Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 28-30


Psalm 28

-Theme: To call upon the LORD in the time of trouble or when hit by wickedness gives us confidence, security, and communion with our God. Relying on Him releases us from guiltiness and sin.

-*Application* Have you ever felt that deafening silence when God seems far away from you and your problems? David shows us that even he, the man after God’s own heart, at times had this same perspective. What did he do when this emotion came upon him? He cried out to Him and praised Him in faith for help. We see here that vengeance is the LORD’s and not our own. David rightly takes his concerns and supplications before the just One who knows the heart of man. We have to realize that our God is our saving defense and Shepherd. Never take matters into your own hands out of anger or spite. Let the LORD handle vindication.

Psalm 29

-Theme: God’s awesome power in nature is described, which should be praised and lauded. The LORD gives that strength to His people with blessed peace.

-*Application* Recognition of greatness is a wise move. It reminds me of the commercials that portray famous individuals going unnoticed in the daily routines of life. What a travesty for us to let God go unnoticed. He is the King of kings and LORD of lords. Ascribe Him the glory due His Name every chance you get.

Psalm 30

-Theme: A celebration of God’s deliverance and grace.

-*Application* Remember to extend your gratefulness to the LORD when He helps you out of despair and tough situations. Sing praise to Him who is the great healer who keeps you in His awesome care. After His corrective discipline comes His favor for a lifetime, and after times of weeping comes shouts of joy. Don’t let the circumstances of this life move you off of the right path. Stay focused on the big picture and the ultimate redemption that we have in Jesus Christ. Thank God for His blessings forever! This chapter to me has a close correlation with the ten lepers that Jesus healed in Luke 17:11-19. Only one came back with thankfulness and he was a despised Samaritan. We are reminded by this story that it is faith that makes us thankful and well. God desires our appreciation and He deserves it.

Verse to Memorize: Psalm 30:5

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 25-27

Psalm 25

-Theme: A prayer for deliverance, pardon, guidance, and patience. As we put our trust in God, He comes through by His compassion, lovingkindness, grace, covenant, and truth.

-*Application* Our soul longs for the LORD’s goodness in this fallen world, which is full of corruption and depravity. We see the contrast of the good and bad and get an insight here in this passage as to what the LORD is looking for in us. He wants to be teachable so He can lead us. He desires our repentance from all sin so that He can forgive and put us on the right path. He leads the humble and teaches them His way. He wants steadfastness and commitment to His covenant and testimonies. He wants us to fear Him for the purpose of our blessing and prosperity and inheritance. In fact the secret of the LORD is found by those who fear Him and keep their eyes continually fixed on His righteousness (Psalms 111:10, Proverbs 1:7; 9:10, Hebrews 12:1-2). He is our refuge and savior in troubled times. In our loneliness and affliction He is there and brings us out of our distress. When we are stayed upon Him, we are never ashamed, but the wicked are ashamed. Three times in this passage we see the word “wait.” The reiteration is calculated and important for us to consider. God expects endurance from us, not an easy fix.

Psalm 26

-Theme: The righteous are vindicated (judged) in their integrity and worship of the Almighty. God extends His redemption, His grace, and His lovingkindness to His beloved. God is the One who tests us and His judgment is just and equitable.

-*Application* David inquires of the LORD to judge (vindicate), examine, try, and test him to see if there is any wicked way. This shows us the great confidence David had in his integrity, which came from a pure heart before the LORD. He was willing to be challenged in righteousness and pay the penalty if sin was found. We see the sincere love of the LORD in this psalm that David had. Truly he hungered and thirsted for the things of God and so should we.

Psalm 27

-Theme: Our help and hope is directly from the LORD. He sustains us in desperate times of evil, war, trouble, loneliness, abandonment, and false accusation. Wait on Him, patience is a virtue.

-*Application* God is our defender and we should never be afraid. He is our light and salvation and we need not dread the future. Take confidence in His promises for you as David did in his times of agony and tribulation. His resting place was in the LORD and so should ours be as well. Consider then the house of the LORD, His beauty, and meditate in His temple. His tabernacle (covering) will conceal and protect you and He will lift you up on a rock. This is true security. For this we can sing and praise the God of the universe. He will not leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5)

Verse to Memorize: Psalm 27:1

Monday, February 27, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 22-24


Psalm 22

-Theme: A prayer that recognizes suffering and rejection, but sees the greater joy on the other side coming out of despair. This is a prayer of hope that sees a better future with the rule of God over the entire earth. This chapter depicts the crucifixion brilliantly as prophetic literature.

-*Application* How often do we find ourselves feeling forsaken and rejected by God and man? David paints this picture of what it truly feels like when this happens in his own life and prophetically in the life of Messiah Jesus as He suffered the shame and humiliation of the crucifixion. Even though we have made the LORD our God there will be times when He tests us with a sense of absence. The Bible tells us that God did this with Hezekiah to know what was in his heart (2 Chronicles 32:31). These times help us know what is in our heart too. Will we become bitter with God when these occurrences take place, or will we draw even closer to Him in trust for a better conclusion? The latter is God’s hope and will. David’s synopsis is accurate when he learns that the afflicted will be satisfied as they seek and praise the LORD for eternal life. We must not get short-sighted with the temporary problems of this present age. One day the righteous will graduate to the Kingdom of God, which is celestial and eternal. So hang in there and keep trusting the LORD.

Psalm 23

-Theme: God is the caring Shepherd and dependable guide. It is essential to follow God and His commands for eternal life and ultimate security. He is our only true hope.

-*Application* Our Shepherd, the LORD, helps us not to want. He gives us contentment and peace in our soul with restoration through His Son and guidance through His Holy Spirit. This is done as a promise of the good Name of the LORD and He will rightfully get the glory. He is our protection in the day of evil and we need not fear because He is with us even in the midst of our enemies. We have been anointed (blessing, ordination) with His supernatural oil (symbol of His Spirit). Our cup overflows with His goodness spilling out onto other people’s lives. We can be assured that goodness and mercy (lovingkindness) will follow us all the days of our lives with the LORD as our Shepherd. And He will lead us to His house to dwell forever!

Psalm 24

-Theme: We should welcome and worship the glorious reign of the LORD because everything has been created by Him and belongs to Him. He is Almighty giving favor and life to the pure and righteous.

-*Application* Here again is the issue of seeking after God with pure motives both in our heart and with our actions (clean hands). This is the requirement to ascend into the hill of the LORD and stand in His holy place. Everything has come under subjection to the LORD and we must recognize His authority if we are to benefit in the great things He has designed for us in fellowship with Him and His glory. He is the King of Glory!

Verses to Memorize: Psalm 22:14; 23:1-6

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 19-21


Psalm 19

-Theme: Both God’s creation (general revelation) and His Word (special revelation) reveal His greatness and truth.

-*Application* God’s power and glory are revealed to every person on the planet through nature, His handiwork. It pours forth speech and reveals knowledge even though it is in some ways silent. This is the debate and question: Can a person come to know God through natural or general revelation alone? Or, does one need His special revelation through the Word and His incarnation, Jesus Christ? David’s answer here leads us to believe that while general revelation can lead us to question who this God is, it is only through His special revelation that we can know Him personally and intimately. He must be sought out, but He is available for knowledge. His law is perfect (blameless). His testimony is sure giving us wisdom. His precepts are right. His commandment is pure enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever. His judgments are true and righteous altogether. He is to be prized more than anything else, gold included. When we submit to His ways our paths become blameless and we will be acquitted. Let the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart be pleasing in His sight. He is your Rock and your Redeemer. In the New Testament, Paul claims that general revelation is enough to condemn mankind (Romans 1:18-25). Therefore, the necessity of evangelism and proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and faith in Him according to the biblical standard is imperative for salvation of the soul.

Psalm 20

-Theme: A prayer for victory in battle acknowledging God’s power should be trusted above all else when faced with challenges of any kind.

