I have to start today’s blog with a quote from a hymn written by William Cowper:
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
1 Chronicles 2
Okay, ready for genealogy lesson number two? In this chapter, we revisit the genealogy of the twelve tribes of Israel. In it, we find the story of Er and Onan (the sons of Judah) and Tamar. Tamar was married to Er, but before they could have children, Er died. As Er’s brother, Onan was supposed to marry Tamar and continue the family line. He refused, and he died. Tamar appealed to Judah regarding her situation, but even he was unsympathetic.
You don’t have
Enough time to sit
And wait for the dough to
Swell when you’re quitting slavery and
Taking the wealth.
2 Kings 8
Since I didn’t end up commenting on her in chapter 4, I’m glad the Shunammite woman is back again. You remember her: She was the gal who (along with her husband) built a room in their home for the prophet Elijah. And, in order to repay their kindness, Elijah told the childless couple that they would have a son. This obviously delighted the woman, but it was clear that she didn’t want to get her hopes up. What I really loved about her, though, was what she did when her son died of a head injury several years later. The woman went immediately to Elijah and said, "Did I ask you for a son, my lord? Didn’t I tell you, 'Don’t raise my hopes?'" (2 Kings 4:28)
2 Kings 7
A few years ago, our water heater unexpectedly broke, and after some consultation with a plumber, we realized that we would not only have to get a new water heater, but a water softener as well. I just hate it when that happens! If you don’t have money in savings, unexpected expenses like that can really get you down.
Trusting in God
is a ride,
and it's wild.
Jochebed got paid
to nurse her own child!
The sobering fact of life is that our
descendants usually bear their share
of our decisions—either good or bad.
Levi couldn't bend his temper to his
will, and his curse was to
be doled out to his children—who would be
scattered, without a land inheritance,
among their relatives. But
the curse turned into a blessing for the entire
nation, as the Levites became the radiated advocates
of God. They inherited the heart-land of
Israel, permanent tillers of her spiritual soil.
The last shall be first,
and the first, last.
If Jesus was praised by any
for uttering such
their own ignorance
The dance of the
last and the first
didn't begin in the Gospels.
It began in Genesis with
the subtle passing over
of the older for the younger,
the giving way
of the greater to the lesser.
Isaac and Ishmael.
Jacob and Esau.
Joseph and his older brothers.
Ephraim and Manasseh.
God must love
a good heel turn.
Blessed are the underdogs,
for they shall
have the last bark.
I wonder what it's like—
that moment when you realize
the dreams you dreamed
so many years ago
in front of you
in broad daylight.
I wonder what it's like—
the very next moment
when you realize
that you're right where
God planned for you to be
so many years before
and that everything
the lonely nights
all of it
was part of the plan
to bring you to the time and place
where you would save the world.
as the ten sheaves
are bowing down,
would it not
drive you to your knees?
The recurring theme of the Bible is
Lord sticks His divine nose into our
business and turns what
was expected into something
with no prior warning.
Joseph had been sold as a slave,
so he expected to be treated like
he didn't act like one. Instead he
succeeded in all he did, because he
in his heart to do
everything he did like a boss. He
he would be the very best slave
those Egyptians ever
did see, and
as he committed all
he did as a slave to the Lord, he
served them as God serves all His
in serving even his enemies in this
the slave became a free man, ruling
house of Potiphar and revealing that
the true Master
of his heart is in no way deficient in
his power, even to this day, to turn
Egyptian oppressors into admirers,
as the slave becomes the
Oh, the dreams! The bowing down!
The humbled faces on the ground!
A jealous sibling's lightning rod
(those dreams) but they had come from God!
He knew the visions would be told;
He knew that Joseph would be sold;
He saw a famine on the way
and hatched a plan to save the day.
Egypt thought they'd bought a mule,
but Joseph had been sent to rule.
Joseph's God is your God, too.
He has a future planned for you:
Never doubt it's bright and beaming—
What new dreams have you been dreaming?
Sonnet: A poem consisting of 14 lines with a particular rhyming scheme.
If you’re like me, you’re probably starting to wonder, what is the big deal with all these land allotment details? It’s one thing to say that Israel inherited the Promised Land. It’s quite another thing to devote chapters and chapters to detailing every single boundary of every single tribe in Israel.
The first-time father
The bastard child
also blessed with twelve tribes.
The barren woman
gifted with twins.
given to the baby.
becoming the master.
God has been overturning tables
long before He
whipped the temple
into a frenzy.
So, we come to the story of Jacob blessing the sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim. And as he goes to bless the grandkids, Joseph gets upset because his right hand (apparently the hand of "greatest blessings") is on the wrong boy’s head. He is getting ready to give Ephraim (the younger and, consequently, the lesser) the better blessing.
Stories like this one fascinate me. In Genesis 25:23, the Lord informs Rebekah that the older of her two sons would "serve the younger." Of course, this wasn’t the normal course of events in Rebekah’s culture. The firstborn son was the heir to everything, the one responsible to carry on the family. Thus, it was customary for all the younger children to "serve" the oldest.