Consider as you read this devotion today:
The line of Christ is through the brother Judah – not Joseph.
Judah was a liar.
Judah mistreated his daughter in law.
He slept with her believing her to be a prostitute.
He fathered a child with Tamar.
The beauty of the Jesse Tree is that we see the line of Christ is full of broken humans…
It fills me with hope. How about you?
Which brother are you?
❤️“The story of Joseph and his brothers is not the Bible’s only story of betrayal and denial.
Judah isn’t the last person who values money over a close relationship—think of Judas, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. And Reuben isn’t alone in his cowardice.
Think of Peter on the night that Jesus was arrested: he too was too ashamed to stand up in defense of the innocent. Nor is Joseph the only person to end up alone in the pit of despair. Jesus himself knows what it’s like to be betrayed, ignored, and left for dead. He knows all about being at the bottom of a dark pit when you don’t deserve it.
The incredible thing is that whichever brother you’re most like—the traitor, the coward, or the one at the bottom of the pit—Jesus Christ loves you. If you’re a Judah or a Reuben, you are forgiven. God cherishes you as a precious child.
And if you’re a Joseph, the one deep down in the dark pit, Christ himself is there with you. You’re not alone. Jesus is holding you close and loving you.
Lord, what a relief it is that the Bible is full of real people, whose weaknesses are so like my own. Forgive me for my failings and assure me of your love and presence. Amen.”
Devotion today by Grace Claus
Dreams can be powerful things.
Mine are usually forgotten as soon as I leave my bed, but in this passage of Scripture, the dream was so vivid, Jacob, son of Isaac, acted on it immediately.
Wow… it must have been incredible.
This dream, deliberately given to him by God, reminded Jacob of the promise He made to his grandfather, Abraham.
He promised, “Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth… and all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your offspring” (Genesis 28:14).
In addition, He also promised Jacob his presence… continual… never-ending presence…
How did Jacob respond?
He worshipped. He offered himself fully to this promise-keeping, always faithful God.
Jacob decided the LORD of his ancestors would be his God, based on God’s faithfulness to him.
Not withholding any part of himself…his heart or his life.
During Advent, we trust the fullest expression of God’s promise to remain with us.
Emmanuel, God With Us…
As we wait for His coming, consider your response to His promise to never leave you, to strengthen you… to abide in you…
How do we respond today? With our moments?
Our response should be worship…
Our response should be the gift of ourselves…fully.
What are we holding back from the LORD?
What a magnificent promise to us You have made – to remain with us always! Through your Holy Spirit, point out to us the places where our response to your grace is less than adequate. Enable us to give ourselves fully to you.
Photo by Tj Holowaychuk
Photo by Luke Porter on Unsplash
This is one of the hardest stories in the Bible for me to read. I can’t even imagine the heartache Abraham must have experienced when God told him He would require Isaac’s life as a sacrifice, a burnt offering.
The horror of it is beyond my imagination… This was his child…his boy.
BUT… out of obedience…Abraham set about to do just that.
It wasn’t just obedience though. Abraham KNEW God. He knew Him to be faithful, sovereign, and a keeper of His promises.
God would NEVER break His promise…never.
I want to know my promise-keeping God that well…
The promise hinged on Isaac. Future generations would depend upon Abraham’s descendants. Abraham knew that if God was requiring this of him, He would provide a way.
Can you even imagine that hike up the mountain for Abraham?
Even when it seemed hopeless, God made a way…
God came through and provided a ram as a substitute for the sacrifice. He kept His promise.
Centuries later, God provided a different Lamb as a sacrifice. Like Abraham, God was willing to sacrifice his Son, but in this case, there was no ram to take His place. This time the Lamb was His Son, too.
It’s that Lamb, the One who offered himself on our behalf and who rose again to new life, that we await this Advent.
Remember, it’s not just the excitement for the baby who comes at Christmas. It’s about the longing for His coming AGAIN.
