1.14 Genesis 37-40

Ariel Buckhannon

January 14th

Genesis 37-40

Summary

Chapter 37-40 tells the story of Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob by his wife Rachel.  In addition to a spiffy robe, Joseph had the gift of revealing dreams- to his brothers dismay they sold him into slavery and told their father that he had been killed by an animal. The story then turns to Joseph’s brothers Judah and his family. The verses chronicle several misfortunate situations caused by their choices and actions which were not for God.The story returns to Joseph and details his success in his Eygptian masters home. He is given the power to oversee the whole household and everything the master has. Joseph ends up catching the eye of the master’s wife who makes a pass at him. He refuses and she frames him for rape, and gets him placed in jail. Joseph prospers in prison with God’s watch and favor and is placed in a high position. He reprises his role as an interpreter of dreams and brings understanding to the dreams of two fellow prisoners with close connection to pharoah. 

What is one key verse? Why?

Genesis 37:18 “They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him.”

The sin was in their heart before it was ever acted out. Our sin problem begins in our heart and must be dealt with on a heart level. Our goal is not only to change our behavior, but especially to let god change our hearts from inside out. 

How does what you read change your vision of God?

I think it just reinforces that God always has a long term game plan for everything and everyone. God works through difficult and messed up families, not abandoning or forgetting them, but like with Joseph and his brothers, God made sure to keep his promises and his word. 

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others? 

Joseph’s life tells us a lot about how God fulfills his word. His brothers were determined to defeat God’s revealed word, but as seen through Joseph’s life God’s word never fails. 

How will you go with God because of this reading?

People can try to disprove God’s word and what he says, just like Joseph’s brothers tried to do with his dreams, but as we see in the story- God’s word never fails. I will trust God’s word to overcome whatever tries to impede it. 

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters?

Jesus himself came from difficult family circumstances- unexpectedly and socially unacceptable; his mom became pregnant before his parents were married. Also, Joseph is like Jesus in the way he never complained and never compromised his relationship with God during times of adversity or times of success. 

1.13 Genesis 32-36

Rob Buckhannon

1.13

Genesis 32-36

Today’s reading picks up right after Jacob makes a pact with his father-in-law Laban, freeing him to lead his family to his hometown and aged father Isaac. Hoping to survive his return after swindling his brother Esau out of his birthright and blessing, he sends ahead servants with many gifts to soften any hard feelings Esau might still have after nearly 20 years apart. After a night of literally wrestling with an angel or man of God, Jacob and Esau have an emotional reunion and Jacob is welcomed home. Jacob makes a curious pit stop on the way and two of his son’s bring some grey hairs to their fathers head in a brief and brutal episode in the city Shechem. Then God calls Jacob to a special place in Bethel and reiterates his covenant and gives Jacob a new name, Israel. This episode ends on a sad note as Rachel dies giving birth to Israel’s twelfth son Benjamin and Esau and Israel bury their father Isaac shortly after.

What is one key verse? Why?

And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’”

Genesis 32:9-12

Jacob hears that his brother and 400 men are marching toward him. In that moment of fear for his life and family; he turns wholehearted to God for help. The text doesn’t mention what kind of intent Esau had in meeting his brother, but it does show Jacob having a fear of his circumstances and going to God to give thanks, ask for help and remember God’s promise. 

How does what you read change your vision of God?

The text doesn’t have God answer Jacob’s prayer with a  “I will protect you” or “Your brother will not harm you.” He leaves Jacob with the same promise from chapter 31 “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” Contextually, I would think Jacob is pretty stressed out going into his wrestling match/struggle with God. I think God lets us sit in tough situations by faith, forcing us to pray and remember his track record of provision, blessings and perfection and go on that. We might have to wrestle all night with God and get broken by him to take on the next day. 

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others? 

When in a trial, I often want God to just fix it and for the pain to go away. It’s a tough pill to swallow that suffering is good for me. The author of Hebrews says “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope.” I should view suffering circumstances in my life as a painful opportunity to be better for my Lord.

How will you go with God because of this reading?

I will go to a special place of prayer like Jacob did and walk and talk through some of the things God had brought me through. 