-*Application* This prayer has the tone and structure of an intercessor as it uses the second person in the first five verses. It turns to the first person in verses 6-9 and realizes the strength that only God can give His people in the day of trouble. This gives us two things to think about here. First, we need to lift up others when we know they are facing difficulties in life and need our prayers. Take those you love and even your enemies to the LORD and ask His favor and blessing on them. Secondly, we must always realize that it is the LORD who is our hope and rescue. He answers us in the day we call. Boast in His Name alone, not in your own strength and resources.

Psalm 21

-Theme: Giving God the credit and thanks for our victories with an open and grateful heart.

-*Application* Even the one in charge, the king in this passage but it applies to us as well, needs to rejoice and consider the facts that it is the LORD who gives success. Sing unto Him, praise Him, and exalt His Name. It is matchless and glorious! We are nothing without His favor.

Verses to Memorize: Psalm 19:14; 20:7

Friday, February 24, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 16-18

Psalm 16

-Theme: The joys and benefits of those who live in companionship with the LORD. These benefits are both for now and eternity. There is no God besides the LORD. The saints are majestic and are the LORD’s delight. He is our counselor and instructor even during the night. He gives security and will not let His Holy One undergo decay. This is certainly Messianic and points to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

-*Application* Allow the LORD to control your life and be blessed. This does not mean that everything will always go your way. David had plenty of problems and violent attacks during the course of his life (1 Samuel 16-2 Samuel 23). He was rejected and cast off more than once. But, he was steadfast in his devotion to the LORD and knew that God was for him no matter what. This is the comfort he felt and we can too. Turn to Him!

Psalm 17

-Theme: A prayer of David for justice in the face of false accusations and persecution. Realize the true goal in life, which is to know God intimately. The LORD is the true reward and we will see Him one day. He tests us with equity.

-*Application* Always remember the justice and fairness of our God. He gives heed to your righteous cry when you bear your soul to him and give Him praise turning from any wicked way. God’s tests reveal everything, purpose in your heart not to sin against Him. Hold fast to His paths; they are narrow and not many have the guts to follow it. But, the life of faith and perseverance is certainly worth it. We have a refuge in Him against our enemies. He delivers. Awaken to His incredible awesomeness!

Psalm 18

-Theme: Gratitude for deliverance and victory. God is the strength to do right and gives His people the power to be saved from the surrounding evil.

-*Application* Notice the contrast in the beginning personal pronouns in the first person and how it moves to the second and third person, namely God as the chapter progresses. This chapter recognizes the power of our deliverance as coming from the LORD and our personal response to that work that He is doing. We have no excuse. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). David here in this chapter is simply giving the characteristics of what that looks like for us. Some of these characteristics include His: deliverance, refuge, shield, response to our cries, blamelessness, purity, illuminating lamp, strength, gentleness, security, and lovingkindness.

Verse to Memorize: Psalm 16:7

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 13-15

Psalm 13

-Theme: When in distress and despair, continue to trust in God even when he doesn’t answer immediately.

-*Application* God will not hide His face forever from those who continually seek Him in their need and pain (Luke 11:6-13; 18:1-8). God never minimizes our suffering. It is there to draw us closer to Him. This is His purpose in it all. We, like David, should do introspection at these distressful times and take counsel in our soul. See what is really there as far as selfish attitudes and other sin issues. There may or may not be, but we should examine ourselves in difficult times (Psalm 26:2). Ask God for His enlightenment, trust in Him, and sing unto Him the praise which He deserves. Be patient, which is waiting without complaining. He has given us everything we need for eternal salvation. 

Psalm 14

-Theme: It is foolish to say that there is no God. All men have turned away from the LORD; there are none who are righteous. But the LORD will restore the fortunes of those who look to Him and set the captives free!

-*Application* Sin has corrupted every individual who has ever been born of man. This has separated us from the knowledge of God and doomed us to destruction because we are unholy and do no good. We work wickedness in our heart and do not call upon the LORD. Because of these things we dread God and His wrath. The question that arises concerns how to become righteous. Righteousness is an act of turning to God away from our sinful nature by faith in His justification, which comes through accepting His plan of salvation. Namely, the blood of Jesus Christ, God incarnate, who died on the cross to rescue us from all our sin. Believe that He did this for you and that He rose again from the grave because death had no power over Him and you will be saved (Hebrews 9:22, Acts 16:31, Romans 4:20-25; 10:9-10). It is simple really, do it today if you never have. Eternity waits, but will be here before you know it.

Psalm 15

-Theme: Guidelines and virtues for a blameless walk with the LORD after salvation has been realized.

-*Application* David gives us a list of godly traits, which should be observable in the person of God. Take note and apply these to your life. Walk with integrity, work righteousness, speak truth, do not slander, treat your neighbor kindly, despise evil, and honor those who fear God. Keep your word even when it causes pain, do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent. These who do these things will never be shaken.

Verse to Memorize: Psalm 14:1

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes Chapters 10-12

Psalm 10

-Theme: The wicked seem to prosper, but the LORD observes all of it even when He seems to be hiding His face.

-Indicators of the wicked: 1. Pride that chases the afflicted, 2. Boasting of the heart’s desire, 3. Haughty countenance that doesn’t seek God, 4. Disbelief, 5. Fights with his adversaries, 6. Unmovable, 7. Flees from all adversity, 8. Mouth full of cursing, deceit, oppression, mischief, and wickedness, 9. Sits in the hiding (lurking) places of the town stealthily watching for the unfortunate like a lion, 10. Cunning, 11. Thinks God has forgotten and spurns Him.

-The psalmist claims that God’s judgments are on high and out of the wicked man’s sight. The LORD will lift up His hand and remember the afflicted. His eyes see all and will vindicate in righteousness. The LORD will seek out his wickedness and break it until there is none. He is the King forevermore. He hears the desire of the humble and strengthens their heart giving hope to the orphan and the oppressed.

-*Application* Don’t grow weary in well doing person of God (Galatians 6:9). Have patience and watch for the LORD to come and deliver from the madness that may surround you. Flee from evil pursuits and seek justice and righteousness. The LORD knows all things.

Psalm 11

-Theme: God is in control and will provide stability in the midst of distress and panic.

-The LORD is our refuge even though the wicked come in violence.

-“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do (Psalm 11:3)?” *Application* A couple of days ago I heard a 75 year old man lament that he had done nothing back as a young man when “that lady” (referring to Madalyn Murry O’hair) took prayer out of the schools in America. “Now,” he said, “we are paying the price.” It reminds me of the famous quote of Nazi resister Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Like unto it Bonhoeffer says, “The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” Take action to do all you can in love for the cause of Jesus Christ in your generation. Otherwise the foundations will crumble and our society collapses.

-The LORD weighs all things from His Temple, which is His throne in Heaven. He tests the righteous and the wicked. He hates violence and those who love it. Upon the wicked He will rain snares and they will get what they deserve.

-The LORD is righteousness and loves it. “The upright will behold His face (Psalm 11:7).” *Application* Imagine what a beautiful sight that will be when we as His chosen people behold the King of Glory’s face and our faith becomes realized.

Psalm 12

-Theme: Deception verses truth and purity from the LORD. A call for protection from the manipulators

-David cries out for help because he concludes that the godly man ceases to be and the faithful have disappeared.

-He observes that liars and flatters are in control and they are conceited and braggadocios.

-The LORD will arise and set the godly man in safety for which he longs. “The words of the LORD are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times (Psalm 12:6).” God is the preserver of all that is good and will save His people from this evil generation forever.

-*Application* Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; whatever a man sows he will also reap (Galatians 6:7). As Johnny Cash says it, “God’s gonna cut you down” if you stay on the path separated from the Almighty.

Verse to Memorize: Psalm 12:1

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes

Psalm 7

-Theme: A request for justice against those who make slanderous comments. God is the perfect judge and will show His wrath in punishment of the wicked that persecute the innocent.

-Take refuge in the One who saves and delivers. There is no injustice in His hands.

