Daily Encouragement

January 27 – God of the Hebrews, God of the whole world!

January 27
Exodus 4:1-5:21
Matthew 18:1-20
Psalm 22:19-31
Proverbs 5:15-21

We return to Moses talking to God. Yesterday he had 2 questions (3:11, 3:13), today he has 3 excuses (Exodus 4:1, 4:10, 4:13).

Exodus 5:3 is a bit odd at first glance – wasn’t Moses supposed to be asking for emancipation, not just a vacation? Is Moses backpedaling on God’s instruction? Looking at the context from yesterday and today we see that God gave them the words to say (3:15, 4:28, 30). Was God demonstrating that Pharaoh’s heart was so hardened that he wouldn’t sign off on a brief vacation to protect his workforce (5:3 – lest he fall upon us with pestilence)? Benson’s Commentary on Exodus 5:3 shares this perspective.

Matthew 18:6 If you work in children’s ministry – Sunday School, Christian Day School, Parenting, etc – it’s not ‘filling in’ because the pastor couldn’t find anyone else. This is serious business. You are dealing with the model citizens of heaven (18:4) and the equivalency of a death penalty (18:6). Take heed to your ministry (Colossians 4:17)! Also, if Matthew 18 becomes a verb in your vocabulary (“I Matthew 18’d him but he still didn’t repent”) – make sure you have the right attitude –  18:15-17 was not to justify you in your disputes but to emphasize how important Christian unity is – keep making the effort to reconcile (Psalm 133).

Psalm 22:27 – Even though our Exodus reading introduces Pharaoh to the LORD as the God of the Hebrews, our Psalm reading reminds us that his kingdom will have no end (Isaiah 9:7), and all nations shall worship before Him!

Proverbs 5:21 – Here we see another “anthropomorphism” – the “eyes of the Lord.” While it’s difficult to comprehend omnipresence, Solomon reminds us God sees us. As Joseph told us earlier this year – when we sin, it’s not just against a fellow human, it is against God because it is in His sight.

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Daily Encouragement

January 26 – What to do with a lunatic son?

January 26
Exodus 2:11-3:22
Matthew 17:10-27
Psalm 22:1-18
Proverbs 5:7-14

Exodus 2:12 – Whether this is a good act or not is a matter of debate among commentators. However even though he looked around and saw nobody, Hebrews saw him (2:14), and Pharaoh found out (2:15), and he had consequences. 3:11 – While Moses’ humility is commendable (Numbers 12:3), he has questions (v.13). Unfortunately we will see tomorrow his lack of faith.

Matthew 17:15a – Many a parent of teenagers has come with this prayer but thankfully most haven’t done 15b. While the disciples were proud of their role (Mark 9:38), they lacked faith (Matthew 17:20), and unlike their teacher that we saw a few days ago (Matthew 14:23), they had not spent time in prayer. There’s an old gospel song – “How long has it been, Since you talked with the Lord?

Psalm 22 Harry Ironside, Senior Pastor of The Moody Church from 1930-1948 said “Some one long ago suggested that in Psalm 22 we have the Good Shepherd giving His life for the sheep, in Psalm 23, the Chief Shepherd in resurrection life guiding His people through the wilderness of this world, and in Psalm 24, the Great Shepherd coming again in power and glory to bring in everlasting blessing.” If you have the time – he gives a great message on this Psalm – the Psalm of the Sin Offering.

Proverbs 5:9-11 – We see the consequences of the strange woman. Loss of honor, time, wealth, labours, health, but plenty of mourning.

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Daily Encouragement

January 25 – The Weeping Patriarch

January 25
Genesis 50:1 – Exodus 2:10
Matthew 16:13-17:9
Psalm 21:1-13
Proverbs 5:1-6

Genesis 50:4-6 Side note – Pharaoh was glad to accommodate a diligent and profitable God-fearer who asked for time off for work for a good reason. 

Genesis 50:17 – The first time Joseph wept was Genesis 42:24, then Genesis 43:30, Genesis 45:2, Genesis 45:14, Genesis 45:15, Genesis 46:29, Genesis 50:1, and now for the 8th time. Only 15 times does someone weep (once on the site, push Control-F to search for ‘weep’ or ‘wept’) in Genesis – most of the time it’s Joseph. It’s ok for a God-fearing leader to have compassion! 

Genesis 50:24 – an echo of faith in the promise in Genesis 15:14. Congrats on finishing your first book of the Bible! Let’s see what happens to Jacob/Israel’s descendants in Egypt.

