Daily Encouragement

January 18 – Wisdom’s “Haves and Have-Nots” and Practical Wisdom

Genesis 37:1-38:30
Matthew 12:22-45
Psalm 16:1-11
Proverbs 3:27-32

Genesis 37:1 — Abraham was a stranger. His blessing of being the Father of Many Nations wouldn’t be realized until after he was dead. If we obey someone for a reward that’s in the distance – what’s that called (Hebrews 11:9)?

Genesis 37:6 — By the way, Joseph seemed to have the same youthful lack of discretion (albeit less violent) than his siblings had (Genesis 37:6-8, 9-11). Reuben had a grosser lack of discretion (Genesis 35:22) but seems to have improved some because later he stopped the fratricide in Genesis 37:21. Ever wonder why Proverbs always talks about wisdom? Children have needed it for thousands of years!

Genesis 37:28 — Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver, similar to Someone who was sold for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15).

Genesis 38:15 — Judah still had lessons to learn. He sold his brother for a quick buck (37:27) and then looks to buy a favor from a harlot (38:15). I Timothy 6:10 has something to say about money.

BONUS THOUGHT — Scripture is not just “character lessons”, e.g. Judah wanted to kill Joseph so we shouldn’t want to kill our brothers. Rather, all of Scripture points to Jesus. Jack Klumpenhower has lesson notes on most of Genesis, including today’s reading. He wrote a book emphasizing that Sunday School has become “character lessons”, i.e. they don’t show how every passage of Scripture points to Jesus. Over the next few days, let’s see how Joseph’s life points to Jesus.

Matthew 12:25 was alluded to by the Founding Father John Dickinson: “By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.” Patrick Henry declared in his final speech, “United we stand, divided we fall.” Abraham Lincoln talked about a house divided on slavery. Ross Perot named his political committee “United We Stand.”  But are we united with Jesus (Matthew 12:30)?

Matthew 12:40 — By the way, did you notice that Jesus believed Jonah was a real person? We were talking yesterday about how great Jesus is – He claimed to be greater than Jonah (Matthew 12:41) and greater than Solomon (Matthew 12:42)! Finally, let’s make sure to be careful with our words (Matthew 12:36). Reading Scripture tends to be sobering, does it not?

Psalm 16:1 — Once when I was feeling under attack and overwhelmed, I started copying the Psalms by hand. Not because I didn’t have access to a photocopier, but because I felt I was reading through the Bible too quickly, and I needed to force myself to slow down and meditate. The Psalms really came alive as I realized that God deals again and again with hurting people throughout the book. But some promises are conditional (e.g. if He is at my right hand, then I shall not be moved [Psalm 16:8]). God promises deliverance, but we must obey.

Proverbs 3:27 — Solomon is giving the wisdom that Jacob and his descendants needed earlier. Verse 27 is a simple command and a variation of the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) – if you can be a help to someone, be a help to someone. Sometimes I’d be afraid to do something because it wasn’t my place, but it was always appreciated when I would tell someone “I think you need help – can I help you?”

Proverbs 3:28 — If you’ve had a friend on Facebook who’s a multi-level marketing distributor, I’m sure they’ve shared with you how they’ve been paid early, and how wonderful it is to receive their money.

Share how reading through the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

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