-David wants justice and is willing to be punished himself if he has done any evil against his enemies. He asks the LORD to lift Himself up against the rage of his adversaries in His righteous judgment. *Application* Are we so willing to put ourselves on the line like this in regard to our character and motivations? David challenges us to live in such a way that we are blameless before the LORD.

-Remember to read these passages with a Messianic mindset. These are thoughts that Christ would have more than likely been meditating on during His incarnation. These were His Scriptures.

-The cry is for vindication according to his righteousness. God is portrayed correctly as the righteous Judge. He is a shield who saves the upright in heart.

-“If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword (Revelation 19:11-16).” *Application* God’s grace only extends to the repentant. His wrath is the just reward for insubordination and rebellion. God does have His enemies. Warning! Don’t be one of them.

-Man’s nature is depicted, which travails with wickedness, conceives mischief, and brings forth falsehood. This will all be taken into account by the all-knowing God and will return on his head if he doesn’t turn from his sin. Because of this, David sings his praise to this righteous God and lifts up His Most High Name. In other words, He turns to God and so should we.

Psalm 8

-The continuation of praise to the Majestic Name of the LORD whose splendor is displayed above the heavens is lauded. God is strong and His greatness assures the worth of mankind is the theme of this chapter.

-Consider the works of the fingers of God, the moon, the stars, which He has ordained. *Application* Don’t forfeit the opportunity to go out to a dark place on a starry night and worship the Creator and all His glory. It is an amazing experience. Be still and know that He is God.

-“What is man that You have taken thought of him (Psalm 8:4)?” God somehow cares for us, His creation and has made us as humans, crowned with glory and majesty, just a little lower than Himself. *Application* This enforces the fact that we are the pinnacle of His creation and He dearly loves us and wants relationship with us.

-Man has dominion over the creation and his chief purpose is to praise the LORD and give Him glory.

Psalm 9

-The theme in this chapter is that God never ignores our cries for help.

-The victorious Psalmist gives thanks to the LORD with all his heart. He will tell and declare the LORD’s wonders and be glad to exalt His Name. God has maintained the cause of the just.

-The LORD abides forever and is established as King over all in righteous judgment. He executes His dominion with equity and is a stronghold for the oppressed in times of trouble. “Those who know Your Name will put their trust in You” and they who seek Him will not be forsaken (Psalm 9:10). *Application* How great is our God! He is our deliverer from the oppression of this wicked world and will take us in for protection and comfort. Give Him glory!

-God will not forsake those who seek Him. His grace is sufficient and He sees the affliction that comes from the haters. God is the One who lifts the faithful up from the gates of death. *Application* Our only hope for salvation rests in the LORD. He is mighty to save through the work of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). Rejoice in this great salvation!

-The LORD has made Himself known. There is no excuse for mankind. The wayward of the nations sink into the pit and snare, which they have made. *Application* Don’t ever forget that it is the grace of God that saves you. Our fear should be in the LORD and not man. Fear of man will bring a snare (Proverbs 29:25). Our trust must be in the LORD alone, the Savior of our souls.

Verses to Memorize: Psalm 8:1; 9:13

Monday, February 20, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes

Psalm 4

-God is our relief in troubled times and around evil. *Application* We should call to Him to hear our prayer and be gracious towards us. He will attend the righteous.

-*Application* Don’t love what is worthless and aim at deception.

-The LORD has set apart (sanctified) the godly man for Himself. The LORD hears when we call upon Him. *Application* Cry out to Jesus!

-Tremble denotes fear and reverence before God in verse four. Do not sin. This is simply said, hard to practice.

-Offer the gift of righteous before God. *Application* It is not the sacrifices of anything else that God wants. Give Him your trust and your life (Romans 12:1,2).

-*Application* God is the One who puts gladness in our heart. He is the peace giver that gives us rest and safety. Rely on His Word. Shalom!

Psalm 5

-*Application* God is to be beseeched in times of heartache and distress. Groans are considered by the Almighty. He is merciful. He will heed. Pray to Him.

-David says he will pray in the morning and then eagerly watch for God to move on his behalf. *Application* We also should begin our day with this supplication before the LORD. Then ask Him where we will see Him at work through the day. Be specific with God. He is a God of details and knows every facet of your life.

-God does not take pleasure in wickedness (Ezekiel 33:11). No evil thought, motive, or intent dwell in the LORD. *Application* God is good all the time. He is holy and righteous, merciful, and gracious towards us as we turn to Him.

-“The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes (Psalm 5:5).” God is a hater of sin and inquity. He will eventually destroy those who are liars, violent, and deceitful, but He shows His lovingkindness to the ones who come to Him. They are the ones who will enter His house and give Him reverence. *Application* Bow before the LORD with your whole being and turn from all wicked ways. You will find rest for your soul in a loving God who forgives.

-God’s direction and guidance is considered. He is the One who can make a straight path and keep one righteous (Proverbs 3:5,6). *Application* Lean of God, not your own understanding.

-*Application* We cannot rely on ungodly people. They are destruction, an open grave, and flatter with their tongue. They will be held guilty by the Almighty and in their own devices they will fall and be thrust out. They are rebellious against God.

-*Application* On the other hand, the ones who take refuge in God will be glad and sing for joy. Their exultation is in the LORD for His blessing is from Him alone and He surrounds with favor like a shield.

Psalm 6

-A cry for mercy begins the chapter. *Application* We all need God’s mercy at times. How comforting to realize He is gracious when our sin has taken us far from Him. He heals even in our greatest times of need and dismay when we turn to Him.

-David asks the question, “how long (Psalm 6:3)?” *Application* David is always honest with God and so can we. There is nothing to hide from the One who knows it all anyway. It is because of his relationship with God that this true exchange can take place. David knows in faith that God is there and cares.

-David longs for the LORD’s return and rescue and salvation. *Application* How many times are we now found begging for the Lord Jesus Christ’s second coming and rescue from this present distress, which is in the world?

-David compares his faithful salvation to the hopeless of a unrighteous death in what he calls Sheol, where there is separation from God and no remembrance of Him. This is a horrible concept to consider if there is no Savior.

-Now there is more honesty with God as the Psalmist cries out with sighing, constant tears, and debilitating grief, which has become old because of his adversaries. David wants them to depart who do iniquity and his faith is displayed here as he sees the LORD will hear his prayer, supplication, and weeping. All his enemies will be dismayed and ashamed and will turn back. *Application* God is our rescue. We see David praying these imprecatory prayers often because of the unrighteousness he sees. God hates sin and so can we.

Verse to Memorize: Psalm 4:3

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Psalms Bible Study Notes

Psalm 1

-If we want God’s blessing the Psalmist here list three things to consider.

1. Don’t walk in the counsel of the wicked. On the other get advice and direction from the righteous and the Word of God. *Application* Who are we listening to for help in life? God tells us to trust in Him and His ways. His Word is sufficient for all things. Give Him top priority and preeminence; He deserves it.

2. Don’t stand in the path of sinners. Theirs is the wide road that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). We must step aside of the way of the world, turn and follow God. His way is the way that leads to life eternally. *Application* Switchfoot’s song I Dare You to Move is a picture of what this looks like in our lives. Jon Foreman says, “The tension is here, between who you are and who you could be, between how it is and how it should be.” Getting out of the path of sinners takes courage and repentance, of letting go of sin by turning away from and trusting in the LORD to make things right and keep things right.

3. Don’t sit in the seat of scoffers. Many people will mock God. Do not give ear to this blasphemy and sacrilege. It is the spirit of anti-christ and will lead to distruction. *Application* Get away from influences that destroy the authority of God in your life. Evil company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33). Media is especially a threat in our modern age. Turn off worthless things; they should not be before your eyes (Psalm 101:3).

-On the other hand, delight in the law of the LORD. His law is pure and perfect. We should meditate on the things God desires from His creation. When Jesus was asked which law was the greatest, He summed up all the law and the prophets with two items. Love God with all you’ve got and love people as much as you love yourself (Matthew 22:37-49). *Application* Keep these two commandments in mind always and you will not go astray.