Exodus 1:22 – Satan is attempting to destroy the Israelites and specifically the line of the Messiah. Haman tried this in Esther 3:13. Herod would try this in Matthew 2:16.

Elizabeth Jane Gardner  (1837–1922)  Moses in the Bulrushes

Matthew 16:16 – Once Simon Peter recognized who He was, Jesus could explain what would happen (Matthew 16:21). Interesting that only now after the disciples had seen Jesus telling John’s disciples that He was the prophesied one (Matthew 11:4-6), the 5,000 fed (Matthew 14:21), Jesus walk on the water (Matthew 14:25), incredible miracles (Matthew 15:30-31), and the feeding of the 4,000 (Matthew 15:38), does Peter say what the obvious conclusion is. But Jesus doesn’t let you stop at a confession – He calls for us to take up our cross, and follow me. He wasn’t talking about a nice piece of jewelry, He was talking about the element of execution.

Psalm 21:6-7 – If the king trusts in the Lord, he will be blessed. Let’s pray for our elected officials that they will trust in the Lord so He can bless them. PublicServantsPrayer.org is a great website to remind you to pray for your leaders. I’m subscribed to the Wisconsin prayer list.

Proverbs 5:1 – Hopefully you’ve realized that wisdom is more than just cute sayings on a refrigerator magnet. It’s pretty important. Today we follow up on the strange woman that we met in Proverbs 2:16, and will meet again in Proverbs 6:24, and Proverbs 7:5. Other women we’ll meet are the evil woman, the whorish woman, the woman who lacketh understanding, the brawling woman, the angry woman, the contentious woman,  the adulterous woman, the odious woman, and the foolish woman; but we’ll also meet the gracious woman, the fair woman, the virtuous woman, the wise woman, and the God-fearing woman!

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Daily Encouragement

January 24 – Echoes from the Past

January 24
Genesis 48:1-49:33
Matthew 15:29-16:12
Psalm 20:1-9
Proverbs 4:20-27

Genesis 48:5 Jacob is claiming Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh. When we get to the long genealogies (I Chronicles 5:1-2) we’ll see how the birthright that belonged to Judah went to Ephraim and Manasseh.

A print from the Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations in the possession of Revd. Philip De Vere at St. George’s Court, Kidderminster, England.

Also of interest – Genesis 48:18-19 Joseph is correcting his dad about who deserves the birthright – in an interesting echo of what Jacob did to his father in Gen. 27.

Genesis 49:10 – the scepter – is spoken of by Balaam (Numbers 24:17), the Psalmists (Psalm 60:7, 108:8). Shiloh is a difficult term – and even commentators admit it’s hard to be certain. But it seems to talk about the promised seed to Eve.

Matthew 15:30-31 – pay attention to these verses – when we come to the trial of Jesus, this would be exhibit 1 in the defense of Jesus of Nazareth. Why? Check Isaiah 35:4-6!

Matthew 15:33 – remember what we read 2 days ago? An interesting echo of Matthew 14:17. The disciples failed the lesson 2 days ago, and they look like they failed the quiz Jesus gave them today.

Thankfully Jesus, the Great Teacher addressed the learning problem the disciples had in Matthew 16:8.

Psalm 20:7 – There is a chorus based on this verse – I trust you will be blessed by this as I was!


Proverbs 4:20-27. Engage your ears, eyes, mouth, lips, and feet so you can keep your heart!

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Daily Encouragement

January 23 – Why was Jacob afraid to go to Egypt?

January 23
Genesis 46:1-47:31
Matthew 15:1-28
Psalm 19:1-14
Proverbs 4:14-19

Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing

Genesis 46:3. “Fear not to go down into Egypt.” Abraham went down into Egypt because there was a famine in Canaan (Genesis 12:10). But he lied about his wife there (Genesis 12:12), and likely picked up Hagar there whom he sinned with (Genesis 16:3). Ishmael did not take a wife of the believers, but of Egypt (Genesis 21:21). God forbade Isaac from going to Egypt (Genesis 26:2). Joseph was sold into Egypt (Genesis 37:28). Perhaps that’s why Jacob/Israel was scared to go back to Egypt. He had learned that before you go – seek God’s face, and God gave Israel wisdom.

Matthew 15:1/28 – Jesus accused the Scribes and Pharisees of sin, but had mercy on the gentile woman. God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5, James 4:6, Proverbs 3:34).

Psalm 19 – Patch the Pirate composed a great song based on this Psalm – The Heavens Declare. 


