Reflections Week of 9/11/16

Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the two year reading plan the church is participating in. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God. #2YearJourney

Read Genesis 39-48 

I work at a Christian Institution, but I have worked at secular business’s as well ranging from carpentry to food service. If we look to Joseph’s interaction, as a worker in particular, and with the ‘non-believing’ people around in general. We see his skill and righteousness come to the forefront in; His integrity before his father (37:2), his success and purity in the household of Potiphar (39:2-13), his prosperity in prison (39:22-23), his God-honoring interactions with the Pharaohs jailed officials (40:8-23), and lastly his wise stewarding as the second hand man in Egypt. While he was by no means perfect, he had the blessing of the Lord. Indeed, his successes were directly due to God (39:2-3). We have a similar connection from Paul’s admonition in the New Testament, Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” If we recognize that which Paul warns against in 3:5 (“sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry”), Joseph’s life shows the contrast of these desires in full. How much more should we as believers put on the new self and represent God during our day?

For our reflection: What kind of testimony do I present to the unbelievers I engage with daily? Do I act and look just like unbelievers or do I contrast worldly values with Godly conduct?

Read Genesis 47:8-9 (Friday 9/17)

“And Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the days of the years of your life?” And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.”

Few and evil, short and unpleasant; Let us reflect on Jacob’s response to Pharaoh. Be wary to draw a harsh conclusion on whether Jacob is a sour old man or if he truly hated every moment of his life. Instead ponder the span of his life as we have read through it within the pages of Genesis. The key moments of his life appear to be some type of striving or struggle. He deceived his brother for an inheritance. He wrestled all night, receiving a crippling wound and a new name. His sons sold his most beloved child, Joseph, and then covered it up as a death. A famine threatened his household. Shortly before answering Pharaoh’s question, he had lost both his father to old age and his wife to a complicated birth. Few and evil seems to be an appropriate conclusion for a limping and hungry shepherd towards the most powerful and wealthiest man in the nation. But as we will continue reading the conclusion to Jacob’s story, it is not all dreary and curmudgeonly as a lament could be. Jacob blesses his children and continually references the faithfulness of God and the blessings Jacob has personally received. Yet his situation and response begs the reader to intimately join Jacob in this transitional chapter and come alongside him analyzing both his life, and in turn, ours as well.

For our reflection: How do I view the suffering and pain that I have had in my life in light of the blessings of God? Does a false expectation for a life on ‘greener pastures’ hinder my ability to live well? What are some ways I can support and lovingly bear the burden of another while they are having difficult days? Who specifically should I be praying for?

This week’s reflections written by Jake Carlson

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