reversal of fortune

God makes beautiful things out of our mistakes.

God makes beautiful things out of our mistakes.

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.

God can restore everything.

God can restore everything.

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)

God changes fortunes in a heartbeat.

God changes fortunes in a heartbeat.

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.

The Blessed Curse {gn49:7}

genesis-blessings-the-blessed-curse-poem.png

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.

 

Underdogs {gn48}

Photo © Unsplash/Matthew Henry

Photo © Unsplash/Matthew Henry

The last shall be first,
and the first, last.

If Jesus was praised by any
for uttering such
revolutionary ideas,
they unwittingly
exposed
their own ignorance
of Scripture.

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.

 

That Moment {gn42:6}

Photo © Unsplash/Randy Fath

Photo © Unsplash/Randy Fath

I wonder what it's like—
that moment when you realize
the dreams you dreamed
so many years ago
are materializing
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 dreams
   the slavery
   the allegations
   the imprisonment
   the abandonment
   the lonely nights
   the wondering
all of it
was part of the plan
to bring you to the time and place
where you would save the world.

That moment,
as the ten sheaves
are bowing down,
would it not
drive you to your knees?

 

Master Maker {gn39:2}

Photo © Unsplash/Zulmaury Saavedra

Photo © Unsplash/Zulmaury Saavedra

The recurring theme of the Bible is
how the
Lord sticks His divine nose into our
business and turns what
was expected into something
surprising
with no prior warning.
Joseph had been sold as a slave,
so he expected to be treated like
one, but
he didn't act like one. Instead he
succeeded in all he did, because he
determined
in his heart to do
everything he did like a boss. He
decided
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
unwittingly
served them as God serves all His
creation. And
in serving even his enemies in this
way, Joseph
the slave became a free man, ruling
over the
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
master.

 

Premeditated Dreams {gn37}

Photo © biblevector.com

Photo © biblevector.com

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.

Table Turner {gn25}

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The first-time father
at eighty-six.

The bastard child
also blessed with twelve tribes.

The barren woman
gifted with twins.

The birthright
given to the baby.

The servant
becoming the master.

The poor
suddenly
rich.

The weak
suddenly
strong.

The inconsolable
suddenly
in-high-spirits.

God has been overturning tables
long before He
whipped the temple
into a frenzy.

 

God roots for the underdog.

God roots for the underdog.

GENESIS 48

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.

God knows.

God knows.

GENESIS 25

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.