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters?

I saw Jesus in Jacob’s fear of and zeal for God. When he is called by God to go to Bethel, he gets rid of all the idols and makes everyone purify themselves (this is before Leviticus was written!). This reminds me of Jesus clearing the temple. 

1.11 Genesis 27-31

Cassie Bryant

January 11

Genesis 27-31

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

In our reading today we saw Isaac giving his son Esau clear instruction on how to get his blessing. Rebekah uses this information to get Jacob to take the blessing from his brother. Jacob follows the instructions and impersonates his brother to his blind father who gave Jacob Esau’s blessing. After Esau found out Jacob fled to Harran to find a wife from his mother’s people. He finds Rachel pleasing and asks for her hand in marriage. Her father, Laban, agreed as long as Jacob worked for him for 7 years. Jacob did and married Laban’s daughter but didn’t realize he was marrying Leah who was Laban’s older daughter. Jacob then had to agree to work 7 more years for the hand of Rachel. God was faithful to Leah and gave her many sons from Jacob. Even both wives’ servants gave sons to Jacob. Rachel was barren for many years until God remembered her and allowed her to have a son. Laban would acknowledge that God was working through Jacob and even still cheat Jacob in his wages. God saw Jacob’s mistreatment and blessed his livestock and sent Jacob home. So, Jacob took his family and left to his father’s land. Laban followed them and confronted Jacob. Together they made a covenant to not harm each other. 

What is one key verse?

“The angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob.’ I answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he said, ‘Look up and see that all the male goats mating with the flock are streaked, speckled or spotted, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and where you made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and go back to your native land.” 

Genesis 31:11-13

How does what you read change your vision of God?

I find it interesting that God continued to bless Jacob even though he gained his father’s blessing through deception. Also, God chose to keep Rachel barren all while blessing Leah and the servants with sons. Clearly, God sees what we can not and works in ways we do not understand for his good. When we make a vow to God to follow him he remembers us.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

People are sinful yet God loves then and uses them still. God loves us all. I need to see God’s love for people even in their sinful times. I need to see myself with God’s grace. He can work through all of us and he never gives up just because we sometimes do stupid things.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

I will look for how God is trying to use me and follow him. I will work hard for the Lord knowing that he sees what I am doing and knows what is best.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

Jesus spent time with sinners and valued uneducated men with his message. He kept using men, like Peter, who denied him and forgot their way yet he kept them around and trusted them with spreading the gospel.

1.10 Genesis 25-26

Alex Bryant

1.10

Genesis 25-26

Summarize what you read in one paragraph: In these chapters, the story of Genesis and of God’s chosen family shifts from Abraham to Isaac and his two sons, Jacob and Esau.  We read about the birth of Jacob and Esau, and then see a quick snapshot of the kind of men they grow into, highlighted by the story of Esau rashly giving up his birthright to Jacob in return for a bowl of stew. Then the narrative returns to Isaac, where there are a lot of parallels between his life and the life of his father, Abraham.  We see him encounter a famine, but instead of suffering he is blessed with abundance.  We see him make the same mistake Abraham made by lying about his wife being his sister.  We see him re-dig the wells that Abraham had dug originally.  We see him build an altar to the Lord, and we see God promise to bless all nations through him and his offspring.

What is one key verse? 

“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.  I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands.  And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

Genesis 26:3-5 (ESV)

What I noticed in this scripture is that God committed to blessing Isaac and his descendants before Isaac had really committed to God. Isaac doesn’t call on the name of the Lord until later, in 26:25, but he does respond to what God says in this verse with obedience, by remaining in Gerar instead of going down to Egypt.  Perhaps it was God’s unwavering commitment to his family that gave Isaac the confidence to trust and obey him, and eventually call on him himself.

How does what you read change your vision of God? 

What this passage shows me is that God isn’t waiting for us or depending on us to figure out what he’s going to do next.  He follows through on his promises.  He is also full of grace and blesses those who haven’t done anything to deserve it.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others? 