-Delighting and meditating on the law of the LORD will firmly plant you by the Source of strength and will keep you filled with what you need for a prosperous and fulfilling life. This is not to say you will never encounter difficulties or have persecution, but you will have the peace of God, which surpasses our understanding (Philippians 4:7).

-The wicked will pass away. They will not endure. They are compared to chaff (dried out stalks of wheat) that are useless for nutrition. They will not stand in the judgment and will not partake in God’s righteous assembly in Heaven. They will perish. *Application* Which category are you in today? Turn and make God your hope and delight.

Psalm 2

-The nations come against the LORD and His anointed (Christ) trying to tear them apart and destroy them. The LORD laughs and scoffs at their inability to achieve this. The picture of a dad laughing at his three year old son who thinks he can beat him up comes to mind. It is ludicrous to conceive and causes laughter.

-God’s laughter however will turn to anger and fury. He will not be usurped and His holy mountain, Zion, is secure. His Son will inherit the nations and His kingdom extends to the very ends of the earth. He will break them with a rod of iron (Revelation 19:15) and shatter them of their power.

-Therefore, the wise will take warning and show discernment to worship the LORD with reverence, rejoicing with trembling, paying the Son homage, and taking refuge in Him.

-*Application* This is no doubt a Messianic psalm with important implications. As you read the Psalms, always keep Christ in mind as to your interpretation of these passages.

Psalm 3

-David is fleeing from his son Absalom in this Psalm. His adversaries have increased because of his sin. David has repented and has come clean, but the effects of his sin still remain. But his heart after God guarantees that the LORD will deliver and be his shield. He cries out to God and gets answers. He lays down and sleeps for the LORD sustains him. He will not be afraid of the enemy, because God is on his side and forgives. Salvation belongs to the LORD and blessing for His people.

-*Application* Fear can grip us if we do not trust in the LORD at all times, especially when enemies seem to be encompassing around us. Cast all your care on God because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)

Verses to Memorize: Psalm 1:1-2

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 50


Genesis 50

-Joseph falls on his departed father’s face and kissed him and wept over him. He had him embalmed as one of the greats of Egypt, which took 40 days. The Egyptians wept over him as a people for 70 days. This indicates their reverence for this father of their savior, Joseph. We can see evidence here of this family’s importance in one of the great empires of the world.

-When the days of mourning were past, Joseph approaches Pharaoh for permission to carry out his promise to his dad for a proper burial with his fathers in Canaan. Pharaoh readily and graciously gives him this consent with all of Pharaoh’s servants going with him along with the elders of Egypt. Joseph’s entire household and brothers and his father’s household went up as well to bury their father. Only the little ones were left and their flocks and herds in the land of Goshen.

-They go up with chariots and horsemen in a very large company and come across the Jordan to the threshing floor of Atad where they mourned and lamented for seven days for Israel. The Canaanites of the land observed this great lamentation and called the place Abel-mizraim since it was a great place of grievous mourning for the Egyptians. Israel is carried to his fathers’ burial spot at Machpelah. Then Joseph and the company return to Egypt.

-Joseph’s brothers now fear their revenge will come and plead before him on their father’s words for forgiveness. They tell him that Israel knew of their doing him wrong and for him to be gracious and merciful to them. Whether or not this is true could be debated. Israel would have had ample opportunity to relate this to Joseph himself. Therefore, it could be reasonably concluded that they were lying to save their rear end, but on the other hand, they may have been speaking the truth. The Bible does not clearly reveal this matter either way. Whatever the case, Joseph does have a forgiving heart and weeps when he hears this. The brothers once again fall down before him as his servants, but Joseph is quick to tell them he is not God and for them not to fear him at all. Then he makes one of the most profound statements in Scripture, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive (Genesis 50:20).” He promises to provide for them and their families and puts them at ease speaking kindly to them. *Application* Obviously this has Messianic themes and proposes in the forgiving spirit. It also challenges us with what theologians call “Theodicy.” This quite simply is the defense of God’s goodness despite the existence of evil. We should at this point remember that God is totally righteous and works for our deliverance and salvation despite what any form of evil brings against us. God is the One who is for us; it does not make good sense to get angry at Him when bad things happen. He is not the One to blame. He allows it because He has given free choice on the part of angels (at least to some degree in some point in time) and man. This free choice has deviated creation, as we clearly observe in the world, from His good will and intention. God tries simply to bring us, the pinnacle of His creation, back into proper relationship with Him at all points for our benefit. Trust Him today!

-Joseph lives 110 years and sees the third generation of both of his sons. He challenges his posterity to remember God’s promises for their return one day to the land of Canaan and he implores them with an oath to carry his bones up from Egypt when they go.

Verse to memorize: Genesis 50:20

Friday, February 17, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 49

Genesis 49

-Jacob summons his boys for a word of prophecy and blessing over them before he passes away into eternity.

-Reuben, the first born or his father’s strength, is uncontrolled as water (what a great illustrative depiction) and will not have preeminence because he went up to his father’s bed and defiled it with Bilhah (Genesis 35:22). *Application* Sin always has consequences that take us down a road of sorrow and pain further than we could ever imagine. The sin that may not seem that great at the time and void of problems always finds its day of reckoning. When we sin, we need to confess and repent and beg the LORD for grace by the blood of Jesus. He will forgive, but sin always has consequences. Never forget that.

-Simeon and Levi are grouped together as violent men who deserve no right to council since in their anger they slew (murdered) men. They are rebuked for their self-will, a theme that will run throughout Scripture. Their anger is cursed for it is cruel and they will be dispersed in Israel. Simeon is one of the ten lost tribes and Levi becomes the priestly class that has no land inheritance.

-Judah is praised by his father and his brothers and is given preeminence. He is the lion’s whelp (unweaned cub) who is courageous and victorious in battle. The scepter shall not depart from Judah, which is fulfilled with David and his promise of an eternal Kingdom by the LORD (2 Samuel 7:11-13). Shiloh (The One to whom it belongs) refers to the Messiah, which is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, son of David from the tribe of Judah. “He shall have the obedience of the peoples” refers to the eternal Kingdom of our LORD and will be fully realized in the millennium (Revelation 20:4). There are predictions for the time of Messiah’s coming in this section. The tying of the donkey’s colt to a choice vine means that Messiah will come in a time of prosperity (Roman period and time of Herod the Great). A donkey is free to eat the grapes off of the vine that is choice, which indicates that there is plenty and no need to worry about sustenance. The washing of his garments in wine could refer to the blood that was shed for the remission of mankind’s sins by the Savior (Matthew 26:27-28).

-Zebulun will dwell at the seashore and be a haven for ships. Trade will be his forte.

-Issachar is a strong donkey in a pleasant land bearing burdens and becoming a slave at forced labor.

-Dan will be a judge of his people (this occurs in the north of the land of promise) as one of the tribes. He though is a serpent, or sneaky-deceitful one, that causes problems and strife.

-There is an interesting interlude after Dan’s prophecy referring to the salvation that the LORD will bring. This salvation must be waited for in patience. *Application* It seems the chosen of God are always dealing with a waiting aspect where there is hope and expectation amidst trouble. It is here where faith is evident.

-Gad will be raided and will himself be a raider.

-Asher will have rich food and yield royal dainties in the land he will inherit.

-Naphtali is a doe let loose, which refers to his being let loose from the west to the south in the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 33:23). He gives beautiful words.

-Joseph is the fruitful son and indeed gets a double portion. He was attacked and harassed, but his strength prevailed and he was agile (flexible). From his father Jacob comes the Shepherd and Stone of Israel. Joseph resembles this One who is to come. *Application* There are many similarities between the Messiah and His work compared to the life of Joseph: 1. Their fathers loved them dearly, 2. They shepherded their father’s sheep, 3. They were sent by their father to their brothers, 4. They were hated by their brothers, 5. Others plotted to harm them, 6. They were tempted, 7. They were taken to Egypt, 8. Robes were taken from them, 9. They were sold for a price, 10. They were bound in chains, 11. They were falsely accused, 12. They were placed with two identifiable prisoners, one was saved the other was lost, 13. Both were 30 years old when their public ministry began, 14. They were both exalted after suffering, 15. They forgave those who wronged them, 16. They saved their nation and world, 17. What people did to hurt them God used for good.