Psalm 19:7 – If you have time it’s worthwhile to do a quick search on the phrase “the Law of the Lord” in the Old Testament. And if you haven’t memorized Psalm 19:14 – that is a great verse to hide in your heart to keep your life pure!

Proverbs 4:18-19 – The path of the just is as the shining light…. the way of the wicked is as darkness. A pretty clear contrast. Which path do you want to take?

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Daily Encouragement

January 22 – The Compassion of Jesus

January 22
Genesis 44:1-45:28
Matthew 14:13-36
Psalm 18:37-50
Proverbs 4:11-13

Compare Genesis 44:34 to Genesis 37:26 that we read earlier. Judah has repented (see Webster’s 1828 definition – to change the mind).


Continuing yesterday’s theme – in Genesis 45:9 – Joseph’s family thought he was dead but now he is “lord of all Egypt.” While not a direct correlation, God seems to foreshadow what would happen to His Son.

Matthew 14:14 – hopefully you’re engaged in a personal biography of your God. What moved Jesus? Does what moves Him, move you?

Matthew 14:20 we see His compassion on the thousands. Matthew 14:27 we see His compassion on the dozen. Matthew 14:31 we see His compassion on just one.

Psalm 18:46 finishes a song we listened to a few days ago that starts with Psalm 18:3. Remember to be thankful for God’s deliverance – unlike the 9 lepers.


Proverbs 4:12 – Runners do not want to stumble. How can we avoid stumbling?

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Daily Encouragement

January 21 – Joseph’s behavior should sound familiar

January 21
Genesis 42:18-43:34
Matthew 13:47-14:12
Psalm 18:16-36
Proverbs 4:7-10

Three weeks into the year – and you’ve stayed with us! Thank you! God is blessing your faithfulness! How do I know? If you’ve been seeking God with your whole heart for these last 3 weeks – Psalm 119:2 speaks to you!

Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing

Sometimes you feel like Joseph’s brothers – just trying to put food on the table and a government official is threatening jail time. 

Genesis 42:18 is words of comfort – knowing that the government official is under authority from above!

Genesis 42:27 – Speaking of the brothers – they tried to buy food, but they couldn’t. God used the brother 1) they wanted to kill to 2) store up food for them (before they knew they needed it), 3) give it to them at no charge (even though they tried to pay for it). What other thing has God done through 1) someone we wanted to kill, 2) before we knew we needed it, 3) and gave to us at no charge (and even refused our efforts to pay for it!)

Genesis 43:34 Joseph feeds them at his banquet table – if you’ve heard the Children’s Song – “He brought me to His banqueting table / His banner over me is Love” – what verse is that song quoting?

Matthew 13:50 – again Jesus talks about a “furnace of fire.” Interestingly while Millennials are far less likely to believe in God, attend church weekly, pray, read Scripture, etc than Senior Citizens, they are just as likely to believe Hell is real. Unfortunately many believe its just for Adolph Hitler – but the Bible tells us many, many more will be going there.

Psalm 18:25-26 As you’re journaling about the character of God, perhaps add a list of characteristics that He looks for in us.

Proverbs 4:7 How’s this for an executive summary of Proverbs?

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Daily Encouragement

January 20 – Jesus continues to warn about hell

January 20
Genesis 41:17-42:17
Matthew 13:24-46
Psalm 18:1-15
Proverbs 4:1-6

People ask should Christians get involved in politics? I point out there’s two books of the Bible called Kings, and another couple of the Chronicles of the Kings. Genesis 41:25 – God had a message for a politician in Egypt. 41:46 interestingly Joseph was about the same age as Jesus (Luke 3:23) when his ministry began. Also notice the parallel between 42:8 and John 1:10-11? There are some sermons on SermonAudio.com that show how Joseph was a picture of Christ. (BTW – if you’re looking for more info on a passage – checking SermonAudio.com will show you some of the most listened to sermons (out of more than 1.3 million) on a passage). One final note about Joseph – though Joseph was in Egypt, and the King/Pharoah gave him an Egyptian wife of cultic pedigree (41:45), Joseph did not name his children Egyptian names. He gave them Hebrew names (41:51/52). While you may be in Egypt, don’t let Egypt into you!

