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January 21

Pastor’s Note

So much of the fascinating richness of these prophetic words regarding the sons of Jacob is enhanced each time we read through the entire Bible, for each year we can appreciate more and more the unfolding of these promises throughout both the Old and New Testament writings. How great it is to serve a God who sees the end from the beginning.

— Pastor Mike

Genesis 49-50

Jacob Blesses His Sons

49:1 Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come.

“Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob,
 listen to Israel your father.

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
 my might, and the firstfruits of my strength,
 preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence,
 because you went up to your father’s bed;
 then you defiled it—he went up to my couch!

“Simeon and Levi are brothers;
 weapons of violence are their swords.
Let my soul come not into their council;
 O my glory, be not joined to their company.
For in their anger they killed men,
 and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen.
Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
 and their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob
 and scatter them in Israel.

“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 as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
 nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him; [1]
 and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 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.
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
 and his teeth whiter than milk.

13 “Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea;
 he shall become a haven for ships,
 and his border shall be at Sidon.

14 “Issachar is a strong donkey,
 crouching between the sheepfolds. [2]
15 He saw that a resting place was good,
 and that the land was pleasant,
so he bowed his shoulder to bear,
 and became a servant at forced labor.

16 “Dan shall judge his people
 as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
 a viper by the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
 so that his rider falls backward.
18 I wait for your salvation, O Lord.

19 “Raiders shall raid Gad, [3]
 but he shall raid at their heels.

20 “Asher’s food shall be rich,
 and he shall yield royal delicacies.

21 “Naphtali is a doe let loose
 that bears beautiful fawns. [4]

22 “Joseph is a fruitful bough,
 a fruitful bough by a spring;
 his branches run over the wall. [5]
23 The archers bitterly attacked him,
 shot at him, and harassed him severely,
24 yet his bow remained unmoved;
 his arms [6] were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
 (from there is the Shepherd, [7] the Stone of Israel),
25 by the God of your father who will help you,
 by the Almighty [8] who will bless you
 with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
 blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father
 are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents,
 up to the bounties of the everlasting hills. [9]
May they be on the head of Joseph,
 and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.

27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
 in the morning devouring the prey
 and at evening dividing the spoil.”

Jacob’s Death and Burial

28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him. 29 Then he commanded them and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah— 32 the field and the cave that is in it were bought from the Hittites.” 33 When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.

50:1 Then Joseph fell on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.

And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, My father made me swear, saying, ‘I am about to die: in my tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me.’ Now therefore, let me please go up and bury my father. Then I will return.” And Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear.” So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen. It was a very great company. 10 When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and grievous lamentation, and he made a mourning for his father seven days. 11 When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians.” Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim; [10] it is beyond the Jordan. 12 Thus his sons did for him as he had commanded them, 13 for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 14 After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.

God’s Good Purposes

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died, 17 ‘Say to Joseph, Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people [11] should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

The Death of Joseph

22 So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s house. Joseph lived 110 years. 23 And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation. The children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were counted as Joseph’s own. [12] 24 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.” 25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” 26 So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

Matthew 15:1-20

Traditions and Commandments

15:1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” [13] he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word [14] of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
 but their heart is far from me;

in vain do they worship me,
 teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

What Defiles a Person

10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. [15] And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? [16] 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

Footnotes

[1] 49:10 By a slight revocalization; a slight emendation yields (compare Septuagint, Syriac, Targum) until he comes to whom it belongs; Hebrew until Shiloh comes, or until he comes to Shiloh
[2] 49:14 Or between its saddlebags
[3] 49:19 Gad sounds like the Hebrew for raiders and raid
[4] 49:21 Or he gives beautiful words, or that bears fawns of the fold
[5] 49:22 Or Joseph is a wild donkey, a wild donkey beside a spring, his wild colts beside the wall
[6] 49:24 Hebrew the arms of his hands
[7] 49:24 Or by the name of the Shepherd
[8] 49:25 Hebrew Shaddai
[9] 49:26 A slight emendation yields (compare Septuagint) the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills
[10] 50:11 Abel-mizraim means mourning (or meadowof Egypt
[11] 50:20 Or a numerous people
[12] 50:23 Hebrew were born on Joseph’s knees
[13] 15:5 Or is an offering
[14] 15:6 Some manuscripts law
[15] 15:14 Some manuscripts add of the blind
[16] 15:17 Greek is expelled into the latrine

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