-Joseph is blessed by the LORD and will have blessings of the womb. He receives the blessing of his father beyond his ancestors with the everlasting hills of his homeland and he is distinguished among his brothers.

-Benjamin is declared a ravenous wolf that devours the prey and divides the spoil.

-Jacob now implores them one last time to bury him back in Canaan where his fathers were buried. He draws his feet up into his bed and breathes his last breath on earth and was gathered to his people. *Application* Israel’s story is now completed. God took this deceiver and transformed him into the namesake of a great people that would change the course of human history. God was with him and turned his sorrow into joy. God’s plan was alive and active as it still is today.

Verse to memorize: Genesis 49:10

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 48

Genesis 48

-Jacob was now near the point of death and became sick. Joseph was told and he came to his father with his sons, Manasseh the older and Ephraim the younger. Jacob collected his strength and sat up in his bead for this occasion and spoke with his son recounting the LORD’s appearing to him at Luz (Bethel) in the land of Canaan (Genesis 28:12-19; 35:6-12) and His blessings that were promised to him. Those promises included fruitfulness in descendents that were too numerous to count, nations of people, and the land as an everlasting possession.

-Jacob claims Joseph’s boys as his own, which would lead to them having sections of land in the Promised Land 400 years later when they arrived back in Canaan as an inheritance. Thus Jacob gave Joseph one more portion than his brothers, which he took from the Amorite with military conquest (Genesis 48:22).

-The sons are brought before him but he cannot see them because of his old age. He kissed them and embrace them knowing that his time on earth was short. Now was the time to give them his blessing. He recounts the joy of being able to see his son Joseph’s face again after thinking he was dead for many years. God had blessed him even further by allowing him to see his grandchildren. Joseph bowed before his father in reverence taking his sons before him to give for the blessing. Manasseh was to go towards Jacob’s right hand and Ephraim to his left, but Jacob crossed his hands to anoint the younger over the older.

-The blessing to Joseph is important here. Jacob claims his God before whom his fathers Abraham and Isaac walked. He gives the LORD credit for being his Shepherd for all his life and the Angel who redeemed him from all evil. This denotes relationship on the part of Israel to the Living God. Here in this passage we can see the utter dependence he had on the Holy One to save him and lead him through his life’s journey. *Application* This same God is available to us today in an even more powerful way. We now have His full revelation through His Son Jesus Christ and have been given His Holy Spirit as a seal for our redemption (Ephesians 4:30) and One who is in us to give us His strength for living everyday life in His power. This has happen because of His new covenant with us ratified in the blood of Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 31:31, Luke 22:20, Hebrews 8; 9; 12:24).

-Now the blessing of the lads comes as Jacob’s name will live on in them along with Abraham and Isaac. They will grow into a multitude of peoples in the earth. When Joseph sees that his father had put his right hand on Ephraim instead of the older Manasseh, it displeased him and he tried to correct it. However, Jacob refused and gave priority to Ephraim even though Manasseh is certainly blessed and will have a multitude of nations (peoples).

-Israel then said to Joseph, “Behold, I am about to die, but God will be with you, and bring you back to the land of your fathers (Genesis 48:21).” Joseph eventually would be brought back (Genesis 50:25, Exodus 13:19, Joshua 24:32). *Application* We know that God has had His hand on Joseph from the very beginning of this saga and has guided him through many trials and tribulations toward the completion of a very important deliverance. God will continue to be with Joseph and us as we trust in His providence to guide.

Verse to memorize: Genesis 48:21

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 47

Genesis 47

-Joseph goes in before Pharaoh and informs him that his father and brothers are now in the land of Goshen and five of them are presented to Pharaoh. Pharaoh asks their occupation and after finding out that they are shepherds he gives them the best of the land and wants any capable men to be put in charge of his own livestock.

-Joseph brings his father Jacob before Pharaoh and Jacob blessed him. Pharaoh asks how old he is and Jacob replies that he is 130 years old, few and unpleasant have been the years of his life in his own estimation in comparison to his fathers.

-So Israel’s family settles in Egypt, in the land of Goshen, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had ordered them. Joseph continues to provide everything they need for sustenance and well being.

-The earth now becomes a wasteland with no source of food as the famine intensifies. First, the people sell their livestock in exchange for food to the Pharaoh under Joseph’s care. Then, in the next year, the people have to give up their land and even themselves just to survive. Pharaoh now owns them and they set up a long enduring system of indebtedness where Egypt gets 1/5 of the produce of the land. People are moved to the cities in great quantity throughout the borders of the land except for the priests who had an allotment from Pharaoh. The people are thankful for this salvation of their lives during this time and willing become Pharaoh’s slaves.

-Now Israel lived in Goshen and acquired property in it and the family became fruitful and very numerous. God’s chosen people were prospering during a very difficult time period thanks to the LORD’s providence and Joseph’s obedience. *Application* In our tough economic times in which we live, God still can and will bless His chosen people who stay true to Him and obey what He is telling them to do. It may not even make rational sense sometimes, but God will direct our paths and give us what we need not only to survive, but to thrive!

-Jacob lives another 17 years in Egypt to the ripe old age of 147. He had lived a life full of grief and disappointment up until his sojourn down to Egypt, but here in a foreign land the LORD blessed him and took care of him the last portion of his earthly existence. He was revived by the company of his beloved son Joseph, whom he had thought to be dead, and he enjoyed some excellent golden years it appears from the biblical text. He asks Joseph near the time of his passing to bury him back in Machpelah near Mamre in the land of Canaan with his fathers. Joseph agrees to do this in the traditional hand under the thigh oath. Joseph deals with his father in kindness and truth as he was asked to do. *Application* We need to be people of our word. Can people count on the words which we say?

Verse to memorize: Genesis 47:27

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 45 & 46

Genesis 45

-Joseph cannot keep up the charade any longer and sends everyone away but his brothers to reveal himself to them weeping so loudly that the Egyptians heard it with the news even reaching the household of Pharaoh. The Bible tell us that his brothers were greatly disturbed (the sense of the word here would probably be terrified) at, literally, his face. This could mean his appearance stunned them, which it obviously would have. But, I think it indicates the realization to them of Joseph’s power and authority over their lives at this point and how the dreams had come true with justice coming around full circle under the providence of Almighty God.

-At this point Joseph’s grace and mercy shine through as he tells them to come closer to him in a demonstration of kindness and welcome. He told them not to be grieved or angry with themselves because of their deeds in selling him as a slave. The reason was clear now. God had sent Joseph ahead to preserve their lives. The famine was two years in and there would be five more lean years, which would have destroyed the Abrahamic line had not these providential things occurred. This is what Joseph calls, “a great deliverance (Genesis 45:7).” *Application* Jesus is the great Deliverer. He is the one who rescues us from spiritual depravity and offers us new life in Him. Trust His grace and mercy immediately if you have not already.

-Joseph reassures them by stating that it was actually not them who sent him to Egypt, but God. Joseph indeed sees the hand of the LORD in all his life’s dealings and knows that nothing happens apart from His divine and overarching will. *Application* This should be a source of great comfort for our lives. At times life can seem very unfair, complicated, and chaotic, but those who trust in the LORD and are called according to His purpose will have everything turn out good in the end (Romans 8:28). That is a promise of God, which releases us from fear, anxiety, and earthly tension.

-Joseph and his brothers have a sweet reunion at this point as he tells them not to delay in bringing his father’s entire household to Goshen in Egypt for sustenance and prosperity. He weeps with them in loving embrace and they kissed with brotherly affection. The news pleased Pharaoh and he instructs nothing but the best for them in getting the family down to a place of safety during the famine.