When it seems that life in this present world is overwhelming with evil, hatred and heartache…
When it is hard to imagine joy and peace…
When it feels as if there is no way for good to triumph…
We wait for Jesus to come in glory.
We wait…knowing our God keeps His promise to set things right.
It is so difficult to trust that you’ll keep your promise when life seems so out of whack. Give me the courage to wait for your provision. Guard my heart in that waiting process. I praise You because you keep your promises. You are faithful.
God had promised to make Abram a great nation…
But time was passing, and he and Sarai remained childless. Perhaps God had another plan?
God confirmed to Abram he would indeed have a son to carry on the promise He had made.
God promised him descendants like the stars in the sky…too numerous to count.
Just when Abram was despairing, God confirmed his promise of descendants far beyond Abram’s imagination.
The magnificent thing about this promise is that those descendants aren’t limited to the blood relatives of Abraham.
The reason his descendants would be as numerous as the stars is that we are among them too.
In Christ, we were grafted into the family tree (Romans 11:17).
We are among those stars…
This is our story too, made possible by our promise-keeping God.
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, thank you for grafting me into your family tree. Thank you for the knowledge that I am among those stars too numerous to imagine, and for inviting me into the covenant promise. May I reflect the family name well by your power. Amen…
Well, I didn’t forget about yesterday’s post, but… there was a lot of grandparenting going on. So… two days for the price of one today!❤️
Day 4: Genesis 6:11-14
You know the story.
The Ark, Obedient Noah and a Rainbow Story? Right?
But you may ask, “What does this story have to do with Jesus and Advent?”
A world corrupted by sin… eat up with cruelty and violence
Noah, a man chosen by God, to rescue his family and a sampling of animals in an ark…
And rain… lots of rain. Rain that continued for days upon days. Rain that washed away all the hate and sadness and everything that had gone wrong… Rain that would make the world clean again.
Hope in the form of an olive branch in the mouth of a returning dove. Our promise-making and promise-keeping God provided a new beginning – a clean start in a beautiful world.
“And like a warrior who puts away his bow and arrow at the end of a great battle, God said, “See, I have hung up my bow in the clouds. And there, in the clouds – just where the storm meets the sun – was a beautiful bow made of light.It wasn’t long before everything went wrong again, but God wasn’t surprised, he knew this would happen. That’s why before the beginning of time, he had another plan – a better plan. A plan not to destroy the world, but to rescue it – a plan to one day send His own Son, the Rescuer.” excerpt from Sally Lloyd Jones and The Jesus Storybook Bible
You see, Advent is our rescue story. It is about our Rescuer. He was always the plan.
“Our planned-from-the-beginning-of-time” Rescuer who seeks and saves… Jesus the Messiah.
I understand the desire to wipe away all the decay of sin and wickedness.
Sometimes the evil is so strong that destroying it completely is the only way to eliminate it.
And yet you promise not to destroy all flesh again.
Instead, you’ve made another way.
You sent us a Rescuer and the hope of new life in Jesus.
Come soon, Lord.
I love seeing Jesus in the Old Testament…
I especially love knowing He was in the creation story as the second person of the Trinity, the Word who was with God in the beginning, through whom all things were created. Thank you John 1.
That person, Jesus Christ, may not be present in his human flesh in the creation story; however, He is certainly there.
When God formed man from the dust of the ground, He had another human in mind – Jesus Christ – who IS the image of God.
In bearing God’s image as humans, we must also know that Christ IS God’s very image.
The next time you hear that it’s our ability to think, create, or relate to others that makes us image-bearers, consider also that it might simply Jesus in us that makes us image-bearers. The perfect human, Jesus Christ, the One who was there from the beginning, the One who constantly intercedes for us…it is He who is the true image of God.
Through Christ, we brightly reveal God’s image.
Thank you for being the image of God.
May our deepest desire and dearest delight be to reflect You. Remake us. Rewire our hearts this Advent… Thank you for revealing your goodness to us in our moments and in our days. Shine your goodness through us as image bearers.