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  • Pastor John

Week 7 May 13, 2020

What we are reading this week (beginning Wednesday, May 6, 2020):

• Genesis 43-49

• Isaiah 43-49

• Mark 15-16

• Luke 1-5

• Psalms 43-49

Notes on Genesis

We will see the brothers returning for their second trip to Egypt, this time with little brother Benjamin (chapter 43). This time we will also see Joseph reveal his identity (chapter 44). This story never gets old for me.

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There is a wonderful reunion between Joseph and his father Jacob in chapter 46. I’m still wondering what his brothers had to say to their father to explain how their brother ended up alive after all of these years.

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Joseph advised his brothers to not identify as shepherds before Pharaoh, since the Egyptians detested shepherds. Instead, he said, they should simply say that they tended livestock (46.33-34). However, in verse 32, Joseph said he would tell Pharaoh that they were indeed shepherds, but then apparently did not (47.1). In any case, his brothers failed to do as Joseph suggested (47.3).

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In chapter 48, Joseph has twins, Manasseh and Ephraim. His tribe will become so large in Israel that most references to them throughout the Old Testament will reference the names of his sons as the namesakes of tribes of Israel, and leave out the “tribe of Joseph.”

Ephraim will become so large and influential that the name itself will become an alternate for the name of Israel, particularly for the northern kingdom after the country is divided into the two kingdoms.

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As Jacob nears the very end of this life (49.18, 33), he prophesies over his sons. Some of these prophecies are harsh (e.g., 5-7); Judah will become the royal line (49.10); Joseph will be blessed, but Benjamin will be violent (49.27).

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Notes on Isaiah

Verse 43.10 is theologically significant. It is the foundational verse for Jehovah Witnesses (who deny the deity of Jesus). Yet is a significant rebuff against LDS (“Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me”) –- they believe that they will achieve full God status (totally equal to the “god of this planet”) if they die as faithful Mormons.

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A gem of a verse buried deep here in Isaiah (43.19): “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

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God’s mockery of the construction and adoration of idols (44.9-20) applies to us, as well. We set up our man-made things in our own lives that we worship. And by that, idolatry means assigning attributes to anything else that should belong to God. For example, we look to money as our shelter in time of need, our security, our hope, et al.

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The prophecy re Cyrus in 44.28 is very interesting. Cyrus (and Persia) were a long way off in the future when this was written. For this, skeptics claim the verses were added on much later, because there is no way that Isaiah would have known the name of a future leader. But this is what happens when you are prophesying by the Spirit of God: you know things ahead of time.

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The words of Philippians 2.5-11 (including “…every knee will bow, every tongue confess…”) are anticipated in 45.23-24.

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In the opening four verses of 46, God contrasts the burden of bearing wearisome idols with his plan, where he carries us!

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Chapter 49 is Messianic. This includes the ministry of salvation that extends to the Gentiles (49.6).

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Notes on Mark

The crucifixion in chapter 15. Joseph of Arimathea was a part of the large religious ruling class, but was “waiting for the kingdom of God” (15.43). They weren’t all bad.

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Chapter 16: The resurrection. There is debate on the legitimacy of vv 9-20. But don’t doubt it. I don’t think Mark intended his gospel to end with the dismaying words, “…because they were afraid” (16.8b).

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Notes on Luke

Luke is a physician and a careful researcher (1.1). He is the only Gentile who wrote a gospel. His book is volume one of a set of two that includes the Book of Acts.

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Chapter one is the amazing stories (in great detail) of the foretelling and birth of John the Baptist, along with the foretelling to Mary of the birth of the Messiah.

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Chapter two, of course, is the most familiar Christmas story, with the shepherds and angels and the little town of Bethlehem.

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Jesus is also presented in the Temple in this chapter, which would have been on his fortieth day, not the same day as his circumcision. My own personal timeline has the entire episode of the Magi and the trip to and from Egypt happening between verses 21 and 22. I must mention that this is speculation on my part.

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Jesus as a twelve-year-old in 2.41-52 is the only text we have anywhere with any mention of Jesus between the ages of forty days and thirty years.

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John the Baptist is introduced at the beginning of chapter three. Later on in that chapter, we are given the genealogy of Mary. (read “the son of Heli” in verse 23 as “the son-in-law of Heli”. Greek has no way to differentiate between the two. We can compare this with Joseph’s family line in Matthew 1.1-16. The two family lines split after David, with his sons Nathan and Solomon.

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Jesus’ opening ministry is in chapter 4. He is tested in the wilderness, and in his home town of Nazareth. Luke immediately thereafter puts his focus on Jesus’ healing ministry.

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Jesus begins selecting his disciples. The events at the beginning of chapter five are probably a year after he first met some of these guys in John 1.

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Notes on Psalms

Psalm 45 is a wedding song. The flow of this sounds a lot like Song of Songs.

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Psalm 46 is a powerful piece. I like to meditate on this one.

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Clapping is a biblically endorsed form of worship! See 47.1. Also, shouting and trumpets!

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Some great prompts to set up God’s wonderful plan of salvation through the cross are given in 49.7-9,13-15.

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