article from The Gospel Coalition which offers some thoughts on the popular bible verse, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” This is not a verse to be taken out of context, as many in the prosperity gospel camp tend to do. It does not say “If you just follow your heart, God will bless you”. This verse, in it’s biblical context, is written to a people heading into exile from the things they thought God should be doing for them. But God had a different plan for them, and he has a plan for us as well. Your plans may evaporate. Your dreams may be crushed. Your life may be snuffed out. But the God who raised Jesus from the dead will raise you up with him, if you have entrusted your life to him.

Apologetics is Secondary to the Gospel – This is a blog post from Stand to Reason. I appreciate the comment the author made that “Many times … people don’t accept Christ and express doubts, objections, or concerns with Christianity. That’s when apologetics comes in. The purpose at that point is to listen carefully to the person’s concern and ask God to help you clarify the truth. Apologetics, therefore, is about removing obstacles people have to the Gospel.” The gospel is the Christian’s primary message, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:3 – “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, …” But Peter also admonished us with, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect …” (1 Peter 3:15)

The Case for Christ – This is a book that I’ve read (and taught from) several times, but I just re-read it to refresh my memory of it. I sometimes give this book as a gift to people who have doubts about the gospel. There was a recent movie depicting the path of discovery that Lee Strobel went through as he tried to debunk the foundational belief of Christianity, that Jesus physically rose from the dead. If you haven’t read it, or at least seen the movie, then I strongly encourage you to do so.

The Lost World of Genesis 1 – This is another book I read this month. It offers an interesting (and I believe valid) perspective on the interpretation of Genesis 1 regarding God’s activity during creation. No matter your view on the subject, it encourages one to carefully consider the original audience (the new Israelite nation) and the cultural views and influences they had (c. 1500 B.C. Mesopotamia).

This is How You Find the Right Church – This blogger wrote an good reminder of the importance of considering the doctrines and beliefs of a church with which you choose to affiliate.

Over Our Dead Bodies – Charles Spurgeon said, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” This challenging article reminds us of how precarious a position people have who refuse to acknowledge and submit to God.

Science and Faith

The Human Genome: ENCODED for Design – This is a video of a 20 minute talk that Fazale Rana of Reasons to Believe gave at a conference. I found it to be an interesting reminder of the intricacies of the human genome, and he addresses the so-called “junk” portions of our DNA, which are not junk at all!

Did Neanderthals Self-Medicate? – Fazale (Fuz) also wrote an interesting blog post about some recent discoveries of the dietary practices of Neanderthals. I always appreciate reading Fuz’s observations. The RTB creation model (with which I largely agree), continues to emphasize the special creation of humans and not as an evolved species.

Marriage and Relationships

Why God is So Thrilled When You and Your Husband (Wife) Make Love – Julie Siebert is one of the marriage bloggers that I regularly read. You can find links to all the marriage blogs I follow on my Marriage and Relationships page.

The 3-Second Phrase Every Marriage Needs Regarding Sex – Julie has been a prolific blogger so far in 2018, posting a new article every day. This one is a good reminder of the importance of following biblical principals in our marriages.

RV Living

2017 Travels – RVing the West and Flying to Thailand & Cambodia – I follow a lot of RV blogs and YouTube channels. Check out the page where I list some of my favorites. I found this summary entry from Roads Less Traveled interesting. I especially like the way they have their site organized!

How Much Does It Cost to Full-Time RV? – Tom and Cait Morton put together a very interesting analysis of their full-time RV budget, along with a YouTube video on the subject.

Keep Your Daydream January newsletter – KYD is also one of my favorites. In this newsletter, I thought they had a great idea of doing a “homebound” postcard program. This is a very interesting ministry idea.

6 Ways I’ve Made Money Since Leaving Corporate America – People who live full-time in their RVs often look for ways to supplement their income. I thought this article had some pretty good ideas.



Chronological Bible 4: Job

This week’s readings all came from the book of Job (Job 12-34). There are still a few chapters left to read next week but I’m going to discuss the book in its entirety in this post. Chronologically, the events in the book of Job appear to take place around the time of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). However, the book is placed in the Bible at the bridge point between the history and the wisdom books. The book depicts a tragedy which occurs in the life of Job and then explores the ensuing conversations that occur between Job and some acquaintances of his. The book is counted in the wisdom literature section of the Bible because it is written (in Hebrew) as poetry, and also offers a philosophical as well as theological look at the suffering of believers and how God might view that.