Matthew 13:30 – Jesus talked about hell several times already in Matthew (5:22, 5:29, 5:30, 10:28, 11:23). Now he talks about burning tares. v. 40 – the children of the wicked one will be gathered and burned. I hate to use the word sobering so often, but when we compare reading Scripture to the amusements (literally ‘a’ = non, ‘muse’ = thinking; nonthinkings) of today, we have serious words to pay attention to. v.42 “And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” If you knew that, and believed that, shouldn’t you say something? Do we think hell is real? Do we think heaven is a “pearl of great price” that we are willing to sell all that we have for it? (13:46).

Psalm 18:1-3 – Take a sheet of paper and make a list of who the Lord is. Or if you’re already building in your journal a biography of God – add these attributes to the list. Psalm 18:3 and 18:46 (we’ll get there day after tomorrow!) have been recorded in song – if you haven’t heard this classic, it’s a great way to hide these two verses in your heart!

Proverbs 4:4 – Keeping commandments is not misery. They are life. Have you noticed that Solomon seems to think wisdom is important? Genesis has been an interesting look at people who have or have not been wise.

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Daily Encouragement

January 19 – Managing resources for a reward

January 19
Genesis 39:1-41:16
Matthew 12:46-13:23
Psalm 17:1-15
Proverbs 3:33-35

Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing

Genesis 39:2 shows us prosperity from someone who was with the Lord. While God can send prosperity, not all prosperity is of God (Psalm 73:12). Doctrine makes a difference – nonbelievers can follow Proverbs advice from God on how to be successful but they don’t have to follow the Author of the rules. While there are many ways to riches on this earth – only one doctrine leads to riches in the next world (Matthew 6:19).

Genesis 39:8 – Joseph was willing to risk prosperity on this planet (Genesis 39:8) because he would not risk the next world (Genesis 39:9), and lost his material prosperity in this world (Genesis 39:20). Recently in the news a man in Oregon was asked to violate his conscience so he quoted a verse of Scripture and was fined $135,000. Sometimes, though, the test is not will you stand in persecution, but can you stand in blessing.

Genesis 41:16 – Joseph turned down the credit (Genesis 41:16), when yesterday he seemingly wanted the credit (Genesis 37:6).

Matthew 13 is a great example of “venture capital.” A friend of mine is a venture capitalist – he buys businesses. Some get devoured. Some wither. Some are choked. But if just one of ten businesses can return an hundredfold, or even just thirtyfold, he can make a ton of money. Speaking of investing – what are you investing in? Are you investing in spreading the Gospel seeds? Are you praying for your friends that as they respond that they won’t be devoured, withered, or choked?

Psalm 17:13 is a great cry from someone oppressed – as we go thru trials we can cry to the One who listens!

Psalm 17:15 – Also, notice how Psalm 17:15 today and Psalm 16:10 yesterday seem to be a burst of prophetic utterance in the midst of a prayer within a temporal struggle?

Proverbs 3:33-35 is a great example of Hebrew antithetical poetry. ” It is very different from English poetry. English poetry is developed from Greek and Latin poetry, which is primarily sound-based. Hebrew poetry has much in common with Canaanite poetry. It is basically thought-based in balanced, parallel lines” (Bible.org) These verses contrast the blessing with the curse. Will we follow wisdom and understanding, or the simple, the scorner, and the fool?

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Daily Encouragement

January 18 – Wisdom haves and have-nots, and practical wisdom

January 18
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 a father of many nations wouldn’t be realized until after he was dead. Obeying someone for a reward 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) that his siblings had (37:6-8, 9-11). Reuben had a grosser lack of discretion (Genesis 35:22) but seems to have improved some that he stopped the fratricide in v. 21. (Ever wonder why Proverbs always talks about wisdom? Children have needed it for thousands of years!)

Biblical illustrations by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing

Genesis 37:28 – Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver (v. 28), 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’ – i.e. Judah wanted to kill Joseph, 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’ – not showing how every passage of Scripture points to Jesus. Over the next few days see how Joseph’s life points to Jesus.

Matthew 12:25 was alluded to by 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 – BTW – notice Jesus believed Jonah was a real person? As we were talking yesterday about how great Jesus is – He claimed to be greater than Jonah! (Matthew 12:41) greater than Solomon! (Matthew 12:42). Finally let’s make sure to be careful of 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 thru 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 with hurting people throughout the book again and again. But some promises are conditional – if He is at my right hand – then I shall not be moved (v.8). God promises deliverance, but we must obey.

Proverbs 3:27 – Solomon is giving the wisdom that Jacob and his descendants needed early. A variation of the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12), v. 27 is a simple command – if you can be a help to someone, be a help to someone. Sometime 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 early .

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