God has called each of us to our place in life for a specific reason.  He has never made a mistake, ever.  This helps me to know that I am exactly where I am meant to be, doing exactly what I am meant to be doing.  It also helps me to appreciate and love all of the people who are in my life, in whatever capacity that may be, because they have been intentionally placed there by God.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

I want to be more confident in my standing with God because of this passage.  I was not chosen because of my worthiness to begin with, in fact it is God who makes me worthy, and that is not something I initiated.  As long as I continue to respond with obedience, and repent when I don’t, I can be sure that God wants to bless me.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?) 

Like Isaac was blessed because of what his father did before him, we are blessed because of what Jesus did before us.  God worked through Isaac and his descendants because Abraham obeyed God and was faithful to him.  In the same way, we are a part of God’s family because Jesus was obedient, even to the point of death.

1.9 Genesis 21-24

Melissa Brewer

January 9

Genesis 21-24

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

In her old age, Sarah has a baby boy and named him Isaac because she laughed at the idea. Sarah and Abraham send Hagar and Ishamel away and God provides for them in the desert when Hagar thinks Ishmael is going to die. Abraham builds a well and makes a treaty with Abimelech with 7 lambs as a witness and calls it Beersheba. God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham follows and in the last seconds as he raises his knife an angel stops him and God provides a ram for the sacrifice. Sarah dies and Abraham insists on paying for the land she is buried in from the Hittites. Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for Isaac in his home country. The servant obeys and prays for a woman and God answers. The first woman he sees gets the servant water and water for all his camels. Laban & Bethuel agree the request is from God for Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife and Rebekah leaves the next day. Rebekah and Isaac marry.

What is one key verse?

But her brother and mother said, “Let the girl stay with us for about 10 days. Then she can go.” But he responded to them, “Do not delay me, since the Lord has made my journey a success. Send me away so that I may go to my master.” So they said, “Let’s call the girl and ask her opinion.” They called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She replied, “I will go.” 

Genesis 24:55-58

How does what you read change your vision of God? 

Through ch. 21-24 I see that God’s plans don’t make logical sense to me. Sarah had a baby at a really old age. Abraham was called to sacrifice his child. Abraham’s servant is sent to a foreign land to find a woman to leave with him. God calls us out of what makes sense or the traditions in our lives to make sure we fear God and will put him first no matter what. 

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

In the response to God’s plans, Sarah, Abraham, Isaac, Abraham’s servant, and Rebekah all act with obedience to God. I particularly like Rebekah’s response in ch 24:55-58. Her family wanted her to stay 10 more days before she left to marry Isaac but because she knew it was blessed by God, she left right away. Life as a disciple does not need to make sense. It is a life of obedience to commands we may not understand. We do not need a reason, we just need to obey and fear God. I am very logical and I can be critical of others when someone else does something that does not make sense to me. I need to stop my critical thoughts to realize it is not my place to judge. God is always doing something bigger than I may understand and in these moments I need to just obey.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

If something does not make sense to me, it does not mean I need to change it or even have an attitude about it. I need to obey, surrender my thoughts and trust God. God is always working.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

Jesus’ life was obedience to God. And obedience to which he was sacrificed and killed. Abraham’s calling to sacrifice his son Isaac is a foreshadowing of God actually sacrificing his son on the cross.

1.8 Genesis 18-20

Ryan Brewer

January 8

Genesis 18-20

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:

Three mysterious visitors meet Abraham while he lives near the trees of Mamre. Abraham recognizes that this is an unusual visit and has Sarah prepare a meal for the guests. The men tell Abraham that at the same time next year, he and Sarah will have a son, though they are well advanced in years. Sarah laughs, and one of the men, who is referred to as Yahweh (God), calls her out. Then God reveals to Abraham that he is about to destroy the city of Sodom, if they are as bad as the outcry of the communities around them claim. Abraham actually pleads on behalf of the wicked city. God agrees not to destroy it if there are even ten righteous people living there. Unfortunately, there are not ten righteous people. God destroys the city after a gruesome display of sin. Abraham’s nephew Lot escapes with his daughters…who trick him into impregnating them while he is drunk. Then, other crazy things happen. You just have to read it.

What is one key verse?

Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

Genesis 18:32

How does what you read change your vision of God?