-As they depart to get their father and the rest of the family Joseph gives them this advice, “Do not quarrel on the journey (Genesis 45:24).” Joseph knows his brothers and human nature well. This to me is humorous that after all they had been through and were going to undertake, the spoiled little brat brother is the one who is trying to unify them. Spiritually it is awesome to see the progression and maturity of this great man of faith. His leadership skills are very apparent. *Application* Unity is key in any endeavor. We must learn to work together under the direction of the LORD and not quarrel and fight all the time. This has to do with our attitudes and words, which have a tremendous impact on others.

-Joseph’s brothers return to Hebron and bring the incredible news to their father that Joseph is alive and ruling in Egypt. This news obviously stuns Jacob and he does not believe them at first. This family has been known to tell a lie or two J. When Jacob sees the wagons and gifts that the brothers brought from Egypt, his spirit revived and he exclaimed with renewed hope and vigor, “It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die (Genesis 45:28).” *Application* Isn’t it awesome to hear great news? We can all imagine the thrill that went through this old patriarch’s spirit when he heard his son, whom he thought was dead, was alive. Sometimes a good word of hope is all it takes to get a person kick started on their way to great and incredible things. Be a bearer of good tidings wherever you go.

-I was wondering as I read this chapter whether or not Jacob ever got the full story of what happened to get Joseph down to Egypt for the earthly salvation of his family. I wonder if the brothers ever came clean in honesty and confession, or if they took those events and hid them from their father, as children will sometimes do, until the end of his life. In my pondering of this dilemma, I believe they never told him. To my knowledge the Scripture never states that he knew of the brothers selling Joseph into slavery. Thus, Israel had more incentive to bless Judah with the Messianic promise at the end of his life (Genesis 37:26-27; 49:10). Who knows?

Verse to memorize: Genesis 45:28


Genesis 46 

-Israel sets out with all he had and came to Beersheba, where he offered a sacrifice unto the LORD of his father Isaac. God reveals Himself to Israel again here in visions of the night instructing him not to be afraid and to go ahead down to Egypt. God promised he would surely bring him back up again to Canaan and that Joseph would close his eyes (be with him in his time of death). They go on to the land of Goshen.

-The record of all the family is listed. There were 66 people in all who went down to Egypt and there they met up with Joseph’s four in his family to make 70. There would be an estimated million or so when they left Egypt 400 years later.

-Judah, the brother of surety, is sent ahead to point them to Goshen and get Joseph. Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel in a magnificent reunion. As soon as he appeared before him, he fell on his neck and wept for a long time. *Application* Seeing someone we love dearly after a long absence is one of the great joys in life. The old saying is true, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

-Joseph instructs his family to maintain their identity as shepherds and keepers of livestock. The reason for this is simple. The Egyptians loathed shepherds, which would keep Israel’s people distinct in the land of Goshen. This becomes a trademark of Jewish people as the LORD keeps them separated for His salvific purposes.

Verse to memorize: Genesis 46:29

Monday, February 13, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 44

Genesis 44

-Joseph commands that his brother’s sacks be filled with as much grain as they could carry and each man’s money was returned to them in the mouth of the sack. He also had his house steward put his silver cup in Benjamin’s bag because he had a plan to retrieve them probably in an effort to keep his younger, biological brother.

-It is fascinating and perplexing the references to this cup as being used for divination (Genesis 44:5, 15). Divination is clearly outlawed in the Law of the LORD (Deuteronomy 18:9-13, 1 Samuel 15:23, 2 Kings 17:17; 21:6, Jeremiah 14:14, Acts 16:16) It is reasonable to say that Joseph is using these statements as a gimmick to play his role as the Egyptian so that they would not suspect him to be their brother. Why Joseph carried this play acting out to such an extent is unknown and should be considered a sin on his part again in the realm of dishonesty. Joseph would not have ever needed an omen like this silver cup to predict the future because of his relationship with God. He had already clearly and courageously stated that every interpretation belongs to the LORD (Genesis 40:8; 41:16).

-The brothers are of course dumbfounded when they are questioned about the cup and welcome any search for the missing item. They agree to the grievous nature of stealing from this high official and the penalty of slavery if caught never suspecting that it would be Benjamin who would be found with the good.

-When the cup is found in Benjamin’s bag, the brothers tear their clothes as a sign of terrible anguish and returned to the city worried and afraid. They fall to the ground before Joseph and plead mercy.

-It is here that Judah takes his stand as one of the greats of the sons of Israel. He takes the responsibility for his brother as he said he would do (Genesis 43:8-9). He relates the story of his old father and how news of Benjamin becoming a slave in Egypt would more than likely destroy the earthly life of Israel in sorrow. Judah claims his surety for the lad, Benjamin, and wants to bear the blame for his supposed misconduct for the fear that evil would overtake his father if his youngest son did not return. *Application* We see heroic action here on the part of Judah in wanting to take the punishment for his brother. The giving of his life, the innocent for the guilty, is the mark of the Messianic line, which he would be blessed with soon (Genesis 49:10). When Shiloh comes, Jesus tells that there is no greater love than that one give his life for his friends (John 15:13). This self-sacrificing attitude should not only be demonstrated by our Savior, but us as well. Who are you willing to lay your life and good times down to?

-One final thought, Israel is referred to as the servant of Joseph three times in this passage (Genesis 44:24, 27, 30). This is simply fulfillment of the prophetic dream of Joseph in Genesis 37:9-11).

Verse to memorize: Genesis 44:32

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 43

Genesis 43

-Israel and his family were not quick in returning to Egypt to get Simeon, the ransomed brother. The hesitation was the issue of taking Benjamin away and the uncertainty of his well being. But the famine got so severe in the land of Canaan that drastic measures had to be considered and acted upon. The decision to go back to buy a little food was finally made simply because their food had run out and the prospect of starvation was very real.

-There is an interesting discussion between Israel and his sons as they communicate on the return requirements laid down by “the man” (Joseph unbeknownst to them). Israel doesn’t understand why they didn’t lie about the reality of their youngest brother. *Application* Honesty is always the best policy. If the brothers would have lied about their youngest brother, Joseph would have been aware of their deception anyway. What we think is a way out usually simply is not. We need to trust God with the facts of the matter and receive His just rewards.

-The trend of dishonesty continues to run through the textual tread and storyline in this patriarchal family. It seems as if the deceptive nature never ends, which further clarifies for us the fallen nature of man and the righteous of God to be faithful to the unfaithful.

-Israel’s sons make a good case for their forthright answers to “the man,” and Judah steps forward and puts his life on the line for the surety of his younger brother, Benjamin. This is our first indication of the greatness of this all important son of Israel who would carry the Messianic line. There seems to have been a spiritual change in Judah to bring him to this point where he would be willing to lay down his life for the security and well being of another. He takes on the responsibility for his brother’s safety and will take the blame. The theological and prophetical implications of this event cannot be overstated. This is HUGE! It sets up the blessing upon his life in Genesis 49:8-12. *Application* At this point let us review an important equation. Fear of God + Trusting in Him + Obedience to Him = Blessings of the LORD. I believe Judah realized all these important elements at this point of his life and you can too!

-Israel reluctantly agrees to send them back with Benjamin when he sees no other better option. He has come to the end of himself and is bereaved. He calls upon the LORD for compassion and gives them double the money (to pay back for the sums of money put back in their original bags). He provides the best gifts available and sends them off on their trip.

-The scene shifts back down to Egypt as the brothers stand once again before Joseph without recognizing who he actually is. Joseph has a feast prepared for them and puts them at ease of their guilty consciences and fears. *Application* People with the propensity for deception live in constant fear of getting caught. Oh that we would realize the peace of mind of living in our integrity and trust in the LORD to provide in all situations. God never fails and rescues His righteous ones.

-Joseph is careful to find out about the well being of their father, and the brothers bow before him in homage (fulfillment of the prophetic dreams, Genesis 37:5-11). There is also an emotional reuniting with his biological brother Benjamin, but Joseph has to hide his face because the time has not yet come to reveal himself to them. He composes himself for the feast and dines with them to their amazement. Benjamin is given a portion five times greater than his brothers, but all ate and drank freely.

