21 01 2011

DAY TWENTY-ONE : Genesis 41 v. 41 – 42 v. 38; Matthew 14 v. 22 – 15 v. 9; Psalm 12 v. 1 – 8

Great readings today – Joseph’s role in saving Egpyt from the famine, Joseph sees his brothers again (they don’t recognise him); Jesus walks on the water (and so does Peter, briefly); teaching about ensuring any “traditions” we inherit or develop exist only to fulfil God’s word (commands) not to skirt around, ignore or disobey God’s word; and a psalm of God’s perfection and protection.

GENESIS 41 – Joseph once again has a fine robe, this time placed on him by Pharoah; the whole “Make Way” thing, of course speaks to me of the whole John the Baptist “Prepare the way of the Lord” motif; Joseph is now 30 (same age as Jesus when He began His public ministry), which means it is 13 years since he was ‘sold’ by his brothers (13 years of slavery and imprisonment); Joseph manages well the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine, still glorifying God
(naming one of his sons, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering“)

GENESIS 42 – Jacob sends his sons (except Benjamin) to Egypt for food; it is interesting to watch Joseph test his brothers, he must be wary of them, feeling somewhat vulnerable, and must be wrestling with feelings of anger and bitterness; seeing them bow down before him reminds him of his teenage dreams; touching moments when Joseph hears the brothers, temporarily held in prison, discussing their remorse for the way they’d treated Joseph,
“He turned away from them and began to weep…..”
he sticks to his guns, asking for the youngest son, also to be brought to him, and sends all but Simeon off back home for Benjamin, filling their bags with plenty of food for the journey. The brothers are stunned by all that is in their bags, and wonder what God is up to….
We end the story today with Jacob refusing to let Benjamin (who is clearly now the ‘favourite’ being the son born to Rachel who died during childbirth) be taken to Egypt. Jacob has most to lose but most to gain too, if he only knew it.

MATTHEW – it’s a stormy night on lake Galilee, and Jesus comes to the boat, walking on the water; the disciples are petrified of this ghostlike figure; “have faith, not fear” He says to them, over and over again; Peter’s faith and courage are inspiring,
“If it is you, tell me to come to you on the water.”
There is both the intense excitement that Peter actually does get to walk on water, yet the ovewhelming fear when he sees the wind and waves..; perhaps Jesus sounds harsh with His, “You of little faith”, yet He is constantly teaching Peter and the others to keep their eyes on Him, not on the circumstances around (see my re-created thoughts, later); once all back in the boat, the wind calms down (teaching moment is over!) and they all worship Jesus as Son of God; Jesus heals many sick people, even those who just touched the hem of His garment – one touch from the master changes everything.
Lord, heal me with Your touch today, and conquering all fear, inspire greater (water-walking) faith in me.

(fantastic book, if you’ve not yet read it – thoroughly recommend it !!)

CLEAN AND UNCLEAN – the battle between human traditions, and God’s timeless commands, His Word. It is a warning to us to ensure that we don’t simply do things ‘because we’ve always done them’, but that everything is checked under the authority and guidance of God’s Word. The Pharisees are being accused here of ‘twisting’ God’s Word to suit their ends, a bad tradition which has developed. Again, Jesus’s charge is hypocrisy, for He sees the heart, the motivation:
“These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”
ancient words from Isaiah which were contemporary in Jesus’s day, and are just as contemporary today.

PSALM12  – the psalmist also speaks of flatterers, liers, whose lips betray hypocrisy and evil within; God is heard to say,
“I will protect them from those who malign them”. The words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times”
Lord, please do keep us safe and protect us, we pray, today and always.A

My re-created thoughts today:
Just last year, I penned these words in a song “Fix my eyes”, for while Peter’s eyes were on Jesus, he could walk on water; as soon as his eyes fell on the windy waters, he sank. First lesson here :

Fix my eyes onto You,
my author and perfector;
Fix my eyes onto You,
my great protector;
not looking left, not looking right,
unafraid to fight the fight,
Fix my eyes onto You,
King of kings (Lord of lords).

There are times when faith is high,
when I could touch the sky
and I could walk on water with You, Lord;
and there are times when faith is low,
and I don’t know where I should go,
I sink beneath the waters, crying out to You :

Fix my eyes onto You……

(had the privilege of singing this in a boat on Galilee last October – awesome ! Looking forward to being there in November – would love you to be there too, if you’re interested / able – people are beginning to book their places now).