God is remarkably gracious towards everyone and protective of the righteous. Even though Sodom was a violent and evil city, God was willing to spare them for the sake of a few righteous people. God is incomparably gracious, even in the moments where he is most criticized for being judgmental.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?

I want to be more like Abraham. I want my prayers to be in defense of others, despite their sins.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)

When I hear or see people sinning at work, I want to make an effort to always pray on their behalf. For example, if someone swears or makes a dirty joke, it always bothers me. Normally, I just try to ignore it to maintain a good relationship. But I want to pray for them to be shown love and mercy. I want to do more than just refrain from sinning. I want to produce righteousness in response to sin.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)

The prayers Jesus made before going to the cross–and even while he was on the cross–were like the prayer of Abraham for Sodom. Jesus prayed for mercy on those who crucified him.

1.7 Genesis 15-17

Kristen Van Bueren

January 7

Genesis 15-17

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:  Genesis 15-17 give the account of God’s covenant He made with Abram – and Abram’s faith, which was credited to him as righteousness. It also shows the impatience of Sarai and Abram both – unwilling to wait on the Lord to fulfill His promise – Sarai gives Abram her servant, who gives birth to Ishmael. This resulted in a conflict within the family which is still evidenced today – thousands of years later. This section concludes with God changing Abram’s name to Abraham, and Sarai’s name to Sarah – and giving Abraham the promise that Sarah would become pregnant and give birth to a son, Isaac, one year from then. 

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty, walk before me, and be blameless…No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.’”

Genesis 17:1-5

How does what you read change your vision of God?  God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which means father of a multitude, before Abraham actually had Isaac. God named Abraham not for what he already was/had become – but for what he would become. God saw who Abraham would be – this was His vision for Abraham.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?  This was powerful to me because so often I view myself from the perspective of what I am right now, or what I have been in the past. But that is not how God sees me – God views me not for who am I right now, but who I can grow into becoming. God’s vision for me is one who will bear more and more the image of His son! That is so inspiring to me!

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)  It is often so very easy to believe that lies that our enemy tries to speak over us – over me. But because of this passage, and how I now believe that God sees/views me, I am going to try to fight all the harder to resist the lies spoken over me – whether they come from family, co-workers, neighbors, friends, or even people in the church – that I am not who I used to be, and not even who I am right now – but that God sees me and has a vision for who I will become!

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)  

This is exactly how Jesus treated his apostles that he called. They were a hodgepodge group of men – not the most likely group of 11 (less Judas) that one would think to rally to change the world. But Jesus didn’t see them for who they were, but whom they would become. He even followed in his father’s footsteps when he changed Simon’s name to Peter!

1.6 Genesis 12-14

Stephen Van Bueren

January 6

Genesis 12-14

Summarize what you read in one paragraph:  Genesis 12-14 details God’s call of Abram (Abraham) and His initial promise to Abram that He would make him into a great nation. To be honest, there are stories that leave you scratching your head – like Abram forcing his wife Sarai (Sarah) to pretend to be his sister??? This section of chapters includes the introduction of Lot, Abram’s nephew. As they go their separate ways, Lot chooses an area of land that from a distance looked appealing to the eye, however, as we later read, Lot settled near Sodom – underscoring that the “grass is not always greener on the other side.” It concludes with Abram’s rescue mission, after Lot has been captured – and the blessing he received from Melchizedek.

What is one key verse? 

“Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you’…So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.”

Genesis 12:1,4 

Abram (Abraham) became known as the “father of faith” and though it wasn’t until chapter 15:6 that it says that his faith in God was credited to him as righteousness – I believe that is was here, in Genesis 12:1-4 that Abram’s faithfulness was born. The sister passage to this is found in Hebrews 11:8, where it says, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” 

How does what you read change your vision of God?  I think that from what I read, God is more interested in our faithfulness to Him and what He may ask of us, than He is in our comfort. Abram (Abraham) at this point in time, was established in his life. He was married, had his extended family around, had done what could be assumed as fairly well in life that he had accumulated a lot of “stuff.” And it was at this point that God called Abram to give up those securities and comforts to follow Him into what would be so far better.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?  The change for me personally is the call for me to be willing to follow God into the unknown – while being faithful that whatever or wherever He is calling me to, it will be far better than the “comforts” of staying put in “Haran.”