One word of caution that I like to give is that Job is a book (similar to Ecclesiastes, which we’ll examine later) which makes a lot of statements which may sound good, but are not all consistent with the theology of the rest of the Bible. We must be careful to take all of a character’s speech together as a whole and evaluate the wisdom which it presents (or not) in light of the character of God revealed throughout scripture. Both Job and his friends offer some conjectures on the reasons for Job’s suffering, and some of their observations could arguable be valid, but there are also a lot of misconceptions about the nature of God.

The story begins with a description of Job’s prosperity. Then we learn that Satan has been allowed by God to attack Job’s property, and then his health, with the stipulation that he not kill him. The remainder of the book is a series of dialogues between the various characters. The characters are identified below.


Job is the main character. It is his story. He is a prosperous man who trusts God and lives an upright life. After tragedy strikes, he gives an initial speech. His acquaintances take turns responding to him, and then he responds back, for a total of nine speeches by Job.

Eliphaz the Temanite gives three speeches in response to Job’s remarks.

Bildad the Shuhite gives three speeches.

Zophar the Naamathite gives two speeches.

Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite gives one speech.

God ends the discussion by challenging Job to see a bigger picture.

Job: The Short Version

Job is a very long book and can feel somewhat tedious. I encourage you to examine it closely, because there are some very interesting statements made, some of which I’ll discuss at the end of this post. For now, though, here’s the book in my own very brief summary.

Acting within the constraints that God has given him, Satan kills all of Job’s children and takes his possessions and then gives Job very painful maladies.

  • Job wishes he had never been born (Job 3)
  • Eliphaz accuses him of hidden sin because, obviously, good people will prosper. (Job 4-5)
  • Job says that he has every right to complain about God’s treatment of him (Job 6-7)
  • Bildad tells Job he just needs to ‘fess up and repent (Job 8)
  • Job admits that he needs a mediator to help him plead his case before God (Job 9-10)
  • Zophar tells Job that he actually deserves worse than what he got (Job 11)
  • Job acknowledges that his troubles couldn’t have happened without God’s permission, and yet he commits to maintaining his trust in God (Job 12-14)
  • Eliphaz tells Job that he doesn’t truly understand God (Job 15)
  • Job complains that his friends are lousy comforters and are no help (Job 16-17)
  • Bildad affirms his belief that God would only allow evil to afflict bad men (Job 18)
  • Job again affirms trust that God will ultimately provide redemption from his sins (Job 19)
  • Zophar agrees with Bildad that only the truly wicked will suffer as much as Job has (Job 20)
  • Job counters with the observation that plenty of wicked people prosper during their life on Earth (Job 21)
  • Eliphaz jumps on the anti-Job bandwagon and accuses him of wickedness (Job 22)
  • Job now complains about the apparent silence of God (Job 23-24)
  • Bildad suggests to Job that God will never be pleased with any human (Job 25)
  • Job finishes his speeches with a long soliloquy about God’s majesty and his determination to stand firm in his faith in God (Job 26-32)
  • Elihu, who has apparently been eavesdropping on these conversations, now steps in and rebukes Job (for self-righteousness) and his friends (for their incomplete and inaccurate understanding of God’s character and majesty) (Job 33-37)
  • God now challenges Job to recognize that God is God and Job is not and God has a much broader perspective on the workings of the universe that Job does. (Job 38-41)
  • Job repents, intercedes for his friends as well, and God restores to him greater prosperity than he had before (Job 42)

Words of Wisdom

First, notice that the book of Job begins and ends with God’s activity. Satan had to get permission from God to attack Job. And God’s words to Job at the end basically are to remind Job that God is Creator and Sustainer of all in the Universe. These “bookends” on the book serve as a reminder that through all things God is in control.

It is very interesting to note the theology that Job has developed which aligns with that of the rest of the Bible. First, in Job’s third speech, he recognizes the inability of humans to be able to righteously stand before the judgment seat of God. In other words, he agrees with King David, writing about a thousand years later, and quoted by the Apostle Paul almost thousand years after that, “none is righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10). Job also realizes the need for a mediator between him and God.

… how can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times…. I become afraid of all my suffering, for I know you will not hold me innocent. I shall be condemned; why then do I labor in vain? If I wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye, yet you will plunge me into a pit, and my own clothes will abhor me. For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together. There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both.  (Job 9:2-3, 28-33)

However, in his next speech Job also recognizes that God’s love is for his image-bearers and that God’s desire is to reach out to his created beings and forgive them.

Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face. This will be my salvation, that the godless shall not come before him…. If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my renewal should come. You would call, and I would answer you; you would long for the work of your hands. For then you would number my steps; you would not keep watch over my sin; my transgression would be sealed up in a bag, and you would cover over my iniquity. (Job 13:15-16, 14:14-17)

In his next (fifth) speech, Job makes the observation that God himself will act as a human advocate, continuing on until after Job’s death when he stands before God.

Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high. My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God, that he would argue the case of a man with God, as a son of man does with his neighbor. For when a few years have come I shall go the way from which I shall not return. (Job 16:19-22)

Finally, Job expresses the confidence and excitement (“my heart faints within me”) that this advocate will actually purchase (redeem) Job’s acquittal, enabling Job, after his death, to confidently stand in God’s presence.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25-27)

This is the gospel, folks, played out in one of the oldest books in the Old Testament, and yet depicting the very thing that Jesus has done for us. God loves us … we blew it … Jesus paid the price for us … we must accept and receive that precious gift!

For Further Investigation

Chronological Bible 3: Joseph

This week’s readings came from Genesis 40-50 and Job 1-11. I want to go back, though, to Genesis 37 to pick up Joseph’s story from its beginning. Then I’ll make a few comments about Joseph and a very brief introduction to Job. I’ll wait to really dive into Job’s story until next week.

Joseph’s story really begins with Jacob. As you may recall, when Jacob deceived Esau and fled to his relatives in Laban’s house, he fell in love with Rachel, Laban’s younger daughter. He agreed to work seven years to marry her, but Laban deceived him by providing Rachel’s sister, Leah, as a wife instead. Jacob agreed to work another seven years for Rachel. Rachel was his favorite, though, and she ultimately gave birth to Joseph, so Joseph became Jacob’s favorite son.

When he was a teen, Joseph had a couple of dreams in which he saw his family bowing down to him. He told them these dreams, which didn’t go over well. His brothers resented him so much they wanted to kill him. However, they decided instead to sell him as a slave. Joseph ended up in Egypt as a slave in Potiphar’s house. Potiphar became so trusting of Joseph that he put him in charge of all that he owned. However, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph to sleep with her. After numerous refusals, she falsely accused him of attempted rape and Potiphar threw him in prison.

While in prison, Joseph successfully interpreted dreams for two other prisoners there from Pharaoh’s house. Two years later, Pharaoh had some troubling dreams himself and Joseph was taken from prison to interpret them for him. Joseph interpreted the dreams as God’s indicating of a coming famine. Pharaoh put him in charge of all of Egypt to plan and prepare for the coming lean years.

God’s Plans

During the ensuing famine, Joseph’s brothers arrived in Egypt to buy food to take back home. Joseph recognized them and through a series of events, tested the current state of their character and then ultimately revealed himself to them as their brother. They were terrified that he might exact revenge, but Joseph reassured them.

But Joseph said to them, “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. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. (Genesis 50:19-21)

This is an example of several places in the Old Testament that point forward to a future salvation of God’s people through His messiah. Just as Joseph’s betrayal ultimately led to salvation, so Jesus’ betrayal (at the hand of Judas) ultimately led to our salvation.

Jacob’s blessing

After coming to Egypt, and as his death from old age was approaching, Jacob called his twelve sons together to give them his final words to them. These are the twelve sons who would eventually become the tribes of Israel (in birth order): Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, and Benjamin. Joseph was actually represented in the tribes through the names of his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. Specifically, look at what Jacob had to say about Judah.

Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come…. Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and a lioness; who dares rouse him? 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. Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk. (Genesis 49:1, 8-12)

Jacob made multiple references about royalty coming out of Judah’s line (bowing, lion, scepter, ruler’s staff, tribute) and notice especially the statement that “to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” The kings of Israel beginning with David came out of Judah’s descendants, and ultimately culminated in Jesus, our eternal king.

Joseph’s Instructions

Some time after Jacob died, Joseph also approached death and called his relatives to hear this instruction.

And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” (Genesis 50:24-25)

I point this out simply because of Joseph’s acknowledgement that the Jews would remain in Egypt until God brought them back to Canaan, and Joseph indicated that by that time his remains would be just bones, e.g. a long period of time hence. We’ll see this request fulfilled when we get to Exodus, the next book in the Bible. However, first we’re going to look at Job’s story.


Job (pronounced ‘jOHb’) was a man living east of Canaan, but was probably contemporaneous with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (c. 2000 B.C.). His story may be historical, or allegorical, and is set in the canon of the Bible at the Bridgepoint between the history books and the wisdom books. The main point of Job is to provide some insight into that age-old question, “How can a good God allow suffering in His people?”

We’ll get into the details of Job’s story next week.

For Further Investigation