Verse to memorize: Genesis 43:30

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 42

Genesis 42

-The scene shifts back to Canaan and Jacob’s desperate decision to send ten of his sons to Egypt to buy grain for their survival. God had providentially provided for them and others through the dreams of Pharaoh and the interpretations with wisdom of Joseph.

-Upon their arrival, Joseph immediately recognizes his brothers but disguises himself so that they cannot make him out as their brother. He now is speaking another language and he successfully hides his identity. What a shock and surprise this must have been to Joseph in some respects as his brothers pleaded their cause before him as subservients, but he remembered his dreams and everything began to come together in his righteous mind. God’s plan was becoming apparent.

-It is interesting to note how often Joseph’s ten brothers claim they are “honest men” in the conversations they have. There is perceived skepticism from Joseph as to their truthfulness (for good reason). The virtue of honesty continues to weave its thematic web through the narrative as Joseph accuses them of being spies coming against Egypt.

-Joseph has them put in prison for three days, but then tells them he fears God and will test them to see if they are honest men by sending them back with grain to their household on the condition that one of them stays confined in prison until the youngest brother is brought back to him as proof of their story.

-The ten brothers say to one another, “Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore this distress has come upon us (Genesis 42:21).” Reuben reminds them of his position back when of not wanting them to sin against the boy and fears the reckoning that is now occurring over his brother’s blood (he is assuming as they all have that Joseph has died). Joseph of course understands everything they are saying even though he is still disguising himself and has an interpreter with him. He turns away from them and weeps. *Application* This is the point of forgiveness, and restoration begins in this all important biblical family. We also need to come to the point in our lives where we see the sin that we have committed and it’s just consequences. We need to turn from our sin and back toward what we know is right in the eyes of God. This is true biblical repentance and is the first step in calling upon the LORD in faith (Acts 3:19; 20:21; 26:20, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10, and many more).

-Simeon is then bound before their eyes and Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain along with all the money they had given for their product. This is discovered on their journey back to Canaan and it made their hearts sink because they felt like someone was setting them up and God was against them.

-They return home to their father Jacob and tell him all that occurred in Egypt. Jacob is distressed but Reuben assures him that Benjamin will be taken care of by him for his return. This is a promise of surety and Judah actually is the one who fulfills it (Genesis 44:32). *Application* This matter of surety is a guarantee. It is the same type of promise our LORD gives Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for His plan of salvation through the Messiah. These are looking forward in faith to the One, Jesus Christ, who is able to take their sins and make them pure before the God of the universe (for more insight on this see… Beach, J. Mark. Christ and the Covenant: Francis Turretin's Federal Theology as a Defense of the Doctrine of Grace. Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2007).

Verse to memorize: Genesis 42:3

Friday, February 10, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 41

Genesis 41

-In this chapter we see the turning point in Joseph’s life. In the land of his affliction, he is raised up and given incredible honor and power because of the LORD his God.

-Two full years after the cupbearer was released, Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret. He was standing by the Nile and seven sleek and fat cows came up from it grazing in the marsh grass. Then seven ugly and emaciated cows came up and ate the healthy cows. Then Pharaoh had a second dream. Seven ears of grain came up on a single stalk that were plump and good. After this seven thin ears scorched by the east wind sprouted up. When Pharaoh awoke, his spirited was troubled and he sought in vain for answers in all the land.

-It was at this point that the cupbearer related his experience when Pharaoh was furious with him and put him in prison where he met Joseph, the interpreter of his dream that came true. He also recounted what happened with the chief baker and the hanging.

-Pharaoh immediately calls for Joseph and after a shave and change of clothes he came before the king of Egypt. Pharaoh speaks of his reputation as an interpreter of dreams. Joseph’s response once again reveals his Godly character. He says, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer (Genesis 41:16).” *Application* God will eventually lift up His servants and those who will give Him ultimate glory.

-Joseph interprets the dreams and reveals that God is showing Pharaoh what is about to take place in the next fourteen years with seven years of blessing and prosperity followed by seven years of famine and incredible worldwide need. The dream was given twice because the matter was determined by God and would happen quickly. Joseph recommends actions to be taken in preparation for the seven lean years and Pharaoh fully supports his ideas.

-In fact Pharaoh is so supportive and realizes that Joseph has the Divine Spirit within him that he places him as second in command in the whole nation with the signet ring, garments of fine linen and the golden necklace. He had Joseph ride in his second chariot and made the people pay him homage.

-Joseph has charge of all the taxation of food in the country and he goes about faithfully fulfilling his duties just as he had done in Potiphar’s house and the jail where he was incarcerated. The Pharaoh had shown great faith and trust in the words of Joseph as to the interpretation of the dream. Pharaoh obviously took the matter seriously and responded as the LORD would have desired. It is unclear if this Pharaoh had a relationship with God, but he no doubt has a great respect for the things of God and acts in accordance to the LORD’s will for the salvation of many lives. For this he is to be highly commended.

-Joseph is given an Egyptian name, Zaphenath-paneah (possibly the Egyptian term for God speaks; He lives). He is also given a wife, Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On (Heliopolis). Before the famine came, Joseph had two sons, Manasseh “making to forget,” and Ephraim “fruitfulness.” God had made him forget all his trouble and his father’s household and made him fruitful in the land of his affliction. These names of his sons represent the faithfulness of God to His servant even in difficult circumstances. *Application* Stay faithful and true to a faithful and true God. He will deliver and rescue.

-The famine comes just as prophesied and people begin to cry out for food and sustenance. Now Joseph opens up all the storehouses in the cities where he had collected. He had authority over all of this from Pharaoh to sell to whomever he chose. The peoples of all the earth came to him because there was food in Egypt. *Application* God works His plan and favors His people in every situation. Trust Him and do not give up hope.

Verse to memorize: Genesis 41:16

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 40

Genesis 40

-Joseph finds himself joined by the cupbearer and baker of the king of Egypt, who had gotten furious with them and put them in the prison of the captain of the bodyguard, Potiphar. Joseph had charge over them as the caretaker and they were there for some time.

-They both had a dream in the same night. Each dream was different with its own interpretation. Joseph noticed their countenance was down and had the presence of mind to ask them what the matter was. They told him about their dreams, but the lack of interpretation bothered them. Then Joseph told them the truth, “Do not interpretations belong to God (Genesis 40:8)?” Then he asked them to tell him their respective dreams. *Application* God gives certain dreams and visions to His people. There will be periods and even eras of silence, but when He is ready to move on the earth He reveals His intentions for His good purposes (Numbers 12:6, Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2:16-17). His Spirit is alive and well in us, His chosen people who know Him.

-The chief cupbearer is given a good interpretation and will soon be a free man. Joseph asked him to remember him before the Pharaoh to get him out of the jail house. He maintained his innocence in Potiphar’s house after his kidnapping in the land of the Hebrews. *Fascinating Biblical Facts* Here we see the term Hebrews beginning to be used with more frequency. Potiphar’s wife referred to Joseph as a Hebrew (Genesis 39:14), and early on Abram is referred to a Hebrew (Genesis 14:13). This raises the question, where does this term “Hebrew” come from? It apparently is an ancestral name of one of Abram’s forefathers. For more explanation see, under “Name of the Month, Eber.”

-The chief baker now boldly approaches Joseph with great expectations since the cupbearer had received good news. However, his interpretation was completely opposite. He would soon be hanged, which came about on the third day after this dream on Pharaoh’s birthday as a part of a feast for all his servants.

-The cupbearer was restored to his position at the same time, but he did not remember Joseph, but forgot about him. *Application* When we tell people something, we need to be true to our word and not forgetful. For example, saying that we will pray for someone in a particular situation is important. When we tell people we will pray for them, we need to actually do it, and I would say do it quickly while it is fresh in your mind. The human brain has the propensity to forget things. Be an effectual doer (James 1:23-25).