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)  I want to be faithful to do the best I can, with what I have, where I am at – but then be willing to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance – even if I don’t know exactly where that may lead me.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters? (What made you think about Jesus?)  I have always been blown away by Abram’s faith to leave and go, even though he didn’t know where he was going. However, in my time of pondering these passages, I have realized that Jesus obeyed and left what was far more “comfortable” and “secure” when he chose to leave heaven to come down to earth to be with us.

1.4 Genesis 10-11

Jill Perez

January 4th

Genesis 10-11

Genesis 10-11 continues the thought of the origins of human beings.  With Genesis 10 focused on the table of nations or family records. Genesis 11 the tower of Babel.  Chapter 11 starts out mentioning that the WHOLE EARTH was unified and spoke one language. The sons of Adam traveled to the land of Shinar to live and they built a great tower for themselves (to reach to heaven), but the Lord confused their language, since they were going against God’s plan.  Later in the chapter we see the details of Shem’s generation which includes Abram marrying Sarai.

What is one key verse?

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

Genesis 11:4

This scripture stood out to me because the people lost sight of God so quickly and it became what they wanted instead of what God wanted with a Godly slant that they wanted the building to reach to the heavens and they didn’t want to be scattered about.

How does what you read change your vision of God?  This scripture changes my vision of God because he is so loving and patient.  He could have destroyed them immediately for not doing what he said, but he works to urge us into his direction.  First he came down to check out what was happening, then he expressed the good of what he saw, then he went into action.  I’m sure it took time for those languages to be developed. God is like a loving parent caring for his chicks that may be wandering into danger and gently uses his wings to usher his loved ones to safety or a better path.  He is not harsh or quick to reprimand but does not let them give in to their desires, fears or wants. God is the one and only HERO.

How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?  This scripture changes me because life is not about me and what I can accomplish.  It’s about what God can do through me and others and it helps me to be patient with others (as a parent and a mentor) when I see something that is taking them further away from God instead of closer.

How will you Go With God because of this reading? (What is an action step?)  I want to remember how patient and loving God is and extend that to others.

Where did you see Jesus in these chapters?  (What made you think about Jesus) The fact that Jesus was always about God’s purpose and was never about making himself greater than him.  He always did what God wanted him to do and he had to endure the most difficult of circumstances.  

1.3 Genesis 6-9

1.3 Genesis 6-9

Phil Perez

January 3rd

Genesis 6-9

Chapters 6-9 contain the account of Noah and the flood.  God recognizes that man’s wickedness was widespread over the earth.  God was grieved that he had made man (6.6) and warned Noah of a forthcoming flood and commanded Noah to build an ark for him and his family.  We don’t know how long it took Noah to build the ark, but once the floods began it was the Lord who shut Noah and his family in the Ark (7.16) before 40 days and 40 nights of rain and the floodgates of heaven and below being opened.  

The flood recedes and on Noah’s six hundred and first birthday God removed the cover from the ark.  God promises never again to destroy the earth by flooding and never again will he curse the ground. God provides the rainbow as a sign of the covenant made God and Noah and all living creatures on earth.  Chapter nine ends with an event that has some parallels to Genesis 3. Noah, a man of the soil is the first one to plant a vineyard and after drinking some of the wine becomes drunk (no indication he knew it would make him drunk).  Just as in Chapter 3 there is an event that includes nakedness, shame and a curse.  

One key verse from the selected reading is 6.22 and 7.5 “Noah did everything that the Lord commanded him” (HCSB)

Noah was a man who regarded obedience to God as a high priority in his life.  God referred to Noah as a righteous man, blameless among his contemporaries (6.9).   

  • Obedience to God is not something that is to be minimized or taken for granted.  It is easy to get selective or dismissive at times with God’s commands.  
  • Obeying the commands of God set Noah apart and saved Noah and his family when the whole world was wicked and corrupt around him. 
  • Even Jesus had a lot in common with Noah and was a man of obedience as it says in Hebrews 5.7 “During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of his reverent submission.” HCSB