Verse to memorize: Genesis 40:8

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 39

Genesis 39

-The narrative reverts back to Joseph’s situation in Egypt as a slave in the household of Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard. He had been sold by his brothers to Ishmaelite traders and now he was working for his master in Egypt. But, the LORD was with him, so he became a successful man finding God’s favor and blessing in all his work. He soon was in charge of everything in Potiphar’s house, which showed his master’s trust and faith in him as a good steward. The character of Joseph is beginning to show up in the biblical account.

-Joseph had his mother’s good looks and form, which made Potiphar’s wife desire him and want to lie with him. However, Joseph would not “do this great evil and sin against God (Genesis 39:9).” She came on to him day after day, but he did not listen to her enticements. His character was impeccable. *Application* How is our character (what God knows about us when no one else is watching)? We need to follow the example of Joseph here and do right no matter what the situation or person brings in the way of temptation.

-Now it happened one particular day that Joseph went in to work and none of the men of the household were around. *Application* We should never enter a situation with a member of the opposite sex alone who is not our spouse. Too many bad things could happen as we see here in our story even if we have innocent intentions.

-Potiphar’s wife came on strong towards Joseph and she caught him by his garment. Of course, once again Joseph resisted and fled the scene going outside, but he left his garment in his haste. This was the pivotal mistake, and Potiphar’s wife took advantage of it in her jilted state. She screams that her slave has tried to make sport of her and totally lies about what transpired.

-When Joseph’s master came home, his wife lied to him and his anger obviously burned against his slave to the point of throwing him into the jail where the king’s prisoners were confined.

-But this was in the LORD’s will for Joseph’s life and He was still right there with him extending His kindness and blessing upon His righteous servant. *Application* Do not be worried or fearful of being falsely accused. Know that the LORD is still with you even when circumstances may indicate that He is not. God works all things for good to them who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

-Joseph again finds favor with his overseer and is given charge over all the prisoners in the jail. “Whatever was done there, he was responsible for it (Genesis 39:22).” The LORD was indeed with him and working His ultimate plan for salvation. Joseph prospered in tough times (Isaiah 40:31). *Application* He who is faithful in little will also be faithful in much (Luke 16:10). Joseph personifies this as he goes through God’s training school for the bigger tasks that He has for him later down the road. God is a God of order and He won’t put you into any situation you can’t handle. Take the time and have the patience to learn through the processes God takes you through in life. He doesn’t waste experiences!

Verse to memorize: Genesis 39:2

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 38

Genesis 38

-The line of Judah is depicted here in this chapter. This has immense importance due to the fact that Perez is the forefather of both David and Jesus Christ. Perez was the son of Judah through Tamar (one of four women in the ancestral line of Jesus mentioned along with Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba in the book of Matthew, Matthew 1:1-6).

-Tamar was married to Judah’s sons Er and Onan, but the LORD took them because they were evil and did displeasing things before the LORD. Tamar was promised Judah’s third son, Shelah, when he came of age as a husband.

-However, Judah did not follow through with his word, and Tamar posed as a prostitute at the gateway to the city named Enaim on the road to Timnah in order to bear children by Judah. She must have known that Judah was susceptible to this type of sin, which is a sign of questionable character on the part of Judah. We saw in chapter 37 that he also was the one who had the idea of selling his brother Joseph into slavery. Therefore, we can see that although Judah has greatness in his family line, he is a man of flesh and depravity like anyone else. *Application* He needed God’s grace just like we do.

-Judah goes into Tamar thinking she was a temple prostitute and they bear a son. He is angry when he finds out she is pregnant, but she has his seal and chord and staff that he had pledged to her upon payment of a young goat for her service. Therefore, Judah knows that she is more righteous than he because he lied about giving her his son and has now been caught in his sexual sin. Perez is born as the first of twins, and Judah never has relations with her again.

Verse to memorize: Genesis 38:26

Monday, February 6, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 37

Genesis 37

-Jacob’s generations now begin their life in Canaan where his father had lived. In fact he spent some years with his father and brother Esau in fairly close proximity.

-The story now focuses on Joseph in his seventeenth year of life. He rats out his brothers bringing a bad report to his father of them provoking them to despise him and hate him. These feelings are certainly exacerbated by the fact that Israel loved Joseph more than the rest of his sons. *Application* Favoritism will breed problems in any situation. God is impartial (2 Chronicles 19:7, Job 34:19, Acts 10:34, Rom. 2:11, Gal. 2:6, Eph. 6:9, Col. 3:25, 1 Pet. 1:17). We need to love well and equally.

-The sibling rivalry got to the point where they could not speak on friendly terms with Joseph on friendly terms. He had been given a multi-colored tunic (full length robe) by his father as a sign of his favored position. The Scripture relates that Israel loved Joseph because he was a boy of his old age, and one can easily read between the lines here to note that Joseph was his first son of his favored wife Rachel. The LORD uses this all for His good pleasure in the salvation of the Abrahamic line, but certainly we can see some major problems within the family here at this point.

-Joseph is given the ability of prophecy and interpretation of dreams. He has his first recorded dream here in this chapter and relates it to his brothers regarding shaves in a field with his rising above his brothers and standing erect. His brothers hated him even more for his supposed arrogance. Joseph has yet another dream where the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to him. Even his father rebuked him for this dream, yet he kept this saying in his mind.

-The time came when Joseph was called upon to go check on his brothers who were out tending the flock in what was supposed to be Shechem. Shechem was probably a good 5 day journey through the hill country to the north. When Joseph could not find them there he got word that they had gone even further north to Dothan, so Joseph went there.

-As the brothers saw him coming in all his glory of the colored tunic they made snide comments about him being a dreamer and plotted to kill him. They were going to lie about his death to his father telling him a wild beast devoured him. Deceptions persist in this family as a sin pattern.

-Reuben is used of God to save Joseph at this crucial point. He tells them to shed no blood and just throw him into a pit. He had designs on rescuing him later and restoring him to his father. This could have been good will and genuine concern, but it may have been motivated by selfish desires. It could have been that he was thinking of his future blessing and knew that he would be held responsible for younger brother’s well being ultimately. I believe it was more than likely his good will that prevailed and saved his brother. *Application* Here is another instance in Scripture that is intriguing as to the sovereignty of God in free will matters. Joseph gives us some insight into this later on in Genesis 50:20. What is meant for evil actually can be God at work in order to bring a desired result in the whole economy of things. Never forget this is tough situations! Rest in Christ and let His plan develop.

-Judah has the idea of selling their boisterous and annoying brother as a slave as some Ishmaelite traders come by. Dothan was apparently on a very busy trade route during this time. The Ishmaelites do not get to purchase Joseph, but soon some Midianite traders come by. The brothers, unbeknownst to Reuben, sell him as a slave to these Midianites who were going to Egypt on business for twenty shekels of silver. Reuben is distraught with finding out about his brother’s disappearance and they devise a lie that indeed a wild animal devoured him by revealing his bloody colored tunic from goat’s blood.

-At the sight of this tunic and the news of the lying brothers, Jacob is distraught tearing his clothes and putting on sackcloth and mourned for many days. Again Jacob pays consequences for his deceptions as a young man by having to endure the pain of others deceiving him later in his life. Jacob encounters grief in a powerful way here needlessly. *Application* Sin always has consequences further and deeper than we can ever imagine.

-Interesting textual note- Israel is again referred to as Jacob denoting how deception is interwoven to the saga.

-Joseph now is in custody as a slave facing a month long or so trip south through the desert into Egypt. He was probably chained and walked the whole way. His charmed life certainly appeared to be over and his brothers could have never expected to see him again. He would be treated like baggage and sold as a piece of merchandise, but God was in total control of his life. He is sold to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s officer, the captain of the bodyguard in the most advanced civilization of the region and probably the world. He would observe the great pyramids, live in beautifully constructed homes, and deal with sophisticated people. He would have to learn a new language and probably was keenly aware of their spiritual blindness in this polytheistic culture.

Verse to memorize: Genesis 37:4-5